Badtux the Snarky Penguin

In a time of chimpanzees, I was a penguin.

Religious fundamentalists are motivated by the sneaking suspicion that someone, somewhere, is having fun -- and that this must be stopped.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Answers Part II

In which this penguin discusses easy answers vs. simple answers -- and why they're not the same.

First, though, a slight digression as I start installing Ubuntu 7.04 Feisty Fawn onto the /new4 partition of my server... check back in a little bit... GAH! I need to download a "server install" rather than the "workstation install" that I downloaded, the "workstation install" has a brain dead idiot stupid retarded installer on it that only works with a single IDE hard drive. Be back in an hour or so... sorry about that. Had to reboot my laptop into Linux to burn a new CD with k3b because HP doesn't include CD burning software with their el-cheapo consumer laptops (what a buncha jerks!). The KDE CD burning software is easier to use than anything I ever ran under Windows anyhow -- just click the 'open', select the ISO, and it automatically knows you want to burn a disk with it and gives you a 'start' button to start the burn. Click the start button, watch the progress bars go, and it's *done*. Anyhow, I was on my Windows laptop doing the blogging but had to reboot it to get into a real OS. Anyhow, where was I?

Oh yes. Answers. One way you can tell an easy answer is that it doesn't require much of you. All easy answers are simple answers -- do bad things? Why, just bend the knee and accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior and all is forgiven, you can go out and do more bad things and still get into heaven! That's a simple answer. But it's also an easy answer. Because it doesn't require anything of you except babbling some meaningless words in the church-house. We have a word for those kinds of people, BTW. We call them "hypocrits". Accepting Jesus into your heart is something that you live, not something you say. Kurt Vonnegut always said he didn't believe in Jesus or God. Yet he lived every day as if he did, indeed, he once said that he would not want to be part of a race that had never produced the Beatitudes. Vonnegut is an example of a man who had Jesus in his heart even if he did not have Jesus in his head. What matters is that you follow Jesus, not that you say you do.

Anyhow, back to where we were. So all easy answers are simple answers. But are all simple answers easy answers? Well, no. As Bryan mentioned in Answers Part I, there are simple answers that are far, far from easy. For example, Bill and Ted's Most Excellent Commandment: "Be Most Excellent to One Another" (a re-statement of Matthew 22:36-40) is simple. But is it easy? Well, Jerry Falwell died today of heart failure. I'm finding it very, very difficult to avoid expressing amazement that he even had a heart, given the hatred that he has spewed over the years. Being most excellent to Jerry Falwell might be simple, but it sure isn't easy.

Okay, so we've established that all easy answers are simple, but not all simple answers are easy. Now hold on, I need to reboot my laptop back into Windows and resume posting from over there, now that my CD is burned... okay, I'm back. Feisty went on just fine with the 'server' disk, now I have Kubuntu and Ubuntu Studio downloading. The latter of which being why I wanted to upgrade to Feisty, except you couldn't upgrade to Feisty from Dapper, but luckily I keep a couple of spare root partitions hanging around because my server has five SATA disks in it (three 160gb disks, two 80gb disks) set up as MD RAID arrays, thus I have no shortage of disk space, so I just installed on one of my spare root partitions after making sure the whole system was backed up first (!!!! Very important !!!) but it looks like it went on real slick. Anyhow, it's downloading so where was I?

Oh yeah. Easy answers vs. simple answers. Now, here comes the kicker. A youngster says, "well, that's the wonder, that God set out easy answers for us in the Bible! And I arrived at this all on my own without anybody giving me easy answers!"

Uhm, no, child, No you didn't arrive at that on your own. A pastor used the exact same words you used, and while you may believe you arrived at them on your own, you didn't. You're repeating what someone told you. I know because a pastor used those exact same words with me thirty years ago, when I was your age. Of course, at 14 years of age I was full of piss and vinegar and thought I knew everything. Now, thirty years later, I just have to laugh. The more I know, the more I know that I don't know shit, and never will, because the universe (God) is just too big, and I'm just a limited hunk of meat.

And when I was 18, I thought I knew some wise things. But I didn't. Like most youngsters that age with any kind of luck, I'd been shielded and sheltered from the realities of life. All I knew was what the people around me knew -- people just like myself, the same race, general income level, religion, and so forth. I'd never met a gay couple, indeed, the first time I met a gay couple I didn't recognize them as gay until it was pointed out to me, "hey, stupid, they have a two bedroom apartment and the second bedroom is used as a computer room!". I'd never walked into a crack house and talked to a gang-banger. I'd never rebuild an engine, or welded a shock tower on, or taught a classroom full of troubled youth in a behavior center, or lived with a Hindu, or worked with someone from a foreign country, or ... well, you get the point. I thought I knew something. But I didn't. I still don't, thirty years later. I can't. Nobody can. The universe is too big, and we're too small. We can know parts of the universe, sort of, somewhat. But we will never know the totality of God's creation, the totality of God, because we are finite and God is not. Heck, even knowing the totality of Man's creation is far beyond any one of us nowdays.

Anyhow, I just have to laugh at running into another 18 year old full of piss and vinegar who thinks he knows all the answers and trots out the same old easy answers that I accepted as true back when I was a kid his age. But life isn't easy. And while there are some simple answers in the Bible, like "love thy neighbor as thyself", they aren't easy either. They may be simple, but they aren't easy. If you're pulling easy answers out of the Bible, answers that don't require anything of yourself or that even require you to impose your will at gunpoint upon another human being, then you need to quit talking and start living and listening. The Quakers know this. That's why the Quakers don't go out evangelizing their religion. They live it. They show people by example how a man or woman of faith is supposed to live, through charity and good works and advocating for peace whether in the neighborhood or amongst the community of nations. When they pray, they don't talk. They listen. Their prayer at the meeting house on First Day is completely silent. God is out there. Are you listening? Or are you repeating what others have told you, and closing your ears to God in the process?

And that's a simple answer. But it's not an easy answer. We monkeys do love to natter away...

Anyhow: faith is a journey, not a destination. If you believe you've arrived at a destination, it is time to close your mouth, and open your ears, and listen. Because easy answers aren't part of God's creation. They're part of Man's.

-- Badtux the Nattering Penguin


Posted by: BadTux / 5/15/2007 08:48:00 PM  


# posted by sumo : 16/5/07 2:44 AM  

Pantheism, isn't it, being part of the universe or nature, is part of God. Universe, or nature, and God are equivalent.

"you are to God as an individual blood cell in your vein is to you."

We are just a small speck of matter in a unimaginably huge cosmos.

The only way to live your life is to create and protect life, and influence other life to do the same. The only thing that will be here after you are gone is your influence on tohers. Jesus had a lot of influence, but some don't interpret his teaching very well.
# posted by niCk (Mem Beth) : 16/5/07 5:30 AM  

At this rate, you might as well start titling the post after me :D.

I do appreciate the publicity, even though it is slightly negative.

I would like to say though that I am not "filled with piss" and don't care much for vinegar.

Interestingly enough, I think you will find our viewpoints to be in more order than you might realize.

I entirely agree with you that when people say they are Christian, and prayed a prayer at age 2, but then go out and live an opposite lifestyle...that means nothing. 100% agreement there. It's unfortunate that those incident happen as often as they do.

But I would say that to really please Christ you have to accept what he did, not just do good things. Remember Matthew 7:21-23? Jesus said that even though those that came to him "cast out demons in his name," he would not accept them. You need to accept the forgiveness of Christ, along with living the life he has called each of us to live, to fully understand the grace of God.

A couple of other things...

Strangely, you think that it is simple to pull out answers from a Bible, and that takes no hard work. Something that is easy, but hard to do, in your example anyways was to "be most excellent" to Dr. Falwell. I would say that applying the morals of the Bible to my immoral life is most assuredly as difficult, and even surrounds "being most excellent" to others.

I accept that the teachings of God within the Bible are what I need to be reaching for. Many times, (Ok, pretty much ALL the time) I am shown that I need to change. That could be towards humility, or towards compassion, or towards a cleaner vocabulary. But whenever I need to change my lifestyle because according to the Bible, I would stress that to not be very easy.

Also, you continue to tell me what I know and what I do not know. I don't think that is a very wise point of reference to speak from, as the same logic could be used for just about anyone's personal experience. I hear the words of EVERYONE around me, pastors, teachers, friends, television stars, whatever...and I choose what to accept based on what I believe is in accordance with the Bible.

You said yourself that you were fed information, but only up to the age of 18? Do I need to be in my 40s before you will be able to contemplate my thinking on my it some kind of matter of age?

As you said, you have also been taught many things, and I am sure that you also hold some of those views that you were taught personally as well. Does that mean you can't think for yourself? No, it means that you have the ability to discern and to understand, and make decisions for yourself.

I hope that you can only allow me the same understanding rather than explain away any of my beliefs with a lame excuse like "well the pastor told you."

We all make statements, BT. You make big statements all the time, because that is what bloggers do :P. That doesn't mean I need to call you a "know it all" even though you deem to know it all when it comes to religion. WHAT?! you say...yes you do. You claim to think that we CAN'T know it all, and that is a disputed claim.

We all make statements about faith, and they MUST be large claims to hold any water spiritually. But don't think that your claims are any different.

Good post though :)
# posted by Jonathan : 16/5/07 6:42 AM  

I "knew it all" when I was 18, too. Now that I'm twice that age, I find that I barely know a damn thing. I still have a little piss and vinegar left in me, tho. I conserve it for special occasions...

One thing I did notice, in what limited, personal studies of religion (and, for that matter, mythology) that I've undertaken, is this: The great religious leaders and the leading figures in ancient myths all offered their disciples, followers, and seekers what they needed to have spiritually as opposed to what they wanted to have. That's the universal key to beginning to understand this stuff and what it requires of you. Everything else is just a series of worthless knock-offs.

Televangelism, for example. There is nothing spiritual about that. It's a form of entertainment (well, for those who like that sort of thing) dressed up in religiopus clothing. The sincerity of the televangelist is really a whole other ball of wax -- I subscribe to Marshall McLuhan's dictum, "The medium is the message." (Off-topic: That's a big part of the reason I have no use for YouTube.) Developing your spiritual side, enriching your spiritual life, is not supposed to be entertaining. It's supposed to be... well, enriching. It's supposed to be about something much more mysterious and complex than you, about being a miniscule part of something infinite. You simply cannot participate in a communion ritual through a TV set, I'm sorry.

Not to say that you can't go to a church for entertainment purposes. If your pastor oversees a bingo tournament in the church basement every other Thursday night, okay, fine, go play bingo if you want. But come Sunday morning, the fun and games get put on hold -- it's time to be serious...
# posted by Mimus Pauly : 16/5/07 7:24 AM  

Personally, I have no problem with not being excellent to Jerry Falwell. I don't believe in the literal existence of either heaven or hell, but at times such as these, I find myself fervently wishing for there to be a hell, if only so that people like Falwell can burn in it.

If saying so makes me a bad person... yeah, I can live with that.
# posted by Gerald Fnord : 16/5/07 8:06 AM  

I'll lead my comment with the pithy words of "Saint" Carlin. "Thou shalt keep thy religion to thyself!" I don't care what spiritual path you follow as long as you don't shove it in anyone else's face. That said, I believe we are all of us creating the image of the Divine from ourselves rather than the other way around because the Divine, the Ultimate Truth, the Universe is beyond the limited scope and comprehension of our semi-evolved monkey brains. Anyone who claims to have all the answers and the Only One True And Right Way is selling snake oil. I seem to recall from my early indoctrination in the Christian path that the religion (or at least its followers) claim that their's is the only right way. I also recall a person of my acquaintance who, for years, had been non-Christian and then returned to the religion. He said afterward that 98% of the so-called Christians out there aren't. They don't follow the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, but instead they follow, The Roman religion with its carefully, politically selected dogmas. Jonathan, wisdom comes with experience which usually goes hand in hand with age. The first step on the path of wisdom is to admit that you know nothing. I don't remember who said that; might be the Dalai Lama.
"You need to accept the forgiveness of Christ, along with living the life he has called each of us to live, to fully understand the grace of God."
I congratulate you for staying strong in your truth, but that kind of language sounds like aforementioned snake oil and is actually slightly offensive by way of having someone else's truth shoved down your throat. Perhaps I am oversensitive because I've had to put up with a lot of that kind of thing over the last decade. I would point out, though, that the Bible was written by Man not God and influenced by many different cultures and religions over a long period of history. Man is also fallible so it might be wise to take it, as well as the jabber of "pastors, teachers, friends, television stars" with a grain of salt. I never understood how followers of the Christian book could called it the "Good Book" when a much of it reads like soap-opera, a tabloid, and political propaganda with stories really bad people, wars, genocide, rape, adultery, con artists etc. Best example: King David's eldest son was aided by his father in the rape his sister, Tamar. Or better yet.. King David himself, one of the greatest Biblical kings, is said to have murdered the husband of a woman he lusted after. Food for thought and strictly my opinions.
# posted by Sionnach, the Celtic Kitsune : 16/5/07 1:25 PM  

"When facism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.” Sinclair Lewis quotes (American Writer, 1885-1951)

“Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it, you'd have good people doing good things and evil people doing bad things, but for good people to do bad things, it takes religion.” Steven Weinberg

“We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another.” Jonathan Swift (Irish Author and Satirist of prose, 1667-1745)

“The tendency to turn human judgments into divine commands makes religion one of the most dangerous forces in the world.” Georgia Harkness

“We can live without religion and meditation, but we cannot survive without human affection.” Dalai Lama

Jest a selection of quotes on this venerable subject, see ThinkExist

Religion has been used and abused for far too long by control freaks. Lock them all up together and let them drive each other mad.
# posted by Mitch : 16/5/07 2:04 PM  

Hello, Mr Penguin.
Interestingly enough, just yesterday I was reading through William James' "Reflex Action and Theism" while I was waiting at a transmission shop. I was able to get through about half of it while I waited.

James presents a strong argument; succinctly, that the apparent randomness of the totality of events encapsulated in a single moment of time are an aberation to the human mind, that "the middle part of the mind," that part which affects conceptualization, must necessarily strive toward some form of order; thus, what order we are capable of perceiving is internal in nature, and not a "true" part of reality, and that whatever God might possibly be, he is something beyond our capacity to conceptualize in full.

Considering the matter, I find it to be concordant with Spinoza, in that our knowledge of God is limited to knowledge of his attributes.
Thus, statements such as:
"you are to God as an individual blood cell in your vein is to you."
are approximations by scientific standards; the statement is false in the sense that it imprisons God in 3-dimensional space, and yet true as an allegory describing a relationship. After all, such if the function of religion, to communicate higher forms of knowledge to man by the use of symbols.

In the liner notes to Tales from Topographic Oceans, it states:
The knowledge of God is a search, constant and clear.
This is a paraphrase of something else, but I can't remember what.

Nevertheless, we cannot blame religion itself for the misapplication of it. Regardless of what this group or that group might do, it is not the fault of the religion.
Likewise, we do not say that the car is defective when it plows down a pedestrian. Such is the nature of cars when they are aimed in that direction.
# posted by Progressive Traditionalist : 16/5/07 4:06 PM  

ps: I am in the process of preparing a post regarding this story.

Here is the story in full:

A university professor went to visit a famous Zen master. While the master quietly served tea, the professor talked about Zen. The master poured the visitor's cup to the brim, and then kept pouring. The professor watched the overflowing cup until he could no longer restrain himself. "It's overfull! No more will go in!" the professor blurted. "You are like this cup," the master replied, "How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup."

Interpret it as you like.
# posted by Progressive Traditionalist : 16/5/07 4:14 PM  

Jonathan: You should feel pretty proud of yourself, you've got this gang thinking of things we haven't thought about for a long time :-). Re: accepting Jesus and "you have to accept what he did", yes, that acceptance is in the heart. But what about in the head? Not so much. Plenty of people think they've accepted Jesus, when their actions show otherwise because they don't have Jesus (goodness) in their heart. Re: Applying moral lessons in the Bible to your own life, especially in the New Testament, being hard even if they appear simple: Congratulations, you have just achieved a landmark of wisdom which far too many never arrive at. That whole "be most excellent to one another" thingy, for example. Seems simple, right? But easy? Uhm, not so much. Finally, "when do I know that I've learned enough?" Answer: You don't. You never will. I never will. Break bread with a Hindu. Sleep on the sofa of a gay couple. Go out on the town with a Buddhist from Thailand, a Catholic from Poland, a Moslem from Pakistan, an Episcopal from Australia, and a Lutheran from Germany. Teach economically deprived children in a poor urban school in inner city Houston or in a poor rural school in the hills of West Virginia. Don't be a passive receptacle, seek out Otherness and try to understand it. At the end, you will realize that easy answers are not so easy, and that we're all just people, trying our best to make our way through our lives as best we can.

Mimus: perhaps what you're noticing is the difference between organized religion and faith. The Southern Baptist faith of my youth was rather skeptical of organized religion, because it puts Man in the place of God. That was their big beef with the Catholics, for example. Sadly, that skepticism has gone away as the radicals came in and replaced that faith with their man-made belief in larger-than-life evangelical preachers who somehow have a conduit to God.

Kitsune: "Anyone who claims to have all the answers and the Only One True And Right Way is selling snake oil." Indeed. Light is a particle. And light is a wave. No, not particles moving in a wave, a wave. It is two things at once, just as quantum physics says that an electron can be two places at once. This stupid thing of saying that something must be one thing at a time, and one place at a time, is just ignorance and a creation of man. The universe is far, far larger than that.

Progressive: "Nevertheless, we cannot blame religion itself for the misapplication of it." Perhaps not. But any structure of power is corruptible by men willing to mouth the easy answers that humans want to hear. I call it the "race to the bottom" of evangelical Christianity, the Gresham's Law of religion. Any time that the word of Man is allowed to speak for the Creator, you have the opportunity for corruption, and I think it is fair to point this out.

Progressive^2: Good point. Your Zen koan about the cup is worth repeating. The Quakers for the same reason worship not by flapping meat to make noises, but by emptying their minds and listening. Wisdom poured into a mind overflowing with its own hubris simply pours over the sides of the cup, never settling in. As someone who is himself too often guilty of flapping meat rather than listening, I must remember that.

# posted by BadTux : 16/5/07 6:31 PM  

Jonathan: You should feel pretty proud of yourself, you've got this gang thinking of things we haven't thought about for a long time :-).

Hey, at least we can respect each other then. I enjoy a good respectable conversation, don't you? Although, I may have to start negotiating for a blog roll spot here at the BadTux hotel...;D

Re: accepting Jesus and "you have to accept what he did", yes, that acceptance is in the heart. But what about in the head? Not so much. Plenty of people think they've accepted Jesus, when their actions show otherwise because they don't have Jesus (goodness) in their heart.

Exactly. It cannot be one or the other. I honestly believe in the end that you cannot accept Jesus in the head and then act in a different manner. A mistake is one thing, but living a lifestyle in the opposite direction of Christ's calling is obviously showing that the particular person really doesn't understand what he has accepted.

So yes, you need both, and a good grip of each.

Re: Applying moral lessons in the Bible to your own life, especially in the New Testament, being hard even if they appear simple: Congratulations, you have just achieved a landmark of wisdom which far too many never arrive at. That whole "be most excellent to one another" thingy, for example. Seems simple, right? But easy? Uhm, not so much.

Right, it isn't easy. So my point originally was that while you said my beliefs were simple, you were actually illustrating those same beliefs as difficult. I am glad we can agree that walking the Christian walk isn't easy, and takes a lot of effort and contiual growth.

I find that the more I progress (which is at a very slow rate, mind you), the more I realize that I have a loooong way to go.

Drop by sometime. We've been getting a decent amount of response, but it just isn't the same without the continual mowhawked-penguin and his opinions!
# posted by Jonathan : 16/5/07 7:18 PM  

Heh, I'd love to come visit your place Jonathan, but I haven't even visited my close friends' blogs today. One downside of getting a massive pay hike is that your employer expects you to actually *earn* that extra money.

As for your notion that my Hindu cubicle-mate is going to go to Hell because he hasn't spoken the right words about the belief in goodness that is in his heart, well, that's the sort of answer that is both simple *and* easy. And what about my Pakistani office-mate who believes that Jesus was a great Prophet and that the teachings of Jesus must be followed, but who does not believe that Jesus was the Son of God? Once again, he has it in his heart, but isn't speaking the "right" words. Saying that failing to speak the "right" words sends someone to Hell is the sort of silliness as saying that light must be a particle or a wave, it cannot be both. An electron can be in two places at once, light can be a particle at the same time that it is a wave, and a practicing Muslim who follows the teachings of Jesus in his heart can be as Saved as someone who speaks the right words. The easy answer -- "everybody must be a Christian *just like me* for salvation" -- is about as right as the "easy" answer that the cause of Germany's problems in the 1920's was those evil Jews, and tends to lead to the same Final Solution in practice (see: Albigensian Crusade, most famous for Arnaud-Amaury's saying "Kill the all, the Lord shall know his own").

An electron can be in one place, and another place, at the same time. There can be one path to Salvation, and many paths to Salvation, at the same time. Linear thinking is a limitation of Man, not of God.

# posted by BadTux : 16/5/07 8:28 PM  

Enjoy the new job. Making money is always fun in some way, shape, or form.

I guess linear thinking is the way of Jesus as well...

John 14:6:
"I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the father except through me."

That's pretty linear, and pretty clear to me that Jesus is the only "path" to salvation.

I also don't understand what your point of view is on salvation.

Salvation isn't just about doing good things, so you can't just be a good person and follow after some of the Beatitudes or something. You follow Christ because he saved you from the penalties of sin. It's that simple. Along with that redemption, Christians are also called to live a certain level of lifestyle as well.

So, yes, your friend is missing on the most important part of God's grace, and that is the forgiveness of sins. That's the entire purpose of Christ's coming in the first place!

John 1:29:
(John the baptist speaking to a crowd when Jesus approached)
"Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!">

I wouldn't say that living the Christian life is an easy answer. Christians have to deny themselves on a daily basis if they chose to follow Christ (Matthew 16:24). The world will hate Christians (Matthew 24:9), and the Christian faith has been peresecuted by the hundreds of millions in countries everywhere!

But is grace easy? Yep! It's a simple act of humility in accepting personal wrongdoing and the need for a savior. In many ways, that is difficult because you have to accept the fact that you need a savior. But it isn't something that we need to work hard to achieve, because it has nothing to do with our works (Ephesians 2:8-9).

You dogma of "difficult answers are the best" doesn't alwasy fit the mold, especially right in this area.

So if you still think that there is salvation, like you said in the post, but no need for forgiveness, and no problem with sin (from an earlier discussion), then how exactly do you view the issue of salvation?
# posted by Jonathan : 17/5/07 6:25 AM  

Tsk tsk tsk. There you go again, quoting Bible verses out of context.

Whatsoever hath no fins nor scales in the waters, that shall be an abomination unto you. -- Leviticus 11:12

Your course is clear, Jonathan. It is time to quit this blogging bit, get your homeschool study group together, and go picket Red Lobster. After all, the Bible says Red Lobster is an abomination, does it not?

Point being, I can pick out Bible verses out of context to give any answer I want. The Southern Baptists in 1845, when they broke away from the mainstream Baptist faith, did so while quoting Bible verses out of context justifying the "peculiar institution" of slavery. Are you saying that slavery is good, Jonathan? But.... but... they quoted Bible verses! Bible verses! OMG, if they could quote Bible verses out of context in support of slavery, slavery MUST be good!

Leviticus 25:
44Both thy bondmen, and thy bondmaids, which thou shalt have, shall be of the heathen that are round about you; of them shall ye buy bondmen and bondmaids.
45Moreover of the children of the strangers that do sojourn among you, of them shall ye buy, and of their families that are with you, which they begat in your land: and they shall be your possession.
46And ye shall take them as an inheritance for your children after you, to inherit them for a possession; they shall be your bondmen for ever: but over your brethren the children of Israel, ye shall not rule one over another with rigour.

In other words, Leviticus says I ought to be allowed to buy Indians (from India or Native Americans, either one) as my personal slaves because they're not "Israelites" (usually interpreted as "Christians" nowdays). Hmm... are you saying that is true, Jonathan? Do you really believe slavery is morally acceptable? But... but... Bible verses ... sputter sputter ...

Point being, quoting Bible verses out of context in a "shallow read" of Scripture is not a religious argument. It is, well, quoting Bible verses. An interesting exercise, no doubt, but as a guide to Christian morality, it would have us picketing Red Lobster and owning slaves. Bible verses make a fine ornament to religious arguments, but themselves are not conclusive of anything, unless you truly do believe that I should own my cubicle-mate because he happens to be a Hindu.

- Badtux the Snarky Penguin
# posted by BadTux : 17/5/07 8:27 AM  

Perhaps, BadTux, if you would be willing to show me how my comments are out of context, then maybe your stance would make a tad more sense.

Those statements are backed up by more verses and more verses, while the concepts you showed are easily refuted and really don't pose a problem to any Christian.

Red Lobster Picketing:
Any biblical scholar will tell you that fish weren't a stable part of the cultural diet at the time this was written. Yes there were fishermen in Jesus' time, but before the exile to Babylon seafood was not the safest type to eat.

Also, God may have been specifically avoiding the diseases of improperly cooked bottom-feeding fish. The fact that the Mosaic Law prohibited bottom-feeding fish was noticed as far back as 100 A.D.

This goes for many of the other things that God decreed for the Jews not to eat. Not only did he say for them not to, and that is a good reason in and of itself, but those specific types of food werne't healthy at the time. He was looking out for them, even though the pagan cultures around them ate those foods regularly.

First off, the is quite the cultural gap between the understanding of slavery today and slaver back then.

Many historians have even compared Biblical slavery to military service, and there isn't quite an uproar over military service.

The Biblical example of slavery that most resembles slavery in America is that of the Israelites being enslaved by the Egyptians. And, judging by the plagues God unleashed on Egypt and the eventual drowning of Pharaoh's army in the Red Sea, it would seem that God was none too happy with the Egyptians.

And then, you have to understand the concept of bondmen and bondmaids. It was a form of social security. It is also written (Exodus 21:16) that anyone who steals a man to sell him shall be put to death.

Don't forget about the recent moview with William Wilberforce, an evangelical Christian who valiantly attack slavery in Great Britian. Abrahma Lincoln, a strong Christian himself, was the leader against slavery in the United States. Today, many of the abolitionists are Christians as well.

Those are easily refuted, old and overused points.

Again, if you would be willing to show me how my comments are out of context, then maybe your stance would make a tad more sense.

And since when did you stoop to personal attacks? Come on, you're better than that. Let's keep this respectable, right?
# posted by Jonathan : 17/5/07 9:48 AM  

Exactly. The content of a specific Bible verse is relevant only insofar as it fits into the overall message of salvation brought by Jesus. If you focus upon a specific Bible verse and claim it says this that or the other, you are most likely missing the forest for the trees. The verse is the tree. The forest... ah yes, the forest is much, much larger than any specific trees you can point out to me.

We already covered this ground, did we not? And yes, the penguin does get cranky when he has to repeat himself...

# posted by BadTux : 17/5/07 11:34 AM  

That's great...but you still haven't explained to me how the verses I used to explain sin, grace, and salavation are out of context.

There are entire chapters devoted to these topics, yet you seem to think I am using them inappropriately.

That would help clear things up, don't you think?
# posted by Jonathan : 17/5/07 8:06 PM  

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