Monica’s Longer Arguments No Better Than the Tweets, part 3
Yesterday, I promised that we would see how shallow the typical atheist seems to read the Bible. I actually learned that long ago with my failed foray into the forums of Why Won’t God Heal Amputees. It didn’t take long for the crew to harp on one of their favorite passages in the Bible, where Jesus says that if we pray for a mountain to move, that it will get up and move (Mt 17:20).
Obviously, if I pray for Mt. Everest to levitate over the ocean and land in the Appalachian Mountains, we know that won’t happen. Which leads to two general conclusions about that passage. Either Jesus was speaking metaphorically, or the Bible is total bull. WWGHA concludes the latter without even considering the former.
If a Christian argues that Jesus was speaking metaphorically, then the whole forum membership throws a collective fit and claims it is impossible to discern metaphors and literary devices in the Bible from the literal parts. Which leads them to believe that the entire Bible is to be taken at 100% face value, no matter what.
The TV series Police Squad! was a straight-laced cop drama that took place in an alternate universe where there is no such thing as figurative language. If someone said that a name “rings a bell,” then a distant bell would ring. A running gag was for Lt. Drebin to offer a witness a cigarette by holding it to them and simply saying it’s name.
“Cigarette?” he would ask.
The witness would make eye contact with Drebin and reply, “Yes, it is!”
This is how the atheists of WWGHA read the Bible–as though it were absent figurative language. This atheist looks at an obvious example of metaphor and says, “Well, the Almighty God said it, he would be clear about it, so it must be true that you can move a mountain as Jesus says here!” They realize that you can’t, because no one can move a mountain like that. So, they force the conclusion that the Bible is completely false, based only upon their erroneous interpretation of the text.
This is an example of the same sort of fallacy. Here, Monica (Twitter user @Monicks) is reading and interpreting a passage correctly. However, she isn’t thinking deeply enough about what the ramifications of it really are.
I don’t think Paul meant 1 Timothy 2:9 as a blanket prohibition on wearing jewelry, just an exhortation for women to dress modestly. Monica reads this passage stops at the “don’t adorn yourself in gold” part without even consider the ramifications of dressing modestly or why a person would want to do that.
This culture doesn’t value modesty. Movies that show a woman’s bare breasts can get a PG-13 rating, young starlets barely wear outfits when performing on stage or posing for magazine covers (I mean you, Miley Cyrus!), and everyone loves the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue.
Now I think I can see where Monica might think this too harsh. The culture puts immense pressure on girls to be skinny and to flaunt what they have. It’s tough to tell from just a head shot, but Monica appears as though she may have the look that our culture says she should flaunt. So she probably thinks nothing of wearing a spaghetti-strap halter top, perhaps midriff baring with a plunging neckline, and short-shorts. At minimum, I bet she supports the “right” of someone to flaunt the body they have with that type of clothing.
The point the apostle Paul is trying to make is that such immodesty is unbecoming of a Christian lady. It goes along with his exhortation in Romans to not cause a brother to stumble (Rom 14:21). The Christian woman shouldn’t contribute to the over-sexualized images in our culture by dressing immodestly and thus enabling Christian men to have wandering eyes and lustful fantasies.
After what I just said, I realize that there is literally no point to adding this disclaimer, as it will be completely ignored by all my critics, but I’m going to try it anyway: Don’t blast me with hate mail saying that I’m blaming the woman for dressing in a way that makes the men stare at her. I’m not. Because we are responsible for our own actions–the same point I made in an earlier disagreement with Monica—the man is responsible for staring at the woman with lust, and the woman shares no part in that.
However, given how visually stimulated men are, why would a Christian woman want to contribute to a brother’s sin by dressing immodestly–even though she’s not at fault for his leering? The answer is that she shouldn’t. She should love her brother enough to want to dress modestly.
As a manager, I constantly fight the “That’s not my job” attitude from people. Guy is in charge of drive-thru and is falling seriously behind. Girl watches him struggle, she keeps putting food bags over there despite having no room for all of them, she sighs in disgust when he can’t take orders and get drinks at the same time. I’ll tell the girl, “Hey! Get his drinks, pass out his food, or–since you have a headset on as well–jump in and take an order for him!” Unfortunately, for each year under the age of 35, the percentage chance of her responding with a protest that it isn’t her job doubles. If she’s under 20, forget about it–even if I ask nicely, she simply won’t help. And she’ll resent me for even asking.
But think how much smoother my drive-thru would be running if she would even do one thing to help. The line would move much faster, there would be no service bottleneck, and the customers would be so much happier. And drive-thru dude wouldn’t be as stressed, either.
In other words, no, women, it isn’t your job to take heroic measures to stop men from looking at and fantasizing about you. He should be the one taking those heroic measures; he’s responsible for himself. But, simultaneously, don’t dress like a tart just because you can and it’s the guy’s fault for staring. Take some of the pressure off him, because we’re in this together and things will go much smoother!
That said, any comments accusing me of blaming the victim will be deleted. You’ve been warned.
To conclude this series, I agree that there are laws in the Bible that we don’t follow. Many, such as ceremonial laws, are not observed for very logical reasons. But I think the better question to ask is, “If Christians ignore the Law of God regularly, does that mean that God doesn’t exist?” I don’t know if that’s what Monica is arguing; it certainly was argued by the farce that is God is Imaginary. But the answer is, resoundingly, no.
Blessing creatures with a free will, unfortunately, means that they occasionally will do things that are out of step with your own desire. I’m a parent; I know this to be true. Natural laws, such as Newton’s Laws of Motion or Kepler’s Laws of Planetary Motion are inviolate. However, moral laws are mutable–you can (and many of us do) ignore them. Those laws exist, guiding our evaluations of right and wrong, and showing us the disparity between what is and what ought to be. Yet the ball is in our court to follow them, or ignore them. We are not coerced to obey; nor is obeying them as automatic and inviolate as bleeding when we’re cut.
That we don’t follow them doesn’t disprove God; it merely proves that we have a long way to go as a society.