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Monday, March 28, 2005

To Believe Means Feeling Special

Since my last post was more technical, I thought I would get into a "lighter" area today... suicide !

Yesterday night, I stayed up to help a friend in need over the Internet. The girl in question was cutting herself extensively and said she had the intention of committing suicide. I'm not sure if the latter was true, but she was certainly depressed. Without the knowledge of whether this depression was a mental imbalance or not, I decided, after much deliberation, to call the police in her city so she would at least go to the hospital to have her wounds checked. It worked, and she's feeling better now.

Did I do the right thing ? Should I have let her kill herself ? My first impression is that my actions were irresponsible. It is not my business to decide whether a girl should be permitted to kill herself or not. On the other hand, it was unclear to me whether she had all her faculties about her at that moment. If I knew for a fact that she did, I wouldn't have called.

Whether I was right or not, is not my point. My point is that I looked at the facts of reality, my values, and considered my alternatives. Ask a Christian what he would do and he would almost certainly answer "the Bible says suicide is evil !". No thinking, no values, just indoctrination.

That is why all religions are a social danger - they short-circuit people's moral faculties. They demand the submission of man's moral will to the nipping of the flames of Hell, the priest's collar, and the threat of social ostracism. "Religious morality" is no more possible than "communist freedom". "We're perfectly free to leave Christianity if we want to, we just don't want to ! This whole religion business really makes us feel special and wanted ! Uh, can you stop pointing that gun at my temple now ?"

Is human life "special" ? Religions say that we are a special creation with a privileged place in the universe. The sum total of our accumulated scientific knowledge points dramatically in the opposite direction :

* Our beliefs, whims, desires, etc... do not change reality. The human mind is not sovereign, neither is any other mind - including "God", as demonstrated by TANG and materialist apologetics.
* The Earth is not the center of the universe, but one planet orbiting an unimportant star.
* The human race was not specially created, but evolved naturally, along with all the other forms of life on this planet. What's more, humans are not the end goal of evolution.
* There is no "special race" or "superior race". In fact, there is far more genetic difference between individuals of a given "race" than between different "races".
* There is no special frame of reference in the universe.
* The human mind is wholly dependent on/equivalent to the human brain.

But that doesn't feel good, it goes against the "lowest common denominator" of religion. So they have to hate the above answers. Granted, religionists concentrate on some (soul, Creationism) and other kinds of crackpots tend to concentrate on others (Einstein's Relativity, racism, subjectivism).

Of course, interesting theological questions arise, such as :

1. Since evolution is true, and Original Sin is a myth, what did "Jesus" come to Earth to save us from ?
2. Since there is no soul (or as I call it, "monster in the brain"), what goes to Heaven ?

I know there must be a Bible verse about this. There has to be ! The Bible is our God-given textbook for life, right ? Hey Paul, did you find that verse about the definition of "value" yet ? Just joshing ya.

Post a Comment


45 Comments:

At 3/28/2005 11:10 AM, Blogger Mark Kodak declaimed...

The bible nowhere says suicide is wrong. It says murder is wrong. Suicide is not always murder. Christ committed suicide. He gave up his life. Yet, he was also murdered. There is often more than one way to look it.

If you are bleeding to death and suffering intense physical pain on the battle field with no hope of medical assistance, then putting the gun to your head is an act of mercy, not hatred.

Some suicide is cowardly, and some is heroic, like Samson . .

 
At 3/28/2005 11:13 AM, Blogger Francois Tremblay declaimed...

Well then you're not a Christian, since Christians (and the Bible) say that "Jesus" is the Messiah and is still very much alive.

 
At 3/28/2005 11:18 AM, Blogger Mark Kodak declaimed...

1. Since evolution is true, and Original Sin is a myth, what did "Jesus" come to Earth to save us from ?

Don't you mean "Punctuated Equilibrium" ? ?

Jesus came to earth not to save us from sin, but to save us from God.


2. Since there is no soul (or as I call it, "monster in the brain"), what goes to Heaven ?

We cannot "see" many subatomic particles, yet we can observe their effects. Something cannot be proven to not exist merely on the basis of no empyrical evidence. So how do you "know" there is certainly not any immaterial part of our humanity (ie. soul). Something can be susbantial without being physical. (proven in quantum physics)

 
At 3/28/2005 11:22 AM, Blogger Bahnsen Burner declaimed...

Franc: "Hey Paul, did you find that verse about the definition of 'value' yet ?"

Sorry, Franc, Paul's still searching for where the bible presents a theory of concepts for me. Once he's finished with that chore, he can start running your errands. Until then, however, he's busy.

The concept of moral values in the bible? You've got to be kidding!

 
At 3/28/2005 11:24 AM, Blogger Bahnsen Burner declaimed...

Mark: "Christ committed suicide."

Indeed, suicide is the logical outcome of Jesus' premises. Adopt them at your peril.

 
At 3/28/2005 11:28 AM, Blogger Francois Tremblay declaimed...

"Don't you mean "Punctuated Equilibrium" ? ?"

Nope.


"Jesus came to earth not to save us from sin, but to save us from God."

Interesting that you admit that your God is so depraved that we need to be saved from it.


"We cannot "see" many subatomic particles, yet we can observe their effects. Something cannot be proven to not exist merely on the basis of no empyrical evidence."

What part of "OBSERVE their effects" is not empirical ?


"So how do you "know" there is certainly not any immaterial part of our humanity (ie. soul)."

Because science has proven that the mind is dependent or identical to the brain. There is no place for the "soul" (monster in the brain). For your dubious edification, see the Argument from Mind-Brain Dependence :

http://www.strongatheism.net/atheology/mindbody.html

 
At 3/28/2005 11:52 AM, Blogger Mark Kodak declaimed...

I cannot see a quark, only its movement, or trail. What is the substance of that quark then ? ?

The mind/brain/soul may be so connected that their difference is difficult to ascertain be our sensory faculties. The essence of who we are, that imaterial element that makes us unique, will live on in another vehicle, or "body" after we are dead or brain damaged. (ie. Terri Schiavo)
I believe Christianity does not make a total distinction or seperation of the soul from the brain, but that the soul becomes a part of a new form when at death the immaterial part of man continues in some well of "souls" or Hades like state . . . I do not know what material substance that vehicle is made of but it seems that even Christ could walk through walls after the resurrection and told mary not to cling to that body for some reason or another . . . quite the mystery . .



As to Christ's suicide, here is the scripture I refer to.

Joh 10:17 For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again.
Joh 10:18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father."

 
At 3/28/2005 11:58 AM, Blogger Francois Tremblay declaimed...

"I cannot see a quark, only its movement, or trail. What is the substance of that quark then ? ?"

So your reasoning is "I don't observe it directly right now, therefore it is unobservable" ?

A fine example of Stupid Christian Logic.


"The essence of who we are, that imaterial element that makes us unique, will live on in another vehicle"

There is no "immaterial element" - only the brain. If you don't like that fact, go complain to doctors and neurologists who observe it every day in car accidents, Alzheimer's, and other instances of brain damage.


"after we are dead or brain damaged. (ie. Terri Schiavo)"

Terri Schiavo died a long time ago. Did her "essence" survive somewhere else ? Where ? You are an idiot.

 
At 3/28/2005 1:19 PM, Blogger Mark Kodak declaimed...

Why have you resorted to a personal attack ? ? If I am an idiot, please enlighten me.


--------------------------------
So your reasoning is "I don't observe it directly right now, therefore it is unobservable" ?

A fine example of Stupid Christian Logic.
-----------------------------------

I was not making a universal maxim by my statement. 100 years ago we could not see many of the things we can see with electron microscopes today. That did not make them unreal. I am suggesting that the reductionist ideas that you claim science has made regarding the brain cannot be exhaustive knowledge. NOTHING can be known exhaustively. Therefore, they have not proven that the sould exists. All they have proven is that apparent sanity, is tied to the functions of the brain in our present anatomical state. Self-consciousness and "being" have not even been discovered yet by science.

Not to mention, much of the madness and insanity encountered throughout the account of Christ's ministry was, in fact, caused by demonic infestation.
You probably deny the existence of such creatures though, since we cannot see them either under a microscope.

Heb 4:12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

 
At 3/28/2005 1:20 PM, Blogger Mark Kodak declaimed...

Why have you resorted to a personal attack ? ? If I am an idiot, please enlighten me.


--------------------------------
So your reasoning is "I don't observe it directly right now, therefore it is unobservable" ?

A fine example of Stupid Christian Logic.
-----------------------------------

I was not making a universal maxim by my statement. 100 years ago we could not see many of the things we can see with electron microscopes today. That did not make them unreal. I am suggesting that the reductionist ideas that you claim science has made regarding the brain cannot be exhaustive knowledge. NOTHING can be known exhaustively. Therefore, they have not proven that the sould exists. All they have proven is that apparent sanity, is tied to the functions of the brain in our present anatomical state. Self-consciousness and "being" have not even been discovered yet by science.

Not to mention, much of the madness and insanity encountered throughout the account of Christ's ministry was, in fact, caused by demonic infestation.
You probably deny the existence of such creatures though, since we cannot see them either under a microscope.

Heb 4:12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

 
At 3/28/2005 1:32 PM, Blogger Zachary Moore declaimed...

Mark: If you are bleeding to death and suffering intense physical pain on the battle field with no hope of medical assistance, then putting the gun to your head is an act of mercy, not hatred.

Zach: I really don't need to point out how this blatantly contradicts Exodus 20:13, but I did want to give you credit for adopting a contextualist approach to morality. One step closer to apostasy...

 
At 3/28/2005 1:47 PM, Blogger Mark Kodak declaimed...

Zach: I really don't need to point out how this blatantly contradicts Exodus 20:13, but I did want to give you credit for adopting a contextualist approach to morality. One step closer to apostasy...


Once again, not all killing is murder. The best translation is do not murder (ie. killing out of hatred for God or another human), not "do not kill". Sometimes both justice and mercy demand killing. As explained in Romans 13.

 
At 3/28/2005 3:46 PM, Blogger Damian, the Left-Hand Player declaimed...

Once again, not all killing is murder. The best translation is do not murder (ie. killing out of hatred for God or another human), not "do not kill".

"Thou shalt not kill." Hmm, nothing about "murder", not one word, just "kill". Odd that an all-knowing, all-powerful, all-loving god would so blatently LIE about something that important, especially with that whole "don't lie" bit just three verses down.

And yet, you'll just brush me off, saying it's not important. Never mind that the Bible is supposed to be the direct word of your god; I guess he must've gotten it wrong.

That, or you're just another apologetic scrambling to find an explanation.

 
At 3/28/2005 4:05 PM, Blogger Zachary Moore declaimed...

Mark: Once again, not all killing is murder. The best translation is do not murder (ie. killing out of hatred for God or another human), not "do not kill".

Zach: Whenever I hear a Christian talk about the "best translation" I cringe and look around for Jason Gastrich. As I understand it, the Hebrew word "ratsach" makes no distinction between "murder" and "kill", and is translated into both English words in different passages. The concept that the word communicates is 'ending someone's life before their time, often violently.' There's nothing in the definition to suggest the concept of "mercy-killing" or "euthanasia", and I found Romans 13 to be unhelpful on the subject.

Compounding the problem is the fact that, in English, the word "murder" already means "to kill unlawfully", which begs the question of morality by definition. So, according to your translation, Exodus 20:13 really says "do not do something illegal." Which is, of course, utterly redundant and therefore meaningless as a moral code.

 
At 3/28/2005 4:37 PM, Blogger Mark Kodak declaimed...

Derivative Definition: shattering (Psa_42:11; Eze_21:27).

rasah is a purely Hebrew term. It has no clear cognate in any of the contemporary tongues. The root occurs thirty -eight times in the OT, with fourteen occurrences in Num 35. The initial use of the root appears in the Ten Commandments (Exo_20:13). In that important text it appears in the simple Qal stem with the negative adverb, "You shall not murder, " being a more precise reading than the too-general KJV "thou shalt not kill." Much has been made of the fact that the root rasah appears in the Mosaic legislation, as though this term bore a special connotation of premeditation, as though the Decalogue only proscribed premeditated crime. This is not the case, The many occurrences in Num 35 deal with the organization of the six cities of refuge to which manslayers who killed a person accidentally could flee. Num_35:11 makes completely clear that the refuge was for those guilty of unpremeditated, accidental killings. This makes clear that rasab applies equally to both cases of premeditated murder and killings as a result of any other circumstances, what English Common Law has called, "man slaughter." The root also describes killing for revenge (Num_35:27, Num_35:30) and assassination (2Ki_6:32). It appears in a few poetic contexts, as an "A" word in a peculiar parallel construction (Job_24:14); as an "A" word parallel to a general term for immorality, zimma (Hos_6:9); as a "B" word parallel to another synonym "to kill, " "to slay" (Psa_94:6). In only one case in the whole OT is the root used of the killing of man by an animal (Pro_22:13). But even in that context it is the enormity and horror of the deed which is primary. In all other cases of the use of rasah, it is man's crime against man and God's censure of it which is uppermost.

 
At 3/28/2005 5:22 PM, Blogger Zachary Moore declaimed...

Mark: This makes clear that rasab applies equally to both cases of premeditated murder and killings as a result of any other circumstances, what English Common Law has called, "man slaughter."

Zach: Exactly as I said. So the prohibition is against both kinds of killing- "murder" is not a "better" translation.

 
At 3/28/2005 6:01 PM, Blogger Mark Kodak declaimed...

Killing is sometimes sanctioned by God. The civil magistrate, for instance, or those in authority enforcing civil law, have the power to take life when necessary. (ie. state, police officers, etc . . )

You know what I am getting at. surely you do not think all killing is wrong do you ? ? What about self defense ? ? Can you be a perty to your own murder ? ? What would you do if you were threatened with deadly force ? ?

 
At 3/28/2005 6:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous declaimed...

Hahhaha... phew... I needed a good laugh. The whole idea of god I find mighty amusing. Thanks for a very readable, quite hilarious discussion.

 
At 3/28/2005 6:39 PM, Blogger Bahnsen Burner declaimed...

Mark: "You know what I am getting at. surely you do not think all killing is wrong do you ? ? What about self defense ? ? Can you be a perty to your own murder ? ? What would you do if you were threatened with deadly force ? ?"

Matthew 5:39 reads: "But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also."

Apparently Jesus didn't want his hearers to defend themselves. I don't know how else to read this.

 
At 3/28/2005 6:39 PM, Blogger Bahnsen Burner declaimed...

Mark: "You know what I am getting at. surely you do not think all killing is wrong do you ? ? What about self defense ? ? Can you be a perty to your own murder ? ? What would you do if you were threatened with deadly force ? ?"

Matthew 5:39 reads: "But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also."

Apparently Jesus didn't want his hearers to defend themselves. I don't know how else to read this.

 
At 3/28/2005 8:36 PM, Blogger Zachary Moore declaimed...

Mark: You know what I am getting at. surely you do not think all killing is wrong do you ? ? What about self defense ? ? Can you be a perty to your own murder ? ? What would you do if you were threatened with deadly force ? ?

Zach: Of course I know what you're getting at. It's just not Christian, that's all... or is that the point?

 
At 3/28/2005 8:42 PM, Blogger Mark Kodak declaimed...

Matthew 5:39 reads: "But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also."

Apparently Jesus didn't want his hearers to defend themselves. I don't know how else to read this.

Are you kidding ? ? Smiting on the cheek is not deadly force. We should forgive minorabuses. But notice, Christ did not say, "If your enemy pulls out a sword and swings it towards your head, stand there and let yourself get cut down like a tree."

As a matter of fact he told them to buy a sword at one point.

Luk 22:36 He said to them, "But now let the one who has a moneybag take it, and likewise a knapsack. And let the one who has no sword sell his cloak and buy one.

However, this is also balanced by a warning of living a life of violence.

Mat 26:52 Then Jesus said to him, "Put your sword back into its place. For all who live by the sword will perish by the sword.

 
At 3/28/2005 9:34 PM, Blogger Zachary Moore declaimed...

That's a wonderful example of a contradiction, Mark! What's the point in having a sword if you can't use it?

 
At 3/28/2005 10:05 PM, Blogger Bahnsen Burner declaimed...

In reaction to Mt. 5:39, I wrote: "Apparently Jesus didn't want his hearers to defend themselves. I don't know how else to read this."

Mark asked: "Are you kidding ? ?"

No, Mark, I'm not kidding.

Mark wrote: "Smiting on the cheek is not deadly force."

It sure can be. Especially if the smiter is wearing brass knuckles. I was socked back in 1991, and I still have TMJ problems because of it. That's what I get for turning the cheek.

Mark: "We should forgive minorabuses."

The initiation of the use of force is never a "minor abuse." Also, don't forget the first part of Mt. 5:39, which reads: "resist not evil." Given what Jesus allegedly taught, on what basis would a Christian, who seeks to hold consistently to what his Jesus allegedly taught, defend himself? He could only defend himself on the basis of contradicting what his "Lord" preached in Mt. 5.

Mark wrote: "But notice, Christ did not say, 'If your enemy pulls out a sword and swings it towards your head, stand there and let yourself get cut down like a tree.'"

Given the nature of the principles he allegedly did endorse ("resist not evil" and "turn the cheek"), he didn't have to specify such instances. The principles Jesus taught covers a wide variety of scenarios. Or would you say that Jesus' principles only apply to situations that he specified?

Mark wrote (citing Lk 22:36): "As a matter of fact he told them to buy a sword at one point."

Why would those who are supposed to "resist not evil" need a sword? Are they expecting their intended victims to have attended the same sermon, and thus "resist not evil" likewise? Were they looking for an easy kill?

Referring to Mt. 26:52, Mark writes: "However, this is also balanced by a warning of living a life of violence."

Get your position straight, Mark. Which is it? Use a sword, or don't use a sword? Resist evil, or resist not evil? Why the double-mindedness on this very basic issue?

I can't think of any reason why someone in their right mind should "resist not evil." If you know of one, please, enlighten me.

 
At 3/28/2005 11:28 PM, Blogger Mark Kodak declaimed...

Get your position straight, Mark. Which is it? Use a sword, or don't use a sword? Resist evil, or resist not evil? Why the double-mindedness on this very basic issue?


We are not communicating. It is really very simple, yet, somehow, you are not seeing my point. Perhaps I am not speaking in a lucid enough way. You seem to be equivocating on the words I use to polemicise against me.

Jesus did stop the people from stoning the woman caught in adultry. And, he violently overturned tables and drove out the money changers in the temple.

Two examples from different ends of the spectrum that prove my point of moderation in appealing to force. Why didn't he tell the woman about to be stoned for adultry, "Turn the other cheek".

And if someone has brass knuckles that is obviously "deadly force". Even if they are bigger than you it could be considered deadly force. Christ is not saying do not defend yourself, he is making a point about the application of the Pharisees "eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth" obsession with the Torah ad infinitum ad nauseum.

I think Jesus wants us to use common sense here.

I am sure if we were discussing this over a cup of coffee you would see the system in a broader multi-perspectival sense because you could ask me to define my terms. But here we are going in circles because of our presuppositions, and preffered useage of certain words.

And my position is strait. The two seemingly contradicting verses reveal the simple truth that sometimes, we need to use a sword, and sometimes we should restrain from retaliation. That grey area is often determined differently depending on the situation. Something the scriptures refer to as "wisdom" then comes into play. There is no perfect dichotomy between right and wrong within the biblical framework of ethics. That is why Christ rebuked the Pharisees by pointing to not only the letter of the lay but the spirit of the law.

And, I know there is not an exclusive dichotomy in your world view either. No one lives that consistently, nor can they apply consistently, absolute moral or ethical standards to every given situation.

I plan on pondering your idea of objective moral standards without a God and answering that question.
This little discussion is going nowhere because that premise has not been challenged.

 
At 3/29/2005 7:14 AM, Blogger Zachary Moore declaimed...

Mark-

Don't you see that you're adding information to the Gospels to make up for those "supposed" contradictions? If, as you say, Jesus really intended for us to use common sense, there would be a verse along the lines of, "And Jesus said, 'Verily, though there may be occasions on which you must turn thy cheek, there may be other instances where thou must make ready thy sword. I decree that thou mayest use the discretion of thy common sense to decide.'"

The fact that you have to come up with these 'explanations' is based on the obvious implication that Jesus speaks out of the both sides of his mouth. Let Jesus speak for himself!

 
At 3/29/2005 8:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous declaimed...

Mark,

Gonna try to help you here, hope I don't embarrass you.

Franc,
Your mis-interpretationof the bible is typical for people like you. Jesus is very much alive, and Mark knows it. Your little "you're not a Christian" is typical for someone that dances like you do. You jab when you think you have an opening, but in reality after every post you feel the pangs of making an incorrect statement. That my friend is the Holy Spirit talking to you. What you that choice to disregard the Living Christ would call a conscience. You should do wome more inner reflection, you WILL find that there is a lot more conflicting in you soul than you ever thought.

Talk on Mark, it is great to be correct in this is it not!

 
At 3/29/2005 8:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous declaimed...

Zach,

Jesus' statement to turn the other cheek, as Mark knows, and you feel inside but refuse to recognize, is forgivness, not the choice to allow someone to beat the snot out of you. There is no contradiction, if in fact you do get the snot beaten out of you, then you turn the other cheek and do not seek redemption. That is where the local law comes in to play. You are to allow for the law to find justice and pray that God has a hand in the outcome.

 
At 3/29/2005 9:03 AM, Blogger Zachary Moore declaimed...

Anonymous-

You're doing nothing different than Mark- adding to Jesus' words. Do you think so poorly of Jesus' testimony that you have do explain it for him?

 
At 3/29/2005 10:39 AM, Blogger Bahnsen Burner declaimed...

Mark, let me add the following to Zach's point.

Mark: "You seem to be equivocating on the words I use to polemicise against me."

How so? I'm simply going by what the text says. It says "resist not evil" and "turn the cheek." These are given in the imperative, which, in the mouth of god, usually means they're commandments. I can see no reason why men should "resist not evil." And Jesus didn't give a reason. That's the whole point about commandments: they're to be obeyed, not understood.

Mark: "Jesus did stop the people from stoning the woman caught in adultry. And, he violently overturned tables and drove out the money changers in the temple."

Such examples only show that Jesus didn't follow his own rules. It's just another case of "do as I say, not as I do." These instances do not serve to give his commandments certain "nuances" which allow us, in modern times, to interpret what is written in the text in a manner that is convenient for our sensibilities. Doing so would be mangling the text.

Mark: "Two examples from different ends of the spectrum that prove my point of moderation in appealing to force."

I'm not really interested in your point per se, Mark, but in what the bible says.

Mark: "Why didn't he tell the woman about to be stoned for adultry, 'Turn the other cheek'."

If you're asking for my assessment, it's obvious: Jesus' worldview didn't have an integrated system of rational principles. He was winging it as he went, just as Paul was. In fact, it's the authors of these texts who suffered from these discrepancies as they developed their legendary Jesus stories in the first place, because their fundamental premises were arbitrary. These primitive thinkers weren't guided by rational principles, but by theological positions which they sought to concretize in their picture of Jesus. It's an ancient feel-good story cloaking a hideous philosophy that is clearly unfit for human life.

Mark: "And if someone has brass knuckles that is obviously 'deadly force'. Even if they are bigger than you it could be considered deadly force. Christ is not saying do not defend yourself,"

Yes, that's certainly deadly force. And if one makes an effort to avoid being hit on his other cheek, he's disobeying what Jesus commands in Mt. 5:39. Careful not to interpret the bible according to your modern, non-Christian sensibilities, Mark.

Mark: "he is making a point about the application of the Pharisees 'eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth' obsession with the Torah ad infinitum ad nauseum."

Indeed. He was revising Yahweh's own laws. For in the OT we certainly do read the "eye for an eye" ethic explicitly endorsed (cf. Ex. 21 et al.). These laws were said to have been handed down by Yahweh himself.

Mark: "I think Jesus wants us to use common sense here."

We don't need a god to tell us to use our minds, Mark. Rational men can figure things out for themselves. This threatens serious believers because independent thinking serves to blockade the theist's claim to authority over them. We don't need his invisible magic being holding our hands through life.

Mark: And my position is strait. The two seemingly contradicting verses reveal the simple truth that sometimes, we need to use a sword, and sometimes we should restrain from retaliation."

Which means deciding moral issues is a matter of making judgment calls, not obeying commandments. Again, I can't think of any time when a man should "resist not evil."

Mark: "That grey area is often determined differently depending on the situation. Something the scriptures refer to as 'wisdom' then comes into play."

What comes into play (or should come into play when formulating our moral judgments) is reason. And in I Cor. 1 & 2, Paul condemned what he called "men's wisdom" and "the wisdom of the world". What else could he have been referring to if not reason? Jesus certainly didn't endorse reason. He endorsed faith in revelations. In another thread I made the point that revelation will tell us that wishing hard enough ("faith the size of a mustard seed") will cast Mt. McKinley into the Arctic Ocean. Reason tells us why we shouldn't believe such nonsense.

Mark: "There is no perfect dichotomy between right and wrong within the biblical framework of ethics. That is why Christ rebuked the Pharisees by pointing to not only the letter of the lay but the spirit of the law."

And how is "the spirit of the law" determined? You say "common sense"? Where did Jesus say this? As Zach rightly pointed out, Jesus didn't endorse anything called "common sense." Apparently one is supposed to "just know." Sort of like John Frame's "we know without knowing how we know."

Mark: "And, I know there is not an exclusive dichotomy in your world view either."

I'm not sure what you mean by this. In my worldview, there's no compromise between food and poison. But if you endorse Mark 16:18 ("and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them") it seems you're willing to believe there is such a compromise.

Mark: "No one lives that consistently, nor can they apply consistently, absolute moral or ethical standards to every given situation."

I can understand why you would think this, for the notions that you consider moral are certainly not geared toward living life on earth anyway. So you'd have to violate them if you want to live.

Mark: "I plan on pondering your idea of objective moral standards without a God and answering that question. This little discussion is going nowhere because that premise has not been challenged."

Which premise has not been challenged? Are you trying to defend the claim that Christian morality is somehow objective? Please, present your case.

 
At 3/29/2005 10:52 AM, Blogger Bahnsen Burner declaimed...

Anonymous wrote: "Jesus' statement to turn the other cheek, as Mark knows, and you feel inside but refuse to recognize, is forgivness."

This is just more "that's what it says but that's not what it means." In fact, you're interpreting Jesus' own commandments according to modern, non-Christian presuppositions. In essence, you're borrowing from my worldview, and you're refusing to acknowledge this fact. My worldview nowhere tells men "resist not evil" or "turn the cheek." And I don't do it. Also, I don't just forgive people's moral breaches just for the sake of doing so. I don't forgive Tim McVeigh, for instance. I don't forgive Osama Bin Laden. I certainly don't forgive someone just because someone commands me to. Unlike your spineless god who can't resolve his own problem with evil, I will never wink at these things. Imagine if everyone simply "turned the cheek" and didn't resist evil. Who wins? Certainly not the victims.

Anonymous wrote: "There is no contradiction,"

I'm not even concerned about there being a contradiction among the scriptures on this. There's plenty of those to go around. What concerns me is how unfit these teachings are for human life. It's no wonder to me why Christians are hypocrites - they're doing what Jesus did: they say one thing, and do something else.

Anonymous wrote: "if in fact you do get the snot beaten out of you, then you turn the other cheek and do not seek redemption.

If someone beats me up, I don't seek "redemption," I seek retribution. And I will, no matter whose god doesn't like it.

 
At 3/29/2005 10:55 AM, Blogger Mark Kodak declaimed...

Anonymous: thanks for your comments.

Bahnsen burner and Francois: I will post some step by step ideas concerning objective morality outside of God, and see if we can establish the basis of what we do agree on, then move from there.

I would like to see this turn into more of a comparative outline of the differences between what secular ethics has to offer, compared with Christian ethics, instead of a semantic wrestling match.

If we can both elucidate our views on paper, we can leave it up to others to decide which one is more consistent with reality as we perceive it. What do you think ??

 
At 3/29/2005 10:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous declaimed...

Francois,

For your original post
Luke 10:27
He answered: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’[a]; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b]”
For your question about values in the Bible

 
At 3/29/2005 11:05 AM, Blogger Zachary Moore declaimed...

Anonymous-

I accidentally deleted your latest response to me when I was deleting all the other copies of it that you posted. I apologize for that.

You said in it, though, that you weren't "adding" to Jesus' words, but "clarifying and explaining". I don't see any effective difference between the concepts, and in fact what I said before you've verified- you think so poorly of Jesus' original testimony that you feel the need to explain them for everyone else.

 
At 3/29/2005 11:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous declaimed...

Bahn',

This is not a matter of differences in His belief system or contradictions in His actions. He rebuked them for the things they did, just as with the prostitute and the stoning, he rebuked the mob for it's actions. Turning the other cheek is a command, it is after all what our blessed Savior did as he was led to the cross. It was Jesus' intent to be crucified, it was hiw ability to die and rise again that allowed him to defeat evil. You will understand one day as "every knee will bow" in the end. Mark has it right, but you pick and choose what you want to put holes in the truth. As I have stated before any phrase or comment can be taken out of context and twisted to mean what you want. Your denial of the truth is your inability to acccept that you have no control of your life and actions, yes even you who think you can do as you please and not commit to a higher authority, can not, you do what you feel gives you the freedom that you in your "sin nature" desires to do, it is your sin nature that leads you, not yourself. And still you have that nagging felling that even in your freedom you make the wrong decision, say hello to my little friend - the Holy Spirit.

 
At 3/29/2005 12:42 PM, Blogger Paul Manata declaimed...

ANyway... boring

A right side of face smite would be a backhanded slap. In Jewish custom the backhand slap was an insult. A backhand slap does not cause damage and was considered very rude. A right cross may hurt people and cause the need for self-defence, but in Jewish custom they all knew what the backhand slap meant. So, Jesus was telling them to resist the pride of an insult and not resturn insult for insult. Now, I have stuck with Jesus' exact words, put it in its grammatico-historical context, and shown that it is not referring to self-defence. It now appears that it has been the fools who have been putting words into Jesus' mouth.

As far as self-defence, well we can find that in the genral equity of the 6th commandment. Furthermore, Jesus authored the OT as well as the NT so we are the ones who interprets it with the proper presuppositions and you interpret it as two different Gods. From our presuppositions Jesus said two things, A and B, Jesus cannot lie (contradict himself) so A and B cannot conflict.

Hence the rsolution: we are COMMANDED to defend life (per general equity of 6th commandment) and we are COMMANDED to not return insult for insult.

Night night and make sure your mommy knows your playing with adults now.

 
At 3/29/2005 2:06 PM, Blogger Zachary Moore declaimed...

Paul: So, Jesus was telling them to resist the pride of an insult and not resturn insult for insult.

Zach: Glad to see you're so dedicated to following this interpretation, Paul.

 
At 3/29/2005 5:33 PM, Blogger Paul Manata declaimed...

Zach, most of the time it is for sarcasm or to make a point. Other times it is out of sin- I admit this. This is obviously an area I need to grow in my sanctification. Having said that... how the heck did what you wrote refute anything I said???

 
At 3/29/2005 6:10 PM, Blogger Francois Tremblay declaimed...

"In fact, you're interpreting Jesus' own commandments according to modern, non-Christian presuppositions. In essence, you're borrowing from my worldview, and you're refusing to acknowledge this fact."

This thread may have divereged wildly, but is there really more to be said ? Unless the Christians can answer to this, I propose that this is an open and shut case.

 
At 3/29/2005 7:40 PM, Blogger Paul Manata declaimed...

i ANSWERD IT

 
At 3/29/2005 7:50 PM, Blogger Zachary Moore declaimed...

Paul: how the heck did what you wrote refute anything I said???

Zach: I didn't "refute" anything- I was just making an observation.

 
At 3/29/2005 10:29 PM, Blogger Paul Manata declaimed...

Oh, okay... so we're all in agreement that I have answerd it then. Good. Francois, go ahead and close it down.

 
At 3/30/2005 8:52 PM, Blogger Francois Tremblay declaimed...

Are we really in agreement ?

 
At 3/31/2005 6:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous declaimed...

Wow, Franc really wiped the floor with Mark! Sheeeeeeeeit!

 
At 3/31/2005 6:55 PM, Blogger Francois Tremblay declaimed...

Thanks !

 

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