Jejudo, South Korea
This is getting a little confusing for me.
That's okay, I get confused all the time.
Reading through the passages here, including the original post, shows me that many valid points are simply not being discussed here.
Why is that?
I don't think Stephen's post was meant as an attack or a judgement on others, I do think his points seem, well, poorly designed to convince anyone who doesn't already agree with him.
In fact, it's a retreat from using the Bible as the 'Word of God' to attempting to discern what God meant from the overall feel.
That's a tremendous concession although I don't think it was intended.
Also, his philosophical point isn't really a point at all, simply metaphysical speculation -- nothing wrong with that except that you can pretty much say anything you want. And if you can say anything you want, the question is simply whether it resonates with you on a personal level or not. No big deal there, no attack. It's like reading a poem for the first time-- does it work for you or not?
As far as the four chambered heart theory goes, well, again, he concedes much in his own words. We decide what is human, we decide the value of humanity, we decide what to do with our own lives.
For Christians and many spiritualists, the above is an extremely arrogant statement, but, from a different perspective, it entails great responsibility and response-ability.
For some of us, the idea that anybody has some esoteric power, some key, some secret knowledge that others don't (and can't unless they follow the same path), is a ruse to force agreement without thought.
It may be true but you force the argument into the private realm. You are saying, I know more than you, follow me, do what I do, think what I think, or dire consequences will follow.
Like the war veteran, you claim unspeakable knowledge, but for some of us this means no knowledge at all (or rather no useful knowledge) and the very mystery created can be just as attractive as it is repulsive. Once divulged, however, it often loses its magic.
I'm not arguing that you should tell us your story, that's your choice, you earned the right to be silent a long time ago. In fact, I'm not sure you should tell your story (at least not here). I don't think it would have the persuasive force that you seem to think it would have. I'm sure people would sympathize/empathize but I don't think it would change anyone's mind.
However, as mentioned above, silence is just a much a tool as speech, it has power, but that power is not controllable (like metaphysical speculation, it can mean anything you or I like), but to break that silence does not mean that you have to say one thing only, there are always other things to say.
What are some of those other things?
This has been mentioned before by several people but I'll bring it up again:
Why is it that a free society, an open society such as America so completely creates the feeling of powerlessness in women (and men) that they are forced to take such drastic measures as suicide?
Why is the emphasis on validation/accusation and not on creating the maximum, and making people aware of the maximum, number of options available?
Why the emphasis on morality after the fact and not on creating a society where many of these questions simply don't arise (or arise rarely)?
To answer these questions in some concrete, plausible way is a far more difficult endeavour than remaining silent.