God seems to advocate human sacrifice in this lesson. It makes no sense. This is no way to teach good morality. That is the point. Faith, according to the father of existentialist philosophy Soren Kierkegaard is absurd. It transcends and even contradicts universally accepted forms of rational thinking in favor of absolute obedience to the absolute/God. It is "giving up the finite in order to grasp the infinite" (Fear and Trembling and the Sickness Unto Death, p. 71). The way of faith honors the first commandment, giving everything up to God.
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Oscar Wilde penned a powerful story about behaviors and definitions and justice called The Picture of Dorian Gray. Dorian was a handsome young man, a model of physical beauty and moral virtue. People complimented him on his good graces. Parents pointed to him as an example to their youth. One artist even painted an exquisite portrait of him.
"Have you seen it?" whispered the Barbie doll to her next door neighbour.
The next Barbie doll in line was instantly alert. There were five different Barbie dolls, who lived jumbled together in the toy cupboard but who were so jealous of each other that they rarely spoke. "Seen what?" asked the second Barbie doll, blue eyes darting all round the room.
"The Princess," replied the first Barbie with glee. "Caitlin's done her hair and it looks terrible!"
These verses from Mark's gospel are a call to commitment, a call to sacrifice, and a call to give up everything of earthly value in life. To say these are difficult verses is truly an understatement. It is pretty clear that the disciples are not at all ready for what Jesus is saying. They are not ready for Jesus to die and they certainly are not ready to die themselves.