Saturday, August 19, 2006

Do unto others...

Daniel Morgan responded to something I posted here:

http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2006/08/care-and-feeding-of-village-atheist.html

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.

42 comments:

  1. I find a bit of dissonance between:

    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.

    and

    4.Finally, unbelievers, or at least militant unbelievers, seem to think they should be treated with the utmost respect while they treat God with the utmost disrespect.
    Here’s the deal: I’ll treat you as respectfully as you treat the Lord.
    Imagine someone who went out of his way to disrespect my father or mother or sister or brother, but expected me to be respectful in return. Respect is a two-way street.


    As I said, I think this latter part is why you descend [sometimes] into inflammatory and impolitic rhetoric [exbrainer]. The attacks don't have to be personal (although they sometimes are), but you will certainly take it personally if someone calls Jesus a fag, or something of the sort.

    Christians are just as susceptible to retalitory remarks as anyone else. I've never thought otherwise, or expected them to be superhuman in their restraint. You've received more consternation from fellow Christians about your attitude than you have from me.

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  2. No dissonance here. I'm discussing an exegetical question, in terms of what is meant by revenge as Biblically defined.

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  3. Jesus claimed that "whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire." (Matthew 5:22)

    So name-calling would seem to be out, no? (Although I must admit that the punishment seems a bit disproportionate to the crime)

    Of course, one might suggest (and perhaps you might) that the rules only apply to fellow believers.
    (???)


    Certainly the proscriptions against murder seemed to apply to only one Israelite against another but anyone outside their clan was pretty much fair game (such as when Moses was ordered to kill all the Midianite men and children and every "woman who has known man" - how they determined this one only guess).

    - Todd

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  4. Notice how Todd misquotes the Bible, turning a qualified prohibition, have reference to a fellow believer ("brother"), into an unqualified prohibition.

    This isn't just a "suggestion." That qualification is explicitly given in the very text he misquotes.

    The Bible is quite free with the word "fool." Just read the wisdom literature (Proverbs; Ecclesiasties). And Paul uses it of the Corinthians (1 Cor 15:36), not to mention dominical usage (Lk 11:40; 12:20).

    He also doesn't know the difference between conventional war and holy war in the OT (Deut 20).

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  5. I'm not caught up on everything that's been going on lately. Can someone just say whether the Discomfiter was Manata or not?

    Whoever it was I thought he was pretty funny on that radio interview. "Can you swim forever?"

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  6. On the show the discomfiter identified himself as Jay Walker (or, Jack Hammer to his close friends).

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  7. Steve writes: "Notice how Todd misquotes the Bible, turning a qualified prohibition, have reference to a fellow believer ("brother"), into an unqualified prohibition."

    So who is one's "brother" then? Does this include Catholics? What about Jehovah's Witnesses or Mormons? What about Unitarians or liberal Methodists? They all pray to Jesus, too, don't they? Can someone believe in unconditional election while supporting legalized abortion and still be called a "brother"? Can someone be AGAINST abortion and gay marriage but believe in the eventual universal salvation of everyone and be a "brother"?

    Maybe you should provide an exhaustive list of what one must believe and not believe and do or not do to be considered a "brother". It sounds way too complicated for me.

    - Todd

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  8. To all the internet apologists out there

    I have an ‘account’ for logic you presups keep asking for. Logic is inextricably linked w/physics. You can’t separate them. Knowledge is gained through the five senses, please show me proof for your god any proof.

    Victor

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  9. Todd: So who is one's "brother" then? Does this include Catholics?

    SH: Some RCs are brothers.

    Todd: What about Jehovah's Witnesses

    SH: No.

    Todd: or Mormons?

    SH: No.

    Todd: What about Unitarians

    SH: No.

    Todd: or liberal Methodists?

    SH: No.

    Todd: They all pray to Jesus, too, don't they?

    SH: How could they when they have opposing Christologies? Not to mention—unscriptural Christologies.

    Todd: Can someone believe in unconditional election while supporting legalized abortion and still be called a "brother"?

    SH: Unlikely.

    Todd: Can someone be AGAINST abortion and gay marriage but believe in the eventual universal salvation of everyone and be a "brother"?

    SH: Possibly.

    Todd: Maybe you should provide an exhaustive list of what one must believe and not believe and do or not do to be considered a "brother". It sounds way too complicated for me.

    SH: Maybe you should provide an exhaustive list of what one must believe and not believe and do or not do to be considered a "Democrat". It sounds way too complicated for me.

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  10. Anon: To all the internet apologists out there:

    I have an ‘account’ for logic you presups keep asking for. Logic is inextricably linked w/physics. You can’t separate them.

    SH: That's an assertion, not an argument. Can you give a reason to back up your claim?

    Anon: Knowledge is gained through the five senses.

    SH: Some knowledge is gained through the senses. However, our knowledge of logic is not gained through the senses. Without an intuitive command of informal logic, we'd be unable to draw inductive inferences from sensory input.

    Anon: please show me proof for your god any proof.

    SH: For starters, try this:

    plantinga_alvin/two_dozen_or_so_theistic_arguments.pdf

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  11. I asked my Mormon friend if he thought his Christology was unscriptural, as Steve claims. He said it is wholly Scriptural, and that Steve is wrong, perhaps because of misunderstanding on his (Steve's) part.

    This wouldn't surprise me.

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  12. Without an intuitive command of informal logic, we'd be unable to draw inductive inferences from sensory input.

    I'd love to see this "intuitive comand of informal logic" spec'd out. Perhaps you could display it in one of your upcoming blogs? Is it something found in Scripture some place?

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  13. Jehovah's Witnesses believe the following (among other things)(http://www.watchtower.org/library/jt/index.htm):

    1) The Bible is God's Word and is truth
    2) Christ's one sacrifice was sufficient
    3) Prayers are to be directed only to Jehovah (God) through Christ
    4) Bible's laws on morals must be obeyed

    They're not "True Christians" because why?

    Their use of the word "Jehovah", not celebrating holidays and being unable to understand the obtuse doctrine of the Trinity are not valid reasons.

    Is it because they "added" words to Scripture to make it coherent? (Although, this is what every other Christian does to make a particular text jive with other passages - such as how Hebrews 6:4-6 supposedly doesn't disprove to Calvinists the perseverence of the saints/eternal security despite them being unable to explain how someone not belonging to the "elect" can "share in the Holy Spirit" or how they can "crucify the Son of God all over again". One must either imply OTHER text that isn't here or remove what IS here to make it reconcile with these Calvinist doctrines.)

    - Todd

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  14. Steve,

    Your link is botched up.

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  15. Suffering Servant8/20/2006 6:26 PM

    Malthius: "I'd love to see this "intuitive comand of informal logic" spec'd out."

    This can only be acquired through reading to the Bible with a God-softened heart. The unbeliever can mimick it, but it is not real for it is based ultimately on his self-deceit (Rom. 1). If you're really interested, you have to surrender to God and let Him guide your way to what He wants for you. Logic books are worthless, for they will not lead to God. They are filled with enmity to the One True God.

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  16. Todd is resorting a diversionary tactic. Before we stray too far from the topic, let's remember that the question at issue is how Christians should address apostates.

    By definition, an apostate is not a Christian brother. An outspoken apostate has made a public and explicit repudiation of the faith.

    Now, some apparent apostates are really backsliders who will return to the faith at some point, but as long as they remain in their backslidden condition they forfeit the presumption of Christian identity. The burden of proof is always on the believer to render a credible profession of faith.

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  17. Anyone can Google Plantinga's 2-dozen plus arguments for himself.

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  18. I've already blogged on Heb 6 & 10. The Reformed interpretation can be defended without going outside of Hebrews.

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  19. I don't need to rehearse the unscriptural Christology or this or that cult. There's plenty of publicly available info on that (much of it online).

    Since Anonymous is not a Christian or Mormon or JDub, it's a hollow exercise for him to pretend to make a case for their position--seeing as he doesn't believe in their Christology or theology himself.

    There's no burden on me to disprove something that my opponent doesn't believe in either.

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  20. Malthius: I'd love to see this "intuitive comand of informal logic" spec'd out. Perhaps you could display it in one of your upcoming blogs? Is it something found in Scripture some place?

    SH:

    i)If it were spec'd out, it would cease to be intuitive or informal.

    ii)The Protestant rule of faith is not that all knowledge is contained in Scripture.

    iii)Since Victor was the one to lead with his own claim, the ball is in his court to get it spec'd out.

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  21. If it were spec'd out, it would cease to be intuitive or informal.

    Thanks for enlightening us, Steve.

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  22. "To all the internet apologists out there

    I have an ‘account’ for logic you presups keep asking for. Logic is inextricably linked w/physics. You can’t separate them. Knowledge is gained through the five senses, please show me proof for your god any proof.

    Victor"



    As Steve said, your assertion is not an "account." Second, logic exists in all possible worlds. I can imagine a "physics-less" world.

    In physics-less world the laws of logic would still exist because, for one, to deny their existence there would presuppose their existence there. That is, to say that they *do not* exist in physics-less world assumes the law of non-contradiction.

    There is nothing contradictory about physics-less world, though. So, it is logically possible.

    Thus logic is not "inextricably linked with physics."

    I'd also inquire into this "linking." In a material universe what does it mean for two thinsg to be linked together? They would have to be linked causaly, or physically, somehow. It's not immediately obvious how 'logic' is "linked" to 'phycis' in a causal way. And, why use vague terminology to formulate your account? You run to a metaphor to "account" for logic? That's like Derek Sansone saying that "logic is fluff" to "account for" logic.

    Moreover, 'physics' is an abstrct term. What does it mean to say that your account of logic is that "logic is inextricably linked" to an abstract term?


    Second, as Steve pointed out, not all knowledge is gained through the five senses. I mean, how do you know this claim? If you don't then is it your opinion that all knowledge is gained through the senses? If you do, how do you have a sense perception of a universal claim? If you don't, then you're committing the fallacy of hasty generalization, i.e., based on all the things *you* know to all the things that can be known!

    And, as Steve has pointed out, there are things you know, i.e., informal logic, that you do not know through your senses.

    Here are some other thinsg we don't know only or only by the senses:

    a) All triangles are three-sided.

    b) All bachelors are unmarried.

    c) Necessary causation.

    d) The uniformity of nature.

    e) Logical laws.

    f) Universals.

    g) 3*3=9

    h) the thing in itself

    i) the statement that all knowledge is from the senses.

    j) axioms.

    k) personal identiy through time.

    l) space

    m) ethical oughts.

    n) abstractions

    o) other minds

    p) that the senses are reliable



    As far as proving God, how would I do that? You said the only thinsg you can know are through your senses. So you've already, a priori, decided I can't prove His existence. But at what price? Your claim to knowledge is incoherent, it refutes itself.

    Also, you already know that God exists, don't you? For example, that why you know that it's wrong to molest children. You don't know that through sense perception, do you? If you did, you're sick! No, you know that it's universally and morally wrong to do that just for the mere pleasure, don't you. But whose worldview comports with our basic agreement here? Your or mine.

    Certainly not yours because on your view it's just an arbitrary claim about one bag of molecules bumping into another bag of molecules. It's not wrong when you touch your keyboard, it's likewise not wrong when molester's fingers touch little girls.

    My worldview can give a rational answer to what we both do know is the case, i.e., that the above is wrong. Yours cannot.

    We both know this, now don't we. Stop the charade.

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  23. The *real* charade, Paul, is that you and other Taggers claim that Christianity is the precondition for intelligiblity, but you absolutely, outright refuse to support this premise of your argument.

    "the imposssibility of the contrary" is a smokescreen designed to divert the argument away from [i]your[/i] premise. You have yet, in all your posturing, in all your chest beating, to ever, not even once, support your premise that God is a precondition to intelligibility.

    Your argument that fails to support its premises is akin to an atheist formulating an argument that claims "if there are contradictions in the bible, then the christian God cannot exist..there are contradictions in the bible, therefore the Christian God doesn't exist" and then Instead of supporting the premise A, proudly proclaiming that if his particular christian opponent cannot account for a contradiction in the bible, then that proves the christian god doesn't exist. You would laugh at this guy, and well should. You should also laugh at yourself.

    Further, you claiming you can *account* for logic by claiming god as a precondition is no different than a naturalist claiming He can account for logic by claiming nature as a precondition. It utterly fails in any explanatory power.

    You get no freebies Paul. Your TAG arguments all fail basic tests of functionality. In addition, your personality fails on all tests of basic decency.

    yawn. Good thing you are going home to take care of business. You have failed in your endeavor as an internet warrior for God and your dog screwing, child molesting arguments in-your-worldview are dirting the screens of good people on all sides of the issue.

    Better you study "miss manners" than apologetics. This book offers you more of what you really need.

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  24. I can imagine a "physics-less" world.

    I can imagine a godless world.

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  25. I can imagine a "Manataless" internet.

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  26. I can imagine an "anonymous-less" comment forum.

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  27. I can imagine a "dealing-with-argument-universe."

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  28. I can imagine a godless world.

    Thank goodness such a world exists only in your idolatrous imaginations!

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  29. Steve,

    You said:

    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.

    Me: I'm certainly open to correction here, brother, but how can the Parable of the Good Samaritan or the Sermon on the Mount be irrelevant to anything, even blogging? Is blogging a modern day thing for which the above portions of Scripture have no application? Is there not the secondary application of treating others in every context in the same manner you would like to be treated? I'm not referring so much to a faithful and bold Christian apologetic, but to the little jabs and barbs thrown in the direction of the opponent. I mean, if Daniel Morgan moved into the house next door wouldn't it be a bit difficult for you to give him a ride to work if his car did break down? I know this is quite a hypothetical, but you get my point.

    Consider what the apostle Paul states in Romans 12:17a-18, "Respect what is right in the sight of all men. If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men."

    In this case would not respecting what is right in the sight of all men be debating issues and offering cogent argumentation for the Christian faith without the sometimes denegrating comments and personal squabbles? Just asking the question, brother, perhaps I'm missing something...

    As I've stated before in other places, I recognize that there is a biblical use of sarcasm, etc., but I sometimes perceive a disposition from both T-bloggers and other Christian commentators that I can't reconcile with Scripture. We should defend the faith vigorously (the righteous are as bold as a lion..Prov. 28:1a), and we shouldn't treat the apostate as if he's one of our buddies, but we should, as far as it depends upon us, be at peace with all men. Just some of my thoughts, brother. What say ye?

    S&BL

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  30. Paul Manata said...
    I can imagine a "dealing-with-argument-universe."


    I can imagine a "support the premises of your argument" universe.

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  31. "I can imagine a "support the premises of your argument" universe."

    Too bad Dan Barker didn't just say that, would have been a quick debate.

    Too bad atheist Jay Lazarus doesn't agree with you, must be he's a stupid theist.

    But, ask and you shall receive:


    http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2006/08/weapons-of-our-warfare.html

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  32. listing other people's work doesn't support Your premise Paul. You know the one..."god is the precondition to intelligibility".

    How can you support this without ducking into the fallacious "impossiblity of the contrary" argument?

    If you can, do so here.

    If you can't, why don't you just be honest and rest your argument on faith?


    BTW, Lazarus is anything but stupid. Don't project your either/or hatred on other people.

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  33. I know Laz isn't stupid.

    He said I made arguments.

    So you just refuted yourself.

    My point was thta I have done so on many occasions, check my debate out. Laz even notes that I argued.

    So what are you going to do now?

    Oh, btw, I can support my premise from other people's arguments. It's still an argument even though it's not mine.

    So, deal with the works cited and then get back to me.

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  34. Oh,a dn I've always maintained that my beliefs rest on faith.

    I've never said otherwise.

    So, I have my faith and you have yours.

    Yours destroys knowledge, mine doesn't.

    For support check out the various chapters in the "bok."

    Now, where's your support?

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  35. how 'bout we just release exbeliever's identity?

    wouldn't want liars on either side.

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  36. On the command to love one's neighbour as one's self, I would observe that this includes the nasty, dissonant stuff as well as the 'fluffy love.' What do I mean?

    My younger brother is very dear to me. Nine years younger than myself, I have watched him grow up with an almost fatherly care (my parents split up when I was nine or ten). Last year, he started to go to Sixth form and also started to drink heavily (I come from an Episcopalian household). I cautioned him against this, just as I had always supported my mother's efforts to get him to do his homework (whether from near or far). He resented these efforts, although I knew that they were good for him. Would I have shown more love by letting him fail his exams, or allowing him to squander his money on drink?

    Similarly, when I see someone going down the road to hell, I feel it necessary to stop him, even if he happily wants to go there. That is love. It would be hate to shrug my shoulders and let them go to hell.

    Further, I note that Todd is dodging the question, and has cited the Jehovah's Witnesses as an example. Shall we deal with them:

    '1) The Bible is God's Word and is truth'

    However, the JWs also believe that the Bible CANNOT be understood without the interpretation of the Watchtower and the works of Charles T. Russell (I, for one, do not accept all Calvin says about Scripture as true). In other words, they believe in Scripture, but not Scripture ALONE.

    '2) Christ's one sacrifice was sufficient'

    In the views of the JWs Christ's death was sufficient to save from Hell, but good works are necessary in order to go to heaven.

    '3) Prayers are to be directed only to Jehovah (God) through Christ'

    All well and good. Not all heretics reject all good doctrine. Most don't.

    However, the JWs' Christology is defective, rejecting 1700 or so years of Christian doctrine. This is not a recent issue, nor is it unimportant. As Arians, the JWs deny not only the full divinity of Christ, but his full humanity.

    '4) Bible's laws on morals must be obeyed'

    No problem here, but to what end? For the JWs, obedience to the moral law has to do with getting into heaven, although not avoiding hell.

    Now, when it comes to the JWs and the Mormons, their doctrine is so different from Christianity that I feel it is only appropriate to count them, like Islam (with which they have some similarities, such as the belief that they have rediscovered early Christianity) as different religions.

    Liberals and Roman Catholics are committed formally or informally to a system of work-righteousness, while RCs also believe that salvation is impossible without the ministrations of the Church (although this has partially changed of late, with the resolutions on Anglicans and Lutherans).

    And there is a question of Christologies, Todd. If one is praying to/through Christ, it is necessary to have a right idea of Christ and his atoning work. Unitarian-Universalists are plainly in error (and I speak not from ignorance) over both.

    The question is not whether one has 100% accurate doctrine, but whether one has a sufficient view of the saving work of Christ.

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  37. Shining and Burning Light said:

    I'm certainly open to correction here, brother, but how can the Parable of the Good Samaritan or the Sermon on the Mount be irrelevant to anything, even blogging? Is blogging a modern day thing for which the above portions of Scripture have no application? Is there not the secondary application of treating others in every context in the same manner you would like to be treated? I'm not referring so much to a faithful and bold Christian apologetic, but to the little jabs and barbs thrown in the direction of the opponent. I mean, if Daniel Morgan moved into the house next door wouldn't it be a bit difficult for you to give him a ride to work if his car did break down? I know this is quite a hypothetical, but you get my point.

    *************************************************

    1. Difficult for me or difficult for him? Wouldn't be a problem for me.

    2. Of course, we naturally tend, for better or worse, to treat those we know personally quite differently from a stranger living 1000 miles away.

    And that was a point I was making. It's also a point of the Good Samaritan and the Sermon on the Mount.

    3. Scripture is applicable in analogous situations.

    Blogging is generally disanalogous to the passages in question.

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  38. On further reflection, I would add in my reply to Todd's question as to what constitutes a Christian, that most people agree there is a certain baseline of belief below which one ceases to be a Christian, whatever one's claims to the contrary. The baseline doctrines include:

    A belief in the Holy Trinity.

    A belief in the deity of Christ.

    A belief in the personality of the Holy Spirit.

    A belief that Salvation is through the work of Christ alone.

    A belief that Christ is the only way to the Father.

    A Belief in the sufficiency and inspiration of scripture.

    I'll use the political analogy. I am a Conservative. However, I am on the left/traditionalist wing of the Party. There is a certain irreducible level of belief that marks me out as a Conservative and with which I and a Conservative on the right or modernising wing of the party would fing ourselves in agreement, although on many other issues, we would be at odds. If I fell below that level of belief, I would cease to be a Conservative and become something else, whether I said I was or not. These include:

    1. Belief that in most cases the right of the individual to dissent should be respected.

    2. Belief in a state no larger than is necessary.

    3. Belief that people spend money more efficiently than bureaucracies.

    4. Respect for the past, but not worship of it.

    Obviously stresses change, and one may disagree about the exact implications of each point, but if a person came to me saying he was a Conservative, but believed that the group must always be supreme over the individual, or that an all-encompassing state owning most industry was vital, or that the state should take most of a person's income to distribute it 'fairly', I should tell him that whatever he might be, he was no sort of Conservative.

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  39. Shining and Burning Light,

    It's also important to distinguish between prudential questions and exegetical questions.

    For the most part you've been addressing prudential questions while I've been addressing exegetical questions.

    Both perspectives are important, but they're not interchangeable.

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  40. Steve,

    Thanks for the reply. Your third point:

    3. Scripture is applicable in analogous situations.

    Blogging is generally disanalogous to the passages in question.

    Fair enough, there is a context for the passages in question. Does that mean it is perfectly in line with Scripture to throw out unnecessarily offensive remarks toward the opponent? Are Christian bloggers somehow exempt from the injuction to treat other people in the same manner you would like to be treated? What about the verses I cited from Romans 12:17-18? Am I out in left field on this in your view? Please understand that I'm not trying to hammer you guys on this, but I feel like you're defending this practice by putting blogging in a disanalogous category to the degree that insulting the opponent is OK. It's not that you have to be Mr. Rogers in the way that you treat everybody, I'm not saying you have to be all sweet & nice as pie in order to not offend opponents. They are going to be offended by the gospel, that is inevitable. But I feel like some of the offense is unnecessary because of the way some people are treated by the T-bloggers and others. Listen, I know I'm just an unknown psuedonym geek who you don't know personally, I'm not a member of your church and you are not answerable to me, and I'm really not meaning to be overly critical of you guys on this point (let me also say it's not easy to bring this up with someone I highly respect, as well as Evan, Jason, Paul, & Gene). Be that as it may, I felt compelled to press you on this a bit. I'll stop being a fly in your egg salad now, but do you understand where I'm coming from and am I right on this or not? Thanks for your consideration, brother...

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  41. Ooops Steve, your last comment came up as I was posting mine, so I was writing without having read your last post. I hear you, but are we qualifying ourselves out of prudence with our exegesis? I'm really asking with a teachable spirit on this, I'm not trying to be belligerent........thanks

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  42. Steve,

    I take it that you feel my questions have been sufficiently answered and that if I'm understanding you correctly it is biblical to deal with opponents of the faith in the way we have been discussing. I guess we'll have to disagree on this one.....thanks, brother

    S&BL

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