Thursday, August 24, 2006

More Moral Than God, Part 2 (last)

You may wonder what motivated me to bring ‘religion’ to a blog devoted to one soldier’s honest appraisal of a war against a religiously motivated enemy. I mean, isn’t one set of fanatical religious ideas enough of a problem? Why pour gasoline on a raging fire? What could I hope to accomplish by bringing Christianity to the discussion other than to renew the passions that resulted in the Crusades?
Actually, I hope and pray that this war never comes to that, not that it’s very likely it could. My reason, conscious or not, had more to do with what I regard to be the undermining of America’s effort to defend itself by purported Christian groups. My church, the Presbyterian Church USA, has taken the official position that the war in Iraq is "unwise, immoral and illegal". To the extent that this position influences its members and conflicts the conscience of soldiers and their families, it serves to work against America’s ability to defend itself from a proven dangerous enemy. This foe is intent on the destruction of non-Muslim nations as a necessary step toward achieving Muslim dominance throughout the world. That Christians would make themselves a liability to any nation wishing to defeat this evil (if you object to this terminology, see previous post), I believe, is to misrepresent God himself. In terms of the Ten Commandments, this falls under #3- taking the Lord’s name in vain (and you thought that one just applied to what you utter when you miss the nail and hit your thumb).

I ended the last post citing some teachings of Jesus that seemed to suggest he condemned all forms of war or even self-defense. I intended to begin this one by balancing those statements with others Jesus made that seem to suggest the opposite. Several commenters have done that for me. One of you astutely offered Matt.10:34, "Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword." Now, you don’t have to student of the Bible, let alone a New Testament scholar, to recognize that this statement seems at odds with what most everybody knows about Jesus. How can that statement not contradict Matt.5:9, "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God." Perhaps you have better answers to that than I have but here are a few thoughts.
1) What does it mean to ‘make peace’? Have you ever gotten into a "fight" with a loved one that resulted in things ultimately being resolved for the better? Wasn’t that making peace by one party pulling out the sword? By analogy to the U.S. Civil War, who ultimately was the peacemaker- Lincoln or Lee? Both? Neither? (I don’t know the answer but my money’s on Lincoln).
2) Jesus was known for his acute awareness and promotion of "heaven". He continually asked his hearers to consider their "spiritual" or "eternal" life and not just their "physical" life. Which realm did he have in mind when he uttered these words? One, or the other, or both?
3) To what extent is Jesus using hyperbole? After saying that to look on a woman lustfully is to have committed adultery, he goes on to say that if your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. Good advice? Or is he using strong language to make a point? (Hmmmm, maybe that’s why God made me left-eye dominant.)
Its fairly clear from the context that when Jesus says we are to turn the other cheek, he is teaching that we are not to seek revenge, not that we aren’t to defend ourselves (or others). Paul seems to make this point in Rom.12:17-19 when he says "repay no one evil for evil" and also "never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God". Between these thoughts is found this, "If possible, so far as it depends upon you, live peaceably with all." Now sometimes ‘peace’ doesn’t depend on you, such as when your home is invaded and your family threatened, or when hijacked airplanes are flown into your office buildings. I’m sure many people want payback. I’ll be happy with deterrence. Unfortunately, the only way to deter some people is to kill them.
What other clues does the New Testament (the second half of the Christian Bible) give us? The story of the Good Samaritan, Luke 10:30-37, indicates that the suburbs of Jerusalem at the time of Jesus weren’t immune to violent crime. Even with big, bad Roman soldiers providing the Pax Romana. It might not have prevented his mugging, but the man in the parable might have benefitted from another bit of advice Jesus gave his disciples, about the time that it was getting dangerous to be identified with Jesus- "And let him who has no sword sell his mantle and buy one." JESUS SAID THAT? Must’ve been hyperbole. Peter must’ve missed the nuance then because what do we find him doing in the garden of Gethsemane the night Jesus was betrayed? Packing heat! (John 18:10) Now its clear Jesus didn’t approve of Peter whacking off the guy’s ear, and it was nice of Jesus, according to Luke, to put the severed ear back where it belonged, but from the context, it’s clear Jesus’ anger with Peter was that he lacked faith in Jesus to believe that Jesus had the situation under control. Interesting, isn’t it, that if Jesus was the proto-pacifist, after 3 years of hanging with Jesus, Peter would still be carrying a sword?!?
One more consideration from a New Testament perspective which caught my eye several years ago when all this became more than a theoretical matter. Luke 3 tells us about John the Baptist, whom Jesus called "the greatest of those born of women." Given that John and Jesus were both teachers in the rabbinic tradition (that is, teachers of Torah, Jewish doctrine and law) its fairly safe to conclude a great similarity in thinking. Anyway, a soldier asked John the Baptist, "And what shall we do?" The question was asked in response to John’s admonition to "prepare the way of the Lord" by "bear(ing) fruits that befit repentance." John’s answer to the soldier was "Rob no one by violence or by false accusation, and be content with your wages." If doing what soldiers do, defending their nation by killing their nations enemies, was an offense in God’s eyes, surely John would not have said, in effect, ‘be a soldier but have high ethical standards." John recognized the need of a society for soldiers, just as a functional society needs tax collectors. Jesus, I believe, endorsed John’s answer, as did Luke in recording this and the early church in receiving this as Holy writ.
This brings me to my final argument. Most non-Christians, and I believe the majority of Chr.s, preeminently think of Jesus as kind of an extra-terrestrial who walked among Jews but taught like Plato. He is seen as ethereal, not truly connected to this world, and as one whose message was 99% heavenly/ 1% earthly. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Jesus was a Jew, born in the line of King David and therefore an heir to the covenant which God made with Abraham. The descendants of Abraham (the Israelites, later, the Jews) were not the Amish of today, or the Puritans of yesteryear or the Ascetics of ancient Greece. Though their covenant with God required a distinct lifestyle from the polytheistic cultures around them- they were still very much part of the world. They lived, moved about and participated within the same Mediterranean culture as their neighbors.
The culture that the Hebrews developed, practiced and refined was functional and had the strength to remain intact through the millenia against the forces of absorbtion and disintegration. It was founded on Moses and the Ten Commandments. It was a society that sought no conquest beyond the land promised them by God. It was rich in culture, in agriculture, in learning, in religious devotion, in the prizing of ethical behavior (if not always practiced) and in a highly detailed system of justice. It was very this-world oriented with actually only minimal regard for the afterlife (this was developed late by sects such as the Pharisees). The common dream of the Israelites was to have a vine and fig tree, to beat their swords into plowshares and to enjoy the mercies of God. It was as enviable a society, in concept if not in actuality, as history records.
But in a fallen world, violence abounds. To survive meant to protect oneself from wild animals, from marauding enemies without and from the criminal within. Killing was differentiated from murder early on (Gen.9:5-6). Family defended family (Gen.14, John 15:14). The Book of Judges is about the Spirit of God anointing individuals to conduct war for the preservation of Israel. In Ecclesiastes, Solomon says "to everything there is a season,.... a time for war and a time of peace." Israel had to take possession of the promised land by conquest. Usually the attacks were made by the Canaanites; after Joshua they often became agressive (preemptive). There was compulsory military service and a command structure to the military. [Could God have given them the land by other than violent means? Sure. Did he? No.]
It is the clear teaching of the Old Testament that God used violent defeat as a corrective for Israel’s waywardness. Seems harsh but without maintaining their covenant with God they would have ceased to be an identifiable people. Without taking up the sword they would have simply ceased to be a people.
Every writer of the Bible, certainly the O.T. but also the N.T. (which, for the Christian, are simply divisions of the same book), had a profoundly Hebraic perspective on life and the world. In other words, the O.T. is the foundation for the New. Therefore, the most important single source for understanding the N.T. is the Jewish Scriptures, the O.T.
The apostle, Paul, states that "the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body" (Eph.3:6). For Christian Gentiles, Israel’s history is their history. In the early Church, Jews and Gentiles claimed a common spiritual ancestry with the Hebrews of old.
Which brings me back to Jesus. Christians believe he was not merely a Jewish carpenter/rabbi, but a Jew he most certainly was. He knew Judaism like Tiger Woods knows golf. "Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them." One can find parallels in Rabbinic literature to a high percentage of Jesus’ teachings. Jesus was the first to say "You shall love your neighbor as yourself", right? Wrong- Leviticus 19:28.
There’s an historical reason why the early Christians- Jews and Gentiles- parted company with the Jewish community but it was not due to a rejection of them by Jesus. His repeated call for Jews to ‘repent’ was not a call to convert away from the ancestral Jewish faith but to become renewed and restored in God’s forgiveness within that same community. The major question confronting Peter, James, John, Paul and the 1st century Church was not whether Jewish believers in Jesus could belong to this new, Spirit-born community but whether Gentiles could, upon repentance from sin, belong to a totally Jewish community.
My argument is, you can disconnect Jesus from the Jews if you want to, but you’d be going against all the evidence. The role of the appropriate use of force in the preservation of the Jewish people, throughout its biblical history, is built into the warp and woof of its society. We would be hard pressed to know the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob if not for the Bible and the God we find therein, treats force in the suppression of evil as a necessity. It is beyond ludicrous to me, that Jesus would have any other view than that of his ancestral people and his Father, God. For followers of Christ today, to condemn this biblical precedent, is to me, the height of arrogance and a misguided attempt to be MORE MORAL THAN GOD.

52 comments:

Susan said...

Good summary. Some of what you wrote was close to what I was thinking, but some was new ground for me. I didn't want to bring in the OT because I know some Christians discount it, but I don't think you can ignore a people's history.

I didn't know the Presbyterian Church had taken that stand. It isn't my church, but I grew up in it, and I'm a little surprised. Especially at the word immoral.

Thanks for the second part. I need to think things over again now.

Anonymous said...

Thanks tfdad for all the time and thought you have put into these blogs. It isn't easy work to actually put down your own original thoughts. Many may disagree with what you say and accuse you of spouting a conservative line but it is obvious that you have not done that. You are an honest man who is putting your life experiences and observations down in writing. This is what freedom is all about and we know that this freedom has been bought with our mens blood in many wars. When we all decide to lie down and roll over in the war against evil, no matter what that evil, we will no longer be able to have blogs like this one. We are thankful to our Military and to great citizens like you.
A&N

jgr said...

TF, you speak very well.

You may know that the Presbyterian Church, USA, is only one of several bodies in the US employing that name.

The Presbyterian Church in America is one of those bodies; it is part of the Evangelical community. That community has been strongly supportive of Israel and America's role in the world.
The Evangelical community has attacked the evil of Anti-Semitism, an sin which disfigures Europe especially, as well as groups, organizations, and some churches in America.

Barryaoke said...

Awesome Blog! Some folks would have you believe that if you're a Christian, when somebody's trying to kick your butt, you gotta turn the other cheek!!!

There's a huge difference between getting even with someone who does you wrong and defending the innocent. Jesus said there's no greater love than to lay down your life for someone. And He did!

I'm with you. Stopping a bully is not about punishing him mercilessly and making him pay, in the same way that Jesus' teaching of forgiveness doesn't mean they didn't do something wrong. It just frees you from the trap of hatred and bitterness so you can get on with your life and help the downtrodden as the "Good Samaritan" so perfectly illustrates.

You da man, man, t.f.dad&son
Love you guys,
Barryaoke

Elizabeth said...

I totally disagree with your main thesis here. Christianity is a RADICAL break with Judaism. Jesus played this down because he knew that it would be very dangerous to claim his new religion contradicted the prevailing religion. But it did. Hence, the leaders of the Jews had no problems with Jesus's execution. They had figured out he was trouble. Yes, he claimed that he came to "fulfill" rather than contradict, but his teachings did, in fact, contradict the Old Testament in many ways. I wrote something about this on my blog a couple of weeks ago. Jesus's religion was universal, whereas Judaism was and is a tribal religion for ethnic Jews (conversion to Judaism is not encouraged and many Jews to this day do not accept converts as Jews). The 10 Commandments were written not as universal laws, but as laws for how Jews were to treat other Jews. Judaism does not support a uniform code of justice. Christianity on the other hand emphasizes belief, not ethnicity. Anyone could become a Christian and the goal was to convert everyone. Christianity therefore preached equality and Judaism did not and does not. There are other significant difference between the two but I don't want to hog the comment space.

Anonymous said...

Jesus was the Messiah promised to the Jews in the Old Testiment, who lived under the law and not under grace. Christ fullfilled the Law. There are no contridictions. The Jewish Nation rejected Him as Mesiah. He set them aside and said in this age of grace that whosoever will may come. It is the Church Age now. When He comes back he will judge the nations and the Jewish people will see Him and realize what they did in History and will accept Him. He will be King of all. Like it or not Elizabeth that is what His Word the Holy Bible says. That is not my interpretation. It is in clear black and white. Just because you are willingly blind does not change one iota of the Truth written in those pages. Thank God that little men and women can change nothing in the Plans of God and no matter how much you reject the truth, God is soverign. May God have mercy on your stinking miserable sinful soul. You are no more than a piece of grass that will wither in the suns heat. When you face eternity without Him perhaps you will see, maybe not, I don't know. Until then you are just a small reminder of the fallen state of man kind. I have no hatred of you other than that you would mislead men to their ill good. I hope that someday you will honestly ask God to show you the truth..And He will under those circumstances, because He is long suffering, and because he died for you and all of us other whosoevers, while we were yet sinners and enemies. Don't you realize how pitiful your arguments are?
This is Annie...You needn't call the other commenters idiots...just me. I don't really mind. And no..my spelling isn't too good.

Anonymous said...

I would suggest that readers go to Elizabeth's blog and read so you know where she is coming from. It will open your eyes to what Elizabeth is really about and her comments on this great blog of Sgt. tfBoggs will no longer seem significant to you in any way. It will eliminate frustrations and the wasting of your time on her. And Christianity is not a religion. It is a personal relationship with Christ that comes by believing Him. Religion is man made. And the 10 commandments are the perfect law of God and were given to show men that they were not and could never be perfect on their own. With the Law God also gave the sacrifices to be made for breaking the Law. He knew they would need forgiveness. These sacrifices pointed to the final sacrifice, Christ the Lamb of God that taketh away the sins of the world. He did indeed fulfill the law. This has nothing to do with tfdad's blog except to point out that few people read their Bibles, less understand them because they go to the scriptures with their own agenda. Therefore the pacifistic viewpoint comes from ignorance of the Word of God. Thank you tfdad. Your wrote a very good blog.
Neatie

Elizabeth said...

One brief suggestion tfdad: Have you ever tried sitting down with one of your fellow Presbyterians who supported the divestment resolution and having a dialogue about it? You might learn some things.

tfdad said...

AUTISM noun 1. Abnormal subjectivity; acceptance of fantasy rather than reality. 2. A form of childhood schizophrenia characterized by acting out.

Elizabeth, As much as the readers of Tim's blog enjoy your stimulating contributions, we will understand if you use your computer time to research better treatments.

By the way, what happened to your agreement with Tim not to troll here anymore?

Margarita said...

Sir, why is your church so against the War in Iraq? Might it be because that country had so little to do with this now-gigantic War on Terrorism? Or maybe they are simply "fed up with it all" and "freaked out" (as I am) that our position in the World has been steadily declining since 2001 and in result fixing us more prominently on the Terrorist agenda?

Make no mistake now, the threat is most definitely here today more than ever. So, WHEN is America going to do something to remedy it? I refuse to engage in a life-long / "generational commitment" to this War similar to the one extremists in the Middle East have been promoting for the past hundred years! Does no one else see how we are "feeding" this machine of Hate and War and falling directly into the extremists hands? Instability, fear and intolerance continues to spread everywhere (even in our own country which remains hotly divisive) and one has to question if we ourselves haven't been entangled into a participatory role of the Terrorist Machine.

Oh, Miss Annie... "May God have mercy on your stinking miserable sinful soul. You are no more than a piece of grass that will wither in the suns heat."

Why so much hostility for voicing an opinion?

Anonymous said...

I think it is because I have watched liberalism bit by bit destroy American. Yes, I do hate what has happened to a once great country. I find no sympathy for liberals. Nor do I find any for terrorists. Nor is it my fault that Islamic terriorism is evil. Trying to put down my hate for the enemies of all I love and make me the bad guy is a waste of your time Margarita.

Margarita said...

Right! That is exactly what I am doing, too--making you the bad guy!

/end sarcasm

Annie: Why is everything so black and white with you?

What is your definition of the word "Liberal"? I would argue that Jesus encompasses a lot of what we label as "liberal" and "conservative", so does that mean you reject that part of him?

Anonymous said...

Margarita,
I will be glad to discuss anything you want to discuss but not on Sgt. Boggs time. His blogs should be the main point of discussion here. Post your email and I will be glad to email you.
Annie

Kat said...

TFDad - fabulous, very well-written post. Thanks so much -- good job!

Elizabeth said...

Some people just aren't capable of discussion and debate, which, of course, entail the ability to listen, to ask questions, to consider different points of view, and to defend one's argument with facts and logic.

Elizabeth said...

For random intelligent people who might have stumbled across this blog--if you look closely at the New Testament you can see that Jesus spoke of bringing a sword as a METAPHOR.

Margarita said...

If his points are the main topics of discussion here why do you digress into such childish, unconstructive personal insults? Your petty shots do not add to debate but fuel individual anger and diverts from topic!

I have two blogs you may leave comments on so be my guest. Otherwise, you may supply me with your e-addy.

Tim's Dad: My question of What is your definition of the word "Liberal"? is not an attempt (as others may speculate) to "hijack your post" but to bring into focus a widespread concern your commenters have with liberalism.

Basically, I've noticed that everything wrong/bad/problematic in our country comes down to the "L" word. I'm only asking why and for individual definitions because I think the topic is very applicable here when discussing anything from Politics to Christ.

tom said...

Hi Steve. Sorry I missed you at golf today. Good job on your blog. If you had gone golfing, I would have suggested to you that Jesus's teaching are really radical. While he doesn't call us to be wimps, I doubt that he would tell us to use force for our personal self interest either. In fact he might well tell us to "turn the other cheek" or even tougher to "lose our life to find it." Jesus has plenty of tough teachings for us, I'm afraid. I suppose that the great command sums up what our response to evil should be.....Matt 12:28 One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, "Of all the commandments, which is the most important? The most important one," answered Jesus, "is this: 'Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one.Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.'The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'There is no commandment greater than these."




Get better, Steve. Welcome back Tim.

tfdad said...

Tom- You said "Jesus' teachings are really radical" and I couldn't agree more, if by 'radical' you mean that he prescribes behaviors and attitudes that are radical departures from what our fallen human nature gives us desires to do and radically difficult apart from the empowering of God's Spirit. What I did argue is that Jesus' teaching was NOT a radical departure from the Torah and the ethical commands of God that Israel received thru Moses & the Prophets. One has to separate Jesus from his ancestors to make him into a passivist (the opposite of which is NOT warmonger). None of this is incompatible with Jesus, the Jew, also being the Son of God. This is what 'God incarnate' means.

So, you can't stand one weekend without beating me up on the golf course that you got to come beat me up on my son's blog? I've never heard you express remorse about flying attack helicopters as you did in 'Nam. What is this, post-traumatic guilt syndrome? I always assumed you didn't find THAT the "use of force for personal self-interest".

Margarita- What's my definition of a liberal? If you think John Kerry would have been a good Commander-in-Chief, then you're a liberal. That's as good a working definition as I need. For a more textbook definition, go se David Horowitz at Frontpagemag.com.

Elizabeth said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Margarita said...

Um, you'll really have to spell it out for me because "John Kerry" does not answer the question of "What is a liberal?"

What about him makes him a liberal?

Also, I was asking for your definition and not somoene else's...

T. F. Boggs said...

Tom- Tim here, back in the Middle East and loving every minute of it.

Ok so my two cents doesn't amount to much but I think one of the best ways we can "love our God and our neighbor" is by trying to spread the freedom that God intended for us throughout the world. If you don't believe God intended that for us then I imagine you can agree that this world would be better if all people were free rather than some people being free and others subject to tyrants.

It isn't our fault that when we try to help people who so desperately need it-Somalis in 93, Iraqis in 03, and now those Sudanese in Darfur, just to name a few-they reject our help and turn on us. I think there is something bigger going on behind it all besides some screwed up policy on our part but you see where I am coming from none the less.

I guess it comes down to what you see as self interest. While I don't purport to be so blind that I cannot see some benefit for ourselves for being in Iraq, I don't believe those were our only reasons for going there (what those reasons are doesn't need to be brought up here). I think we were trying to spread Democracy because so far that is the only political system that works and obviously it would make the world much safer if there was a stable democracy in the cess pool that is the Middle East.

While I don't pretend to understand all of Jesus's teachings completely and throughly I do believe Jesus would say you can only have so much cheek turning before enough is enough. We turned the other cheek to terrorism for 40 odd years and are now reaping the benefits of our wonderful appeasement policy. Do you think Jesus would advocate turning the other cheek if terrorists were running planes into our buildings once a week?

Also I wish a certain someone (Hebrew scholar) would get on here and explain exactly what turning the other cheek meant in Jewish culture.

So thats it for me, really not thought out well, I have been up for 25 plus hours after making it through Lodon Heathrow airport as the only white guy on a plane headed for the Middle East.

Anonymous said...

Tim, This is a part of the sermon on the mount, the rule during the reign of Christ on this earth, physically when He returns. Keep that in mind. Do you live like this or do you resist evil which Jesus also said but not for the kingdom age. There is a principle for us here but we are living in a day when a wise man armed keepeth his house. The apostle Paul could say, "Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil; the Lord reward him according to his works." 2 Tim 4/14. In the Kingdom you will be able to turn the other cheek. It remindes me of an Irishman whom someone hit on the cheek and knocked down. The Irishman got up and turned the other cheek. The fellow knocked him down again. This time the Irishman got up and beat the stuffings out of that fellow. An observer asked, why did you do that? "Well, replied the Irishman, the Lord said to turn the other cheek and I did but He never told me what to do after that." Those who use this verse to keep from fighting in war evidentally don't belive the next 2 verses which say: And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also. OR And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. OR Give to him that asketh thee and from him that would borrow of thee turn thou not away. In other words, Tim, they pick and choose which verses to call their religion and to support their own agendas while ignoring the verses that don't suit them and that they don't do personally. And they ignor who Jesus was talking to and for what time period He was speaking. It will work in the kingdom age but for now he says (again) A strong man ARMED keepeth his household.
Scary trip Tim. Glad you made it safely. We are beginning to know how you feel about travel. You are the best and your dad did a fantastic job while you were gone. May the God of peace bless you now with peace in your heart as He will bless all physically when He returns.
Your friends

Margarita said...

It seems to me that it has to be the hardest thing in the World to stand there and "turn the other cheek." From any perspective you choose to approach it--physically it's a challenge, (naturally we are controlled by our fight or flight responses) and it's a further challenge to our ideologies and morals when we know that our way is the "right" way.

Perhaps that is why Christ remains the best at practicing what he taught. Who else has ever come close to standing up to that challenge? Only a few names come to mind--Gandhi, King, and many of the Civil Rights Era protesters with their actions of Nonviolent Resistance. I wonder how different society would be today had the majority taken more of a "Black Panther Party" / Armed Resistance approach for their social equality?

William Eaton's Last Stand said...

I think the biggest blow to the black community here in America was the murder of Malcolm X.


Pacifism like Gandhi's is ONLY effective when the people you're trying to get through to at least want to have a sense that they're just, moral people. As an example, it would work perfectly for the Palistinians.

On the other hand, peaceful demonstrations against a regime that has no qualms with mass murder merely makes you an easier to kill dissident. Consider for a moment China's pro-Democracy movement.

Anonymous said...

Animals have fight or flight instincts. Man has reason. Isa.Chapter 1 vs 18: Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. Christianity is not an ideology. Christianity is a relationship with God. John Chapter 14 verse 6: Jesus sayith unto him, I am THE WAY, the TRUTH, and the LIFE; NO man cometh unto the Father, but by Me.
John Chapter 3 verses 18 thru 21:
He that believeth on him is not condemned; but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he halth believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And THIS is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds are evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light lest his deeds be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.
John Chapter 17 is too long for me to place in this blog but tells it all if anyone cares enough to look it up. He is the way, He is the truth, Christianity is believing Him, and a relationship with Him as you walk with him in this evil world. It is not a religion or a philosophy or an ideology. We are not amimals, we are human beings. Perhaps we would be nicer if we had no free will or reason and just responded to stimuli. But God did things the way He chose to do them and no matter how we kick against the pricks the truth is the truth. Truth is a wonderful thing no matter what circumstances we find ourselves in. Take care Sgt. Boggs. You know the truth and you are putting it to practical use as you serve your country in war. We thank God for you and those like you. Faith exercised grows like muscles grow when exercised. Our prayers are with you.
Neatie

Margarita said...

The fact we are endowed with reason is truely amazing (to be a sure, it is a gift from God that establishes us as separate from animals) but reason is generally irrelevant here. Consider, for a moment, the use of "liberal" on this board and how many knee-jerk reactionaries have employed it as an epiteth for everything evil and perverted in our society. Is that applying reason? I still anxiously await responses to my previous question on liberalism and what it means to you all...

Anonymous said...

Reason is never irrelevent. Liberalism considers all things equal. (They are not.) Liberalism says all things are gray and it depends on your perspective. (All things are not gray and your perspective can be an evil or wrong view.) Liberalism does not recognize an all powerful, righteous, and moral God who speaks in absolutes, actually exists and is not just some spiritual attitude. Liberalism thinks man can save himself without God, be morally good on his own. Liberalism questions that God has our best interests at heart. Liberalism creates a god in their own image and not as He truely is as revealed in His Word. Liberalism is not rational. That's a start.

William Eaton's Last Stand said...

'Anon,' I'm with you on a number of points, but I have to take issue here:

"Liberalism does not recognize an all powerful, righteous, and moral God who speaks in absolutes, actually exists and is not just some spiritual attitude."

1. I know A LOT of "liberals" who're very religious. I also know plenty of staunch conservatives who're agnostic or atheists.

2. You cannot POSSIBLY prove that God exists. Belief in God is a matter of faith not certainty and to speak otherwise is simply not rational.

Yes, of course you *know* (I'm sure you believe with all your heart), but that's not 'rational.' The evidence for or against 'God' is mixed at best.


My point here isn't that you should abandon your faith but rather that you're painting with brush strokes too broad for even the largest billboard.

Anonymous said...

Thanks William Eaton. You seem like a person who actually has intellectual doubts and not just someone argueing. I appreciate what you said. I will say that I do consider the creation as proof of a rational God and creator. I did not come from a religious family. Even as a child I knew that the creation I was looking at was not just here by chance. I did not consider it an accident. Or something that had evolved. Those ideas, even as a child made no sense and broke down in one place or another. And I will admit to you that when I read the gospel I belived God and just by faith asked Jesus to be my Savior. I am not a touchy feely person and not a religious one so have studied on my own unhendered by others view points. I simply asked God to show me the truth and I studied his word. He has never let me down even in the toughest of circumstances and I have been in many of those. I can't explain it to you Mr. Eaton except to say that in His Word he says to taste of Him and you will see that He is good. He is. And once you believe Him He shows you many things that take away and answer those intellectual questions. It seems that the trusting Him comes first and then He shows you things that take away those doubts that I think everybody has. I really appreciate your comment. It really has nothing to do with calling yourself liberal or conservative. It outweighs both. We are all equally sinners if not equal in any other way and we have ALL gone astray. There is a way that seems right unto man but the end there of is death. And you are right. Just because I see liberalism as an enemy of Christianity I should not paint with such a broad brush. And the point that Christianity is NOT a religion is very important. Jusus did not start a religion. He created His church 50 days after He rose from the dead and it is composed of everyone that believes that He is God incarnate, died in our place for our sins and rose again. That's the Gospel. Good news. And whosoever will may come with empty hands, every race, every political leaning and every background. The Cross of Christ is level ground. But like you say that is what I believe because the Bible tells me that. The proof comes with study and growth as a Christian. I hope you don't mind me telling you my story Mr. Eaton. I just sort of like your attitude and thought you wouldn't mind.

Margarita said...

Here is the Webster's definition of "liberal"...

–adjective
1.favorable to progress or reform, as in political or religious affairs.
2.(often initial capital letter) noting or pertaining to a political party advocating measures of progressive political reform.
3.of, pertaining to, based on, or advocating liberalism.
4.favorable to or in accord with concepts of maximum individual freedom possible, esp. as guaranteed by law and secured by governmental protection of civil liberties.
5.favoring or permitting freedom of action, esp. with respect to matters of personal belief or expression: a liberal policy toward dissident artists and writers.
6.of or pertaining to representational forms of government rather than aristocracies and monarchies.
7.free from prejudice or bigotry; tolerant: a liberal attitude toward foreigners.
8.open-minded or tolerant, esp. free of or not bound by traditional or conventional ideas, values, etc.
9.characterized by generosity and willingness to give in large amounts: a liberal donor.
10.given freely or abundantly; generous: a liberal donation.
11.not strict or rigorous; free; not literal: a liberal interpretation of a rule.
12.of, pertaining to, or based on the liberal arts.
13.of, pertaining to, or befitting a freeman.

–noun
14.a person of liberal principles or views, esp. in politics or religion.
15.(often initial capital letter) a member of a liberal party in politics, esp. of the Liberal party in Great Britain.

...Those other definitions, I suppose, you came up with on your own. I haven't really formed my own definition yet so I like to hear what others think. Thanks for sharing yours. Anyone else?

Anonymous said...

The soldier of the United States serves and promises to "protect the Constitution of the United States from all enemies, both foreign and domestic"

Terrorstorm

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-5948263607579389947

Anonymous said...

Thank you VERY much- - terrorstorm

Margarita said...

Another one is the BBC Doc "The Power of Nightmares"... But expect them to be deleted!

Bag Blog said...

TF, I hope you had a great time and have some good stories for us.

I have read your father's posts closely and followed the comments, but have not written my thoughts - yet. Mostly, I have just been in awe of the different views - even between Christians. The differences in Christian beliefs could be likened to the differences between Sunnis and Shites. The good news is that Christians have not started killing each other. But I know that if I posted some of my Christian beliefs, some of you would hate me (as Christ was hated John 15:18). I will only say one thing controversial between Christians before I answer the actual question put forth by your father. My god is a powerful god here and now. I am not waiting on some "age" to receive power to walk in newness of life (Eph 1:20-22). I can be a part of His kingdom now (Rom 14:17 &1 Thes 1:12).

I do believe we are to turn the other cheek and not repay evil for evil - that is a daily walk in this world which God gives us power to walk in. But we are to submit to government authorities and laws. There are laws that govern evil behavior and there are consequences for breaking those laws and there are those put in place to enforce those laws. I do not think we are repaying evil for evil because we are in Iraq. We are enforcing law. Also, I believe our military is trying to protect and bring peace - that may mean killing the enemy who is out to kill the innocent and destroy the peace.

I also believe there are different authorities. The highest authority and power is God, but there is also government authority and my husband's authority and my boss' authority, etc. We are subject to each of these in different ways. Our government/military is suppose to protect those under its rule and they can use force. There are several examples of soldiers coming to Christ in the Bible, and they were still soldiers after receiving Him. All of that is Godly and peaceable to me.

Weren't there preachers (including Prsebyterian) that stood up in the pulpit and preached support and took up arms in the fight for our American Freedom during the Revolutionary War? We need more godly men taking a stand.

MissBirdlegs in AL said...

I read on another Milblog that Terrorstorm had commented exactly the same way as here (left the same link), except he/she also signed it Sgt. Rock. The post originated in Moscow, Russia. Just sayin'...

MissBirdlegs in AL said...

I read on another Milblog that Terrorstorm had commented exactly the same way as here (left the same link), except he/she also signed it Sgt. Rock. The IP address was in Moscow, Russia. Just sayin'...

Gina E. said...

I'm pretty much an agnostic/athiest...non-believer anyway you spell it! So I don't hold much truck with Bibles of any religion except as history books to be taken with a grain of salt. Today here and now is what is important to the world and TF's post here is right on the mark. Never mind what Jesus said or did 2000 years ago - human beings are supposed to know instinctively what is right or wrong, and self defence against bullies(terrorists) is common sense.

class-factotum said...

The "turn the other cheek" statement has been explained to me as a form of passive resistence. (You can google it for detailed explanation.) Basically, how you hit someone at that time depended on your social relationship. You would not hit an inferior with the palm of your hand (or backhanded -- can't remember). So turning the other cheek would force your attacker to hit you with the other side of his hand, which would mean he would be hitting you as an equal.

So it's not as simple as standing there taking punishment. It's quite subversive, actually -- daring someone to treat you as an equal. Yeah, you still got hit, but you were forcing the hitter to basically call you "sir" while he did it.

Bag Blog said...

This is just a test to see if my blogger comment is working okay.

Anonymous said...

Its fairly clear from the context that when Jesus says we are to turn the other cheek, he is teaching that we are not to seek revenge, not that we aren’t to defend ourselves (or others). Paul seems to make this point in Rom.12:17-19 when he says "repay no one evil for evil" and also "never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God". Between these thoughts is found this, "If possible, so far as it depends upon you, live peaceably with all." Now sometimes ‘peace’ doesn’t depend on you, such as when your home is invaded and your family threatened, or when hijacked airplanes are flown into your office buildings. I’m sure many people want payback. I’ll be happy with deterrence. Unfortunately, the only way to deter some people is to kill them.


JACK-ASS HYPOCRIT.

You don't practice what you preach sinner "Thou shalt not kill".

To throw 9-11 and the fact your Govt. did it and you wish not see any evidence is your dumb-ass fault.

You have no GOD but work for the ANTI-CHRIST.

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