Friday, December 14, 2012

fundamentalists of the modern zeitgeist?

There's been some 'proof-texting' going on in the letters pages of the Irish Times over the last week in relation to the abortion debate. Not surprising you say? How about the fact that that both sides are doing it - both pro-abortion & against? Perhaps this has happened elsewhere in the world already, but for Ireland this is, I think, a first. Up until now it has always been accepted as a given that the Bible was a support to the pro-life position only (hence slogans like 'get your rosaries off my ovaries'). But the Times, as they say, are a-changin.'

The first shot of this hermeneutical revolution was fired Monday, with this letter from the Revd Canon Marie Rowley-Brooke, arguing essentially that the child in the womb was to be compared with the the alien, or stranger, in the Bible. Any hospitality offered is an act of generosity - a generosity which they cannot be compelled. 

Ciaran MacGull returned fire   the next day, pointing to the verses of scripture dealing directly with the unborn which indicate they are precious to God. To this Chris McCrohan's  responded today, arguing (somewhat facetiously, I suspect) that Exodus 21.22 demonstrates that God does not regard the pre-born as fully human (I think it shows the legal means of dealing with an accidental injury to a woman resulting in miscarriage in Ancient Israel, but maybe that's just me).

The fascinating thing about all this is that those who 'proof-text' have, until now, been pigeon-holed as Biblical fundamentalists. But this hardly seems like an apt description of some of those newcomers engaging in it. So how should we describe them? Perhaps as the fundamentalists of the modern zeitgeist? Hmm .. maybe 'modern zeitgeist' is a bit tautological ... fundamentalists of the zeitgeist? But is that specific enough ... fundamentalists of our zeitgeist? Oh well, something with 'zeitgeist' & 'fundamentalist' in it anyway ...

And I really must see if a can find a verse of scripture to help support that contention ... 

UPDATE In today's Times (Saturday 15 Dec) Aileen Hooper points out how selective Chris McCrohan was being in his use of the biblical texts HERE  in his attempt to claim the Bible shows God doesn't think of the pre-born as human (& incidentally agrees with what I wrote above about what the text he quotes does mean when read in full). 

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