You know, the saying "you can't have your cake and eat it" used to make no sense to me. Maybe it was because English was my second language but somehow that saying just seemed ridiculous. As far as I knew "lets have some cake" and "lets eat some cake" meant exactly the same thing so what was up with that weird proverb? Eventually I actually bothered to look it up and found that the modern saying is a corruption of the original form which was "wolde you bothe eate your cake, and have your cake?"* which (olde Englishe aside) made a lot more sense. Obviously you can't eat your cake and expect to have cake afterwards, it should have been obvious all along!!
Well, I can at least find some solace in the fact that I'm not the only one who has trouble grasping the whole concept of "you can't have your cake and eat it". It seems to afflict a great many of my Christian brothers and sisters as well. One of the most baffling instances seems to be regarding Catholics. If you ask a Protestant whether they think Roman Catholics are Christians, the answer is almost guaranteed to be an emphatic "no". Opinions differ of course. Some merely think them deluded while guys like Jack Chick teach that Catholics are actually the agents of the Antichrist who have been spending the last 2000 years trying to destroy Real True Christianity. Yet whenever said Protestants need their numbers to look high - especially regarding the core values of Christianity** - then suddenly Catholics are totally Christian enough. The best examples of this confusing line of thinking usually occur during debates about creation vs evolution. It tends to go a little something like this:
Creo: "Evolution is just something Atheists made up to destroy faith in God"
Evo: "That's not true, the Catholic Church fully accept evolution and it finds no conflict with their faith.
Creo: "Ah, but you see, Catholics aren't really Christians, that's why!"
...later in the same conversation...
Creo: "Evolution is an Atheistic worldview that promotes racism and eugenics. Christianity on the other hand provides a worldview that is all about helping others. Why just look at the names of the hospitals in your city - St John's, St Mary's, St Anne's, the list of Christian hospitals is huge! Name one Atheist hospital!"
See what just happened there? In the course of one conversation, Catholics went from non-Christians to Christians without skipping a beat. It makes my head spin. Seriously people, you can't have your Catholics and eat them too!
That actually sounded better in my head...
Anyway, there is one other instance of wanting to have your cake and eat it too among Christians that really grinds my gears. I blogged about it before and everyone disagreed with me but I'm sticking to my guns. Look, if you believe that every human being is handcrafted and sculpted in the womb by God Himself that's fine. If you believe that people look the way they do because they are the product of the random arrangement of genes inherited from both parents that is fine too. What is not fine is being inconsistent about it. You can't have it both ways!! To claim plastic surgery is wrong because "you are perfect the way God made you" on the one hand but on the other claim that its OK to fix birth defects because that's just genetic accident is hypocritical. Either we look the way God intended or we look the way our parent's genes determined. It doesn't work both ways, it can't just be God when its good and accident when it's bad. If you think God gave you your chiselled jawline then doesn't it follow logically that God also gives some babies harelips?
It's not that I'm for frivolous plastic surgery. It's the having your cake and eat it too part that gets me. If you want to discourage a loved one from getting some work done, make a real argument against it. Simply throwing God in front of the bus is just plain lazy. However if you truly believe that then why not be consistent with it - don't get your kids braces either.
* From a 1546 book called "A dialogue Conteinyng the Nomber in Effect of All the Prouerbes in the Englishe Tongue" by John Heywood. Sounds like a real pageturner.
** Being anti-abortion, anti-homosexual and pro-abstinence only sex ed.