Re: [asa] Was Jesus wrong? (Resist evil?)

From: gordon brown <Gordon.Brown@Colorado.EDU>
Date: Tue Jun 30 2009 - 18:17:15 EDT

The question as to the appropriate Christian response to injustice is not
an easy one, and differences among Christians about this issue should not
be surprising. However, I would not phrase this question in terms of
whether Jesus was wrong. If we approach the gospels thinking that Jesus
might have been wrong, we are less likely to try to understand what he
really meant.

The passage from Matthew consists of a series of commands. Commands are
neither true nor false. So in that sense one cannot declare them right or
wrong. So I think that Bernie's question is whether we should obey them,
but if you think that it might not be right to obey them, by what standard
are you judging what is right and what is wrong?

Gordon Brown (ASA member)

On Tue, 30 Jun 2009, Dehler, Bernie wrote:

>
> I wrote previously about something that Jesus taught that I thought was
> wrong (imminent return of Christ? let?s not debate that again).  I thought
> of another, and would like feedback.
>
>  
>
> Jesus taught that we should "turn the other cheek;" walk 2 miles if asked to
> walk 1 mile by an enemy; and give whatever a thief asks for, plus give them
> even more.
>
>  
>
> Scripture reference:
>
> Matthew 5:38-41
>
> An Eye for an Eye
>
>  38"You have heard that it was said, 'Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.'[a]
> 39But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on
> the right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40And if someone wants to sue
> you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. 41If someone
> forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.
>
>  
>
> When my oldest child was in school as a first grader, and getting picked-on,
> I tried to apply this advice to her.  Also teaching "don't repay evil for
> evil."  Instead- I told her to inform the teacher.  But I think the teachers
> want the kids to learn how to get along, so they don't interfere much.
>
>  
>
> So it seems the best advice is this:
>
>  
>
> 1. If a person is hurting you, ask them to stop.
>
> 2. If they don't stop, try to get away.
>
> 3. If you can't get away, you can hurt them to show self-defense.
>
>  
>
> It seems like this advice works, whereas Jesus' advice fails.
>
>  
>
> I also remember one time I was a kid and bullied someone else.  They hit me
> in the eye, and it shocked (and surprised) me, and also wised me up.  If
> they would have 'turned the other cheek' I wouldn't have learned to stop
> bullying, and would have likely been a bigger bully.
>
>  
>
> Thoughts?
>
>  
>
> Yes- the other idea about forgiving others instead of getting revenge is
> great advice, but I have an issue with how we should treat bullies. 
>
>  
>
> BTW- This also applies to the community level of the behavior of nations
> (dealing with Israelis/Palestinians, Iran, and North Korea).  Also- this
> topic relates to the social sciences of psychology and philosophy (I know
> someone would ask what this has to do with ASA).
>
>  
>
> I know that famous atheist Christopher Hitchens always rails against this
> passage (Hitchens loves the idea of killing your enemies).  I?m more
> middle-ground, seeing some good applications in the passage but also seeing
> a part that doesn?t work.  The main thing I think Jesus got wrong was this
> part ?Do not resist an evil person.?  In fact- there?s another non-biblical
> saying which I think is better ?All that?s necessary for evil to flourish is
> for good men to do nothing.?  They are opposite teachings.  Apply it to
> Hitler- Jesus, if living on Earth while Hitler ruled, would seemingly
> suggest not opposing Hitler.
>
>  
>
>  
>
>
>

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Received on Tue Jun 30 18:18:15 2009

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