The world turned upside down

File:Claude Monet - Walk (Road of the Farm Saint-Siméon) - Google Art Project.jpg“You believe in right and wrong, but I believe in profit and loss.”

Villain of the week, a banker, had had someone murdered. He said it was his “duty” to prevent losses to his bank and shareholders.

What is the world like? TV dramas range between the reassuring ones where right wins over wrong, and the bracing ones where what matters is power and money- from Person of Interest to The Good Wife with Ripper Street somewhere in the middle. In 19th century Whitechapel, a slum, the decent police inspector is driven to only a little bad conduct, so that those who like good and bad neatly divided may retain sympathy with him- less this series than the first.

We so want the world to be one where good wins and bad suffers, where there are rules which are obeyed by good people, which all good people may understand, so that the bad people are excluded. Me too. So Ardie Bea‘s long, scholarly series on the Bible and homosexuality (he thinks it’s against) follows a tempting line. God sets out the rules. The rules are in the Bible. We can know what is Good.

Unfortunately, Jesus disagrees. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. In Matthew 10 he sends out his disciples, and warns them of the bear pit he sends them into- yet tells them not to take money or spare clothes. In the sermon on the mount, Jesus claims to “fulfil” the law.  Anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. Right conduct is impossible, for unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.

What is right is contingent and provisional.

2 thoughts on “The world turned upside down

  1. My favourite statement of the above is from JK Rowling’s character; “There is no good and evil. There is only power, and those too weak to seek it…” (Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s stone, 211).
    I almost agree with you, Clare; what is right always has a provisional and contingent aspect to it – but for it to be truly ‘right’ it also has an ‘absolute’ aspect. And that, as Jesus amply demonstrated, cannot be found in ‘law’; It is found in persons, and most especially, his own person. If we must ask the question “Is the Bible for or against Homosexuality”, then I think the only answer with integrity has to be that it is against. It DOES NOT FOLLOW that God is therefore against homosexual people. The Bible isn’t God. People aren’t simply their sexuality, whatever the rights and wrongs of various sexual activities.

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