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Turning The Other Cheek

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Huan Yi
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0 posted 12-19-2007 09:11 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi

.


Did in historical fact that actually work?
I seem to remember Constantine
and  the battle of the Milvian Bridge
is what got the Christians away from being
in one way or another lion food.


.
Denise
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1 posted 12-21-2007 05:40 AM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

I am of the opinion that the advice found in the Bible is for personal spiritual growth, in our relationships with God and our neighbor, and isn't necessarily something that can or should be applied to the affairs of a government, whose primary responsibility is the protection of its people.

But I also don't think the Bible instructs people, even on a personal level, to "turn the other cheek" when their life, or the life of someone else, is at stake. I think that would be taking a good spiritual principle to the extreme, in most cases. I say in most cases because I'm sure there have been people led by God to lay down their lives in certain situations by not resisting the evil coming against them. But I think that is a very personal decision between God and that person, not something that would apply in most situations.
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2 posted 12-21-2007 08:48 AM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Turn the other cheek or an eye for an eye....so many decisions.

Every time I turn the other cheek I can't sit down for a week!
hush
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3 posted 12-21-2007 02:28 PM       View Profile for hush   Email hush   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for hush

Worked for Ghandi.
Huan Yi
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4 posted 12-21-2007 03:51 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi



Ghandi was shot dead . . .
Stephanos
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5 posted 12-21-2007 09:05 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Denise:
quote:
I am of the opinion that the advice found in the Bible is for personal spiritual growth, in our relationships with God and our neighbor, and isn't necessarily something that can or should be applied to the affairs of a government, whose primary responsibility is the protection of its people.

This may be true.  God gives the sword and the task of judgment to "The nations of the world", as something necessary under law.  But it still raises the question of whether «hristians (living in grace) can or should take part in such a responsibility.  It seems to me that Christians are really summoned to a different and higher calling than bloodshed.  I'm not saying that they should never be a part of Government;  But perhaps there are certain roles of Government which are not really fitting for Christians.  Lawful perhaps, but not expedient.  

I do know that David wasn't permitted to build the Temple because he had "blood on his hands", and was a "man of war".  These acts of judgment were from the Lord too.  But some callings require a separation from things tainted with judgment and sin.  Protection, at the price of bloodshed, is a necessary evil, and a reluctant provision for this present age.  One of the Old Testament prophets spoke of God's "strange work". I've always felt that these kinds of things fall in the category of that cryptic saying.  The lightest feelings of war, carry an unmistakeable melancholy with them.

I know there are things I've had to do because they "had to be done", and then there are the things that I've loved to do, because they are conformable to my truest heart.  Or to put it another way, Moses (representing humanity under law) saw the "hinder parts of God" on the mountain.  But in Christ we see the face of God unveiled.  Some jobs may be fitting for one dispensation, but alien to another.  Moses allowed certain provisions "because of hardness of heart".  But Jesus always comes with "But I say to you ...", and changes things.  Does that make any sense?

quote:
But I also don't think the Bible instructs people, even on a personal level, to "turn the other cheek" when their life, or the life of someone else, is at stake. I think that would be taking a good spiritual principle to the extreme, in most cases.


But this is exactly what the early Christian Martyrs did isn't it?  Stephen, the Apostles, and the Christians who suffered persecution at the hands of certain Roman Emperors?  I wonder what would have become of their witness / testimony had they taken up arms.  


Personally I suspect that when we try to moderate the shockingly pacifist things Jesus said, we are playing the revisionist.  Don't get me wrong, I struggle with what he said too.  Was he kidding??  "That's so impractical and idealist, and goody-two-shoes, and impossible, and ..."    I can generate more objections than you probably.  And yet, I think we were meant to struggle, since for me, beneath those objections is an ever present undercurrent of calm acknowledgment ... "No matter, you know he's right".    


I'm currently reading a book called "The Hard Sayings of Jesus" by F.F. Bruce.  In the preface he says the following about his endeavor:

"... I quickly found that the exposition of the hard sayings of Jesus is a difficult and responsible task; yet I am glad that I undertook it, for it has proved specially rewarding.  His yoke is easy and his burden is light, but his sayings are often hard because they run counter to well-entrenched presuppositions and traditional assumptions about life and human relations.  When they are hard for a reason, I hope I have not made them easier, for that would be to obscure their meaning ..."


I guess to summarize, I think the spirit of Jesus presents to me, almost a reversal of what you said.  Most situations should require an extreme mercy, and anything else, if at all, should be the exception.    



John:
quote:
Ghandi was shot dead . . .


Is it ever appropriate to say "blessed are the dead"?  I think so.  And while sometimes I'm sure I don't, I remind myself that I'm just too alive to embrace such a truth.  Give it some time.


Another way of stating this, is to say its better to die right than to live wrong.  


Stephen
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6 posted 12-22-2007 12:53 AM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

"Turn the other cheek" and be hit again?  I don't think so.
Stephanos
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7 posted 12-22-2007 06:22 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Ess,

Most of the time, to turn the other cheek brings conviction to the person who would strike.  Ever tried to keep arguing with someone who is too happy and settled to argue back?  The saying of Jesus is not merely an invitation to be abused, and not an act of cowardice.  In its simplest interpretation, it means to resolve not to repay evil for evil.

Stephen
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Itís not surprising that  turning the other cheek is confusing because like so many things in life itís a philosophy thatís dependant on the situation and the judgement of the individual. In some cases turning the other cheek is the best choice, in others turning the other cheek is stupidity personified. This is compounded because it isnít a simple choice between turning the other cheek and not turning the other cheek, itís a choice between doing one specific thing (turning the other cheek) or selecting from a whole heap of alternatives.

quote:
"Turn the other cheek" and be hit again? I don't think so.


This is a good example, it seems to be pretty solid evidence that turning the other cheek isnít a good tactic. I think most people would agree that when faced with a drunken halfwit, out to impress the girls, turning the other cheek doesn't seem to be the best option. From experience I can tell you that there are only five main options worth considering if youĎre ever in this situation:

A You negotiate (canít we just talk about this?)
B You get the heck out of dodge (live to fight another day)
C You retaliate (eye for an eye)
D You minimise the possible damage (assume the crash position)
E You do nothing (turning the other cheek or the Ghandi defence)

(These options arenít mutually exclusive btw, sometimes a mixture works best, a hit and run isnít always a bad thing).

So is turning the other cheek a bad tactic in all situations, heck no!

Ghandi in the same situation might take a shot on the chin in the hope that he can get some sympathy and support from the crowd and hopefully convince the halfwit that hitting a defenceless man isnít going to impress anyone. It worked against the British in India.

A He tried to negotiate
B he had nowhere to run
C Heíd have lost a toe to toe fight
D He raised his guard
E And did nothing

quote:
Ghandi was shot dead . .


Which sort of negated any choice, I think if Nathuram Godse had given him the option of a five minute start heíd have taken it.

quote:
In its simplest interpretation, it means to resolve not to repay evil for evil.


I donít see any of the options A-E above as evil Stephen, theyíre just the only options available.


"We are all atheists about most of the gods that societies have ever believed in.
Some of us just go one god further."

Richard Dawkins
TomMark
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9 posted 12-22-2007 10:14 AM       View Profile for TomMark   Email TomMark   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for TomMark

"Turning cheek"

First, we are the ones who slapped others on everywhere again and again.  Can't be a baby in dirty dipper screaming others  to take a bath.

Second, the teaching of Bible. None of them can be acted  out without love. There are many sayings about  the "turn cheek". But I take it as what was it.  If I have real love, turning  cheek should be a happy thing to do.  If I have not, I slap other three times on the face.

my thought
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10 posted 12-22-2007 11:30 AM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Grinch says it best for me. Turn the other cheek is not some generic phrase to be applied to all cases. Each individual case has to be determined for what it is.

When Gregory Peck was spat on by the farmer in "To Kill a Mockingbird", I wanted him to ball up his fist and knock the man's lights out. Instead He wiped the spittle off, looked at the man and walked away and it was a symbol of complete inner-strength on his part and was the perfect thing to do.

You have to know the nature of what you are dealing with. Would it be wise to turn the other cheek to a person or group  who has taken blood oaths to kill you, who would give their own lives to take yours? Go ahead if you want...you will simply wind up dead with nothing solved. In poker there is a saying "Never try to bluff a donkey"...in other words, actions and logic do not matter to someone too stupid to understand them. It's also true in everyday life. Ayn Rand said the worst thing she could ever imagine was to be locked in a cage with a wild animal who had no intellect or reasoning powers. Turning the other cheek is not to be a standard. Knowing your enemy is as is knowing when to apply it and when not to.

Chrsitians should not participate in war, Stephanos? What was it again that God instructed them to do upon leaving the desert to the three towns they came upon?....and just think of all the fun they would have missed by not launching the Crusades? History is filled with atrocities committed by those same Christians you think should not take part in war. God, that entity who killed a city of first-borns does not sound very pacifistic to me. Putting blinders on does not make it different.  
TomMark
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11 posted 12-22-2007 01:17 PM       View Profile for TomMark   Email TomMark   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for TomMark

"Grinch says it best for me. Turn the other cheek is not some generic phrase to be applied to all cases. Each individual case has to be determined for what it is."

Both of you, Grinch and Sir Balladeer were right. It is not in the human nature.

"When Gregory Peck was spat on by the farmer in "To Kill a Mockingbird", I wanted him to ball up his fist and knock the man's lights out. Instead He wiped the spittle off, looked at the man and walked away and it was a symbol of complete inner-strength on his part and was the perfect thing to do."

This was not an example of "turn cheek".

"You have to know the nature of what you are dealing with. Would it be wise to turn the other cheek to a person or group  who has taken blood oaths to kill you, who would give their own lives to take yours? Go ahead if you want...you will simply wind up dead with nothing solved."

"turn cheek" is not about death. It is about  self-esteem and love.


"Ayn Rand said the worst thing she could ever imagine was to be locked in a cage with a wild animal who had no intellect or reasoning powers."

Why worst? self-interest made her in or not in with her best rationale.

(the words she chose:  
worst----what is best? caged in with a singing bird?
Imagine---clear day hallucination
wild---can wild be relevant to  reasoning
animal---can animal be related to intelligence?

So let me translate her words

The imagined worst thing within her intelligence to imagine was locked with a not-intelligent, not reasoning  animal who who had no intellect or reasoning powers.       

"Turning the other cheek is not to be a standard. Knowing your enemy is as is knowing when to apply it and when not to."

It is not about enemy. It is about to love the unlovable.

"Chrsitians should not participate in war, Stephanos?"

No murder.

"What was it again that God instructed them to do upon leaving the desert to the three towns they came upon?....and just think of all the fun they would have missed by not launching the Crusades? History is filled with atrocities committed by those same Christians you think should not take part in war. God, that entity who killed a city of first-borns does not sound very pacifistic to me. Putting blinders on does not make it different."

God is God. Your best example, here I write for you, the Hell. You can always augur about
Hell and God's love.

My thought.
  

[This message has been edited by TomMark (12-22-2007 08:40 PM).]

Essorant
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12 posted 12-22-2007 01:42 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant


But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.
-King James Bible


The biblical passage generally says "evil" and "whosever shall smite..." not "this specific kind of evil, evil that won't harm or threaten your life, etc".  And says not to resist it, but allow oneself to be hit by it.  I don't see how we may make this out as wise.

It might as well say "stand on your head".  What is the difference in effect?  Meanwhile, everyday we greatly depend on ourselves and others to more or less degrees defending and standing up for our lives, rights and freedoms, in one way or another not turning the cheek and giving into evil, threats, harassment, etc.  

That doesn't mean we don't put up with some of it.  Obviously, we must always put up with evil to some extent.  But saying that is not the same as saying we should not resist the evil or not defend ourselves against it.


Σοφος εν  `εη ψυχη περιφερει `εα αγαθα
"A wise man carries his goods in his soul"  - Menander

[This message has been edited by Essorant (12-22-2007 02:55 PM).]

Ron
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I don't remember a lot from my childhood, but there's one incident that has stayed with me for over fifty years. The details are murky at best, but the feelings of confusion and frustration have never lost their power over me, even though I later came to realize the incident was one sooner or later shared by almost every kid in the world.

I was probably about six years old, in First Grade I think, and my mom was called into the principal's office because I had been in a fight with another kid. I don't remember who the kids was, I don't remember what dirty name it was he called me, I don't even remember who won or lost, but I do very distinctly remember the sense of betrayal I felt when my mom rebuked me. As I sat on the hard bench outside the principal's office waiting for my mom to arrive, it never even occurred to me she might not take my side. I was in the right, I knew. He started the fight, not me. Mom would understand.

What I got, of course, was the sticks-and-stones-may-break-my-bones speech. Ignore them, I was told. Being called a name, no matter how nasty or how insulting, doesn't justify hitting someone. Just walk away.

Frankly, I didn't believe the adults back then, not even my mom, and it would take probably another three decades to realize they were actually spot on. It was a big deal to a six-year-old, and later an even bigger deal to a rebellious sixteen-year-old, but in the grand scheme of things being called a dirty name was never really all that important. Not one single bad name I've ever been called (and, trust me, there have been a few) has ever changed my life.

I think one of the overriding themes that Jesus taught throughout his ministry was to not allow the insignificant to distract us from the significant.

Too much immersion in this world will inevitably blind us to a much greater world. This is a lesson I think my Amish neighbors have perhaps learned better than most. Electricity isn't a sin to them, but television, radio, and the Internet are certainly diversions from a more spirtual pursuit. The Amish focus on what is important to them, often to the full excusion of what is not important. I can understand that.

In the context of my fifty-seven years, being called a few names along the way turned out to not be very important to me. In the context of eternity? I don't know. Maybe Jesus was trying to tell us that being smacked up side the head, or even murdered, isn't going to seem quite so crucial down that much longer road?


Grinch
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14 posted 12-22-2007 04:56 PM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch


quote:
In the context of eternity? I don't know. Maybe Jesus was trying to tell us that being smacked up side the head, or even murdered, isn't going to seem quite so crucial down that much longer road?


Thatís a worrying and possibly dangerous conclusion to draw Ron. I know itís not your intention but itís only a short hop away from the notion that  this life isnít worth fighting for, or even worse living.

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I have to agree, grinch. If being murdered is not that crucial in this lifetime, then what is?

Looking for that road way up ahead can cause one to stumble on the road he is on by not paying attention...

....and, if the GPS lied, and the road doesn't exist,what then?
Ron
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quote:
itís only a short hop away from the notion that  this life isnít worth fighting for ...

It's a very short hop, indeed, Grinch. And not one entirely without potential merit, I think.

quote:
... or even worse living.

That, however, is a MUCH bigger leap. There's a huge difference between saying that life has no worth and saying one particular life is necessarily worth more than another's life. There are arguments to be made for the latter, I think, but none of those arguments speak to the former.

Look at it a bit differently. Is there absolutely nothing you wouldn't be willing to sacrifice to preserve your own life? If you can answer yes to that question, we don't have much left to discuss. If your answer is no, however, then your only quibble is over what might be sacrificed and what won't. If someone is trying to kill you does that automatically make their life less valuable than yours? While that's certainly a very understandable (and predictable) reaction, I'm not entirely sure it's always a justifiable one.

The bottom line, to my way of thinking, is that life definitely has value. Immense value. If we allow it to become the most valuable, however, we paradoxically cheapen it. When there is nothing more important than living, living has little meaning.

quote:
Looking for that road way up ahead can cause one to stumble on the road he is on by not paying attention...

My whole point, Mike, was that that has to work both ways. If all you ever look at is the road you're on you'll never even see the road ahead. It's not a road that can be found without looking for it. The question everyone must ask and answer for themselves is simple: Which road is most important?


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17 posted 12-22-2007 08:15 PM       View Profile for TomMark   Email TomMark   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for TomMark

My dear sir balladeer, you can't be more right this time. If GPS lied, the road would still be there. Which satellite are you using? Rand?(hope you have dinner tonight).

One can't find San Francisco on Map of New York.(wrong guide!)

Murder....It is not what one ask for. It is a crime against anybody. God does not want anyone to die in murder.
Stephanos
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18 posted 12-22-2007 08:33 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Grinch:
quote:
I donít see any of the options A-E above as evil Stephen, theyíre just the only options available.


That's because you're not being specific enough.  Relatiation may involve hacking someone's liver out, for a previous wrong done.  Even the categories of your list does not preclude the possibility of evil.

I know you have chosen philosophically not to recognize moral evil (though I doubt you are able to do so practically speaking).  It's still safe to say that since most people do recognize it, the words of Jesus apply.  

quote:
Thatís a worrying and possibly dangerous conclusion to draw Ron. I know itís not your intention but itís only a short hop away from the notion that  this life isnít worth fighting for, or even worse living.


Yes, there is that possibility of taking what Ron was saying too far.  But that's no reason not to recognize its truth.  If there is more to life than this-worldiness, then it would stand to reason that there are greater things at stake.  Only if this mortal life were everything, would this view be dangerous.  But if that were granted, even that danger would fade in significance, when one considers that irreversible death, as a leveler, would make all such ideals trivial ... whether they be religious, or secular.  So the question concerning the value of life, would only become more profoundly doubtful.

quote:
I have to agree, grinch. If being murdered is not that crucial in this lifetime, then what is?


If you can only live by treachery, then its better to die.  That's my point, and I think it might be what Ron is hinting at as well.



Mike:
quote:
Christians should not participate in war, Stephanos? What was it again that God instructed them to do upon leaving the desert to the three towns they came upon?


What are you referring to?  Are you sure this describes anything in the New Testament, or as regarding Christians?

quote:
History is filled with atrocities committed by those same Christians you think should not take part in war.


My point exactly.  By calling them atrocities, you see the problem.  By the use of that word, you implicitly agree with my "should".

quote:
God, that entity who killed a city of first-borns does not sound very pacifistic to me. Putting blinders on does not make it different.


A holy, eternal, and righteous being knows how to wield death, especially the kinds of death we bring upon ourselves (wasn't Pharaoh charismatically warned?).  I never said that God doesn't reserve the right to take human life.  (Every one of us will die, and God is not uninvolved)  I merely state that Christians who profess to live in the Grace of Christ, should take issue with the discrepancy if they fall too easily into roles which mete out death and judgment.  

And you do slur together the Old Testament and New Testament enough to miss the antithesis between them ... that one is a dispensation of untempered justice, while the other is a dispensation of mercy.  And while these are not watertight categories, they do describe the overall spirit of each.


Stephen
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The question everyone must ask and answer for themselves is simple: Which road is most important?

Another question, equally important, is which road exists? Another question is...doesn't the way you travel down your road dictate the passability of the other road?

Was Ponce De Leon's life wasted then?

If someone tries to murder me, does their life become less important to me? Oh, yes.....
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20 posted 12-22-2007 08:59 PM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch


Ron,

My hop was in a slightly different direction.

quote:
Maybe Jesus was trying to tell us that being smacked up side the head, or even murdered, isn't going to seem quite so crucial down that much longer road?


When I read this it sounded like an advertisement for the afterlife, the implication being that it doesnít matter what happens to you in this life because something bigger and better is waiting further down the road. Being an atheist the argument doesnít really affect me, to me being dead doesnít seem like a good alternative to living. There are people however who will believe in an afterlife and arenít totally enamoured with their lot in this one. Telling them that at some point down the road their life wonít seem all that important, even to the point where being murdered isnít crucial, could be construed as giving them one more reason to get to that better place that much quicker.

Measuring the worth of your life against the life of another is a judgment call that could go either way. Measuring the worth of your life against the possibility of something better down the road could seem, at least to some people, to be the answer to all their problems.

Thatís the worry and the danger I was talking about.

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21 posted 12-22-2007 09:13 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

If you can only live by treachery, then its better to die.

Sorry, but I don't understand the "only live by treachery' part of that. Is that the only alternative?

Yes, you are right, of course. I do mix in the old with the new testament. The Bible classes my girl conducts also study the Old one, too, along with the new.

I assume that the phrase "Like father, like son" doesn't apply to the Bible then

As far as the pharoah goes, please don't get me started. None of it was necessary. God toyed with him and inflicted heavy damage and death to many innocents in the process. Is that something that's supposed to be admired?
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22 posted 12-22-2007 09:20 PM       View Profile for TomMark   Email TomMark   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for TomMark

Sir Balladeer,
"many innocents"?  Who said that they were innocent? Everybody think that Johna was innocent, but he was not in God's eyes.

Are we all innocent people?
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23 posted 12-22-2007 09:43 PM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch

quote:
That's because you're not being specific enough. Relatiation may involve hacking someone's liver out, for a previous wrong done. Even the categories of your list does not preclude the possibility of evil.


C You retaliate (eye for an eye)

The example of a bar brawl I gave Stephen precludes premeditation, anything that stops someone cutting out your liver in a bar brawl doesnít constitute an act of evil in my book, itĎs just an act of self-defence.


quote:
I know you have chosen philosophically not to recognize moral evil (though I doubt you are able to do so practically speaking). It's still safe to say that since most people do recognize it, the words of Jesus apply.


Thereís so much wrong with this I donít know where to start.

Try reading this:

I know you have chosen philosophically to recognize a christian god (though I doubt you are able to do so practically speaking). It's still safe to say that since most people do not recognize him, the words of Jesus donít apply.

Iím guessing that you donít think you have a choice because you donít see a valid alternative - there is in effect no choice to make. The suggestion that you canít believe in God probably sounds a little condescending, if you couldnít practically believe in god then believing in him would make you an idiot, right? The argument that most people donít believe in god therefore god canít exist is a simple fallacy, it doesnít matter how many people believe or disbelieve that something exists, it either does or doesnít. That means that the proposition that the words of Jesus donít apply is based on a false argument and so isnít proved.

Do you want to reword your statement Stephen or do you want me to blow more holes in the existing one?  
Ron
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quote:
Another question is...doesn't the way you travel down your road dictate the passability of the other road?

I certainly hope not, Mike, because the Old Testament makes it pretty clear we're not being graded on a curve. This is a pass/fail class, and no one knows how to pass.

That doesn't mean the way you travel down your road doesn't matter, of course. It does, in the same sense, I think, that treating your family right matters. You don't hug your kids in hopes you'll get something out of it later. You hug them because you love them. I don't believe the way you travel down your road will get you something later. I think it will get you something now, and that's pretty important, too.

quote:
When I read this it sounded like an advertisement for the afterlife, the implication being that it doesnít matter what happens to you in this life because something bigger and better is waiting further down the road.

I don't think that's the implication at all, Grinch, any more than I suspect you believe atheism implies hedonism.

Personally, I believe that what happens to you in this life probably isn't going to matter a year from now, let alone an eternity from now. Someone smacked you? You'll get over it. One way or another, you'll get over it. What happens to you, at worst, means making adjustments. Even death is just an adjustment, one with relatively minor impact on the world around you. What you do, however, defines your life. Getting hit can't change who you are. Hitting someone can. Being killed won't change who you were. Killing someone will. I don't think turning the other cheek implies a lessening of human life, but rather a fulfillment of human life. It's a recognition that pain and persecution and even death are just byproducts of life, not the reasons for life. Ultimately, they don't matter.

To be honest, pacifism has always been well beyond my reach. Hit me and I'll probably hit you back. But I think I understand pacifism and I'd like to believe I respect it. When push comes to shove, it makes a whole lot more sense than the alternatives. Historically, those don't seem to have worked real well.

More succinctly, and perhaps to directly answer John's original question, no, turning the other cheek doesn't work . . . if your most important goal is to avoid being hit. I don't think that was Jesus's most important goal, though. And, I don't think He wanted it to be ours, either.


 
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