In chapter 10 of the Book of Matthew, Jesus delivers a sinister and jealous tirade to his disciples, admonishing them against insufficiently dedicating themselves to him. The rant culminates in the memorable command, “He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” Such an attitude is typical of cult leaders, whose power and influence is most likely to be threatened by the concerned family members of their brainwashed victims.
Christians believe some strange things, but do any of them actually place this eccentric and possibly nonexistent Bronze Age preacher ahead of their families?
“It's pretty easy for me to say that the most important thing in my life is my relationship with Jesus Christ, followed by my relationship with family.”
So said not John the Baptist, but Tim the Quarterback, as in Tim Tebow of the New York Jets.
Tebow’s personal life is none of my concern. Indeed, I’ve no doubt I would find it as mundane and uninteresting as the next person’s. But there is something perverse about relegating one’s family to a secondary importance behind a “relationship” with a person who has been dead for 2,000 years. Although Tebow does not have any children at the moment, it would be interesting to ask him if his attitude would change if he did.
Or perhaps Tebow would simply remain steadfast in his commitment to the god, who, in the Book of Genesis, orders Abraham to kill his son, Isaac. As if this cruel command were not disturbing enough, we are told that Abraham actually agreed to carry it out, and brought Isaac up a mountain fully prepared to sacrifice his son to quench the bloodlust of the cosmic tyrant until at the last moment … just kidding! God sent an angel to intervene to stop the madness, as he was satisfied with the level of dedication Abraham had shown.
If Tim Tebow, or any other evangelical received an order from god to kill a close relative or anyone else for that matter, would they do it? Admittedly, the question is absurd on its face. But given the contents of the Bible, and also the dedication that evangelicals say they have to god, it is a valid one to ask. If god really exists as evangelicals say, then we know he is entirely capable of making such demands of his earthly worshippers as he demonstrated again and again in the "good" book.
Of course, the question is only useful from a hypothetical standpoint, designed to ascertain the degree of one’s commitment—or more accurately, mentally indentured servitude—to the deity. I would be interested in hearing whatever answers true believers would like to provide in the comments. It could be an interesting thought experiment, but nothing more, because fear not, god will not be asking anyone to do anything.