Thursday, May 14, 2009

Fundies & secularists agree on one thing.

A recent episode of "This American Life" featured an interview with a southern judge. The judge had come up with a creative sentencing program for shoplifters. He sentenced them to carry a sign in front of the store saying that they had shoplifted. For the record, I'm neutral or slightly in favor of this sentencing program. I think the program was a well-balanced piece, and was ultimately sympathetic to the judge. But one part of the segment stuck in my craw.

The interviewer thought the sentencing program were a bit extreme and uncompassionate. The interviewer asked if it weren't a bit "biblical", and the judge agreed. What bothered me was that both the (apparent) nonbeliever and the (apparent) fundamentalist agreed on a definition of "biblical" that tied it to a brutish way of dealing with your neighbor.

This is another version of the Humanitarian Question. Nonbelievers use the brutality of Christianity as a reason not to believe. Fundamentalists use the brutality of Christianity as a reason to be brutal. I say let me off of both of these buses, because they are both wrong.

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