Sunday, May 24, 2015

The Duggars' Moral Superiority: A Religious Right Stronghold, Exposed

The Bible says, in Romans 3:23, "For the wages of sin is death..."

This verse is very well known to both fundamentalist Christians, to which the Duggar clan belong, as well as evangelical Christianity. Sin is a big deal. It requires all humans to die. According to the book of Genesis, the fact that Adam and Eve ate the fruit of 'The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil', meant that sin was passed down to every human being. Sin was the one genetic thing that everyone got equally.

But the 'death,' spoken of in the book of Romans, wasn't speaking of when we die here on this earth. It was speaking of the eternal death, experienced by those who didn't willingly receive the 'Gift of God'. This gift is mentioned in the next half of the Roman 3:23 verse, "...but the gift of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ, our Lord".

This gets to the basic doctrinal foundation of the Duggar approach to life. Jesus died on the cross for their sins. They were born with original sin, though the Duggars would never call it that, being that they would be accused of believing in Catholic doctrine, but the essence of the belief is exactly the same. Not only did they inherit the sin of Adam, but they also were guaranteed to actively sin as a mortal human being.

But, not to worry, Christianity has that all fixed up. John 3:16 says, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whosoever believes in Him, should not perish (die), but have eternal life!"

See? Forgiven. All sins do not matter to the eternal soul of the forgiven. To the Christian, this is a beautiful idea. God is so loving, that he killed his son, shedding the holy blood from his body, to wash us clean of our vile selves.

But let's examine that idea a little more closely.

Psalm 103:12 says, "As far as the east is from the west, so far has [God] removed our transgressions (sin) from us."

This means, once we're "saved", having "believed on the Lord Jesus Christ", trusting that everything the Bible says about him is true, we are no longer a stench to the nostrils of God, but everything we have done, are doing, and will do, that is defined as sin, is now covered by the blood of Jesus. We are sinful no more.

This doctrine is what allows the Duggars to easily say, "God has forgiven us." But, even worse, it also allows the Duggars to turn to the victims of Josh's sexual abuse and say, "God has forgiven Josh!" The victim is then obligated to forgive, as God has forgiven the perpetrator of the sexual abuse. Doing otherwise would be the same as claiming that you were better than God.

As you can see, the consequences for sin, in the Duggar's world, are not of this world. They are eternal. If you die in your sins, having not believed in Jesus, you go to hell, dying an eternal death. If you are forgiven of your sins, having believed in Jesus, you live an eternal life, going to heaven to be with God and his son Jesus.

Contrast this with our system of laws that focuses on the consequences of sin (that which the law considers as criminal) being earthly. If you break a law, you pay the consequences in this life.

The Religious Right claims that America will be destroyed because those that are in charge of our government don't base their laws on God's morality, but on human morality. Even when what they consider as God's morality, converges with our system of laws, somehow it is still inferior to God's morality.

Consider the felonies that Josh Duggar was accused of. Sexually molesting a minor. The consequences for his sin are eternal. He will die a horrible, eternally burning death, in the fires of hell, for his crimes. Except he won't - because he is forgiven, having believed in Jesus. Consequences on this earth, under America's system of laws, are redundant and unnecessary.

This is why, JimBob and Michelle, hiding the accusations for a year and then waiting out the statute of limitations, threatening to hire a lawyer when the heat got too hot on their son, is a perfectly reasonable approach to illegal activity. Due to the moral superiority of God vs. the laws of men (and women), their consequences have already been dealt with.

That sheds light on another concept in the doctrine of sin: Consequences.

Sin has consequences. In fact, the greater the consequences, the farther those that adhere to the doctrine of sin get to puff their chests out with pride. What greater consequences than eternal hell is there for partaking in the pleasures of life, that the Religious Right and the Duggars consider to be sinful? 

They point to the unbeliever as sinful, due to the fact that this unbeliever ignorantly believes that there are no consequences for sin. They mock their sure path to hell.

Except, the unbeliever (as well as those that don't treat laws as lightly as the Duggars) doesn't, in fact, believe there are no consequences for breaking the law. They actually have set up a system of consequences for morality being broken - the same consequences Josh Duggar shirked because his god forgave him of his vile actions. The consequences are very real. They are not imaginary consequences that have already been conveniently avoided forever.

Finally, let's forget about the consequences of Josh's actions, with respect to Josh. We, as a society, view the effects of those actions on the victims, much more highly than the doctrine of sin and forgiveness of those sins views them.

In that world, there is no recompense for the victims. Josh was forgiven by the same god that forgave them for their sins. Thus, since God forgave Josh, they must forgive Josh. End of story. There is no room for the ramifications of Josh's sin on the victims. The entire focus is on Josh. The ramifications of sin (Josh's eternal death) have been taken care of, permanently. Again, there is no focus on the victims. Should they have sinned by inviting Josh's advances, though, that would have been forgiven as well. But that's as far as it goes.

This is why we see every single statement that comes out of the Duggar clan, focusing on the forgiveness that Josh was granted from God. Nowhere is there a concern for the future effects of Josh's actions on the victims. They didn't sin (that we know of), so what happens to them is truly irrelevant. Their only task is to forgive Josh, then move on with their sinless lives.

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