01 November 2006

Test your faith: Is it as great as Abraham's?

And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and ... offer him there for a burnt offering.... And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son. Genesis 22:2, 10

Kill the Afterlife has a great test for believers of the Abrahamic faiths (Jews, Muslims, Christians -- heck, I suppose that'd even include Mormons). What would Abraham do? Would you, could you, should you do likewise?
Are you a Christian? Muslim? Jew? Good, because I want to ask you a question.
Remember the old story about Abraham being commanded by God to kill his son in the land of Moriah? Remember how Abraham was about to faithfully commit infanticide on his own offspring in the name of God, but then at the last second God stopped him?
This is a thought/faith experiment. First, we acknowledge that you are an Abrahamic theist (Christian, Muslim, or Jew). Second we assume that you have a child (if you don't have one in real life, let's pretend that you do for the sake of argument). Third, let's imagine that God came to you and told you to sacrifice your child on the peak of the nearest mountain, a la Abraham at Moriah.
Of course, in the story, God stopped Abraham at the last minute and allowed Abraham to kill a ram instead. But Abraham didn't know that God would stop him. And more importantly, Abraham was about to carry out the infanticidal act with total faith and conviction.
So the question to you, dear theist, is: Would you do it?
Seriously! Don't dodge the question. According to your faith, God did it before, so put yourself in Abraham's shoes. This is a test of your faith and conviction. This is a test to see if you put God first in your life!
If God asked you to kill your child, would you do it with total faith and conviction? Would you pass the test as Abraham did?


Unknown said...

A lot of christians i know (and some as actors on tv) keep always telling me that 'God tests those whom he loves most'.

God: Hey, sure, I'll be your friend. But as a stipulation, every so often, I'm going to make your life a living hell just to see if you'll still love me.

Just look at what happened to Job and you'll see just how stupid that is. If my believing in a deity got me WORSE than I am now... what's the bloody point? NONE!

Anonymous said...

Where did that picture come from? It's just that it seems like in all those pictures, angels always have really bad hair. Is there no Pantene in Heaven?

Steve Wells said...

No, zooplah, there is no Pantene in Heaven.

But I think the "bad hair" that you're seeing is angel's wing, not his hair.

The painting "The Sacrifice of Abraham" by Caravaggio. I've added a link so you can get a better look.

Anonymous said...

(See Romans 5 and 1 Peter 4 in the Bible for the Bible's views on suffering -- these things build faith, character, endurance, and so forth.)

As for Job, at the end of the story, he ended up with a lot more of everything than what he had before it was taken away (you can't just look at Job's suffering itself). Does this help?

Paladin said...

How do you know that Abraham didn't know God would stop him? God promised exactly *what* beforehand? Yes, if God said to do that, and if I was fully convinced that it was Him, but because I know about His character, I would be doing so knowing that God had some other plans. God knows you, so the "proving" is for your sake.

Simon said...

Good question.

Zach, you've just rationalized a reason why you would go along with God's request for you to murder. OK, put away your rational mind (as theists are always telling atheists) and imagine going through with the act. There's your child in your hands and you take out some murder implement, put it to your child's throat...

You can imagine the rest. Still comfortable with it?