Re: [asa] Morality

From: <>
Date: Tue Apr 29 2008 - 14:15:29 EDT

Quoting PvM <>:

> The same applies to religious people, when religious people do not
> share in how a particular commandment should be interpreted, they may
> behave in manners contradictory to what most of us may consider
> virtuous or moral.
But at least they agree that there is a basis (a book) over which they can
strive to understand and look for common ground -- that is if they are
interested in actually finding it. They may fail to agree, to be sure, but they
still agree that an objective morality exists and that they have some basis of
trying to persuade the other why the Bible teaches ____. How useful or
successful this is is in the hands of the Lord.

> How do we deal with those Christians who believe that the Bible
> requires them to engage in a war with Iran to hasten the second coming
> of Christ? World War III seems to be embraced from Christian
> perspectives.

SOME Christians, Pim. Even if I was all alone on this (and I'm not), I can
point to how the Bible clearly teaches we are to be faithful even to death (our
own death) --not faithful in pursuing war and mayhem that are supposedly going
to "help God" bring about the end. No where does God call us to do those
things, and in fact, pursuing those things requires us to violate a good many
other things that ARE taught. Even militantly patriotic Christians which
unfortunately may include the majority of American Christians, could not point
to Scriptures that sanction their militancy. At best they find Scriptures that
appear to tolerate that attitude, and even those are obviously just pulled in to
justify a position after the fact. (A flimsy kind of logic says that if I can
find something God did in the Old Testament, this somehow justifies my doing the
 same now.) Romans 13 or the fact that Jesus & John didn't tell the soldiers or
the Centurian to quit their jobs serve a little better in this respect, but
notice that they aren't commended for any kind of patriotism or militancy.
Rather they are assumed to be keepers of the peace, and to do right by the
people they are over ---hardly a sanction for mayhem and revolution. I could
go on, but I belabor my point.

And that point is, Pim, that this is a perfect example of how I, as an
Anabaptist Christian have a book in common with my other Christian brothers and
sisters who think differently than I do about this. But I know they respect
Scripture, so we can speak to each other regarding this common authority. You
can argue that it won't make any difference, and that may appear to be so in
this day and age when Americans are ruled by fear. But it is not Scripture that
gives rise to that fear, Pim. It is God that can free us from it. And it is a
departure from his Word that causes so many Christians to, at times in history,
behave so abominably. Jesus spoke thus to the religious leaders of his day who
thought they were being very law-abiding. But Jesus didn't call the law useless
or wrong because of that.

> What if Christians decide that inflicting mayhem on abortion providers
> or supporters is a virtuous calling based on biblical teachings. I'd
> say that as Christians we have even less recourse here as we face a
> conflict of interpretation without clear resolution. In fact, in some
> cases, religious disagreements can be irreconcilable, causing mutual
> harm to all involved.

I teach at a conservative Christian School --- definitely against abortion, no
ifs, ands or buts. And I've heard staff who speak out on this also express
resolute conviction that violence against abortion doctors is wrong. No ifs,
ands, or buts. And why do they feel that way? Not because of any love for the
practitioners -- but because Scripture commands it.

> In other words, I believe that there is no real difference between
> atheists and christians when it comes to issues of morality, and in
> some cases I see religion as the source of conflict rather than as a
> source to help resolve it.

You may be right in this, tragically.

And in another post, you comment on my assertion about morality being shown only
in what I do when I think I could get away with wrong actions. I don't think I
meant that morality is limited to *only* that. Or if I was thinking along those
lines, your prodding has persuaded me to reconsider. Or rather, I was just
repeating the oft expressed sentiment that a man's character shows by what he
does when no one is watching. --not necessarily a Christian sentiment, but one
that finds ample reinforcement in the Bible.


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Received on Tue Apr 29 14:16:32 2008

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