~~ How Strong Is Your Faith? ~~
Genesis 22 is the type of story that every Christian parent should read and ponder. This is the story of Abraham and his son Isaac. The abridged version goes something like this: God told Abraham (a character whose historicity still remains a question) to take his son Isaac to a mountain to sacrifice him. Abraham, Isaac, and two servants loaded the donkey with enough wood for the sacrifice. Once they got to the point where Abraham could see the spot that God had told him to go, he told the servants to stay while he and his son went to worship. Isaac starts to get a little nervous and asks his father where the lamb for the burnt offering is to which his father lies to him and says that God will provide it. When they arrive to the sacrificial spot, Abraham literally ties his son up and puts him on top of the "altar". As Abraham grabs his knife and prepares to slit his son's throat, an angel apparently cries out from the heavens instructing Abraham not to go any further. God is now satisfied with Abraham's faith.
We are told that we should put God first and our love for God should transcend that of even our own family. How many Judeo-Christian parents could sacrifice their child as Abraham was prepared to do? How strong is their faith? How many could physically put a knife to their child's throat with the intent of slicing it open? A Christian hypocrite is one who pretends to believe in God as long as it doesn't require them to do anything this serious. Is a reasonable person supposed to admire Abraham and his level of faith?
People like Deanna Laney and Andrea Yates have heard the voice of God. Deanna stoned two of her sons to death while critically injuring the third. Andrea drowned her children in the bathtub. Both women were eventually found to be not guilty...by reason of insanity. That means that a jury of their peers found them to be insane. Christian parents: if you ever hear the voice of God tell you to do something, it is my everlasting hope that you immediately seek help from competent medical personnel.
I'd be willing to wager that few if any parents have that type of strength in their faith to allow such a conviction to take hold. Few parents love God so much that they would do as Abraham was told to do and yet the monotheistic religions tell us to hold this man in high esteem. There is hypocrisy in being told to revere an obvious lunatic but knowing that we couldn't ever bring ourselves to submit to an act of such insanity. If we can't imagine this scenario being virtuous if conducted in modern day, how does the subtraction of thousands of years make it any better? What kind of trauma do you think this put Isaac through? What kind of trauma do you think a modern child would go through? As Richard Dawkins once quipped, this was the first recorded use of the Nuremberg defense: I was only doing what I was ordered to do. Sadly, that's the only thing funny about it.