…and your little dog, too

Father Jake has opened up a conversation, tongue planted none-too-firmly in cheek, about whether the Bible is, um, anti-dog. I wasn’t going to link to it, until I came across this link on one of his discussion boards, and now I can’t resist. It’s fun, but it’s also thought-provoking.

Here’s an excerpt:

A scan of the biblical references to dogs gave an outlandishly depressing picture of greedy, filthy, deplorable beasts, best known for licking up enemy blood from the streets and revisiting their old vomit. They are compared to every sort of person held to be disgraceful, from male prostitutes (Deut. 23:18) to villainous enemies (Psalms 22:16) to false Christians (Philipp. 3:2). True, Christ uses some semi-friendly canine imagery in his repartee with a determined Canaanite mother in Matthew 15:26ff: reflecting that his mission at the moment is only to “the lost sheep of the House of Israel,” he responds to her request to heal her daughter by saying, “it is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the house dogs.” Playing along with the allusion, the canny mother says, “Ah yes sir, but even house dogs can eat the scraps that fall from their master’s table.” Jesus is impressed: “Woman, you have great faith,” he says. He heals her daughter. The dog-lover can well imagine that he probably also fed a few real scraps to some very happy real dogs in his time. But a conservative skeptic would call this wishful thinking, self- serving delusion.

For the final blow against the good dog, from what ought to be the fundamentalist point of view, is delivered in Revelations 22:15. “These others must stay outside (the holy city of God): dogs, sorcerors, fornicators, murderers, and idolaters, and everyone else of false speech and false life.” Case closed. No leash law in the New Jerusalem. A cat- lover’s paradise descends from the skies.

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