Friday, July 30, 2010

Refudenounce the Roots II: Romans, Chapter 1, Verses 18 - 32

Part II of my "Refudenounce the Roots" Series.

I have to shift into very low gear to talk about Romans, Chapter 1, Verses 18 - 32. Here Paul pontificates on the justified wrath of God against all people. This is one of the most hideous passages in the entire bible. I find myself floored and quite confused by his savage opinion of human nature: we're godless and wicked, we suppress the truth, we fail to glorify and thank God although we know God and its eternal power and divine nature. Our thinking is futile and our foolish hearts are darkened. We are fools who claim to be wise. We are idolaters, worshiping and serving created things rather than the creator (which seems to have been quite the insult in Paul's mind; to me it's a giant who-gives-a-shit). The desires of our hearts lean to sexual impurity and the degrading of our bodies with one another. We exchange truth for a lie. We are given over to shameful lusts, exchanging natural relations for unnatural ones; even our cattle--I mean women--do this. We men commit indecent acts with other men and receive the due penalty for our perversion (I think he must be referring to STDs here). We have depraved minds, doing what ought not to be done. We are filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed, depravity, envy, murder, strife, deceit, and malice. We are gossips, slanderers, God-haters; we are insolent, arrogant, boastful, senseless, faithless, heartless, and ruthless. We invent ways of doing evil. We disobey our parents. We know that we deserve death, yet not only do we continue to do all these things but also approve of those who practice them.

Jay-zuss, that's quite a rap sheet. Paul is right. Human beings are just trash and deserve eternal torture. Right? Thing is, I don't know anyone even remotely like these people whom Paul describes. I've never even heard of anyone even remotely like this, except in comic books and B-movies. Sure, there are a few Hitlers, a few Boston Stranglers, and the like, but I tend to think that most, if not all, of these people are mentally ill. Psychopaths whose brains are malfunctioning and who need treatment, not condemnation, and who of course need to be detected and restrained before they can become new Hitlers and Boston Stranglers.

I know, or know of, a few people--maybe even a few hundred thousand people, but that's a tiny fraction of humanity--who suppress the truth, who are fools who claim to be wise, who have foolish or darkened hearts. Many could be considered idolaters of a sort, worshiping money, or mirrors, or monster trucks, but most of these are just regular people with some form of addiction or a broken coping mechanism, not reprehensible baby-killers.

I quite happily say that I know, or know of, many people whose hearts' desires lean to sexual so-called impurity and the so-called degrading of their bodies with one another. I like to count myself as among this group. We give ourselves over to lusts that Paul and other 40-year-old virgins like him might find shameful, but we don't. However, I can't think of a single person in the world, other than people who are clearly mentally ill, who do anything sexually that could be considered remotely unnatural. Paul is obviously implying same-sex fun when he mentions "unnatural relations", but I've seen animals, which I hope could be considered a litmus test for the concept of "natural", engage in same-sex play of all kinds, and who hasn't had their leg humped by at least one dog in their lifetimes? How can sexual stimulation, whether it involves an inanimate object, an animal of another species, or another (or many other) consenting adult human(s) ever be thought of as unnatural? Seems to me that cutting off the foreskin of one's infant son, or--unspeakably worse--the clitoris of one's preadolescent daughter, is pretty fucking unnatural. I've never heard of any animal species that engages in these barbaric practices, which are almost without exception done as a duty toward this God that thinks so ill of us.

Even incest and sex with the young occur in the wild, although I'm not endorsing those here. I find that I am better than Paul's God, because I respect the uniquely human need for sex never to occur between close relatives, or between people whose emotional maturity or socio-political power is vastly different, or between people who are just too young. The Holy Spirit didn't seem to have minded the power differential between itself and poor Mary, the mother of its rape child Jesus.

I know, or know of, very few people who are filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed, envy, murder, strive, deceit, malice, gossip, slander, insolence, arrogance, boastfulness, senslessness, faithlessness, heartlessness, and ruthlessness. If there are people in the world like this, they are not to be condemned, but medicated, counseled, and prevented from harming anyone.

I know a few people who are sexually depraved, and I think of them as my heroes. They're intelligent and decent people who understand the phrase "consenting adults" and how to apply it.

I know a few people who are arrogant. In fact, I know of entire cultures that are arrogant. One of them is the culture of Jesusianism. Jesusianismists have the arrogance to think that they would recognize a supernatural event or being if they saw it. They have the arrogance to think that they can distinguish between the natural and the supernatural. They have the arrogance to think that they can distinguish between the acts of a good supernatural being and the acts of an evil supernatural being. They think that they can determine whether the universe as we see it is improbable. They think that they, and a very small subset of humanity, know and understand the truth while billions upon billions of other humans for thousands of years have gotten it all wrong. They think that there is a Supreme Being, a thought that is not in itself arrogant, but they have the arrogance to think that this Supreme Being not only notices humans, which seems extremely unlikely, but actually talks to them. They think that they can distinguish between the voice of a supernatural being and the voice of a creature that simply has better technology than we do. These are huge indicators of arrogance, greater than I've ever seen among God-haters, a group to which I also proudly belong, as I hate evil (although my ideas about what constitutes evil differ radically from Paul's ideas), and Paul's god is evil incarnate.

I have so much to say about the disgusting filth contained in these few verses that I could probably write several more posts without even moving forward through this horrifying epistle. I'll leave those possible posts for another day, or I'll never finish Romans.

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