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« Religious Left up in arms... | Main | Sunday morning thoughfulness »

Friday, October 26, 2007

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Mommynator

Thank you for the outrage. Thank you.

I think there is a great deal of confusion in the Christian world these days.

The confusion lies in confusing Jesus' instructions to us as individuals and what nations are supposed to do and be.

Turning the other cheek, loving our enemies, etc., are for us as individuals to do.

Nations, however, have a different function. Paul alludes to the power of the sword - specifically for capital punishment of evildoers, which can be extrapolated to nations stopping obvious evildoers. Governors who RIGHTLY wielded the power of the sword over evildoers were not required to be perfect, just to wield the sword justly.

According to McLaren and his ilk, we are to look at obvious, blatant evildoers and their evil doings and smile and turn the other cheek while these moral monsters wage war on the innocents that are supposed to be under their protection. Gassing, poisoning, diseasing, raping, and stealing from their own people is okay so long as we're turning the other cheek.

Like hell.

Have any of them ever bothered to read any military blogs or any embedded reporters like Michael Yon or Michael Totten? Have they ever been reduced to tears by reading how Marine and Army commanders have gained the trust of village leaders and sheiks to the point where they are joining us to rid the world of al-Qaeda and its evil works? No?

Then shut up.

Have they ever read about the financial, medical and other aid we are rendering to the innocent people who were downtrodden and tortured, trying to build their societies back up? Trying to alleviate the fear they have lived under for 40 years and more? No?

Then just shut up and let the grownups in the military do their jobs.

They would have us sit on our hands with a stupid smile on our faces and allow evildoers and oppressors do their work unrestricted and unfettered.

This makes me so angry - the sloppy thinking and biblical "interpretation" to suit their cowardice and stupidity.

I'm sorry for ranting, but this is a particular peeve of mine that pisses me off no end.

Morgan K Freeberg

Wow, great points Mommy, and very well said.

I'm going through selected portions of the New Testament, trying to find the part where we're commanded to ignore the hideous when they terrorize entirely innocent third parties...sit around on our butts doing nothing. This McLaren fellow doesn't come out and say that's what he wants us to do, but he's bloated and windy about what he does not want us to do...and by process of elimination the "sit on your butts" option seems to be the only one earning his approval.

I'm not finding anything and I don't think I'll find anything.

There is the Sermon on the Mount with all the "turn the other cheek" stuff, which seems to have started all this confusion. Wikipedia has put together a very decent write-up about how this may be interpreted. Methinks McLaren and Rick's new friend Sonja would do well to, at the very least, inject a little more quality thought into this.

This passage has been interpreted as an injunction of nonviolent resistance, and a teaching that it is wrong to commit violence, even in self-defense or retaliation...Those interpreting this passage figuratively have cited historical and other factors in support. They note that at the time of Jesus, striking someone deemed to be of a lower class with the back of the hand was used to assert authority and dominance. If the persecuted person "turned the other cheek," the discipliner was faced with a dilemma. The left hand was used for unclean purposes, so a back-hand strike on the opposite cheek would not be performed. The other alternative would be a slap with the open hand as a challenge or to punch the person, but this was seen as a statement of equality. Thus, they argue, by turning the other cheek the persecuted was in effect demanding equality...There is a third school of thought in regards to this passage. Jesus was not changing the meaning of "an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth" but restoring it to the original context. Jesus starts his statement with "you have heard it said" which means that he was clarifying a misconception, as opposed to "it is written" which would be a reference to scripture. The common misconception seems to be that people were using Exodus 21:24-25 (the guidelines for a magistrate to punish convicted offenders) as a justification for personal vengeance. In this context, the command to "turn the other cheek" would not be a command to allow someone to beat or rob a person, but a command not to take vengeance.

I'd like to point out that if you read up on the history of the Eighth Amendment, which goes back an additional hundred years or so before the American Revolution, the intent is identical to that third interpretation up there. Read up on the case of Titus Oates and the Popish Plot to find out what happened; the spirit of what is being defined, in both 1688 and in the time of the Sermon on the Mount, is that personal blood-lust and thirst for vengeance are not okay. But a measured and rational quest for justice is compulsory, especially toward the objective of protecting the innocent.

And logically, look at it from the point of view of a deity taking the time and effort to put us here. What the hell good are we if, when the lowest among us runs roughshod all over the innocent among us, everybody else just sits around with their thumbs up their butts??

I mean, just damn. What a lowly species that would be. Cannibalism would be a step up.

This gets into something best summarized by that wonderful monologue at the end of Team America, World Police. But out of respect to Rick and his desire to keep things somewhat family friendly, I'll not reproduce any part of that here.

Rick

The back and forth continues over at Mike's place for those interested.

Leslie

If you ask me, the whole Christian political bent that makes peace with the idea of allowing innocent people to be terrorized by a barbaric terrorist regime stems, ironically, from a phrase stated succinctly by Sonja.

Something along the lines of "we are little Jesuses, little Christs". To adopt the concept that we are substitute Jesuses on Earth ignores the current practicality of his role in fulfilling the Jewish law as the final sacrifice, it also implies he is unable to interact directly with the generations that followed his death, which I suppose for some and not all, would lead to a full blown questioning of his resurrection. All that to say it reduces his God-ship and elevates ours. Seems to me that got tried in the Garden of Eden.

It's not such a subservient way to approach The Name Above All Other Names, but that's as it should be, because political activism isn't about subservience and neither is pacifism any more...it's about making friends with the one holding the heaviest hammer. At the very least, appease. If it were about subservience, disagreements over both subjects wouldn't trigger so much froth and spit.

In fairness, it's hard to shut off the froth and spit long enough to dialogue, maybe, and that's probably OK because it's important to have a little spit saved for the ceremonial damning of George Bush and America. We all know what a chronic damner Jesus was, so consciencious little Jesuses are called to do the same.

Just like the temperance movement. Only with beer. Because beer's cool now.

Mommynator

Thank you, Mr. Freeman. Your points are also well taken and important.

I kept thinking about this yesterday, and I hope I can be permitted a couple more points.

About the centurion - Jesus told prostitutes and others to go and sin no more. No words to that effect to a Roman "oppressor" who totally understood the function and limits of true authority.

About true love - it does not mean a wishy wash, stoned and glazed look where everything is lovely and happy. Love sometimes means letting the hammer drop, spanking the child, disciplining the errant pastor, etc. Not nice things. Hard to do and receive, but in the end the most loving thing in the world.

How can we be little Christs and not do Christ's work here on earth? How do we not defend the weak and innocent, the widow and orphan? How do we not lend aid whether financial, material, medical, spiritual - whatever is necessary to heal whole persons?

When it comes time for us to answer for our lives, won't it be better to have fought in a war, killed evildoers in defense of the defenseless and given that cup of cold water? What exactly will God say to us?

King  Panteen

Not only are you people to: "Love your enemies"--you are to:

1. "Turn the other cheek"
2. "Forgive........."

Minus those things, you people should re-cycle your bibles.

Morgan K Freeberg

Probably the oldest fantasy in politics.

How do I compel those who disagree with me, to treat their enemies as friends so that they labor toward their own destruction. Kinda like going deer hunting without a gun, simply talkin the deer into committing suicide.

King Panteen: You probably don't want to do that yourself, do you. Just have those annoying Bible-reading people do that. I believe Mommynator's words are for you, looks like you didn't catch'em first time 'round.

Morgan K Freeberg

I posed some questions to Sonja over at that other place, since she's put Rick on notice that she's not going to come over here even at his invitation.

I've noticed that for awhile about these folks who don't actually argue things -- in other words, when the proof in what it is they said, is that they said it...you're just supposed to believe it because they're the ones who said it. Any compelling value to their argument is grounded in this absolute credibility they think they should be granted. What makes me curious, is these are the exact same folks who advertise to anyone interested that they're not going to read something, and why they refuse to read it. Why am I supposed to grant all this credibility to people who advertise what they don't know, and the lengths they're willing to go to avoid learning?

Rick, maybe you should rename this post. It's not the question of the ages. Nobody thinks anybody should be ignoring evil, even the snotty condescending anti-military people who keep rolling out this "turn the other cheek" canard like King P and Sonja. That's just a rhetorical tactic used to cause injury to people they don't like. Common sense says if you treat enemies like friends when they're still enemies, you aren't going to be around for very long.

Of course, on Good Friday that's exactly what happened to Jesus, but I don't think that event is supposed to have been conflated with the Sermon on the Mount the way it has been...for the reasons I've already stated.

Leslie

Well put Morgan. Both here and there.

Rick

Morgan... I can't say often enough how much I appreciate your comments here... and of course elsewhere...

Rick

Mike has closed the comments over at his place, they remain open over here... I'll attempt to invite Sonja to continue the discussion here... don't hold your breath though folks...

The Religious Left is known for throwing grenades and running for the hills...

Morgan K Freeberg

Omigod, I expected to click over there and find some reason to close the commenting. Sonja absolutely losing it, or some newcomer popping in and making threats. There's nothing there since your post from last night.

Pull pin, walk away, is right.

So who did that Rick, you or me? How does spreading a lot of nonsense that Christ wanted us to destroy ourselves, and propagandizing against the military, and changing the subject when called out on your crap, register lower on the "Can't Have That" -o-meter than anything you or I might have said? In what universe?

Un-be-freakin-lievable.

Leslie

So who did that Rick, you or me?

Mike did it. Logic neither waves nor drowns and therefore has no place in a waving/drowning conversation. And without some sort of transcendent epiphany, it will remain without place. Mike closed the comments. That is key.

:)

Rick

I forwarded Morgan's reply below in an e-mail to Mike shortly after he closed his post to comments and added the following:

Mike,

What is the reasoning behind closing the comments... a number of us want to know... seems Sonja's answers to questions posed might in some way apply to many who share her ideology... if the quest is to bridge the gap that exists, why close the comments?

Both Morgan and I would like to know, I'm sure others would as well.

Looking forward to your response.

-Rick

Mike has responded but before I publish his comments, I've written him back and told him to let me know, and soon, if he'd have a problem with my posting his reply.

Stand by.

Lurker

http://globalpolicy.igc.org/security/issues/iraq/attack/archcrisisindex.htm

A few articles for you which highlight the humanitarian disaster which continues to unfold in Iraq.

You are completely deceived if you believe that the Iraq population is better off now than they were before the occupation. Every single indicator of health and welfare is in decline or outright freefall: literacy (especially female), access to clean water, food, life expectancy, electricity, access to health care, childhood mortality is increasing faster than anywhere else on earth including Sub-Sahara Africa, 2 million displaced internally, 750,000 to 1M plus dead, sectarian violence, destruction of roads, bridges, infrastructure, sewage systems. Basically, you name it and it's way worse than it was. 20,000 plus doctors have fled the country. Unemployment is around 65%.

As far as "freedom" and "democracy" and "downtrodden/tortured souls" hate to tell you this but the increase in sectarian violence has basically resulted in massive upswings in torture, killing, rape and people are far, far more fearful than they ever were under Sadam. They are also far less free to go about their daily lives without the possibility of coming to serious harm.

So where is all this great good being done which offsets the living hell which Iraq has become?

Morgan K Freeberg

And you did the research on Global Policy Forum to make sure they have no axe to grind on this issue, before believing their publications without reservation.

Right?

And they're all peer-reviewed of course?

Rick

Mike's reply to me in e-mail to the question I posed him earlier in the day was simply:

Bridge the gap? Rick... thanks for my morning smile.

You and Morgan have a great day.
Peace,
Mike

To which Morgan, as only he can, added:

I believe we've just been given a demonstration of what is meant by that whole "love thy enemies" thing. It seems to have a great deal more to do with the situation left intact following a truce, and how that situation affects each of the previously conflicting parties, than we might have been led to believe. There's also a lot of selectivity involved in determining just who is supposed to be tolerant of whom.

No doubt.

Mommynator

There is no reasonable response because there is no reason or response to what we've posed to them.

And am I to believe that the embedded reporters (Michael Yon, Michael Totten and others) who are in Iraq on their own dime and time, are lying when they talk about new stores opening, homes being built again, improving infrastructure (more electricity for longer periods, fresh water), factions cooperating (if tentatively right now), improved Iraqi military and police ability, and a whole host of other things?

Wow, that's a lot to lie about when even the lying, treasonous mainstream media is starting to wake up to those same things.

Of course, some people take joy in other peoples' misery because it makes them happy to be "right" about how horrible we are, but that's more a psychological delusion than a reflection of truth.

Morgan K Freeberg

Rick, since it's clear even my most condensed commentary is capable of shutting down a thread in a single post (believe me, I could have made that inquiry to Sonja much, much longer and much, much less tactful), I've decided to confine my most extravagant bloviating and bluster to my own spot.

But I had to let out a little more.

These are exceedingly dangerous people. They pose a greater threat to our long term survival, I think, than the jihadi guys. After all, to pretend the jihadi guys don't exist, you have to ignore reality...it's not true of our anti-war "Sermon on the Mount" liberals, who are right out in plain sight everyday and most people still don't understand they're there.

I'm going to think twice next time you put up one of those links and I decide to ignore it. I gave you short shrift on this one and I'm left wishing I took the time to see what the fuss was about a little earlier in the game.

Mommynator

I read your complete post, Mr. Freeberg. Good job laying out part of the problem with their thinking.

Of course, there is delineating the opposite interpretation of those verses, but one thing at a time, eh? (*smiling*)

Leslie

I'm going to think twice next time you put up one of those links and I decide to ignore it.

This is a point of struggle for me. After the umpteenth time of being called a heretic by several Christian Waving Drowners (always of course compassionately preceded by the piously perfunctory "I'm sorry to say this, but you are a..." phrase, not to mention how Mike's got his trigger finger on the send button with a consistently terse, didactic and snarky email attached, if you happen to make a comment he doesn't like) I quit reading Mike, let alone taking part in "our discussion".

Every once in a while when you link to him, Rick, I read his stuff and am struck by how willfully blinded he's let himself become. I say blinded because his tone -- "thanks for the morning smile" -- clearly demonstrates that he continues to see open mindedness as considering only the opinions of those he thinks are cool, or enlightened on some social justice level. Further, his tendency to incorporate biting sarcasm into his portfolio of ways to "email thine enemy" while he's in the process of preaching about loving thine enemy...if indeed you could be classed as a bona fide enemy, Rick...suggests to me that his journey, however genuine, involves a few distractions. And really, whose doesn't?

The myopia is unfortunate, that is to think that social justice is the only element of purpose in society. The universe is huge and dynamic and bright and the opportunities for doing good are endless. To perseverate on one piece of it, and in such a judgmental fashion, is so very narrow.

The thing is, Mike has convinced himself he's right. And if you look at church history, it is those times the church was convinced of its position in the arenas of politics and culture that it has done the most damage. This recent generation of Christian political activists aren't exempt.

And this is where folks usually tell me, yes but what about Pat Robertson? And so, because Pat Robertson lives I can blindly face tomorrow; because he lives all introspection is gone.

After being profoundly insulted over there for what I deemed to be the final time, Mike wrote me, politely asking me to continue, yet telling me I was overreacting.

Which is when I realized something about a general pattern in postmodern dialogue -- political and otherwise:

There is no investment in the value of the spoken word. True postmodernists berate any opposition using whatever means (eye rolling, name calling, slander) and vehemently put forward every different kind of ideological position as though it is the sun around which the entire Milky Way orbits, when the reality is they don't believe any of it because at the foundation of it all is that there is no truth. There is nothing of consequence to believe and certainly nothing timeless.

That is huge.

In the same way they don't take any stock in the words of the opposing view they don't invest any weight in their own. Your truth, my truth, who cares? What it is, man. Emotions trump conviction as the fuel for passion.

And the cruel irony is those who value conviction and believe the universe is steeped in a natural order and embedded with absolute truths and logic, assume the postmoderns hold their values deeply because of the emotion involved in their presentation.

So I don't know. To me, the real progress is in shoring up the logic side of the debate so it is articulate and able to face the smoke in the media and at the different levels of government so that whichever passing fancy happens to be boiling in the emotions of the postmodern lobbyist types can be intelligently and articulately addressed by a broader base of people.

Still, that doesn't mean that there isn't a little time left over in a day to embrace diversity and speak with those who see things "differently". All that to say I appreciated reading your comments in Mike's thread, Rick & Morgan and it leaves me reconsidering whether or not my view that there is no point in bothering is correct.

I haven't read your full post yet Morgan, but I intend to.

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