Thursday, 14 June 2012

Bad Bible passages to live your life by – #2: Matthew 19:12

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When you're on the lookout for religion-based stories, as we are here at New Humanist, one of the things you're regularly reminded of is that, as well as inspiring people to do both good and bad things, religious texts can also prompt people do some incredibly ill-advised things.

Indeed, it was only a couple of weeks ago that I blogged about Mack Wolford, the Pastor from West Virginia who lost his life to a rattlesnake bite as a result of his belief that Christian have a religious duty to handle rattlesnakes, based on the text of Mark 16:17-18, which says:
“And these signs will follow those who believe: in My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
Could there be a worse Bible passage to live you life by? Given what happened to Wolford it's a tough one to top, but how about Matthew 19:12? According to an article published in the medical journal Psychsomatics, a man walked into the emergency room in St. Joseph’s Hos­pi­tal and Med­i­cal Cen­ter in Phoe­nix, Arizona and, when he was asked to explain what he required treatment for, would only tell nurses that it related to "Matthew 19:12". Let's take a look, as the nurses at St Joseph's were required to, at what you find when you look up Matthew 19:12:
"For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother's womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it."
From that text, I'm sure you can work out the rest (take a look at the Freethinker's story if you want the gory details). Following Matthew 19:12 is really not a wise idea.

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