Today I decided to go to the New Testament for guidance. I saw that Matthew and Mark both have some advice on how to stay out of hell (even if it means you won't be going to heaven intact). Matthew writes about it twice, in Chapters 5 and 18, so I'll quote one of his passages here. This is Matthew 5:29-30 :
29. And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.
30. And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.
It seems like this could have been summed up in one verse, by starting out with "And if thy right hand or right eye offend thee . . . . " But who am I to question such things. Mark wrote the same way (Mark 9:43-47) and even added a right foot in there, so obviously this is the right way to express it.
One thing that isn't mentioned here is how we're supposed to function once we've started cutting and casting away. What if my right hand starts getting offensive with me? Neither I nor anyone I know have performed any amputations, so where do I go for guidance? Won't there be a lot of blood involved? Can I get a doctor to do it? Is the cutting off and casting away of limbs covered by most insurance policies?
Once I cut my offensive hand off, how am I supposed to do things like open a jar of pickles? Can I ask my neighbor for help? But with my right hand cast away, how could I hold the jar and knock on my neighbor's door at the same time? And once I've cast away my right hand, what do I do if my left hand starts offending me? Does insurance cover prosthetic limbs when the real ones have been cut off for religious reasons?
What about the eye thing? "Plucking" sounds like something reserved for a chicken or a Thanksgiving turkey. Is plucking an eye just as simple? Will I have to retake my vision test at the DMV afterwards?
And what do I do if some body part of another person is offending me? If someone at work has an offensive nose, can I cut if off and cast it away for him? Would this be proper under the pretext of keeping him out of hell? What about someone with offensive breath? What if someone offends me in thought? Are there any limitations that must be observed here, or can I just go plucking, cutting and casting away unrestrained, as long as such actions are sanctioned by God?