Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Set the Microwave to Exorcise

Really, I am tired of blogging about Christian-inspired infanticide attempts, but I just can't stop because every time I am ready to change the topic, another nutjob nukes their baby:

GALVESTON, Texas (AP) -- A woman blames the devil, and not her husband, for severely burning their infant daughter in a microwave, a Texas television station reported.

Eva Marie Mauldin said Satan compelled her 19-year-old husband, Joshua Royce Mauldin, to microwave their daughter May 10 because the devil disapproved of Joshua's efforts to become a preacher.

"Satan saw my husband as a threat," Eva Mauldin told Houston television station KHOU-TV.

A grand jury indicted Joshua Mauldin last week on child injury charges after hearing evidence that he placed the two-month-old in a motel microwave for 10 to 20 seconds.

The infant, Ana Marie, remains hospitalized. She suffered burns on the left side of her face and to her left hand, police said.


I'm sorry to report that this couple does not qualify for membership in the Offspring Murder Club, but they do get an honorable mention for their efforts.

On another note, this mother must really be dense. Why is she blaming Satan, even if she does sincerely believe it? Is she really so stupid as to think that this would serve as some kind of legal defense?

I think that both of these parents should be stuffed into adult size microwaves and each be given a one minute run on the "poultry" setting. And then they should be sterilized, if the 650 watt nuking didn't accomplish this already.

And while they serve their jail time, each of these parents should be forced to write, "Satan is imaginary and he didn't make daddy nuke the baby," ten thousand times.

24 comments:

Zachary Moore said...

Gah. This kind of thing just tears me up.

What's even more frustrating is that it's hard to challenge her claim from within orthodox Christianity.

I guess the only solace I can take is that so many mainstream Christians are really closeted humanists when it comes to situations like this.

Aaron Kinney said...

Very astute observation Zach.

I guess one could say that if there are no atheists in foxholes, there are no Christians in microwaves ;)

beepbeepitsme said...

This guy was going to become a preacher??

What a terrifying thought.

Ross McPhee said...

In any mass movement, religious, political, or otherwise, there will always be "loose cannons" who act in irrational ways, far removed from the mainstream, and then try to justify their actions in some way. I hope you're not making fun of someone who, on the face of it, is evidently mentally ill.

Aaron Kinney said...

Ross,

I agree with you completely. Of course, this person was a loose cannon and acting irrationally.

I hope you're not making fun of someone who, on the face of it, is evidently mentally ill.

Im sorry to dissapoint you, but I am indeed making fun of someone who is evidently mentally ill. But I wouldnt call it "making fun of" so much as "recoiling in horror." After all, this is a baby in a microwave we are talking about here.

olly said...

"In any mass movement, religious, political, or otherwise, there will always be "loose cannons" who act in irrational ways, far removed from the mainstream, and then try to justify their actions in some way. I hope you're not making fun of someone who, on the face of it, is evidently mentally ill."

I think this argument starts to fall down a lot when you look at it. It's the same old "those are just extremists" argument that we see all the time from self-titled "moderate Christians" or "moderate Muslims". Now, is it a fact that this guy is a mental case? Sounds like it to me.

But think about the content of your argument: essentially you are arguing that any rational person would have known this was wrong. You can't have your cake and eat it too... you can't both fully embrace a non-rational system of thought, and then turn around and act rational when it suits you.

In the end, as sick as this bastard is, and as delusional as his wife apparently is, I'd argue that they are MORE fundamentally Christian than most other folks who call themselves that.

After all, if God told you to kill your baby in a microwave, and you truly believed that it was God speaking to you... well, if you are devout, your only choice is to do so.

It's time to start calling a spade a spade... both scripturally and in terms of faith, the zealots and extremists, fundamentalists and crazies ... they are more truly Religious than the pseudo-religious, wannabe intellectuals who call themselves religious moderates... all a religious moderate is, as Zach acknowledged above, is a humanist who's doing everything they can to hold on to a belief in a higher power out of desperation/tradition/fear/etc.

It's intellectually dishonest (not to mention religiously dishonest on the flip side), to pick and choose to sometimes use rationality as a basis for morality and at other times to use religion.

-olly

angelsdepart said...

Ah, the ol "the devil made me do it" argument. I tried this one a couple of times as a child and realized then that it was not an effective excuse, even to those that believe in that sort of thing.

Ross, mentally ill or not if someone is dangerous, they need to be sectioned off from society.

Aaron, do you think there is any correlation between mental illness and willingness to believe in religious principles? I remember as a child that there was a group that used to come to our church called the Power Team. They were a strong man group that would break bricks and rip phone books in half, then talk about how Jesus helped them do it. Even at the time I couldn't help but to think that they must all be slightly retarded!

BlackSun said...

"An adult-size microwave."

As ghoulish and reminiscent of the holocaust as that thought is, you made your point well.

These parents almost qualified themselves for a Darwin award by proxy. How twisted to you have to be to try to terminate your own germ line?

And Satan? Putting your baby in the microwave pretty much makes you Satan.

Aaron Kinney said...

Olly for the motherfucking win!

Angelsdepart, yes I do believe that ignorance, gullibility, and mental issues will all increase a persons likelihood to believe in 1) bullshit stories that other people or books tell them, and 2) believe that voices in their head are coming from divine external sources rather than mundane internal sources.

Angelsdepart, you might find this site interesting. ;)

BlackSun,

Yes, an adult sized microwave is rather ghoulish. But I do believe it is an appropriate suggestion given the extraordinary circumstances of this case.

Ross McPhee said...

Last year my home city of Melbourne, Australia hosted the G20 summit. During the summit a number of political groups got together for what was intended to be peaceful protest rally to make valid points about economic justice for oppressed people groups around the world, and related concerns. Unfortunately, this protest attracted a radical minority of militant activists who got into violent clashes with police on the streets of the city, and basically ruined it for everyone else.

I mention this to clarify my earlier point about how any movement can be hijacked or misrepresented by extremist elements. I'm not having a go at mentally ill people. I'd never do that, but they are out there, and I've been in churches with them too. They need compassion and not ridicule.

My understanding of the Christian experience is that it is to be lived out using all of your faculties. There is nothing inherently unspiritual about using your mind if God gave it to you in the first place.

In my experience, feelings alone are not a reliable guide to discerning the will of God on a given matter, especially if the individual is under the delusion that God is telling them to do something rash or impulsive, as happened in this case.

The rational, thinking Christian would look into what the Bible says on a given matter, and use this as their ultimate authority. God would never tell anyone to do something contrary to His word. To preempt an objection that may be raised on this point, there are passages in the Old Testament where God orders the destruction of entire cities by the ancient Israelites. Richard Dawkins raised this objection in the documentary of his book, The God Delusion.

I find this a difficult question to resolve, especially when compared to the teachings of Jesus. Jesus gave very clear warnings against mistreating children, and he and the apostles never taught anyone to kill. It would be sloppy exegesis and poor theology for someone to take the Old Testament passages and use these to justify killing children. The point here is that you need to read the Bible carefully, and not to always take a given passage or book of the Bible at face value. You have to look at questions of context.

I've often found that other people another good source of guidance, although I've found that it pays to be discerning about who to go to for advice on specific issues. I have a couple of people with maturity and considerable life experience whose judgement I respect that I go to for advice as the need arises. Any responsible Christian should do the same thing, not that I'm holding myself up as an example.

Aaron Kinney said...

Ross,

I find this a difficult question to resolve, especially when compared to the teachings of Jesus. Jesus gave very clear warnings against mistreating children, and he and the apostles never taught anyone to kill.

But of course its ok when God kills children, like in the Bible where he sends to bears to kill a bunch of kids who made fun of a bald guy (2 kings 2:24).

olly said...

@Ross:

Be very careful when talking about political extremists vs religious extremists. I think you make a valid point that a political agenda can be hijacked by fringe elements. But I think the application of this line of thought in religion is flawed:

Any political position/system/opinion out there is based on rational thought. Do I agree with most of them? Not by far... but it is still rational throught in one form or another that gets you to that political system. Even if the logic itself is flawed, it is logic that gets you there.

Religion is an entirely different animal. The basis for religion is not logical thought (flawed or otherwise), but revealed knowledge. Revealed knowledge is the antithesis of logical throught.

So while, for example, a political movement might have it's moderates in it (i.e. people who think that the logic behind 'x' movement is sound, but that there are limits to how far that logic should be carried), religion cannot, because religion claims absolute knowledge (through revelation, be in texts, through your holy guru's, or however else). The nature of revealed knowledge, that is is absolute, precludes any questioning of that knowledge.

Whereas politics presents a spectrum of thought, religion is black and white: you either believe it fully, or you don't. Anyone who is trying to walk the middle line, i.e. the people my wife calls the "picker's and chooser's", is simply trying to bend a religion to fit a predetermined world view.

The Bible itself is very clear: it, and ONLY it, is the only authority and true word of God. All of the religious moderates justifications in the world fall apart when faced with that. You are either a 'true believer' or an 'infidel'... you can't use logic to work your way towards the middle.

-olly

Aaron Kinney said...

Olly FTW!

He makes a very important point about revealed knowledge vs logic. The bible is indeed the antithesis of pogical thought and it declares itself to be so openly:

Lean not into thine own understanding...

Ross McPhee said...

Even in Christendom there is a spectrum of opinion and thought, from liberal to conservative, and points in between. In that respect, I think the comparision to the political sphere is valid. I'm conservative in my theology, but think of myself as a moderate. You can believe that the Bible is literally the inspired word of God, written in human language, as I do, but that doesn't mean that every single word is to be taken literally. It uses a lot of symbolic or metaphorical language and literary devices. Aaron, I'm familiar with the Elijah passage you're quoting. The unfortunate victims of the bear maulings were youths or young men, and not children. One of these days, when I have the time and energy, I'll look into these issues. There's plenty of books out there that explore Bible difficulties like these and the others you mention. Of course, if you're curious, there's nothing to stop you looking into these questions for yourself.

olly said...

"You can believe that the Bible is literally the inspired word of God, written in human language, as I do, but that doesn't mean that every single word is to be taken literally."

Ross, you are hitting upon the single biggest problem for 'moderate Christians' ... if the Bible can't be taken literally, what's the use in it as an authoritative source for morality? What gives the Bible any more authority than a Dr. Seuss book? Then Rachel Ray's cookbooks?

There are two positions that I see most often argued by Christian's when it comes to the Bible and it's authority:

a.) The Bible is the unfaltering, completely literal word of God ... any 'questions of interpretation' are because of our human limits to understanding a divine being, not because there are any actual contradictory passages.

b.) The Bible is inspired by God, and filtered through humanity ... the words contained therein are often metaphorical, and the Bible should be taken as a whole (Atheists are often accused of taking quotes from the Bible out of context, which might appear to be contradictory, but "not when taken as a whole").

Sound about right?

The problem is, either one of those falls apart in the end. The problem with the first is this: if the Bible is factually accurate and completely literal, and the problem is in our own understanding of it, it is still worthless as an authority source. It's similar to someone saying "this algebra textbook is written in an obscure dialect of Aramaic that we only know part of the lexicon of ... but it is completely accurate and true, so we should trust it intrinsically". That's a nonsensical argument, plain and simple ... you wouldn't teach a class on classical Algebra based on that textbook, at least without the disclaimer of "this could be all wrong, since we don't have the complete picture".

The problem with the second is that it too falls down as an authority on anything. Metaphors are not absolute in any way, shape, or form. They are, by definition, interpretive. So if you make the claim that the Bible is the 'inspired Word of God', but that it's entirely up for interpretation, it becomes meaningless as a moral authority. And indeed, this is exactly what most Christian's nowadays do. This argument is preciesly why you have the Westboro Baptist nutjobs spouting their rhetoric constantly. This is also an invalidation of Christianity as the only valid religion, since an interpretive source is entirely filtered through the society that is doing the interpretation, so a Chinese person might read the Bible and take it as a support of their view of Buddhism.... because it's metaphorical, right? So the 'metaphor' of Jesus could simply be, in their view, another culture's explanation for the story of the Buddha.

And both of these fall down as sources of authority in one fundamental way as well: they are only internally verifiable. Anyone can write a book, and claim in that book that it was inspired by God ... at that point, their book becomes just as valid as a moral authority as your Bible does (because it too is internally verifiable only).

-olly

olly said...

Aaron -- rather than continue to hijack your comments section in my ongoing conversation with Ross, I've put it up as a post over at my new blog without hyphens

Thanks!

-olly

Krystalline Apostate said...

Ross:
I'm familiar with the Elijah passage you're quoting. The unfortunate victims of the bear maulings were youths or young men, and not children.
In a time when the top life-span was 25-30, they were children. Remember, ancient history was built by teenagers. Literally.
Even if it actually meant 'youths' as opposed to children, it was a mean, stupid fucking thing to do.
I mention this to clarify my earlier point about how any movement can be hijacked or misrepresented by extremist elements. I'm not having a go at mentally ill people. I'd never do that, but they are out there, and I've been in churches with them too. They need compassion and not ridicule.
I hear echoes of Augustine in that.
So which is better: to let the obsession marinade into the brain cells, or tell them they're loons at the beginning?
The point here is that you need to read the Bible carefully, and not to always take a given passage or book of the Bible at face value. You have to look at questions of context.
Oh please. I've read just about every book in that bloody Necronomicon.
It's a useless anachronism no one should be living their lives by. A little general knowledge is sprinkled in between the breathtakingly, staggering contradictions.
It's only believable if you don't examine it w/a critical eye.

Ross McPhee said...

KA,

I work with counsellors and counselling students (Australian spelling) on a daily basis. Do you mean to imply that the mentally ill are "loons?" That is a very offensive suggestion.

Krystalline Apostate said...

mcphee:
Do you mean to imply that the mentally ill are "loons?" That is a very offensive suggestion.
Oh, stop getting all squishy on me.
I'd certainly not couch it in those terms - it'd be on a more situational basis.
I'd say we're all loons - some are benign, some malign, & some walk the middle road.
Do any of the counselors employ tough love methodologies. None? 1? 2?
How DO you broach the obvious dementia? Is there any safe way to tell the patient?
Most folks bridle if you suggest therapy anyways.

Ross McPhee said...

KA, I'm not saying anything different from what you will find said in pretty much any introductory textbook on hermeneutics written by conservative, evangelical scholars. What I've said in my previous postings is a precis of what these books say; that you need to be careful and methodical about how you read, study, and apply the Bible. Doing this will help you be objective. God gave us minds and the ability to use them, and He expects us to. I don't see anything contradictory in saying this.

Aaron Kinney said...

Ross,

What I've said in my previous postings is a precis of what these books say; that you need to be careful and methodical about how you read, study, and apply the Bible. Doing this will help you be objective.

Theres nothing objective about faith.

God gave us minds and the ability to use them, and He expects us to. I don't see anything contradictory in saying this.

I am calling BS my friend. "Lean not into thine own understanding, but trust in the Lord..." Ever read that Bible passage before?

Krystalline Apostate said...

Ross:
What I've said in my previous postings is a precis of what these books say; that you need to be careful and methodical about how you read, study, and apply the Bible.
Presupposing that the bible doesn't speak w/forked tongue?
Doing this will help you be objective.
That is how I precisely came to the conclusion that atheism is the default.
God gave us minds and the ability to use them, and He expects us to. I don't see anything contradictory in saying this.
Oh, please. Your entire stance is presuppositionalism.
Rather than start from 'God is', start from, 'Is god?'
Use a little logic, & you'll come to the same conclusion I did:
No. Such. Critter.
Sorry that you've wasted so much of your time & life on a fairy tale.

Aaron Kinney said...

Excellent points KA. And that reminds me,

Ross McPhee,

What I've said in my previous postings is a precis of what these books say; that you need to be careful and methodical about how you read, study, and apply the Bible... ...God gave us minds and the ability to use them, and He expects us to. I don't see anything contradictory in saying this.

So would you say that Im misinterpreting the Bible when I refer to Proverbs 3:5, "Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding." and in turn tell you that, contrary to what you just claimed, God does not wat you to use your own mind but simply trust in Him?

cananeoy said...

Thanks...

Canan eoy
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