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I Once Was Lost by Grant Bentley

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I think the idea of biblical analysis is important but I was a bit disappointed here. For instance, the story sets out "Matthew 6:13… God tempts men" as one half of a supposed contradiction in scripture, but that scripture cite actually leads to the line "and lead us not into temptation" from the Lord's Prayer. It is a ridiculous stretch to assert that this prayer request, part of a format proposed by Jesus himself, stands for the proposition that "God tempts men." Similarly, the story sets out "Samuel 6:19" [i think the author must have meant I Samuel 6:19] for the broad proposition that "God is cruel, unmerciful, destructive, and ferocious," but the specific event in this passage is God striking down certain of the people of Beth Shemesh because they had violated the rules and looked into the Ark of the Lord. Again, it is an unacceptable stretch to turn this passage into a general assertion that "God is cruel, unmerciful, destructive, and ferocious."

Which isn't to say that the Bible isn't full of passages that seem contradictory, if not bewildering, or that the Old and New Testaments may seem at odds with one another. It takes serious study, coupled with a knowledge of the culture of the times, to begin to make sense of these things.

Two books that I have found very helpful on these subjects are these:

What the Bible Really Says About Homosexuality, by Daniel A. Helminiak, Ph.D.

Is God A Moral Monster?: Making Sense of the Old Testament God, by Paul Copan

I realize that for purposes of a short story it would never have been possible to go into the depth and nuance of these book-length analyses.

The discussion of Leviticus and related ritual-cleanliness passages in the Old Testament was more on point. In this regard, the Helminiak book mentioned first above is particularly helpful, because it makes a sharp distinction between things that are inherently, morally wrong (i.e., the Ten Commandments) and things that violate ritual cleanliness (lacking in moral gravity but merely symbolizing membership in a special group). Not wearing clothes made of two different fibres falls in the latter category, and, according to Helminiak, so does the prohibition in Leviticus 18:22.

Overall, of course, I liked the thrust and tenor of the story. In fact, the only puzzlement I had was that Jacob would have been familiar with the term "gay" after such a sheltered, internet-free upbringing. So please don't interpret the above as being critical of the overall message of the story.


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OK... now that was awesome.

I'd love for any kid growing up inside a fundamentalist (note the root word mental) cult to read that.

The problem is that that the protagonists deprogramming in the story is way to simplistic.

Many children of fundamentalists are home schooled and so sheltered that they have no idea that life can be any other way.

Colleges have discovered that the home schooled/brainwashed either excel or crash and burn as soon as they have the ability to make their own decisions.

A few of the colleges around here (Mississippi) actually have programs especially for them.

Yes- I liked the story but deprogramming the fundamentalists brainwashing is usually a lot more involved.

Read more about it at Spiritual Abuse Recovery

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