Literal Interpretation Fallacy: A Rant

(previously posted on FB, resulting from this article about the Catholic Church excommunicating people involved with helping a 9-year old rape victim obtain an abortion, and a debate I had recently with an in-law. I thought you all might enjoy. )

I just want to say a few more things about this 'repugnant' (as Arianna rightly described it) decision by the Catholic Church. I quote:

"“The law of God is above any human law,” said José Cardoso Sobrinho, the archbishop, who argued that while rape was bad, abortion was even worse."


This is why literal interpretation of religious documents is dangerous, cruel, and utterly evil by your own definitions. The Bible is pretty clear about rape: it is perfectly fine in many situations. Slavery too, should we start literally interpreting the commands about slavery?

You choose to interpret some scripture this specific way because it is what you want to believe, not because you are literally interpreting every verse in the Bible.

To use your literal interpretation of religious texts to punish a group of merciful people who helped a battered young girl in a horrible situation because YOU decide abortion is worse than rape.

And then I look at your Bible and I see why. Rape is ok.

Deuteronomy 20:10-14: "As you approach a town to attack it, first offer its people terms for peace. If they accept your terms and open the gates to you, then all the people inside will serve you in forced labor. But if they refuse to make peace and prepare to fight, you must attack the town. When the LORD your God hands it over to you, kill every man in the town. But you may keep for yourselves all the women, children, livestock, and other plunder. You may enjoy the spoils of your enemies that the LORD your God has given you." (ie they were told to rape, pillage, and plunder in God's name... lovely)

Zechariah 14:1-2: "Lo, a day shall come for the Lord when the spoils shall be divided in your midst. And I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem for battle: the city shall be taken, houses plundered, women ravished; half of the city shall go into exile, but the rest of the people shall not be removed from the city. " (take these other men's wives, please! seriously, I'm God, ignore that big Commandment that said not to, these guys aren't your neighbors...anymore)

Deuteronomy 22:28-29: "If a man is caught in the act of raping a young woman who is not engaged, he must pay fifty pieces of silver to her father. Then he must marry the young woman because he violated her, and he will never be allowed to divorce her." (The rape victim is forced to marry the rapist and live with him forever? What kind of 'satanic' lunatics were these guys?)

Deuteronomy 21:10-14: "When you go out to war against your enemies and the LORD, your God, delivers them into your hand, so that you take captives, if you see a comely woman among the captives and become so enamored of her that you wish to have her as wife, you may take her home to your house. But before she may live there, she must shave her head and pare her nails and lay aside her captive's garb. After she has mourned her father and mother for a full month, you may have relations with her, and you shall be her husband and she shall be your wife. However, if later on you lose your liking for her, you shall give her her freedom, if she wishes it; but you shall not sell her or enslave her, since she was married to you under compulsion." (nice, so if you kidnap a woman and let your penis do the talking, make sure to treat her like she's worthless as well -- classy.)

Now, if you want to argue that if the Lord orders it, it isn't rape, then you are sick. Get help. Seriously.

And what does this prove about abortion? That whatever passage you choose to interpret as making it your business to get involved in someone else's womb is by your own choice, not because you interpreted the bible literally.

If you disavow those passages about rape, you cannot claim you are interpretting literally.

I can go on all day with examples, there are hundreds of things I have no doubt you would all agree should not be interpreted literally.

You yourselves admit that the only important thing for a Christian to do is to repent and believe in the divinity and atonement of Jesus Christ, and you will get to go to Heaven.

So, your choice is 1) side with a young girl in a horrible situation with no good choices or 2) selfishly dedicate your efforts to securing your own place in the afterlife, enforcing your personal (and far from the only) strict interpretation of the Bible, and to hell with the girl and her heroes.

This is why we atheists call the religious right selfish. It isn't that they don't do great things for others, they do, and often. It isn't that they don't genuinely care for other people, especially family, because they certainly do so.

It is because when a right-wing Christian is faced with a choice between compassion and salvation, they pick the selfish one.


And you claim Christianity is required for morality?


So, if you read this far, am I saying that you Christians personally reading this hold the same views as the Catholic leaders who handed down this tragic evil?

No, and that's the point.

Do you want the Catholic Church making that decision for your children? Whether they will go to Heaven or Hell based on their differing interpretation?

Of course not. And that is what everyone else wants as well. To make the difficult decisions on one's own without the decision being delivered from above through the hands of deranged, manipulative, and easily led men and women. Leave those decisions to the people involved, and get the fuck out of everyone else's business.

Literal interpretation is a fallacy. You pick and choose what you want to believe, then find passages justifying it.

Angry? Yeah, and you should be angry too. Question this Horrible Shit in your own faith before more 9-year old girls and their good samaritans are treated like vermin and cast aside as unworthy. Unworthy? I'd be honored to be disassociated with hatred and evil so obvious a caveman could see it...

Views: 53

Comment by CJoe on July 22, 2009 at 7:48pm
This is very good and now featured. I may even let my mom read it...
Comment by Dave G on July 23, 2009 at 1:03am
Damn straight, Dave.
Comment by PeggyB on July 23, 2009 at 8:11pm
Excellent post. Bravo!
Comment by Dave Nichols on July 27, 2009 at 12:07pm
Thanks for the compliments, everyone :)
Comment by Wendy on August 6, 2009 at 7:51pm
Of course, you can never have an educated liberal interpretation of the bible, either. There's no way that every word of it is literal fact, since there are multiple examples of self-contradiction. (See creation time line, Jesus' life time line, etc.)


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