You say Abraham, and you get “faith”… father of faith and father of faiths (plural).
Well, Abraham got me thinking and concerned… Not because of the eventual so called “extremism” that sometimes occurs… but because the simple act of faith. Let’s face it. God has (per biblical accounts) asked people to do some pretty violent things by faith in the past. Aren’t we just happy that God no longer asks for that level of violence? Well, is it really the case? I find little evidence that God will not ask the same things nowadays
Let’s put ourselves back in Abraham’s family’s shoes….They did not know about Abraham’s intentions the day he was to sacrifice his son. Let’s now imagine that somebody followed him to the mountain and see what he is about to do…. How would that person react? How would you react?
Now fast forward to the present. Let’s say that somebody is about to carry out such an act in the name of God. How should we react? Granted, the act was not carried out. However, we don’t know in advance is God’s plan. In addition, there is plenty evidence of God going either way, in terms of killings. So what should we do or think?
I would surmise that any sane person would attempt to prevent the act to be executed. And therein lies my first problem: a stated act of faith can look every bit as crazy as any abject act of senseless (senseless for whom?) religious violence to any body who is not privy to God’s intention. Problem? I don’t know how to make the difference between who is obeying to God and who is just a loony with a predilection for mass murder?
I say people of faith can be very dangerous bunch.
Luckily most people of faith would probably not carry an act that is clearly way out of certain range. The reason? I would say, lack of faith. They would not believe that God would ask them to carry such an egregious act. In fact their faith would be curtailed by reason. It is clear that Abraham was not comfortable with sacrificing his son. The order did seem unreasonable to him. Yet his faith was able to get him over the hurdle.
In summary, if you have enough faith there is no act that you could not perform. That is the more faith, the more extreme the acts can be. (That’s why I am very afraid of people of faith, having access to weapons).
Nonetheless, as I mentioned in the very first sentence, extremism is not my main concern… 😀
Instead what has called my attention is the very fact that God would play with Abraham’s feeling just to test him. To the secular individuals out there, that in itself does not seem very loving or caring. I would think that life is hard enough and Satan interested enough, as to provide ample means to test one’s faith without having to recourse to this kind of mental torture (Notice how Abraham lies to the Pharoh to save his butt, yet is ready to sacrifice his Son). In fact the whole story sounds a bit grotesque… it feels crude and primitive. A bit like the many folktales of proving “true love” by making one’s lover jump through fire hoops.
Really, can one imagine God telling Abraham; “Abby, Abby ma man, don’t hurt d child, a was a just kidding bro!”