6 Day Plan To Cyber-Coolness

One of the best Irish blogs, and probably therefore one of the most underappreciated, is called Planet Potato. While I was away saving Commies for duh Lorhd!, he wrote an entry inspired by chief atheist fundamentalist Richard Dawkins and his tv series about religion being the most evil thing in the world and a cause of many wars, much oppression, the invention of coleslaw and the continued existence of the Angelus, corny images of people looking reflective included.

In the comments I tried to sketch out a less tabloid interpretation of Christianity than Professor Dawkins offered, (who by the way occupies a chair at Oxford for the development of public understanding of science and somehow justifies making a tv series about religion- that is a whole other edition of Zoomtard) and Mr. Spud himself offered this brilliant question:

What happens to someone who followed the old testament to the letter uptil the time of Jesus? Doing an odd bit of pillage, rape, child sacrifice that sort of thing. Does he get a free pass on 01/01/0000 or how does this work?

I have had a go at answering this question before. The question gets asked a lot though so I think it is wise for me to try and have more than one way of answering it. I want to write a sentence that begins “Although this question is common…” but it would be clumsy to use the word “question” for the third time in three sentences. And yet, all question synonyms are q-laden. Query. Inquiry. Request. Inquest. Qinterrogation. Weird.

Anway, the _uestion comes up a lot and a sufficient answer has to begin by declaring that there is no one who fulfilled the law of the Old Testament. Well, there is one lad. But the Law does have a lot of things in it. In one book I read that there were over 900 rules. In a more recent book it was 226. I guess it depends on how you count them. But the Bible is clear that the fail rate is anything at all below 100%. If you want to pass the test of Torah, you can’t ever slip up.

Sir Spud asks what happens to people from the BC era who followed the law laid out in the Old Testament to the letter. The most concise answer is nothing, because no such person ever existed. Because the law is too high to be reached.

“Why bother with such a stupid thing then?” I hear all of you (well, just my one Japanese reader actually) screaming. That is where Martin Luther comes in. Luther was a bright monk who diligently tried to follow the law as laid out in the Bible. He got really distressed because he realised he kept failing to reach the standard and in his sincerity and authenticity he sought a way to understand true obedience to all these rules. Then his eyes were opened in his little monk cell while reading Paul’s letter to the Roman church where the apostle explains that the law is there to show us where we go wrong so that we can see our need for Jesus. Luther gets fed up with the Catholic church and their faffing about over this essential truth and decides to nail a list of problems to a door in Wittenburg. Someone important must have owned the door because the shit hit the fan and now we have a magazine called the Wittenburg Door.

Come back next week for the next installment in Zoomtard’s History of Civilisation.

Luther would have said that the law sends us to Christ to be justified. Less theologically, the fact that we can’t live up to the rules of the the Old Testament show us that our relationship with God must be broken and so we can see that reconciliation (that Jesus offers) is needed. This is the purpose of the law. It does not give people free passes, it doesn’t make them right with God, it doesn’t get you to heaven. It is instead meant as a neon sign to show your need.

I don’t know the hillwalker behind Planet Potato but I wouldn’t be surprised if at this point he asked “So does that mean that everyone before Jesus was screwed?” This would be a good question because all they had from Yahweh was law. Jesus hadn’t come to fulfill and complete the mission so is it just a case of chronological tough luck?

Not at all. This is where it gets interesting. The bit of Romans that Luther was reading on the day the Reformation began* was in chapters 3 and 4 where it says that Abraham believed in God and because of this, he was credited as righteous. Abraham is the father of the Jews (and also indirectly Christians and Muslims). He is described as being God’s friend. He was the guy who almost killed his son because God told him to. He was the guy who started circumcision (careful with that link). And in Genesis it says God and him were reconciled before all his holy escapades because of faith. Paul quotes this in the letter to the Romans to remind them that Jesus and his free offer of forgiveness is consistent with the true nature of God, explicitly the God of the Old Testament. People have an idea that this God of the Old Testament is somehow all about raping and pillaging and smiting and ordering and the God of the New Testament is a lot like the grandad in the Werther’s Original ad- soft, gentle, caring, smiley, loaded with sweets and goodies and prone to sit you on his lap and give you a hug. Potato seems to think there might even be a schizophrenic God in the Bible. The Old Testament has some troubling bits of ultra-violence in it. You can see from my reading list that I am trying to figure it out at the moment. But it is literally laden with 100s of contact points with the pattern established in the New Testament era.

*Disgusting short-cuts have been taken in this summation

If no one can reach the standard of the law and get their free pass on 01/01/0000, then the question has to be how the Bible says anyone can be right with God. The answer is the same for both the Old Testament and the New. Just like Abraham, 4000 odd years ago, we are made right with God by entering into what God is doing for us, and that will be the turning point. Abraham trusted God to set him right instead of trying to be right on his own. The call of Christianity, made dim by the irrelevancies that the church gets obbsessed with, is for us to do the same.

I don’t know how this answers Dawkins because I am a real nationalist and only have TG4 tuned into my telifís. I know it answers my question which was what will I do while I wait for my clothes to dry?

neuro-praxis used to express her fury by forcing her feminine fists into my face. Now she writes her thoughts out on the walls and our live-in psych nurse transcribes them onto the internet. You should check up on them regularly.

I love Ben Folds. You should too. While browsing the TG4 website I discovered a web poll for best music video of the week. I voted for Ben Folds and that one click raised his percentages from 6% to 11% of the total. How mad is that? Go and vote for Ben. If you, me and that one Irish guy out in Japan who reads this site vote, I think Mr. Folds wins a medal or some flowers or a pet helper monkey.

Your Correspondent, Proposes that we get unconscious. Baby.

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