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4 years ago  ::  Mar 09, 2010 - 12:38PM #91
Jocephas2
Posts: 19

Newsjunkie: "So you see that when people say that abortion law shouldn't be based on a particular religious view, they're not simply being anti-religious, or discriminating against, or trying to muzzle religious people. Often, they're simply acknowledging that there is no way to objectively evaluate claims that are made by supernatural forces or deities. They're acknowledging that in the US we have a pluralistic society with people of many different faiths that have different sacred texts. As you point out, we have various groups of people who base their beliefs on a particular interpretation of (or part of) the Bible. And of course those interpretations come from people -- from what religious leaders have concluded and agreed is the correct interpretation. When there is disagreement about interpretations of a sacred text, new religions/denominations form. So how is that different from your saying that secular morality is simply what people agree on?


In the US we have many different religions and many people who do not belong to any religion. But importantly, this is a country where the state is not allowed constitutionally to establish a religion. You are free to conduct your own life in accordance with your religious beliefs. But the state is not allowed to require the people to hold or follow those or any other particular set of religious beliefs. I think that is a very reasonable approach, necessary for a free society, and much better than theocratic or other authoritarian systems."


 


Basically, with some explanation, I agree with everything you say in this post.


I have never felt muzzled in this discussion by you or anyone else. On the contrary, it has been refreshing and stimulating to be able to converse with people who have different views than I do. It may appear that we are at odds with each other, but isn’t this necessary to sort things out? At least we consider what the other has to say. I wish more people would post, but I’m sure there are readers who never post.


I don’t base my interpretation of the Bible or life on what religious leaders say. No one should! I study the Bible for myself. The Bible itself instructs us to examine what men say and compare what they say with the Scriptures (Acts 17:11).


I don’t automatically follow what any religious leader says yet I find myself in agreement, on most major points, with a large segment of the Christian community. We talk about so many different interpretations of the Bible, but in Roe v Wade there were four Justices who for it and two who were against it. If these men who were trained to interpret the constitution could not agree on how this small document should be interpreted, then how can we expect multitudes of men to agree on such a large document as the Bible?


When I say the opinion of men doesn’t matter concerning the morality of abortion, I mean it only in the context of an assumption that there is no God. I know there is a God and I am convinced that He is correctly represented in the Bible. However, I realize that others do not share this view, so for the purpose of discussion, I am willing to say, “If there is a God.” or “If there is no God.” If there is no God, I don’t know what else we can go by but the opinion of men. If there is a Supreme Being then it is His views that take precedence over what men say. That applies to religious leaders as well as secular.


I am not in favor of making the USA a theocracy. A theocratic government in the future, under the supervision of Christ, will be wonderful. A theocratic government today, under the supervision of Christians, would likely be a disaster, at best a bad idea.


Religious views cannot be excluded simply because they are religious views. The truth is that we already live in a country whose laws have been influenced greatly by religious views (mainly the Bible), and for the most part this has been constructive. Government for the people and by the people should reflect the views of the people.


Not all the commands given to ancient Israel are good for us today. Israel was a theocracy. The USA is not. We must distinguish between what God requires of each of us individually and what we need to apply to government. For example, worship of false gods was forbidden in Israel. Each of us will be held responsible for what we believe, but this commandment cannot be applied to our government. We live in a country where there is supposed to be freedom of religion. To apply this commandment to our government would be contridict religious freedom.


Freedom of religion should not be construed to mean freedom from religion. The constitution does not guarantee anyone that they have a right to not be exposed to someone else’s religious beliefs. The trend today seems to be to abolish God in the name of religious freedom.


Thank you for constructive discussion,


Jocephas2

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4 years ago  ::  Mar 09, 2010 - 1:04PM #92
Jocephas2
Posts: 19

Mmichael: “It's impossible for me to look to the Bible for "moral guidance" on the abortion issue or ANY moral issue when I read some of the very disturbing things the Bible does say explicitly:


. . . Exodus 31:14-14-----God says that anyone who works on the Sabbath should be killed.


. . . I could go on and on with similar commands from God. But, nowhere does God say, "If a woman has an abortion, stone her to death." God says nothing about women who have abortions. But, even if He did, why would I want to use THIS book as a source for moral guidance?”


 


Thank you for your honest objections. I know that you speak honestly from your heart. Your comments have made me think about some things I had never thought about before. I welcome the opportunity to discuss this issue. However, in order to answer your objections I must go into detail in explaining some things about God. I will try to be as brief as I possibly can. I hope no one feels this is off-topic. Your issue was the fitness of the God of the Bible to speak to the issue of abortion, so it seems it is not off-topic to answer your objections. I recognize God as my Defender, but I am unworthy to defend Him. Nevertheless, I will try to answer your objections. I don’t know how my answers will be taken by you and others, but that is beyond my control.


There are rules of interpretation that apply to the Bible or any other document. It is not that someone has made up rules and we must obey the rules. It is that if we don’t obey the rules we are going to misunderstand the document. The rule that applies here is that, “In order to understand what the Bible (or any other document) says about a particular subject, we must consider everything the Bible (or other document) has to say about that particular subject.” What you have (perhaps unknowingly) done is base your conclusion on only one statement the Bible has made about several issues.


Let us look at the statement you quoted from Exodus 31:14, which says that if a man works on the Sabbath day he should be stoned to death. This really did happen. It is recorded in Numbers 15:32-36. A man was found gathering sticks on the Sabbath day and was stoned to death. Wow! That seems extremely harsh. (It seems to justify your objections, doesn’t it?) All the man did was gather some sticks on the Sabbath day. He didn’t hurt anyone! (He was probably going to build a fire.)


In the New Testament we find a situation that also applies here. This is the story of the woman taken in adultery. It is recorded in the Gospel of John 8:3-11. The Pharisees brought a woman taken in adultery to Jesus. This said to Jesus that Moses commanded that the woman should be stoned to death. Jesus did not try to explain why Moses said this. He simply responded that the person who was without sin should cast the first stone. You know what happened? All these men had to face the fact that they were sinners, and none of them would cast the first stone, so they all walked away. Nevertheless, there was one man there who was without sin, and therefore, could have cast the first stone. That was Jesus. But what did Jesus do? Did He stone her? No. Jesus had mercy on her.


Now, let us consider the implications of these two incidents.


Think about the man who was stoned to death for picking up sticks on the Sabbath day. Did he disobey God? Yes! However, does it not seem extremely harsh that he should be put to death for such a small infraction? Does it not seem that the punishment was way out of proportion to the disobedience? It seems God was unfair to this man. How can we explain God’s severity?


We need to understand that God is holy. But God isn’t just holy. He is extremely holy, (or holy, holy). But God isn’t just extremely holy, He is extremely, extremely holy (or holy, holy, holy - Isaiah 6:3). In God’s eyes disobedience is sin, and before a holy, holy, holy God the slightest sin (no matter how small), is extremely, extremely, extremely sinful.


This severity of God shows us how terrible sin really is in the eyes of a holy, holy, holy God. If God had not been so severe in the Law of Moses concerning disobedience we would not know how awful sin is in the eyes of God. Why is it so awful in the eyes of God? God created a world where there was peace and fulfillment for man. Sin came in and brought about all the suffering and pain we see in the world. That is really a terrible thing, isn’t it? If we, as mere human beings, can have some small comprehension of how terrible that is, how much more a holy, holy, holy God?


The story of the woman taken in adultery gives us a wonderful example to see what God’s real intention was when He commanded people to be stoned to death. It is a real life example, which reveals the true heart of God. Jesus’ reaction to this situation gives us a true indication of what God wanted to accomplish through these harsh commands that people be stoned to death.


What was the final result of the commandment that a woman taken in adultery should be stoned to death to this woman? Was she put to death? No! The result was that these self-righteous men were made to see that they were sinners themselves. That means we already have two good reasons for the severe commands given in the Law of Moses. One is to cause us to see just how terrible sin is, and the other is to cause men to know that all of us have sinned. This is stated elsewhere in the Bible.


Now we know that whatever the law says, it is speaking to those who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. (Rom 3:19-20)


This explains what the harsh commands of the Law of Moses were intended to accomplish. It was to cause us to see that we are all guilty of sin and that no one can complain that God is being unfair, because we all deserve to be stoned to death. This is exactly what happened to the men who brought the woman to Jesus. They could not cast a stone at her because they knew they were guilty of sin themselves.


Let me let you in on a little secret. I deserve to be stoned to death. I am guilty of sin and I could not complain that God was being unfair if He commanded me to be stoned to death. But is that what God wants? Does God want any of us to be stoned to death? No! The response of Jesus toward the woman reveals the true heart of God.  Jesus did not condemn the woman but told her to go and sin no more. Jesus was merely confirming a truth taught earlier in the Bible, where God says:


I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live” (Ezekiel 33:11).


Taken together, the story of the man who was stoned to death for gathering sticks on the Sabbath day and the story of the woman taken in adultery (along with the other Scriptures I have given) give us a fairly good understanding of the heart of God, and what God intended by these harsh commands. God is holy and has zero tolerance for sin and punishes sin by death. On the other hand, God doesn’t want people to die in their sins. He wants to have mercy on them. Paul, in the book of Romans, contrasts these two truths:


For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 6:23)


There may be other Scriptures that would shed more light on the harsh commands you quoted from the Law, but my conclusion based on these we have considered is that the harsh commands in the Law of Moses that people be stoned to death were necessary to reveal to us how offensive sin is to a holy God. These commands should cause us to recognize we are sinful, and cause us to fear the prospect of coming before a holy God without being forgiven of our sins. Yes, it is true, the wages of sin is death, but that is not the end of the story. The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.


God, as presented in the Bible, is worthy to speak to question of the morality of abortion. However, the Bible must be correctly understood. Ancient Israel was a theocracy, but the USA is not a theocracy. We have a different form of government. Not all the commands given to Israel are suitable for our government. I explain more about this in my response to the recent post of Newsjunkie.


 I don’t know if these thoughts will make any difference to you or not. You said that you have known God for thirty years, and that is the most important thing, but I hope this will help you understand Him a little better. If anyone wishes to make comments directly to me I can be reached at mounthaven@mounthaven.net


 


Jocephas2

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4 years ago  ::  Mar 09, 2010 - 4:56PM #93
Bei1052
Posts: 986

Abortion has nothing to do with religion. Sooner or later people will have to stop hiding behind the whole "I believe..." card. What one believes is irrelevant, as personal beliefs are not a guise to do to others as you please. Otherwise, stuff like child sacrifice would have to necessarily be made legal, as my beliefs would dictate that it's morally permissible and you would have no right to restrict me from exercising my beliefs (But, oh, some of you guys and gals wouldn't like that, which begs the question as to why abortion should be treated any differently).


*shrugs*


Ah well... Continue to debate what religion should and shouldn't be able to co-opt. When you guys and gals decide to leave the 1980's, lemme' know :P

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4 years ago  ::  Mar 09, 2010 - 4:56PM #94
Mmichael
Posts: 157

Jocephas-----


   I sent you an e-mail response at mounthaven@mounthaven.net, but the e-mail was returned to me saying it could not be sent. Do you know what the problem might be? Thanks!

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4 years ago  ::  Mar 09, 2010 - 5:23PM #95
Mmichael
Posts: 157

Mar 9, 2010 -- 4:56PM, Bei1052 wrote:


Abortion has nothing to do with religion. Sooner or later people will have to stop hiding behind the whole "I believe..." card. What one believes is irrelevant, as personal beliefs are not a guise to do to others as you please. Otherwise, stuff like child sacrifice would have to necessarily be made legal, as my beliefs would dictate that it's morally permissible and you would have no right to restrict me from exercising my beliefs (But, oh, some of you guys and gals wouldn't like that, which begs the question as to why abortion should be treated any differently).


*shrugs*


Ah well... Continue to debate what religion should and shouldn't be able to co-opt. When you guys and gals decide to leave the 1980's, lemme' know :P




Oh, Bei, would you please do me a favor since you are so much smarter than I am and can put your thoughts to paper (or keyboard) so much better than I can. Please e-mail the Vatican, The National Council of Catholic Bishops, The Southern Baptist Convention, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, The National Association of Evangelicals, Eternal Word Television Network, Trinity Broadcasting Network, Pat Robertson's Christian Network, and James Dobson's Focus On The Family (for starters) and tell them that "abortion has nothing to do with religion". I would be so grateful. Thank you!

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4 years ago  ::  Mar 09, 2010 - 7:03PM #96
Jocephas2
Posts: 19

Mar 9, 2010 -- 4:56PM, Mmichael wrote:


Jocephas-----


   I sent you an e-mail response at mounthaven@mounthaven.net, but the e-mail was returned to me saying it could not be sent. Do you know what the problem might be? Thanks!




I'm sorry. It should have been havenbound@havenbound.net


 


Jocephas2

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4 years ago  ::  Mar 09, 2010 - 7:21PM #97
Bei1052
Posts: 986

Mar 9, 2010 -- 5:23PM, Mmichael wrote:

Oh, Bei, would you please do me a favor since you are so much smarter than I am and can put your thoughts to paper (or keyboard) so much better than I can. Please e-mail the Vatican, The National Council of Catholic Bishops, The Southern Baptist Convention, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, The National Association of Evangelicals, Eternal Word Television Network, Trinity Broadcasting Network, Pat Robertson's Christian Network, and James Dobson's Focus On The Family (for starters) and tell them that "abortion has nothing to do with religion". I would be so grateful. Thank you!



...So-- Even though I should be used to this by now-- You totally didn't read what I wrote out, did you? <_<


And thank you for recognizing my magnanimousness. I wish people would do it more often.

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4 years ago  ::  Mar 09, 2010 - 11:20PM #98
Mmichael
Posts: 157

Mar 9, 2010 -- 7:21PM, Bei1052 wrote:


Mar 9, 2010 -- 5:23PM, Mmichael wrote:

Oh, Bei, would you please do me a favor since you are so much smarter than I am and can put your thoughts to paper (or keyboard) so much better than I can. Please e-mail the Vatican, The National Council of Catholic Bishops, The Southern Baptist Convention, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, The National Association of Evangelicals, Eternal Word Television Network, Trinity Broadcasting Network, Pat Robertson's Christian Network, and James Dobson's Focus On The Family (for starters) and tell them that "abortion has nothing to do with religion". I would be so grateful. Thank you!



...So-- Even though I should be used to this by now-- You totally didn't read what I wrote out, did you? <_<


And thank you for recognizing my magnanimousness. I wish people would do it more often.





I almost wrote at the end of my previous post:


Prediction! Bei will respond, "I never said abortion has nothing to do with religion. When did I say that abortion has nothing to do with religion. You're putting words in my mouth again. I've never said abortion has nothing to do with religion."

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4 years ago  ::  Mar 12, 2010 - 3:24AM #99
karbie
Posts: 3,329

mmichael--


thank you. No one else has answered bei so well before--but as you pointed out, he doesn't seem to think anyone else here is as intelligent as he is.  He didn't always back Faith, either. I guess  he really doesn't mind that her bias is totally religious as long as they agree on abortion.


I also want to thank you for your suggestion--just picturing pat robertson reading a letter from bei on the air is priceless.

"You are letting your opinion be colored by facts again."
'When I want your opinion, I'll give it to you."
these are both from my father.
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4 years ago  ::  Mar 12, 2010 - 4:55AM #100
Jocephas2
Posts: 19

Breakthrough Technology


I would like to announce a breakthrough in technology. Finally, something men have only dreamed of has become a reality. It is time-travel. Yes, this amazing technology is finally available. Think of the possibilities this opens up to us!


I have a small group of men and women who have come to me, who desire to use this technology. These are men and women who are expert salespersons. They are both trained and gifted in the art of persuasion. They are also convinced that the planet on which we live is becoming overpopulated. They feel that something drastic needs to be done about this. However, they feel that it may already be too late.  They feel that something should have been done about this in the previous generation.


That is why they have come to me. They desire to use the technology of time-travel to go back and talk to your mothers about abortion. They realize that your mothers may not have believed in abortion, but they feel that their expert salesmanship, combined with the knowledge that the fetus they carry will grow up into a person who advocates free choice, will be enough to tip the scales in favor of abortion. (This will mean your opinion will finally be respected in the matter of abortion.)


The only problem is that I realize this will mean a small sacrifice for you. That is why I did not want to do anything without your permission. If this endeavor is to become a reality, it will be necessary for these people to have certain information, such as your mother’s name and your date of birth. Once this information is gathered these people will go back to a few months before you were born and attempt to convince your mothers to have an abortion.


I want to emphasize that I don’t want anyone to send any information at this point. This information is for the purposes of discussion only. I realize that some of you may be have reservations about agreeing to this or providing the required information, but I urge you to consider the good of all mankind above your personal desires.


Jocephas

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