What is liberal? What is conservative?

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I recently saw on TooConservative a comment on the Republican Party not responding well to what the people want. The lament was over politicians not paying attention to the citizens. While I understand the reasoning for that view (the immigration fiasco, the developer/taxpayer conflict, and such) I also am disheartened by the blatant liberalism of the post. Huh? TooConservative is posting liberalism? From my point of view, yes.

What is liberal? What is conservative?

I'd like to think that conservatives are non-pragmatic. I would not call a person conservative who advocates abortion in order to get elected "because it is what the people want" rather than advocates a return to pre-Roe status. I think of liberalism as changing the way things are done in order to get votes. That puts me in a very strange place.

In some ways, I have a lot of respect for Jimmy Carter -- all of it from the time (now many years ago) when I thought he did things because he thought it was the right thing to do. While I hope Bush is doing the same thing, I have a lot of problems with the things he thinks are right. There is a real problem of people not having a basis for what is right and wrong.

Ultimately, that is a problem with the country at large. If we do what we think is right in our own eyes, rather than what is truly right, then we are doomed. We cannot coast on the moral capital/credit of our ancestors for long, and the account is just about depleted. What is really scary to someone like me is that I understand that moral capital cannot be earned with the end of trying to save the country -- it doesn't work that way. You cannot have the people at the top do more than point people to what is right, but the officials in this country are not going to be any better than the people that elect them. If we don't understand, there is little hope those elected will understand.

The cure is attainable. What is the cure? The cure is for the church to return from their wicked ways. Huh??

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray, seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then from heaven will I hear, forgive them of their sin, and heal their land.

The only answer is for the church to return to what is right -- the answer for the land in which we live is for the church that is in the land to return to God. God is not on our side, but we can be on his side. He does not change, and we cannot change him. But the church can rally to him. The church can do what is right. The church can affect the world in which we live. But it requires that the church first be the bride of Christ. It requires that the church forsake all others and cling to what is unpopular -- the honor of Christ and his name (and what he taught). Judgment begins with the house of God.

If the church is more concerned about attracting people, to the point of not talking about or, worse, watering down or changing what the Bible says, then the church is lost. If the church is lost, the country is without the preserving influence of the church.

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212 Comments

Tom said:

Can you cite a "conservative" politician who doesn't change the way things are done in order to get votes? Any politician in this age?
Let's face it. These guys and gals are not altruistic. If they were they wouldn't wind up working for lobbyists and corporate boards when they leave Congress, the White House or wherever. They, whether liberal or conservative spend their time kissing asses and making promises in order to get elected or reelected.
I guess LBJ, a classic liberal, no?, was just pandering when he pushed for the Civil Rights act, which did change the way things are done for sure.
I guess by your definition, when liberals and conservatives support the same piece of legislation the left is doing it selfishly and the right is doing it because it is the right thing to do, and their decision is non-pragmatic.
I think you're right about the church. If it got back to Christ we'd certainly see the end of the religious right as war cheerleaders and devotees of prosperity theology. The church's cynical dance with the party of the hyper-wealthy and warmongers would become undefendable if Christ was back at the head of the church.
A Christ-centered church could not align with either political wing, as one is for killing babies and the other for blowing 3rd world countries to bits and torturing people. Neither group sounds like it would get the Jesus seal of approval.

Dean Settle said:

The comment was mine, and you'll never hang a liberal noose around my neck. I have contributed heavily to the Republican conservativ cause for some 15 years. I've put my precious time into steering the conservative powers to do work for the little man...to offer a bootstrap that will help him be able to pull his own weight...
You tried to climb into my mind and analyze my outlook from one thought?
Incidently, you butchered the intent of the actual message.
If you want to push the far-right abortion and gay-bashing, you are wholeheartedly welcome to do so. But don't be suprised when the voters reject your stance in overwhelming numbers in the polls. You cannot tell them WHAT they will believe. All you can do is get a pulse of the truly important issues FROM them, and prepare your stance by using THAT information. You may want to use an elected office as a throne from which you decree righteous activities from those you do not approve of, but the voters do not want you to use it as such and will reject the thought of it on it's face.
You, and the many others who try here locally CAN NEVER LEGISLATE MORALITY, and somehow stay out of people's personal lives (another one of the Conservative values)

Kevin said:

Dean, I'm a little nervous saying this without having read much of your ideas other than your endorsement of Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout but. . .I'm starting to like your point of view. . .

And yeah, Tom. . .word.

Can I cite a conservative politician who doesn't change the way things are done in order to get votes? How about Ford? He pardoned Nixon in order to get the country off the Watergate issue, even though he knew it meant political suicide. That would be the most recent, obvious example.

I already named a liberal (Carter). I also know that everyone is inconsistent at least at times. I do tend to think that Liberals do so more often. I would not cite the civil rights act as an example -- I tend to think of it as something they viewed as a means to an end of working for their historical constituency. It may have been a good thing, but it also ushered in reverse discrimination. And LBJ was the driving force behind the escalation of force in Viet Nam (Eisenhower may have gotten us in, Kennedy stayed, but LBJ was the one that put tens of thousands of troops on the ground.) Seems liberals are just as likely to be war mongers as conservatives.

I do not think the church is in a cynical dance with Republicans -- or Democrats. I believe that some of the church have pushed to have certain issues as important, and the issues have been such that the Republicans have been generally more amicable to those issues (abortion being one of the major issues). Since Roe v. Wade, that issue has pushed moral conservatives to the Republican party as the Democrats have consistently come down on the side of "choice". If you are a single issue voter on the abortion issue, you have no choice for the most part; you vote for the Republican. (I'm not saying that being a single issue voter is a good thing, I'm just making the observation.) That issue has given a base for many Republican candidates, and because it is so one sided, the "pro-life" votes have had many of the other things they support ignored. (If you know you have a person's vote because of one issue, do you care what they think on any other issue? Not if you are a pure pragmatist.)

I don't know as conservatives are for blowing 3rd world countries to bits and torturing people. Any more than I believe liberals are for killing babies. Conservatives are not going to concern themselves about 3rd world countries if the people in those countries aren't attacking them. And while I differ on what a human being is, I certainly believe that a liberal, "pro-choice" individual would switch to being against abortion if it were conclusively proven that a fetus was in fact a separate human being. (Sure, there may be a few that would say they don't care if abortion kills an innocent baby, I think they are in the vanishingly small minority.)

While I'm certain there are individuals like Patton who thought war glorious, and individuals like

jacob said:

Brian,
In many ways the label 'conservative' and 'liberal' are no longer meaningful in our public discourse. A conservative seeks to maintain the status quo, a liberal seek to change the status quo. The former seeks 'to do no harm', the later seeks to 'improve things'. While this model is not perfect it is a fundamental difference between the two philosophies.

Today Roe v. Wade is the status quo and the 'conservatives' seek to change this, the 'liberals' seek to maintain this. A strange predicament.

The liberals under Johnson got many of their legislative wishes to come true. Now they by and large seek to hold on to this, some of which has been eroded, by ... conservatives.

As you can see the labels at this point really now are a substitute for something else. Most liberals are in the Democrat party. Most conservatives vote Republican.

When you look at the platforms the modern day liberal types support, 'socialistic' comes to mind. When you look at the conservatives it is a more varied landscape. 'Moralist', and 'Libertarian' are two of the outlooks that come to mind when looking at the conservatives. Note within the Republican party not all meet the conservative outlook. 'Big Business' Republicans are not necessarily conservatives. The are just no socialists either.

Dean,

You obviously did not get the intent of my post. I do not believe that elective office is the answer to "saving" the country. That is not what I stated, nor what I intended. What I said is that the "pulse of the people" is sometimes what is wrong, and elective office cannot change that. What I said is the problem is with the church -- that the church is not staying true to what it believes.

It is absolutely true that morality cannot be legislated, in the sense of changing what the people believe is right or wrong. That is why this country is having so many problems. I fully believe Adams statement that the constitution is designed for a religious and moral people and is whole inadequate to the government of any other. Tytler stated it well:

"A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury."

Legislated morality cannot be achieved unless the majority of the populace agrees upon the morality. All legislation is legislated morality though. We pass laws that say it is not legal to kill, steal, enslave people, and such. Even traffic laws are laws that pass a moral judgment upon those that travel the roads. The laws state that order and the limiting of the threat of killing/maiming of others is good, chaos and death are bad. So we put in place laws to order our driving regardless of how someone feels. We think it "right" that one person should not own others, and so we outlaw slavery (and monopolies that create "virtual" slaves). We value creativity (and morals and values are inseparably linked) and so create "intellectual property" (copyrights, patents, trade secrets and the like).

The laws continually legislate morality. But what morality do they support? With no basis in objective truth, the law is nothing more than totalitarian dictatorship of the majority over the minority. Even if you point to constitutional "rights" if the constitution is not based on absolute truth, then a super-majority can change/revoke constitutional rights.

My point was that it takes a moral people -- something the government can only reflect, not institute -- to have true morals. The church is what is wrong with our society. Not so much because the church is not political, but because the church is corrupt in many places. My post is not against the government, or the secular institutions or people of this country. My post aims squarely against those that claim Christ, yet do not what he commands, and for fear of man teach less than what Jesus has taught.

I am not "gay-bashing" any more than I am "adulterous heterosexual" bashing (and in both cases, my "bashing" is limited to the church). If someone practices any sin continually, without repentance and has no intention of leaving their sin behind (when they are confronted with what the Bible says) then they do not belong in the church. The church is the one institution that should be saying what is truly right and wrong. It has an objective basis for evaluation. Yet the church, rather than standing for what is right, has opted for what is "relevant" rather than righteous. It has opted for popular rather than pure. My ire is more strongly against the church than any other organization -- but my ire is from within that body. My ire is also against those that are part of the church by virtue of belief, yet unwilling to work toward the correction of the church. I castigate myself as much as anyone else.

Kevin said:

Brian, if I might. . .I don't like abortion. But to say that pro-life is a conservative stance befuddles me. Its conservative in a "Conservatives are the moral majority" sense but not conservative in the political process sense. I've always thought "conservative" meant the gov't was conservative with it's involvement in your life. Liberal, I've always understood, was that the gov't was liberally applied/involved in the average person's life. It then seems that for the gov't to step in and decide what you can and can't do (as with the issue of abortion) would make it a liberal issue, not a conservative issue. "Conservatives" seem to call themselves such as though it were coming from a moral perspective rather than from a political or legislative perspective. So it would seem that the "Conservatives" have created for themselves an alternate (or "additional" if I'm being nice about it) moralistic identity for the purpose of garnering votes. (wasn't the switch/moral movement circa 1960?)

Tom said:

I'm sorry that insuring blacks had the same rights as you has been such a double edged sword what with the reverse discrimination being such a problem today that us white folks are suffering under the weight of Jim Crow laws that have created a society in which we could be tied to an air conditioner and thrown in a river for even looking at a black woman.
Everyday I cringe as I drink from the spearate water fountains, and only wish my skin color wasn't an impediment to me getting a good job so I could afford to pay the poll tax and vote for someone who will right these four decades of injustice that have kept my pale people down.
As for conservatives only messing around with 3rd world countries that mess with them---Grenada? Iraq? Afghanistan? (let's face it-if the official story of 9/11 is true nearly all the hijackers were Saudi, and irregardless the Taliban govt did not attack the United States anymore than Saudi Arabia did) Panama? Nicaragua? El Salvador? I know we were supposed to fear Sandinistas invading us from the south, but come on...
As far as baby killing goes-my wife is pregnant right now, and if that's not a baby I feel kicking and flipping around in her stomach then what is it? It looked like a human on the sonogram too. I think anyone doubting the humanity of a fetus is being completely intellectually dishonest. I know from your post that you don't doubt this. I just wanted you to know that I'm not the liberal you might think me.
Nixon's pardon-you don't think there could have been non-electoral pragmatic reasons behind it? There is a pragmatism that extends outside of elections too.

Tom said:

Kevin-
Right on! It's the same with gay marriage, flag burning, drugs, etc... etc..
Who is really meddling or messing with individual freedom? The morality party of course!
Ron Paul is the only true conservative running for the GOP nomination.
Oh, and the only major candidate with the balls to speak out against the rendition and torture is McCain since he knows what it was like to be treated that way. show me any prominent conservatives speaking out against the treatment being dished out either in CIA secret dungeons or at Gitmo?

Kevin said:

"four decades of injustice" LOL!

Kevin said:

"show me any prominent conservatives speaking out against the treatment being dished out either in CIA secret dungeons or at Gitmo?"

None but you and I, Tom. None but you and I.

Jacob,

I suppose my view of conservative and liberal are based slightly different. I view a conservative as someone that views right and wrong as absolutes that do not change. He sees government as instituted to encourage what is good and discourage what is bad. Prohibitive laws are later, prescriptive laws the former. I view a liberal as someone that sees right and wrong "in the moment" and relative rather than absolute. A liberal has no true anchor in what is right and wrong -- there is no absolute on which to base law, so law is more "what is good for the most people at the time". Law is still to discourage what is "bad" and encourage what is "good" but good and bad are no longer well defined terms. A liberal has no appeal to absolutes, so there is no conservation of values -- there is no conservation because there were only temporary values to start.

A perfect example of this is a conservative would hate both racial discrimination and affirmative action (he would see both as the exact same thing). A conservative would point at affirmative action and state that two wrongs do not make a right. A liberal would see the former as bad (possibly, if he can be convinced it is a waste of human resources or some other value which he holds at that time) and would possibly embrace affirmative action as being necessary to correct what was an ongoing problem. He sees the end as justification for the means a lot easier than a conservative.

Frankly, I think this is exactly why Nixon was forced out of office, and Clinton was not. Both of them were scumbags. Both of them broke laws. Both deserved to be thrown out of office. Women's groups who fought hard to get sexual discrimination laws passed turned a blind eye to what was obviously sexual discrimination (a superior having a sexual relationship with an "employee") because they valued what Clinton did overall. If it had been a conservative, he would not be in office. Conservatives do not stand around while their representatives do what is wrong and then support them. We throw them out.

jacob said:

Kevin,
I will take a stab at your "pro-life is not conservative because it interferes in the private life of a woman"

If one fews the unborn as not human, then it is interference. If one views the unborn as human, then it is murder. Letting murder happen is not a conservative stance.

This is a somewhat simplified distillation of the argument. But if you go back and read Jack's and Marshmallow's ongoing war in this (and my occasional 2 cents) that is what it boiled down to.

jacob said:

Brian,
Correct me if I am wrong, but your view of conservative falls into the 'Moralist' branch I sighted above. Do you agree?

Granted Libertarians can be as beholden to principal as the next conservative, I just see you definition not very Libertarian in the conservative sense. Writing laws to encourage or discourage behavior runs against the Libertarian model.

As for why Nixon got nailed and Clinton did not, I am not inclined to disagree. Look at that Jefferson character from LA. If he were a Republican he'd be long gone. 100K in the freezer, and his defense is one step away from the "!@#$ set me up." (Forgive the crudity.) The whole morality of the moment thing hits the nail on the head when it comes to the left. Bravo sir.

My view of "moral conservative" and "libertarian" are diametrically opposed. A libertarian is at the start "liberal" (it comes from the same root word for heaven's sake!) While a libertarian might be fiscally "conservative" I do not support the idea they are conservatives. I'm not sure I support that as a possible premise, if there are no principles upon which a person is conservative, what exactly are they conserving? If someone is against spending money and having the government involved in prohibiting evil/promoting good, then are they just cheap? (I am NOT going to win any friends with that statement, but I'm conservative, I do not worry about winning friends, I worry about what is right ... and being honest is one of those things.)

Kevin said:

Jacob,

I'm not sure letting murder happen is any body's stance. If "liberals" in general have convinced themselves that abortion is not murder that's one thing. But I don't think you'd find them saying "permitting murder is acceptable in some instances" the same as no conservative would say that about Capital Punishment. Though you'd likely find many liberals against Capital Punishment and many conservatives for it.

True? I would say it's nobody's business to allow for murder.

The whole abortion issue is one I don't usually get tied up in. Somehow, for some reason, Congress created a law with absolutely no Constitutional basis (by that I mean the Constitution had no way of dealing with the issue). The problem is in the definition of "person" and the question of when "personhood" begins. Nowhere in the Constitution did/does it indicate when personhood begins. (The issue of making slaves entire people is a non-issue, as I think we probably both agree that slaves were actual persons all along? Left alone the Constitution would have included them, they had to create an amendment to ensure that they were not considered entire persons, right?) Now, by way of amendment, the beginning of personhood is implied. Puh-lease. The Constitution can't tell me any more than SPMM or Jack can tell me about when personhood begins anymore than I can tell either of them.

Ted said:

I always thought that a conservative was someone who was reluctant to change the prevailing social/political order because that order had been built on the experience of people over hundreds if not thousands of years.

In other words, what makes us think we're so much smarter/more just/less prejudiced than all those generations that came before us, that we can change the social order on a whim?

That is not to say there should be not change, but rather that change, especially massive change, should only be done after a long consideration of what the impact of that change will be on society.

My two cents.

suburbanite said:

I am more inclined to line up with Ted.

"Conservative" to me, although it is often imaged as "conservation" (keeping everything just so, according to a designated or reimaged list from the past) due to the same root word, seems more a matter of carefully taking stock before a decision is made. Action is taken, but all the pros and cons are weighed first, and yes, right and wrong are part of those pros and cons!

"Liberal" to me seems more likely to "freely" institute changes, which as practiced sometimes leads to (far-reaching) unintended consequences.

So if we go to that meaning of the root word for liberal, and just "be free!", sooner rather than later the obvious becomes apparent that nothing is free, and somebody ends up having to pay for it.

Which is then often justified by painting that payer as part of a class of people that "deserves" to pay (whether they committed the "offense" being "righted" at the moment or not).

So yes, in modern practice most undead socialist "ideals" often end up in the "liberal" camp. Complete with demonization of whoever the "bourgeoisie" of the moment may be.

Ahh, the endless dance between "freedom to" (for free?) and "freedom from"!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Fourth of July!

(even Dean)

Eric the 1/2 troll said:

Brian,

Which "church" do speak about? Christianity is certainly not uniform by any means. And specifically which "church" policies are you referring to? Are you advocating a return to meatless Fridays year round?

Eric the 1/2 troll said:

As far as the Liberal/Conservative definition debate goes, I've always felt that as a general rule, Liberals are for more governmental control of corporations and less control of one's personal life, while Conservatives are for less governmental control of corporations and more control of one's personal life.

jacob said:

Brian,
While the root word is the same, the 'liberal' movement' has strayed far from its original intent. The canard 'every virtue is now a requirement' is the antithesis of the old (100 years ago old) liberal outlook. Today as I mentioned earlier, they resemble socialists more than anything else. The ideals for them is to change man. Man can be perfected. A central tenet of socialism.

As for your libertarians are not conservatives outlook, that is not true in the east. But it is true in the west. Many libertarians in VA have a strong sense of right and wrong. Out west it is more of a "it's my life so butt out" attitude.

Eric the 1/2 troll said:

"The ideals for them is to change man."

Wow, what a blanket (mis-)representation. I tend to harbor some Liberal ideals (and some Conservative as well). I certainly have no interest in "changing man". Maybe helping my fellow man, providing a safety net, using the government to provide opportunity for those who need it, etc. But I don't have the hubris to claim "changing man" as in my reach.

Jack said:

Although "liberal" and "liberty" share common root, the liberals of today have lost those roots. They have, indeed, become socialists, not liberals.

In fact, they fear liberty. The favor gun control, because they do not trust the people to have guns. They favor "The Fairness Doctrine," because they do not trust the people to listen to the right things. They favor taking the people's money, becuase the people cannot be trusted to spend their money wisely. They favor government takover of the healthcare industry. They favor punishing successful people and companies. They favor manipulating the tax code for social engineering, because society (the people) cannot be trusted to go where the liberals think it should go.

Liberals have nothing to do with liberty anymore.

zimzo said:

There is so much malarkey in what you are saying Brian, with all due respect, that I don't know where to begin. Thanks to Tom and Kevin for cutting through much of it. And Eric is right: What "church" are you talking about? It seems like the church you are looking for is one that interprets the Bible in a way that most conforms with your ideology.

What does the Bible say about abortion? Nada. In fact Exodus 21:22 makes a clear distinction between the death of a mother which is considered a capital crime and the death of a fetus, which is not. Several biblical passages (Leviticus 27:6, Numbers 3:15 ) only consider children above 1 month old to be persons. I'm sure you can find passages in the Bible that do not specifically refer to abortion and twist there meaning to support your point of view but if you can do that, so can others.

Homosexuality is referred to in the Bible only a few times and usually pretty vaguely. Leviticus has the most clear condemnation of homosexuality but there are many, many laws in Leviticus that Christians don't follow. The other references to homosexuality appear to refer solely to temple prostitution. Even if you believe the Bible condemns homosexuality, it is hardly as important to the authors of the Bible as it is to today's right-wing Christians.

By contrast there are more than 40 references to the poor in the New Testament. But for some reason that doesn't seem to be so much of a priority for right-wing Christians, as David Kuo discovered. And what is the real Christian position on illegal immigrants. I think a case could certainly be made that Jesus would have cared more about the poor hard-working disenfranchised illegal immigrant that he would have cared about border security. I wonder, too, how Jesus would have felt about the death penalty or torture.

So your interpretation of what the priorities of the church should be says a lot more about you than about Christianity.

Your interpretation of politics is no more accurate. Ascribing questionable motives to those who disagree with you is disingenuous at best. If you are going to start from a position that liberals just want to get elected and conservatives have only altruistic motices then it is hard to take anything you say seriously. Did the Republicans who switched their votes on the immigration bill do it because they feared for their reelection or because they had sudden epiphanies? One of the problems we have with discourse in this country is the whole idea that one side is acting out of good intentions and the other only out of evil. Thanks for adding to this ridiculous idea.

I was particularly disturbed by your smearing of Lyndon Johnson. When signed the Civil Rights bill in 1964 he said "There goes the South for a generation," meaning that southerners would leave the Democratic party and become Republicans. He was right. Nixon's Southern Strategy helped solidy this change. The power of the modern Republican party is based on this Southern power base hich was originally motivated to switch to the Republican party because of racism. Johnson knew that doing what was right would be bad for his party but he did it anyway. As far as the Civil Rights laws ushering in "reverse discrimination" I cannot do better than Tom's eloquent take-down of that reprehensible statement.

Eric the 1/2 troll said:

Here we go...

"The favor gun control, because they do not trust the people to have guns."

No they favor gun control because guns are dangerous pieces of equipment that need to be well regulated as has too often been shown. They do not trust everyone to be a good gun owner anymore than they trust everyone to be a good school bus driver.

I certainly do not see The Fairness Doctrine as a defining issue for Liberals. I can not say that I personally believe in it. By the same token, I certainly do not want one mega-corporation to own the airways and only allow one viewpoint to be aired. Common sense and balanced regulation of OUR airways would seem appropriate.

Liberals do not "favor taking people's money". Period.

Liberals favor universal healthcare to be sure. Frankly it needs to be done, imo.

Liberals do not favor punishing successful people. That is absurd.

And Liberals do NOT believe in social engineering. They do not manipulate the taxcode any more than conservatives.

Basically this entire post is nothing more than hyperbole.

Jack said:

Zimzo is off his medicine again.

Abortion:

Let's look at Lev 21:22-25
"If men fight, and hurt a woman with child, so that she gives birth prematurely, yet no harm follows, he shall surely be punished accordingly as the woman’s husband imposes on him; and he shall pay as the judges determine. But if any harm follows, then you shall give life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe."

The passage is clearly speaking about the CHILD, not the mother. Why else would it specify a PREGNANT woman? If it were speaking of injury to the woman, then one must assume that no punishment would ensue if the woman were injured or killed, but not pregnant.

As for Leviticus 27:6 and Numbers 3:15, they simply reflect the high infant mortality at the time. They did not want to count those that had a high probability of dying soon.

Homosexuality:
1Cor6:9-10 "Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God."

There doesn't seem to be anything about temple prostitution in there.

Leviticus 20 prohibits incest, adultery, bestiality, and homosexuality. There is something earlier in the chapter about Molech and prostitution, but it has nothing to do with the later passage forbidding homosexual acts, incest, bestiality, and adultery.

The Poor:

The Bible certainly does emphasize the treatment of the poor. However, I do not recall anywhere that the GOVERNMENT should be taking care of the poor. That is for the people and church to do. "Liberals" have all the sympathy in the world for the illegal immigrant, but none for the people who respect our laws and have waited years to come legally, nor have they any sympathy for those who jobs are taken by illegals, nor for those who have been put out of business because their competitors hired illegals.

If I remember correctly, Jesus had great condemnation for those who flouted the law while acting self-righteous.

Big Al said:

I have a hard time with Dean Settle's comment that being Pro-Life and for Traditional Marriage will be the reason why we lose elections. Abortion is an issue where there is no consensus, but there is no doubt that this country supports traditional marriage; just look at how many states has codified it into law to prevent same-sex marriages. So saying it's an extreme view or will lead to electoral defeat is plain hogwash.

Tom said:

"Liberals" have all the sympathy in the world for the illegal immigrant, but none for the people who respect our laws and have waited years to come legally, nor have they any sympathy for those who jobs are taken by illegals"
So what you're saying is that liberals plan to lose the support of everyone who is legally entitled to vote for them? Statements such as these scream out for support.
Show me where any "liberal" has expressed opposition to legal immigration.
I think you'd be far more likely to uncover some conservative voices supporting that sentiment.

Lot of ideas here ... I suppose that is exactly what I had expected, and wanted. Some questions as well.

The 1/2 troll (even if the questions are not sincere and only to start flame wars) I'll answer his first.

The church of which I speak is the invisible church first -- the body of Christ that transcends all time and space, all denominations and is the full number of those that are in Christ Jesus from Able to the last saint standing at the end of this age. Ultimately, it is that church that matters the most. That church is the church with true power -- the bride of Christ.

Secondarily, the visible church in our age is also whom I address. Those that claim Christ and submit to his word. This is no specific denomination, but all those denominations that are not heretical (an ecumenical council must determine heresy -- the most recent ecumenical council occurred in the 5th century before the great schism).

I do not believe "conservative" has anything to do with the status quo. Licoln created great change in the status quo, but is a conservative in that the rational for the change was going back to the source of right and wrong (a Biblical world view that rejects racial slavery). Conservative should always be looking back to the source of right and wrong. While conservatives should be careful when contemplating changing from what has been "the status quo" for the reasons stated (we are no more intelligent than those who have gone before) but conservatives should always be checking the absolutes and looking to conform to those absolutes.

Ted said:

"Liberals do not "favor taking people's money". Period."

Then please tell me how they expect to fund the universal health care you favor and all the additional social programs they want?

By voluntary contributions?

Tom said:

As for Leviticus. I grow weary of people selectively choosing commandments from it. It seems they only pick the ones that marginalize minorities.
For instance: when will those seeking to restore traditional values ban the consumption of fat (7:22-25)?
When will we bring priests our mildewed garments (13:47-53)?
When will Republicans demand that any clay pot touched by a man who has had a discharge must be borken(15:12)?
Not touch menstruating women (15:19)?
No mixed-cropping of farm fields(19:19)?
My favorite though comes from Deuteronomy 22:28
"If a man happens to meet a virgin who is not pledged to be married and rapes her and they are discovered he shall pay the girl's father 50 sheckels of silver. He must marry the girl for he has violated her..."
So when will conservatives demand the betrothal of rapists to their conquests?
I have here "objective" Biblical support for doing so.

Jack said:

Kevin, you seem to be in need of a little history lesson. The SOUTHERN states wanted the slaves counted as whole people, the NORTHERN states did not want them counted as people at all.

Jack said:

Tom -- I did not say that liberals "oppose legal immigration." However, anyone who would put illegal immigrants before those who are trying to obey our laws and come here legally has their sympathies in the wrong place.

Ted said:

Of course the South wanted slaves counted as whole persons; that would've given the slave holding states even more representatives per voter than the non-slave holding states since the slaves would be counted but not allowed to vote!

Tom said:

"I did not say that liberals "oppose legal immigration"
Actually, in so many words you did by saying they have no respect for the people who follow the rules.
Can you show me any attempt at recent legislation in the "liberal" congress that shows no sympathy to attempted legal immigrants?
I'm guessing that the conservatives would be far more open to restricting all immigration legal or otherwise.
I do want to pose one question though. First, let me say I'm no fan of illegal immigration-it has wrecked my neighborhood in Western Fairfax. My question though is, am I insane or has illegal immigrant become the new, improved, acceptable nigger for the conservatives to use to rally their base?
Is Nixon's Southern Strategy being replaced with a Southern Border strategy?
I'm all for cracking down on illegal immigration, but remember it's your conservative government allowing it to happen. It's your conservative government that supports cheap, unorganized fearful labor over a unionized workforce. It's your conservative government providing billions in subsidies to agribusiness corporations that use illegal labor. The ones you should demonize are not the ones seeking to make a pathetic living, but the ones who are encouraging the criminal use of their labor that encourages them to come in the first place. Incidentally, they're the ones most of you voted for. Until this January you all had controlled all the branches of government for 6 years, and Cngress for 6 before that as well. Why did your conservative lawmakers do nothing? And how can you blame liberals for it now?

Jack said:

Tom, you might try a dose of that medicine zimzo has stopped taking.

First, the dietary laws were repealed both in the Gospels and in Acts.

Second, the cleanliness laws in Lev 15 are not cleanliness of the soul matters, but of the body. They were the best that could be devised for the people. They had no antibiotic soaps, no Bactine, and no Band-Aid brand adhesive bandages.

Lastly, only the newer translations say "rape." Most (including the Latin Vulgate and German Bibles) have some version more like the King James' Translation: "If a man find a damsel that is a virgin, which is not betrothed, and lay hold on her, and lie with her, and they be found; Then the man that lay with her shall give unto the damsel's father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife; because he hath humbled her, he may not put her away all his days."

One, the "New Living Translation," even has it as "Suppose a man has intercourse with a young woman who is a virgin but is not engaged to be married. If they are discovered...."

Jack said:

"Can you show me any attempt at recent legislation in the 'liberal' congress that shows no sympathy to attempted legal immigrants?"

YES, the last immigration bill!! It would have put illegal immigrants BEFORE those trying to get in legally.

Second, Tom, I think you should look into where the parties get their funding. The Democrats get a lot more from Big Business than the Republicans do.

"It's your conservative government that supports cheap, unorganized fearful labor..."

Tom, you just answered your own question about "new southern strategy": No, because the "conservatives" are split on this, as you seem to be realizing. The new split in the conservative movement might be called "corporatist" vs populist, and I suggest it presages a new, slightly different division within the "liberal" movement as well.

Tom said:

Regardless of how you translate it it still doesn't sound very nice.

At least with agriculture, the Dem's are getting more funding now than the GOP-but that only changed with the change of congressional control. The businesses buy whomever has clout.
However, from 1990-2006, Agribusiness gave the vast majority of its cash to Republicans.http://www.opensecrets.org/industries/indus.asp?Ind=A
Ditto for construction, another field using illegal labor.
Ditto for Defense.
Ditto for energy/natural resources
Ditto for finance/insurance/real estate
Ditto for health care
Not ditto for lawyers, which tilt heavily left.
Ditto for transportation
Ditto for miscellaneous business
Not ditto for labor, obviously.
Using the above link and database, you can see that the GOP has dominated cash contributions from almost every major industry from 1990-2006.
Now in the current presidential cycle, which you can look up as well it's about split with half of the industries tilting one way and half the other.
So thanks for the idea, Jack! I did look up where the money comes from. And it didn't support your statement.

Tom said:

Joe,
I think the split is a very good thing. The populists really do need a party of their own, as the one you've got has betrayed you, even though the current bill got shelved.
I'm very pleased when I read on your site and some of those linked to it the discontent with Bush and his policies toward immigration. I find it exciting that there is so much independent thinking going on, whether I agree with it or not.
Apparently, someone on your site already decided I was a liberal/democrat. I would lustily disagree with that characterization.If I am a liberal I must be the only one posting here who thought Bill Clinton deserved impeachment, and thinks Hillary would be an abomination as president. I am still looking for a political party that is beholden to citizens and will do what is promised in the preamble to the Constitution. Neither party today approaches that level of governance.

Anonymous said:

"YES, the last immigration bill!! It would have put illegal immigrants BEFORE those trying to get in legally."
This was the bill of your party's leader, and one of its main presidential candidates.

Tom said:

"YES, the last immigration bill!! It would have put illegal immigrants BEFORE those trying to get in legally."
As someone who opposes what was in that bill myself, let me play devil's advocate and ask this-by scuttling the bill aren't you all just insuring that the flood of illegals will continue unabated without any new enforcement mechanisms at all until the next president comes along, and probably develops something even more horrifying from your perspective?

Tom said:

Oh, and thank you for humbling me about sanitation in the Biblical period. I was wrong.
What's concerning though is that since all scripture is supposedly God breathed how can some of it become completely outmoded by the passage of time and changes in social/cultural conditions?
Could it be that the statements against homosexual acts were also a response to uncleanliness, and that in this age of "safe sex" that these concerns are allayed provided people take sanitary precautions.
But, in this age there are people in many parts of the world lacking basic sanitation so does Leviticus still stand in say sub-Saharan Africa, but not in the Western world where we have the miracle of Johnson and Johnson?

zimzo said:

Jack, I really don't want to engage you because of your lack of ability to conduct an honest argument, but I must point out that your interpretation of Exodus 21:22 is the opposite of what it says. It says if the fetus is killed and the woman lives there should be only a fine but if the woman is killed, then it is a capital crime. Clearly, the life of the fetus is not as highly valued as the life of the woman.

I note that you have ignored the fact that abortion is not mentioned in the Bible.

For the passage from Corinithians you rely on an English translation while the original Greek uses terms that refer solely to temple prostitution. Still, my point is that homosexuality is mentioned so little in the Bible and yet seems to be the overwhelming preoccupation of the Christian Right, while poverty is mentioned quite a few times and yet seems to be a very low priority for them.

The Bible does discuss the government caring for the poor. Here are just a few examples:

Proverbs 28:3 – A ruler who oppresses the poor is a beating rain that leaves no food.

Proverbs 28:15-16 – Like a roaring lion or a charging bear is a wicked ruler over a poor people. A ruler who lacks understanding is a cruel oppressor; but one who hates unjust gain will enjoy a long life.

Proverbs 29:14 – If a king judges the poor with equity, his throne will be established forever.

Psalm 72:1-13 – Give the king your justice, O God, and your righteousness to a king’s son. May he judge your people with righteousness, and your poor with justice ... May he defend the cause of the poor of the people, give deliverance to the needy, and crush the oppressor ... For he delivers the needy when they call, the poor and those who have no helper. He has pity on the weak and the needy, and saves the lives of the needy.

Isaiah 1:10-17 – Hear the word of the Lord, you rulers of Sodom! Listen to the teaching of our God, you people of Gomorrah! What to me is the multitude of your sacrifices? says the Lord; I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams ... bringing offerings is futile; incense is an abomination to me ... I cannot endure solemn assemblies with iniquity. Your new moons and your appointed festivals my soul hates; they have become a burden to me, I am weary of bearing them. When you stretch out your hands, I will hide my eyes from you; even though you make many prayers, I will not listen; your hands are full of blood. Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your doings from before my eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow.

Isaiah 3:14-15 – The Lord enters into judgment with the elders and princes of his people; It is you who have devoured the vineyard; the spoil of the poor is in your houses. What do you mean by crushing my people, by grinding the face of the poor? says the Lord God of hosts.

Daniel 4:27 – Therefore, O king, may my counsel be acceptable to you: atone for your sins with righteousness, and your iniquities with mercy to the oppressed, so that your prosperity may be prolonged.

Proverbs 22:16 – Oppressing the poor in order to enrich oneself, and giving to the rich, will lead only to loss.

Isaiah 10:1-3 – Ah, you who make iniquitous decrees, who write oppressive statutes, to turn aside the needy from justice and to rob the poor of my people of their right, that widows may be your spoil, and that you may make the orphans your prey! What will you do on the day of punishment, in the calamity that will come from far away?

Jeremiah 8:19-22 – Hark, the cry of my poor people from far and wide in the land ... For the hurt of my poor people I am hurt, I mourn, and dismay has taken hold of me. Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then has the health of my poor people not been restored?

Amos 8:4, 7 – Hear this, you that trample on the needy, and bring to ruin the poor of the land ... The Lord has sworn by the pride of Jacob: Surely I will never forget any of their deeds.

Hve you actually read the Bible, Jack?

Brian, if the Church you speak of is "invisible" how are you privy to what it should believe? I also find it convenient that you seem to believe some of the "visible" Churches are heretical but you can't say which ones because an ecumenical council has to do that and, alas, the last one was in the 5th century. So then we are to take your word for it as to what a "real" Christian church should believe? Are Mormons heretical? Are gay and lesbian churches heretical? Are the Episcopal churches that have ordained gay priests heretical? Is the Catholic Church that harbors pedophile priests heretical? Was Ted Haggard's church heretical? Are Unitarians heretical?

I also must take issue with your simplistic and inaccurate idea that conservatives have absolute values of right and wrong and liberals do not. Do those conservatives who believed that Clinton should be impeached and Scooter Libby pardoned have absolute values of right and wrong? Do those conservatives who sanction torture and excuse Abu Ghraib have absolute values of right and wrong? Christians and conservatives certainly do not have a monopoly on morality as you claim. And many liberals have more consistent and absolute moral values than conservatives do.

Jack said:

Zimzo:

Look at the Exodus passage. Why even mention the woman's pregnancy? If it is the life of the WOMAN at issue, then there is no penalty save when the woman is pregnant? That interpretation simply makes no sense.

As for the poor, of all your Bible quotes, only one, Psalm 72, says anything about the government's (in this case, the King's) doing anything FOR the poor. The rest speak only of not oppressing them. The Psalmist said, "May he defend the cause of the poor of the people, give deliverance to the needy, and crush the oppressor ... For he delivers the needy when they call, the poor and those who have no helper."

He speaks of "deliverance." From what or whom? From the oppressor, not from poverty. No, zimzo, that is left for the people and the church, not the government.

I do read the Bible. Every day.

Kevin said:

Jack, at what point did I make a reference to SOUTH or NORTH when it came to making slaves whole persons? You are absolutely off your rocker. Maybe you are in need of a reading lesson.

Kevin said:

"Apparently, someone on your site already decided I was a liberal/democrat. I would lustily disagree with that characterization.If I am a liberal I must be the only one posting here who thought Bill Clinton deserved impeachment, and thinks Hillary would be an abomination as president. I am still looking for a political party that is beholden to citizens and will do what is promised in the preamble to the Constitution. Neither party today approaches that level of governance."

HazzzAH!! Nice work, bro.

Jack said:

"Could it be that the statements against homosexual acts were also a response to uncleanliness...?"

A fair question. The answer is, "No." The passages against homosexual sex also forbade marrying close relatives, even my marriage, and against marrying a woman and her mother, or a woman and her sister (Lev 18). These prohibitions have nothing to do with cleanliness.

"But, in this age there are people in many parts of the world lacking basic sanitation so does Leviticus still stand in say sub-Saharan Africa, but not in the Western world where we have the miracle of Johnson and Johnson?"

Yes, following the cleanliness guidelines of Leviticus would certainly be a good idea for the peoples of sub-Saharan Africa.

Jack said:

"[The immigration bill] was the bill of your party's leader, and one of its main presidential candidates."

It was also the bill of Ted Kennedy. It was never a bill of the Republican Party. The conservatives killed it, and McCain's campaign is going down the toilet.

Tom, in that case you and I are on the same page.

zimzo,

You seem to have a misunderstanding of the Hebrew in Exo 21:22. I can understand this if you rely on the English KJV translation, but even here, the problem is understanding the old English. The NASB does a better job of translation:

"If men struggle with each other and strike a woman with child so that she gives birth prematurely, yet there is no injury, he shall surely be fined as the woman's husband may demand of him, and he shall pay as the judges decide.
But if there is any further injury, then you shall appoint as a penalty life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise."

The passage has two words that get translated for give birth prematurely: yalad and yatsa' (the editor here does not support hebrew characters, so I provided transliterations). The two mean close to the same thing, to go out or bring forth. The passage says that if the child is born early, then there is a fine, but if there is any further injury, then the very next statement is life for life. If the child is killed, there is no fine set by the husband -- it is life for life. The KJV confuses the issue greatly with lack of knowledge of 17th century English. A man who causes a woman to have a premature birth has to pay a fine -- if there is injury (the child or the mother) the penalty is the reflection of the crime.

Somebody asked about "the invisible church" and how could a person know what that church is to believe. That is the same answer that has been around since the close of the cannon at about 90ad. The Bible is what defines the church and what it is to believe. God speaks, and his sheep hear his voice. What the church invisible should believe is the some total of the message of God's word. Not that there are no differences between how that word is viewed, there are as there always has been from the time Jesus was on the earth himself. Yet what is to be believed is not so obscure that the vast majority of it is not clear.

More later ....

Tom said:

"Yes, following the cleanliness guidelines of Leviticus would certainly be a good idea for the peoples of sub-Saharan Africa."
But, does it affect their salvation?
Does anyone have a response as to how in the infinite wisdom of God so many of his commands seem completely time and culture bound to a small area of the Middle East several thousand years ago?
Are they only meant for Jews whom he was speaking to at the time?
If that's the case then I'm getting something started with my cousins.
Is/was the law only intended for that particular period? If the answer is yes, then why is it still considered holy? If the answer is no then why can we rationalize away certain commands by pointing to our modern sewage systems?

Dean Settle said:

Big Al....exactly where in my offering did I even type TRADITIONAL MARRAIGE??
I voted for it, for cry'in out loud.
But FIXATING on what kind of sex occurs behind your neighbors closed doors will not win any elections. People will figurer that you've got nothing better to fixate on.I do not fixate on it. I am required by my belief to witness to them once in an effort to point out that they are living against God's wishes. If they send me away and do not wish to accept that message, I've done my part. I can pray for them, but constantly berating them is useless. Hate the sin...not the sinner.
Now, activists are another deal, altogether. They constantly push the agenda that I MUST accept their condition as normal, and that I must accept them and their choices. I never will, but I'll never invade the private party's homes or lives to counter their beliefs.

Kevin said:

"The passages against homosexual sex also forbade marrying close relatives, even my marriage, and against marrying a woman and her mother, or a woman and her sister. . ."

Jack, that is a tantalizing bit of information. Do tell. Is it your sister? Your mother? Or something even more sinister? Bwoohaahaahaa!

Jack said:

Good catch, Kevin!! A slip of the thumb! That should have been "BY marriage." Darn those spell-checkers, anyway.

Jack said:

"But FIXATING on what kind of sex occurs behind your neighbors closed doors will not win any elections. People will figurer that you've got nothing better to fixate on."

That's what kills me about the animal-rights crowd. If that's their biggest beef, life must be pretty good!

Kevin said:

That had me laughing pretty hard. Even still. Ha!

Anonymous said:

"What I said is the problem is with the church -- that the church is not staying true to what it believes."

Brian,

Visible church, invisible church. I suppose it is inconsequential WHICH church you are discussing. I am curious as to which specific issues you think the "church" is not staying true on?

Can you please elaborate?

zimzo said:

"What is to be believed is not so obscure that the vast majority of it is not clear," Brian says. And yet here we are arguing about the one passage in the Bible that may possibly have something remotely to do with abortion, which is the number one issue of the Christian Right. The number two issue, homosexuality, is barely mentioned in the Bible at all. Poverty, on the other hand, is mentioned hundreds of times but the Christian Right doesn't seem to care too much about that.

On Exodus 21:22 there is indeed a lot of controversy. "Further injury" has traditionally been taken to refer to the woman not the baby, since most babies born prematurely at that time would not have survived. Anti-abortion apologists now claim that it refers to the child but the Hebrew is too vague to make that claim. Even so this passage still does not refer to abortion per se but to the accidental harming of a fetus. Secondly, it's the only passage in the Bible that can even be manipulated to have anything to say about the issue and yet right-wing Christians claim that they know for certain what God's opinion is. Talk about hubris.

Jack said: "I do not recall anywhere that the GOVERNMENT should be taking care of the poor. That is for the people and church to do." Even though you admit that at least one of the passages I cited does say that (and the ones I cited were just a few of many in the Bible), are you not able to admit that your statement was in fact wrong. No, of course not.

I'm glad that Brian and Jack are so certain that they know what God believes. The rest of us are not so sure and we would rather not have your opinions based on the flimsiest of evidence imposed on the rest of us. You are perfectly free not to abort any babies or engage in homosexual activity but you do not have the right to tell others that they may not. That seems like a perfectly conservative position to me.

Eric the 1/2 troll said:

That one was me, Brian.

Kevin said:

"I do not recall anywhere that the GOVERNMENT should be taking care of the poor. That is for the people and church to do."

Then how the heck is it these people ain't got new vans?! or a riding lawnmower?!

http://www.loudounhomeless.org/gsawishlist/view_alone.nhtml?profile=gsawishlist&UID=10002

Why is it, when I pointed out last winter that LOUDOUN is one of the richest towns in the US, and asked (albeit only here on this blog)that someone in a church donate some freakin vans to the shelter, that a church cannot/will not buy them or donate them new vans or a riding lawnmower? You cannot count on rich churches to do the right thing. They're only interested in taking more of your money to build bigger buildings to fit more people in so that they can take more of your money.

Jack said:

YOU brought up the passage, zimzo. Don't cry about it now when it does not support your claim.

Certainly you know this one: " Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations." (Jeremiah 1:5)

And of course, "And it happened, when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, that the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit." (Luke 1:41)

Now, back to the poor. Your ONE supporting passage says that the government (king) should deliver the poor from their oppressors. I have no problem with that. I have no problem with the government's dealing with poor as with the rich. But is the government to feed and house the poor? No, friend, that is OUR job. This is why Republicans give more to charity than Democrats do -- the Democrats think it's the government's job, not theirs: http://philanthropy.com/free/articles/v19/i04/04001101.htm


"I'm glad that Brian and Jack are so certain that they know what God believes."

Certain? No. But pretty sure. I'm pretty sure God does not want us to kill a babe in the womb. And with clear prohibitions against homosexual acts, I think it is pretty stupid to bet one's soul that the Bible does not mean what it says. And don't think you are in the clear because you do not yourself engage in homosexual acts or abortions -- teaching others to sin is also sin.

Jack said:

Kevin -- I'm a little confused. Why does a homeless shelter need a RIDING lawnmower? Whom are they serving? Can't they push a lawnmower? How much lawn does a homeless shelter have, anyway?

Van drivers? They can't get some of these homeless people licenses?

Babysitters? How about the ADULTS IN THE SHELTER!?

Anonymous said:

"it is pretty stupid to bet one's soul that the Bible does not mean what it says."
Ok, fine then. One of you who understands God so well please answer my question-how come modern sanitation invalidates scripture relating to not going near a man who has had an emission? But modern sanitation doesn't invalidate other scripture that refers to men who are a scapegoat in this society because they have had said emission in or on another man?

Kevin said:

Fair enough, Jack. Why don't you ask them? I say fair enough because I have no idea myself. My guess is that the babysitters are needed while the adults are going out looking for jobs or trying to become productive members of society by learning English and such. All great questions. Likely the can push a lawnmower but have you seen the countryside in Loudoun Co? The plots of land (maybe even that the homeless shelter is built on, I don't know) that need mowing? If it's mowing for money then time is of the essence, is it not?
My guess is that homeless people either can get licenses and they are helping those that can to do so, but they may even need van drivers to drive those individuals to the DMV. I'm just saying. All good questions, and questioning is always good when donating or giving your money. Sounds like a good project for you!

Jack said:

Anonymous, the difference is between cleanliness of the body and cleanliness of the soul.

Tom said:

Ok. I can't argue with your belief there. no point.
But, if we jump to the New Testament, it becomes sinful and adulterous to even look upon a woman with lust.
So, since you are passing judgement on the cleanliness of the homosexual's soul, I trust yours is pure, and that you never had a lustful thought about a woman not your wife?
I just want to get at why gay is so much worse than all the other sins people commit, and why the passage of time invalidates so much of the literalness of the Bible, but not the passages relating to homosexuals.

zimzo said:

Jack, if God truly has entrusted you with the true meaning of his teachings, then I guess He shouldn't be surprised that so few people want to follow them. My advice is that if He wants to win over more people he should find better messengers.

Jack said:

"So, since you are passing judgement on the cleanliness of the homosexual's soul, I trust yours is pure, and that you never had a lustful thought about a woman not your wife?"

And that is where you go astray, Tom. No-one is perfect (not even I). I sin, but I "repent and return to the Lord," as we say. I do not go around trying to convince everyone that my sin is not sin.

"I just want to get at why gay is so much worse than all the other sins people commit, and why the passage of time invalidates so much of the literalness of the Bible, but not the passages relating to homosexuals."

Because the homosexuals are trying to tell everyone that their sin is not sin, in direct contradiction to the Bible. There are many sexual prohibitions in the Bible -- why is THAT one now not valid, when all the others (incest, bestiality, marrying your wife's sister or mother, etc.) still hold? Comparing rules for bodily cleanliness with sexual immorality is simply not a valid comparison.

Zimzo, God did not give me that gift -- there are far better messengers than I. But I doubt you would listen to them, either. Still, you might try listening to WAVA for a while. They are far better at it than I am.

But you are right about one thing: few people want to follow His teachings, "Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it." (Matt 7:14)

jacob said:

Tom,
"I just want to get at why gay is so much worse than all the other sins people commit, and why the passage of time invalidates so much of the literalness of the Bible, but not the passages relating to homosexuals."
It is not. God does not grade on a curve. The penalty for all sin is death.

The Bible does not say the penalty for some sin is death, and for other sin is being sent to bed without dinner. We all fall short of the glory of god so that none can boast, other than God. There is no special penalty for engaging in Gay sex.

The point that Jack is making is that due to our fallen nature we sin. We all sin. The 'good news' (Gospel) is that if you repent of your sins, you will be forgiven. So if you try to justify yourself, then you are obviously not repenting.

jacob said:

Kevin,
"Fair enough, Jack. Why don't you ask them? I say fair enough because I have no idea myself."
It comes with the mindset that the gov'mint needs to provide forms in 30 languages. It comes with the nanny state. Instead of thinking and doing for themselves, seeking opportunity people have been taught that the government will take care of them.

I have kids, my instinct is to do everything I can do for them. That instinct is fatal. I must let them walk (and fall down) so they learn to run. I must let them fail on occasion so they learn how to deal with it. So that the next time, when they succeed, it tastes all the sweeter.

Guv'mint is not here to guarantee us happiness it is there to provide for the common defense, so we may have the liberty to pursue said happiness. This was a country of frontiersman; self reliant and rugged. We have become a nation of whiners.

jacob said:

Tom,
"Are they only meant for Jews whom he was speaking to at the time?"
Some of the dietary prohibitions certainly were target directly at the Jew and the Jew alone.

jacob said:

Zimzo,
I also have noticed that you tend to quote from the KJV. Try this site
http://www.biblegateway.com/

It provides multiple translations.

I have what is called an 'interlinear' bible , it is an excellent source for interpretation. As would be a Concordance. Hope you find this helpful.

Zimzo,

With all due respect, while I understand a lot of what you are saying -- it is not from the standpoint of the historic confessions of the church. For instance, you salute those that question "what church, which one" when if you read carefully what I've posted, I've posted what is in accord with the historic creeds "I believe in one catholic and apostolic church." (Please note the small "c" catholic -- the word means "universal".) That would mean there are parts of that church in many places. It is not a denomination, it is the church. It may not fit nicely into your world view, but do not think it is illogical just because you don't understand it.

It seems your statement:

"Several biblical
passages (Leviticus 27:6, Numbers 3:15 ) only consider children above 1
month old to be persons. I'm sure you can find passages in the Bible that
do not specifically refer to abortion and twist there meaning to support
your point of view but if you can do that, so can others."

Can be looked at as the former (saying that the Lev. and Num. passages refer to when a child becomes a person) is exactly what you state in the later (twisting the meaning to support your point of view -- which you say "others" can do). If you thought that the Leviticus passage did not attribute personhood to those less than 1 month old, then full personhood would only happen at after 20, and would end at 60 (those over 60 have the exact same treatment as those less than 1 month) and yet you know the Bible is replete with references to the value of the old -- they are to be more honored, not counted as non-persons. The passages in fact says nothing about who is a person and who is not. By simply attributing logical consistency to the text, the interpretation you take from this is patently false.

While you seem to think that homosexuality is important to "right wing Christians" as you put it, I would say that all Biblical doctrine is important to any Christian. If a person thinks anything that God has said is trivial, then *they* should question seriously if they are a Christian at all.

You do point out that caring for the poor is a concern of the Christian, and I would tend to agree -- to a point. Caring for the fatherless, the widow, the oppressed, for those that try to better themselves and do what they can I very much think the Bible does command we help. It does not command we help the sluggard, the immoral, those who waste what they have been given. In a sense, the church should be there ahead of the government (and in general it is) yet I have few problems with social programs that are geared toward helping those that do wish to help themselves (Ack! Did I just say that I actually support some social programs? Yes, I did!) Now does that mean that we should have a welfare system that is run by the federal government? No. Should that system be run by the state government? That would be better than the federal government running it, but it should be more local still. Should social programs then be run at the local government? As local as you can possibly get! I don't know about people on the other side of the state as to the events that have led to them being in need, but I do know about the events for the woman in my church whose husband left her with several children. I know about the guy who had a heart attack and couldn't keep his job because of it (and how he is doing). I know when someone loses a spouse and is left with small children to take care of when it happens in my community. I know what they are doing to manage their affairs to do what they can. Those people I can easily say need help, and I have made sure they have the help they need. That is a more Biblical model. Is it impossible for a government to help? No, but it should be enough that the government not oppress the poor, or treat them unjustly. The government should care for the poor in the sense they should have equal protection under the law, and I don't even mind a workfare system (like gleaning in the Bible).

You need not turn to the new testament to find condemnation of oppressing the poor, the book of Amos is clearly concerned with that as much as anything else.

As to the current crop of politicians, you have not been reading all of my posts. I've pounced on just about everyone I've seen on the issue of consistency and honesty. Look through all I've posted. Then try to read through to what the basic principles I hold would be. Figure that out before think about arguing one way or another on any one of the individual points. While you probably won't agree with the axioms from which I start, you would at least understand the reasoning.

As to reverse discrimination, Tom's "take down" is simply not a logical argument, it is pure emotion and rhetoric. There was no logic to it. There was allegory, but no axioms, no theorems derived, no logic. The best example I can recall is from the 70's when I worked at Westinghouse. They were under extreme pressure to achieve numbers that would show they did not have a different ratio of minority/female workers to white male workers. What that worked out to was the hiring of workers that were much less qualified than some of the white males. How do I know? The test scores on the standard tests for qualification they had to provide for the union jobs. The company had to have a "pass" figure for the tests, and what several black technicians told me was they were given the test 3 times, with the results after the first two, in order to get them to pass. I also know a white worker that was passed over for the same position, even though he passed the first time through. You cannot "make up" for wrongs done in the past by committing wrongs against others now. As I said, two wrongs do not make a right no matter what the surrounding facts are.

If you look at what the main complain I had against Johnson, it was the war. Prior to the Democrats, the U.S. involvement in the war was non-combatant advisers. Kennedy put a few combat troops in, but Johnson pushed that over the top. If you want to say something about war, you cannot lay war at the feet of conservatives any more than liberals. While I think Nixon was a crook, I do have to give him that he was the one responsible for getting us out of V.N.

On to other things....

There has been a lot of discussion on the table as to laws of the O.T. and what is valid today. I'd say there are three types of laws in the Bible. The moral law, the judicial/civil law of Israel as a nation, and the ceremonial law. The summary of the moral law would be the ten commandments and is binding on all mankind for all time. The judicial laws of Israel were the laws of that nation and ceased with that nation and are not binding upon any other, except as the general equity would require. The ceremonial law was fulfilled in Christ and is now no longer binding on any.

That said, it does not mean that we ignore any part of the laws, in as much as we see in them at least something of the nature of God. The ceremonial law is completed, and therefore should not be followed. We no longer make sacrifices for sin, and to do so would be sinful in that Christ's sacrifice paid fully the penalty of the sin -- to make a sacrifice for sin would be to impugn Christ's sacrifice as insufficient. While the judicial laws of Israel died with that nation, they teach us something of the mind of God. All scripture is God breathed and is useful for teaching, reproof, correction and training in Godliness.

The moral law however is binding on all men everywhere for all time. While those in Christ are not under the judgment of the law (they have already passed from death to life) they are still bound to follow it as grateful servants/sons.

Now, the real issue is from where does a person start if they are going to discuss scripture. I start from the position that all of the Bible is the inerrant, and even more, infallible word of God. If you start with the idea that the Bible is true, consistent, and authoritative, then debating what it says makes sense. If on the other hand, you reject that it is true, consistent and authoritative, you are not in rebellion against the God of the universe, and your interpretation will reflect that rebellion. How can you look to tell what God has said, when you reject what he has said? It is not the Bible on trial by us to judge it, we are on trail and it is the judge. We have no authority over the Bible; the Bible has ultimate authority over us.

Now, as to gun control (I have no idea how that got in here!) I'd say people were honest about the topic if they believed that cars ought to be even more strictly controlled. Cars would be the low hanging fruit -- they are the third leading cause of death (behind heart attacks and cancer) for all people. And it would be even less of a hypocritical stance if those that wanted gun control also wanted to never have a drink served in a bar. I personally know 3 people that have been killed by drunk drivers, and I have a cousin that was maimed for life by drunk drivers that were drinking at a bar. I do not know *anyone* who was killed or maimed by a gun (outside of the military and war). I do know people that very likely have been saved by their owning and knowing how to use a gun.

While the media won't report those instances when having a gun stops a violent crime or saves a person from becoming a victim, those instances do happen. There is a reason people go to places they know everyone is unarmed to commit crimes. D.C. has about the highest crime rate in the country -- nobody is allowed the means to defend themselves against a bully.

I may be big (a little over 6 foot) but if someone bigger, stronger, and perhaps has a bat, with what would I defend myself? The idea of a 6'8" man attacking a 5'6" 150 pound weakling sounds absurd if the "weakling" is carrying a pistol. In fact, the small man would present a smaller target. If two or three people started to attack my home (a home invasion) calling the police would not save anyone in the house; shooting the first one that breaks down the door could. You want to wait 15 minutes for the police to arrive? Go ahead.

Oh, by the way, "if someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him also the left" (I'm sure it will be asked) means what? How does one get struck on the right check? It happens when someone hits you with the back of their right hand. It isn't an attack that Christ is talking about, it is an insult (which you ignore).

Now what I try to avoid, but because it seems that it is being pushed so much. The Bible states that homosexual activity is sin. It also says heterosexual activity outside marriage is sin. All sin gets you a lake of burning sulfur seat for all eternity (even "little" sins). Why? It isn't that we are sinners because we sin, it is we sin because we are sinners. That stated, does it matter a whole lot about what the particulars are of which particular sins we have done? Not in the sense of eternal destiny. It isn't a competition where the top 40% get to heaven and everyone else goes to hell. Only those that are perfectly pure can get to heaven, and guess what folks, that means nobody on their own gets to heaven. It takes someone else to pay the penalty for the sin, and supply the righteousness to make the person not just sinless, but a positive good. None of it can be from self. Sorry -- the only person that qualifies is Jesus Christ himself -- and anyone he cleans from their sin and credits to them his righteousness.

And after that I still want to comment on another thing. Zimzo, God has no interest in "winning people over" to his side by trying to persuade them. He does not have to. He is the only game in town, and he commands people to obey. He has no need for us. We need him.

Kevin said:

"It comes with the mindset that the gov'mint needs to provide forms in 30 languages. It comes with the nanny state. Instead of thinking and doing for themselves, seeking opportunity people have been taught that the government will take care of them."

Totally off topic, Jacob, but ok.

zimzo said:

I guess you think if you write enough words, Brian, people will think you know what you're talking about. But in all your blather you never answered the question why do right-wing Christians believe that abortion and gay marriage are the most important issues in this country when the Bible never mentions abortion and only very rarely mentions homosexuality? And furthermore where does the Constitution say that the laws of the United States must conform to your very particular view of Christian doctrine?

To get back to your original post, you said at least two extremely offensive things, which is probably why there are so many comments:

1) "There is a real problem of people not having a basis for what is right and wrong." The implication from your statement is that you do. But your "basis" is not the Bible or God's word but your own very skewed and idiosyncratic opinion of what you believe the Bible says. It really is the height of hubris, which I believe is a sin. And the idea that someone who is not a Christian has no "basis for right and wrong" is just ridiculous. Do you honestly believe, for example, that this is true of, say, the Dalai Lama or Mahatma Ghandi?

2) "If the church is lost, the country is without the preserving influence of the church." If the health of our country depends on the likes of Pat Robertson, Ted Haggard and you, then we are in a lot more trouble than I thought.

Joe,

I see large portions of the church not talking about sin any more. I know of a church leader that asked aloud if it would be better to give to a crisis pregnancy center anonymously rather than let it be known that the church was supporting a pro-life stand because it would drive some people away. It wasn't that the person had any question that the Bible was definitively pro-life, but the guy worried that the appearance of being pro-life would have a negative impact on attendance. Many of the churches are more concerned with not offending people than they are with the gospel.

I know of a church that believes in what they call the regulative principle of worship ... that the only things allowed in worship are the things commanded in the Bible for worship. Yet in practice, the church allows anything under the guise of "teaching" that you could imagine.

There are plenty of churches that have given up on saying divorce is wrong, that cheating on your spouse is wrong, that if you don't repent of your sin you will wind up in hell.

I remember going to a pastor of a church and stated that I thought it was inappropriate for the choir director to have changed some words in a musical performance from a direct quote of scripture. The quote highlighted that Jesus was God, and the choir director changed it to say that Jesus was God's son. He asked why I thought it was inappropriate, to which I responded that the quote was directly from scripture. His response was to ask "What makes you think the scripture is true." (This was years ago, and I left that church right afterward.)

I have seen churches that are wonderful. I've seen churches that are true to the faith handed down to them. I have seen churches that take the Bible seriously. I've also seen churches that are more concerned about numbers than truth.

Ultimately, a church that becomes "man centered" is one that has left behind the teaching of Jesus.

In all of what you've said, you have not stated anything that leads me to believe that abortion and gay marriage are the most important things for "right-wing" (whatever that means) Christians. While I believe those are important issues I don't know as they are the most important.

I can state reasonable arguments why I believe abortion is just plain wrong -- we give a convicted criminal the benefit of reasonable doubt before we allow them to be executed, but we don't an innocent baby -- but while it may be important, important enough that I would not vote for someone who is pro-abortion -- is it the only thing? No.

The same is true for homosexual unions. It may be that I can point to reasons why such behavior should not be sanctioned, but I certainly don't think it is the single most important issue facing this country. So, asking me to defend a straw argument to which I do not subscribe is so far beyond what seems reasonable. I would not think it worth answering (other than you pointing your question directly to me ... in which case I can say I have no idea why you would think those are the two most important issues to Christians, when I, a conservative Christian, don't believe they are the most important issues.

It is almost like asking "have you stopped beating your wife" when there is no evidence the person has ever beat his wife. Answering the question is nonsensical.

A lot of people have no basis for right and wrong. While those of other religions will, that is very much in the minority in this country. A basis for right and wrong has to be something that does not change (do you *really* want something you do today and be right, to be wrong tomorrow?)

And yes, I do have a basis for right and wrong. Regardless of how well I know it, or even if I have parts of it wrong, the Bible is my basis. That does not mean that I am infallible in my interpretation. But do I have an infallible basis? Yes. Is that basis what I think the Bible says? No, but it is what the Bible really says. Can I be wrong? Yes, but the Bible cannot be wrong.

Now do I believe that someone that has a different basis can be right? No, if that were possible, then the Bible would be wrong. Jesus said: "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man comes to the father but by me." Jesus claims exclusivity ... his claim is mutually exclusive with all other religions. Therefore, if Jesus is a way to God, then he is the only way to God. But remember, it is not me that said that, it was Christ. If you want to say his statement was hubris, fine, but it is Jesus that you argue with on that one, not me.

On the health of the country depending on the health of the church, I fully believe it does in the long run. My railing against the church is for problems like those of Haggard, and more to the point Jimmy Swaggart, though the Assemblies of God did what is right -- they defrocked him. While that is true, he is *still* on the air and unrepentant. You might be right about Robertson ... I don't know, and I've not heard anything either positive or negative in recent years. I've not heard of him being caught in any scandalous sin, so I would rather not worry about him. I am not perfect either -- and yet I hope that I am repentant. I know there is nothing good in me, and the thing I would do, I do not do, but the thing I don't want to do, that I keep on doing. My only hope in this life or the age to come is Jesus Christ.

jacob said:

Kevin,
OK. Jack asked the following three questions about folks at a shelter ...
1. why not use a push mower
2. why not drive their own vans
3. why not provide their own babysitting

to which you basically replied 'Good question, I don't know.'

My answer is in brief 'because they have been trained from birth to wait to the guv'mint to do it for them.'

Hardly off topic Kevin, you going zimzo on me?.

jacob said:

zimzo,
" ... in all your blather you never answered the question why do right-wing Christians believe that abortion and gay marriage are the most important issues in this country when the Bible never mentions abortion and only very rarely mentions homosexuality?"
Christians do no believe these are the most important issues in this country. Any sin is important. These two are not the most important sins zimzo. They are just the two activities that being held up as 'not sins'. When something is seen as a lie you call it out.

We all agree that the poor need to be cared for. We just do not agree on some of the particulars. No one advocates that small children ought to starve. The difference is in the delivery system. We can argue the pros and cons of this latter.

You are correct that homosexuality is mentioned a only few times. Since it is always put into a list with other sins or abominations what more need be said? Gluttony, and sleeping with your mother are also given brief treatment, does this make them any less sins? It is your insistence that it is not a sin that I find sad.

You have given your contorted interpretation of this very passage in Leviticus on several occasions now. Do you think if you say the same twisted thing often enough it magically becomes correct? It has been rebutted by and Jack, Brian, and myself, you have convinced no one. Not because of ideology zimzo, but because the interpretation in brief is nonsensical.

I have read several commentaries on this very passage, from respected theologians. No one is on agreement with your view on this. Hell I even have read rabbinical treatments of this passage, and guess what, they ain't singing your song either. I have gone over this passage myself and taken it apart, and I do not see what you see. How you come to you view on this amazes me. Go read Romans 1:21-32, you might find it illuminating.

As for the killing of the unborn you are not correct. It is mentioned once and equated with murder. Brian rightly pointed out that other translations make it very clear by using modern English. I provided you with a link to a site where there are many Bible translations in several languages. Enjoy it.

Come to think of it, get a copy of 'The Message.' It is a translation I think you would appreciate.

jacob said:

zimzo,
One more thing, Christianity is neither right nor left, Republican nor Democrat. God is not on anyones side. We can join God. He does not join us. The terms 'right-wing-Christian' (your term) or left-wing-Christian are in a big way non sequiturs from a theological perspective. Either you are orthodox, or heretical. There is nothing else. For either you are a slave of God's giving yourself to God, or you are not giving yourself over to God.

Kevin said:

Jacob,

"OK. Jack asked the following three questions about folks at a shelter ..."

The issue at hand was that he stated that the church and general populus should care for the poor. Somewhere around Nov or Dec I posted here requesting that any of the churches in one of the nation's richest counties then fulfill the needs of the poor at their own homeless shelter. According to their wishlist these needs have still not been filled. I pointed this out. Jack questioned their need for those items on the wishlist. I can't speak to their need for those specific items so I suggested he ask them himself. I never once indicated that the gov'mint should fill those needs for them. Just simply put a call out to put the money where the mouth is. If you read through the comments just prior to the ones you pointed out, you'll see what I mean.

I'm out for the weekend, y'all have fun.

Eric the 1/2 troll said:

"It is not the Bible on trial by us to judge it, we are on trail and it is the judge. We have no authority over the Bible; the Bible has ultimate authority over us."

You know, I'm beginning to believe that the evangelical sect actually worships the bible and not God. The bible is NOT God. Only God has ultimate authority over us. To claim otherwise is clearly sinful, imo.

"You do point out that caring for the poor is a concern of the Christian, and I would tend to agree -- to a point."

And there you go. Its like saying God really meant "thou shalt not kill...unless you might embolden your enemy (or can come up with any other excuse)."

"I start from the position that all of the Bible is the inerrant, and even more, infallible word of God."

So based on this did Jesus actually say "Forgive them, Father..." or not?, I'm sure you are aware that we have earlier versions of Luke that do not include this reference. Which one is the infallible version?

"Now, as to gun control (I have no idea how that got in here!) I'd say people were honest about the topic if they believed that cars ought to be even more strictly controlled."

So by this "logic" we should abandon all research for anything but the top killing disease? No more cancer research - only focus on heart disease - low hanging fruit.

I could go on picking aprt this post, but it is clear that you either have completely abandoned any pretext of logic in arguing your policy position or you are intentionally misrepresenting the argument. On the one hand, you have shown yourself not to be in touch with reality (and therefore unfit for office) on the other hand you have demostrated that you are a hypocrite (given what God says about bearing false witness.) Either way, the picture is not pretty.

zimzo said:

"In all of what you've said, you have not stated anything that leads me to believe that abortion and gay marriage are the most important things for "right-wing" (whatever that means) Christians," says Brian.

Talk about disingenuous. Polls have repeatedly shown that "values issues," which almost always means abortion and gay marriage have been the most important issues for white evangelicals who support the Republican party (that is, "right-wing Christians). That is beginning to change as issues like Iraq and congrassional corruption became more important in the last election and evangelicals became disenchanted by the lack of progress on abortion and gay marriage. In fact, evangelicals are increasingly seeing Iraq as a "moral" issue. According to a poll by Pew Research conducted after the 2006 election: "Evangelicals split from other voters in the very high level of importance they attached to values issues such as gay marriage and abortion: 59% said these issues were "extremely important" to their vote, compared with just 29% for other voters."
http://pewforum.org/docs/index.php?DocID=174

This is so obvious to most people that I am surprised you are even trying to argue it.

"Can I be wrong? Yes, but the Bible cannot be wrong. Now do I believe that someone that has a different basis can be right? No, if that were possible, then the Bible would be wrong," Brian says. Congratulations that is what Muslim Fundamentalists believe, too. You are perfect free to have this opinion, but you must be cognizant of the fact that a majority of people in this country and in the world disagree with you and we will fight any attempts by you or the Muslim Fundamentalists to impose your moral values on us. And please forgive me if I am not persuaded by the circular reasoning that claims that the Bible is right because the Bible says it is right and it can't be wrong.

Jacob claims "No one is on agreement with your view on this" referring to my analysis of Exodus 21:22. Apparently you haven't read Jerome's Biblical Commentary, one of the most highly respected sources of commentary, on the passage: "If a pregnant women should suffer a miscarriage as a result of a blow, the guilty party need only make a monetary compensation demanded by her husband; however should the woman die, capital punishment is proscribed for the offender."

You may well have read rabbinical commentaries that conform to your view but that is not the common view. Here is one example from the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism: "In other words, the Torah draws an important distinction: causing a miscarriage of the fetus is a civil wrong resulting in monetary compensation (implying the fetus is not a person), while killing the mother is considered to be homicide."
http://www.uscj.org/SocPolAbortion_Contr5481.html

Traditionally, Judaism has allowed abortion in certain circumstances, such as to save the life of the mother.

So, once again, you are wrong in saying that "No one is on agreement with your view."

But finally, Jacob, there is something I agree with you on. When you say, "Christianity is neither right nor left, Republican nor Democrat," I agree wholeheartedly. I hope that in the future Christians such as yourself will stop behaving as if only Republicans can be Christians.

Eric the 1/2 troll said:

Sorry this is too good!

"How does one get struck on the right check? It happens when someone hits you with the back of their right hand."

Or the person hitting you is left handed!

ALSO

"I see large portions of the church not talking about sin any more. I know of a church leader that asked aloud if it would be better to give to a crisis pregnancy center anonymously..."

So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

Tom said:

"But do I have an infallible basis? Yes. Is that basis what I think the Bible says? No, but it is what the Bible really says. Can I be wrong? Yes, but the Bible cannot be wrong."
So, you can interpret it wrong, but your basis is infallible...So, you're saying the Bible is right, but we shouldn't necessarily listen to you since you might not be reading it the way God intended? You've been putting your spin on the Bible for several days now, as have I and others. You say homosexuals get under the church's skin because they declare sin isn't sinful. Fine, but there is a tremendously greater amount of non-gay sin going on out there by everybody everyday. Gays are a much much smaller part of the populatino than adulterers. I hope this fall that I will see on the ballot proposed constitutional amendments targeting things like divorce, adultery, covetousness, etc... While since the practicioners of these sins are not being openly attacked they haven't felt the need to defend their actions I think putting the political heat on them is well overdue.

As to the post above attacking my attack on reverse discrimination. You missed the point. There is no way you can equate 350 years of brutal discrimination that controlled and dominated every aspect of a whole race's existence with allowing a black guy to take a test a couple times until he passed. I am not defending this at all. I just think it shows a lot of narrowmindedness to put down the end of segregation on the basis that it may have caused some unfairness in the workplace.How many people get jobs because they're white? If you could produce evidence of white people being completely shut off from achieving in this country, that would be one thing. But let's face it, all us white folks must be doing pretty well to be able and sit around wasting our time arguing over stupid stuff like this.

Anonymous said:

So, you can interpret the Bible to your own ends!!! Someone please inform the Quakers, Brethren, and Mennonites that Jesus is not opposed to violence. It could destroy their denominations!
"Oh, by the way, "if someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him also the left" (I'm sure it will be asked) means what? How does one get struck on the right check? It happens when someone hits you with the back of their right hand. It isn't an attack that Christ is talking about, it is an insult"

Tom said:

So, you can interpret the Bible to your own ends!!! Someone please inform the Quakers, Brethren, and Mennonites that Jesus is not opposed to violence. It could destroy their denominations!
"Oh, by the way, "if someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him also the left" (I'm sure it will be asked) means what? How does one get struck on the right check? It happens when someone hits you with the back of their right hand. It isn't an attack that Christ is talking about, it is an insult"

Jack said:

Abortion:

"If a pregnant women should suffer a miscarriage as a result of a blow, the guilty party need only make a monetary compensation demanded by her husband; however should the woman die, capital punishment is proscribed for the offender."

So what about women who are NOT pregnant -- are they worthless? That just makes no sense at all.

The following is John Calvin's commentary from "Harmony of the Law":

"If men strive, and hurt a woman. This passage at first sight is ambiguous, for if the word death 3939 It will be seen that the word אסון in the text is translated by C., mors; in A V., mischief. “The Chaldee expounds it, (says Ainsworth,) no death; but it implieth less also than death, as the words following manifest. The Greek refers it to the child; translating, if it be not figured, (ἐξεικονισμένον,) i e., have not the shape and proportion.” only applies to the pregnant woman, it would not have been a capital crime to put an end to the foetus, which would be a great absurdity; for the foetus, though enclosed in the womb of its mother, is already a human being, (homo,) and it is almost a monstrous crime to rob it of the life which it has not yet begun to enjoy. If it seems more horrible to kill a man in his own house than in a field, because a man’s house is his place of most secure refuge, it ought surely to be deemed more atrocious to destroy a foetus in the womb before it has come to light. On these grounds I am led to conclude, without hesitation, that the words, “if death should follow,” must be applied to the foetus as well as to the mother. Besides, it would be by no means reasonable that a father should sell for a set sum the life of his son or daughter. Wherefore this, in my opinion, is the meaning of the law, that it would be a crime punishable with death, not only when the mother died from the effects of the abortion, but also if the infant should be killed; whether it should die from the wound abortively, or soon after its birth."

Homosexual Acts:

"[The] practicioners of these sins [adultery, divorce, etc.] are not being openly attacked...."

Adulterers are not parading their sins in front of the world and declaring them not sins. The legal battle on divorce is lost, as is the battle on extra-marital sex. It would be pointless to expend energy there. We do not have infinite resources, so we pick our battles as best we can.

Eric the 1/2 troll said:

"Adulterers are not parading their sins in front of the world and declaring them not sins."

There are plenty of evangelical sect "Christians" who are divorced and remarried who not only do not repent this sin but are accepted by the "Church" visible and invisible. Many of these same unrepented sinners are the very one's harping about the sins of homosexuals. Now what does that make them....? And what does it make those evangelical sect "Christians" who accept them and not gays...?

I think you know the word.

zimzo said:

"So what about women who are NOT pregnant -- are they worthless? That just makes no sense at all."

Uh, yes.

Clearly, you haven't read the Bible. Women are repeatedly referred to as chattle of men.

"Adulterers are not parading their sins in front of the world and declaring them not sins."

I see, so if gays were just quiet about it, then it would be OK. The real reason conservatives don't go after adulterers is that there are so many in their ranks and they would never win elections.

"The legal battle on divorce is lost, as is the battle on extra-marital sex."

And the battle against gays is almost lost too. Most Americans are against you because there are very few people who don't have a child or sibling or friend or co-worker who is gay. Why? Because they refuse to be quiet anymore.

Jack said:

So what, Troll? So they are hypocrites. Does their being hypocrites change the fact that homosexual sex is a sin?

Zimzo, if women are worthless, then the passage must also support my view. For, according to your interpretation, if the baby is born alive and unharmed, but the woman is injured or killed, the perpetrator will be punished for the harm he does her. But if the woman is worthless, why the penalty? The only way it makes sense is if, as Calvin says, it "[applies] to the foetus as well as to the mother."

"I see, so if gays were just quiet about it, then it would be OK."

If they are not trying to teach others to sin, then where would I oppose them?

"And the battle against gays is almost lost too."

Then explain why so many states have passed marriage amendments.

Eric the 1/2 troll said:

"So they are hypocrites."

Jack I wasn't just saying THEY are hypocrites.

"Does their being hypocrites change the fact that homosexual sex is a sin?"

No it means that you (er...they) have no authority to make that claim. Only God can judge a sin as a sin. I think you will agree that sin is only committed in the hearts of men and only God can judge the hearts of men.

If a homosexual person wants to claim he is not sinning, you have no authority to say otherwise. It is not yours to judge.

Jack said:

Wrong again, Troll, we ARE called to make such judgements: "But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner—not even to eat with such a person." (1Cor.5:11)

jacob said:

Zimzo,
I stumbled upon the rabbinical commentaries. Was it dumb luck that they espoused a view contrary to yours, who knows? But it was not a targeted search as such.

I found the following regarding Jerome's Commentaries online

http://biblia.com/jesusbible/leviticus4.htm

in it the commentary says
"Homosexuality, is an "abomination" (18:22)."

A direct referrence regarding our old fight.

and in

http://biblia.com/jesusbible/exodus1.htm

there are some pointed words regarding abortion though nothing with regard to Ex 21:22-23

Probably the wrong Jerome.

I did find ...

http://www.christianbook.com/Christian/Books/product?item_no=49340&event=CF

Is this the right Jerome?

jacob said:

Zimzo,
I stumbled upon the rabbinical commentaries. Was it dumb luck that they espoused a view contrary to yours, who knows? But it was not a targeted search as such.

I found the following regarding Jerome's Commentaries online

http://biblia.com/jesusbible/

Is this the right Jerome?

What is there does not jive with what you wrote above. For in

http://biblia.com/jesusbible/leviticus4.htm

in it the commentary says "Homosexuality, is an "abomination" (18:22)." As direct referrence regarding our old fight.

and in

http://biblia.com/jesusbible/exodus1.htm

there are some pointed words regarding abortion though nothing with regard to Ex 21:22-23

Probably the wrong Jerome.

I did find ...

http://www.christianbook.com/Christian/Books/product?item_no=49340&event=CF

Is that the right Jerome?

Tom said:

"If they are not trying to teach others to sin, then where would I oppose them?"
Never in my life has any homosexual I've known taught me to sin or emulate them or whatever. However, I have encountered many people who have tried to teach me about what horrible people homosexuals are. I don't think they're trying to teach anyone anything. They just happen to have been born with a sexual nature that is in the minority, sure, but is completely harmless to you and I, and has existed in one form or other in all cultures throughout all recorded history. I know you probably think it's just a lifestyle choice, but besides the biological evidence of it throughout the animal kingdom
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2004/07/0722_040722_gayanimal.html
(can birds make lifestyle choices?) who would really want to spend their whole life being the scourge of a large part of society? Maybe rather than lifestyle you could argue mental illness if you wanted since it is a repudiation of sorts of the natural biological proclivity to procreate. But if it was an illness it should be treatable.
Finally,I think it sounds very immoral to say the church has surrendered on divorce and adultery. How is it that those sins can now be minimized when Jesus said you are better off gouging out your eye or cutting off your hand than allowing those sins to take root in you?
WWJD?
Of course in your return to the Christ preimment church you will run into the problem that Christ never mentioned gays, at least according to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
In the same verses where Paul tells us gays will never into the kingdom of God he tells us the same is true of adulterers. But, then you said you last that battle. Paul goes on to say in 1st Corinthians that any sexual immorality is a sin against your own body. So if all these adulterers are doomed why is the church so willing to turn its back and let them fall into Hell? Shouldn't a true defense of marriage act be an attack on adultery since that is what ruins marriages not what two guys are doing in their bedroom next door?

jacob said:

Tom,
You are correct. God will not allow adulterers into the Kingdom. Nor will he allow wife beaters, muderers, liars, cheats, gluttons, hypocrits, fornicators, etc. Those who engage in Homosexual acts are also not getting in. We all are sinners. I do not see any of us getting into the Kingdom on our own merit. Got it.

There is a way to undo all of OUR trespasses that I listed above. If we _repent_ our sins, we do get into the Kingdom of God. Not only do we get in, we are brothers to Christ. That sir, is the good news of the Bible.

You do not earn your salvation. It is a gift, but you have to repent.

zimzo said:

Jacob, the last link was the Jerome I was referring to but only with regards to the interpretation of Exodus 21:22.

There are plenty of contradictory rabbinical commentaries. Judaism is a religion that stresses discussion and intellect, unlike fundamentalist Christianity and Islam, which stress blind obedience and faith.

The point remains that there is no mention of abortion in the Bible (not even this passage is about abortion) and for Christians to stress this issue to the extent they have is extremely hypocritical when they claim at the same time that their beliefs are entirely based on the Bible and not their own political and personal agenda, a claim that is demonstrably false.

Tom said:

Jacob-Absolutely right! Agreed!
The thing some of us wonder about though is why the church devotes 99% of its energy to that one form of sin, while ignoring all the others you've listed? Is it because they lack the courage to take on the whole world knowing they'd lose all their membership?
They'd certainly have to get out of politics since the whole art of it is based on lying and distorting to massage thought in your direction while you actually accomplish something completely contrary to what you're proposing.

The following has nothing to do with you, but is from my own experiences with a certain evangelical church my mother in law belongs to. Your mention of gluttony reminded me of it.
I think the sin of gluttony is well represented by the campus of McLean Bible Church. With the money they've spent on that place (and the inclusion of a corporate coffee chain within its walls-let's face it our finalcial/political system is founded on greed and gluttony, we call it capitalism)they could have fed and clothed thousands of needy people. I am sure they do help many needy people, but it seems they somehow have money leftover to build enormous churches, buy elaborate sound and lighting systems to sex up God's words for the ADHD crowd, and advertise on the radio.Not much has changed since the middle ages when church money was used to build the immense cathedrals we admire today while the parishioners lived in filth and squalor.

Jack said:

"Never in my life has any homosexual I've known taught me to sin or emulate them or whatever."

Maybe not, but they sure do tell other homosexuals that homosexual acts are not sins.

I do not care about monkeys or birds or dolphins. Are homosexuals just brute beasts? Of course not. Having sex is a choice. So having homosexual sex is a choice.

I must assume you "miswrote" when you wrote, "it sounds very immoral to say the church has surrendered on divorce and adultery." Why would it be a sin to say the truth, that many churches have so surrendered? Am I correct that you meant their surrender is a sin?

If so, I agree with you wholeheartedly. Some churches have surrendered on divorce and, consequently, on adultery. Some have already surrendered on homosexuality, too. Others have not surrendered on either. But currently there is a better chance of winning, or at least of holding the line, on homosexual acts. I do not "minimize" these sins, but some churches do. Those churches are, of course, heretical.


"Of course in your return to the Christ preimment (sic) church you will run into the problem that Christ never mentioned gays, at least according to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John."

He never mentioned bestiality or incest, either. Does that make them OK now, too?

"So if all these adulterers are doomed why is the church so willing to turn its back and let them fall into Hell?"

Some churches are doing just that, as they are with the homosexuals. It seems that the church leadership has itself fallen, and become enamored with the trapping and money of the church. Their mission is to get more members, not to save them. The more members, the more income and influence.


"Shouldn't a true defense of marriage act be an attack on adultery since that is what ruins marriages not what two guys are doing in their bedroom next door?"

Adultery IS illegal in Virgina: "Any person, being married, who voluntarily shall have sexual intercourse with any person not his or her spouse shall be guilty of adultery, punishable as a Class 4 misdemeanor." http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?000+cod+18.2-365 However, to my knowledge it has not been enforced since the late 1960's.

Eric the 1/2 troll said:

No Jack. There are many many more directives (even from Paul himself) telling you not to judge the sins of others. You can choose not to associate with those you THINK are sinning but you can not judge their actions to be sin. To do so puts you on par with God. I'm sure you don't mean to suggest such a thing - no matter how it sounds.

Jack said:

Zimzo, you are correct that the Bible does not mention abortion. However, it does mention the life of the fetus in several places. That, along with the admonition not to murder (take innocent life) leads one to the conclusion that abortion is a sin.

You say that our opposition to abortion is NOT based on the Bible, but on our "political and personal agenda." And agenda is a list of things(pl. of "agendum") one would like accomplished. So what do you think we are trying to accomplish by making abortion illegal?

Tom said:

"He never mentioned bestiality or incest, either. Does that make them OK now, too?"
Obviously he never mentioned lots of things that are condemned in the old Testament such as the examples you cite. I was referring to the fact that the church's current concentration on a class of sin that is practiced by only a tiny fraction of the population would be out of whack with a Christ centered church where from reading the Gospels it would seem the concentration would be on helping the sick and needy, helping the rich give all their wealth away, and practicing love for all including our enemies.
More later, the baby is crying.

Jack said:

Read it again, Troll. We are to judge those who call themselves "brother." We are told not to judge the OUTSIDERS.

Jack said:

Tom -- people are not trying to legalize and normalize incest and bestiality. They ARE trying to legalize and normalize homosexual acts.

THAT is the difference.

(And what good does it do to feed and clothe a man, but allow his soul to perish?)

Eric the 1/2 troll said:

"I do not "minimize" these sins"

Yes, you clearly do.

To my point that many evangelical sect Christians are divorced and remarried and accepted by the evangelical sect church you wrote:

"So what, Troll?"

That's minimizing if I've ever heard it.

Tom said:

Since this is really about sin, then why push for human laws to enforce the cleanliness of the soul? Surely with the amount of crime here and elsewhere the law is no deterrent for those with a sinful desire to make a "choice".
I know all laws are moral laws, in a sense, but clearly the people that follow them are not the ones inclined to do those things because these morals are preexisting in their heart. If someone only refrains from crime because of a law, isn't the crime still written upon their heart? I don't murder because in my heart it's wrong, not because it's illegal and I fear punishment. I don't bugger emus because the thought grosses me out, but to be honest I don't care if someone in the privacy of their barn did it, although it's a non-consensual act, but then it's just a brute beast after all incapable of choice. But seriosuly, Normalizing murder, as we have in a sense with modern media, has not changed my revulsion of it in all its forms whether on the abortionists table, the battlefield, or the streets.
People have overturned a lot of Biblical morality over the centuries-the treatment of women for instance, and as discussed beofre the normalization of divorce. Now we are supposed to think of women as equal. This view has been legalized and normalized.

Eric the 1/2 troll said:

Jack, the difference is clear. You can choose not to associate but you can not judge. Pointing out another's sin is judgement - there is really no getting around it.

I think Jesus was really pretty clear on the splinter/eye thing. How does that not apply here?

Jack said:

By "So what, Troll?", I do not minimize the sins of adultery and divorce, only that they have no impact on whether homosexual acts are sins.

Tom, you do make a good point about secular laws vs. religious laws. However, I contend that the religious laws also help society. Adultery is detrimental to society, as is divorce, as are murder and theft.

BTW, I never knew that treating women equally was a sin. Fascinating, when you consider that Deborah was one of the Judges.

Jack said:

So, Troll, how can we "choose not to associate" with someone without "judging"? What do you mean by "judging," anyway. I am not judging in the sense of putting a penalty on anyone, save for the (no great) loss of my company. I am only reiterating what the Bible says, that homosexual acts are sins. Is it "judging" to reiterate what the Bible tells us are sinful acts?

Yes, Jesus was clear about the "splinter/eye thing." But can one's plank never be removed? Of course it can, for He said, "First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye."

Ted said:

Re: abortion

Hosea 12:3
In the womb he grasped his brother's heel; as a man he struggled with God.

Luke 1:44
As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy.

And my favorite:

Jeremiah 1:5
"Before I formed you in the womb I knew [ Or chose ] you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations."


jacob said:

zimzo,
We are in agreement regarding the nature of Judaism relative to a good argument. Two points of agreement with you in one day. I am going to lie down now.

If you are saying the word abortion does not appear in the Bible, you are correct. However, the killing of the unborn is discussed in Exodus. You and Jack have gone round and round on this.

As for the soul of the unborn it is mentioned in several places. Ted, has a few listed. Part of our old battle on abortion centered on this point.

Chew on this zimzo ... Regardless of who is metaphysically correct, the point of the matter is mine is the safer position when it comes to the issue of "Is one supporting murder?"

If you are wrong (consider this thought, you might find it bracing) then you will be struck with a heavy burden from either the almighty, or your own conscience at some point. 5000 abortions were conducted today. That is is a thought that saddens me to no end.

Eric the 1/2 troll said:

Jack are you saying thet you have no plank in your eye? The point is that since we are all sinners, we all have plenty of planks in our eye's. So no I don't believe you can remove your plank.

You and I are hopeless sinners - as such we have absolutely no right to judge another as a sinner.

Tom said:

"BTW, I never knew that treating women equally was a sin"
I never said it was. I was just throwing out something that would have been completely unacceptable to the Jewish society of Biblical times. Paul makes it clear that a woman should not pray with her head uncovered.(1st Cor ch. 11) At the time, there was in parts of the Middle East a Taliban like attitude to women being covered up in public.
Now, I know that we are not talking about sin with this, but how can it be that we are supposed to read and accept as holy Paul's words, but yet at the same time see them as nothing more than a cultural-bound practice with regard to the veils, but when Paul condemns gays or thieves or whomever we should know that this still stands?
I guess I just get hung up on the selectivity people make towards what parts of the Bible apply to them.
I know that Paul also asked the Romans to warmly welcome some women as their own in chapter 16, and that the Corinth admonishment may be unique to that situation. If that is the case though doesn't the whole letter become a letter strictly to the Corinthian church and not to us? Did Paul ever consider his epistles to be directed at people thousands of years later in lands he didn't know existed? How can we in seriousness say we can pick and choose what is holy scripture and what is not if it's all in the Bible?

Eric the 1/2 troll said:

Now as I consider that you, Jack (and I, btw) are an immoral sinner, by your reading of Paul, you have no right to claim inclusion in the "church".

You are no less (or more) worthy of Paul's penalty than is the blatantly remarried divorcee or homosexual.

Jack said:

Do you read, Troll? I said, I do not judge, in that I do not pronounce judgement (punishment); I only reiterate that homosexual acts are called sins in the Bible. Is that "judging"?

Tom, not all churches say it's OK for women to have their heads uncovered. The Menonites come to mind immediately. Also, Paul only said that praying a woman's praying with her head uncovered, or a man with his covered, dishonored one's head. He did not say it was a sin.

His admonitions against homosexual acts are a reiteration of the Law.

Jack said:

Again, Troll, you are missing the point. Read all of 1Cor5, and you will see that Paul is talking of the unrepentant, "boasting" sinners.

I do have my sins, Lord knows. But I repent of them and ask His forgiveness. By His grace I am cleansed of that sin.

Eric the 1/2 troll said:

"I only reiterate that homosexual acts are called sins in the Bible. Is that "judging"?"

No that s not all that you are doing. You are saying all homosexuals are immoral sinners. You are judging the person AND you are handing out punishment (not the same thing) by saying they are not worthy on inclusion in your "church".

"I do have my sins, Lord knows. But I repent of them and ask His forgiveness. By His grace I am cleansed of that sin."

But being in a state of grace does not grant you the power of God to judge the conduct of others and to determine if they are worthy of inclusion in God's church. That is the point that you are missing.

I could argue that you continue to sin unrepentantly in that you continue to castigate other for their sins and see no problem with it. I have no doubt that there are other sins you (and I) commit that we feel we are just in committing and therefore do not repent. Why is one sin greater or less than the other? Why do you want to include yourself and me in your church but not another equally wayward sinner?

Jack said:

"You are saying all homosexuals are immoral sinners. "

No, I have tried to be very clear that homosexual ACTS are immoral. Homosexuals are not immoral simply because they are homosexual.

"Why is one sin greater or less than the other?"

I have said no such thing.

"Why do you want to include yourself and me in your church but not another equally wayward sinner?"

Repentance. That is the difference between a sinner, which we all are, and the wayward sinner. The wayward sinner knows that he sins, but refuses to repent and return to the Lord.

jacob said:

Troll,
"Why is one sin greater or less than the other? Why do you want to include yourself and me in your church but not another equally wayward sinner?"
No one is saying that one sin is worse than another. Jack has said this. As have I. All sin and fall short of the glory of God.

I wrote something up top see my post at
July 6, 2007 7:58 AM
and
July 6, 2007 1:27 PM
with respect to homosexual acts. In short this particular sin is no different than any other.

What Jack (and the Bible) are saying, is that one must repent. To declare ones sin as not a sin is not repentance, but pride.

Joe,

First, if you believe the Bible is God's word, there can be no contradiction between it and God. If God has ultimate authority over us, then his word has ultimate authority over us. It isn't as if God could say one thing, and the Bible another. God is not two faced, and so what he has said is what he means. His word is his word. Saying God has ultimate authority over us is saying the Bible has ultimate authority over us. I can know for certain the Bible is true, and I can know for certain that if someone says "I prayed about leaving my wife and kids for this other woman because the other woman looks good to me, and God gave me peace about it" is contradicting what the Bible says, and so it wasn't God that gave him peace. God does not contradict himself.

Caring for the poor is what we do, but if you say that we should care for the poor without limit, then you have communism. We help the poor, we care for them. We do not enter a co-dependent relationship with them to help them do what is destructive to themselves.

As to low hanging fruit, there may be things that ought be put on a back burner in terms of research, if research on other things suffer because we put our resources into things that don't have much return. The subject at hand, gun control -- and that has a lot of meaning in it, from "how to control your gun" to "let't prohibit guns from being available to anyone" -- it seems ingenuous for the media to push the few times guns are used to kill people, but not push as hard as drunk driving, which kills many more people each year. Cars are, in the sense of damage done, much more dangerous than guns. Do we hear cries for limiting cars? Is there just as loud a cry for not allowing SUVs on the road as semi-automatic weapons (if you didn't know, an accident involving an SUV is much more likely to kill someone in a sedan or compact car than another sedan or compact car)? When drunk driving causes more deaths in this country in a single year than all the deaths in the Viet Nam war (over all the years it was fought) then yes, I say that until people start looking at limiting those deaths first, that it seems disingenuous to me.

It may be a very personal view -- I've had people close to me hurt, I've had people *I* know killed. I've *never* had anyone I know killed by a gun (even if you include relatives during WWII, Korea, and Viet Nam). I realize that might be a minority position, but to say that we need better gun control when we are not pushing car control laws more just seems wrong. The idea that guns hurt people is absolute -- it makes so much sense because guns are designed to allow a people, regardless of size, to defend themselves against attack. They are misused by people to attack others. What is never reported is how often guns have stopped attacks. It doesn't get reported, yet it does happen. Frankly, I'd rather be in a restaurant with people who have concealed carry permits and are carrying than in a restaurant with nobody carrying.

Low hanging fruit is where we should always be looking. If we really think that the poor need help, then we help those that we can who will most quickly be back on their feet. Not to the exclusion of others -- but if the choice is between someone that hit an unforeseeable bump in the road and someone that has squandered what he has, go with helping the person through the bump, then have them help with others as well. If the goal is protecting needless loss of life, go after the largest killers first go for what will have the greatest impact to that end. It does work even with diseases, in as much as spending millions to find a cure for a disease that kills one person in every 1,000,000 does not make a lot of sense if you can spend that money on finding a cure for something that kills 1 in 100. I'm not saying that if you find something useful in other research you just throw it away -- but if you have to make a choice, you go for the low hanging fruit. Nothing in that says that you only go after the single lowest -- there should be (and is) research on both heart disease and cancer (as well as many other diseases).

To bring it home, my first wife died of a particular kind of breast cancer -- that particular kind occurs in that one in a million range (she would have had a better chance at hitting the lottery than getting that particular cancer), and it is nearly always fatal. Do I think money should be diverted from research that can save thousands of times as many women from breast cancer. On a personal level, I certainly could hope that for that cure. Does it make sense to slow down research on other breast cancers? You answer that one. I'd want to say yes, but I know it would cost other people their lives. I know it would make other men widowers and other kids orphans. Is that what I really want? My sheepish no is not how I feel, but what I reason to be true. You don't spend tens of millions to save 500 people when those moneys spent elsewhere could save 500,000 people.

zimzo,

Just because you say it is so doesn't make it so. Moral values encompasses a lot more to this Christian than abortion and homosexual activity. I think abortion is up there in the top 5, but I don't think sodomy and lesbianism is anywhere near as important as honesty and integrity. So from my point of view, while you may think it is "the most important to 'right-wing' Christians" I take exception to that assertion. If you lump two things together, then you have what is in statistics a "confounding variable". You can never separate out what is what with that particular data. If 59% think abortion is very important, you cannot without additional sampling get to the real numbers. Also, you have confused issues. Gay marriage will have a lot more people against it than homosexual practice. There are going to be people that do not care if people are homosexuals, but would care if they want to call what they do marriage. You might not recognize the difference, but they would.

Your views on the passage in Lev. seem to be informed exclusively by liberal theologians -- try looking at those that go back before 1500 or even better yet, before Christ. The Synagogue of Conservative Judaism (regardless of the name) is not conservative. If you want a conservative Jewish perspective, find an orthodox Jewish perspective. Jerome may be the most widely used Roman Catholic commentary, it is not the dogma of the R.C. church. It certainly doesn't follow the interpretation by a majority of conservative protestant exegetes.

Now on to somethings with which I agree with you whole heartedly.

First, I agree that fundamentalist Muslims feel the same way about the Koran. I also agree, and you may find this rather interesting, that I would not impose that view on you. I have said before and I'll say it again. Government is not what can save this country, and the government cannot rightly impose religion on the people. It was the Roman dictatorship that Paul said that we should be subject to for conscience sake. It was the Roman dictatorship to which Jesus said "render to Caesar that which is Caesar's". I have no desire to impose Christianity upon the populous. In fact, I think one of the worst things that ever happened to the church is when Constantine made Christianity the official religion of the Roman empire. Does that change the fact that I believe that any religion other than Christianity is correct? No, but unlike Islam, I believe those that differ from me in religion, even if they are wrong, have the right to be wrong and be full citizens of the country. I do not hold to Dhimmitude (subjection of those outside my faith). I would rather be in the communist Soviet Union than have a "Christian State" government prior to the end of this age. I certainly don't want politicians being looked up to as Christian leaders. I fully believe that Jimmy Carter was a Christian. I do not believe (from seeing the fruit of immoral living) that Clinton is (he showed no repentance.) I believe Nixon is in that same category (unrepentant) and from outward appearance I cannot tell about Bush. I will say this; it seems it would be very difficult for a politician to be both successful and Christian. Repentance is required for a Christian -- and that means admitting wrong and turning from it -- but admitting wrong as a politician seems to be ammunition for the opposition. Do I want a Christian State? Pardon my use of language for emphasis ... Hell no.

Tom said:

"He did not say it was a sin.

His admonitions against homosexual acts are a reiteration of the Law"

Agreed, but what I am wondering, and since you all posit yourselves as armchair Biblical scholars is what I wrote before:

"If that is the case though doesn't the whole letter become a letter strictly to the Corinthian church and not to us? Did Paul ever consider his epistles to be directed at people thousands of years later in lands he didn't know existed? How can we in seriousness say we can pick and choose what is holy scripture and what is not if it's all in the Bible?"

Can anyone provide an answer to what I'm asking regarding the epistles? I know with questions of the law you can come up with both evidence (Christ being the fulfillment) and excuses (sanitation). But, since we've got a very good discussion going of the Bible why not explain to me so I understand why we need heed only things specifically regarded as sinful in Paul and not things making up the rest of his epistles on how churches should conduct themselves and other matters? I thought it was all the Word of God.


Jack said:

Tom,

We cannot, of course, know what was in Paul's mind when he wrote his letters. However, I do not think we can ignore any of them.

If it makes you feel any better, I never wear a hat when I pray. In fact, you will notice that at ball games, when the invocation is said, the men remove their hats.

You will have to ask a woman why she does not wear a hat to church.

Let me state one thing first -- something that I think zimzo put forward, but I certainly do NOT want in any case, but is somehow a perception of what I would think.

I do not want, desire or have any interest in a "Christian State". I do not want the laws of land to make others second class citizens, I do not want other religions prohibited, taxed, undermined, or limited in any way. The single worst thing to happen to the Christian church was Constantine making Christianity the official religion of the Roman empire. The idea of separation of church and state I support 100%.

Now, does that mean I think other religions are just as valid? No. If you have 500 mutually exclusive propositions, then at most one can be true. Christ claims to be mutually exclusive to all others, he claims to be the "only way to the father". I trust him to be God incarnate, and what he said to be true.

But that does not mean I want a "Christian" government.

Tom said:

Brian- Regarding your comments about SUV's...I am all for getting them off the roads both for their destructive power in an accident as well as for their higher polluting lower mileage nature.
You said though that more people die in a year from drunk drivers than in all the years of the Vietnam War combined. Where do you get this statistic? it is 100% wrong. According to Alcohol Alert.com in 2005 in the US 16,885 people were killed by drunk drivers.Over the course of the Vietnam war the US suffered 58,000 fatalities and over 350,000 wounded. So your remark is just plain wrong.
"it seems ingenuous for the media to push the few times guns are used to kill people", you wrote as you said drunk drivers kill far more people than guns. Let's recall that number for drunk drivers-16,885.
Here is the most recent data I could find on handgun deaths: "the handgun death totals According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, there were 28,663 firearm deaths in the US in 2000. Of that figure, 16,586 (58%) were suicides, 11,071 (39%) were homicides (including 270 deaths from police action), and 1,006 (4%) were due to accidents or undetermined causes."
Now, if you look solely at homicides then yes guns kill fewer than drunk drivers, but include in suicide and other causes and it's 12,000 deaths higher than drunk driving, and the drunk driving statistic didn't subsdivide by whether it was the drinker or an innocent being killed. I'm sure if you separated out the dead drunks (could we lump them as suicides since they engaged in a deadly behavior by choice?) you're numbers would probably be very similar to the homicide rate from guns. I recognize we're comparing 2000 to 2005 so no need to advise me. I was using the data I could find.
My point though is it's preposterous to claim the media hype "the few times guns are used to kill people" since those few times you speak of are actually in the tens of thousands and are equal if not greater to than the drunk driving stats. What I've noticed about the media is they do hype mass murders such as V-Tech, but the average murder merits nothing more than a brief in the Metro section of the liberal WP provided it's not occuring in a wealthy, white area.
Yes, drunk driving should be higher on the radar screen. I think people who are caught doing it should lose their driving priviledges permanently not just in VA but everywhere for life. I also think there should be mandatory jail sentences. I'm not sure if that would be a disincentive to do it or not, but it would lessen the repeat offenders who do it again and again.
As for gun control, again I point back to my comments about murder earlier in that these laws are irrelevant to people like us who would never use a gun to kill someone or to commit some other crime. I do think people convicted of violent crime should be denied the right to own guns, and I don't think the average fellow needs an AK-47 next to his bed, but personally I don't care that much either way, although the gun violence statistics of other countries to seem to invalidate the theory that gun control doesn't work and the District of Columbia proves it. I think all DC proves is when you have a very poor, poorly educated urban population decimated by drugs and misery that the criminal types are capable of crossing over into Va to arm themselves. It does increase victimization of honest people who could possibly protect themselves if the laws were different in DC, but it doesn't prove limiting gun ownership as a nation would be a failure. By the DC argument it should be that countries like the UK, Germany and Sweden should be rampant with gun owning criminals terrorizing the innocent unarmed folks, but that just isn't happening.

Jack said:

Tom, I don't know about Germany and Sweden, but the violent crime rate in the UK and Canada is 2-3 times the U.S. rate. The rate of occupied-home break-ins is about five times the U.S. rate.

I've been around this block a few times with puffalump. Go review the entries under "Crime."

jacob said:

Tom,
We average 40000 traffic deaths per year with close to 1.4M injured last I looked. We lost 58000 in Vietnam over 14 years. Brian was off on which is larger. But they are comparable. Except the casualty rate on our roads are 10x higher.

wow, and this started off as a discussion of what is liberal and what is conservative.

jacob said:

Speaking of the lump, where is Marshmallow?

Time warp ... 11:40 am ...

Joe,

No unrepentant sinner is ever a part of the church invisible. It is the church of the redeemed throughout all time. It isn't possible for those that are still in rebellion to be part of that church. It matters not what denomination they are, Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant -- the invisible church is the bride of Christ. All repentant sinners though are part of that church, even if they have really bad theology. (In a sense, all of them have really bad theology, in that none of them has perfect theology in this age.)

Anyone that repents is forgiven -- that includes all that believe. "God loved the world so much that he gave his only son that whoever believes in him might not perish, but have everlasting life." Regardless of the particular sins. Even the apostle Paul went from killer of those in the church to member. Repentance: the sufficient prerequisite to membership in the invisible church. All those that truly repent are saved, those that do not repent stand on their own.

zimzo

You don't get it. You still think this is about political power. It is true that those that are Christians will vote in accord with their principles. They will tend toward voting for those that are moral rather than immoral. But I've said it before, and I'll say it again; I have no interest in a "Christian State" government.

It may be that I vote for those that best reflect my values, just as you do. You would probably be upset if people said you shouldn't vote your convictions -- yet you seem to be saying that Christians should not.

Only God can state that an action is sin or not. That is true, but as to whether a person has done a particular thing that God has already stated is sin is within the ability of normal humans (who at some level are all hypocrites, at least that would be the conclusion if you believe the Bible's statement that all have sinned.)

A hypocrite is flawed, but perfection is impossible for humans. We even say "I'm just human" to excuse doing something wrong -- and even "everybody's human" to state we are all flawed. Being flawed does not mean we are without capability to recognize what has been stated as sin. Does that mean we will be right all the time? No, but then, we aren't perfect. Every time the government takes a suspect and judges them guilty, there is a percentage that are not guilty -- we (all mankind) are not without error.

Saying that flawed humans cannot judge an action as bad/evil means that we as a race cannot make judgments of crimes. If you think it only Christians that are "hypocrites" then show me the perfect judge, that has never done anything wrong. Or anyone else ... all of us know we are not perfect -- that is why, even though I'm not sure that the it was part of the original text, the story of the woman caught in adultery says "let him who is without sin cast the first stone." I'm not willing to say that God is not able to delegate authority to judge right and wrong. The police do it, turn it over to the courts. If what is against the law is not what is wrong, then it is tyranny -- even if it is tyranny of the majority. If it is wrong, then God has given authority to imperfect men to enforce what is right and wrong.

Let me quote a post here:

"So if all these adulterers are
doomed why is the church so willing to turn its back and let them fall into
Hell?"

That is part of why I stated initially that the church needs to be pure, and that in some cases it isn't. That doesn't mean that it never is. I did cite the very public condemnation of Jimmy Swaggart. The Assemblies of God defrocked Swaggart for his heterosexual sins. The church I attend just went through a public excommunication of a man who cheated on his wife.

While some parts of the church do still follow what Christ taught, there are parts that do exactly what the charge here is stated. That is what the initial post was about. What I posted was:
"The cure is for the church to return from their wicked ways"
which includes not condemning not only homosexual sin, but heterosexual sin. To say clearly that those who commit adultery must repent, and if they don't to expel them from the visible church. We have railed against those that broke their pledge to be loyal to the party, those in the church should rail against those that are not loyal to Christ.

Tom:

Quote:

"The thing some of us wonder about though is why the church devotes 99% of
its energy to that one form of sin, while ignoring all the others you've
listed? Is it because they lack the courage to take on the whole world
knowing they'd lose all their membership?"

Those that do lack the courage to take on the whole world are the problem. The church is *supposed* to take on the whole world, as the whole world is caught in sin -- but they are supposed to work inside their own four walls first. That does not mean they don't say that sin is sin. But they should start with the household of God.

The church is supposed to continue to work to push the knowledge of sin and of the gospel. Part of that is the public proclamation of the state of man -- that all are sinners. The idea that some sin is worse than others has been around for a long time, but all sin gets the sinner condemned to hell. If people do not know they are sick, they don't seek a doctor. If they don't know they are sinners, they don't seek a savior. It isn't the church's job to convince them, but it is to proclaim the truth. So the church should say what is right and what is wrong, but they should always correct themselves first.

zimzo said:

Alas, Brian, it is you who doesn't get it. No one wants to take away your right to vote. But those of us who are not right-wing Christians are awfully sick of your trying to impose your religious beliefs on the rest of us through the political process. You are entitled to believe that homosexuality is a sin, but why does the Christian right then oppose the rights of gays not to lose their jobs for being gay, not to be denied housing, the right to adopt children, the right to marry or even engage in civil unions and whatever you think of hate crime laws (and I am not a big supporter of them) why do they oppose the inclusion of sexual orientation in these laws but not, say, race? A gay couple marrying affects you not one iota and yet you go out of your way and expend endless amounts of energy, time and money to try to stop it. And at the same time, hypocritically, you do absolutely nothing politically about divorce or adultery or other more serious threats to marriage, which to use your car analogy in reference to gun control should be your priority.

So here is my suggestion. Vote for whomever you want. Throw whomever you want out of your churches. Preach whatever you want. But don't use the legislative process to impose your views on people who don't share them. Because although evangelical Christians are a minority in this country they have held the Republican party hostage to their agenda, which hasn't been good for the Republicans, since most people now see the party as morally hypocritical and bigoted, and it has corrupted the churches, many of which have bcome little more than recruiting tools for the GOP.

The only way this democracy is going to survive is by compromise and tolerance of diverse viewpoints. Your particular kind of Christianity is anathema to compromise and tolerance of diverse viewpoints. That is why the two don't mix too well. The sooner your side learns this, the better.

Eric,

If by saying that the Bible says homosexual activity is sin is judging, then accuse me of judging. But then, within the church we are supposed to judge (see Matthew 18:15-17). Public, notorious sins are sins against the whole church -- see 1 Cor. 5, the whole chapter -- which talks about incest and is condemned. It makes it clear that we are to judge inside the church.

"For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church? But those who are outside, God judges. Remove the wicked man from among yourselves." (NASB 1995 update)

If I were the civil magistrate (the "judge" of those outside the church) then it would be my job to judge those outside the church, but I am not ... but I am inside the church, and the church is to judge those inside the church.

Not only that, but I look to my brothers to judge me as well. The goal is not their eternal condemnation, but their repentance and restoration.

"Sufficient for such a one is this punishment which was inflicted by the majority, so that on the contrary you should rather forgive and comfort him, otherwise such a one might be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. Wherefore I urge you to reaffirm your love for him." (2 co 2:6-8, NASB)

Rebuke resulted in restoration from the look of it (at least if we believe this is the same person in the prior letter.)

I would want no less -- the goal of those in the church is not outward perfection, but putting side all sin. If I sin and nobody challenges it, how will I learn to overcome it? If I have others to help -- to point it out, show in scripture where it is condemned, and walk along side me as I struggle against it -- I believe it will be much more effective than if I struggle alone. I believe that because the Bible says it.

Tom,

You were right on the stats for drunk driving vs. gun related deaths in terms of numbers. What I had read was all traffic deaths (over 40,000 per year) on a site that I'd pulled for alcohol related deaths. I did get the number wrong for the war. But it only takes two years for that number to be exceeded. What I find very interesting is the death toll from Alcohol and driving appears to be going down. It is much lower than what it used to be (when I was taking driver education, the death rate from alcohol was much higher) which is a good thing. All the designated driver, and "drink responsibly" ads must be doing good. I'm glad I am wrong -- very glad.

One of the things I was trying to find out, and could not, is how many times firearms are used appropriately to kill someone (police shooting a criminal, a citizen defending himself or others). I couldn't find it.

Jack said:

" But those of us who are not right-wing Christians are awfully sick of your trying to impose your religious beliefs on the rest of us through the political process."

Well, zimzo, those of us who are not socialists/communists are awfully sick of your trying to impose your atheist beliefs on the rest of us through the political process.

"Don't use the legislative process to impose your views on people who don't share them."

That's called DEMOCRACY, zimzo. I know you are a socialist/communists, but not everyone wants your dictatorship. We would prefer to battle it out in the political sphere, win some and lose some.

"Your particular kind of Christianity is anathema to compromise and tolerance of diverse viewpoints."

We don't tolerate sin, zimzo. Is there any religion that does?

jacob said:

Brian,
Don't let zimzo get to you. He will deliberately misread what you write. He will ignore what is irrefutable. He will only engage the weakest part of your argument. Don't take it personally. he does this to everyone.

Jack said:

BTW, zimzo, do you notice it is the conservatives that oppose the laws that restrict campaign ads before an election and the "Fairness Doctrine," and it is the liberals who support them?

So is it the conservatives or the liberals that do not tolerate diverse veiwpoints?

jacob said:

zimzo,
"The only way this democracy is going to survive is by compromise and tolerance of diverse viewpoints. Your particular kind of Christianity is anathema to compromise and tolerance of diverse viewpoints. That is why the two don't mix too well. The sooner your side learns this, the better."
Wow, a complete declaration of superiority. zimzo feels backed into a corner, so he going now in overtly obtuse mode.

zimzo our 'brand' of Christianity, declaring sin to be what God says it to be, was here long before your socialist, hand holding kumbaya, relativist brand was even nightmared of.

It was our brand of Christianity that lead the way for the abolition of slavery in America and England. It was our brand of Christianity that was at the table in Philadelphia in 1776 and 1789.

From an historical perspective Christians like us have be clamoring for liberty world over. Your viewpoint on the matter is newer and will fade away. The Episcopal Church USA numbers dwindle every year. The sooner it is dead the better.

I ran from the Episcopal Church when the dolt in the pulpit proclaimed that the Pentateuch was irrelevant for todays society. What utter tripe. It is such heretics that clamor for silencing God's word, in the name of being nice.

The system of freedom you live under, the one that allows you to blather your heresy in the public square, is the product of those whom you despise. The sooner YOU learn that, the better.

What kind of 'diverse view points' are you tolerating? When you are saying that those who find what you are trumpeting to be wrong should silenced how are you tolerant? Hypocritical words zimzo. The point of tolerance of diverse viewpoints is the disagreement with out resorting to firearms. tolerance does not equate to approval. Your words tell me you instead seek an orthodoxy of the left. Tolerance my foot.

jacob said:

zimzo,
" But those of us who are not right-wing Christians are awfully sick of your trying to impose your religious beliefs on the rest of us through the political process."
So you are tired of those with our viewpoint asserting said viewpoints through the political process. Poor dear, would you prefer assertion via violence? The former is called d-e-m-o-c-r-a-c-y. The later is called war or dictatorship. You live in a republic (which is a representative democracy). If you find that inconvenient to bad. I have resigned myself to having atheists, socialists, and hippies sharing the country with me. That is called tolerance. Go figure it out.

I know, in your sad little world, those with my viewpoint should acquiesce to all you want and just acknowledge the brilliance and superiority of your side in all things. In other words just shut up and pay up. Revolutions start with just such attitudes zimzo.

I finally get you zimzo, your are a dictator at heart. All hail zimzo, il Supremo for life.

zimzo said:

You are free to express your viewpoint all you want and to attempt to persuade others of your viewpoint. Unfortunately, what has happened in this country is that a minority faction (the kind Madison warned about in Federalist 10) has hijacked the Republican Party and exploited the divided electorate to enact an agenda that the majority of Americans don't support. Most Americans want us out of the War in Iraq, for example, but our elected leaders ignore them. Most Americans support gay rights and gay civil unions (though not gay marriage -- yet, which is changing). Yet Congress cannot even pass a bill like the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which simply gives people the right not to be fired solely because they are gay--and excludes religious organizations and the armed forces. But a small minority of religious fanatics supports workplace discrimination against gays and because the Republican party depends on this small faction to stay in power this legislation cannot be enacted even though a majority of Americans supports it.

When several of our Founding Fathers wrote the Federalist Papers, they warned against the tyranny of factions, whether those factions were a majority oppressing a minority or a minority imposing its will on a majority. On this particular issue we have both of those fears realized-- a minority (gays) being opressed by a majority and a minority (right-wing Christians) imposing its will on a majority.

And Jacob I must point out once again that your history is flawed. Evangelical or Fundamentalist Christianity, the Christian Right, did not even exist until the 20th century. Your "brand" of Christianity had nothing to do with abolition. The first abolitionist movement was founded by Quakers. Your "brand" of Christianity was not followed by a single Founding Father, the majority of whom were Episcopalian. Thomas jefferson and Ben Franklin were Deists. John Adams was a Unitarian. Your own personal animus against the Chirch of England notwithstanding, you can't simply change history to suit your own political agenda though you attempt to do it often.

And though most of Jack's fulminations about communists and atheists and the "Fairness Doctrine" are too wearisome to bother with, his statement "We don't tolerate sin, zimzo" is categorically false. In the political arena, at least, the Christian right tolerates plenty of sin. As others have already pointed out, there is no groundswell for laws against divorce or adultery or enforcement of laws already on the books. Why is that? you may wonder. Because Born-Again Christinas have the highest divorce rate in this country after Jews. Atheists and Agnostics have the lowest divorce rate.

http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_dira.htm

Jack said:

"A minority faction... has hijacked the Republican Party and exploited the divided electorate to enact an agenda that the majority of Americans don't support."

How can this be? The very Federalist Papers you obliquely reference ( http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/federal/fed10.htm ) say that is not possible: "If a faction consists of less than a majority, relief is supplied by the republican principle, which enables the majority to defeat its sinister views by regular vote. It may clog the administration, it may convulse the society; but it will be unable to execute and mask its violence under the forms of the Constitution." (Madison, The Federalist Papers #10)

Perhaps this faction is not the minority you think it is.

Your "study" has a fundamental flaw, zimzo, it does not consider the number of marriages, only the number of divorces. If you look at the state data, you will see that the northeastern states have the lowest marriage rates, so it is only natural that they would have the lowest divorce rates, too: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr55/nvsr55_18.pdf Those in the northeast also tend to marry later, reducing the divorce rate.

Your flawed study does not take either the marriage rate, nor the age of marriage, into account when ascribing a higher divorce rate to Jews and Christians.

stay puft said:

nice,

Jack, can an ACT have morals?

that's an interesting concept, that morality exists within an act, and that people are sort of amoral actors who are able to remain neutral while going around performing acts which are either moral or immoral

it's ashame that we're always punishing the actors for immoral things like murder and stealing when it's the ACTS that are the real problem!

zimzo said:

Yes, Jack, that is what Madison hoped would happen in theory. But it hasn't worked out that way. Unfortunately, the problems he warned about, which he hoped a Republican system of government would prevent, have come to pass.

As to the divorce rate, your "flaw" makes no difference to my point, which is that divorce is more prevalent among born-again Christians and that accounts for their being unwilling to pass legislation outlawing it and instead scapegoating gays and hypocritically blaming them for their own failed marriages.

Jack said:

Trust puffalump to go completely off course. To what writings of mine are you referring?

Jack said:

Perhaps, zimzo, with Republicans appointing the judges, we can get back to the Constitution as it was meant to be, and your problems will be solved.

As for the flaw, if for every thousand evangelical Christians and every thousand atheists, 100 evangelicals get married and 50 atheists get married, then 25 Christians get divorced and 20 atheists get divorced, then the divorce rate for Evangelicals is higher.

That's the logic of liberals.

jacob said:

zimzo,
Oh, you mean like the small minority of socialists who run the presses at the NY Times, LA Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Daily News, Philadelphia Inquirer, Rocky Mountain Post, Houston Chronicle,
Detroit News/Free Press, Dallas Morning News,
Minneapolis Star Tribune, Boston Globe, Newark Star-Ledger, Atlanta Journal, Arizona Republic, NY Newsday, San Francisco,
Cleveland Plain Dealer, Seattle Times/Post-Intelligencer, St Louis Post-Dispatch, NBC, CBS, and ABC? Do yous means dos guyz?

Hey maybe we ought to turn the fairness doctrine on those clowns.

Down to the wire here at my house. My daughter is getting married, and things are getting busy.

Just a couple of thoughts.

Again, my viewpoint is that it is *very* possible that a small group can have a lot of influence. Look at the influence of the media. They are less than 1% of the population, but they swing a huge percent of the vote. Conservatives are only just now getting to the point of having a media presence to combat that.

Next point. Divorce in the church ... for those churches that do not exercise church discipline in cases of divorce, shame on them! That is one of the things I've been saying from the start. Given that God is sovereign over all the earth, and raises up and brings down kingdoms (countries/governments) then the problem of the church is what will destroy this country, or if the church repents, will save it. Politics sure won't (remember, in a democracy, the people get the kind of government they deserve!)

Eric the 1/2 troll said:

Brian,

The divorce issue is the heal to the evangelical sect's attempts to drive homosexuals out of the church. Giving it lip service is not enough. Until divorce is put on an equal footing with homosexuality in church debates, the evangelical sect remains nothing more than a bunch of hypocrites and should be treated as such. Only when I see the issue result in the hand wringing and schisms in the church that homosexuality has caused will I believe your side to be honest. I won't be holding my breath. The evangelicals have the highest rate of divorce in all of the Christianity. They are also the one's shouting loudest to kick homosexuals out of the church. It all goes to what I have been saying in this rather lengthy thread, we are all sinners (and unrepentent at that) you (the evangelical sect) hae no right (as long as you are a bunch of divorced unrepentent sinners) to point at other's sinners.

Divorce in the evangelical sect is the log in your eye. FIRST remove it THEN maybe you can talk about the "sin" of others.

stay puft said:

off course? you spent three days in this thread talking about homosexuality being a sin:

"No, I have tried to be very clear that homosexual ACTS are immoral. Homosexuals are not immoral simply because they are homosexual."

-Jack

Jack said:

Thank you, puffalump. Your comment was so far behind the conversation I did not know to what you were referring.

Anyway, I stand by my statement that homosexuals are not immoral simply because they are homosexual. Despite my attempt to make things clear, you insist on twisting my words. Let me try again: COMMITTING homosexual acts is immoral.

I'm sure you can find some way to twist that statement, too; you are, after all, a Democrat. However, I expect that the reasonable people here know, and knew, what I mean.

stay puft marshmallow man said:

wow, have you always been so cocky?

please don't blame me for your incoherent ideas, and don't pretend that the rationalizations you come up for the views your hold don't depend on semantic acrobats

Jack said:

Have you always been an ass?

Tom said:

Hey Jacob-
Apparently you didn't read his message or mine:
He cited drunk driving, not driving fatalities.
I was right with my comparison.

Eric,

All of you ranting about homosexuality has caused me to examine it a little more closely from a Biblical perspective.

You cannot honestly call Christians hypocrites if they accurately reflect the statements of scripture. Hypocrisy is saying one thing, and doing another, or being out of accord with the standard for what you believe when you know what the standard states. It doesn't matter that you think the motive is something else--you cannot see their heart and know why they state what they state. All accusations of wrong doing must be based on actions, not on motive without having a specific wrong action as well.

Divorce isn't supposed to be on equal footing with homosexual relations -- the later is in fact worse. While I wouldn't have thought that there was much difference, I did the research and found the most significant mention of homosexual sin in Romans 1. I've quoted a portion below. It also does not matter that homosexual sin is not mentioned as much in scripture -- there is less mention of many sins, but if those sins are very rare within the community, it would not need to be mentioned many times. Incest is not mentioned many times either, but Paul makes it clear it is worse than at least some other kinds of immorality (1 Cor. 5).

Romans 1:18 and following:
"The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature--have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.

For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.

Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator--who is forever praised. Amen.

Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion."

The passage is clear that homosexual sin is at least at times the result of continual depravity, either as a society or as a person. Honesty is holding consistently to a set of standards. Just because those standards are different from what you think they ought to be does not mean you are correct. While divorce is sinful, it is not the same as homosexual activity.

In a sense, I have to repent of my thinking those that hold homosexual sin worse than heterosexual sin to be out of accord with scripture. Scripture is clear that homosexual sin is in fact worse. I hadn't thought it through completely, but your continually bringing it up forced me to investigate. That does not mean that divorce is okay. It is not. I could wish that divorce would not be permitted except in cases of marital infidelity or abandonment. And in those cases, I would wish the offending party would have it so miserable that they would be an example to all those that would contemplate such action and know it would ruin their lives. I've prayed such in the cases of those that I've known within the church, much like Paul prayed for the man at Corinth who was committing incest would be handed over to Satan.

Marshmallow man AND Jack

Both of you stop the personal cracks. Immediately.

Jack said:

OK, Dad. You never let us have ANY fun.

Jack said:

Let me pose you a question, Brian. Which is worse, adultery or homosexual sex?

Sorry about having the stats wrong on drunk driving and the war. Now I can't find the site -- I found one that showed the number of deaths due to drunk driving declining every year. This is good news, even if the number is still too high.

One thing I've not been able to find is the number of appropriate deaths caused by handguns (an appropriate death is one in which a crime victim stopped the criminal by use of a handgun, and the criminal died, or the use of a handgun in war or by the police).

Jack,

From what I can see from the Bible, homosexual sex is worse. I'd also say incest is worse than heterosexual sex outside familial relations. The Romans 1 passage speaks to homosexual sex, 1 Cor. 5 speaks to incest. The reason I would state both are worse is that the language around both are so severe. 1 Cor. 5 actually talks about it as "of a kind that does not occur even among pagans: A man has his father's wife." (NIV) The comparison "of a kind that does not occur even among the pagans" points to it being worse.("Does not occur" need not mean Paul thinks it absolute, but just stating that it is rare -- Paul was not ignorant of sin in the world around him, he was just pointing out that even pagans know it evil and generally do not do it).

We know some sin is worse than others; Jesus said that it would be better for Sodom than for Capernaum at the judgment because the people of Sodom would have repented if the miracles that Capernaum had seen were done in Sodom. Relative demerit not withstanding, Sodom is still facing the fire of hell -- perhaps it won't be quite so painful, I don't know. What I do know is that there is at least one thing worse than sodomy -- rebellion against Christ.

Jack said:

I'm afraid I cannot agree, Brian.

Malachi 2:15-16 "But did He not make them one, Having a remnant of the Spirit? And why one? He seeks godly offspring. Therefore take heed to your spirit, And let none deal treacherously with the wife of his youth. 'For the LORD God of Israel says That He hates divorce, For it covers one’s garment with violence,' Says the LORD of hosts."

Matt 5:32 "But I say to you that whoever divorces his wife for any reason except sexual immorality causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a woman who is divorced commits adultery."

I think causing another person to sin is far worse than sinning oneself with a willing partner.

Eric the 1/2 troll said:

Thank you, Jack.

Brian,

You have exhibited the height of hubris in this post. Now you claim to know which sin God considered worse. You are ranking sins while all indication is that sins have no ranking - one sin is a bad as the next. And the reason you wish to rank sins? To escape the high standard of having absolutely NO unrepentent sin (according to Jack - my stand is a little higher) before you can point to the sins of others. Given that you will make this claim, you appear to be unrepentent regarding not following the instructions of Jesus in the "timber - eye" scripture. Your need to castigate others has blinded you to your own sin. This standard set by Jesus is a difficult to be sure - I find it the hardest to meet as I'm sure you can guess by the tones of my own posts.

The answer is just to simply do the best we can and let God decide who is sinning and who is not. According to Jesus we will either get our rewards or have already gotten them here in this life.

Jack said:

Sorry, Troll, but I cannot agree with you, either.


According to Paul, some sins ARE worse than others:
"If anyone sees his brother commit a sin that does not lead to death, he should pray and God will give him life. I refer to those whose sin does not lead to death. There is a sin that leads to death. I am not saying that he should pray about that. All wrongdoing is sin, and there is sin that does not lead to death." (1John5:16-17)

Furthermore, Paul tells us we ARE to teach and admonish one another:
"Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord." (Colossians 3:16)

If you see you brother sinning, would you allow him to perish rather than admonish him? That does not sound much like love to me.

Eric the 1/2 troll said:

Hmmm, Jack you sure change your tune with the wind:

'"Why is one sin greater or less than the other?"

I have said no such thing.'

You'll basically say anything to hold onto your self-proclaimed sense of righteousness. Is that not sin? Are you not unrepentent?

Even if you deny this characterization (of course you must), you ignore the fact that you allow many more divorced "Christians" in the evangelical sect on the one hand (ye timber) while screaming for a breaking away from the church over allowing homosexuals on the other hand (splinter).

Jack said:

Indeed. I had not really looked into the matter so deeply. It is also my mistake that I said "according to Paul" there. Obviously, it was John.

Even so, I cannot find the passage, but I do recall that somewhere in the Bible it says that leading others into sin will result in their sins' being put upon you.

Jack said:

Excuse me, Troll, I forgot to resond to the second part of your comment.

Since I am not in a evangelical church, I have nothing to do with allowing people into such a church. Still, the point of a church is generally not to allow or deny access to people, but to teach those who come.

Eric the 1/2 troll said:

"Still, the point of a church is generally not to allow or deny access to people, but to teach those who come."

So you are for allowing active homosexuals full membership in the "church"? How do you feel about the Episcopal Church schism issue?

Jack said:

Good question, Troll, but what do you mean by "full membership"?

Eric the 1/2 troll said:

By full membership I mean treating homosexuals just like any other member of the church. Can they participate as fully as say any divorced member, or any member harboring any other unrepentent sins? In the Catholic Church, I suppose this would mean anyone who is using birth control, for example. Or anyone who say plays golf on one Sunday out of four on a regular basis. There are indeed many more examples in every church denomination - I dare say no one is fully pure in this arena.

Jack said:

Sure, like "any member harboring any other unrepentent (sic) sins."

Such members, however, should not be leaders in the church:

1 Timothy 3:1-13

1This is a true saying, if a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.

2A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;

3Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous;

4One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity;

5(For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)

6Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.

7Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.

8Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre;

9Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience.

10And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless.

11Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things.

12Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.

13For they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.

Eric the 1/2 troll said:

'Sure, like "any member harboring any other unrepentent (sic) sins."'

Why the sic?

"Such members, however, should not be leaders in the church"

Charles Stanley, well-known Southern Baptist pastor and former president of the SBC, recently went through a divorce. When the news was announced to the First Baptist Church of Atlanta in May, the newly divorced pastor received a standing ovation from the congregation.

The wife of Ned Graham, son of Billy Graham, divorced him on the basis of “infidelity, domestic violence, and drug and alcohol abuse.” Ned is head of East Gate Ministries, which distributes Bibles in China, and he continues to be supported in that capacity by his famous father.

Well-known Christian author Hal Lindsey has been divorced multiple times. Bob Larson is divorced. Many others could be mentioned.

Aimee Semple McPherson, founder of the Four Square Pentecostal Churches, was a divorced adulteress, as was famous Pentecostal evangelist Kathryn Kuhlmann.

Richard Roberts, who is in the process of taking over the ministry of his father, Oral, divorced his first wife and married a Oral Roberts University student.

Jim and Tammy Bakker divorced and are both remarried.

In July of this year, two well-known Charismatic pastors got divorces (Ray McCauley of Johannesburg, South Africa, and Clarence McClendon of Los Angeles). John Jacobs, founder of the Power Team, was divorced from his wife of 16 years this summer. Hundreds of other Charismatics could be mentioned.

Pastor Peter Ruckman of Pensacola, Florida, is twice divorced and thrice married yet remains in the pastorate.

From the Official Website of the Southern Baptist Convention:

"Some Southern Baptist churches have called pastors or elected deacons who had been divorced, but there is no way of knowing how many have done so."

I would say that divorced people regularly serve in leadership in most of the churches of today. Just more hypocrisy to deny that role to homosexuals.

Jack said:

"I would say that divorced people regularly serve in leadership in most of the churches of today. Just more hypocrisy to deny that role to homosexuals."

Your examples are all the more reason NOT to allow homosexuals to have leadership roles. Divorced people were coddled in the protestant churches, rather than rebuked. The divorced in the church then accepted leaders who were divorced, and who then said divorce was OK. So how many souls will be lost to that atrocity? How many more do you want lost to homosexual sin, just so they can feel better about themselves now?

Couple of things ... first and foremost, even if there is a ranking to sin, the smallest sin, without atonement, is enough for eternal damnation. Be it sin of commission or sin of omission -- any sin has as its due reward eternal damnation.

That said, the question remains, are all sins equally heinous? If there were actual lists in diabolical order, we would have it as a direct answer. But just because some principle of scripture is not easy to understand does not mean we should not seek to understand it. If I were going to find out if there are different levels of sin, I would have to investigate it thoroughly before I make a conclusion (all the while being careful to note that all sin fits one for hell). So how would a person look at scripture and attempt to see if there are some sins more heinous than others?

First, would could see if some sin is compared and stated that one is worse than another. We do find that in the scripture. Ezekiel 8:6, 13 and 15 all are points at which Ezekiel sees one sin and is told he will see "great abominations". See also John 19:11; Luke 12:47,48. The fact that one is "greater" states patently there are gradations of sin.

1 John 5:16 makes a difference between two classes of sins, those leading to death, and those not leading to death. Here there is just strong implication of gradation of sins. As well as a requirement of *us* to make the determination of which is in which class, as we are told to do different things based on the two classes.

This is not the total of what I found on the subject, but it points to two separate things, the first, there are differences in the heinousness of sins, and second, we are to differentiate our behavior within the church based on at least some of the classification.

This just makes sense. We are assuredly told that church discipline is to occur (Matt 18) and several of the passages above, plus as individuals we need to know (Matt 7:15 and following, the good tree, good fruit; bad tree, bad fruit test). The church is supposed to be pure, it needs to judge those within its fellowship. (NOT those outside -- those that are not in Christ are, from a Biblical perspective, going to hell regardless of the severity of the sins they commit.)

The church also needs to be gentle, and if there are gradations to sin, then even if someone professes repentance, there may be severities which would require special care for the church to assure the repentant sinner is truly repentant, sees the severity and truly is contrite. All the while the goal being restoration to the body.

Jack said:

I'm going to have to disagree again, Brian, this time with your statement that, "those that are not in Christ are, from a Biblical perspective, going to hell regardless of the severity of the sins they commit."

Romans 2:
"12 For as many as have sinned without law will also perish without law, and as many as have sinned in the law will be judged by the law
"13 (for not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified;
"14 for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves,
"15 who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them)
"16 in the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel."

While I would not prevent people from coming to church, if they were not a threat to the congregation or themselves, the members of the church should not be unrepentant of any known sin. That would not require they are free from it, as if a person who is struggling with sin ought be excluded, but those that are not struggling against a sin, not submitting to the authority of the church ought not be members.

Jack said:

Let us say, then, "attendees," but not members. It would not do for a bunch of unrepentant sinners to become voting members in a church, take over the church, and then vote that their sin was not sin. Oh, wait....

Hi Jack,

You are on my home turf when you site Romans -- it is my favorite book in all of scripture. The reason I like it so much is that it is so rich. The church in Rome was very small, and Paul (nor any of the other apostles) had not been there yet. There were some preemptive strikes he put in toward the party of the circumcision, but in general, the letter was written from the point of view of not having to counter a problem already existing in the church. That is unique among the letters. Paul had to put a lot into the letter (thus it being the longest of the letters). He also did not have to counter an established error in the church. That allowed him broad coverage of theology without having to focus on error. It is probably one of the best books in the Bible for theological content.

Now on to the topic at hand. Are those outside the church lost. You cite chapter 2, and correctly state that all mankind has a conscience that sometimes accuses, sometimes excuses them. The problem is the "accuses" part of that causes the problem (verse 15). If that "accuses" only applied to some men, then you may be correct -- or if there is another method of salvation.

Chapter 3:9 - 18 (NIV)
What shall we conclude then? Are we any better? Not at all! We have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under sin. As it is written:
"There is no one righteous, not even one;
there is no one who understands,
no one who seeks God.
All have turned away,
they have together become worthless;
there is no one who does good,
not even one."
"Their throats are open graves;
their tongues practice deceit."
"The poison of vipers is on their lips."
"Their mouths are full of cursing and
bitterness."
"Their feet are swift to shed blood;
ruin and misery mark their ways,
and the way of peace they do not know."
"There is no fear of God before their
eyes."

The opening question is based on what came before, but Paul's answer is more to the point: nobody is okay before God. Verse 23 is the one that nearly every evangelical can quote from memory: "for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God" (us reformed faith Christians can do so as well -- by the way, I do not call myself evangelical, I am of the traditional reformed faith).

Now we have the proposition that all have sinned. We need to find what that means in terms of destiny. First Romans 6:23 (another of those verses that most evangelicals memorize) "the wages of sin is death", but let's pull in Peter as well, 2 Peter 2:4-10a, which in context is about teachers, but is much broader in principle. The reference to those in Sodom are to the population of Sodom, not teachers in a church.

At this point I believe the scripture is clear that all have sinned, and that would, barring any other mitigation, relegate all of us to hell. That being the case, let's go back to Romans and see if there is any hope for any of us (at this point, God would be just in sending every single person to hell for treason against his rule as the sovereign of the universe). If there is any method of escape, it is ultimately gracious and kind of God to prove it as he owes all of mankind nothing but just punishment for sin.

Expand past Romans 3:23 to include 3:21 - 26. This clearly shows that there is at least one means of gracious escape from condemnation, and that means is Jesus Christ. Add to that what is taught in Acts 4:12, and Jesus own claim to exclusivity ("I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but through me." John 14:6).

Now I believe the Bible has established that all are lost -- bound for hell -- but that God has graciously provided a means of escape (he did not have to provide *any* means of escape, but he chose to provide one). That means of escape is through faith in Jesus. Jesus, being God incarnate, claims that he is the only means of escape. At this point, either a person has faith in Christ Jesus, the only means of escape, or they perish. I see no other options.

Eric the 1/2 troll said:

"Your examples are all the more reason NOT to allow homosexuals to have leadership roles."

Or divorced persons, or people who do not keep the Sabbath 100% holy, or judge others, or commit any other sin and find some sort of justification (like we might embolden the "enemy", or I'm just trying to point out your sins to you for your own sake).

Its gonna be a pretty small church. I see no one here who meets these qualifications.

Eric the 1/2 troll said:

"While I would not prevent people from coming to church, if they were not a threat to the congregation or themselves, the members of the church should not be unrepentant of any known sin."

There is clearly sin in all of us that we justify through our own hubris. We know it to be sin but do not accept it through twisting the scripture to justify our position. If this is your definition of membership then the homosexuals should be allowed. They do not "know" that they sin. YOU seem to know that they sin but they obviously do not accept that as true. Just as you do not accept that what you are doing in your characterization of them as unrepentant sinners is casting judgement which is itself a sin. You do not accept that as truth and therefore do not "know" your sin.

It is the same thing - better not to go there and let God decide. Again, you do not know the hearts of men and do not have the authority to make these calls.

Eric the 1/2 troll said:

"traditional reformed faith"

Is that like pre-Vatican II.

"I see no other options."

I'm not surprised. You are not God. Given the aura of holiness you project, I would think you would have more faith in God to not completely abandon those souls that through no fault of their own (refer to your comment on "known sins") have sinned against God. Billions and billions of souls. I trust that God will provide for them somehow and not abandon them to eternal damnation -what "father" wouldn't after all? Having reached this conclusion, I am free to worry about my own fate (a much more difficult issue to be sure).

Jack said:

Troll, we ARE called judge those who call themselves brother (1 Cor. 5:11), and to teach our neighbors (Jeremiah 31:34). It would be a sin for a man to allow his brother to fall into sin.

As for divorce, Jesus does allow it in that case of sexual infidelity (Matt 5:32), and Paul allows it if one is married to an unbeliever who wants out of the marriage (1 Cor 7:15).

There are no such exceptions in scripture for homosexual sex.

If God can write the Law on men's hearts, then Jesus can as well. That is their conscience. If their conscience condemns them, and repent and pray for forgiveness, will it be denied them because they have not heard the name of Jesus? I think not.

"YOU seem to know that they sin but they obviously do not accept that as true."

Then they are denying the clear words of the Bible.

"Just as you do not accept that what you are doing in your characterization of them as unrepentant sinners is casting judgement...." which we are called to do for those who call themselves brothers. We are told, in the letter to Timothy, the qualifications for bishops and deacons. How can we use those qualifications if we do not "judge"?

Eric the 1/2 troll said:

"It would be a sin for a man to allow his brother to fall into sin."

Too late for any of our "brothers". We have all fallen into sin.

Regarding divorce - what does that have to do with anything? There are still plenty of church members who do not fall into these exclusion clauses.

You and I agree on the "they've never heard of Jesus" issue.

The homosexuals are denying clear scripture just as much as you are in ignoring specific "do not judge others" instructions. You both have your reasons to write your own exclusion clause. Just like the many exclusion clauses some people use to support violation of the "Thou shalt not kill" command. It is not up to me (or you) to say if they are valid or not. That is in God's hands.

Troll,

The problem I have with all your "Its gonna be a pretty small church" is that you are insisting on perfection rather than the requirements set forth in scripture. It isn't that a person be perfect, that they have no sin; the requirement is they be repentant and not be in flagrant or notorious sin. You don't make up the requirements for church membership or leadership any more than I do. You cannot impose what you think on what the Bible says. That said, I have always said that I feel there are churches that have left behind what I believe the Bible says. Does that negate what the truth is? No, those churches are no argument for lowering the standards; those churches are an argument for calling for repentance (exactly what I've been doing!)

Troll,

Unrepentant means the person is not fighting against that sin in their life. If a woman is at church and is holding hands with another woman, lives with that woman, and says they are lesbian, then that is more than sufficient to exclude them from membership. If a person says they are a drunkard, are found in bars, and do not attempt to stay away from alcohol, that would be enough to exclude them from membership. If a person leaves their wife, except for reasons of marital unfaithfulness on her part, refuses to listen to admonishment by the church leadership, that is enough to exclude them from membership.

Any flagrant *unrepentant* sin -- sin which is present and not being fought -- is enough to warrant excommunication. If a person habitually refuses to submit to the lawful requirements of the governing authorities (gets speeding tickets!) and does not repent, that is enough to excommunicate them as the sin is insubordination to authority.

That does not mean that a person that is contrite, fighting against temptation, and follows the direction of the church authority should be excluded as if *any* member is without sin. A person can be caught in sin, yet fight it greatly.

Jack said:

The thing is, Troll, *I* am not writing the "exclusion clauses" -- they are in the Bible. There are no exclusion clauses for homosexual acts.

While I am sure there are some divorced parishoners who are not covered by those exclusions, you cannot know who they are.

"You both have your reasons to write your own exclusion clause."

What exclusion clause have I written? None -- the ones I have cited are in the Bible.

Lastly, Lev. 20:13 says, "You shall not murder." Killing, in the Old Testament, was often the punishment for crimes, and occasionally commanded to do to one's enemies.

Troll

Traditional reformed faith is that which can be viewed as protestant, based in the reformation, and more based in the ideas and theology revived by Luther and Calvin. I say revived because it goes back the Genesis and follows through history past Augustine.

Now as to not being able to see any other options, if you have a set that is universal (all mankind) and a statement by God (Jesus) that there is one way to accomplish something for them ("I am the way, ...") then the idea from that is the set is bifurcated.

I think I see part of your problem in that you state "through no fault of their own (refer to your
comment on 'known sins') have sinned against God". It is *never* though no fault of their own that a person sins. It is *always* their fault. Romans 2:12 says: "For all who have sinned without the Law will also perish without the Law, and all who have sinned under the Law will be judged by the Law" add to that Romans 3:23 "all have sinned" and that says *all* will perish. Those without the law, will perish without it -- they do not meet their own standard; those with the law, will perish by the laws judgment. Romans 1:18 and following:
"For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them.
For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.
For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened."

There is no excuse. Those billions and billions are guilty without excuse. They have no hope and deserve no hope. Even if God is loving, he is also just. That he provide *any* way for man to escape is wonderfully merciful -- if you ask me, it is the height of hubris to think that God would have to provide any way to allow escape, and even more so to say that the method he provided is not enough. Think about that for a while before you reply to it.

Eric the 1/2 troll said:

"If a person says they are a drunkard, are found in bars, and do not attempt to stay away from alcohol, that would be enough to exclude them from membership. If a person leaves their wife, except for reasons of marital unfaithfulness on her part, refuses to listen to admonishment by the church leadership, that is enough to exclude them from membership."

Except that they are NOT excluded from church membership based on these unrepentant sins. In fact, they are often the unrepentant sins of church leaders. As I said these are the timbers in you eyes when you focus on ousting homosexuals.

Furthermore, MANY, MANY church leaders support the taking of innocent lives in Iraq by US Forces. They justify their support of violating the "Thou shalt not sin" commandment because they believe their position to be just. Gays also belive their position to be just. Both could easily be viewed by other as unrepentant sinners backed by scripture. The same can be said of Jack and your judgement of the sins of others. Scripture says it is sin yet you are unrepentant. You have found what YOU consider to be a loophole to allow this sin - I do not accept your loophole as valid. In my opinion you are unrepentant sinners.

Should everyone that another person believes is sinning unrepentantly be ousted from the church?


Eric the 1/2 troll said:

Brian,

I do not need to THINK about anything as I already know what I know (and have for many years). God is a father. He is our Father and we (all of us) are his children. Every living person on earth (and elsewhere most likely)is a child of God. Save your breath, I know you don't believe that - suffice it to say I understand that you are wrong and with good reason but I don't need to argue that point now.

Jesus' word shows that God treats us (each and every one of us) like any living human father would treat their child. No Father would abandon their child to eternal damnation simply because they were born before Jesus came or because they had no knowledge of Jesus. There are tribes that have been untouched by any outside culture in Brazil. According to you they are damned - God the Father does not work that way - so says Jesus. You can cite Paul all you want but I think you err in your interpretation on this one.

Eric the 1/2 troll said:

"*I* am not writing the "exclusion clauses" -- they are in the Bible."

There are no exclusion clauses for sin in the bible. For instance, it does not say "Thou shalt not kill unless your President claims it will embolden the enemy."

You have taken passages from the Bible and said - "see I can act contrary to Christ's teaching." I can judge others even though God clearly says casting judgement is sin. I can kill because I want to promote democracy! I do not have to give the thief my shirt if he steals my jacket because I think it is not really justice (that one is very pertinent to the immigration debate rants we just witnessed). I do not have to turn the other cheek because it is really about being insulted and not being attacked.

The list goes on and on. You are making excuses for your sins. You are completely and totally unrepentant by all appearances. You (by YOUR definition) do not meet the standard for membership in the church.

Judge and you shall be judged.

Eric the 1/2 troll said:

Correction to post before last:

"They justify their support of violating the "Thou shalt not KILL" commandment..."

Jack said:

It's "MURDER," Troll, not "KILL." If it were kill, how do you explain the death sentences prescribed in the Law? If it were kill, how do you explain the Hebrew army's being sent to slay its enemies?

Killing your country's enemies in war is not murder. It wasn't for Israel 5000 years ago, and it is not now.

Troll,

I have to disagree with a couple of things. One, just because many churches are wrong in not removing those that are unrepentant in one sin or another does not mean that it invalidates removing a member for another sin. I'd say that church was far from pure, but "call for perfection" is a logic fallacy.

By the way, it isn't "thou shalt not sin" (kill, steal, commit adultery, bear false witness, and covet are the "shalt nots" that are in the man-to-man section of scripture. I have shown where the scripture clearly teaches that the church needs to be able to judge those in the church (not those outside the church), so at this point, I do not agree with two different things here and your reference to "remove the log/plank from your own eye, then you will be able to see to remove the splinter/speck from your neighbor's eye" as being sin for those in the church. First, the discussion here is not accusing any individual of sin -- we have not said "Joe is a sinner and needs to repent" to any different degree than we've said that we all need to repent. We have pointed out that the Bible says that certain actions and/or inactions are sin. You don't have to be a genius to point out that murder is sinful. Investigation of what the Bible commands would be useful for all Christians, and it is required for those in the church to attempt to restore brothers caught in sin. (I've posted many passages that deal with exactly that.)

If you really believe I am an unrepentant sinner, then you should not be arguing this from any position other than scripture. And if you are correct, and do not argue from scripture that point, it would be sin for you not to point out clearly why we are sinning. (I would even state that you should approach the session of the church which I attend, and bring up charges.) It would be horrific to have someone continuing in sin if what you are saying is what you really believe, then you should bring an elder of my church to me and show me from scripture what violation I have committed. I do NOT consider pointing out sin in a _brother_ as a loophole, but a requirement of righteous living.

If a person believes that another is sinning in the church, then they should approach that brother, tell them of the sin and the scripture that declares it sin -- gently, and with a spirit of unity, so that the brother not only may explain facts, but also their interpretation of the scripture -- so the brother many be redeemed. If after that, a person still believes the brother in error, and that it is a sin, then the person accusing should talk to one of the elders about it and ask them to accompany them to talk to the person. Hopefully the elder would investigate the facts and the scripture, determine if there is sin involved, and correct whichever (or both) of the individuals in the matter. If the accused is found in sin, refuses to listen to both the person that originally talked to him, and the elder, then the elder should bring the matter to the session (the court of the church). If the person still refuses to repent, then they should be disciplined as needed to restore the person to fellowship -- up to excommunication if they refuse to listen and are obstinate in their sin. I have seen this in my church (a man excommunicated for leaving his wife). We pray on regular occasion that God would make his life a living hell so he would repent of his sin, as we want him to be restored, but not without repentance.

Eric the 1/2 troll said:

"Killing your country's enemies in war is not murder."

Killing innocents is. Especially if the excuse we are using today is to bring them democracy. Just more unrepentant sin.

Eric the 1/2 troll said:

"If you really believe I am an unrepentant sinner, then you should not be arguing this from any position other than scripture."

I am, arguing it from scripture. Last time I looked the word of Jesus was scripture. But I'll try one more time. You said that everybody is a hypocrite correct? Jesus said:

"You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbor's eye."

Furthermore, I see nothing in these scriptures that you cite that say it is alright to judge anyone for their sin just because you have repented. You still sin and you point at another person's sin. That makes you a hypocrite - we all are as you said. GOD forgives your sins if you repent but you are still a sinner and a hypocrite if you judge other's sins. End of story.

"And if you are correct, and do not argue from scripture that point, it would be sin for you not to point out clearly why we are sinning."

A. I have pointed out clearly why you are sinning - you do not accept it - such is the nature of unrepentant sin.

B. I believe it is a sin for me to point this out to you. As I said before, I am sinning here by judging you. I really should just be tending to my own sin first. I certainly am not going to make matters worse by doing what you do to homosexuals.

"We pray on regular occasion that God would make his life a living hell so he would repent of his sin."

You actually ask God to bring harm to a brother you supposedly love?? I think I will now abandon this thread and pray for you tonight - I will not ask God to harm you but to bless you along with the the brother you wish to harm.

Jack said:

"Killing innocents is [murder]."

If such killing is intentional, yes. There are always unintended deaths of innocents in war. However, the United States does the best job of anyone to avoid such unintended casualties. Our enemy, on the other hand, TARGETS innocents.

"We pray on regular occasion that God would make his life a living hell so he would repent of his sin."

I only pray that a brother will repent. I never pray for harm to another. I can understand the sentiment that it is better for a person's (temporary) life to be hellish, rather than for his (permanent) death to be so.

However, the Bible also tells us that God knows what is best for us. He knows better than I what will make a particular sinner repent. In some cases that may be a life that is hellish. In other cases it may be a very good life and a realization that it is harder for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven than for a camel to pass through the Eye of the Needle.

Now, we seem to be in some disagreement about the verb "to judge." To me, to judge is to place some value on a person: "You are a worse (or better) person than I am." Since we are all sinners, bringing a brother's sin to his attention does not fall into that definition.

You also like to cite the "log and splinter" message. You add to it your own belief that the log cannot be removed. That is clearly not the case. If it were, one could not follow Paul's instruction to "put away from yourselves the evil person." (1Cor5)

Eric the 1/2 troll said:

"If such killing is intentional, yes. There are always unintended deaths of innocents in war."

If you enter into war where you know innocents will be killed then you are intentionally killing innocents.

" To me, to judge is to place some value on a person: "You are a worse (or better) person than I am."

The definiton de jour. Writing yourself another loophole?

"You add to it your own belief that the log cannot be removed."

Since we are all hypocrites in some manner or another (as Brian said) the log can not by definition be removed.

Instead of running around the Bible looking for quotes that help to justify your need to castigate your fellowman, perhaps it would be better that you accept the word of Jesus for simply what it says - hard as that is for you to do. It IS fairly obvious that everyone is a sinner and it surely makes you a hypocrite to point out other's sins.

Have you learned nothing from the Vitter scandal, or the Haggard scandal, or any number of the "holier-than-thou's" that turn out to be the worse morally than almost anyone else?

I know, Jack, you are different, right?

Jack said:

"If you enter into war where you know innocents will be killed then you are intentionally killing innocents."

Pacifist nonsense. Sometimes war is necessary, and innocents die. "And they utterly destroyed all that was in the city, both man and woman, young and old, ox and sheep and donkey, with the edge of the sword." (Joshua 6:21)

I am trying to get YOUR definition of "to judge." Do you have one?

"[Perhaps] it would be better that you accept the word of Jesus for simply what it says...."

He says, "First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye."

YOU say the plank cannot be removed -- Jesus does not.

"[It] surely makes you a hypocrite to point out other's sins."

Whom have I accused? No-one. Whose sin have I pointed out? No-one's. I have simply repeated what the Bible tells us is sin, "their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing... them." (Romans 2:15)

Troll,

My problem with your way of segregating what the Bible says is that it is not taking the whole into account. The whole by definition cannot have contradiction, and Jesus very clearly says what is involved in trying to bring a brother back to fellowship when he sins (Matthew 18). It also talks about not trying to take a speck out of your brother's eye when you have a log in your own. It also says we are all sinners in everything we do. It also says we will know each "tree by its fruit" (speaking of men). It states: "All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness" and reproof is telling a person that what they are doing is wrong, and correction is more in showing a person that they have the wrong idea. And in case you think that is just the scripture, 2 Tim 4:1,2 states: "I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction."

It commands that we reprove, rebuke and exhort. There is no contradiction, so the interpretation cannot be what you have stated.

I think the problem might be that you don't take this seriously. This is not *just* life and death. [sic] This is more serious than just life and death. While God does provide for a means of escape, "For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it." (Matt 7:14) We are talking about people going to hell for all eternity. We do not show love to someone by not saying they are doing what will kill them, how much less if we don't tell them they are doing what will land them in hell?

It isn't a game. There is only one means of escape -- grace through faith in Jesus Christ. I submit myself to the authority of the session of my church and *beg* them to continually examine my life, lest having run the course I be disqualified.

Eric the 1/2 troll said:

Brian,

I'm afraid in your zeal you may be missing the gate. Seem to me that you may have the foxes watching your henhouse.

The word of Jesus is this:

1 "Judge not, that you be not judged. 2For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. 3And why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye?
4Or how can you say to your brother, "Let me remove the speck from your eye'; and look, a plank is in your own eye? 5Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye.

He spend four verses telling you simply not to judge others but you focus on twisting the fifth verse to allow you to judge others. If we can agree that the spec and timber in you and your brother's eye equals sin, then what he is saying is that you are a hypocrite unless you are first SINLESS when you castigate your brother for his sins. SINLESS does not equal repentant it means completely without sin.

It is interesting that you cite 2 Timothy it says:

1 I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who willjudge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingly power:
2
proclaim the word; be persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient; convince, reprimand, encourage through all patience and teaching.

This tells you to reprimand EVRYONE not just those in your church. I thought you only supported Paul's instructions to judge just those in your church?

9
I wrote you in my letter not to associate with immoral people,
10
not at all referring to the immoral of this world or the greedy and robbers or idolaters; for you would then have to leave the world.

Paul says not to judge the "immoral people" of the world. Timothy says to reprimand those to whom you preach the word (meaning everybody) not just those in the church.

I'll take the more conservative route and try not to judge, castigate, shun, cast out (however Jack wants to define it in his word parsing) other sinners. You can do what you want. I just hope you don't make too many people's lives a "living hell" in the process.

Jack said:

Words MUST be parsed, Troll. Words have meanings.

"Paul says not to judge the 'immoral people' of the world. Timothy says to reprimand those to whom you preach the word (meaning everybody) not just those in the church."

Thus, reprimanding is NOT judging.

ACTivist said:

We all sin and we all can be saved. That is the word of God. We must preach the word to others so that they may be enligthened and have the opportunity to be saved. By speaking the word you are not judging but you are informing those of their sinful ways as per the WORD of GOD. As Brian said, this is NOT a game. When it is time for final judgement in front of HIM, what will any of us have to say of what we have done for HIS sake? This is all I have to worry about. I am not here to stop sin but to profess my own and "enlighten" others as to sins of GOD.

I wish this post had been more about liberal and conservative values and viewpoints as GOD is impartial and takes no sides. HE does watch and pay attention, though. I will take an honest and moral candidate above all else. Which party should I be looking toward?

Eric the 1/2 troll said:

"Which party should I be looking toward?"

I'd say neither. I would make my call based on the individual not the party.


Eric the 1/2 troll said:

"Words MUST be parsed, Troll. Words have meanings."

"Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, 3 you will not enter the kingdom of heaven."

Sorry, Jack, Jesus tells us you do not have to be a biblical scholar to understand. You do not have to parse words. When there is 10 verses warning us against judging others for every one you claim gives you the right to judge others, you do not have to be a rocket scientist to understand the message.


Eric the 1/2 troll said:

"We all sin and we all can be saved. That is the word of God. We must preach the word to others so that they may be enligthened and have the opportunity to be saved."

I agree - preach the word to others but stop there. There is a big step between preaching the Good News of Jesus and doing his Good Work and castigating the lifestyle choice of another human because you think it is a sin. If you do not understand the difference, perhaps you need to ask for guidance.

Jack said:

You still cannot tell me what you mean by "judging." How can someone have a conversation with you when you do not even know the vocabulary?

"Jesus tells us you do not have to be a biblical scholar to understand."

Then understand this: "Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God." (1 Cor 6:9-10 )

"I agree - preach the word to others but stop there."

The Word of God is the ENTIRE Bible, Troll, not just the parts you like.

Eric the 1/2 troll said:

"Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God."

If that were the entire story, Jack then noone would inherit the Kingdom. Everyone fits into one of these roles at sometime or another - especially given Jesus' including sins of the heart. So I understand clearly the message - no one inherits the kingdom alone and we are all equal in sin. Back to the timber eye thing.

It really IS very simple.

"I agree - preach the word to others but stop there."

Might want to read the rest of the paragraph, Jack.

jacob said:

Troll,
We ALL are fornicators, drunks, or some such. The point of the gospel is that the Kingdom of Heaven is not earned by works but by repenting ones sin, which is done through faith in Christ alone.

It does not matter what we do, what matters is our attitude toward God. Does he or we set the rules? Is it that complicated to you? Or do you just want to read (believe) the parts of the Bible you agree with?

As for the 'judge not' passage. We are called on far more often to discern the _actions_ of others. We are called upon to correct and exhort others to stop sinning. That requires one to examine the actions and deciding (judging!) that those actions _are_ sinful.

Sinful (self righteous) judgment, which is what is addressed in that single verse you keep trumpeting involves first and foremost judging the intentions of others. (Are you listening zimzo?)

The next part is the position that ones personal sin is 'not as bad'. Most importantly is the 'looking down ones nose' at the sinner. Despising those who sin is the essence of sinful judgment, not recognizing the sin.

Go read the entirety of the Bible you will find the whole message far more interesting than the one you are fashioning by editing the text to suit your politics and world view.

Jack said:

"The next part is the position that ones personal sin is 'not as bad'."

Or that it is not sin at all.

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