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Sunday, December 07, 2008

Mother: I Need My Job More Than I Need My Child

I've given self-centered parents a hard time at Dakota Voice, but I think this story takes the cake.

According to this report, a woman named Blanca Rosales in New Mexico (who only sees her daughter about an hour a day as it is) says she wants someone to take her 9-year-old daughter off her hands. Apparently she needs her job more than she needs her daughter.

With a mother like this, I'm pretty sure the girl would be better off somewhere else, anyway.

Viewers of the story that ran on local television pointed out that if it's "so hard to make it" for this woman, why does she have a TV, a laptop, and painted nails? Well, a woman has to have priorities, after all, right?

What happened to parents sacrificing for their children? What happened to the "natural affection" the Bible talks about which leads a parent to put their children before anything: career, education, a new boat, going out to party, a new car, a new cell phone, a new plasma TV...or a job?

"People think I'm giving her up because I can't take care of her. I've taken care of her, but right it's just come to where I need my job more than I need my child."



12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Man, this reminds me of a news story I read the other day. Apparently some guy tried to slit his son's throat and then burn him on an altar, and the whole time he kept raving about how that's what God told him to do.

What a sick world we live in!

Bob Ellis said...

So how did that incident end up turning out in the end, Anonymous?

Anonymous said...

Oh, the guy I was thinking about wasn't Abraham. He was just some paranoid schizophrenic who believed that if he didn't sacrifice his son on an altar he'd made in his basement, that God would be mad at him. Thankfully, an angel called the man on his cell phone just in time and told him God was just kidding - or so the man claimed, of course. The neighbors called social services, and the son is now living with his aunt, and the man will spend the rest of his life in a padded cell, where the voices can't hurt him anymore.

This dude Abraham sounds pretty similar. I guess people have suffered from schizophrenia since the beginning of time!

Now, if this lady claimed that Gold was commanding her to get rid of her daughter, would you be giving her such a hard time? I guess someone has to write her story down in a book and pass it on for a thousand years, because apparently that's all it takes for bad parenting to be considered admirable.

Bob Ellis said...

So how did that Abraham story turn out, Anonymous? Did you bother reading how it turned out...or is God-trashing and Christian-bashing just more fun than learning something?

Anonymous said...

I know how the Abraham story turned out, thanks to years of Christian indoctrination: the sacrifice Christ made means, among other things, that God will never again require us to prove our faith in the way he tested Abraham. Why God didn't just make that a rule from the beginning is beyond me. I'm sure poor Isaac would have wondered the same thing. Maybe God has a penchant for morbid practical jokes?

Regardless, comparing Abraham to a modern-day mental patient is not Christian-bashing. Technically, it's more like Jew-bashing, but I digress. I would call it objectivity. In all seriousness, how is Abraham's behavior and motivation any different from that of your average paranoid schizophrenic?

Dakota Voice said...

I think any attempt to explain further would be casting pearls before swine, since you obviously bear a great deal of animosity toward God and Christianity.

Seek with a genuine heart and you'll find the answers to the questions you pose. Maintain a hard heart and you'll never find them...or a relationship with your Creator.

Red_dog said...

WOW! How sad and selfish! I can't believe a mother would think or even admit she treasures her job more than her daughter. I have two kids with one more on the way and I would do everything possible for them. I have a difficult time fathoming how a mother could be so self-centered.
It's a sad world we are living in. I pray this mother realized the treasure her child actually is.

shaky jake said...

What a truly pathetic creature. It's great she has some family that will help her with her self perceived difficulty.

Anonymous said...

Bob, I did seek with a genuine heart. But it's important to remember that part of seeking with a genuine heart is accepting the most logical answer, not the one that you wish to be true, nor the one that you feel you must accept in order to maintain the Bible's self-proclaimed inerrancy. I thought about the Abraham story, among many others, with all the honesty I could muster, and the objective conclusion I reached is that there IS no difference between Abraham's behavior and that of a crazy person. I'm the type of man who considers child abuse and attempted murder to be wrong regardless of intent, but the Bible celebrates that type of behavior. According to the Bible, Abraham's willingness to slaughter his own defenseless son is a good thing, an admirable thing, because it pleased God; I find that disgusting. To be fair, I had considered that the Abraham story is too gruesome and barbaric to be taken literally, and that therefore it is just an allegory. But then I thought, how can I know which stories to take literally and which to take figuratively? How can anyone know? By consensus? That's hardly a measure of truth! And if you claim to be a biblical literalist, then you must follow each story to its literal conclusions: how would today's society look at someone like Abraham? what kind of psychological trauma did Isaac suffer? how would your own children feel if you tried to sacrifice them like animals? what would happen if God had commanded everyone to prove their faith by killing their children?

And it's true that I harbor animosity, but it's more so directed at Christianity and the Bible's characterization of God than at Christians themselves. But what I do find offensive about Christians is the way they expect me, as a matter of principle, to respect and honor people like Abraham, who by today's standards would have been convicted by a jury of his peers and locked away for a very long time, and rightly so. But instead he's viewed as some kind of hero, a man who just so happened to have proven his righteousness by endangering his son's life for the satisfaction of a god who, if he were indeed benevolent and omniscient, could have and SHOULD have thought of a more humane way to test someone's faith. I compared Blanca Rosales' behavior to Abraham's because all it would take to make the two stories similar is an attribution to God; all this woman would have to say is "God told me to do it" and objectively speaking, there would be no cause to condemn her, because Abraham did far worse and won God's favor as a result!

So Bob, have YOU asked yourself what the difference is between Abraham and a schizophrenic? I'm not a swine, just someone who wants a Christian's honest answer. I've given you my opinion knowing that it will not change your mind in the slightest. What do you have to lose in giving me yours?

Bob Ellis said...

Alright, Anon. You took the time to give a lengthy and reasoned (even if based on incorrect assumptions) response, so I'll do the same and answer your query. I don't have time to put one together at the moment, but will by the end of the day.

Anonymous said...

I truly appreciate it, Bob.

Bob Ellis said...

Anonymous 10:54, I agree with you on seeking the truth and not just an explanation that's comfortable. I'm no more interested than anyone in believing a lie, and I've examined God's truth-claims with a healthy measure of skepticism nearly my whole life.

The Bible doesn't celebrate child abuse and murder. But, as with all things, the context is the key to understanding.

Here are some things that will help set the context of Abraham's thoughts and actions.

When Abraham (or Abram) was born, Noah was still alive, as were Noah's sons. There were still people around who had witnessed the destruction of the entire planet by a global flood. In other words, there were still living witnesses to the greatest display of God's power ever seen by humans. It's also likely that the geography of the plant still bore fresh marks of that event. I would imagine this physical evidence and the testimony of living witnesses could prove a powerful incentive for some to believe quite strongly in God.

Remember, too, that Abraham had several critical failures in faith and obedience to God. If he was as delusional as you imply, those failures never would have happened; he would have charged ahead in full subservience to his delusion (or faith?) without a second thought.

Remember, too, that Abraham had been walking with God for decades by the time of this incident. He had learned a lot about the character of God; not as much as we know nowadays, probably, but a lot, and in some ways, maybe more than we understand today. He certainly didn't prepare to sacrifice his son based on a random voice seemly out of no where and out of the blue, but based on decades of getting to know this God of his. And he had seen God do some pretty incredible things, like wipe Sodom and Gomorrah off the map in an awesome display of power the likes of which had never been accomplished by humans until the atomic age. Abraham was also 100 years old and Sarah 90 when Isaac, the child promised to them some 25 years earlier.

Remember, too, that Abraham originated from around the area of Babylon, but had relocated to Canaan based on God's instruction to do so. We don't know the exact circumstances and details of how God communicated this instruction to Abraham to move hundreds of miles, but given the context of this instruction when compared to other things God did in Abraham's circumstances, I think there's a good likelihood that the instruction didn't just come in a dream or vision or some such thing, but was probably quite audible. In fact, I think God's several communications with Abraham were probably all of this same nature.

I'll say it again for emphasis: Abraham didn't take his son to Mt. Moriah on a wild hair that came out of the blue, but based on decades of knowing God, faith-building, and growing to trust God's character (notice that in Hebrews, it tells us Abraham reckoned that God could and would raise Isaac from the dead, even if he went all the way through with the sacrifice).

Consider also that Isaac was a full-grown man at the time of this incident. The Jewish historian Josephus says he was 25 years old (and some Talmudic teachings say he was in his 30s). In any event, Isaac was plenty old enough to fight off Abraham, who was over 100, if Isaac, too, didn't have some faith at work here, too.

God never intended for Abraham to really sacrifice his son (though God actually did carry through in sacrificing his own son for Abraham's children). God knew exactly what Abraham would do; the call to sacrifice was for Abraham's faith benefit, not to demonstrate anything to God. I find it interesting that Abraham never again had one of those faith-failures after this incident. Just as our physical muscles need exercise to grow, so do our faith muscles. And Abraham had a heck of a "workout" in this incident with Isaac.

This is the only incident in history where God has asked something like this...and then stopped it before completion. I think it's highly disingenuous to try and build a comparison case to schizophrenia based on one incident in 6,000 years. Especially when the circumstances are very different, including the typical behavior and characteristics of schizophrenics.

In briefly examining schizophrenia, there are a number of characteristics which don't fit Abraham. Schizophrenics usually have a diminished lifespan...yet Abraham lived far into his 100s. Schizophrenics also usually have bouts of serious depression, and there are no signs that Abraham's life was characterized by any such malady. Schizophrenics are often characterized by incoherence; they say a lot of things that don't make sense (even in a faith-context). They often do things that are totally inappropriate, making fools of themselves in public.

In summary, none of these factors, individually or in aggregate, fit the profile of a schizophrenic. There are some superficial factors that might lead one to make the theoretical connection between schizophrenia and religious faith, but upon closer examination, at least in Abraham's case, the comparison doesn't hold up.

Blanca Rosales's behavior is rather obviously self-centered, especially when her comments and circumstances are examined; even after something like 4,000 years, Abraham's motives and character are obviously not self-centered and negative toward his offspring.

I don't think Christians expect you, as a matter of principle, to respect and honor people like Abraham on blind faith and total ignorance. I think we'd appreciate it if you'd take a closer look at the facts, consider a reasonable explanation, give a reasonable explanation the benefit of the doubt even if you don't fully believe it, and if you don't want to take the time to give the matter some genuine study, at least restrain from an ignorant and unnecessarily hostile answer until you know more.

Abraham's actions might have seemed odd and unlikely to someone who didn't know what he knew, or without the connection he had with God. Imagine someone from the ancient world transported to today who sees someone with one of the tiny ear mic radios often used by government agents, special forces, etc--it would look to the ancient person like they were talking to themselves, right? Or imagine them watching a person jump off a cliff seemingly to their death...without realizing they were wearing a parachute. Also imagine explaining colors to a person born blind as my wife was--or better yet, imagine a sighted person trying to convince a person born blind--and who has never heard of colors and is skeptical--that colors actually exist.

Until a human being gains the "equipment" necessary to communicate with God, they'll probably always view a Christian and the Christian's claims of insight from God with some skepticism, and that's understandable, even though the evidence of design and evidence of Biblical truth-claims may remove much of that skepticism.

 
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