Daniel Morgan responded to something I posted here:
Let me say at the outset that compared with some of critical feedback, Danny’s reply was a measured and levelheaded response.
I’ll confine myself to two of his criticisms:
DM: This is another difficult thing for me to respond to. I can cite OT verses that certainly differentiate between the Jew and Gentile, Pauline verses that basically say to consider the conscience of the other in your outward activities [1 Cor 10:29, etc], and verses by Jesus pointing out that how one treats another person who doesn't love them is the measure of goodness, since it is easy/natural to love those who love us back.
Again, it really depends on which verses you want to emphasize. Certainly, the Confuscian/Epicurean/Jesus ethical precept of reciprocity [do unto others] is certainly an agreeable enough ethos. Conversely, killing an apostate to prevent them from leading you away from God, as commanded in the OT, is not a value system I want my treatment based upon.
SH: Both Bridges and Hiraeth have responded to this with some very sensible comments.
I’ll just make a few observations of my own. Let’s take a step back and recall the broader context of this debate.
There are unbelievers who quote the Sermon on the Mount against a hard-hitting Christian apologetic. But this is to take the words of Christ completely out of context.
An outspoken apostate or militant atheist is not my personal enemy. He has done me no personal wrong. Loftus isn’t persecuting me. Dagood isn’t smiting my cheek.
Hence, when I critique the Debunkers or other suchlike, I’m not exacting private vengeance on my enemies. That has nothing to do with it.
It’s not as if I’m getting even with Loftus for slashing my tires by slashing his tires.
Likewise, to take an analogous example, the parable of the Good Samaritan is irrelevant to blogging. The Debunkers are not my neighbors. Danny and I didn’t attend the same high school. Loftus doesn’t live across the street from me.
The do-unto-others ethic of the Sermon on the Mount has something far more immediate in mind than the impersonal, mass medium of blogging.
If Danny were living next door, and his car broke down, and he needed to hitch a ride, then, according to the ethics of Christ, I should give him a ride.
That’s the sort of application that the Sermon on the Mount or the parable of the Good Samaritan envisions.
It has nothing do with offensive apologetics. Loftus isn’t persecuting me, and I’m not retaliating in kind. This is not a personal vendetta.
Modern readers are apt to allegorize or trivialize biblical injunctions. But the Biblical prohibition against taking revenge has reference to a literal blood feud. It isn’t a metaphor for observing the social amenities at the soiree.
DM: Picking these examples is a bit disingenuous though. It's like me basing my appraisal of your behavior towards atheists on Mather, Calvin, or some fun fellow from the Spanish Inquisition.
SH: I disagree. It seems to me that unbelievers like Dawkins, Dennett, Russell, Ingersoll, and Harris are quite representative of atheism, both in tone and content.
I’m not picking examples of the village atheist: of men and women who are uncouth or stupid or embarrassing to the cause of unbelief.
If I wanted to be unfair, I could have gone down the list at www.positiveatheism.org and picked out such luminaries of free thought as Lenny Bruce, George Carlin, Clarence Darrow, H. L. Mencken, Madalyn Murray-O’Hair, Thomas Paine, Eddie Vedder, Jesse Ventura, Gore Vidal, or H. G. Wells, to name a few.
Instead I chose my examples from the cream of free thought. The men I mentioned are highly regarded in secular circles as articulate and generally well-educated spokesmen for infidelity. These are heroes of humanism.