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Maybe current events are nothing more than ancient events with better TV coverage?
(proceeds from t-shirt sales will go to the International Red Cross)
Thank you for this one. Maybe I liked it so much because I am the choir you are preaching to, but then again, I think your blend of fact and humor might be the carrot I neglect when I get into these arguments and reach for my stick.
(I was trying to think of another metaphor to throw in there, but an angel of God came down and told me to lay off already.)
You really know how to tell it Patrick. It’s such a hot topic and so many people have strong opinions. You remind me that we’re all just children vying for our father’s attention. And you do it with style. Thanks!
I remember seeing a program on PBS about a sculptor who does body casts of people. I can’t remember his name. I think he lives in the north eastern US. New York, possibly. He was asked to do a memorial for Kent State and created an amazing work showing Abraham and Isaac just before God intervened. The work was turned down. I think it came too close to the truth for their comfort. There are lots of eras in human history where our willingness to kill each other and even our own children (who are so much a part of our future) in the name of our beliefs gets us into trouble. We don’t tend to admit that enough.
Thanks for the podcast. It’s right up there with that incredible sculpture for me. Along with your podcast about MLK.
Here in the UK we have “Thought For The Day” on the BBC’s Radio 4 every morning. So often it’s a mish-mash of platitudes by a (usually religious) bigwig or a pompous journo attempting to comment on a current issue. And often the piece is no more than “isn’t it all so terrible, and why can’t we all just get along…”
Oh how I wish they could have you in that spot with this brilliant piece.
This reminded me of the story in Hyperion by Dan Simmons that touches on the same theme. One of the characters believes that the contract with God established by Abraham has served the Jews well for millennia but that a new one is needed: one that doesn’t involve God commanding someone to sacrifice their child.
Of course, Christians have a new contract with God through Jesus, where God is the one who sacrificed his Son. But it doesn’t seem to be enough to break the link between religion and war (see the Crusades, for instance).
Maybe what we need is a secular story with the emotional and allegorical power of Abraham and Isaac’s… but where on earth would we get something like that from?
Excellent podcast, by the way.
I like the T-Shirt logo. If you make that shirt in black, with the same red logo, I’ll buy it.
I loved the essay by the way. I had always that story was a little… barbaric. “The test of your faith is your willingness to kill.”
Chilling. And all too familiar.
I found your podcast very thoughtful, but I disagree with your interpretation of the near sacrifice of Isaac (or Ishmael). I don’t believe that the mark of Abraham’s faith was his willingness to kill. It was his willingness to give up that which was most precious to him because God asked him to.
Not only was Isaac Abraham’s only son through his wife Sarah, but God had already promised to establish a covenant with mankind through him. The question is less “Would you kill for God?” and more “Do you trust God enough to give up everything for him?”
But it doesn’t matter much what I think, because you’re right. For way too many people, their willingness to kill for God (or whatever other cause they’re into) is the ultimate expression of their belief. The act proves their commitment to “the cause”, and “the cause” justifies the act.
I do think it’s an oversimplification do read the story of Abraham to mean that the test of faith is your willingness to kill for it. But hit the nail on the head – many people read it that way – or act like they read it that way.
The seanachai is really one of my favorite podcasts. Most of the time I listen to it to relax. Its like a great tv-show that you can access anytime, and can follow without even being in the same room.
So most of the time its great, but this episode… was perfect. Simply, the best ever. Spot on.
I think that you can afford to be a bit political once in a while. Even if I would not agree with you (which I really do in this case), it would help me to think and choose a standpoint of my own.
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