Put the Weapon Down, Abraham!

My students in “Faith, Doubt and Reason” have been thinking about the story of Abraham nearly sacrificing Isaac in conversation with Plato’s Euthyphro, Clifford’s “The Ethics of Belief” and other readings from this semester. And so this cartoon from The Ongoing Adventures of ASBO Jesus seemed particularly worth sharing…

It’s actually pretty much the same ending as in the Bible, except with a modern-day angel…and presumably different consequences for Abraham.

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  • Kierkegaard's Fear and Trembling is also a great way to get some discussion going. Luckily his language is mostly accessible to layfolk.

  • While at Oxford I say O'Casey's Play The Silver Tissan – it reminded me of the war requiem and Wilfred Owen's poem on Abraham – we are not good at putting our weapons downSo Abram rose, and clave the wood, and went,And took the fire with him, and a knife.And as they sojourned both of them together,Isaac the first-born spake and said, My Father,Behold the preparations, fire and iron,But where the lamb for this burnt-offering?Then Abram bound the youth with belts and strapsand builded parapets and trenches there,And stretchèd forth the knife to slay his son.When lo! an angel called him out of heaven,Saying, Lay not thy hand upon the lad,Neither do anything to him. Behold,A ram, caught in a thicket by its horns;Offer the Ram of Pride instead of him.But the old man would not so, but slew his son,And half the seed of Europe, one by one.