A number of years ago, when I was doing the Dangerous Talk radio show on WCUR 91.7 FM in West Chester, I had a fundamentalist Christian preacher on the show who went by the name, Brother Stephen. Brother Stephen and his friends would travel to different Universities and tell everyone that they were going to Hell… even the other fundamentalists Christians.
In any case, I invited him on the show to make his case. He came to the studio on a Sunday afternoon (the Sabbath) with his wife and two sons, although he was the only one on the air. In our conversation, he told me that he follows Gods orders without question. This prompted me to ask him the ultimate “gotcha” question.
With his wife standing close by with one son in the stroller and his other son running around the studio I asked him, “If God ordered you to kill one of your sons, would you do it without question?” The room got uncomfortable very quickly. His wife was staring at him waiting for him to answer and his son froze in his tracks. A few seconds seemed like hours, but I didn’t mind the dead air.
Then he answered that God wouldn’t give that order. I remember he looked like he had dodged a bullet with that answer, but I didn’t let him of the hook quite so easily. I reminded him about Genesis 22 in which God ordered Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac. He smiled and laughed and said that Abraham didn’t actually kill Isaac because the angel stopped him. It was just a test.
But that didn’t satisfy me. I reminded him that Abraham didn’t know it was a test and so the question stands, “what if God ordered you to kill one of your sons. What if you heard the voice of God in your head and KNEW it was the Lord would you kill your son?”
He looked at his wife and then at his son stopped dead in his tracks and then at the son in the stroller and then told me honestly that he didn’t know and that he would have to get back to me on that. Unfortunately, I never heard back from him. But to be fair, that might be because he spent a significant time in prison shortly after the interview for trying to solicit a young boy for a blowjob. But that’s beside the point.
We hear about it in the news every so often, a parent kills their child because they claimed that it was the will of God. Most people claim that the parent in question was mentally ill or just plain nuts, but there is precedent within the Bible for this type of thing. Maybe the parent thought God would stop them and this was just a test like it was for Abraham. In any case, I think it is a good question to ask fundamentalists to see who they love more their children or their deity.