Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Snake Plissken

Shortly after Maul Panata's Facebook thread on pacifism died down, the embers reignited, so I'm now reposting my side of the exchange.

Steve Hays Cody,

The problem with your comparison is that the apostolic church didn't have a ready-made position on how much Christian participation in pagan civil religious customs was permissible. That had to be hammered out. Paul thought that was often a matter of indifference in principle, but for prudential reasons, he advised a more tactful policy in practice. Likewise, the Council at Jerusalem staked out a compromise position, based on prudential considerations. 

And, indeed, it's inherently difficult to draw the line in terms of how much complicity is too much complicity give the fact that some complicity in evil is unavoidable in a fallen world. It's question of degree, with many borderline cases. Easier to draw the line in more extreme cases.

By contrast, the pacifists I've read think the apostolic church did have a ready-made position on nonviolence: one that went right back to Jesus. 

Moreover, pacifists think that issue is pretty clear cut. Much easier to draw the line.

Steve Hays Cody,

To "participate in pagan rituals" is a matter of degree in a heathen culture where civil religion is pagan and pervasive. That's part of the warp and woof of the socioeconomic and political system. 

In Judaism, it was easier to draw the line because you have various categories of forbidden contact with ritually impure people, food, customs, &c.

But the new covenant didn't retain those detailed purity codes. It wasn't separatistic to the same degree as Judaism. Not even close. 

Indeed, that was one of the early controversies. Where to draw lines. Certain things were verboten, like sexual immorality or direct participation in the imperial cult. But there were many gray areas. Outright idolatry was forbidden, but invidious associations are not so clear-cut. As a missionary to the Gentiles, Paul had to finesse the difficult issue of how much Christians can function in a pagan society. Some involvement is necessary. Too much is compromising.
Steve Hays 

Cody Cook: "And functioning as a pagan priest would have been considered a gray area?"

i) What are you referring to? Does St. Paul talk about that? Or is this just a hypothetical that you are floating?

ii) The tricky thing about the ethics of participation in pagan civic religious events or customs is that we're basically dealing with symbolism: symbolic gestures.

Likewise, the religious element may be fairly incidental. So it's ambiguous to say that's religious. Some ceremonies are specifically and centrally religious. But in a pagan culture, there's a lot of spillover. For instance, the days of the week are named after pagan gods. 

As a rule, symbolism isn't intrinsically right or wrong, good or evil. What it stands for may be good or evil, but the symbol itself isn't good or evil. Rather, it has a socially assigned meaning. So this comes down to evaluating intentions, motivations, and the "message."

Whether that's compromising or innocent is something we'd have to assess on a case-by-case basis. I don't think there's a uniform value-judgment. Indeed, that's why Paul's discussion is so nuanced. 

iii) Let's take a comparison: many Indian and Asian restaurants have idols. Now a lot of customers barely notice them. And if they do notice them, they view them as purely decorative statuary. But that's not necessarily how the proprietors view them.

Are you participating in paganism when you eat at an Indian or Asian restaurant?

BTW, Cody, here's a pertinent verse:
18 In this matter may the Lord pardon your servant: when my master goes into the house of Rimmon to worship there, leaning on my arm, and I bow myself in the house of Rimmon, when I bow myself in the house of Rimmon, the Lord pardon your servant in this matter.” 19 He said to him, “Go in peace” (2 Kgs 5:18-19).

Steve Hays Cody,

Regarding the "argument from silence":

i) Cornelius isn't my first line of defense. I'm simply responding to you on your own terms. 

ii) As you should know, the argument from silence can be strong or weak depending on the expectation, or lack thereof. Just to dismissively label it an "argument from silence," as if that has no evidential value, is inaccurate as a general principle. Take "the dog that didn't bark" in Sherlock Holmes.

iii) The self-defensive impulse is deeply engrained in human nature. I daresay that's a cultural universal. Pacifists I've read admit that pacifism cuts against the grain of human nature. Self-defense is the norm.

So in that event, if self-defense is incompatible with new covenant ethics, we'd expect NT writers to harp on that. 

To take a comparison: idolatry was pervasive in the ANE. That's why there's a sustained polemic against idolatry in the OT. It takes relentless vigilance to root out something that popular.

By the same token, if self-defense is sinful, there ought to be more than a couple of highly debatable prooftexts which pacifists constantly resort to. 

Now there are other arguments against pacifism. Some of these are on display in this very thread.

Steve Hays Cody, 

i) I was responding to your statement about 1C Christian participation in the state functions.

ii) I don't know how you think the Wikipedia entry supports your side of the argument. Given the ubiquity of pagan religious customs in the Roman Empire, Christians could not consistently avoid activities associated with paganism if they were to continue living in a pagan society.

iii) Likewise, when you bring up "participation in pagan rituals" in reference to alleged 1C Christian pacifism, that appeal backfires. If, say, 1C Christians avoided military service to avoid the imperial cult, or related pagan rituals, then their objection to military service wasn't motivated by opposition to violence, but opposition to idolatry. 

In that case, even if we grant that 1C Christians disdained military service, that's not a testimony to Christian pacifism. That connection is adventitious. The real reason was to circumvent participation in idolatrous activity, not participation in violent activity. So your argument is counterproductive to your position. 

iv) Finally, I've read David Hunter contend that early Christian views on military service were not monolithic.

Steve Hays 

Cody Cook:
Even so, as Preston Sprinkle noted:"serving in Rome’s military entails partaking in various idolatrous practices, and yet Peter doesn’t address the issue of idolatry when Cornelius gets converted. And as a centurion, Cornelius (as well as the centurion in Matt. 8) would not only be pressured to worship foreign gods, but also be responsible for leading various ceremonies on behalf of his cohort. As a centurion, Cornelius would essentially function as a pagan priest!"

i) And as I just pointed out, that appeal actually boomerangs against the pacifist, for in that event the underlying objection was not to involvement in violent activity but involvement in idolatrous activity. 

ii) Keep in mind, too, that even before Cornelius was a Christian, he was a Godfearer. He was a worshiper of Yahweh. He prayed Jewish prayers. 

So he already had some way of finessing the "idolatry" issue. And he was not alone in that respect. Lk 7:1-10 is analogous. And not coincidentally, both occur in the Lukan corpus.

Steve Hays I'd also like to touch on property rights. Some people act as though, even if it's permissible to use lethal force to protect human life, it's immoral to use lethal force to protect property. And certainly there are many isolated situations where it would be immoral to use lethal force to protect property.

However, that dichotomy is far too facile. Sustaining human life depends on provision for certain physical necessities, like food and shelter. Protecting a farm or supermarket protects property, but it likewise protects a necessary food source. Protecting a water plant protects property, but it likewise protects a necessary source of public drinking water. Protecting an apartment complex from arson protects property, but it likewise protects humans from the elements. Same thing with a gas station, power station, bank, &c. 

Although society can absorb a certain amount of theft and vandalism, it that was allowed to go unchecked, society would become unlivable.

Steve Hays I'd like to make an additional point about property crimes in relation to pacifism. Not all businesses sell essential goods and services. Therefore, it's easy for pacifists to mock the notion that we should use violent force (if needed) to repel looters, hackers, robbers, arsonists, &c. 

And, indeed, many products are mock-worthy. Keep in mind, however, that even though the company may not be providing an essential service to its customers, it is proving an essential service to the community: jobs.

Just by employing members of the community, the company is providing an essential service, over and above its products. People need wages to pay for food, shelter, &c. It takes money to stay alive and provide for your dependents.

To be sure, businesses come and go. A community may be able to absorb this or that company going bankrupt, although that leaves some people jobless and unable to pay their bills.

Some companies that go out of business are replaced by new companies that move in. On the other hand, you sometimes have a community that's economically dependent on one major employer. If it goes belly up, the community becomes a ghost town. 

You can seek work elsewhere by moving. If, however, pacifism were the norm, then no business would be safe. There'd be no place to start over again. It would be impossible to retain private property holdings. If the good guys renounce violence, then the bad guys can take whatever they want with impunity. 

To paraphrase Bertrand Russell: a community in which everybody is violent is inconvenient for everybody, and it's obvious that most people can get more of what they want out of life if they live in a community where violence is rare. But in the absence of deterrence a difficulty arises: for each individual, the ideal community would be one in which everybody else is a pacifist and he alone is violent.

Steve Hays 

Kevin Craig: "I often wonder about people who come up with all these anti-pacifist hypotheticals."

Well, since Kevin disdains hypotheticals, I think we should all pitch in to buy him a one-way ticket to Mogadishu. That will give him a chance to practice his armchair pacifism in a real-world situation. Up to the challenge, Kevin?

"If you don't pay for it, you're guilty of theft. What is Jesus going to say about that when you stand before him as Judge?"

Yes, because armed-robbers are typically devout Christians who will quake at your question. 

"In other words, I'm going to 'witness.' Interestingly, the Greek word often translated 'witness' in the NT is 'martus,' from which we derive the English word 'martyr.'"

Even more interestingly, the Greek word often translated "power" in the NT is "dunamis," from which we derive the English word "dynamite."

Therefore, the clerk should evangelize the robber by tucking some C-4 in the TV box, so that the robber will go out with a bang when he makes his getaway.

"I can't see how a faithful Christian would say, ;I refuse to be a martyr like Jesus' (1 Peter 2:21-24)."

Well, Kevin, why don't you lead by example? There are lots of hot spots around the world where you can put that into practice. Inspire us! 

"I would say the mentality of 'I will kill anyone who tries to take my TV' is what transformed America from a Christian republic…"

That's funny. I thought our republic was made possible by the Revolutionary War. So George Washington was a pacifist. Who knew! 

"…into an atheistic militaristic empire that overthrows other governments around the world and funds terrorists like the Mujahideen and ISIS."

Back in the days of the Cold War we supported some Middle Eastern regimes to check the expansion of Communism. 

"God says 'Thou shalt not kill.' That means I need to be a little more creative."

No, it says don't commit "murder." 

Moreover, quoting the OT to prooftext pacifism certainly means you need to be very "creative," considering all the capital offenses and laws of warfare.

Steve Hays Kevin has a death wish, not for himself, but for all the people he refuses to protect. That's so much better. 
Steve Hays 

Kevin Craig: "I have to believe that anti-pacifists are just engaging in good-natured but insincere "tough talk" about killing everybody who threatens them in any detectable way."

I have to believe armchair pacifists are just engaging in cheap talk. 

"If a thief is killed while breaking into a house ... the one who killed him ... is guilty of murder."

Which conveniently ignores the fact that killing a nighttime intruder isn't classified as murder. 

"Do not kill a human being created in the Image of God."

A claim that's diametrically opposed to Gen 9. 

"These hypotheticals are worthless, in my opinion."

The purpose of hypotheticals is to consider a position in principle. Is the proponent consistent? Or does he resort to ac hoc exceptions when his principle is taken to a logical extreme. 

"You don't know with certainty what the future holds. You are not God."

Then I shouldn't hesitate to shoot the assailant. After all, I don't know with certainty that my gun won't jam. 

"You cannot 'love' your neighbor if you kill him."

You love your neighbor by using lethal force to repel a murderous assailant.
"They quake if the Spirit convicts them."

And they don't if the he doesn't. 

"The Revolutionary War was a plain violation of Romans 13. It is an example of the "mentality" I spoke of."

This is a reversal of Kevin's original contention: "I would say the mentality of…is what transformed America from a Christian republic…" 

But that mentality antedates the republic. The republic resulted from the War of Independence. 

"It was all downhill from 1776."

As if Colonial Americans didn't fight the Indians. 

"We (i.e., neo-conservatives in U.S. government) supported terrorists in order to destabilize certain governments. Was it wrong for ordinary Russian civilians to use bombs and machine guns against their government (Romans 13)? I think so. So why was it OK for the U.S. to employ hired guns to do the same thing?"

That's utterly confused. One gov't destabilizing another gov't is hardly at odds with Rom 13, for Rom 13 is about the duty of ordinary citizens in relation to the state, and not how one state deals with another state. 

"Especially after the U.S. invested so much money and American lives to protect communism from Hitler's advances?"

i) I see that Kevin is drunk on the moonshine of LewRockwell.com. That explains a lot.

ii) FDR didn't fund the Mujahideen. Kevin is careening between different events.

"Are you saying the commandment does NOT prohibit killing?"

Not unless you think the Bible contradicts itself. 

"On what basis is pacifism on my part refuted by an Old Covenant…"

Capital punishment goes back to Gen 9. That's not the "Old Covenant" (which is synonymous with the Mosaic Covenant).

Steve Hays The fact that Paul's "friends" included municipal magistrates (Acts 19:31) suggests that some Roman officials were already Christian, although they'd be discreet about it. Moreover, Cornelius became a Christian. He was an officer in the Roman army. No suggestion that he was required (by Peter) to resign from the military to be a Christian.

Steve Hays 

Kevin Craig: "Especially after the U.S. invested so much money and American lives to protect communism from Hitler's advances?"

Often, you can only fight one major enemy at a time. In fact, the US was fighting on two fronts: the European theater and the Pacific theater. We had our hands full. 

At the time, fascism (i.e. Nazi German) was perceived to pose a more imminent threat than communism. 

One can debate that judgment call, especially in retrospect, but it wasn't irrational or malevolent. And, of course, policymakers at the time didn't have the benefit of hindsight.

Steve Hays 

Kevin Craig: "The Bible says 'Thou shalt not kill.' I choose to obey that command."

Actually, he chooses to disobey the command to love your neighbor by protecting your neighbor against wrongful aggression.

"I don't see any qualification of that command that says it's OK for me intentionally to kill."

There are lots of qualifications on that. Take the command to execute a murderer (Gen 9). Take the authority of the state to "wield the sword" (Rom 13).

"But there are many other things a person can do to deter or prevent an attack besides killing, and I would choose one of them."

Yet Kevin also opinions that: 

"You don't know with certainty what the future holds. You are not God."

But in that event he's in no position to assert that there are always non-lethal or non-violent options. He can't say that in advance, for he doesn't know the future circumstances. 

"I don't have the right to decide who will live and who will die."

i) Kevin is one of those types who likes to spout pious nonsense. But that doesn't make you truly devout. It's just spiritually ostentatious playacting. 

ii) Once again, take the command to execute murderers. 

iii) Likewise, suppose a passenger ship capsizes. You can swim but some passengers can't. You can't save them all. So you must pick which ones to save and which ones to let drown. 

"Your hypothesis is that there is NOTHING ELSE I can do but violate a command of God. I will not accept that resignation, even if others do. There will always be a way of avoiding sin (1 Corinthians 10:13)."

Once again, Kevin is one of those types who's emotionally incapable of responding to an opponent on the opponent's own grounds. I don't see any "anti-pacifists" on this thread suggesting that sin is the only live option. So Kevin fails to engage the actual argument. He's just talking to himself. 

"You also assume that I just happen to possess some kind of lethal weapon, which I don't own."

Something needn't be a weapon by design to function as a weapon. Once more, Kevin is too wrapped up in his script to anticipate even the most obvious counterexamples to his sloppy claims.

Steve Hays I've read that Kevin Craig is a "Christian anarchist" running for political office. That could hardly be more self-contradictory. 

In addition, the Bible is not anarchistic by any stretch.
Steve Hays 

Kevin Craig: "So you seriously believe that a Christian should KILL someone who wants to steal a TV?"

The hypothetical involved looters who clean out entire stores. Destroy business after business. 

"I did not 'conveniently ignore' the reference to 'nighttime...'"

Sure you did. You cherry-picked your OT prooftext, even to the point of suppressing counterevidence in the very same passage. And this is not an isolated case. You have a devious habit of selectively quoting the OT. 

"in the New Covenant we are no longer in the dark of night but in the bright day of the Sun of Righteousness (Malachi 4:2),"

Now he resorts to flights of allegory.

"Genesis 9 (commanding the shedding of blood) is part of the 'ceremonial law,' and after the shedding of Christ's blood, must not be literally applied."

According to your idiosyncratic interpretation, which:

i) Fails to distinguish between punitive bloodshed and redemptive bloodshed.

ii) Disregards the fact that the command is grounded in the imago Dei rather than "ceremonial" considerations.

"Hard to continue taking you seriously."

i) I'm responding to you on your own grounds. If you can't take that seriously, then you can't take your own argument seriously. That's something we can both agree on.

ii) BTW, the only one who takes Kevin Craig seriously is his reflection in the bathroom mirror. 

iii) I can't continue to take him seriously inasmuch as I never took him seriously in the first place. He's just target practice (pardon the pun).

"You cannot love your enemy if you kill him."

Evidently, Kevin's too simpleminded to grasp a three-party transaction: A protecting B from C.

"It's part of the mentality that transformed America into the most evil and dangerous entity on the planet."

Kevin keeps backpedaling from his original claim.

"If it is wrong for you to engage in the violent overthrow of a government (and it is wrong_, why is it OK for you to 'vote' for someone to destabilize a government by funding terrorists, or by directly staging a violent coup?"

For the obvious reason that citizens of one state aren't subject to another state. Moreover, national defense may require destabilizing a hostile state. 

"Is circumcision (as given to Abraham) not part of 'the Old Covenant?'"

It's a carryover from the Abrahamic covenant.

"Acts 19:31 is not necessarily about "municipal magistrates." The Liddell-Scott-Jones Lexicon defines the word as 'priest of the Imperial cult in the province of Asia.'"

So Kevin relies on a dated lexicon of Classical Greek, even though the NT was written in Koine Greek. If he bothered to keep up with the best exegetical literature, he'd be aware of inscriptional evidence (from Ephesus and elsewhere) that the term was used in this period to designate municipal magistrates.

"John the Baptist prohibited soldiers from committing violence.
'And the soldiers likewise demanded of him, saying, And what shall we do? And he said unto them, Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages.'" (Luke 3:14).

Once again, Kevin relies on antiquated lexical resources to make his case: in this instance, the KJV of Lk 3:14. 

That, however, is inaccurate. Fitzmyer renders it "Avoid extortion and blackmail," while Bock and Johnson call it a "shakedown." Other commentators take the same approach (e.g. Edwards, Evans, Marshall, Nolland, Stein). Not "violence" in general. 

"The Communists in the Roosevelt White House were using U.S. GI's to support Communism in Eastern Europe and in China. The U.S. was on the side of Mao."

You mean pinko military advisors like Eisenhower and George Marshall? Looks like you've been channeling McCarthy's queer sidekick, Roy Cohn. 

"If you believe someone is going to kill someone, then just like the owner of an ox that has shown a tendency to gore people, you have a responsibility (Exodus 21:29) to keep him under surveillance, or hire a security corporation to keep tabs on him, or something like that. You don't have the right to put a gun to my head and take my money to pay for your fence or security measures, but you do have the responsibility to prevent him from raping or killing if you believe that will happen."

So Kevin thinks prospective murder victims (and rape victims) should hire a private security firm to tail their killer (or rapist). Aside from the prohibitive expense, how do prospective murder victims predict that they will be the killer's next victim?

That's the reductio ad absurdum of pacifism. 

"I have repeatedly said we have a duty to protect people."

Pacifists think we have a duty to engage in ineffectual gestures.

"I've met a lot of anti-pacifists like you."

That puts them in very good company. Thanks for the compliment!

"You have no right to INTENTIONALLY KILL anyone. Even if they don't have a life preserver. Good grief."

The poor sop can't follow his own argument. He originally said: "I don't have the right to decide who will live and who will die."

When I cited a counterexample, he changes the subject.

"You're saying it's not a sin to murder someone if you can't think of any other way to protect someone from him."

Once again, the poor sop keeps imputing his own assumptions to his opponent.

The "antipacifist" isn't saying it's not a sin to murder someone under those circumstances. Rather, he's saying it's not murder to kill someone under those circumstances.

Kevin lacks the critical detachment to accurately state the opposing view. 

"I've met a lot of anti-pacifists like you."

Then you've been blessed to find yourself in such creditable company. Pity it didn't wear off.

"If you can think of some creative way to kill someone without a weapon manufactured for that purpose, why can't you think of some creative way to prevent him from killing that doesn't involve you killing him?"

We're talking about something that happens on the spur of the moment. This isn't something you prepared for. You reach for whatever's available, which may or may not be adequate to the purpose.

Remember, Kevin says the future is unpredictable. You don't know if, when, or where, how, by whom, or to whom, an attack will take place. 

"Locking one's door is 'self-defense.'"

And what's the fallback when the assailant breaks a window to get inside, or kicks the door down? Offer him a plate of brownies? 

"No pacifist anywhere, ever, says to allow violence to 'unchecked.' But there are ways to 'check' evil-doers other than intentionally killing them. They do not require violence, they do not require 'the State.'"

One the one hand you have armed evildoers. On the other hand you have pacifists with foam baseball bats.

Steve Hays 

Kevin Craig: "And if I were a lowly Best Buy employee (who probably isn't allowed by my employer to carry a gun on the job anyway), you would advise me to pull out my gun and start shooting against a sophisticated criminal syndicate that had already amassed a record of destroying 'business after business?' I should kill a human being created in the Image of God as probably my last act on earth in order to save some TV's?"

i) That doesn't begin to address my actual argument. Is Kevin just willful obtuse? 

The question at issue isn't whether an isolated employee of a franchise should shoot a looter who steals a TV. Kevin likes to dodge the real issue.

The question at issue is whether a community should allow the criminal element to make conditions uninhabitable by cleaning out supermarkets, &c., so that there's no available food (except for the looters, who hoard it all). Likewise, allowing thieves to pillage farms and ranches. Take over gas stations. Vandalize power stations. Strip hospitals. Empty pharmacies. And so on and so forth.

This isn't about shoplifting a Bloomingdales or Tiffany's. This is about the availability of essential goods and services. 

ii) Likewise, take an Asian mom-and-pop food mart. This isn't about "employees," but the owners. A family business.

This is their livelihood. How they put food on the table and a roof over their heads. 

Yes, they have a right to defend their business by force. 

"I'm really supposed to take that advice as serious Christian ethical analysis?"

Who made Kevin Craig the arbiter of Christian ethics? No one mailed me that ballot. 

"From a guy who thinks he James Bond."

I don't know what's worse: Kevin's pacifism or mistaking Cary Grant for Sean Connery.

"I think I'll go mow the lawn and think about whether I want to continue this conversation."

He won't have a lawn to mow if thieves steal his lawnmower or squatters invade his home.

Steve Hays Just out of curiosity: since the pacifists on this thread think it's wrong to kill to save innocent lives, do they also think it's wrong to lie to save innocent lives?
Steve Hays 

Kevin Craig: "I've answered this argument. I've outlined how a Christian/pacifist/FreeMarket society can incentivize criminals to make restitution. That pages links to Biblical promises that larcenous hearts will outwardly conform to Christian ethics in a Christian society that does not depend on systematic violence to achieve its goals. "When a man's ways please the LORD, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him" (Proverbs 16:7). Your scenario comes out of Hollywood, not the real world that God created and that Christ saves."

i) Proverbs doesn't make universal promises. It states general prudential policies, but there are many exceptions. 

ii) On the one hand you propose a scenario in which everyone else unilaterally disarms except for the criminal element. That will have utterly predictable consequences. There's no effective deterrent and no effective means to restrain or repel them. They can do anything they please, and they will exploit the opportunity you afford them.

This only happens in Hollywood movies because only in Hollywood movies are citizens as Pollyannaish as pacifists. If, in real life, enough citizens laid down their arms, utter mayhem would ensue. 

"Would you be willing to indemnify your son by promising to compensate Mr. Asian for whatever your son takes from Mr. Asian if Mr. Asian won't skewer your son?"

i) Even if we grant your utterly fanciful hypothetical for the sake of argument, that only works in case there's a credible threat that Mr. Asian can and will fight back, with legal force if necessary. Since, however, you actually disallow the morality of that action, your hypothetical is predicated on an assumption which your overall position repudiates

ii) At best, moreover, your hypothetical does nothing to address more common, more realistic scenarios. 

"Where does the Bible say I have a right to put my stuff ahead of the life of another human being?"

i) To begin with, the Bible doesn't confine capital punishment to murder. For instance, kidnapping is a capital offense. Juvenile delinquency is a capital offense.

ii) Your objection is utterly disingenuous. You fixate on the stolen TV scenario, as if you were only opposed to shooting armed robbers. But, of course, you oppose lethal force across the board.

So you're like a demagogical abortionist who makes a big deal about rape, as if she thinks there should be a rape exception, when in fact she believes in abortion for any reason at any stage of gestation. 

iii) You continue to erect a false dichotomy between "life" and "stuff," although you've been corrected on that point. You're someone who argues in bad faith.

People need "stuff" to live on. We're not just talking about luxury items. 

If you steal the livestock of an ancient Israelite, his family will starve. If you steal his farm, his family will starve. 

If breadwinners can't provide for their dependents, because criminals destroyed their business, then that puts their lives at stake. 

"I'd rather read articles -- like those at LewRockwell.com -- on how human beings can form harmonious societies without mass murder and systematic extortion."

Pacifism is an open invitation to systematic extortion.

"I made a reference to the part I ellipsed by quoting Romans 13. Nothing was "suppressed.""

You cited Exod 22:3, but ignored v2. Your citation was deceptive. 

"It's the Bible's allegory, not mine."

The Bible doesn't endorse your blatant equivocation. Mal 4:2 is figurative. By contrast, Exod 22:2 refers to literal darkness. 

Moreover, Mal 4:2 doesn't say that abrogates Exod 22:2. 

"Where does the Bible make this distinction?"

In Scripture, punishment and atonement are not coterminous. Do you really need to have that explained to you? Are you so biblically illiterate that you need a list of examples?

BTW, priestly oversight is not a stipulation of capital punishment in Gen 9.

"Are you saying Jesus commands me to love MY enemy but I'm not commanded to love my neighbor's enemy? Seriously?"

You can't simultaneously "love" the child rapist and love the child he's in process of raping. If you refuse to restrain the rapist by any means necessary, you're treating the victim hatefully.

"I think I've already explained why the Bible prohibits 'national defense.'"

The question at issue is not whether you oppose national defense. As a pacifist, that's a given.

The question at issue is your misuse of Rom 13. 

"Go ahead a link to some evidence."

It's not my job to do your research for you. Consult standard, up-to-date commentaries on Acts.

In addition, Kevin is too clueless to realize that a prohibition against extortion and blackmail is hardly equivalent to a prohibition against violence in general. His prooftext (Lk 3:14) falls woefully short of what he needs.

"I talked about someone (call him Smith) who believes someone (call him Jones) might possibly murder someone in the future, based on Jones' past conduct. Smith has a responsibility to others, but has no right to kill Jones."

You concoct a wholly unrealistic scenario in which Smith should hire a private security firm, out of pocket, to protect Jones. 

Keep in mind that, as a pacifist, you've disarmed the security firm. Bodyguards who "witness" to the murderer as he's in process of killing Jones.

"Where is the Biblical argument that you have a right to kill someone in order to save your own life?"

i) If there's a right (indeed, obligation) to kill somebody after he sheds innocent blood (e.g. Gen 9:5-7), what makes you think there's no right to kill somebody who's about to shed innocent blood? If anything, preventing the evil is better than punishing the evil. 

ii) And, once again, you argue in bad faith by disregarding the link between self-defense and defending others. A breadwinner defends his dependents by defending himself. A caregiver defends his charge by defending himself. The lives are linked.

"But why reach for something with the intent to KILL instead of reaching for something that will gently put the assailant to sleep?"

You're making the gratuitous assumption that when, say, a homeowner is surprised by an armed houseburgler, that the homeowner has a range of options at his (or her) disposal. You're pacifism is a fantasy.

"I would rather be killed than kill."

Brave sounding words by somebody who's still alive. Clearly you're not trying very hard to live by your creed.

"I would rather follow in the steps of Jesus, who did not kill to defend Himself against those whom He knew were going to kill Him."

That's because he came on a unique redemptive mission that required him to be killed. 

If you're following in his footsteps, shouldn't you be dead by now? 

"Where are the verses that say it's better to kill than be killed?"

That's a disingenuous question, for you preemptively discount evidence that runs counter to your dogma.

"Where are the verses which say 'Kill another human being rather than allow the highest material standard of living in human history which you enjoy to be diminished?'"

Which illustrates your chronic bad faith. The question at issue isn't mainlining the highest material standard of living, but the preservation of innocent life.

"So you're not doing a very effective job of persuading me I have a Biblical duty to kill rather than be killed."

It was never may objective to persuade you. You misconceive your role in this drama. You're just a foil. The straight man. 

"More empty invective, more evidence you aren't intelligently engaging my arguments."

To the contrary, when I say On the one hand you have armed evildoers. On the other hand you have pacifists with foam baseball bats, that's exactly what your position reduces to if it were implemented. 

You lack the intelligence to follow through with the logical implications and practical consequences of your position.

Steve Hays If Craig is going to call opponents of pacifism "anti-pacifists," opponents can just as well call pacifists "pro-cutthroats," "pro-rapists," "pro-arsonists," "pro-muggers," &c.
Steve Hays I notice that not even the pacifists on this thread have supported Kevin's eccentric "solutions."
Steve Hays 

Kevin Craig: "I take this position, which I call 'pacifism': 'Attempted theft: Ex.22:3 says that someone who kills a thief in daylight should be "executed.'"

That's a self-refuting prooftext for pacifism inasmuch as it involves the taking of life. Capital punishment. 

"Jesus says 'Give to him who asks.'"

One of Kevin's problems is that he will absolutize one particular command, which, in turn, forces him to relativize all the others. 

If you give away everything, you will disobey the command to honor your parents in case they require your support in their old age (e.g. financial assistance or moving them into your home). 

Likewise, you can't provide for your children if you give all your belongings to strangers. Kevin's position quickly degenerates into chaos. 

"Such a thief should be the target of "church discipline," not death."

i) There's no biblical warrant for extending church discipline to those outside the church community. Scripture doesn't begin to equate penology with church discipline. 

ii) Moreover, Kevin is too shortsighted to appreciate that church discipline presupposes an inside/outside distinction: excommunication. But if pacifism were the rule, then excommunication would be unenforceable. Thieves could do whatever they want, wherever they want, whenever they want. 

"A thief is someone who violates the stewardship God has given you over possessions which help you feed your family…It is better to be stolen from than to kill a thief."

One again, Kevin is too myopic to perceive the conundrum he's generated. You can't feed your family if you allow yourself to be robbed. That violates a basic social obligation (1 Tim 5:8).

"I don't think this position has been read, much less refuted."

It would be redundant to refute a self-refuting position. Kevin has refuted his own position by its glaring contradictions.

"The exception proves the rule. We should conform our actions to God's rules."

That confuses "rules" with promises. It's an elementary blunder to treat Proverbs as a promise box that makes infallible predictions if you follow the rules. Proverbs aren't prophecies. As one commentator notes:

"It is the in the nature of a proverb not to give promises but rather to indicate the best route toward a reward–all things being equal. We illustrate what we mean here by an examination of a commonly abused proverb, 22:6." Longman, 85. 

Sadly, many grown children do cast off their Christian upbringing. That's not an isolated event. 

"The criminal element is also morally obligated to 'unilaterally disarm.'"

Which won't happen.

"But yes, 'unilateral disarmament" is God's requirement for us. "Swords into plowshares.'"

The Isaian passage is an eschatological prediction.

"but to repudiate God's Commandments just because our life is not a bed or roses 100% of the time is foolhardy."

i) As usual, we're treated to Kevin's incorrigible intellectual frivolity. He chronically asserts that opposition to pacifism means disobeying God's commands. Yet that's the very issue in dispute! He doesn't engage opponents on their own grounds. 

ii) Moreover, he's too shortsighted to perceive the consequences of his own position, if carried out. If everybody except the criminal element unilaterally disarms, the result won't be something less than a bed of roses 100% of the time. Rather, you will have a sociopathic conflagration in which looters, cutthroats, arsonists, rape-gangs, &c. terrorize a defenseless community–engaging in wanton torture and destruction. There are many historical examples of this.

"Your son is dead meat unless you agree to indemnify Mr. Asian for whatever your son the thief takes."

That hypothetical does nothing to address all the cases in which Mr Asian will be driven out of business by looters or arsonists who don't have sugar daddies to remunerate the storekeeper. It is not a real-world scenario. 

"The thread began with TV's at Best Buy. That was not me who brought that up."

It was not me who brought that up either. It's dishonest of you to act as if that's the only relevant example. 

"We're talking about TV's at Best Buy. I call that 'luxury.'"

Once again, this illustrates your persistent unwillingness to argue in good faith. And it also evinces your failure to take pacifism seriously, since you duck other examples.

"Eliminating the "night" doesn't 'abrogate' the law."

Mal 4:2 doesn't eliminate the night in Exod 22:2. That's just your fanciful allegorization. You haven't begun to demonstrate that Malachi has Exod 22 in mind, or anything like it. Instead, you're indulging in silly concordance exegesis, where you act as if the same word always has the same meaning or referent.

Likewise, the Noahic covenant is not the Mosaic covenant. Punishment is not conterminous with atonement.

"Your duty to love the rapist is the duty not to kill him. It's the duty to treat him as your own son. You would use not 'any means necessary' to stop your son from raping, but any non-violent and loving means to stop him. In short, if you obey Christ, and love your enemies, you are a pacifist."

i) The child-rapist is not my enemy. The child-rapist is the child's enemy. Your fanatical attachment to pacifism forces you to be willfully dense. Christ doesn't command me to love the child's enemy. 

ii) There's no scriptural command to treat a child-rapist as my own son. 

iii) But even if there were, OT Jews were commanded to execute disobedient relatives.

iv) If my own son was about to violate a child, it would be my duty to protect the child at the expense of my son. 

v) Kevin has no "nonviolent" way of stopping a child-rapist. He has no fallback if nonviolent measures fail. He'd just stand there and preach to the rapist who's sodomizing the child. 

vi) Kevin is too morally blinded to appreciate that in a situation like that, the welfare of the innocent takes precedence over the welfare of the perpetrator. 

"This is another example of how you negate clear commands of Scripture. Jesus said 'Love your enemies,' but you say 'I don't have to if he's threatening me (i.e., being my enemy).'"

i) One of the problems with a false position like pacifism is that it betrays the proponent into morally compromised argumentation. Despite repeated correction, Kevin continues to reduce everything to a 2-party transaction, as if it always comes down to me and my enemy. And he constantly misattributes that position to his opponents.

If, however, a mugger is threatening an old lady in the park, he's not my enemy–he's her enemy. He doesn't pose a threat to me but to her.

In fact, if I want to play it safe, I will look the other way. I won't interfere. 

By intervening to protect her, I draw her fire. Only at that point does the mugger become a threat to me. 

Kevin can't muster the intellectual honesty to acknowledge that rudimentary distinction because so much of his pacifist reasoning would crumble if he did. 

ii) And, as I've explained on more than one occasion, defending yourself and defending another are frequently linked. There are often people who need us to survive for their own benefit. 

"Romans 13 says 'Be subject' to evil governments, and you say 'Not if I want to overthrow them or kill all their soldiers.'"

This is a nice example of Kevin's scripture-twisting. For instance, he complains about American foreign policy. But if we're to be "subject to evil governments," then Kevin should support American foreign policy. "My country, right or wrong." He should volunteer for military service. 

Like Santayan's classic definition of fanatic, Kevin is such a zealot for pacifism that he can no longer perceive his blatant self-contradictions. 

"Labeling the idea 'unrealistic' is not probative."

Kevin does a two-step. On the one hand pretends that there are nonviolent alternatives. And he castigates opponents of pacifism for overlooking these. When Kevin is in this mode, he acts as if he does have a practical or realistic alternative. 

When, on the other hand, Kevin is pressed, he admits that nonviolent measures may be futile. He concedes that he doesn't have a realistic, practical alternative.

So we're constantly treated to Kevin's duplicity. He begins with false advertising by lowballing the consequences of pacifism. That's to foster the misimpression that pacifism isn't as disastrous as it seems to be.

But as soon as he's pinned to the wall, he reverses himself and admits that he has no fallback position if nonviolent measures prove to be ineffectual. 

Like a slick salesman, he lacks the integrity to show the customer upfront what the product really amounts to. And even after his true position is exposed, he bounces right back to the throwaway line about "nonviolent alternatives." 

That's the problem with defending a false position: it commits you to dishonest tactics in defending your position. 

"If not 'out of pocket,' then society should create 501(c)(3) organizations to help (in a non-violent, loving way) those who bear responsibility for children or others who are criminally disposed."

As usual, Kevin never thinks through the consequences of his position, if carried through. If everybody except the criminal class unilaterally disarms, you can't have 501(c)(3) organizations. There's nothing to protect financial arrangements if people refuse to fight back against the criminal element. 

Kevin operates with this compartmentalized view of pacifism, as if social institutions as a whole will be left intact after society unilaterally disarms. So it's just a case of how to deal nonviolently with isolated criminals. Everybody continues to play by the rules except for a handful of easily manageable miscreants. 

That's an imaginary abstraction with no factual basis in fallen human nature. If society unilaterally disarms, the criminal element won't be contained in a hermeneutically sealed compartment. 

"Or form a human barricade."

This is another example of how Kevin doesn't take his own position seriously. He doesn't pause for a moment to think a few steps deep.

If society unilaterally disarms, then the criminal element has the grenades, machine guns, tanks, flamethrowers, &c. How effective will a human barricade be against what the criminal element has at its disposal of society unilaterally disarms? It's another empty gesture. 

And this isn't just hypothetical. For instance, look at what happens when Latin American drug cartels become too powerful to restrain. Once the situation spins out of control, it takes a civil war to put the cork back in the bottle. And that only succeeds when a gov't hits back with all it's got. 

"I've said repeatedly that when Jesus said 'Love your enemies,' He included under the label 'enemy' a total stranger that's assaulting someone else."

Notice that Kevin resorts to stipulating that his definition is true.

Steve Hays BTW, the rioting in Baltimore, examples of which could be easily multiplied, illustrates what happens then the authorities unilaterally disarm and allow the criminal element to behave with impunity. That's what pacifism leads to in a real-world situation.
Steve Hays When considering the right of self-defense (or defending others) from a biblical perspective, let's consider an argument from analogy. 

The Mosaic law has some safety regulations, like covering an open well (Exod 22:33) and putting a parapet round your roof (Deut 22:8). These are precautionary measures to diminish the risk of accidental death. Then there's this example:

28 “When an ox gores a man or a woman to death, the ox shall be stoned, and its flesh shall not be eaten, but the owner of the ox shall not be liable. 29 But if the ox has been accustomed to gore in the past, and its owner has been warned but has not kept it in, and it kills a man or a woman, the ox shall be stoned, and its owner also shall be put to death" (Exod 22:28-29).

One commentator makes an interesting observation:

"An enormous number of court documents describing trials and lawsuits have survived from the ANE. And although the codes of Eshnunna and Hammarabi, like the Book of the Covenant, have laws related to the bull that gores someone, there is not a single example of a case law involving this in all the extant record from Mesopotamia. This implies that the goring bull was in fact a rare occurrence. Wells is probably correct that the laws about the goring bull are meant to provide legal principles that could apply to all kinds of cases. They were never intended to apply narrowly only to lawsuits involving bulls. In following the custom of using the hypothetical case of the goring bull to establish precedent for settling all kinds of disputes involving injury, the Book of Covenant was adhering to a well-established ANE pattern. D. Garrett, A Commentary on Exodus (Kregel 2014), 506.

So what is the principle? You have a distinction between accidental death and criminal negligence. Is this unexpected, or is this an accident just waiting to happen? 
If a bull has a reputation for being dangerous, its owner fails to take adequate precautions, and the bull kills someone, the owner is liable to be executed.

He's not simply culpable after the fact. Rather, he's culpable for failing to take reasonable measures to prevent a predictable and avoidable outcome. And his negligence is so aggravated that he's liable to be executed, in a case of poetic justice.

Minimally, he should have secured the vicious animal. And it would be more prudent to slaughter the animal rather than risking someone's life. Don't wait and hope for the best. 

A fortiori, it is better to kill in self-defense than let yourself be killed, and the murderer be punished after the fact. Better to prevent the crime by protecting yourself than permit the crime. Better to prevent the crime than punish the crime. 

If the life of the negligent owner is forfeit, why isn't the life of a life-threatening assailant forfeit by attempting to kill you? If the only thing that prevents him from killing you is self-defense, isn't that justifiable? 

The case of the ox is given to illustrate general principles. That includes the duty to take preemptive action to avoid the loss of innocent life–as well as forfeiture of culpable life. Self-defense is analogous on both counts.
Steve Hays 

"Kevin Craig: [quoting Hays] 'Better to prevent the crime than punish the crime.'

This is called "Minority Report.'"

i) Actually, it's called the Bible. I gave three biblical examples where prevention is better than punishment (Exod 21:28-29; 21:33-34; Deut 22:8). 

But Kevin's lip-service to Christianity takes a backseat to his anarcholibertarianism. That's where his treasure is. 

ii) Moreover, Kevin is too confused to grasp the argument. This has nothing to do with shifting the presumption of innocence. If an aggressor is attempting to harm you, he's made his intentions clear by his actions. 

But Kevin is enslaved to his anarcholibertarian narrative. He reinterprets everything through his funhouse mirror. 

"But I mentioned this verse in a response to Patrick, suggesting that a pacifist still has a moral responsibility to others if he has reason to believe that someone is a threat to others, and a pacifist society would establish 501(c)(3) organizations to provide a buffer between the violently-inclined and their potential victims. (The suggestion was ridiculed, of course, like everything I suggest,) "

No, it wasn't merely "ridiculed." Rather, I explained how that's utterly inconsistent with the practical ramifications of a society practicing unilateral disarmament, thereby giving the criminal class a license to kill. 

"The text doesn't say that if an ox has a tendency to gore people, the ox should be killed. It says the owner should build a fence."

Where does the text say the owner should build a fence? 

"Only if the owner doesn't take responsibility and someone is killed by the ox is the ox and owner killed."

Because he didn't take necessary precautions to prevent that from happening. 

"But the State does not own us, and we should be more reluctant to kill a human being created in the Image of God than an ox."

I see Kevin doesn't grasp a fortiori arguments. This is how it goes:

If we should take necessary precautions to protect innocent human life from dangerous livestock, how much more should we take necessary precautions to protect innocent human life from malicious human aggressors. 

A dangerous ox isn't even culpable. By contrast, human beings, as moral agents, can forfeit their prima facie immunities by threatening others without due cause.

Steve Hays Kevin loves everything about martyrdom except dying.

Steve Hays Funny how Kevin abodes so much faith in the historical revisionism of a secular humanist. For a corrective: 



Steve Hays 

Kevin Craig: "I have tried to make the point several times that these hypotheticals are worthless. What we need is a set of moral principles to follow, not hypotheticals to tinker with."

OT case laws are hypotheticals. They discuss hypothetical situations. 

"There are actually women who have said, "Don't kill someone 'for me' and send him off to hell for eternity just so I can avoid a few moments of torture, like Christ endured torture for me."

And if you clink on Kevin's link, and examine the source, this is what you find:

"Tony Lorenzen. I am a Unitarian Universalist minister living a missional life in Texas."http://sunflowerchalice.com/about-2/

Back to Kevin:

"What does it mean to 'forsake' a friend? If my friend is being attacked and I do everything I can to protect my friend from the attack -- short of intentionally killing the attacker -- have I discharged the command not to 'forsake' my friend?"

Indulging in a flurry of ineffectual gestures isn't protecting your friend. "Doing everything" short of doing the only thing that would actually protect him is just a sham.

"If killing isn't vengeance, I don't know what is. "

I appreciate Kevin's candid admission of ignorance. Indeed, he has no idea what vengeance is.

If I shoot a pit bull that lunges at a toddler, I'm not exacting revenge on the pit bull. I'm simply protecting the toddler from a dog-mauling.

"The point I'm making is that the Bible says intentionally killing a thief is wrong." 

Is Kevin hopelessly illiterate? The passage says intentionally killing a houseburger at night is morally permissible. 

"So my position is not 'self-refuting.'" 

His prooftext that the Bible allegedly says intentionally killing a thief is wrong is self-refuting inasmuch as the prooftext explicitly permits that very action in reference to a nighttime intruder.

"Both sides inevitably do this. You're absolutizing the command to 'protect' or 'provide' and relativizing 'Thou shalt not kill' and 'love your enemies.'"

So he belatedly concedes that both pacifists and non-pacifists inevitably prioritize some commands over others. In that event, he can't object in principle to killing in self-defense or killing to protect others, when a higher obligation to protect innocent life supersedes the lower obligation to love an enemy. 

"If obedience to the commands of God ultimately -- after doing everything else -- requires me to give away everything (and you ridicule the idea only at the expense of ridiculing the very words of our Lord) then I start over, I work overtime, I do some crowdfunding, I do whatever it takes to obey the command to see that my parents are taken care of when the time comes."

i) Starting over again assumes you can save what you make. Accrue wealth. But if everybody is a pacifist except the criminal element, then you can't accumulate goods, for the criminal element will take everything you have as soon as you have something worth taking. 

ii) Kevin acts as if caring for enfeebled parents is a future need. But some parents need that assistance right now. The criminal element will deprive the parents of necessary assistance right now.

"Obviously I wouldn't 'give everything away' without a conversation. Thieves have a duty to 'be content' as well as anybody."

So now he's suddenly backpedaling from the unqualified command of Lk 6:30 ("Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back."). Now he's adding conditions. 

If that's legit, why not moderate the command to love one's enemies? 

"See your comments on Baltimore. Those riots are not happening because pacifists are in charge."

Kevin confuses the alleged motivation of the rioters for what makes it possible for them to loot and burn buildings. They can do that with impunity because the authorities refuse to forcibly restrain them, and refuse to let businessmen forcibly protect their businesses. Hence, the rioters know they can get a way with it. Guess what happens when the establishment sends that message to the criminal element? 

"I've shown that there is no such thing as 'penology' in the Bible." 

The Bible contains many penalties for many crimes. That's called a penal code. That's Biblical penology. 

"I've shown how a pacifist society could 'enforce' arbitration agreements to deter crime."

The fact that Kevin has to put "enforce" in scare quotes shows you he's blowing smoke. Pacifism has no coercive power to deter crime. It can't physically restrain criminal conduct. It's just hortatory. 

"I can't feed my family if that includes having a 60" HDTV from Best Buy…You're putting abundant possessions ahead of obeying the commands of Christ."

i) This is yet another example of Kevin's persistently unethical tactics. The Best Buy illustration wasn't my illustration in the first place. In fact, I reminded Kevin of that very fact when he trotted that out in a previous response. But Kevin is too unscrupulous to let that get in the way of his agenda. 

I've used very different examples. But Kevin ignores those examples because they are harder for him to deal with. He pretends that my case depends on the Best Buy illustration. That's a demonstrable lie. But Kevin is a fanatic, so he has no compunction about resorting to unethical tactics to score points. He will say anything to advance his agenda. 

ii) Moreover, as I pointed out, even if a business sells items that aren't essential goods and services, the very fact that the business is an employer is, itself, an essential service to the community. But Kevin ignores that argument. 

"you don't feel an ethical obligation to read your intellectual opponent's writings before responding to them."

To the contrary, I've documented your glaring contradictions. 

"We should obey God's rule, even if there is no absolute guarantee that obedience will turn out exactly the way we hope it will, to our benefit, with no sacrifice on our part."

i) Your appeal was based on a typical misconception of what proverbs are. I corrected you on that. 

ii) And this is yet another example of your chronic duplicity. You constantly play a two-step. You begin by claiming that pacifism has non-violent alternatives.

When, however, it's pointed out that your alleged alternatives aren't genuine alternatives, inasmuch as they can't achieve equivalent results, you then make a virtue of necessity by claiming that pacifism doesn't need to offer feasible alternatives to violence. 

Either you're too morally blind to perceive your patent inconsistently or else you're willfully duplicitous. Take your pick. 

"You say that as though it somehow refutes my claim or negates God's commandment."

i) Yet another example of Kevin's Scripture-twisting. He alludes to Isa 2:4 (and the parallel passage in Micah). But that's not a "command." Not an imperative, but a future indicative. It's a prediction about the distant future. 

ii) Moreover, it's not about unilateral disarmament, but universal disarmament. It foresees a golden age when no one will take up arms against another. When God assumes direct governance of world affairs.

That's the opposite of Kevin's position. In pacifism, you have two sides: those who eschew violence and a criminal element that resorts to violence. That's not the situation which Isa 2 envisions. It doesn't have two sides: pacifists and militants. Rather, there's the complete cessation of hostilities for all concerned parties.

"Just a bare naked claim."

To the contrary, I pointed out that pacifism has no fallback when nonviolent methods fail. Which is something you yourself admit, depending on which side of your mouth you're talking out of at any given time. 

Your modus operandi is to use whatever argument is convenient at the moment, then use the opposite argument a moment later. Your arguments keep shifting to suit the immediate needs of the debate. Rhetorical expedience is your only principle. 

"You mean I don't assume what you haven't proven."

You're not entitled to the presumption that pacifism is true. You have your own burden of proof to discharge.

"Name one 'historical example' of where Christian pacifists successfully…"

Now Kevin is doing a bait-n-switch by attempting to substitute a different claim than the one I made. But the question at issue is what happens to a community when it unilaterally disarms or is otherwise unable to repel aggression. History is replete examples of the ensuing massacres and atrocities. It's open season on the defenseless populace. 

"It is in the interests of a pacifist society to incentivize unconverted would-be thieves not to rob."

There is no incentive for would-be thieves to work for what they can get for free. That's the whole motivation behind stealing. Kevin is such a babe-in-the-woods. Why toil for what you can get for nothing! Just look at looters.

"I've provided Biblical promises which, while no guarantee of a 100% problem-free rose garden, are a clear indication of the Biblical direction we are morally obligated to pursue."

Once again, we're treated to Kevin's shell-game. Under one shell he puts the pea of divine "promises." But on closer examination, that's not really a promise. 

Then he shuffles the shells with sleight of hand so that when you lift a shell, the promised pea isn't underneath. What you instead find is an empty promise. A broken promise. Instead of being a "promise," it's suddenly just a "moral obligation." 

Kevin's whole presentation is a confidence trick. An honest pacifist would simply admit at the outset that pacifism is an unlivable ideal. But that's bad PR, so Kevin begins by lowballing the consequences of pacifism, only says uncle when his hand is forced, then goes right back to lowballing the consequences of pacifism once the pressure is off. He's a conman for pacifism.

"that under the New Covenant, after the Sun of Righteousness has arisen, that we should have love for our enemies and faith to avoid killing thieves even at night?"

That's just a semantic gimmick–on the same level as saying Scripture calls Jesus a lion, Scripture calls Satan a lion, therefore Jesus is Satan!

"I've made the argument that what is called 'punishment' by legal scholars in our secular age was for purposes of 'atonement' in the Old Covenant. You've never even touched my arguments."

By Kevin's screwball logic, everlasting punishment in hell is atonement. 

"The rapist of any child is my 'enemy.' I'm surprised you would not concur."

That's not an exegetical argument. That's just a case of Kevin inventing what his argument requires. 

In pacifist prooftexts from the Sermon on the Mount, the "enemies" aren't agents who wrong somebody else, but who wrongs you personally: one on one. The enemy doesn't slap someone else in the face: he slaps you in the face. It's about how you should response to a backhanded slap. 

It's about his taking your own tunic, not someone else's tunic. If a Roman soldier commandeers you to transport his goods, it's about him forcing you to go a mile, not forcing a third party to go a mile in your stead

But Kevin just makes up what he needs in the teeth of what the text clearly and actually means. He imposes on the text an interpretation that cuts agains the grain of the text. 

"It is, as you say, 'myopic' to contend that there is no possible way to stop the rape of a child, say, by pulling the rapist off the child, and shielding the child with my own body…"

That doesn't stop the rape–that delays the rape. A temporary postponement. If the pacifist shields the child with his own body, the rapist simply shoots, stabs, or clubs the pacifist, then gets back to the business at hand.

So Kevin isn't loving the child. Rather, Kevin is treating the child hatefully by refusing to protect the child. 

"You violate the Ninth Commandment by saying I would 'just stand there.' I wouldn't 'just stand there.' I think you know that."

Kevin violates the Ninth Commandment by citing only half of what I said. I didn't say he's just stand there, period. I said he'd preach to the rapist.

While the rapist was sodomizing the child before Kevin's very eyes, Kevin would stand there reciting 1 Corinthians 13 (or some other suitable passage for the occasion. Perhaps Kevin has a lectionary for that purpose.)

"Our job is to guard the welfare of both. There is no Scriptural command to disregard the welfare of (which I would define as 'hate') the perpetrator (which I would define as 'enemy')."

A good example of how pacifism subverts and perverts elementary standards of Biblical justice. There's pervasive Scriptural warrant for treating innocent parties differently than guilty parties. That's an essential distinction in the divinely mandated human administration of justice. 

"Any mugger of any old lady is MY 'enemy.' Anyone who mugs today could mug me tomorrow. I need to "witness" to him NOW."

While the mugger is beating and kicking the old lady senseless, Kevin stands there reading 1 Corinthians 13 out loud. 

"If you want to play it safe, you'll kill him."

To the contrary, the way to play it safe is not to intervene in a mugging. Indeed, that's why many bystanders don't get involved. If I get into a physical altercation with a mugger, to protect the victim, it's by no means a foregone conclusion which one of us will survive the dustup. 

"You 'pretend' that there are only violent alternatives."

Kevin never misses an opportunity to be unethical. As I specifically said in a previous response, I don't rule out non-violent alternatives.

Problem is, you need a back-up if non-violent alternatives are futile. 

"God demands faithfulness, not 'success.'"

See a pattern here? Kevin speaks with a forked tongue. With one prong he recommends non-violent alternatives. But with the other prong he says pacifism doesn't really need genuine alternatives because it's about fidelity rather than practicality. 

"Jesus said you must be willing to lose your life if you wish to find it."

So why doesn't Kevin candidly say at the outset, and then repeat at regular intervals, that pacifism is a suicide pact? Why not frankly admit that pacifism is unlivable?

But Kevin tries to camouflage the truth by appealing to so-called "promises" and so-called non-violent "alternatives." When you read the fine print, the so-called "promises" and "alternatives" are really escape clauses.

"reading my links which show a practical path to a non-violent Christian pacifist society."

Yet another example of Kevin's incorrigible duplicity. Is pacifism practical or impractical? Kevin says both. 

He says it's practical, yet when you scrutinize his claim, he then reverses himself and resorts to mock pious platitudes about how it isn't practical after all, but that doesn't matter because it isn't supposed to be a livable policy. He goes back and forth on this all the time. 

"Right now, machine guns, tanks, fighter jets, destroyer warships, and weapons of mass destruction are manufactured by 'practical,' responsible, patriotic, disciplined, middle-class heads of families like Steve Hays -- not by undisciplined low-life criminal scum."

And if society foreswears self-defense, then the criminal class will be free to raid gun shops, police departments, military bases, &c. If society unilaterally disarms while the criminal class is armed to the teeth, guess what happens next? 

"Drug cartels are the creation of anti-pacifists in Washington D.C…"

Another one of Kevin's tactics is his exercise in misdirection:

i) To begin with, Kevin is an anarcholibertarian. If drugs were legalized, would that dissolve drug cartels? Someone would still need to produce and distribute drugs. Organized crime would wish to profit from that very lucrative market, and drive out competitors by any means necessary.

ii) More to the point, which Kevin sidesteps with his decoy, what happens to a society when it's overrun by the criminal element? When it lacks the wherewithal to fight back? Latin American drug cartels are a graphic example. And even that's a pale imitation of what would happen under pacifism, where there's no pushback at all. 

"Notice that Steve doesn't falsify it."

The onus is hardly on me to "falsify" Kevin's stimulative definition. But as I matter of fact I have "falsified" it (see above).

Steve Hays 

Kevin Craig: "Bnonn, it's a good thing you're neither a Hebrew professor nor a judge. The Hebrew word in the 6th commandment ..."

Let's see what a Hebraist has to say:

God's law mandates the taking of the life of a person for various crime such as murder (Exod 21:12-16)… 
The [sixth] commandment…codifies the earlier command in Gen 9:6…the operative word is rasah…[which] specifically means "to take innocent life"… 
Suffice it here to note that the sixth commandment cannot be used as an argument against capital punishment. The Mosaic law is consistent in asserting that capital punishment is a form of justice sanctioned by God (see chap. 11.II.E). The prohibition against the taking of innocent life obvious does not apply. B. Waltke, An Old Testament Theology (Zondervan 2007), 303, 427-28. 
"The Hebrew stem r-ts-h, as noted by Rashbam and Behkor Shor, applies only to illegal killing and, unlike other bergs for the taking of life, is never used in the administration of justice or for killing in war. Also, it is never employed when the subject of the action is God or an angel. This command, therefore, cannot be used to justify either pacifism or the abolition of the death penalty. N. Sarna, Exodus (JPS 1991), 113.  
"Rasah always refers to the killing of one human being by another (or others), and is not used in judicial or military contexts. It is best to translated it "murder," therefore, since judicial and military killing is not in view [in Deut 5:17], and accidental killing cannot be meant, in the nature of the case." J. G. McConville, Deuteronomy (Apollos 2002), 129.  
"It is clear from these passages that rasah refers to both intentional homicide ("murder") and accidental homicide ("kill"). As Tigay says, 'Since rash refers to intentional and accidental killing and the latter, being unintentional, cannot be prohibited, the command must refer to the former, and 'you shall not murder" remains the best translation." V. Hamilton, Exodus: An Exegetical Commentary (Baker 2011), 344. 

The common denominator in murder and manslaughter is unjustifiable homicide. In both cases, the victim did nothing to merit death. 

That's what the 6th commandment prohibits. But, of course, it makes allowance for justifiable homicide.
Steve Hays 

Kevin Craig: "You say 'capital punishment.' Nice and 'legal.' The Bible says 'shed blood.' The word of Steve is 'execute.' The Word of God is 'shed blood.'"

Fine. If Kevin's objection to killing is keyed to a particular mode of killing ("bloodshed"), then there are ever so many ways of killing that are essentially bloodless. Hanging. Electrocution. Lethal injection. Nuclear bombing. Neutron bombing. Nerve gas. 

We could get more creative. Drop a convicted murder into a snakepit containing a King Cobra or a reticulated python. Drop him into a fish tank with box jellyfish. Stick him in a freezer. The list is long. 

I'm not saying these are nice ways to die. But they avoid bloodshed.

Steve Hays Typically confused or disingenuous comments by Kevin:

i) As Waltke explains, what the 6th commandment prohibits is not the taking human life in general, but taking innocent human life. 

So Craig's claim that the Hebrew doesn't use a technical term for "murder" is a distinction without a difference in this case. 

ii) In addition, Kevin's comparison between animal sacrifice and capital punishment is vitiated by numerous equivocations:

a) Animal sacrifice was intentionally bloody. It involved deliberate bloodletting. To smear or sprinkle sacrificial blood on the altar. It wasn't just about killing the animal, but killing the animal in a way to exsanguinate the victim. 

b) By contrast, the standard method of judicial execution was stoning. The mode of executing convicts was entirely different from the mode of sacrificing animals. 

c) In addition, stoning isn't a distinctively bloody form of execution. It's not bloody in the way that slitting the victim's throat is bloody. From what I've read, it causes massive internal bleeding.

d) Which brings us to another vital distinction. The ceremonial law makes a big deal about discharges. Internal bodily fluids that don't remain inside. 

Blood is normally supposed to stay inside a person. Blood sacrifice is designed to expose the blood. Bring what's inside outside.

By contrast, that's not the objective of stoning. And stoning is a very inefficient means of exsanguination. Most of the blood remains inside the victim. Stoning doesn't serve the same purpose or carry the same significance. That's why the standard method of execution is so different from the method of sacrificing animals. 

So Craig's comparison backfires.

Steve Hays Kevin's argument is deceptive. An obvious problem with his appeal is that the OT often merely says the convict should "die" or be "put to death." In many cases it doesn't specify the method of execution. It doesn't require the convict to be executed by "shedding his (or her) blood."

In addition, God, on a number of occasions, executes sinners through plagues. On one occasion by causing them the earth to swallow them up. These aren't bloody methods of executing sinners.

Steve Hays 

Kevin Craig: "The passages on 'capital punishment' so-called are perfectly clear: Genesis 9:4-6…Numbers 35:33…You're not obeying God's Law if you're executing someone without intending to ATONE and CLEANSE the land. You're just taking vengeance."

i) Gen 9:4-6 doesn't make the divine mandate to exact the death penalty (in case of murder) contingent on atonement or cleansing the land. 

ii) "Bloodshed" is simply a graphic, idiomatic way to describe a violent death–in contrast to death by natural causes. By Kevin's logic, if somebody kills another person by poisoning him, he didn't commit murder, for poisoning the victim is a bloodless method.

"Numbers 35 proves that the blood required in Genesis 9 is for the LAND."

It proves nothing of the kind. The "land" in Num 35 has reference to Eretz Israel, which was cultically holy. By contrast, Gen 9 is perfectly general. It's grossly anachronistic to reinterpret Gen 9 in light of Num 35. Num 35 is describing a situation that isn't exist in the time of Noah or the Patriarchs. 

The mandate in Gen 9 is indexed, not to the land, but to the imago Dei.

"Steve, you're not paying attention to what I say. "

What happens is that when one of your arguments is refuted, you change the subject, but act as though that's what you said all along. You originally made a big deal about how the word in the 6th commandment is not a technical term for murder. When that's disproven, you suddenly shift ground.

I gave you documentation that it is not used to denote "all forms of homicide. You simply disregard the counterevidence because it doesn't fit your preconceived theory.

Steve Hays Your claim isn't based on the actual wording or original intent of the 6th commandment. You superimpose an extraneous agenda onto the terms of the command. And you constantly reinvent your argument while you backdate your latest revision as if that's what you originally said. In your earlier statements, which I quoted verbatim, you said the 6th commandment forbids killing without qualification. Now, however, you hustle in belated caveats that you refused to admit early on. Your mendacity is conspicuous.
Steve Hays As long as we're correcting Kevin's multiple misstatements of fact, here's another example:

He said: "This entire thread began with the claim that a Best Buy employee would be justified in killing someone who was trying to steal a TV. If you agree with my exegesis of Ex 22, why are we arguing?"

To the contrary, the entire thread began with Maul's introductory statement–which made no reference to stolen TVs. 

The Best Buy illustration was made two days later and (by my count) 122 comments later:

Gene Pineda: I too have doubts about pacifist arguments. They need to make a better case against the difficult situations that people find themselves in, like defending innocent people. I agree with Maul and Hays on this. If we take Jesus' words literal and apply it to every possible situation, there could be no government or stability…a man walks into Best Buy and says give me that TV or I'll shoot, the Best Buy employee says 'take em all' - pretty soon there's no Best Buy because they've been cleaned out. Pacifists need to show how loving it is to let ISIS kill whomever they choose.

Steve Hays Notice how Kevin is impervious to factual correction. In the face of counterevidence, he simply repeats his oft-refuted claims, as well as indulging in special pleading:

Kevin Craig: "The 'actual wording' of the 6th Commandment is "Thou shalt not KILL." The Hebrew word includes ALL killing, even involuntary manslaughter."

I just quoted four OT scholars who deny that. And that's just a sampling. To quote another OT scholar, Currid, in his commentary on Exodus, observes that "rasah is never employed in context of war, capital punishment, or self-defense" (2:46). 

Moreover, some commentators go into detail regarding Biblical usage on this point. 

The Hebrew word does not include all killing. Rather, it's restricted to two kinds of killing: murder and manslaughter. 

It isn't used to denote killing in war, capital punishment, or self-defense. But Kevin refuses to acknowledge the lexical evidence because that would hurt his case.

"The 'original intent' of the 6th Commandment is to prohibit ALL killing -- unless, of course and obviously -- God commands otherwise."

Since the 6th commandment makes allowance for killing in judicial and military situations (e.g. Deut 20), it was not the original intent of the 6th commandment to proscribe types of killing which Scripture elsewhere prescribes. 

"The 6th commandment forbids killing without qualification. The Hebrew word itself does not allow any killing. It is not limited to killings which fall into the category of 'murder.' The words of the 6th commandment prohibit all forms of homicide."

Kevin simply makes stuff up to suit the needs of his agenda. He turns a blind eye to lexical analysis that runs counter to his agenda. 

Remember, Kevin is the one who brought up "Hebrew professors." When I answer him on his own terms, he prevaricates.

Steve Hays 

Kevin Craig: "I concede that utterly trivial misstatement."

To the contrary, you have repeatedly tried to use the Best Buy illustration (which wasn't my illustration, or Maul's, or Patrick's) to frame the entire debate. You use that as a wedge issue, as if any case of forcibly defending oneself or another is morally equivalent to shooting an isolated looter who steals a flatscreen TV.

Steve Hays 

Kevin Craig: "If the United States federal government, following all legal and constitutional due process, declares war on Canaanites, citing relevant Biblical statutes, e.g., Deuteronomy 20:16-18, it will be a violation of the 6th commandment, correct?"

i) Before proceeding, let's take stock of where the debate currently stands. Kevin made demonstrably false statements about the 6th commandment. When corrected on his own grounds ("Hebrew professors"), how does he respond? An honest and honorable disputant would withdraw his disproven claim.

But that's not Kevin's modus operandi. Although he could muster no evidence to the contrary, his response is to continue in the same direction, full speed ahead. 

He said: "The Hebrew word includes ALL killing, even involuntary manslaughter.The 6th commandment forbids killing without qualification. The Hebrew word itself does not allow any killing. It is not limited to killings which fall into the category of 'murder.' The words of the 6th commandment prohibit all forms of homicide."

Yet I quoted five OT scholars who deny that. The scope of the prohibition is explicitly qualified by the choice of a word with a very limited range of reference. In OT usage, it denotes two specific kinds of homicide (murder, manslaughter). The word is reserved for two kinds of homicide in particular. 

Other words are used to describe judicial or military homicide. 

Kevin said: "The 'original intent' of the 6th Commandment is to prohibit ALL killing."

But that, too, is obviously false. For the original intent of the 6th commandment is implicitly qualified by other commands to take human life in just war or capital punishment. 

Indeed, Kevin is forced to concede that in a roundabout way. What he denied in the first clause ("The 'original intent' of the 6th Commandment is to prohibit ALL killing") he hastily affirmed in the second clause ("…unless, of course and obviously -- God commands otherwise.").

Turning to Kevin's question: beware of lawyerly questions! Beware of deceptively simple questions within which lurk tendentious assumptions.

i) Suppose I said that would violate the 6th commandment. Does that mean the 6th commandment prohibits all killing without qualification? Not in the least. An affirmative answer on my part would not be a concession to Kevin's position. 

ii) Hovering in the background of Kevin's question are two erroneous assumptions:

a) He uses the Mosaic covenant to reinterpret the Noahic covenant. Yet the Mosaic covenant contains tons of regulations that don't belong to the Noahic covenant. The scope of the Mosaic covenant is localized in time and space whereas the scope of the Noahic covenant is global and timeless. Does Kevin imagine that the atonement of Christ abolishes ordinary providence (e.g. "seedtime and harvest")?

It's hermeneutically illicit and retrograde to reinterpret the Noahic covenant on the basis of the Mosaic covenant. The Noahic covenant is independent of the Mosaic covenant. It can be incorporated into other covenants, but it's not contingent on their focus, function, or duration. 

b) Holy war presupposes sacred space. Holy land. Israel's cultic holiness. 

But that's by no means the only Scriptural justification for taking life. Even in Deut 20, there's a distinction between offensive war, concerning the holy land proper (e.g. removing pagans from the holy land) and defensive war, concerning the protection of the holy land against invasion. 

Ancient Israel didn't have laws of war simply to protect her cultic holiness. In addition, Israel had laws for warfare because national defense is a necessity for any nation-state or city-state. By the same token, Israel had a penal code that covered various violent crimes, sex crimes, and property crimes, not because Israel was cultically holy, but because any nation must have laws dealing with violent crimes, sex crimes, and property crimes. 

The cultus (i.e. priesthood, sacrificial system) and purity codes were indexed to Israel's cultic holiness. But many other Mosaic laws were inevitable given the nature of social life in a fallen world. 

iii) We could turn Kevin's question around and ask whether Gen 9:5-6 would apply in the case of an unjust war of aggression. The answer is yes. 

"I don't think we should shed blood as commanded in Genesis 9, whether in the eretz of Israel or the eretz of Ethiopia or the eretz of any other people."

Notice how he smuggles false assumptions into the way he frames the issue. Yet the command in Gen 9 isn't about the where but the who. 

"Which verse of the Bible sets forth the core differences between the ritual shedding of blood in these verses (Deut 21/Num35/Gen9), and proves that after Christ's work on the cross, blood still needs to be shed by man in any case?"

i) Once again, notice how he begs the question by recasting Gen 9 in terms of "ritual bloodshed." 

ii) Moreover, as I already pointed out, his contention is self-defeating. Homicide doesn't require literal bloodshed. There are many bloodless methods of killing people. 

So by Kevin's self-refuting logic, homicide is never murder unless the method of dispatching the victim involves literal bloodshed. By Kevin's definition, if you drown somebody (for whatever reason), that's not murder. Same thing with other methods. Kevin has perfected a defense for the Boston Strangler! By the same token, bloodless methods of execution bypass Kevin's strictures. Carbon monoxide inhalation doesn't count.

Steve Hays 

Kevin Craig: "This question never got answered. It would be a violation of the 6th commandment to prosecute a war if God did not command or condone it."

It would violate the 6th commandment to prosecute a war if Bible ethics did not permit it.

"None of them denied my claim that the 6th Commandment prohibits more than mere 'murder.'"

As usual, Kevin is dissembling. They deny that it prohibits all forms of homicide without qualification. They deny that the Hebrew word means "all killing." 

"The Hebrew word in the 6th Commandment is not limited to what we call 'murder,' It includes all forms of killing, including accidental killings. I proved this."

Maybe Kevin is just too dense to grasp the issue. 

i) The 6th commandment doesn't use a word for killing in general. Rather, it employs a word which the Bible uses to denote two specific types wrongful death: murder and manslaughter. 

Murder is wrongful intentional homicide while manslaughter is wrongful unintentional homicide. 

ii) Moreover, of those two senses, the 6th commandment only refers to murder, not homicide. In the nature of the case, a law can only prohibit intentional or foreseeable actions, not unintentional or unforeseeable actions. Since manslaughter is, by definition, accidental death, that can't be prohibited by law.

These aren't hard distinctions to grasp. 

"What your scholars are talking about is how to interpret the 6th commandment in light of other verses which apparently condone various kinds of killings."

No, they're also talking about what the Hebrew word (rasah) means in Pentateuchal usage. 

"I have argued that what you call a 'judicial' 'homicide' is a "ceremonial" and priestly function, not a 'civil' function."

That's what you've repeatedly asserted. 

"The Bible describes the burning of Jericho (and other similar acts) as turning the city into a whole burnt offering, again to cleanse the Promised Land of so-called 'capital' crimes, violations of God's Law by the pagan Gentile inhabitants (see Leviticus 18:24-30)."

Kevin only has two buttons: rewind and replay. He never advances his argument in the face of counterarguments.

Notice that he's appealing to distinctives of the Mosaic covenant. But the Noahic covenant didn't have the same distinctives. 

"Silly question"

It's only silly to Kevin because he's too obtuse to consider the implications of his position. The Mosaic covenant was temporary. When he reinterprets the Noahic covenant in light of the Mosaic covenant, he implicitly makes that temporary, too. 

The fact that Genesis foreshadows later developments doesn't begin to entail that you can reverse that progression. 

"There is no essential difference in the acts of shedding blood which we find in Genesis 9 and Numbers 35. They serve the same covenantal purpose under the Old Covenant, and are superceded in the New Covenant."

Which begs the question.

I said, "Holy war presupposes sacred space. Holy land. Israel's cultic holiness."

To which Kevin responds: "This is a bumper sticker, not an argument."

It's ironic that someone who makes such a big deal about the ceremonial law and ritual purity is monumentally ignorant concerning the unique cultic holiness of ancient Eretz Israel.

It's even worse when he keeps citing passages like Num 35, but he's too dim to register what that says.

"33 You shall not pollute the land in which you live, for blood pollutes the land, and no atonement can be made for the land for the blood that is shed in it, except by the blood of the one who shed it. 34 You shall not defile the land in which you live, in the midst of which I dwell, for I the Lord dwell in the midst of the people of Israel.”

Murder pollutes the land because the land is sacred. And the land is sacred because God dwells in the land of Israel. That alludes to the tabernacle, which took up permanent residence in Eretz Israel. Moreover, the tabernacle was sometimes filled or overshadowed by the Shekinah.

The ground is consecrated by contact with the tabernacle. Unless the land was sacred to begin with, murder wouldn't desecrate the land–requiring subsequent purification. It's God's presence in Eretz Israel that makes it holy land. And that stands in contrast to God's absence elsewhere. That linkage is unique in time and space. 

"By this logic, any departure from God's Law can be justified as a 'practical' response to living in 'a fallen world.'"

i) I didn't argue for a "departure from God's law."

ii) Moreover, if Kevin thinks that all the Mosaic laws were essentially ceremonial, then he repudiates the Ten Commandments in toto under the new covenant.

"Genesis 9 is about blood."

Actually, Gen 9 is about murder, using "blood" as a metaphor for murder.

"'Recasting' Genesis 9??? READ THE VERSES!"

i) That's a good illustration of someone who's oblivious to his presuppositions. Kevin said "the ritual shedding of blood in these verses (Deut 21/Num35/Gen9)." He has "ritual" etched on his glasses, so everywhere he looks he sees "ritual." 

But of course, nowhere in Gen 9:4-6 is there any reference to the "ritual" shedding of blood.

ii) Furthermore, his ritualistic gloss on Gen 9 is nonsensical. Gen 9 is a case of poetic justice. Because the murderer shed innocent blood, his own blood will be shed.

But by Kevin's logic, if "bloodshed" is shorthand for "ritual bloodshed," then every murder is ritual murder. On that interpretation, every murder is a "ceremonial and priestly function."

"I think I've presented a 'prima facie' case that the ritual blood shed in cases of unsolved homicide (Deut. 21) is of the same character as the blood shedding in Numbers 35:33, which is of the same covenantal character as the blood shedding in Genesis 9."

Three glaring problems which Kevin is too blinkered to discern:

i) There's the blatant equivocation. Deut 21 refers to shedding animal blood to purify the land. That's hardly equivalent to shedding human blood. 

ii) The passage explicitly refers to the guilt of "innocent" blood (vv8-9). So it's not talking about homicide in general, but wrongful death in particular. 

iii) The land can only be defiled due to the special character of the land. Not land in general. Not anywhere or any place. Rather:

"If in the land that the Lord your God is giving you to possess someone is found slain…" (v1). 
"You shall not defile your land that the Lord your God is giving you for an inheritance "(v23).

The unrepeatable sanctity of Eretz Israel is necessary precondition for blood guilt polluting the land.

"Question-begging. Where does the Bible permit war if "war" in the Bible is actually ceremonial?"

Question-begging to assert that war in Scripture is always or actually ceremonial.

"But you've now conceded the point I was making, which is that unauthorized war violates the 6th Commandment, which DOES prohibit unauthorized war."

i) I've conceded nothing inasmuch as non-pacifism never denied that some wars or some war-time massacres violate the 6th Commandment. It's hardly a concession to deny something which was never a presupposition of that position to begin with. 

ii) Moreover, Kevin framed the issue in terms of legality rather than morality. But Congressional authorization, or the lack thereof, isn't what determines whether the war in question violates the 6th Commandment. 

"I meant they never refuted my claim."

But they did.

"Actually, it employs a word which is used to denote two specific types of wrongful death: intentional and unintentional. Which pretty much covers it all."

To the contrary it only covers the intentional or unintentional taking of innocent life. That hardly covers it all, for not all death is wrongful death (as the Mosaic law defines guilt, innocence, or liability to death).

"Why do you say manslaughter is 'wrongful' homicide?"

Because the accidental victim wasn't guilty of a capital offense.

"In your next paragraph you (wrongly) say manslaughter is not prohibited."

Which was already explained to Kevin, but he's too dim to grasp the argument. You can't outlaw accidents. By definition, accidents are unforeseeable and unintentional. You can't outlaw somebody slipping and falling in the shower. 

"Then they are wrong, as I've proven. I was just giving them the benefit of the doubt."

Scholars like Hamilton document their definition.

"Unless you're a dispensationalist, you should assume covenantal continuity…"

That's a fact-free shortcut. There's no presumption of continuity or discontinuity. You must compare them directly.

"Both Moses and Noah were commanded to shed the blood of 'capital' criminals."
"I've seen no Biblical evidence that the blood shedding required of Noah is theologically different from the blood shedding required of Moses."

I've discussed multiple problems with Kevin's "bloodshed" criterion. He has no counterargument. He just repeats the same oft-refuted contention.

"Non-sacred' land is not polluted by murder? 'Neutral' land is not polluted by murder? Can you prove this counter-intuitive claim from Scripture?"

It's hardly incumbent on me to disprove a claim for which there's no evidence. On the one hand, Scripture never says murder ritually pollutes profane land. On the other hand, Scripture explicitly ties ritual land pollution to the consecrated status of Erez Israel.

"God doesn't dwell with us anymore? There's no temple on earth?"

That's not how the Mosaic law defines God's presence. And that's not how the Mosaic law defines holy land. Ritual land pollution is tied to the cultic holiness of Erez Israel vis-a-vis the tabernacle. 

"Israel is not more sacred than any land today."

Irrelevant. The question at issue was ritual land pollution. The fact that that's now defunct has no bearing on capital punishment.

"But even if land in contact with the Tabernacle in the Old Testament was more sacred than land in contact with the Body of Christ in the New Covenant…"

There's nothing in the NT to indicate that the church consecrates the land.

"there's no Biblical evidence that blood had to be shed only in sacred land, but not in profane land."

That's predicated on Kevin's refuted linkage between murder and a particular mode of execution. 

"God's Law says 'Thou shalt not kill.'"

No it doesn't. It says don't take innocent life.

"'Blood' is a metaphor for life."

Kevin repeats the same blunder as opponents of penal substitution, who deny that we are redeemed by the death of Christ. They offer a "mystical" alternative. We are saved by the life of Christ, because blood represents life. So goes the argument. 

But that's confused. In context, this has reference to death by exsanguination. Bleeding to death. The loss of life by exsanguination. Not life, but violent death. As usual, Kevin is hopelessly confused.

He then reiterates his oft-refuted claims on Gen 9. Kevin simply reads from his cue cards. When his claims are rebutted, he reshuffles his deck of cue cards, then recites the same prepared answers. 

"By your own logic, all murder is the shedding of blood which did not deserve to be shed, i.e., was not authorized by God to be shed."

All murder isn't literally bloodshed. That's just an idiom or synecdoche. Because some murder takes the form of literal bloodshed, that's used to designate murder generally, even though some modes of murder are bloodless.

"'land' in this verse is 'ădâmâh, not 'erects…This is objectively not good 'scholarship.'"

Now Kevin commits the word=concept fallacy. 

"Despite all your personal insults…"

Kevin is a pansy pacifist. He indulges in swashbuckling rhetoric about martyrdom, but retreats into crybaby rhetoric in the face of mere verbal pinpricks. 

"you've certainly failed to persuade me with this last line of argument."

Persuading Kevin was never the objective. He's just a foil. 

"No successful argument has been maintained that murder (and adultery, and bestiality, etc.) pollute the land…"

Since murder ritually polluting the land was never a premise of non-pacifism, Ken's observation is irrelevant. 

"Deuteronomy 21 says blood must be shed to cleanse (Heb., atone) even non-eretz land."

i) "Non-eretz land" is an oxymoron. "Land" is simply an English word for the Hebrew eretz. 

ii) Deut 21 has explicit reference to the promised land. The land which God gave Israel. That's the frame of reference.

"The 'victim' wasn't guilty of a capital offense? This makes no sense."

Another example of Kevin's incorrigible confusion. If, say, a truck-driver accidentally runs over a pedestrian when he's backing up, because he couldn't see the pedestrian, the victim wasn't guilty of a capital offense. The decedent didn't commit any crime which merited being run over. 

"Accidentally killing someone is wrong, and is prohibited."

Kevin is incapable of elementary reason. You can't prohibit an accident. At best, you can punish negligence. Or you can demand compensation. And some accidents aren't negligent. 

"Hays is not tracking the moral issues here."

Kevin isn't tracking the concept of an accident. 

"Steve's latest response is typical of all preceding responses. It is completely non-responsive."

I responded to Kevin. He offered no counterargument. He simply repeated his original claims.

"Why would murder not pollute all land?"

Because it was tied to the cultic holiness of Eretz Israel, which was localized in time and place.

"If it's 'defunct,' and there is no ritually sacred land tied to a local presence of God, then there is no verse requiring bloodshed to make atonement."

As usual, Kevin lacks the critical detachment to distinguish his position from the non-pacifist position. That was never a premise of the non-pacifist position. Kevin keeps imputing to the non-pacifist a premise which the non-pacifist rejects. 

"Either all the earth is profane, or all the earth is sacred."
Not during the tenure of the Mosaic covenant.
"There is no basis in the New Covenant for saying 'this land' is sacred but 'that land' is profane."
Kevin is too obtuse to register that he keeps attacking an assumption which was not a premise of the non-pacifist position in the first place.
"The concept of an 'execution' is just pagan vengeance."
Only according to Kevin's crackpot theology.
"That would be a 'dynamic equivalence' rather than a literal translation."
Wrong. Usage determines meaning.
"So the command to shed blood in Genesis 9 is only to applied in cases of murder by exsanguination, but not in cases of murder by poisoning or asphyxiation?"
According to Kevin's twisted logic.
"'Capital punishment' is supported in our day by recourse to verses which required the shedding of blood to make atonement."
Execution is required in Gen 9 (to take one example), not to make atonement, but to exact retribution in the form of poetic justice (death for death). 
"Steve's argument was that the word 'eretz' communicated the concept of 'sacred land…'"
Yet another example of Kevin's incorrigible confusion. My argument wasn't based on the word eretz. "Erez Israel" is simply a conventional designation. I could just as well say the "land of Israel"–with specific reference to ancient Israel.
The concept of sacred land doesn't derive from the word eretz. That was never my argument. Moreover, I never said eretz in isolation. Rather, I said Eretz Israel. A place name. 
The concept of sacred land derives from the consecration of the land by the tabernacle–which symbolizes the distinctive presence of God dwelling with his people in the promised land. Kevin simply repeats the word=concept fallacy.

1 comment:

  1. I don't think this is visible to the general public, but for those who can see it the original thread is here.