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Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Red Hat

Yeah, that’s right. Red hat. Because it is not only love of a certain species that dare not speak its name. Hatred, too, must be discreet. It is a forbidden emotion. Taboo! There be monsters there. Every ignoramus considers himself a Doctor of Theology because he knows that Jesus said something somewhere about loving enemies, or something – something about hatred being the same as murder.

Yet I in these postings have said that hatred is good. I titled one of these posts Why We Hate Clinton. In any case, I’ve used the word a fair bit. What’s up with that? I must really be filled with hatefulness.

Well. First. Is there any emotion that is bad? Certainly not. That’s like saying there’s a hair-color that’s bad. These are emotions that may be uncomfortable, or inappropriately directed, or perverted. But not bad. Morality and immorality are contingent upon circumstances. Cutting someone with a knife is an accident, or assault, or surgery. Lying to the Schutzstaffel about the Jews you’re hiding in your attic is a lie, but a good, a moral lie. “Nein, Herr Obersturmfuhrer, I am most certainly not hiding Jews in my attic. I would never do a thing like that. Heil Hitler. And have a blessed day.”

So those general negatives might be appropriate - like lust, in the toils of passion with your one-and-only. Greed? I’m not sure it’s an emotion at all … perhaps it’s a mental imbalance. But if it is an emotion, it’s just the negative manifestation of ambition and the urge for material security.

There is light and there is heat, from fire. There is good and bad, from passion. I’ve said it before, about Jesus storming up the hill to get at the moneychangers. Was he feeling love, when he beat them? We’re told, actually told, he was angry. You can be angry with what you love – motivations are such complex things – but somehow knotting a whip together seems a tad tougher than the meek agape of the cardboard Jesus.

Emotion has a purpose. It’s more than the vague feeling or the informative sensation. It has at its root the obvious meaning of motion – no coincidence. Emotion motivates. So I maintain that there’s a kind of hatred that is not imbalanced, not sinful, not poisonous. It is a kind of fierce righteousness that will not tolerate the incorrigibly intolerable. Like every healthy expression of emotion, it manifests only under appropriate conditions. Because it is extreme, it must be rare. Because it is a passion, it must be moderated with wisdom.

Some will have noticed the immoderate verbiage of Helmut Crisp, who somehow occasionally appears in these postings. My, how he hates and hates and hates. And how he attributes his own motives to his enemies. So blind. A Samson of darkness. Perhaps Isaiah was describing him: We grope for the wall like the blind, and we grope as if we had no eyes; we stumble at noonday as in the night; we are in desolate places as dead men.

In any case, courage shows itself in many ways, as does cowardice. There is an intellectual courage and an emotional courage that questions our own faith, and motives, and dearly held precepts, as eagerly as we question those of our adversaries. This process needs to be balanced with the wisdom to accept that there are imponderables, and the humility to be content with our hardwired limitations. What does this have to do with hatred? Well, we all have been taught that hatred is bad. But we might question this teaching, not with the cynicism of adolescence, but with an urge toward maturity. Perhaps we’ll find some light, in the heat.


J

16 comments:

Mel said...

Tell me, when you send the Obersturmfuhrer away Jewless, do you ask God to forgive you for breaking his ninth commandment?

Jack H said...

No. I should ask forgiveness for doing good? God gets it. Did Jesus ask forgiveness for scourging the moneychangers? The business of the Lord is no theoretical thing. He doesn't care about our petty integrity. He cares about mercy, not sacrifice - the spirit, not the letter. That was one of my points in "That Which I Most Feared" - if Job was blameless, why did he repent? He had made an idol of his integrity. Or so I see it. If the lie torments me, then it is sin, to me. And I must repent. Such a lie would torment me in not the slightest way. It's the "subtle as a serpent" part of being "gentle as a dove." But should I let my integrity serve evil? Let it not be so. I will look for oportunities to tell such lies, and savour them as a sweet incense unto the Lord.

I certainly may be wrong. But God, as I understand Him, is a practical guy. Jesus sure was. Or should I say, "is".


J

Mel said...

Not quite the same thing, is it? There is no commandment against flogging thieves and moneychangers.

You say Jesus cares about mercy, which he does. Mercy toward what? a sin or a personal torment?

Jack H said...

There is a commandment to love your enemies. Flogging doesn't *sound* like love. Suddenly it becomes more complex than the dictionary meaning of words suggests. How does mercy manifest? Toward both sin and punishment - the woman taken in adultery.

As I say, it's just barely possible that I may, in some minor and inexplicable way, be wrong. But what does it mean, that God judges hearts? It's not about black-letter law. We're not talking about slimy self-seeking.

Jesus need not have lied, to prevent injustice. He had only to speak, to effect his end - they all fell backward. We, alas, have not such a power. For this, we should allow evil to prosper? The last verses of Jonah come to mind:

Then said the LORD, Thou hast had pity on the gourd, for the which thou hast not laboured, neither madest it grow; which came up in a night, and perished in a night. And should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than sixscore thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle?

We must care about the great things, along with the small.


J

Mel said...

Beating a rebellious son with a rod doesn’t *sound* like love either; do we obey all the commandments or only those that *sound* like they comport with love?

It doesn’t strike me as being as complicated as you make out. Pilate had a problem with the dictionary definition of truth. I didn’t believe him either.

Again, it is true that God judges hearts. Does that make our hearts the arbiters of his Torah?

We must care about the great things, along with the small.

I suspect obeying his Law is one of those great things.

Tell me, if the German wanted to haul God himself out of your attic, would you lie to protect God from the German?

Jack H said...

Greetings, M. We know what the most deceitful thing is, and so we measure nothing by the heart. I have nowhere suggested the judged heart is a judge. I referred, of course, to motives.

When I said flogging doesn't *sound* like love, my meaning was that it is love, nevertheless. Pardon my ellipsis. :-) I agree the rod is necessary. As is the overlooking of a fault, sometimes. Which, when? Wisdom. First, should we hide Jews from Nazis? I think, yes. Should we lie to protect them? Again, I think yes. "I was hungry, and ye gave me to eat … I was in prison, and ye came unto me. ...Inasmuch as ye did it unto one of these my brethren, even these least, ye did it unto me." True, nothing about "when you lied for me." But what if the stranger is hungry and thirsty and naked by Nazi law? Well, since it's the law, let them starve. Or not. God's law isn't Nazi law, of course, but neither are we Pharisees.

We have liberty, not to do wrong, but to do right. You do not disagree that it is right to save Jews from Nazis. If I may kill Nazis in defense of innocent Jews and it be no sin, then how could lying for the same purpose be a sin? “Therefore, to anyone knowing to do good, and not doing it, it is sin to him.” To *him.* A weak conscience, being weak, defiles itself – but to wound, as a stumbling block, a conscience weak is also a sin, against Christ. If I offend you, *you,* somehow - with my celebration of the power of deceit to save lives - and cause you to stumble, then I must repent (I’m already vegetarian). Have you stumbled? I think not. And since not, “Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him.” My conscience is clean.

Pilate's problem was with truth itself, not with the meaning of truth. But indeed, it isn’t complicated in itself. Wisdom is the knowing of the right action in the right circumstance. Not at all complicated. Right? But the Bible isn’t an encyclopedia – flip to the entry, and find all the answers. We move through it as we move through life, learning its lessons as we go. Not at all complicated. But then again, not simple.

There are more than Ten Commandments in His torah. You do not keep all 613. Picking and choosing? O thou hypocrite! Or maybe not. Are you under law? I am not. Do you count your cumin? I cast bread upon the waters. Obeying God's law is a great, but not the greatest thing – and in comparison, it can be small, petty. What is the greatest commandment? How would it best be served, in the scenario we’ve been using? To save one of Christ’s “brethren,” I would happily shatter the idol of the law. Not possible, you say? Here it is: I think that you too, were you hiding Jews, would lie to protect them. You would need to repent of that lie, because it would be sin, to you. Not to me.

As for God being hauled away, well that already happened, didn’t it. Peter tried to protect him, and got a rebuke for his pains - or perhaps for Malchus's pains. Timing is everything. Jesus hid himself, in the midst of the mob that sought to hurl him over a cliff. So God doesn’t need my protection. There is not much I wouldn’t do, to protect the innocent from evil. Not much at all. Look at Paul, who would have given up his salvation, if it were possible. We are lesser men, but we must do what we can.


J

Mel said...

First of all, not all 613 commandments apply to me: try as I might I will never obey the commandments that deal with menstruation. So of course I pick and choose. Fewer than 613 laws are relevant to my righteousness; one of those I am certain I cannot subtract is the ninth.

Whether or not I am a hypocrite I’ll leave to you to judge.

Second, we are not talking about what Nazi law would require of me.

Third, we are not talking about what wisdom or mercy or compassion might require of me. It’s not that that is not important, it’s just that that was not what I was asking about. I could ask you or Hugh Heffner or Mao what commandments wisdom or mercy or compassion entitle me to break, but that’s for another day.

Lying to the Schutzstaffel about the Jews you’re hiding in your attic is a lie, but a good, a moral lie.

I want to know more about good and moral sins.

I’d also like to know if you would lie to the Germans if they were after God in your attic.

Jack H said...

Greetings, M. It goes without saying, that we are not under all the commandments. Ceremonial law and all that. We agree it is pick and choose. But your example is faulty: even though you don't menstruate, however hard you may try, you would still be under it re marital relations, if under law - your wife must leave the camp, etc. My point was that there is room for judgment. On this, we do agree. It’s just where to draw the line.

I hope you don’t think I actually called you a hypocrite – tone is hard to convey, here. I meant to soften it with the “O thou” and the “Or maybe not”. No offense implied. Sorry if I was unclear.

I’m not following your “second” point. Or your third. I *am* talking about what Nazis require of you, and what compassion requires of you. And of me. And of all who would live an ethical and righteous life in the real world. I have lost more than I will ever talk about, because of my refusal to compromise, or capitulate, on integrity. I know about loss and about suffering. Point being, there are non-negotiables. There are absolute moral truths. We must agree on this. But lying to evil-doers to prevent their evil is, at best, a gray area. It’s clear to *me,* but it’s clear in another way to you. Hmm.

Oh, but thanks for the company – “Hey, Chairman ol’ pal, what say you and me hang with Heff for a while? Pick up some chicks, purge some coolies – it’ll be a blast!” What company shall I give to you? Javert and Shylock? “The law! The law!”

There are no good and moral *sins.* Lying to Nazis is not a sin. The problem is that you define all lies as sins, and thus wrong. I say they are all, then, sins to you. Not to me. It’s probably necessary to do an exegetical study, here. Not really set up for that anymore. My Gesenius is packed away. But the text reads “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.” Pretty specific, eh? Col 3:9 says "Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds.” Again, specific. Don’t defame or traduce a neighbor, and don’t tell lies to other believers that arise from the corrupt nature of the old man. Proverbs and Revelation are harsh re liars – those who habitually deceive.

I thought I already addressed the God in the attic query. Jesus wouldn’t be hiding in my attic – remember the mob. I’d hide Mary in my attic, though, or Paul – he escaped in a basket from Damascus, if you recall. That required some hiding, and maybe some lying. “Hey, what’s in that basket? Is it Paul? We’re looking to kill him.” “Why, yes, it is Paul in the basket. Go ahead and kill him, and us too. Because I cannot allow you to be deceived - that would be a sin, and very wrong of me.”

Maybe God would pull off a miracle. Maybe God wants Nazis to kill Jews, because that’s less of a sin than the “lie” that would save them. Maybe. But I know of many murders, and few miracles, so if God wants lives saved, he seems to depend on us to do it.

Here’s the thing. It sort of feels like you’re not really analyzing what I’m saying, here. “Oh, this guy thinks lying is good.” No. I think no verbal statement that saves innocent lives from unrighteous killing can be wrong, compared to the unrighteous killing of innocent lives. We are never to violate the spirit of God’s commandments. We agree on that. I believe I’ve addressed every one of your points. You answer this, directly: The SS is at your door. You’re hiding Jews in the attic. The Obersturmfuhrer asks if you are hiding Jews. You are. “Are you hiding Jews?” Yes or no. If yes, the Jews, and you, and your children are dead. Period. That’s the reality. Machine guns at the ready.

Answer that, Mel. Yes or no.


J

Mel said...

No, I was not offended by the hypocrite. I was just responding to this now reflexive response to any sort of moral insistence. And my point about the 613 isn’t faulty at all. You said there were 613 I should be bound by in order to be consistent, to be unhypocritical. That’s really true for no one.

But this is all dust being kicked up, the point remains:

“There are no good and moral *sins.* Lying to Nazis is not a sin.

You said, “Lying to the Schutzstaffel about the Jews you’re hiding in your attic is a lie, but a good, a moral lie.”

Lying is the sin. It doesn’t matter if I am lying to Adolph Hitler, Mother Teresa or Jesus himself. And lying is always wrong; it is never good no matter how useful, and it is never moral no matter how noble.

And Yes, I would lie to the SS, of course. And I would not blink. In fact it would be very small of me to tell a thousand small, self-serving lies and then balk at this noble one.

But there is a line here—perhaps too fine a line for many. I could happily presume on God’s mercy and bear false witness, but I could not deny that it was a lie, and that at the end of the day it required confession and repentance.

Otherwise I blaspheme God’s name and word.

In the end, which is more important, the word and nature of the creator or the lives of six million creatures?

Jack H said...

Well, we must differ, then. If you break part of the law, you break it all. This can be no new teaching to you. And if you are under part of the law, you are under all of it. Although you do not enjoy menses, you must teach your daughter its law, and enforce it. You are bound by it, and therefore under it. But the point is minor, since we agree that we are not under all the law. What your reasoning is, I cannot say. Mine is that Christians have liberty. Again, this is no new teaching. And again, my use of "hypocrite" was ironic - I try never to waste my time with hypocrites. Just a light nudge, was all it was.

I did notice, and correct, your substitution in my wording, of "lie" and "sin". You equate them, I do not. I wouldn't wish to get rabbinical, and parse the word "lie" too finely. But of necessity I must assert that if all lies are sins, then whatever that statement was to the SS, it wasn’t a lie, because no sin. Rabbinical – but Jesus was a rabbi. If you have taken a look at some of my other postings, you'll notice that I have an unwavering regard for truth. I do go on, in "Brothers," for example. Do I distinguish between lying to a child about Santa, and to a Nazi about Jews. Yes. Unapologetically. It has to do with duty and betrayal. I won’t elaborate, since it must be obvious.

I’m pleased to hear the expected response, that you would lie to Nazis. Of course you would. Because it is a necessary lie, to achieve a positive good and prevent a heinous evil. (We might appeal to blind faith, and somehow hope that God would intervene with a fiat miracle – but I know of a chain of death camps that argues against such faith.) The lie, then, is necessary. Is sin necessary? I think not. God doesn’t put us in double-bind situations. I would find no problem at all, arguing your side of this discussion. I don’t want to have to anticipate obvious responses, though. So many wasted words.

Here’s a simple, and I think elegant, point: If we can kill in self-defense, and it be no sin, may we not also lie in self-defense, without sin? The Commandments don’t really apply, here, since the sixth isn’t about killing, and the ninth isn’t against lying. One is about murder, the other against false witness against a neighbor. The language is specific for a reason, unless you assume God just rambles on like an old woman. The fact is that killing itself is no sin. It is serious, and severe, and solemn, and done wrongly can damage the soul. But it is wrong motive that makes it a sin. Hmm. Might this reasoning apply to the manifestly lesser situation, of verbal statements?

Your original query was, after I’d sent the SS trotting away sans Jew, would I repent the lie. Absolutely not. I would rejoice the salvation. I could have killed the Nazis (um, somehow … I’m the leader of the Resistance – yeah, that’s it). Instead I gave them a mercy. God cares when a sparrow falls. Perhaps it pleased him, that a Nazi did not fall, that day. I don’t know. But God isn’t a moron. This I do know. And I know a judge needs to be wise, and to be wise is to discern between apparent necessities.

“In the end, which is more important, the word and nature of the creator or the lives of six million creatures?”

We have no say, in God’s word or nature. I can affect it in no way. In this regard, I can only worship and obey. First, then – and to return to an earlier point – God desires mercy, not sacrifice. To what would we have sacrificed? To the Creator, under His law. This is as nothing, to Him. To what do we give mercy? To his creatures, whether one, or six million, or all. Here is the commandment that supercedes the Ten. The law to a child is, “never cross the street alone.” Might we conceive a circumstance where the child must, to save a life, cross the street alone? I leave it to you to answer. And there be no sin in it.


J

Mel said...

This is getting too bizarre.

I am not guilty before the law if my daughter breaks it; I may be guilty of not teaching her properly, but I cannot be guilty of those parts of the law I cannot break.

Jesus was a teacher, he was called Rabbi. He was not among those who parsed meaning out of the language.

“I’m pleased to hear the expected response, that you would lie to Nazis. Of course you would. Because it is a necessary lie, to achieve a positive good and prevent a heinous evil.”

Again, this is not true: it is a self-deception. We are not in a position to know what is necessary. Nor do we know that our lie will achieve positive good or prevent heinous evil. We merely suspect this. We have good reason to suspect it, granted, sufficiently so that I too willingly lie. But I can not say I did not sin.

This is why I asked if you would lie about God being in your attic: if God were in our attic we could gladly tell the truth and let God deal with the problem. We are not prepared to let Providence allow unsavory, foreseeable consequences. I have no problem with that, as I said. [Actually, I do have a problem with that, but that is another discussion. What I don’t have a problem with is knowingly sinning.]

What I have a problem with is saying it is no sin when God says it is. It is a contradiction of his nature which I am to mimic and of his command which I am to obey. My desperations, my frustrations, my predicaments, my straits, my quandaries put me in an uncomfortable position and the most satisfactory resolution may be to hide Jews and lie about their whereabouts. Fine. I will gladly sin and confidently confess.

I will not contradict God.

“Here’s a simple, and I think elegant, point: If we can kill in self-defense, and it be no sin, may we not also lie in self-defense, without sin?”

No. And it is not elegant at all; it misrepresents the facts. It is not a sin to kill in self-defense. You deduce that if a greater evil is excusable, the lesser evil must be as well.

But it is not a sin to kill in self-defense. The command is not Thou shalt not bear false witness save for those circumstances where it seems necessary. Ever since Mt. Sinai and forever and forever God’s word shall remain: Thou shalt not bear false witness.

Jack H said...

Mate, if you are under the law, the law has a hold on you, to obey it and to teach it. “Gather the people together, men, and women, and children ... that they may learn ... and observe to do all the words of this law.” (Deut 31:12) A commandment. “Set your hearts unto all the words which I testify among you this day, which ye shall command your children to observe to do, all the words of this law.” (Deut 32:46) A commandment. Thus, you are guilty if you don't teach the law. As for their obedience, if you study the matter you will see that just as a father or husband may release a dependant daughter or wife from an oath, so is he responsible for keeping her pledges. (Num 30:3-8) Thus he is responsible for her obedience to the law. Thus he is guilty if she does not keep it. You may not *like* this logic, but preference is not refutation. Disprove it with reason and evidence, not with saying it's bizarre.

“For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.” (James 2:10) “For I testify again to every man that is circumcised [read: “that would be under law”], that he is a debtor to do the whole law.” (Gal 5:3) Don't like it? Take the matter up with God. I need to teach you this? Do you own a Bible? Have you read it? This is basic stuff, and you present yourself as an articulate man. I won’t call your seeming lack of awareness of this fundamental “bizarre” – but it is odd. The controversy as to whether a Christian is under the law was a settled matter in Paul's day. Would you revive it? What does it mean, that the law is a tutor? What does it mean, to be mature? What does it mean, to have liberty? I'm sure you can look up the reference yourself. These things were not said in a closet.

Yes, we agree that Jesus was a rabbi. If you imagine he didn’t parse words, you haven’t been paying attention – cf. the woman with seven dead husbands (Mk 12:18-), just off the top of my head. (What "parsing"? I leave it to you to see.) Who it may be, here, that parsed meaning out of words, I cannot imagine. What?! Me?! Surely you jest! No, no – you beg the question.

“Again, this is not true: it is a self-deception. We are not in a position to know what is necessary. Nor do we know that our lie will achieve positive good or prevent heinous evil. We merely suspect this. We have good reason to suspect it, granted, sufficiently so that I too willingly lie. But I cannot say I did not sin.”

Golly, you mean humans don’t have perfect foreknowledge? We have to go with probabilities? This is a new teaching, and not as from one of the scribes and Pharisees! But I grow sarcastic. Your pardon, I pray. Point being, by the standard you set, there is no meaning to the word “necessity.” Since neither of us believes this, your statement becomes meaningless. The word “lie” has meaning. We just draw the line in different places. "Good reason" sufficient to elicit a willing lie from you must count as necessity.

I understood the implications of your “God in the attic” scenario, and gave the same solution, you’ll recall. Jesus can handle the situation.

”What I have a problem with is saying it (lying) is no sin when God says it is.” Chapter and verse, please. One that is specific to all lying, or to the lie that does good – as I’m sure you’ll agree saving Jews is. I’ve already provided several verses, which do not support your case.

“I will gladly sin and confidently confess.” Double bind. To do good you must do evil. To show mercy, we must offend God. To rescue the oppressed, we must spit on God’s law. I think not. God would not allow that perversion.

“No. And it is not elegant at all; it misrepresents the facts. It is not a sin to kill in self-defense. You deduce that if a greater evil is excusable, the lesser evil must be as well.”

Oh. Okay. I misrepresent? If you say so. But, um, HOW is it not a sin to kill in self defense, but it is a sin to lie in self defense? Your logic eludes me - since we are told not to “kill,” and we are told not to “lie.” I’ve already provided some reasoning. If you’d do more than merely negate my words, but instead demonstrate your case, I’d be edified. :-) My own reasoning was not “if a greater evil [killing, presumably] is excusable, the lesser evil [lying] must be as well.” My reasoning, restated, again, is thus: Murder and false witness against a neighbor are never excusable, always wrong, and utterly odious to God. Righteous self-defense (say, killing) and defense of the innocent from wickedness (say, lying) is always right, and always pleasing to God. I’m sure my meaning was clear, in this. If not, it must be, here.

“The command is not Thou shalt not bear false witness save for those circumstances where it seems necessary. Ever since Mt. Sinai and forever and forever God’s word shall remain: Thou shalt not bear false witness.”

No. That’s not what the text says. I’ve made sure to quote it precisely, for this very purpose. "Thou shalt not bear false witness AGAINST THY NEIGHBOR" - both in Exodus and in Deuteronomy. Where this is missing, it is an ellipsis, well-understood by all who heard. I would hope I don’t need to spell out the meaning of this. It really should be clear, now that I’ve capitalized it and all. There may be some commandment about lying. This isn’t it. This is about perjury, slander, undermining someone’s reputation or social position with false or malicious statements. It is a social precept, an article of the constitution of a theocracy. It refers to a class of lying, not to all lying. It is a lie AGAINST someone, who is of the same SOCIETY. It is not permission to tell lies to strangers, but it is a prohibition against only a specific species of lie. Some thought in this matter will confirm the truth of my statement.

You will have noted that I do back up my statements with evidence, examples, and citations. You’ve said I’ve misrepresented facts, but your assertion isn’t really supported. If you’d provide textual evidence, in context and specific to the case, I’d appreciate it. I’ve gone to the trouble of doing so for you. As I’ve said, and not jokingly, many of my tools are packed away, but even with a simple old Bible I am, you’ll agree, pretty specific. I’m not interested in opinions, when evidence might be had. I provide it. Please to the same. No rebuke, meant here. I just don’t want to quibble about opinions.

Best,

J

Mel said...

Well, no. Not even close.

You selectively back up what you say. You back up what you assume is dispositive, the rest is up for grabs.

"Thou shalt not bear false witness AGAINST THY NEIGHBOR - both in Exodus and in Deuteronomy. Where this is missing, it is an ellipsis, well-understood by all who heard.”

You assume it is an ellipsis and you assume it is well-understood. That certainly was not what was well-understood by the Apostles.

And the misrepresentation I refer to, as you well know, had to do with the sort of killing. The command is to do no murder, which you must also know. All killing (including self-defense killing and even revenge killing) was not only NOT forbidden, it was accommodated in the cities of refuge. So I repeat:

No. And it is not elegant at all; it misrepresents the facts. It is not a sin to kill in self-defense.

It remains a sin to speak a falsehood: to a neighbor, to the Holy Spirit, to yourself....

But.

It no longer matters. I am not an evangelist, I merely sought clarification. I’m satisfied I have that.

Thanks for your time.

Jack H said...

"You selectively back up what you say. You back up what you assume is dispositive, the rest is up for grabs." We must leave this judgment to some third party, I fear. I make no effort to be encyclopedic. As for what I assume, how about asking me, rather than telling me? I play fair.

"You assume it is an ellipsis and you assume it is well-understood. That certainly was not what was well-understood by the Apostles." Your evidence? My evidence is that the law is stated in the Books of the Law - in this case, Ex and Deut. Later incomplete iterations are not amendments to the law, unless so stated. They are examples of how real people actually speak - briefly and to the point.

"The command is to do no murder, which you must also know." And which I stated. I do assume, perhaps wrongly, that you bear in mind not the mere paragraph some statement occurs in, but the entire body of these comments. Must I add footnotes?

"It remains a sin to speak a falsehood: to a neighbor, to the Holy Spirit, to yourself...." Alas, assertion is not evidence. I appreciate your passion and conviction in the matter, but I am not overawed by it. The sum of your evidence is "Thou shalt not lie." I have offered rather more than that. And so we land full-circle. And I am dismissed. To sum it up: We agree that we would lie to Nazis. You say it's a sin that must be repented, I say it is not.

Ah well, Mel. Thanks for the stimulation.

Pax

J

Deborah said...

Funny, I was just thinking about this idea the other day. I scanned your correspondence, and didn't see a reference to Exodus 1:15-22, so I thought I'd add my 2 cents...
The midwives LIED to Pharoah about how the baby boys survived, and these midwives were blessed by God....because of the lying? in spite of the lying?
Hmmm...Interesting!

Jack H said...

Greetings, D-

Interesting indeed. Thanks. Take a look at "Piety," expanding this topic, if you haven't seen it yet. I give a couple of examples too.

http://forgottenprophets.blogspot.com/2006/03/piety.html

Best,

J