Saturday, 7 December 2013

Warped imaginings verses best practice

My interpretation of Genesis 22 is that Abraham was going to follow the errant culture of his society by offering a child sacrifice because he thought it would appease the gods but that a real loving God intervened to say,  " Stop, I the cosmic loving, caring God would never ask or want a human sacrifice " See Hosea 6v6 , For I desire mercy, not sacrifice and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings. Now celebrate that you didn't do such a barbaric act. Make a barbecue, I fancy roast goat, well done with french fries and salad, Mmmm I'm loving the aroma.

And then God said to Abraham, " Go and offer your son Isaac as a sacrifice to me "
Abrham replied, " Are you out of your God damn mind ? There is no way I am doing that - it would be murder, and for what - nothing
And God replied,  " Bravo sir, a most excellent ethical decision, I can see I taught you well. i was just testing to see if you would reply on your own mind rather than being a cowering yes man "


And then Satan came in the guise of God and said to Abraham, " Go and sacrifice Isaac to me to prove
that you would hold nothing back from me "
But Abraham replied, " No, I would rather slay myself, surely ones own life is more valuable to oneself than anything else. But what would killing people achieve anyway ? Nothing as far as I can see. Surely a loving God would rather that people live in a caring, loving way, cooperating, helping each other to a better quality of life ?


And then Abraham thought he heard God say, " Go and offer your son Isaac as a sacrifice to me "

And Abraham said to Isaac, " We must go into the wilderness, God summons us "

And then God said, " Abraham you are out of your freaking mind if you think that I would ever ask for any sort of human sacrifice. Tell everyone that they must not do human or animal sacrifices any more. What I want is for you to go and invent technology to deliver material & intellectual improvements to standards of living- clean water, better clothes, more interesting past times, musical instruments, medicine, higher yields in agriculture, population control. A social security system "


In life we can imagine that we are thinking reasonable ideas and choosing sensible paths but others might spot that we are making decisions based on pessimistic worst case imaginings about what might happen in the future. Sometimes it takes other people to intervene with an idea to help us to see things from a more positive perspective or to realize parts of the debate which would change the balance of your thinking and help you to make a choice that you would not regret in the long term over one that you would very much regret. However every decision has trade offs. You can maximize one aspect but often only at the expense of another aspect.

With any instruction there is the question of whether the person receiving has correctly heard and correctly understood the instruction. Did they interpret it as was intended ? Was the instruction what the person meant to give or did it contain an error ? If the person receiving the instruction thinks it did not make sense then they should query it. Perhaps the most disturbing thing about the Genesis 22 story is that Abraham didn't even question it, he might have asked himself if he had misheard or misunderstood or if God was ill at that point or mistaken to ask it.


And then God said to Abraham, " Now take Isaac and offer him as a sacrifice to me "
Then Abraham thought, " Oh my God, he is on one of his mentally ill flights of fantasy delusion again, what can I say to him this time, I must talk him out of it or call 911 "
Then Abraham said to God, " Are you feeling ok God ? What has brought you to the point of requesting that I sacrifice my son Isaac ? Doesn't that seem like barbaric, pointless murder to you , because it looks that way to me and so I must refuse both because I do not want to do it and because my society will rightly arrest me and put me in prison if I attempt to do it, and for a very long time if I carry it out "
And God said to Abraham, " Well you have a point there, now that you point it out I can see that it would be barbaric , I just wanted to see if you really would give your undivided loyalty to me but I can see that your allegiance is really to a high standard to ethics. "

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