Sunday, February 24, 2013

Unbelievers Misunderstanding Christian Attitudes About the Body

A little earlier I was looking for a quick overview of some of the writings of St. Hildegard von Bingen and found this.  It actually is helpful, but it seriously misunderstands Christianity, going so far as to say, "The vision thus supplies one possible answer to a question that must arise among all theists who denigrate the body...."  True, Christians mistrust the body when it comes to making important decisions, but we don't despise the body.  Do you despise your 4-year old because you do not allow him to drive the car?  But not only did St. Hildegard never regard herself as a "theist" (an odd modern invention designed to exaggerate the importance of atheists), but any moderately serious Christian knows that Christianity takes the value of the body for granted.
For the body also is not one member, but many. If the foot should say, because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?  And if the ear should say, because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were the eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling? But now God hath set the members every one of them in the body as it hath pleased him. And if they all were one member, where would be the body?  But now there are many members indeed, yet one body.  And the eye cannot say to the hand: I need not thy help; nor again the head to the feet: I have no need of you. Yea, much more those that seem to be the more feeble members of the body, are more necessary.  And such as we think to be the less honourable members of the body, about these we put more abundant honour; and those that are our uncomely parts, have more abundant comeliness.  But our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, giving to that which wanted the more abundant honour, that there might be no schism in the body; but the members might be mutually careful one for another.  And if one member suffer any thing, all the members suffer with it; or if one member glory, all the members rejoice with it.
 -- 1 Corinthians 12:12-26 
 For no man ever hated his own flesh, but nourisheth and cherisheth it, as also Christ doth the church.
-- Ephesians 5:29 

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