Sunday, June 19, 2016

Pecksniffian Commits Schadenfreude

Math Teacher Skewers Evangelicals

Columnist Roger Guffey (op-ed18 June) took dead aim at those “evangelical prophets of God” who described the Orlando massacre as God’s punishment of homosexuals and feel “they know God’s will so well that they can prophesize [sic] to the rest of us.” He then lists sarcastically a number of events such as floods and other massacres in the U.S. (didn't mention the Civil War, strangely) God visits on folks to show His hatred for them and consequent punishments.

Guffey wrote that far too many Christians suffer from schadenfreude and Pecksniffianism and explained both terms to the Great Unwashed, like me. He didn’t explain the difference between the accursed evangelical prophets and Christians but one guesses he thinks the former are hell-bound and at least wonders about the latter.

Guffey’s problem is that he can’t prove the evangelicals are wrong, which makes him sort of Pecksniffian, especially concerning a personal righteousness that qualifies him to judge those insensitive evangelicals, even though some biblical events concerning God’s direct/indirect actions toward people are gruesome, thus suggesting a proclivity for mayhem, pain and death for whatever reason.

Guffey brought up the event – Orlando massacre – that might explain why evangelicals consider homosexuality worthy of censure and current condemnation, i.e., God’s biblically-documented wrath and consequent judgments, such as His treatment of Sodom and Gomorrah, cities predominantly peopled by homosexuals, as outlined in Genesis 19.

Abraham’s nephew Lot was hosting two male visitors in Sodom when he was accosted by rabid homosexuals who demanded that he make his visitors available to be raped. Lot refused so they attempted a break-in/kidnapping with a view toward a grand orgy. In his anger, God struck the interlopers blind and told Lot to get his family out of town. The next morning, God completely destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah – fire and brimstone.

In Leviticus 20, as part of God’s design for an acceptable lifestyle, He indicated that those practicing “detestable” homosexual behavior be put to death, also indicating thereby that their lifestyle was one of choice and not of Creation activity. In Matthew 11, Jesus alluded to Sodom as the most evil standard by which cities could be judged.

Paul wrote in Romans 1 that both lesbians and homosexual men are condemned because through lust (not Creation) they defile their bodies by choice even though they know better, and reminded everyone of God's Leviticus-mandate about being worthy of death in that defilement. Sounds a bit harsh but Paul was not known for attempting to be God, only to quote Him.

The foregoing is not to judge homosexuals as Guffey did regarding the evangelicals, only to explain why evangelicals interpret homosexual behavior differently from Guffey on the basis of what is scriptural, taken quite literally but allowing for biblical poetry, parables, etc. Regarding obvious pronouncements by God/Jesus in both Old and New Testaments, they consider some things right or wrong with no shades of gray between.

Guffey cited Isaiah 55:8-9: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. … So are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Substitute the word Guffey for the word Lord and discover the perfect example of Pecksniffianism with respect to Guffey's approach to evangelicals.

Guffey ended by writing that individuals who revel in judging others (evangelicals, for instance) and relishing their sufferings (schadenfreude) should spend more time reading the Bible they claim to already know. This is good advice that Guffey should put into practice when considering another hatchet-job on people who simply disagree with him.

And so it goes.
Jim Clark

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