Friday, September 11, 2009

Responding To Sin

Sin literally means, “to miss the mark.” Sometimes it is referred to as “falling short of the glory of God.” Sin is a corrupted or distorted reality; it runs amuck of goodness and righteousness. Sin is thus anything that does not align with God’s goodness by any degree. The problem is that today, many see application of the term “sin” as a pious religious condemnation of the one doing the sinning. This happens precisely because this is often true. Christians have thrown around the word “sin” with disgusting venom of condemnation that people feel slighted, jilted, rejected, and ridiculed by the use of the term. The recipients of such terminology rightly feel like defending themselves and others join in to support their cause.


The truth is that Christians have done the world an injustice in producing such negative connotation of this word. The truth is everyone misses the mark. We have all sinned and come short of the glory of God and those who believe they have found forgiveness so quickly have forgotten that they are no different in worth to the Father than those who have not. In fact, Jesus said he would leave the 99 to go after the 1 that is lost.

The reality of sin is that it is a cancer to our physical, emotional, and spiritual selves. Love does not rejoice in wrong doing, but in the truth. Love keeps no records of wrongs. A person who loves doesn’t relish pointing out another’s faults, but always hopes and preservers along side a person struggling in sin no matter the sin and no matter how long that road last even if they never change. Love always forgives. If someone is stuck in a muck of sin, love helps pull them out rather than point fingers at their dirt. However, if that person is content in their muck, maybe because they can’t see it, or does not have hope for freedom, love sits with them and shows them grace and compassion.


The only time Jesus rebuked someone was when he was talking to religious leaders who acted piously like they had it all together. When he came across a woman caught in adultery, he protected her from being stoned and said that he who was without sin was the only one who could cast stones at her, and He being that One extended mercy and grace to her.


This does not mean that God is complacent about our sin, for it concerns Him greatly, not because it hurts Him, but because it hurts us. That cancerous sin distorts our being and it weighs us down unnecessarily with baggage and bondage. Have you ever been really angry at someone who did something wrong to you and that anger just grew and caused a huge rift in the friendship and weighed you down? Have you ever experienced that freedom that comes when you forgive and release that anger? It’s a freeing lightness that most describe upon forgiving someone. It is like this with other sins, when they pile up and are continually happening in our lives they bind us and often times we don’t even realize how bound we are until we find release and then we feel like we can fly.

The good response to sin is compassion. It’s realizing that sin entangles and binds a person. It’s realizing that sin isn’t something to be scoffed at or offended by, but something to be saddened by and angry for the person not at the person. I sometimes get angry when I see someone trapped in sin, and it’s not anger at the person, but at the entanglement. It’s like finding a person tied to a tree with a gag in their mouth and being angry that they were hurt that way. We can’t turn things that are sin into non-sin because the person is more hurt by calling bad good and good bad then they are by correctly identifying the source of their pain and helping them free of it without any condemnation.


I think Christians have a lot to apologize to people for due to our unjust handling of sin. And I apologize as a Christian to anyone who has been hurt by Christians not showing them love. I have been such a Christian who has not responded with love where I should have. God has broken my heart for people trapped in sin. He has shown me through a very personal encounter with someone struggling in sin that broke me forever to be for people and not against them. He gave me compassion and love for those entrapped in vices that so easily entangle. Sure I don’t do this perfectly, none of us can, but I aim for this. As a Christian, I choose to stand along side those so ensnared and to never be against them.

48 comments:

Karla said...

Before anyone comments. I am not talking about any particular sin, but sin in general.

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

That's all good and well, but it's the individual sins that are used to condemn people. Dancing, playing cards, smoking, drinking, all terrible sins, all backed up as being sins by using scripture.

Then, of course, there's homosexuality, which is I'm guessing what sparked this post since we were just discussing my post on Facebook. Why is it that your cultural interpretations can explain away Paul's apparent misogyny, but others can't do the same with homosexuality?

Karla said...

Being condemning of any person because of any sin is wrong. I was thinking about this topic because of that conversation, but I don't want to get into debate about what things are sins and what aren't because that is outside the point of this post and only leads to people getting offended.

The word verification is Tomatter reminds me of Cars. . .

Amanda said...

Mike - Not to mention some of the downright horrific things held up as example in the OT. I suppose scripture can be used for good or for bad, just like many things. I also think even if it wasn't written against homosexuality in the OT, people would find some other way to justify homophobia.

Karla - Nice to see you're still writing. I'm going to try to get my blog back up! :) Missed writing.

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

Karla, we loved Cars!

I think you are right, Amanda.

Karla said...

I really think that if sin is treated the way it ought to be with the compassion and love as ought to be extended regardless of the weight of that sin, then it would no longer be seen as a condemning word.

The thing is it's no good to do the "right" thing because someone is telling you to, manipulating you to, or any other external means of control. I have no right to tell another how to live and impose biblical standards upon them no matter how good I think those standards are. I can only share Jesus and Jesus is the one who transforms the person in His way and timing, not mine. The problem is when people try and fix someone else to their standard (even if that standard is good). And that goes for any sin anyone can come up with. My job as a Christian is not to change someone else to my moral standard, my job so to speak is to point to Him. He can help a person without damaging them, I can't.

This is why talking about particular sins is pointless to me, because it doesn't matter what I think is right or wrong in this regard. It isn't going to change my loving people regardless and if it does then I'm the one that is in error and I need to look not at the "offending" person, but directly and squarely at myself.

How do you feel regarding this Mike?

Karla said...

Amanda, welcome. I've missed having you around. I bounce over to your blog from time to time to see if you are writing. I like your style.

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

I think that's a good way to look at it. When I was a Christian I believed all sins were sins regardless of the weight we put on them.

Karla said...

Mike, thanks for the response. And don't think adversely about what I said.

Karla said...

Correction *and that* you don't think adversely about what I said.

GCT said...

Karla,
"The only time Jesus rebuked someone was when he was talking to religious leaders who acted piously like they had it all together."

This is plainly incorrect, especially if the rest of your paragraph were correct. Either way, he rebukes quite a few people, like attacking them with whips for instance, or rebuking the women who came to him seeking to have her child healed by him.

"When he came across a woman caught in adultery, he protected her from being stoned and said that he who was without sin was the only one who could cast stones at her, and He being that One extended mercy and grace to her."

This is a late addition to the Bible, and not part of the original writers' manuscripts. IOW, this story is even less likely to have happened than anything else in the Bible.

"I have no right to tell another how to live and impose biblical standards upon them no matter how good I think those standards are."

I agree that you have no right to impose biblical standards, especially since they are immoral to begin with. Although I wonder why you would say such a thing. It sounds suspiciously like an endorsement of relative morality.

If we extend it to a more general idea, however, do we have the right to tell others how to live and impose standards at all? To some extent, no we don't. So long as the people in question are not hurting, oppressing, etc. other people in turn, then we should butt out. In the case of sexuality, for instance, what do we care what two consenting adults do in the privacy of their own homes? I assume (after reading the comments) that you were thinking along these lines and not along the lines of wholesale abuses of human rights?

Karla said...

GCT, there are those two instances where he does this, but on the whole he is often defending the sinners to the religious leaders.


GCT "I agree that you have no right to impose biblical standards, especially since they are immoral to begin with. Although I wonder why you would say such a thing. It sounds suspiciously like an endorsement of relative morality."

Relativity would mean that there isn't a standard. What I am saying is that there is, but I won't and ought not to condemn those who don't abide by it.


GCT "If we extend it to a more general idea, however, do we have the right to tell others how to live and impose standards at all?"

Only as far as the laws of society we agree to live by under a particular government of which we choose to live under. Thus if someone breaks into someone's home and steals from them they subject themselves to the enforcement of those laws.





GCT "To some extent, no we don't. So long as the people in question are not hurting, oppressing, etc. other people in turn, then we should butt out."

I was going to ask a question on this, but we've been over it before, so I'll resist.


"In the case of sexuality, for instance, what do we care what two consenting adults do in the privacy of their own homes?"

These things are things that harm oneself and not others (except for rape and such) but, I agree, I haven't a right to tell them or make them do differently. There is a right, but I can't externally compel someone to abide by it, for I don't believe that even helps a person for real change comes from the inside being changed -- a heart change, not a follow my rules or be condemned change.



GCT "I assume (after reading the comments) that you were thinking along these lines and not along the lines of wholesale abuses of human rights?"

I was thinking of sin in general of all kinds. By basic, point is that someone doing something that is "wrong" or "sin" doesn't give license for anyone especially those who are followers of Jesus to condemn the person or treat them any differently. I believe in treating all people like royalty no matter there position in society or behavior. Everyone deserves to be treated with love and respect no matter their hang ups.

CyberKitten said...

karla said: There is a right, but I can't externally compel someone to abide by it....

'Right' as *you* see it - of course [grin]

GCT said...

"GCT, there are those two instances where he does this, but on the whole he is often defending the sinners to the religious leaders."

Those were just two off the top of my head. Are you sure there weren't more? And, your OP stated there was only 1 time. You're welcome.

"Relativity would mean that there isn't a standard."

No, that's not what it means. Relativity is:
"What I am saying is that there is, but I won't and ought not to condemn those who don't abide by it."

"Only as far as the laws of society we agree to live by under a particular government of which we choose to live under."

Careful. Legality is not the same as morality.

"These things are things that harm oneself and not others (except for rape and such) but, I agree, I haven't a right to tell them or make them do differently."

Huh? Is there a typo in there?

"There is a right, but I can't externally compel someone to abide by it, for I don't believe that even helps a person for real change comes from the inside being changed -- a heart change, not a follow my rules or be condemned change."

If only god understood this point, which he obviously doesn't since he says that it's his way or the hell way.

"By basic, point is that someone doing something that is "wrong" or "sin" doesn't give license for anyone especially those who are followers of Jesus to condemn the person or treat them any differently."

Again be careful. Although I would agree that one is not given license through the Bible to condemn others for things such as genocide (not really a sin in the Bible in many places, is it?) I wouldn't go so far as to say that we can't condemn people for such things. This is especially true for someone who claims to hold absolute morals from god as you claim. Do you really think we should not condemn or treat differently someone who is a serial rapist or killer?

Karla said...

Cyber "'Right' as *you* see it - of course [grin]"

Actually, no. I would say there is a good, and I do not see it clearly or fully by any means. None of us do. That doesn't change it's existence.

Karla said...

GCT, Relativity is a standard that is continually in flux and adapts to various situations, cultures, and is not the same for everyone. I don't see truth or morality in this manner.

What we do with that standard is what I am talking about in this post. If a person is thinking or doing something contrary to what is good then that person is doing something that does not meet the standard of goodness. However, how a person responds is not a matter of relativity but a matter of whether love will be shown this person (which this person is each and every human) or whether that person will be condemning of the offender or somewhere on a scale in between. The standard isn't in flux if we are talking about an objective standard.


GCT "If only god understood this point, which he obviously doesn't since he says that it's his way or the hell way."

God is the only perfect one who can bring legitimately bring judgment. However, as I have tried, yet failed to communicate, the point isn't how much bad we do, but coming to Him and having His life replace ours which replaces all unrighteousness with Righteousness for He is the only bearer of righteousness. Being in Him and Him in us gives us His righteousness. It isn't a matter of cleaning up our life, but gaining His life which will shine on the outside too.

Your last paragraph raises some good points. I'll get back with you soon on that one.

CyberKitten said...

karla said: Actually, no. I would say there is a good, and I do not see it clearly or fully by any means. None of us do. That doesn't change it's existence.

...and I disagree with you.....

Karla said...

Cyber, I know, I was just clarifying.

Karla said...

GCT "Again be careful. Although I would agree that one is not given license through the Bible to condemn others for things such as genocide (not really a sin in the Bible in many places, is it?"

Murder is a sin. Haven't we agreed there is such a thing as a just war though? Or that a perfect God could rightfully exact justice?



"GCT "I wouldn't go so far as to say that we can't condemn people for such things."

What do you think of when I use the word "condemn"? What does that word mean to you?


GCT "This is especially true for someone who claims to hold absolute morals from god as you claim."

I claim that there is an absolute good and that everything that falls short of that is in degrees of not good. However, I don't claim to have an absolute list of such things.



GCT "Do you really think we should not condemn or treat differently someone who is a serial rapist or killer?"

I think when someone has hurt someone else in this manner they have put themselves in a situation to be "at war" so to speak with the society they are apart of and the society has a right to seek justice for the victim and prosecution for the offender.

However, there are immoral things that permeate culture that are not things in which a society would need to imprison someone or seek them to be ostracized or treated like less than human.

For the good of a society some external laws with external enforcements are necessary, but even then there is a place for mercy, grace, forgiveness all coming from love. Sometimes punishment is loving, such as a parent to a child. I think in all things whether there is enforcement of these kinds or not it has to be motivated by love and justice which work hand in hand.

CyberKitten said...

karla said: Cyber, I know, I was just clarifying.

No need......

karla said: Murder is a sin.

Actually murder is a legal idea - unlawful killing. So we can have lawful killing too - dependent of course on the cultural and historical context.

karla said: Haven't we agreed there is such a thing as a just war though?

Well, I think that there are some good reasons for going to war - just *very* few good reasons.

karla said: I claim that there is an absolute good and that everything that falls short of that is in degrees of not good. However, I don't claim to have an absolute list of such things.

Surely you would need at least some idea of the absolute good so that you can judge things? When pressed you could probably come up with a list of things couldn't you?

karla said: However, there are immoral things that permeate culture that are not things in which a society would need to imprison someone or seek them to be ostracized or treated like less than human.

Such as?

GCT said...

"Actually, no. I would say there is a good, and I do not see it clearly or fully by any means. None of us do. That doesn't change it's existence."

Then, how do you know it is good? How do you know that you are following it? Etc. These are questions that you seem ill-equiped to answer.

"GCT, Relativity is a standard that is continually in flux and adapts to various situations, cultures, and is not the same for everyone. I don't see truth or morality in this manner."

Yet, you are telling me that you can't tell others what is moral, that what they choose to do is their business. This is relative morality.

"However, how a person responds is not a matter of relativity but a matter of whether love will be shown this person (which this person is each and every human) or whether that person will be condemning of the offender or somewhere on a scale in between."

Actually, how someone responds is also a moral question.

"God is the only perfect one who can bring legitimately bring judgment."

Relative morals rear their ugly head again. You seem to want to hold god to a different standard than humans that has nothing to do with having more knowledge. In short, you're claiming that god can do whatever bad stuff he wants simply because he's god and under a different standard. Dress it up all you want, but this is what you are arguing. You are defending genocide.

"However, as I have tried, yet failed to communicate, the point isn't how much bad we do, but coming to Him and having His life replace ours which replaces all unrighteousness with Righteousness for He is the only bearer of righteousness."

How does god replace our lives? This makes no sense, especially since you concede that Xians are not more moral than non-Xians.

GCT said...

"Murder is a sin. Haven't we agreed there is such a thing as a just war though? Or that a perfect God could rightfully exact justice?"

Just war or just genocide? Again, you are defending genocide.

And, yes a perfect god could conceivably perfectly exact justice, but the examples given thus far are not of justice and certainly not perfect. Killing a whole tribe of people (women, children, men, and livestock) when other alternatives exist is neither merciful, loving, nor just.

"What do you think of when I use the word "condemn"? What does that word mean to you?"

I would generally use the dictionary definition, although I concede that I shouldn't assume that you do, since you have a history of not using dictionary definitions.

"I claim that there is an absolute good and that everything that falls short of that is in degrees of not good. However, I don't claim to have an absolute list of such things."

As ck points out, you have to know how to achieve that "absolute good" through actions or thoughts or whatever, or else it is meaningless. IOW, if there is an absolute good, then there is a set of conditions and rules that can be codified in order to meet that good.

"I think when someone has hurt someone else in this manner they have put themselves in a situation to be "at war" so to speak with the society they are apart of and the society has a right to seek justice for the victim and prosecution for the offender."

So, you do condemn some behavior that you find immoral.

"However, there are immoral things that permeate culture that are not things in which a society would need to imprison someone or seek them to be ostracized or treated like less than human."

Legalism is not the same as morality, as I've pointed out. But I have a feeling that what you find immoral (probably abortion, homosexual behavior, pre-marital sex, etc) is not what I find to be immoral. So, what is your guideline?

"For the good of a society some external laws with external enforcements are necessary, but even then there is a place for mercy, grace, forgiveness all coming from love."

Too bad god doesn't understand this.

"Sometimes punishment is loving, such as a parent to a child."

Too bad god doesn't understand this.

"I think in all things whether there is enforcement of these kinds or not it has to be motivated by love and justice which work hand in hand."

Too bad god doesn't understand this. Karla, you are more moral than the god that you claim is omni-benevolent. How can you defend an entity that commits genocide, tortures people in hell for eternity in a purely punitive fashion (no hope for redemption or learning), visits natural evil upon the world and people living there, values obedience over morality, values factual knowledge over morality, etc?

Karla said...

GCT "Yet, you are telling me that you can't tell others what is moral, that what they choose to do is their business. This is relative morality."

I am not saying it is impossible for me to, but I don't think it beneficial in many situations to point out someone's failings, often times they are well aware of them and it is more helpful to them to show them hope than to direct them to their failures.

GCT "Actually, how someone responds is also a moral question."

True.

GCT "In short, you're claiming that god can do whatever bad stuff he wants simply because he's god and under a different standard. Dress it up all you want, but this is what you are arguing. You are defending genocide."


I am claiming God doesn't do bad stuff because He is perfectly good. Quixote has a an excellent argument on the topic of "genocide" as he has been tackling the topic in several of his latest blogs. Maybe you should check that out.

Karla said...

Cyber "Actually murder is a legal idea - unlawful killing. So we can have lawful killing too - dependent of course on the cultural and historical context."

I don't see murder and killing as the same thing. Murder is killing, but all killing isn't murder. If there are some just wars, then there are some just killings which are then not murder.

Cyber "Surely you would need at least some idea of the absolute good so that you can judge things? When pressed you could probably come up with a list of things couldn't you?"


Yep. The good is found in God and we get to know what is good by spending time getting to know God. It's a relational thing, not a rule thing.

I could make a list, but it wouldn't be beneficial to because we would stop talking about it in general and focus on whether we agree on particularities and that's not essential to what we are talking about. I don't live by lists, I live by relationship with Jesus.

Karla said...

GCT "How does god replace our lives? This makes no sense, especially since you concede that Xians are not more moral than non-Xians."

He replaces our unrighteousness. Again righteousness isn't measured by actions, but by having God's life in us. Through living from that new life our actions will reflect His goodness. But our actions don't bring the goodness, we have that when we are in Him.

Karla said...

GCT "Legalism is not the same as morality, as I've pointed out."

Something being illegal may not correspond to something that is wrong, but something that is wrong could be made to be illegal such as murder or rape. Being illegal doesn't make it wrong, it was wrong before it was illegal.

GCT "Too bad god doesn't understand this. Karla, you are more moral than the god that you claim is omni-benevolent. How can you defend an entity that commits genocide, tortures people in hell for eternity in a purely punitive fashion (no hope for redemption or learning), visits natural evil upon the world and people living there, values obedience over morality, values factual knowledge over morality, etc?"

The God you are describing is not the God I know.

Karla said...

GCT "Legalism is not the same as morality, as I've pointed out."

Something being illegal may not correspond to something that is wrong, but something that is wrong could be made to be illegal such as murder or rape. Being illegal doesn't make it wrong, it was wrong before it was illegal.

GCT "Too bad god doesn't understand this. Karla, you are more moral than the god that you claim is omni-benevolent. How can you defend an entity that commits genocide, tortures people in hell for eternity in a purely punitive fashion (no hope for redemption or learning), visits natural evil upon the world and people living there, values obedience over morality, values factual knowledge over morality, etc?"

The God you are describing is not the God I know.

CyberKitten said...

karla said: I don't see murder and killing as the same thing.

Neither does the law - hence unlawful killing = murder, where lawful killing is not murder. What I'm saying is that murder is not a sin - it's unlawful... which changes over time and from place to place. It's cultural.

karla said: Being illegal doesn't make it wrong, it was wrong before it was illegal.

But what about things that are legal (or at least not illegal) yet you - and others - consider them wrong and yet me - and others - do not consider them wrong....?

People have different ideas of right and wrong and they cannot be resolved by one group pointing to their own beliefs and saying that the other group should abide by them. There is no independent arbiter to decide between them - and before you mention God He is not independent but is part of *your* belief system.

GCT said...

"I am not saying it is impossible for me to, but I don't think it beneficial in many situations to point out someone's failings, often times they are well aware of them and it is more helpful to them to show them hope than to direct them to their failures."

Sometimes it's not beneficial, sometimes it is. Making black and white statements doesn't help.

"I am claiming God doesn't do bad stuff because He is perfectly good."

Thus you are defending genocide and calling it good. Therefore, my criticism stands.

"I don't see murder and killing as the same thing. Murder is killing, but all killing isn't murder. If there are some just wars, then there are some just killings which are then not murder."

Um, yeah...that's what ck was saying.

"Yep. The good is found in God and we get to know what is good by spending time getting to know God. It's a relational thing, not a rule thing."

This makes no sense. If you claim that murder and rape are bad/wrong, then you are making a claim about moral rules and strictures. Besides, you are learning what is good through god, meaning what rules and guidelines make up good behavior.

"I could make a list..."

That's what we've been saying all along! You could make a list that would describe that which is moral and which isn't. It has nothing to do with knowing god. If you presented this list to me, would I have to know god in order to follow it and act IAW your moral system?

"He replaces our unrighteousness."

Once again, you've already conceded that Xians are not more moral than non-Xians, so this makes no sense.

"Again righteousness isn't measured by actions, but by having God's life in us."

Then you are not using righteousness in a sense that has anything to do with morality.

"But our actions don't bring the goodness, we have that when we are in Him."

This is nonsense (I've heard Calvinists use this same argument and it's just as bad when they do it). If I go into a burning building and rescue someone from death, is that a moral action? Is it more moral if a Xian does it? Let's assume that everything else is equal (I could make the argument that an atheist rushing in would be more moral in most cases) and god can't see the moral equivalency there. Are you going to argue that god is the arbiter of morality when he claims that it is more moral for the Xian because of who the Xian associates with than the atheist? Rubbish.

GCT said...

"Something being illegal may not correspond to something that is wrong, but something that is wrong could be made to be illegal such as murder or rape. Being illegal doesn't make it wrong, it was wrong before it was illegal."

Um, yeah, that's what I said, only in not so many words.

"The God you are describing is not the God I know."

Then you don't believe in the god of the Bible. Never-the-less, you do believe in a god that is less moral than you are. How do you defend that?

Karla said...

GCT "Then you don't believe in the god of the Bible. Never-the-less, you do believe in a god that is less moral than you are. How do you defend that?"

Yes, I do believe in the God of the Bible and I believe in a perfectly good God. This is not a contradiction.

Karla said...

GCT, you are raising a lot of good questions that I see I need to address. I think I am going to do it in an another post.

Karla said...

Cyber, you to have good questions, I'm going to write up a new post to address these too, I think. If not I'll respond by comment soon.

cl said...

"The reality of sin is that it is a cancer to our physical, emotional, and spiritual selves." (Karla)

I agree.

"..someone doing something that is 'wrong' or 'sin' doesn't give license for anyone especially those who are followers of Jesus to condemn the person or treat them any differently." (Karla)

I would agree, again.

"I also think even if it wasn't written against homosexuality in the OT, people would find some other way to justify homophobia." (Amanda)

I agree with this idea, too, and that's why it always irks me whenever anybody makes "but idea X is bad because it was used to justify atrocity Y" arguments (not that anybody has in this thread, just noting that your logic is the same logic that refutes this false claim). For purposes of justifying atrocity, anybody can twist any idea they want.

cl said...

"This is a late addition to the Bible, and not part of the original writers' manuscripts. IOW, this story is even less likely to have happened than anything else in the Bible." (GCT)

Two questions: How does this matter to Karla's overall point? How does "late addition" entail "less likely to have happened than anything else in the Bible?" Sans explanation, that's flawed logic.

"[..biblical standards] are immoral to begin with." (GCT)

The phrase "biblical standards" encompasses a rather large number of positions; to argue in gross generalities and make a blanket statement as you do here doesn't seem rational or accurate.

"I wonder why [Karla] would say such a thing. It sounds suspiciously like an endorsement of relative morality." (GCT)

When I read the exact same statement from Karla, I just hear somebody who realizes the fact that they're in no position to dictate how others should live. I don't see how that hints of "endorsement of relative morality" at all.

"So long as the people in question are not hurting, oppressing, etc. other people in turn, then we should butt out. In the case of sexuality, for instance, what do we care what two consenting adults do in the privacy of their own homes?" (GCT)

As far as legality is concerned and who should be punished for what in human-human systems, this is pretty much the same approach I take. So it seems that myself, yourself and Karla share common ground here.

cl said...

"Relativity is: 'What I am saying is that there is, but I won't and ought not to condemn those who don't abide by it.'" (GCT)

And you criticize Karla for not sticking to dictionary definitions of words?? If morality is relative, there is no [objective] standard, and you know it. Karla's concession that although she believes there's a moral right, it's not for her to condemn those who don't abide by it - is NOT relativism - or "relativity" which was the exact word you used. You repeat your argument here:

"Yet, you are telling me that you can't tell others what is moral, that what they choose to do is their business. This is relative morality." (GCT)

Moral relativism is the belief that what's good is ultimately up to each individual to decide. That is not Karla's position. You are conflating Karla's hesitance to act as moral enforcer with acceptance of moral relativism.

"If only god understood this point, which he obviously doesn't since he says that it's his way or the hell way."

Actually, I think the fact that you're allowed to even say that means God understands "this point" quite well. You claim that God does not understand that "there is a place for mercy, grace, forgiveness all coming from love," yet that's exactly what God is giving us. Now, if God's attitude was that one single sin is followed by permanent hellfire, I might agree with you, but that's not the case.

"I would generally use the dictionary definition, although I concede that I shouldn't assume that you do, since you have a history of not using dictionary definitions." (GCT)

Karla asked you a simple question in the interest of clarity - which was fully in accord with intellectually honest and respectful debate - and you responded by belittling her - which is fully in accord with intellectually dishonest and disrespectful debate. All I can do is hope that someone you respect also notices this and points it out.

"..if there is an absolute good, then there is a set of conditions and rules that can be codified in order to meet that good."

Now that might have something going for it. I would say this might be true - if of course the assumed premise is true. For example, if morality *actually* reflects something like deontology - your argument might be acceptable - but if morality *actually* reflects something more like consequentialism, your argument needs emendations because we couldn't as easily make "hard-and-fast" rules.

"Then you don't believe in the god of the Bible." (GCT, to Karla)

I would say the problem here is that you both have conflicting interpretations of the God of the Bible. The part I don't understand about you, personally, is that you see perfectly fit to tell Karla she's interpreting the God of the Bible incorrectly because her interpretation is not the same as yours - yet - I've also heard you criticize believers for doing the very same thing.

GCT said...

Karla,
"Yes, I do believe in the God of the Bible and I believe in a perfectly good God. This is not a contradiction."

In fact, it is...unless you find a way to defend the immorality of god's actions in the Bible. You want a short list? Hell, genocide, rape, murder, slavery, terrorism, child sacrifice, plagues, unjust laws, thought crime...need I go on? If you can claim that you believe in the god of the Bible, then you have to believe that this god has done all these things. And, if you further claim that this god is good, then you have to defend why these things are good. Good luck with that, although I'm left wondering why anyone would try to defend these actions instead of denouncing them as the evil they are.

Karla said...

Okay everyone, I just wrote a new post to address some of the over arching concerns in these comments. If I missed something you wanted to hear addressed regarding "Responding To Sin" post another comment here. Otherwise I'll look for comments on the new post.

GCT said...

You missed the part about defending genocide.

Karla said...

GCT "You missed the part about defending genocide."

I suggested above that you check out Quixote's handling of the topic for he has several in depth post on this topic over on his blog.

GCT said...

I just perused it...I'm not impressed. Do you agree with his arguments? All of them or some of them? If the latter, which ones?

Karla said...

GCT, yes I just re-read his 4 post on the topic and I do agree with his arguments.

GCT said...

All of them? Wow, that's pretty bad, even for you, considering that some of the arguments contradict other ones.

Let's take his very first argument, for example. He argues that we don't even know if they really happened. In order to save god's morality, he's tossed out the Bible as a guide to god, because if we can't trust that the events in the Bible happened, what can we trust that is in it? So, are you agreeing that we can't trust that the events in the Bible happened at all? You must be, since you said you agree with all his arguments.

Karla said...

Your perusal must have been really incomplete. He did not argue that he didn't think we could trust the Biblical account, he said that if one is going to use this as an argument against God's character they need to except the whole context of the account and the validity of the whole Christian story of God being one who could rightful dispense judgment upon sinners deserving death.

CL seems to be correct in that you hear only what you want to hear. You often pull out one little phrase and misconstrue it while ignoring the over arching argument.

GCT said...

Perhaps you missed this part:

"As far as I know, no one has direct experience of God committing genocide. I’ve never seen Him do it. I think it’s safe to assume no reader or commenter has either. If the objector is willing to grant the accounts of the Old Testament as historical, I say bravo. Let’s admit them as testimonial evidence. But once they’re admitted, let’s not de-admit them once we move on to other topics. At any rate, this does not represent direct experience and does not provide a rational foundation by means of direct experience for or against GGO under ESR.



Science appears to be of no assistance either. We do not appear to have an instrument or experiment capable of measuring the GGO, nor has science provided us with a time machine whereby we might directly observe this phenomenon."

Now, MS is a pretty bright guy, but the argument to begin with is that the Bible records god as having committed genocide, so why does he need to argue that the Bible says that, but no one was there to witness it? By saying that no one was there, he's casting doubt on our ability to convict god of something that we can't prove, in order to blunt our attack. This, however, has the effect of basically saying that the Bible can't be trusted.

If that was not his intent and he's really just trying to set up the obvious, then why include it?

"CL seems to be correct in that you hear only what you want to hear. You often pull out one little phrase and misconstrue it while ignoring the over arching argument."

Never-the-less you can go stick this BS up your backside. This is rich coming from the person that doesn't even read what I write and doesn't consider a single thing I say, who continually comes back with things that have been shown to be problematic or downright false (like your first cause arguments which have already been defeated, yet you still use them). It's coming from the person so far into her cognitive dissonance that she contradicts herself in consecutive sentences and the whines when it's pointed out that we simply don't understand. No, you don't get to make up words, conflate, move goal posts, etc. and then act as if I am being intellectually dishonest.

GCT said...

Hey, maybe MS was making the inane argument that if one accepts that the genocides happened, then we have to accept that god has the right to do it. After re-reading it and knowing your penchant for Ravi Zacharias's horrible arguments, it's possible MS is making this argument, which I had thought would be beneath him.

Are you kidding me? This is as bad as the argument that atheists are accepting that god exists if they make arguments against god. I mean, how bad of an argument does one have to trot out before you'll say, "No, that's not a good argument?"

Karla said...

GCT "
Now, MS is a pretty bright guy, but the argument to begin with is that the Bible records god as having committed genocide, so why does he need to argue that the Bible says that, but no one was there to witness it?"

I think Quixote is arguing that none of us were there so we would have to grant the Bible's authority on this matter in order to even have a discussion about God having done these things. So for the atheist to charge God with genocide, the only source they have is Scripture so their accusation only stands if the Scriptural account stands as true. And if we are going to us that account as true and then Quixote has the right to use other parts of Scripture to show why the God of the Bible who purportedly did these things is not acting outside of His goodness.

Quixote are you around to affirm or correct this interpretation?

MS Quixote said...

"Quixote are you around to affirm or correct this interpretation?"

The particular segment of the post you are referencing was intended to frame the argument under experience, Science, and Reason, three measures generally accepted by skeptics.

Obviously, we do not have experience and science available to us a discriminators, so that leaves us with reason. Reason finds Christianity internally coherent, since if they deserve it, they deserve it. Someone could still object, but at that point it's apparently an emotional objection not based on experience, science, or reason, normally something along the lines of "God's a real meanie..."

The other point revolved around biblical inerrancy. Oddly enough, if someone is successful in demonstrating that the genocide recorded in the Bible demonstrates that God is unjust, then all it proves is that the Bible is not inerrant; that the writers of the OT somehow misattributed these accounts to God or described his involvement in a manner that does not correspond to God. That's really all that the genocide objection could ever prove.