Walk of Justice

JUSTICE…

Deep within the heart of a pastor, there grows an answer to the question that called their heart to Christianity.  I know of one pastor who encourages us to celebrate humanity’s uniqueness while challenging the soul to dive deep within its hearts to understand gratitude.  Could you please take the time to visit Don’s page to reply to His following question:

As we all know the term ‘Justice’ – especially when preceded by the word ‘Social’ – can be volatile. That being said…what does the idea of Justice mean to you? [I can’t wait to hear the varied responses.] If you only respond to one post (ever) on this page please let it be this one! It is going to help us shape where we head from here. 

Go to the following link: http://www.facebook.com/#!/JustChrstian/posts/287512808004549

 

This morning I met with another mentor helping me discern way into prison ministry.  She left me with a reflection to ponder: When Jesus washed the feet of His disciples He was actually preparing them for their walk of justice.  My first reaction was chills.  As I drove to work the weight of this reflection got heavier and heavier.  An unbearable sense of humility was unknowingly anointing the dirty soles of the disciples’ feet.  Grace, mercy and forgiveness would soon reveal their true meaning as they trod their trail to martyrdom.  I feel trapped under an immovable cross of humility, screaming for that one hand to come along side and help me to my feet so I may begin to see the depth of this word of justice.  What do you see?

His,

Chris

Walk of Justice

Their soles are cleaned by their servant-master,
The dirt from that day has been washed away,
A covenant proclaimed during dinner,
The meaning of bread and wine slip away,
While one readies himself to betray.

In time, these followers will understand,
Strengthened in humility Christ displayed,
Martyrdom will reveal their Holy Land,
Their walk of justice awaits its demand.

Fearless humility now bathes their soul,
Alone they’re slaughtered – yet Christ holds their hand,
Diamonds are born from bodies crushed like coal.

Will you let Me wash the soles of your feet?
Will you follow me in my justice or retreat?

©2012 by Chris Clody 4/27/2012

For more Christian encouragement check out my ebook by clicking the following link: Thoughts2Share

                      

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37 thoughts on “Walk of Justice

  1. WOW! What a stunning poem and it’s something that’s going to stay with me for a while. Justice is not about an eye for an eye. Justice is loving someone who does you wrong, in THEIR hour of need.

    • Thank you for your more than kind words! I agree with you that justice is found in loving someone. IT seems consistent to me that the indwelling presence of God is His love which Christ promises to perfect in us. In the end, it is that love that only remains as hope and faith are know longer necessary for Christ to “know” us and say those words we desperately want to hear;”Well done good and faithful servent.” Keep in touch! His Love, Chris

  2. Justice is getting what we deserve.

    Mercy is not getting what we deserve.

    Grace is getting what we don’t deserve.

    Just as the ‘servant Jesus’ washed the feet of His disciples – a menial job reserved for the ‘lowliest’ of servants – Jesus showed that if the Creator of the Universe humbled Himself enough to do that menial job for His creation, then we have no excuse to not serve the ‘least of our brothers.’ Since Jesus gives us mercy by saving His ‘chosen,’ & not justice for sinning against Him, shows the awesomeness of His loving grace.

    • As always, thanks for your perspective Steve. I was truly captured most by this reflection because I believe we can never fully define words the way God intends since we cannot fully understand His reasoning. I agree with the “standard” definitions of Grace, Mercy and Justice, but all of those words merge soundly within the parameters of God’s revealed love. I believe there are even deeper layers to explore, especially in justice. What does it really mean to count the cost…keeps me praying. Peace my friend, Chris

      • And what we don’t understand on this side of the grave, we’ll continue to understand on the other side when we are glorified. Praise God that what we ‘simpletons’ need to understand now, God reveals those things to us in His Word in a ‘simple’ way, so we ‘can’ understand them:

        “The unfolding of Your words gives light; It gives understanding to the simple.” – Psalm 119:130

      • Thank you for that piece of scripture, it sent me into contemplative orbit and daring to ask “how simple?” I believe there is no boundary for God’s mercy which illuminates the Beatitudes in ways I never expected. For those who are given much, that is the abilitiy to at least simply comprehend, He has just expectations…and for those who are apparently lost in prisons of severe handicap, He extends His mercy and blesses the sufferring. I envision those who are helpless become the bridal bouquet held by the anxious bride of Christ. PEace, Chris

  3. A very thought provoking poem that beautifully describes many aspects of different types of ministry.

    In my simple opinion the Master never asked disciples or anyone for that matter to do anything that He, himself would not. For me to ponder the question, “What is justice” is akin to me pondering the real meaning of forgiveness. There is not a simple one word answer. For each it may be unalike. God may speak in diverse ways to different people regarding their individual situation. As followers of Christ we know that both justice and forgiveness are important—how they are presented or played out in our specific circumstances are unique. I’m often reminded that Word say vengeance belongs to Christ; it is not my cross to bear. If I give unto Him daily that which troubles my heart and seek only His face my answers are always there. Mayhap not immediately, however, they do come.

    I shall end here. Thank you for sharing this topic.

    My two cents,
    C.

    • Thank for your insights and I agree there is no simple one word answer to justice or forgiveness – but offers the soul endless reflection. Thanks again and your views are very much appreciated. Peace, C.

  4. Hi Christopher,
    I just wanted you to know that I nominated you for the Sunshine Award… one that is given to “bloggers who positively and creatively inspire others in the blogosphere. You are not obligated to accept the award…but I hope you do. Please check out the link belowhttp://livingbeyondorganicmom.wordpress.com/2012/05/02/sunshine-in-my-soul/?preview=true&preview_id=208&preview_nonce=f50854b54c

    • Thank you for your thoughtfulness Celina! I am truly humbled. Please forgive me, although I I don’t post awards on my blog, it still feel this is very special that you though my blog was worthy. God Bless and as always…shine on Celina!
      His,
      Chris

  5. If…..

    “Justice is getting what we deserve.”

    and if…

    “Mercy is not getting what we deserve.”[italics, mine]

    and if….

    “Jesus gives us mercy by saving His ‘chosen,’ & not justice for sinning against Him”

    How is that not unjust? ‘Just curious.

    • Maybe there is more to this simple logic scenario you devised. I’m not sure how you define “chosen” or if you have considered forgiveness, repentance and love in your question. Putting all these factors together would also require a perspective maybe understood through the eyes of a parent. Tell me do you have any children?

      • It’s not really anything I “devised”. We take things at their face-value in many facets of life, and many times we are being perfectly reasonable to do so. I just happen to see this as one such instance. I felt that I took the two statements that I referenced at their face-value. Given the colloquial meanings of “justice” and “mercy”, I fail to see how a judge who grants clemency aka “mercy” is exacting justice, if “justice” is defined as giving the guilty precisely what he or she deserves. Moreover, if the guilty happened to, say, kill someone very close to you, I would go out on a limb and say that you would take issue with the judge’s verdict if the judge let the killer go scot-free. I’d be on your side, BTW.

        As for your question regarding children, I suspect that a parent/child analogy is around the corner. In all honesty, I think I’ve heard them all throughout my hundreds of discussions with theists. But if you think that you have one that I haven’t heard, by all means, I’ll have a listen. And yes, two adopted children.

        ‘Best.

    • Boomslang…I’m not sure if I would call the definitions of ‘justice,’ ‘mercy,’ & ‘grace’ – ‘colloquial.’ Rather, that is how they are defined in understanding these New Testament terms.

      In order to understand God’s mercy & justice, we have to remember who we are in relation to Who God is. God is holy & perfect, AND just. He is the perfect Lawgiver, so He makes the rules. When He gives us a command, He expects us to follow it. When we don’t (and we all “don’t” at some point in our lives), we sin. And since the wages of sin is death, God shows His mercy on all of us by not allowing us to die.at the moment we sin. However, the moment we die, His mercy ends & His justice begins. For those of us who have put our faith & trust in Jesus Christ, God placed our sins on Jesus on the cross as if He had lived our lives, & God imputed Jesus’ righteousness on us as if we had lived His life. So, for those of us who are His ‘chosen’ we are justly ushered into heaven when we die, because God doesn’t ‘see’ our sin, because it was placed on His Son on the cross.

      However, for those who have chosen to reject Christ, when they take their last breath, they have no Advocate nor Mediator with God. So, God being a just God, MUST pour out His wrath on them for sinning against Him. If his ‘chosen’ had not trusted in Christ, then they too would be children of God’s just wrath. However, out of love, God reached into the hearts of His ‘chosen’ & saved them from His wrath, by allowing them to see the reality AND the choice to accept Jesus as their personal Savior. That is an example of God’s grace, mercy, AND justice. Hope this helps. In Christ, Steve.

      • “I’m not sure if I would call the definitions of ‘justice,’ ‘mercy,’ & ‘grace’ – ‘colloquial. Rather, that is how they are defined in understanding these New Testament terms.” ~ cclody

        By “colloquial”, I simply meant the commonly accepted word-meanings of “justice” and “mercy”, which is why I purposely left off “grace”, which almost always carries a religious overtone.

        In any case, if you are saying that the New Testament definition of “justice” has a unique meaning, that is, a meaning that is much different that the commonly accepted aka colloquial meaning of the word, then at least I know why the “justice” you described in your response is something far removed from the “justice” we employ in our modern judicial-system. Fair enough. However, the question then becomes, which judicial-system is better, and by “better”, I mean, a) fair, and b) consistent. If your answer is that the New Testament judicial system is “better”, then perhaps you can tell me why we don’t use that system today. I’m genuinely curious about that.

        In the mean time, I contend that today’s, man-made judicial system is better than the biblical one. Much better, in fact. To illustrate, what do you think we would we do with a judge who decided to let a convicted serial killer walk away scot-free because his Honor happened to know the accused personally, say, they went to high school together, and based on that personal relationship, the judge decided to be merciful that day. Personally, I think we’d have that judge fired and fined, and I’ll wager that the relatives of the victims would demand that this judge be locked up in a loony bin. But maybe I’m overlooking something, so, feel free to advise me on this.

        “[..]the moment we die, His mercy ends & His justice begins.”

        Ah. So, when it’s all said and done, the only people to have benefited from this “mercy” you speak of is Christians. I’m sorry, but that seems like a clear-cut case of favoritism to me.

        “So, for those of us who are His ‘chosen’ we are justly ushered into heaven when we die[…]”

        You say, “His chosen”. Is it a coincidence that “His chosen” are only those who choose him? If not, then it seems a little odd to call believers “His chosen”, IMO.

        “[…]because God doesn’t ‘see’ our sin, because it was placed on His Son on the cross”

        I must tell you, this really raises an eyebrow, and as well, it seems to underscore what I said previously about favoritism. But let me if I’m understanding correctly:

        So, God doesn’t “see” what he views as man’s short-comings(“sin”), but on the other hand, God only overlooks the shortcomings of those who believe in and worship him. You seem to be saying that God turns a blind-eye to his follower’s shortcomings(“sins”), but as for those who don’t believe in and worship him, their shortcomings(“sins”) don’t get swept under the carpet the same way.

        If that’s an inaccurate assessment, I’m always willing to hear how I have it wrong so I can learn. I certainly don’t want to sit here and defend my errors.

        “However, for those who have chosen to reject Christ[…]

        What about those who don’t “reject Christ”, but who are simply unable to honestly believe that such a character has a referent in reality? Do you “reject Allah”, or do you simply disbelieve in “Allah”? Which? Moreover, what if Islam turns out to be true. Looking back, would you feel it reasonable to have been expected to believe in Allah on such scant-to-zero evidence? If so, this is precisely how I feel about the god you believe in. But I suspect that you think that the evidence for your “God” is better, and that everyone is “without excuse” because your bible says so. If so, you can tell me what evidence you feel should convince me, and if you’d like, I’ll you in great detail why it doesn’t convince me.

        ‘Best.

      • Sorry in advance to Chris & Boomslang for the rather LOOOOOOONG response to Boomslangs questions & comments:

        “Grace” by definition simple means “unearned favor.” It can take a secular overtone, in addition to a religious one. A loving parent can love their children unconditionally, without the child doing anything to ‘earn’ that love. That’s grace. In the same way, when a person accepts the Truth of Jesus Christ being their Lord & Savior, it is because God has lifted the ‘blinders’ off that individual, not because of anything particularly ‘special’ about that person, but simply out of God’s love for that person. That, too, is grace.

        The N.T. word ‘justice’ simply means ‘to make righteous,’ which means ‘to make acceptable to God.’ God is the One Who makes a person ‘righteous,’ therefore, there is no such thing as a ‘self-righteous Christian,’ because the Christian knows there is nothing he/she can do to make him/herself ‘right’ with God. The N.T. word ‘mercy’ basically means ‘to show compassion.’ However, it doesn’t mean to ‘let people off the hook.’ Sin still has to be dealt with. It isn’t ‘swept under the carpet.’ Like I said before, our sin is either placed on us or on Christ.

        “the question then becomes, which judicial-system is better, and by “better”, I mean, a) fair, and b) consistent. If your answer is that the New Testament judicial system is “better”, then perhaps you can tell me why we don’t use that system today.”

        The main reason why the N.T judicial system isn’t used today, is because most countries aren’t under a Judeo-Christian theocratic system. When God gave Moses the Law, it was specifically towards Israel, as a way to show them that God’s eternal standards, which mankind was/is not able to ever meet, but also to give them the ‘knowledge’ of His standards, & if they broke His Law, then sin needed to be dealt with. But since the Messiah hadn’t come yet, ‘eye for an eye’ was the judicial system then. By the time Christ came on the scene, the Law was still in effect, however, the Jews couldn’t exercise much of their judicial system, because they were bound by Roman law. That’s the problem with man-made law. Everyone has their ‘own’ definition of ‘good,’ ‘bad,’ ‘justice,’ ‘mercy,’ etc. which frequently contradict each other, & there’s no ‘set’ standards of what ‘good, bad, justice, & mercy’ are, like the example you gave with the ‘unjust’ judge who allowed a convicted killer to go scot-free. He had been convicted, yet, NO ONE paid for his crime, & he will probably go on killing people. However, when a person ‘genuinely’ becomes a Christian, & they realize Christ paid for our ‘crime’ against God, he/she is so appreciative, knowing what He had to go through, the Christian loses his desire to willfully sin. That doesn’t mean that he/she won’t ever sin again, but they are now convicted when they do sin, because they now realize their sin ‘hurts’ the loving God Who created them & died for them & their sin, so they don’t want to sin anymore.

        “Ah. So, when it’s all said and done, the only people to have benefited from this “mercy” you speak of is Christians. I’m sorry, but that seems like a clear-cut case of favoritism to me.”

        Actually, God’s mercy applies to anyone – not just Christians. Anyone (Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, atheists, agnostics, etc.) who accept the fact that Jesus lived, died on a cross for their sin, & proved this by rising from the dead, benefit from His mercy & can enter Heaven. A person who was raised in a Christian family, who was exposed to this Truth their whole life, yet chose to reject this, will not benefit from God’s mercy, & instead of their sin being placed on Christ, will have it placed on him/herself.

        “You say, “His chosen”. Is it a coincidence that “His chosen” are only those who choose him? If not, then it seems a little odd to call believers “His chosen”

        That’s because God ‘predestined’ certain people to salvation before the creation of the earth. Now, on the surface, this may sound like ‘favortism,’ however, God doesn’t just ‘randomly’ choose certain people over others (“I like this person, but not this person”), because that would mean that He would base their worth on something internally special about them, & it is God that makes them worthy, not the individual. Also, God still gives us a choice to either accept this ‘free gift’ of salvation or not. In fact, this ‘calling’ goes out to everyone, not just Christians. However, not everyone chooses to listen to His calling. So, when His ‘chosen’ hears God’s ‘call,’ he/she isn’t ‘forced’ to believe, but because he/she is now listening, God’s offer to accept Jesus’ free gift of salvation is so ‘irresistible,’ that the person desires to accept it. It’s a hard concept to understand, because we are trying to understand an infinite Mind, with a finite one. But a person can know if they are part of God’s ‘chosen’ or ‘elect’ or not, whether or not they say ‘yes,’ to His offer when they hear it. But, no one, except God & that individual, can know for sure if someone else is ‘chosen’ or not – but the individual can know.

        “I must tell you, this really raises an eyebrow, and as well, it seems to underscore what I said previously about favoritism. But let me if I’m understanding correctly:”

        When I say God doesn’t ‘see our sin anymore,’ again, it doesn’t mean that God ‘sweeps our sin under the carpet.’ Sin still has to be dealt with, so someone has to bear our sins – either us or Christ. If it’s Christ, it’s because we lose our desire to willfully sin against God, & turn away from our life of sin, & realize we NEED a Savior, because we realize we can’t get into Heaven on our own. No good work or religious act that we can do or participate in (including baptism), will be acceptable to God to gain entry into Heaven. That’s why Jesus (God in the flesh) HAD to die on the cross for us – there was no other option that would be acceptable to God to allow an unrepentant sinner into His sinless Heaven.

        “What about those who don’t “reject Christ”, but who are simply unable to honestly believe that such a character has a referent in reality? Do you “reject Allah”, or do you simply disbelieve in “Allah”? Which? Moreover, what if Islam turns out to be true.”

        There is such an avalanche of both religious AND secular evidence for the existence, death, & resurrection of Christ from the 1st & 2nd Centuries, that a person who is aware of this would have to turn a blind eye not to believe it. Even atheists Richard Dawkins & H.G. Wells, & religious activist Mohandas Gandhi acknowledge the existence of Jesus. Allah of the Qu’ran is not the same as the God of the Bible. Allah doesn’t believe that Jesus is God in the flesh, while the God of the Bible does, but both Islam & Christianity both believe in monotheism (the existence of only one God). Therefore, logically, they can’t both exist, & both religions can’t both be true. Allah of the Bible also believes that Christians believe that the Trinity is the Father (God), the mother (Mary), & the son (Jesus), while many Muslims today think that Christians believe in 3 separate Gods, (rather than only one God, but 3 separate “Persons” within that One God), even though Islam describes Allah as ‘We’ – plural. Allah of the Bible also believes that God had sex with the virgin Mary to bear Jesus. None of these Muslim claims about Christianity or the Bible are Biblically accurate, nor what Christians believe, yet a Muslim’s religious beliefs are based on the claims of ONE man, who claimed to have met the angel Gabriel in a cave in Mt. Hira, who choked him out & forced him to ‘recite’ the Qu’ran, even though Gabriel in the Bible never choked anyone out, but instead said “Do not be afraid.” Sorry for the history lesson, but I deemed it important to your question. Therefore, Islam doesn’t have the objectivity of the Bible & the Judeo-Christian faith – Islam is based on ‘circular reasoning’ (‘I believe in the Qur’an because the prophet Mohammed wrote it. I believe that Mohammed is the prophet because the Qu’ran is the word of God.’) The same can’t honestly be said about the Bible & Christianity if we understand the history of the Bible (how it was put together, under its unique circumstances, its inerrancy, its fulfillment of HUNDREDS of LITERALLY & SPECIFICALLY fulfilled prophecies about future real-world events, empires, etc. & of Who the Jewish Messiah would be, Who was fulfilled LITERALLY in One Man – Jesus Christ, as well as scientifically, archaeologically, & historically accurate claims hundreds or even THOUSANDS of years before science, archaeology, or history ever proved them to be true). As former atheist Lee Strobel said, “given the avalanche of evidence, it would require more faith for me to maintain my atheism!” (“The Case for Christ” – I recommend watching or reading this, if you are indeed & genuinely interested in finding out if Christianity is true or not.)

        “But I suspect that you think that the evidence for your “God” is better, and that everyone is “without excuse” because your bible says so. If so, you can tell me what evidence you feel should convince me.”

        With all due respect, I have probably heard the ‘evidence’ you have for why you don’t believe in the God of the Bible. Most of what I have heard is based on poor Biblical hermeneutics, ‘strawman’ arguments, a refusal to believe in the secular evidence of Jesus, etc. Again, it comes down to whether a person is ‘chosen’ or not. Like pro-wrestler Jeff Jarrett once said, ‘for the nonbeliever, no evidence will do.’ Hope this clarifies your questions & comments. Will you be open-minded to either watch of read “The Case for Christ” by former atheist Lee Strobel? In Christ, Steve.

  6. Thanks Steve for offering a lens through the New Testament perspective and boomslang for your fair question. I will also try to take into account your last two responses since I’ve been away from the keyboard giving your question the respect and contemplation it deserves. First it should be stated that Christ has been and continues to be a referent within our human history who is either despised or loved. Christ was hated and continues to be hated for He himself reveals to us objective truth. Over the last 2000 plus years he’s has divided countless hearts and will continue to divide friends and families until He comes again. I believe it is pertinent to this discussion to realize that Christians believe justice is founded in God’s objective truth. It continues to stand the test of time that Christians refuse to water down the Gospel message allowing it to will have its way without apology. After all Jesus told his followers to “Go and make disciples,” and not “make converts to your opinion.” There must be a standard of truth on which justice is based and Christians believe this is a person; the Son of God. Since you explained “colloquial” regarding the” common word meanings as justice” it should also be acknowledge that this “common” understanding continues slip according to relativism and what you consider “common” today will be “outdated”, “old-fashioned” or God-forbid “religious” in the future. It is my greatest hope and concern as a parent of two like yourself that I continue to pour all my love, energy and understanding into them to offer them a sense of what is right and what is wrong. Yet, even parents realize as we stand shoulder to shoulder with other adults, that there is a variety of perspectives on our personal view of justice. Yet in a comforting way, the parent-child relationship is a shadow of our relationship with the family of God. It is Christ who proclaims to His “chosen” to “remain in me” (Truth)” and I will remain in you.” If Christ is accepted as the standard of truth, justice does not take on a different meaning then our slippery, festering legal system, but a higher and more pure understanding of what a covenant is. Our hopeful reunion as “chosen” with God is not based on a legal contract but a covenant. Your question makes a great deal of sense since it is from the” ground up” and seems to conflict with those who see justice from “Heaven down” as mere favoritism. However, favoritism has no place in Christianity. The disciple of Christ, regardless of how thin or thick Christianity is understood or presented, must take into account the very cost of justice. This blog on “The walk of Justice” was to hopefully remind my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ that we are partakers in the Father’s offering of His Son, Jesus, that unlike becoming what we eat we become part of God. In fact, this will cost the Christian everything – his or her heart, soul, mind, body and soul. Some may even “be called” to partake even further, and accept a walk of justice in complete faith towards martyrdom, like the apostles, knowing their Truth is near. Again, martyrdom is not “earning salvation” but an opportunity to fearlessly express faith in Christ’s merits won at Calvary for those accepting His commands of love. Christian discipleship is as serious as sin is fun – both are boundless in liberty or license. The “higher” level of justice revealed by God through His Son, Jesus, differs from our legal system by its unique freedom from fear. Although Heaven and especially Hell are introduced to the Christian, they soon realize a level of love freely offered to them that overcomes all fear towards discipleship. The higher level of justice is the reality of the gulf separating our sinfulness and the holiness of God’s family has been just been “bridged” – but filled. Your perspective to say “man’s created judicial system” is better than a biblical sense of justice is both incorrect and unrealistic. “Thou shalt not kill or steal”, for example, continues to have legacy in all competent justice systems. As for being unrealistic, I would expect you as father, like myself, would even hang on a cross for your two children…but I doubt either of us would do it for people either of us care about or worse – hate us. Finally, with objective truth, that is a judge who understands our every intention and action, there is no negotiation…for in our hearts we know true justice. It is in this little word ”know” that is the fulcrum to our salvation – even people proclaiming to be Christian. Will this God-man called “Truth” know us by our genuine death in God’s fellowship or not? I believe this is humanity’s quest and purpose – to seek this answer, who the bible reveals as the person Jesus.
    Again I apologize for my delayed reply. However, I believe your question deserved a thoughtful answer.
    His,
    Chris

    • Your perspective to say ‘man’s created judicial system’ is better than a biblical sense of justice is both incorrect and unrealistic. ‘Thou shalt not kill or steal’, for example, continues to have legacy in all competent justice systems.” ~ cclody

      I can appreciate that you think I’m mistaken and unrealistic and all, however, your providing an example of a law that both judicial-systems have in common hardly demonstrates which system is actually better, again, if “better” means, a) more fair, and b) more consistent. In fact, I’ll use your example..i.e..”Thou shalt not kill” to illustrate my point and how I arrive at my position that today’s judicial system is better than the biblical one:

      An off-duty police officer and his family are dining out. A crazed gunman enters the establishment and demands the contents of the register, or else he’ll start shooting the patrons. The off-duty officer calmly pulls his concealed weapon and kills the gunman on the spot.

      At trial, the officer is completely acquitted, despite that he blatantly disobey the biblical, “Thou shalt not kill”, command(law).

      Here’s where this is going: You know as well as I do that killing in self-defense is sometimes the moral thing to do. The biblical law, to my knowledge, doesn’t make any such stipulations and leaves it completely open to interpretation(and therefore, it is NOT “objective”)

      I’ll give a second example using the violent act of rape, despite that the bible does not explicitly reprove the act. In fact, the bible has a very bizarre stance on rape, in at least one case:

      From Deuteronomy:

      If a man is caught in the act of raping a young woman who is not engaged, he must pay fifty pieces of silver to her father. Then he must marry the young woman because he violated her, and he will never be allowed to divorce her.

      How anyone can get their “morality” from a book that has the above written in it is beyond me. But again, I’m happy to have a listen if I can be shown how I’ve got it all wrong.

      “First it should be stated that Christ has been and continues to be a referent within our human history who is either despised or loved.” ~ cclody

      Here you have committed the same fallacy you did on the “Blinders off” blog—that is, you offer a false dichotomy. A third option is that some people don’t harbor a belief in “Christ”, in which case, “Christ” is neither “despised” or “loved”. I don’t despise “Christ” any more than I despise Muhammad.

      “I believe it is pertinent to this discussion to realize that Christians believe justice is founded in God’s objective truth.” ~ cclody

      I realize that’s what Christians believe, but I think they are in error. There is no evidence that what you say is true, and in fact, there is evidence that it’s not true. Let’s back up: The law, “Thou shalt not kill”, doesn’t apply in every situation. It is up to the reader to decide when to “kill” and when not to, and therefore, it is subjective, not “objective”.

      Also, what about slavery and throwing rocks at defiant teens? Why don’t we practice such things today? Are those practices outmoded and/or obsolete? If so, then one can hardly call the book that once condoned them to be an “objective truth”.

      “It is my greatest hope and concern as a parent of two like yourself that I continue to pour all my love, energy and understanding into them to offer them a sense of what is right and what is wrong.”

      A child can be – and my case, a child is – taught right from wrong without referencing the bible or any other any holy writs. The proverbial “Golden Rule” is not unique to Christianity, and to teach a child that it is, is dishonest, IMO.

      “However, favoritism has no place in Christianity.”

      Then why are Christians, exclusively, eligible for the Christian god’s “mercy”? Not one non-Christian is eligible. Why? And it is inconsistent to offer things like, “sin must be punished”, as an answer, simply because it’s not true, since, evidently, only the “sins” of NON-Christians “must be punished”. According to Steve, a Christian who responded above, he says, “God doesn’t ‘see’ our sins”.

      If that’s not favoritism, I don’t what is.

      • Good questions Jeff and worthy of more thought. Hopefully, despite our passionate beliefs, we will maintain a civil discourse – this was not the case in “blinders off.” I realize blogging can be an opinion whorehouse, and for some that is the extent of their musings. There is no opinion in the Gospel message and it is promoted without apology. Although it is said “without apology” that does not excuse my conversations with you or others who do not know or no longer believe allow me a condescending role. What I’m hoping is that you, me, Steve, and whoever else is interested in chiming in, is to approach one another like friends and realize and understand our cumulative life experiences provide a depth to our replies even if they are not written. We certainly can continue to afford each other this much grace. That said, let’s hold nothing back except the pitiful, emotional urge to condemn the other as I was by the host of “blinders off.”
        Your false dichotomy question was left unanswered as was my expected apology. My simple and unfulfilling response to impose Old Testament laws to present day is simply out of cultural context and a typical jab to discredit the Old Testament. How society allows its culture of justice to evolve is old apples to today’s oranges. Your comment of “How anyone can get their “morality” from a book that has the above written in it is beyond me,” can also be applied to the legality and morality of abortion. Tell me, how do you think those living by Deuteronomy’s standard would view the legal massacre happening within the present-day womb? However, you raised an excellent counter-point regarding interpretation of law. Christianity perseveres in the opportunity to interpret that which affords creation its chance to choose the higher good. How and why do we have the capacity to “choose” yet don’t choose the higher good Jeff? At “face-value” there appears to be a false dichotomy to either hate, love, or remain ambivalent to this person called Christ. It was His ability to reveal the higher justice for the woman caught in the act adultery that tempers our ability to judge another by the state of our soul. Please tell me your opinion on how Christ judged this woman in light of the law. Is there not a sense of higher justice in His verdict that compels even the most hesitant mind to wonder beyond the common golden rule? Is there still a false dichotomy in the ongoing belief that one either ultimately rejects Christ or accepts Him? I am not asking you to make “sense” of the bible, but I am asking you to respect who the bible reveals. For those who are currently ambivalent to accepting or rejecting Christ, it is the timeless Christian perspective that during His second coming and the wrath of God, there will be no choice but to accept or hate him for the wrath disbelievers ultimately chose. It is this very gift of free will that nullifies your argument of favoritism. Again, the question arises Jeff, “how and why are we able to choose yet don’t choose the higher good?”
        Consistently, you have replied, it is your opinion (IMO), which I respect but am actually ambivalent to. Do you think your opinions will change to fit even the declining mores of our culture which will continue to be at odds with objective truth? I can appreciate your draw to amateur philosophy, which is a bit outside of my interests and strengths. With your philosophical approach, are you basing your opinions on an objective or subjective truth? Maybe I should ask if you believe objective truth actually exists?
        You also made mention that “The proverbial “Golden Rule” is not unique to Christianity, and to teach a child that it is, is dishonest, IMO.” Again your opinion – which is just that. Although the Golden rule finds a comfortable place within the realm of Christianity, it is dishonest to imply, especially someone like yourself who experience some level of Christian doctrine, that it is not something far greater than common good found in the golden rule.
        Let us both reason Jeff, for me to believe in the promises won for me on Calvary, there is a portion of irrational trust I must own. Yet, I have no acceptable box I can put my unexplainable feelings of awe and wonder for God that search the heart of this scientist. Although I’ve had profound experiences that captivate my faith they don’t establish it. It is by choice that fuels my persistent optimism to the promised hope awaiting me by a God who chose to call me friend.
        If you are comfortable to tell me why you may choose otherwise, I promise not to view that as negative and hopefully our mutual curiosity will further drive us to understand each other better. Hopefully we can agree that there are still many mysterious things we, even philosophers, thiests and scientists, cannot fully grasp despite untestable theories. If I may, I’d like to share one of those mysteries. I once help coach a little girl in basketball before she suddenly fell ill to pediatric brain cancer which ravaged her for five years until she passed away recently. She was known to have conversations with Jesus quite frequently and appeared fearless to die. Although philosophy has no authority in this mystery, certainly the breadth of science may at least claim delusion, psycho/drug-induced fantasy, and the list of hypotheticals go on. Yes, the parents go to my church if that adds or detracts from the mystery. Ask the Mom, family members, and friends who had lucid and loving conversations with this little girl if she was delusional in conversing with Jesus and their answers were simply “no.” For what it’s worth, I believe when we offer our presence to those nearing death, I believe the veil that separates us from the divine becomes thinner allowing a new sense of honesty with ourselves, another and our God. I most likely don’t have all your answers Jeff, but what I do have is a passion to offer hope and the humility to express what has been revealed to the human landscape as objective Truth.
        Peace,
        Chris

    • Chris…I like your comment about martyrdom, & it’s a good one to point out to make one think about the explosive growth of the early Christian Church. Not only were the 1st Century Jewish Christians despised by the Jewish ‘religious elite,’ they were also targets of martyrdom by the Roman Empire, who executed anyone who rejected allegiance to Caesar as their ultimate authority, even above God, let alone Jesus. Tens of thousands of Christians were murdered for their faith in Jesus – including those ‘500’ who claimed to have witnessed His resurrection. Even Jesus’ disciples & the Apostle Paul, who witnessed His resurrection, faced excruciating torture & martyrs deaths, rather than reject their Savior they saw rise from the dead. As the old saying goes, “A person may die for something they ‘think’ is true that they didn’t witness, but they won’t die for something they KNOW to be a lie.” The disciples of Christ went to martyrs deaths KNOWING that the resurrection was true, because they saw it with their own eyes. Not ONE of them recanted their beliefs, even going through torture & knowing they were going to die – many of them very painfully, because they KNEW it was true, because they WITNESSED the resurrection! Amen! Steve.

      • Thank you Steve for expanding on martyrdom since it carries such vital significance to how and why the Christian movement persevered. Understanding the heart of the martyr illuminates the fearlessness a disciple has in the One who makes all things new. Shine on, C.

      • “A person may die for something they ‘think’ is true that they didn’t witness, but they won’t die for something they KNOW to be a lie.” ~ Steve

        Well, of course no one will die for “something they KNOW to be a lie”. Unfortunately, that point is of no practical value since we have evidence that people will die UNknowingly believing a lie. 19 Muslim hijackers come to mind.

        “because they KNEW it was true, because they WITNESSED the resurrection!” ~ Steve

        The witnesses aren’t living, though. Would offering dead witnesses hold up in court? And anyway, what they (supposedly) witnessed was an empty tomb. A “resurrection” is last on a list of explanations when encountering an empty tomb.

        ‘Best

      • Boomslang:

        “unfortunately, that point is of no practical value since we have evidence that people will die UNknowingly believing a lie. 19 Muslim hijackers come to mind.”

        That’s the point I was trying to make. The 19 Muslim hijackers who bombed the Twin Towers were doing that based on an ideology that did not come from God. In fact, it doesn’t even come from Islam or the Qu’ran. The only thing the Qu’ran says about assurance of salvation, is that that only way a Muslim is assured of paradise, is if he/she dies a martyr – not if he/she bombs a building murdering innocent civilians in the name of Allah. The Qu’ran (as well as the Bible) is against that. Those Muslim terrorists were following the orders of a human being – not Allah or the Qu’ran (not that I’m defending Islam). So, comparing Islamic terrorism to the disciples who actually MET & lived with Jesus with 3 years, witnessed His empty tomb, & actually SAW Him after the resurrection, who died martyrs deaths are totally different & irrelevant. One is based on eyewitnessed accounts, the other is based on a genocidal ideology of a human being.

      • Boomslang:

        “the witnesses aren’t living, though. Would offering dead witnesses hold up in court? And anyway, what they (supposedly) witnessed was an empty tomb. A “resurrection” is last on a list of explanations when encountering an empty tomb.”

        If a person won’t believe in the written eyewitness testimony of the dead, then a person can’t believe anything anyone has ever written who has died, unless that person was alive to have witnessed it. Of course, we shouldn’t believe EVERYTHING we read. The key to discerning what is written is Truth, & what is not, is the reliability of the writers, & if what they say is verifiable. For instance, you & I weren’t alive when George Washington was President, nor do we have videography of him back then to verify it. Does this mean we can’t rely on the written records of ‘dead people?’ Or since we weren’t around to verify the signatures, writings, or paintings of George Washingtom, or the history books written by dead people about him being President should we not believe he was President? Of course not. Well, the same methods we can verify the Truth of the life, death, & resurrection of Jesus is the same methods we use to verify the Truth of the Presidency of George Washington. But, just because the Bible is a ‘religious book,’ & the ‘religious’ AND secular evidence from the 1st & 2nd Centuries by Christians AND nonchristians that support the claims of the life, death, & resurrection of Jesus don’t agree with one’s personal worldview about Jesus, doesn’t mean that those events of Jesus didn’t happen. We need to remain objective. The evidence is out there, one just have to be open-minded & motivated to look for it.

        Also, yes the disciples did witness an empty tomb – which we know from the Bible & secular sources, which was HEAVILY guarded (from what we know from 1st Century Rome would have been guarded by anywhere from 40 to 100 heavily armed & trained Roman soldiers). So, with that being true, on the 3rd day, why did the Roman government who had access to Jesus’ corpse, not be able to produce it at will, when that Easter Sunday came around? Another ward, why was it empty & not still have Jesus’ body in there? (BTW, the ‘Swoon theory,’ ‘going to the wrong tomb,’ ‘the disciples stealing the body,’ & other similar arguments, have been thoroughly debunked & discredited). So, what happened to His body? The resurrection is the most logical explanation – not ‘last on the list’ – based on the available evidence, especially since Jesus predicted that is what happened, & those who claimed to have SEEN the resurrection Christ, suffered extreme torture & death, WITHOUT recanting, because they KNEW the resurrection was true – not because of some ‘religious ideology,’ but because they WITNESSED the risen Christ with their OWN eyes. And, BTW, the Bible DOES say the disciples saw the risen Christ, & the first witnesses were the women, which gives EXTREME credence to the resurrection of Jesus. Please consider these eyewitness accounts of the risen Christ:

        “For we did not follow cleverly devised tales when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were EYEWITNESSES of His majesty.” – 2 Peter 1:1:!6

        “just as they were handed down to us by those who FROM THE BEGINNING WERE EYEWITNESSES and servants of the word, it seemed fitting for me as well, having investigated everything carefully from the beginning, to write it out for you in consecutive order, most excellent Theophilus; so that you may know the exact truth about the things you have been taught.” – Luke 1:2-4

        “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. After that He appeared to more than FIVE HUNDRED BRETHREN at one time, MOST OF WHICH REMAIN UNTIL NOW, but some have fallen asleep; then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles; and last of all, as to one untimely born, He appeared to me also.” – 1 Corinthians 15:3:8

        Keep in mind Luke was not only a follower of Christ, but also a physician, who is considered a noteworthy historian, even by secularists. The apostle Paul tells his 1st Century readers that the ‘500 brethren’ are still alive today, so if the reader didn’t believe him, to go find the ‘500’ who are still alive to verify Paul’s claims. There are NO accounts (zero) from the 1st Century of any of these ‘500’ that they didn’t witness the resurrection of Jesus – only their martrydoms – again, because they SAW the risen Christ, with their own eyes. So, based on the evidence, it would require a more faith to not believe in the resurrection Christ, than to believe in it. But again, ‘for the nonbeliever, no amount of evidence will do.’

        Again, are you willing to either read or watch “The Case for Christ” by former atheist Lee Strobel? In Christ, Steve.

      • “That’s the point I was trying to make. The 19 Muslim hijackers who bombed the Twin Towers were doing that based on an ideology that did not come from God.” ~ Steve

        Right. And the point I was trying to make is that they believed that it did “come from God”, despite that we know otherwise and despite that you follow up with….

        In fact, it doesn’t even come from Islam or the Qu’ran. The only thing the Qu’ran says about assurance of salvation, is that that only way a Muslim is assured of paradise, is if he/she dies a martyr – not if he/she bombs a building murdering innocent civilians in the name of Allah. The Qu’ran (as well as the Bible) is against that. Those Muslim terrorists were following the orders of a human being – not Allah or the Qu’ran (not that I’m defending Islam).

        What the Qu’ran actually says if for another discussion. The bottom line is that the bombers believed they were pleasing “Allah”(literally, “God”, in Arabic) and were going to receive their harem of virgins in paradise, and neither you nor I can disprove them. Hence, the danger of harboring beliefs on “faith”.

        “So, comparing Islamic terrorism to the disciples who actually MET & lived with Jesus with 3 years, witnessed His empty tomb[…]” ~ Steve

        Where is your extra-biblical evidence that some disciples “actually MET & lived with Jesus”? As for an “empty tomb”, assuming it was empty for sake of discussion, that is evidence for a missing body; not that a dead man got up and walk out of his grave.

        “& actually SAW Him after the resurrection, who died martyrs deaths are totally different & irrelevant.” ~ Steve

        I “get” this much…..”SAW Him after the resurrection”. I know what Christians believe, as I used to be a believer. But again, dead (supposed) eyewitnesses. Would that, or would that not, hold up in court? Yes or no?

        BTW, if you feel that dead eyewitnesses should be convincing, then surely dead eyewitnesses who even SIGNED the Book of Mormon should convince us of the truth of Mormonism. Are you convinced? I’m not.

        ‘Best.

      • contin-

        “For instance, you & I weren’t alive when George Washington was President, nor do we have videography of him back then to verify it. Does this mean we can’t rely on the written records of ‘dead people?” ~ Steve

        I find your analogy inapt for the following reasons: a) George Washington did not claim to be (nor was he claimed to be) the “The Son” of the “creator of the universe”. b) we are perfectly free to disbelieve in George Washington and suffer no bodily harm for doing so. c) schools don’t teach history as absolute “Truth”(upper case T).

        In addition, we have biographical literature written in the time of Mr. Washington’s life, by people who actually met him face-to-face. This, too, you are free to reject, though.

        “The evidence is out there, one just have to be open-minded & motivated to look for it.” ~ Steve

        So, my question is this: Is it possible to examine the evidence as thoroughly as recommend, and evidently, as thoroughly as you have examined it, but find it lacking? IOW, are you implying that all those who find the evidence lacking are “close-minded”? Yes or no?

        Also, if there is evidence for the bible’s truth beyond the resurrection, then feel free to provide a physical street address where scientists are currently conducting tests on “creation”, per Genesis. This should be easy to do, given that you believe there is so much evidence for Christianity’s truth.

        “So, what happened to His body?” ~ Steve

        ‘Should have been there, since it is presumably the “soul” that leaves the body and rises to “heaven”.

        “The resurrection is the most logical explanation – not ‘last on the list’ – based on the available evidence” ~ Steve

        I disagree. If you happen to see a news report that said that dozens men and women have left their cemetery graves and were walking around town(like in the bible), I highly doubt that you can tell me with straight face that “the most logical explanation” is that people have risen from the dead and become zombies. IOW, you’re compartmentalizing your beliefs because you want them to be true, just as I once did.

        “Please consider these eyewitness accounts of the risen Christ:” ~ Steve

        I have considered it, and I don’t buy it. If that makes me “close-minded” and deserving of eternal torture by fire, then so be it. And anyway, Jesus also predicted that Christians would encounter nonbelievers. IOW, if there weren’t people like me, that would make the bible false and Jesus a liar. Think about it.

      • “Steve I have considered it, and I don’t buy it. If that makes me “close-minded” and deserving of eternal torture by fire, then so be it. And anyway, Jesus also predicted that Christians would encounter nonbelievers. IOW, if there weren’t people like me, that would make the bible false and Jesus a liar. Think about it.”

        Then, with all due respect, there’s no real point in continuing our conversation, but rather, it has turned into a debate, not a search for whether or not the claims of the resurrection are true. It’s not that I can’t logically defend the Truth of the resurrection of Jesus (which I have, & I can). It’s that from experience with other skeptics I have encountered, when the evidence is presented, it is usually rejected, because their mind is already made up. Sadly, the same is with you, my friend. If you take the time to look back & slowly & carefully look at your questions, comments, & criticisms, many of them have been dealt with effectively, & many of your critiques to them don’t really address what I’m saying, or are out of context (like comparing the evidence for the resurrection to the Presidency of George Washington. I highly encourage you to go back & reread our exchanges.) Please know, I am not saying this with any implied disrespect. I may be wrong, but what I think you are looking for is ‘proof’ for the resurrection, not ‘evidence,’ which are two completely different things. Even the most devote Christian will admit that the Christian faith is NOT based on ‘proof,’ but on evidence, since ‘proof’ would require the person to actually be there or ‘recreate’ the incident, & you can’t exactly ‘prove’ or ‘recreate’ the resurrection today, like in a laboratory. Unfortunately, Jesus even tells us that even if a man were to rise from the dead & reveal himself, many people still wouldn’t believe it (Luke 16). In fact, skeptics, like Richard Dawkins, have even ‘nonfalsified’ the rejection of the resurrection. IOW, 🙂 they don’t believe in the resurrection because they weren’t there, & even if they saw the risen Christ, they would think they were hallucinating. That line of reasoning completely lacks objectivity, because any evidence or proof God would give them, would be immediately be rejected, because they have already made up their mind ahead of time that they wouldn’t believe it anyways, because that ‘evidence’ & ‘proof’ contradicts what they already personally believe. I sincerely hope that you aren’t another one of Christ’s many fulfilled prophecies of Christians encountering nonbelievers. The fact that there are nonbelievers, & always has been, only gives further evidence of Jesus’ successful predictions, which makes the Bible correct & Jesus true.

        One last attempt: Are you open-minded to watch or read ‘The Case for Christ’ by former atheist Lee Strobel? Best wishes. Know that I will be praying for you for God to open your heart, eyes, & ears to His Truth. In Christ, Steve.

      • “Then, with all due respect, there’s no real point in continuing our conversation, but rather, it has turned into a debate, not a search for whether or not the claims of the resurrection are true.” ~ Steve

        And I reiterate, you seem to be implying that I couldn’t possibly have already investigated the “the claims of the resurrection” since I’m not convinced, which, I guess, answers the following pointed question that I asked you previously, one which you chose to not answer directly…..

        “Is it possible to examine the evidence as thoroughly as recommend, and evidently, as thoroughly as you have examined it, but find it lacking? IOW, are you implying that all those who find the evidence lacking are ‘close-minded’? Yes or no?” ~ me

        I’ll take your answer to be just as I suspected it would be..i.e.. a “no”.

        “It’s not that I can’t logically defend the Truth of the resurrection of Jesus (which I have, & I can).” ~ Steve

        Okay, you’ve defended it. Not to be callous, but so-the-heck what? The bottom line is that your “defense” isn’t convincing to everyone, and for that matter, you, Mr. Clody, and all other Christians should be accepting of this fact since your bibles and its figurehead “prophesied” that believers would encounter NON-believers. I would hope you’d be able to see the glaring implication for that. But to be sure, do you see how non-believers are actually necessary to fulfill “prophecy”? If everyone was, or became, a believer like you, then the bible would contain false information. I want to find common ground, so please tell me that you at least follow this much, if you choose to respond at all.

        “It’s that from experience with other skeptics I have encountered, when the evidence is presented, it is usually rejected, because their mind is already made up. Sadly, the same is with you, my friend.” ~ Steve

        Good grief. Hello, Pot? Meet kettle. Sadly, you’ve made it abundantly clear that, a) you already know that you’ve found truth, and b) anyone who disagrees with you is “close-minded”. Considering both, it becomes clear to me that you’re not really interested in a “discussion” or a “search”. No, what you’re interested in is ministering to people who don’t think like you. Best of luck with that.

        If you take the time to look back & slowly & carefully look at your questions, comments, & criticisms, many of them have been dealt with effectively, & many of your critiques to them don’t really address what I’m saying, or are out of context (like comparing the evidence for the resurrection to the Presidency of George Washington. I highly encourage you to go back & reread our exchanges.)”

        Yes, let’s review: You made the Washington analogy to attempt to show me how we need to trust “dead eyewitnesses”. Correct? I think so. Well, I simply said that your analogy was inapt for the reasons I listed.

        “Please know, I am not saying this with any implied disrespect. I may be wrong, but what I think you are looking for is ‘proof’ for the resurrection, not ‘evidence,’ which are two completely different things.” ~ Steve

        ‘Sorry, but you’ve already implied disrespect by indirectly calling me “close-minded”; by assuming I haven’t investigated the claims as thoroughly as you have; by forgetting that I once believed just like you do(but have since changed my mind).

        “Even the most devote Christian will admit that the Christian faith is NOT based on ‘proof,’ but on evidence, since ‘proof’ would require the person to actually be there or ‘recreate’ the incident, & you can’t exactly ‘prove’ or ‘recreate’ the resurrection today, like in a laboratory.”

        Actually, what I hear from most Christians is that their beliefs aren’t based on evidence, but on “faith”, which would make more sense since they claim to be members of the “Christian Faith”.

        In any case, different kinds of “evidence” carry different weight. An eyewitness who testifies in today’s court can be, yes, very credible evidence. On the other hand, wheeling a DEAD (supposed) eyewitness into today’s court is NOT credible evidence and will not hold up in court. Surely we can agree on that much.

        “Unfortunately, Jesus even tells us that even if a man were to rise from the dead & reveal himself, many people still wouldn’t believe it (Luke 16).” ~ Steve

        And why do you say “unfortunately”? I’m sure Jesus wouldn’t want us to believe just any ol’ story we hear about zombies walking around town, right? No, of course not. Jesus(or more appropriately, the bible’s redactors), by no coincidence, only want people to believe the stories as they relate to Christianity.

        “In fact, skeptics, like Richard Dawkins, have even ‘nonfalsified’ the rejection of the resurrection. IOW, they don’t believe in the resurrection because they weren’t there, & even if they saw the risen Christ, they would think they were hallucinating. That line of reasoning completely lacks objectivity, because any evidence or proof God would give them, would be immediately be rejected, because they have already made up their mind ahead of time that they wouldn’t believe it anyways, because that ‘evidence’ & ‘proof’ contradicts what they already personally believe.” ~ Steve

        And what skeptics “already believe personally” is based on science, and to date, there is not one scrap of objective, testable/falsifiable scientific evidence for walking cadavers. Thus, Dawkins and people like him are being reasonable in having their minds already made up, pending objective, testable evidence.

        Again, if you heard a story of a witch doctor who raises the dead, I’ll wager that you, too, would be just as skeptical as Dawkins. At least Dawkins and other skeptics like myself are skeptical across the board, whereas, you’re willing to make an exception when it confirms your religious beliefs. AKA, compartmentalization.

        “I sincerely hope that you aren’t another one of Christ’s many fulfilled prophecies of Christians encountering nonbelievers. The fact that there are nonbelievers, & always has been, only gives further evidence of Jesus’ successful predictions, which makes the Bible correct & Jesus true.” ~ Steve

        And why do you hope that I, of all people, aren’t one such nonbeliever? Does the thought of me going to “hell” bother you? If so, why? It is necessary for “hell” to have occupants, otherwise, how will “justice” be served? If you feel up to it, please explain for my benefit.

        “One last attempt: Are you open-minded to watch or read ‘The Case for Christ’ by former atheist Lee Strobel?” ~ Steve

        I’ve read excerpts of both on line, thx, and frankly, I see the same weak apologetics that I see on the blogs. Those books are good for one and only one thing: Keeping the already-convinced, convinced.

        “Best wishes. Know that I will be praying for you for God to open your heart, eyes, & ears to His Truth. In Christ, Steve.” ~ Steve

        If you absorb nothing else I say, please absorb that I spent 2/3rds of my life being a believer. ‘Understand? IOW, my heart was *already* open to belief. But, to be honest with myself, I could no longer ignore the cognitive dissonance, and after getting the courage to dig a little deeper, my worst fear was confirmed. I had been duped.

        In reason, boomslang.

  7. Replying here, due to lack of “reply” button. I’ll touch on the larger points, but mainly, I’m going to attempt to get some answers that will hopefully give me an indication as to whether or not I want to spend any more time trying to find common ground.

    cclody, you say…

    “I most likely don’t have all your answers”

    As for what I laid out previously by way of point-by-point responses, of what few things you actually addressed directly in your very long unbroken paragraph, above, I don’t see anything you’ve written that should convince me that I’m wrong about Christianity, specifically, that I’m wrong when I say that it’s not the “Objective Truth” that you and other proponents insist that is is, with, or without, “apology”

    You go on….

    “I realize blogging can be an opinion whorehouse, and for some that is the extent of their musings. There is no opinion in the Gospel message and it is promoted without apology.”

    ‘Looks like we first need to agree on the difference between opinion and fact. When you assert, “There is no opinion in the Gospel message [etc. etc.]”, I take that to mean that you believe that the bible is fact/factual. If you feel up to it, you can provide a short list of key aspects that you think make the bible a “factual” document. IOW, things that, say, the Book of Mormon and Holy Qu’ran totally lack, which I’m nearly certain you believe to be false, man-made documents of mere opinions.

    Speaking of opposing religions, my next question is of the multiple choice type. If you address only one of my key points, please let it be this one:

    Do you, cclody, believe that people of opposing faiths believe just as fervently and just as faithfully as you do that they are right?

    a) yes

    b) no

    (If “no”, please explain how you arrive at this)

    Previously, I used the violent, despicable act of “rape” to illustrate to you and Steve that our current judicial-system’s view on said act is better and more humane. That is, it’s geared toward protecting the victim and coming down hard on the rapist.

    Again, from Deuteronomy:

    If a man is caught in the act of raping a young woman who is not engaged, he must pay fifty pieces of silver to her father. Then he must marry the young woman because he violated her, and he will never be allowed to divorce her.

    It should be clear to any sane person who values reason that the above “law” is atrocious. In defense of this, and unless I’ve overlooked something, you say…

    “My simple and unfulfilling response to impose Old Testament laws to present day is simply out of cultural context and a typical jab to discredit the Old Testament.”

    Again, **are the “Old Testament laws” in effect, or not? Yes or no. If it’s a “cultural” thing, then that right there tells us that “God’s (supposed) Word” changes with the time and culture, and therefore, it is disqualified from being an “Objective Truth”—that is, something that is “true” at all times and in all applications.

    So, again, if you would, a yes or no, to this** question, above.

    As for the poor child raised and taught to believe that Christianity is true and its Jesus real who was stricken with cancer and died after a 5 year battle, I believe that she, her parents, and the other already-convinced church members believe that she was conversing with Jesus. I do not, however, believe that she was actually talking with Jesus or any other invisible being. To me, a proposition has to make sense before I believe it. It does not make an iota of sense that an all-powerful, all-loving being(in this case, “Jesus”) would allow a child to be born, become attached to his/her parents for a few years, and then allow him or her to die a long dragged-out death in a hospital bed. The apologetic that there might be a “good” reason beyond our understanding for the child’s suffering doesn’t cut it. Moreover, if the girl is going to presumably see her Christian parents in “heaven” one day, then great, then “God” could have simply aborted her in the womb. That said, I concede that the child having the belief that she would see her parents again was a comfort to her. Notwithstanding, just because certain beliefs make us comfortable, that doesn’t make those beliefs true.

    “Christianity perseveres in the opportunity to interpret that affords creation its chance to choose the higher good.”

    Is that a “yes”?…the bible is *dependent* on its reader’s interpretation when considering choosing the “higher good”?

    “How and why do we have the capacity to ‘choose’ yet don’t choose the higher good Jeff?

    That human beings *never* choose the “higher good” is false. But to answer your question, the times we don’t choose it, it is because we’re imperfect by nature.

    “At ‘face-value’ there appears to be a false dichotomy to either hate, love, or remain ambivalent to this person called Christ.”

    That would be a trichotomy, but in any case, it’s still false, since to be “ambivalent” towards a “person” one would have to believe in said person.

    “I am not asking you to make ‘sense’ of the bible, but I am asking you to respect who the bible reveals”

    I don’t know how to make myself any clearer. I do not believe there is an actual “who” to “respect”. It’s one thing to be dogmatic about your own beliefs, but it’s quite another to project that dogmatic belief onto other people. If we cannot get past this, then all other conversation might be pointless. I won’t give up yet, though.

    “For those who are currently ambivalent to accepting or rejecting Christ, it is the timeless perspective that during His second coming and the wrath of God, there will be no choice but to accept or hate him for the wrath disbelievers ultimately chose”

    I’m not choosing anyone’s “wrath”; I’m choosing to suspend belief due to scant-to-non-existent evidence that what you and your bible say is true. If you want to stipulate and say that my non-belief is choosing by default, fine, if it makes you feel better. But even if I chose “God’s Wrath” by “default:, my supposed sentence in “hell” is an example of “justice” served, is it not? IOW, I don’t see what the problem is. “God” can’t give every person “mercy”, for where would the “justice” be in that?

    “Let us both reason Jeff, for me to believe in the promises won for me on Calvary, there is a portion of irrational trust I must own.”

    I am reasoning, Mr. Clody. And the fact that you actually concede that you harbor some “irrational trust”(what I would call “faith”) seems honest enough, but on the other hand, it seems to undermine some of the other statements you’ve made herein alluding to your knowing that you’ve found “Objective Truth”. The only thing left to do now is to bridge your belief that you found it, with demonstrating that you have.

    ‘Best.

    • Ok prosecutor…so I’m the one on trial (ironic?) and must answer yes or no or risk the consequence of your ultimatum. Christianity isn’t about me Jeff, its God’s revelation of Himself through His son Jesus…it isn’t about Jeff’s revelation of his false independence. You know, C.S. Lewis described atheism as a flower’s scent rejecting the flower itself – jus’ sayin…

      1. Do you, cclody, believe that people of opposing faiths believe just as fervently and just as faithfully as you do that they are right? Yes. (yawn- how old is this question?)
      2. Your rape question was completely answered by the verdict Jesus gave to the woman caught in adultery in light of the law of Moses. His answer takes into account the law and the present day culture and reveals the possibility of objective truth. If you truly are curious on how the New Testament illuminates the Old Testament, then concentrate first on the words of Jesus…any of them. You may even question what presently bolsters your own sanity.
      3. A topic for your contemplation is “Thou Shall not murder” not “Thou Shall not Kill.”
      4. There is no false dichotomy, in the end, you either accept or reject Christ.
      5. “we’re imperfect by nature.” – once again, your very words betray you. You soul is screaming Jeff – think about it.

      “I’m going to attempt to get some answers that will hopefully give me an indication as to whether or not I want to spend any more time trying to find common ground.” Jeff you have been given many answers, both biblical and mystical, yet despite these unique keys, they fail to open such a rusted lock. Your criteria for proof is slippery when coming from a established doctrine understood as truth by millions of Christians since the advent of the New Testament which further illuminates time spanning the Old Testament. Whether you decide to stay or leave I will continue to pray for you, especially your two children, and others since we first debated on “blinders off.” The Christian life you relinquished continues to prove its tepid grasp of the depth you could have plumbed instead of now concentrating on apparent surface biblical discrepancies. Although, those who willfully exchange their pride for humility (but not their intelligence – despite what you may think) to dive deep into God’s invitation, realize there are no discrepancies, but rather mysteries in which some may grasp sooner than others. Not only do your words dismiss the obvious impact this person Christ had on human history, your rationale has been darkened to accept only information suitable to your rebellion towards God.
      Case in point:
      Did Jesus Christ exist on this earth as a real person?
      Is there such thing as objective truth?

      If “yes” to both of these questions, then maybe there is common ground but you’ll need to overcome your stubbornness and agree that there truly is a case for Christ. However, if “no” then one of us is or at the very least being dishonest which makes for lousy conversation.
      God is near – choose wisely.

      His,
      Chris

      • “Ok prosecutor..”

        Resorting to ad hominem this early on? Totally unnecessary and uncalled for. But hey, it’s your blog, isn’t it?

        “so I’m the one on trial (ironic?) and must answer yes or no or risk the consequence of your ultimatum”

        No, absolutely not. If you can’t or won’t answer simple questions from your atheist readership, then fine, don’t, and I’ll be on merry way. Just simply ignore me, and trust me, I can take the hint.

        “Christianity isn’t about me Jeff, its God’s revelation of Himself through His son Jesus…it isn’t about Jeff’s revelation of his false independence.”

        Please notice that I never once said or implied that cclody thinks Christianity is all about him. Defending arguments that I haven’t made is a waste of both of our time, plus, it kind of looks like you don’t have good responses to the pertinent questions.

        “You know, C.S. Lewis described atheism as a flower’s scent rejecting the flower itself – jus’ sayin.””

        Okay, so, more ad hominem with an appeal to authority thrown in. Seriously? This is the type of thing that you hope or think will change people’s minds?

        Previously, me: “Do you, cclody, believe that people of opposing faiths believe just as fervently and just as faithfully as you do that they are right?”

        You answer: “Yes. (yawn- how old is this question?)”

        Honestly, who cares how old the question is? Maybe ‘age-old’ questions exist for a good reason, and this case, I think so, since you have just indirectly conceded that you could be wrong about your Christian beliefs. That is, you concede that someone can harbor fervent, faithful, and undying belief that they are right, and yet, still be wrong. Thanks for your honest answer, and if you would have admitted along that you could be wrong, I apologize that I missed that part.

        “Your rape question was completely answered by the verdict Jesus gave to the woman caught in adultery in light of the law of Moses. His answer takes into account the law and the present day culture and reveals the possibility of objective truth. If you truly are curious on how the New Testament illuminates the Old Testament, then concentrate first on the words of Jesus…any of them. You may even question what presently bolsters your own sanity.”

        So, you evidently can’t(or won’t) answer with a yes or no. Fair enough.

        Okay, so, Jesus’ “verdict” in that case didn’t align with the “law” in Deuteronomy, thus, underscoring my point that there is no “objective”, true-in-every-case, “Truth” when it comes to the biblical judicial-system. Understood. At least we seem to have found some common ground. But do correct me if I’ve been hasty in this.

        “A topic for your contemplation is ‘Thou Shall not murder’ not ‘Thou Shall not Kill’.”

        Which seems to be a concession on your part that there is a “moral” taking of a life, and then there is an “immoral” taking of a life, in which case, my point underscored again, since it is up to the reader of the bible to determine when they can take a life, and when they cannot…i.e..subjective, NOT objective.

        There is no false dichotomy, in the end, you either accept or reject Christ.”

        You are now equivocating by interjecting “in the end” into your “dichotomy”.

        In the end, we will presumably know whether or not “Christ” aka “Jesus” is real, in which case, yes, we will either “accept or reject Christ”, forget for a moment that the bible says every tongue will confess that he is Lord[yadda, yadda], which seems to fly in the face of “free will”. But that’s for another discussion.

        In the mean time, and until I die, I most certainly am not “rejecting” the Christian god. I disbelieve in “Him”.

        “‘we’re imperfect by nature.’ – once again, your very words betray you. You soul is screaming Jeff – think about it”

        I’ve haven’t a clue what you mean here, and frankly, I fail to see how you think talking in theological riddles will convince me that I’m in error. Plus, your incessant ad hominem..e.g..”Your soul is screaming Jeff”! is tiresome, albeit it, very revealing.

        ‘Best.

  8. “Not only do your words dismiss the obvious impact this person Christ had on human history[…]” ~ cclody

    I would never deny that Christianity had an impact on history. Again, you are both defending arguments I haven’t made, and as well, you are showing that you don’t actually know what your atheist readership believes/disbelieves.

    And in any case, your argument amounts to the fallacy of argumentum ad populum…i.e..because the belief in “Christ” impacted so many people throughout history, therefore, Christianity *must* be true.

    “your rationale has been darkened to accept only information suitable to your rebellion towards God.”

    More ad hominem, and more projecting your cocksure-certainty onto others. I no more have “rebellion” to towards the Christian god than I have “rebellion” against “Allah”, or “Poseidon”.

    “Case in point:

    Did Jesus Christ exist on this earth as a real person?
    Is there such thing as objective truth?”

    You’re making your “case” in the form of a two-part question, are you?

    Answer, pt I: I don’t know for certain, but despite that uncertainty, I don’t believe so. But even if someone named Jesus existed as a “real person”, I have no reason to leap to the conclusion that this person was the “Son” of the Creator of the Universe and performed all sorts of nature-defying feats, such as feeding thousands with a few loaves of bread or walking out of his grave.

    Answer pt II: Yes. There is an objective reality that is impartial to our existence and to our thoughts.

    “If ‘yes’ to both of these questions, then maybe there is common ground but you’ll need to overcome your stubbornness[EDIT]”

    ‘Hope you don’t mind if I call you out each and ever time you lower yourself to ad hominem arguments.

    […]and agree that there truly is a case for Christ.”

    There is truly a case for Christ, yes. Just as there is truly a case for Joseph Smith and the angel Moroni. I find both cases unconvincing for the reasons I’ve laid out here in great detail.

    “However, if ‘no’ then one of us is or at the very least being dishonest which makes for lousy conversation.”

    Frankly, I think projecting one’s beliefs and personal attacks(aka ad hominem) make for lousy conversation. But at a minimum, we should be able to agree that people like me – you know, us stubborn, darkened, hell-bound, non-believers – are actually part of your “God’s plan”. IOW, he predicted that you’d encounter nonbelievers, and yet, here you are attacking and acting all dismayed that you’ve encountered one.

    “God is near – choose wisely.”

    i.e…the inevitable, thinly-veiled threat that we’ve come to expect.

    • Jeff,
      I’ve never personally attacked you.
      I’ve not been dismayed by your comments.
      I have frequently conversed face-to-face with a wide variety of passionate perspectives where the other person neither feels attacked but rather leave feeling a real sense of sharing.
      Yet, I’m at a loss for your reasoning Jeff and it’s becoming clear why you view Truth as a veiled threat or personal attack. I’ve allowed you to post your replies on my blog out of respect not “dismay.” Despite your apparent confidence, you’re a very sensitive man for someone seeking debate with believers under the façade of curiosity. You have been gifted with free will to choose to believe or not believe, accept or reject, in God’s revelation of Himself through His Son Jesus. I cannot condemn you for your “de-conversion” Jeff but only encourage you to seek the light of indestructible life which is Christ himself. My first encounter with you was shocking for me when you wrote, “Believe it or not, some (most? all?) former Christians really have stopped believing that “Christ” has a referent in reality.” Despite this remarkable opinion, it did help me understand those settling for atheism from some experience in Christianity and a sense of your agenda along with your delight in wordplay. If you feel the expression of God’s Truth in my replies is an affront to your sensibilities or painfully contrary to your well-boxed set of reasoning – it’s supposed to be. Every day I too am convicted by the Holy Spirit and it cuts me to the core – the only difference between the two of us is the humility to submit to it. It takes courage to face the cost of our redemption. It is a bittersweet process to approach the solution to our sinful, “imperfect nature.” Yet, there is a joy when you realize our redemption was done out of an uncontainable love. I am at a loss for your reasoning to willingly battle against love. Yes your words still betray you because the human condition screams for something far greater than it can consume. The human condition is not left with some evolved hole that is meant to be filled with whatever sates it temporarily; it is an orphan, an alien, yearning to re-unite with its family – the family of God through Jesus the Christ. It is in the heart’s humble conviction by the Most Holy Spirit allows faith a glimpse of unspeakable joy that cannot be stolen. Yet, the heart of a Christian must endure a world dominated by sin. It must persevere through the gauntlet of darkened commentary blaming God to allow such hardship and suffering despite our disobedience to allow sin into our reality. It is fear itself that has no claim on Christianity because the faithful now realize where they came from, who they are now, and where they are returning. Your war against love is the consequence of accepting fear. Any Christian reply to your curious questions is wrapped in this fear as a personal attack or veiled threat. Since you like old adages, “the Truth hurts” for this very reason.
      It is best we end our conversation here Jeff since there is no common ground we can mutually stand upon between timeless biblical foundations and your confidence. Take care.
      ‘Best

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