From: Don Winterstein (email@example.com)
Date: Tue Jun 03 2003 - 06:00:33 EDT
Sondra Brasile accused me of something like cowardice (for her benefit I won't repeat the word she used) for responding offline to her attack on a post I'd made, so I need to set the record straight. Please consider this my online response to her remarks as well as my defense against her accusations.
First, I responded offline because I did not receive an online message, so I assumed she had written offline. She told me she did not. She then accused me of calling her "ignorant," which I did not. Everyone is ignorant, so it is meaningless to accuse someone of being so unless you go into detail. In fact, she herself implied I was ignorant in a sphere where I'm actually fairly knowledgeable.
I said that her comments stemmed from ignorance, because without any evident basis she called the Holy Spirit, whom I worship as God, "the spirit of antichrist." If that remark was not made in ignorance, then it was malicious; so I gave her the benefit of the doubt. I might also have accused her of not reading my post, as she came up with very inaccurate opinions about what I'd said. In addition, her tone was disrespectful, an aspect I found offensive under the circumstances despite my thick skin.
My response in its entirety was the single sentence that follows:
I forgive your comments, as they stem from ignorance.
Ms. Brasile's comments on my post (see below) were:
> Actually the 'spirit' you speak of is the spirit of antichrist.
> You can haggle over and argue about what relates to physical science and
> Biblical references to the physical world, but when you start saying that
> morality can be broken down to our own, twisted, distorted, disfunctional,
> selfish, fallen, sinful interpretation, you've "left the building".
> So everybody's going to heaven, is that what you're saying? Because
> 'everyone does right in his own eyes' but see, God (and Jesus) have a
> completely different perspective on what's right and wrong, they are the
> *authority* not you or I, not our emotions. Have you ever even studied the
> Bible? If you take such a liberal approach to the scriptures as that; if
> you've read it and don't get meaning out of it other than that, I'd say
> aren't 'enlightened' and I seriously worried about your actual salvation.
Some of the comments people (not just Ms. Brasile) have made on this thread emphasize how depraved mankind is. There is another side to the story. Many statements in the NT say how virtuous and knowledgeable children of God can be when living a life sanctified by the Holy Spirit (e.g., John 14:26; I John 2:20, 3:9).
Compassion for fellow humans led Jesus himself to set aside OT laws and rules more than once. By his actions and words he demonstrated that compassion trumps law. Should we ignore his lessons? Should we now become fixated once again on details of the law?
The exchange that led to Ms. Brasile's comments (above) was as follows:
Sondra Brasile wrote:
> So what part about the word "abomination" are you not grasping?
Scientific discoveries force us to reinterpret the Genesis creation
accounts, the Flood account, the Tower of Babel account, etc., etc. All
this necessary reinterpretation means the Bible and its inspiration were not
what a lot of conservative Christians thought they were.
Where does the need to reinterpret end? In heaven. On earth we need to
integrate our experience of the world with our personal knowledge of God
through the guidance of his Holy Spirit. When our world changes as
drastically as it has over the past several centuries, we can't expect
directives to people thousands of years ago necessarily to apply in fine
What does apply today? God has given us his Spirit and minds to integrate.
Inspired by his Spirit we should not look at religion as a set of laws and
rules but instead as guidance for living lives pleasing to him. The number
one moral principle that Jesus gave was that we love one another. This
principle transcends all other laws and rules, and all other laws and rules
need to be interpreted in terms of it.
Just as we have looked in detail at evidences for the great age of the
world, and that look forces us to reject a strictly literal interpretation
of the Genesis creation accounts, so also Christians have looked in detail
at sexuality and the lives and motives of homosexuals and have concluded
that some of the directives from thousands of years ago are less consistent
with the law of love than certain revisions of those directives.
If behavior is approved by a proper application of the law of love, no one
should call it an abomination.
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