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Sunday, April 23, 2006

Contradictions Required

It's known that most religions are replete with contradictions. But when questioned on these, respondents usually claim that the verse in question was misinterpreted or out of context or due to some other confusion. But now we have confirmation that at least some contradictions are required.

On the Sunday print edition of the Detroit News editorial page, there is a weekly religious column written by The God Squad which is composed of Rabbi Marc Gellman and Monsignor Thomas Hartman who answer readers' religious questions.

Last week 4/16/06 the question was "Is it easier for God or man to sacrifice a son?
After pointing out that the two sacrifices, Jesus on the cross and Abraham's son, were "dramatically different," they declared that:

"Abraham was asked to sacrifice Isaac to prove his faith, and he did so without knowing that God would send an angel to stay his hand at the last moment. In order for Abraham to pass this ultimate test he had to hold two contradictory beliefs at the same time. He had to believe that the God of love and justice would never ask him to sacrifice his innocent, beloved son, but he also had to believe that the God who gives life deserved to be obeyed completely. In holding both beliefs, Abraham passed the test and was not required to sacrifice Isaac." (italics-mine)

We see then, that holding contradictions in our minds is required. The fact that contradictions do not exist in reality is to be evaded completely. One must have faith that contradictions can and do exist and if one's faith is strong enough, maybe, just maybe God will exempt one from the horrible consequences.

(As far as which sacrifice is easier, God sacrificing Jesus or Abraham sacrificing Isaac, if God knew his son would rise from the dead in three days, how much of a sacrifice is that? Whereas if Abraham had killed Isaac, would Isaac have risen in three days? No. He would have been dead forever.)

So, if anyone ever says that religions don't require that one hold contradictory beliefs, the proper response should be, wanna bet?

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