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LETTER OF THE DAY - Bible, Christians need to wheel and come again

Published:Tuesday | December 4, 2012 | 12:00 AM


I am responding to two letters in The Gleaner (December 1, 2012), one from Marcus Blackstock, and the other from Malcolm McDonald.

To Mr Blackstock, I say: In the United States, flogging a child is an assault on a minor and can land the parent in jail and the child in the care of the State.

I won't argue that the US is a paragon of societal virtue, but I seriously doubt that lack of flogging is the cause of its problems. I happen to believe that violence is, in part, learned behaviour. And where better to learn this than at the hands of a parent?

The Old Testament injunction, 'Spare the rod and spoil the child', has to be considered in context. The Old Testament was written by Iron Age tribes, people who justified their actions by crediting them to Jehovah, their own God (as opposed to Baal and the other 'heathen gods').

The massacre of the Canaanites was done at the express command of the Almighty. Nowadays, we call it genocide, and we leave Jehovah out of it.

Bear in mind that Hitler was an avowed Christian.

Finally, Mr Blackstock says: "Check the history of the persons who have become criminals in the last 20 years." Fine with me. I am sure that many of them were flogged and so learned (the hard way) that a resort to violence is quite acceptable when dealing with conflict. After all, if your parents and your teachers use violence, it must be the proper thing to do.

Mr McDonald is satisfied that (by a small number of votes), the Church of England will not allow women to become bishops. This, Mr McDonald insists, is in keeping with the Scriptures.

Of course, it is. The Epistle of Timothy is quite explicit: Women in church must keep their mouths shut.

Bible advocating slavery

However, if we are to follow the instructions in the Bible, why is there no slavery in Christendom?

Those who read their Bible will see definite instructions on how to treat slaves. There is no commandment, "Thou shalt not enslave another," and Jesus rebuked no one for owning slaves.

So does Mr McDonald think that for doctrinal obedience, we should reinstitute slavery?

Or, perhaps, have we strayed so far from obedience that non-slave owners will be cast into some quite unpleasant place for eternity? I won't even get into animal sacrifice, or stoning to death fornicators, adulterers, drunkards, homosexuals, and rebellious teenagers.

I had all my life believed that the Bible was the Word of God for ALL MANKIND. Now you tell me it's only for Christians. Does that mean that nearly six billion non-Christians are second-class citizens unless they convert?