When Israel Folau was once more the subject of a report on the evening news, my first response was to start mentally composing a letter, cynically asking the reader to search the Old Testament prophets for predictions about cures for leprosy, invention of carts on wheels mysteriously moving without being pushed or pulled, or strange birds in the sky which, when they landed, disgorged human beings or even that many serious diseases, far from being accepted as God’s will, can be prevented.
It sounds like some of the imaginings from “One thousand and one Arabian Nights” with its mythical rocs and magic flying carpets.
I quickly squashed the idea, because most people are informed enough to be aware that leprosy can be cured, thanks to treatment developed in the 1980s, that automobiles were invented in the lifetime of some of our grandparents, as were aeroplanes, and, in addition to leprosy, a myriad other diseases can now be prevented through vaccination.
In other words, in the 21st century, knowledge, accumulated over decades – indeed, centuries – through scientific research, has enabled us to save lives through enhanced medical knowledge, travel through the air at the speed of sound, communicate wirelessly with the other side of the world and send human beings into space. And, of course, travel to work or play by bicycle, motorbike, car, bus or train!
In even more recent times, science has established that the variations in sexual orientation of human beings are determined before they are born. For many of the LGBTIQ community, because their appearance does not match their own sense of identity, they are unsure of what they are. Young gay teenagers, in particular, are often picked on and bullied because their behaviour does not match their apparent gender.
Now the annals of the Christian Holy Bible, of the Jewish Tanakh and the Islamic Qur’an, as well as others of the world’s major religions, were established long before the scientific discoveries referred to above, so the knowledge we now have concerning many aspects of humanity and technology, being then unknown, could not be discussed.
During the same-sex marriage campaign, it was obvious that many people of faith preferred to rely on their holy books, with their out of date knowledge of human beings, and refused to set aside the prejudices engendered by ignorance. And I do not criticise the ignorance of the ancient prophets, because the knowledge had yet to be revealed. I would be critical of modern human beings who have access to knowledge and refuse to accept it!
When I am ill, I have faith in our doctors to be able to identify and treat whatever ails me. If I were a Jehovah Witness and my child had leukaemia, in all probability my child would die, because the Bible tells me that blood transfusions cannot be allowed, and if I refuse to allow the necessary treatment, I shall then be held to account for the child’s death.
Really – is that reasonable behaviour by a parent? Yet it is happening because he or she is merely doing as the Bible tells him or her.
Israel Folau claims that love drives him to try to save others from paying the price of sin.
But did not his god give us free will?
Folau is idolised as a footballer yet there are many who would disrespect him because his skin is not white. His fame would probably save him from humiliation, but he could, at least, brush it off. But many people of colour suffer because they are ‘other’.
And many of the LGBTIQ community over the centuries – many of whom have been put to death, even in today’s world, tortured, humiliated and excluded because they, too, are ‘other’.
If we refuse to recognise truth, then we put ourselves in the wrong.
Rather than relying on the Old Testament for direction, why not turn to Christ’s ministry?
Matthew 7:1-3 King James Version (KJV)
1 Judge not, that ye be not judged.
2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
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