November 6th, 2017

On carrying guns in church: thou shalt not kill, or thou shalt not murder?

In today’s previous post, I began to tackle the question of whether the parishioners in the Texas church where yesterday’s mass murder took place were banned from carrying guns. In it I quoted the following rules in Texas:

Churches in Texas may prevent handgun license holders from carrying handguns inside church buildings as long as the church gives proper notice. Each church may decide for itself whether to allow:

Both open and concealed carry of handguns
Concealed carry of handguns but not open carry
Open carry of handguns and not concealed carry
No handguns regardless of whether they are carried openly or concealed

A church does not need to take any action if it wishes to allow handgun license holders to conceal carry or open carry in church buildings. If permitting handgun license holders to conceal carry or open carry on church premises is a cause of concern to your church, Texas Penal Code Sections 30.006 and 30.007 provide clear rules for notifying handgun license holders that your church is a gun-free zone or concealed carry only.

I added that it was a church-by-church decision, but I didn’t know which rules were followed by the church where the massacre occurred. Obviously, if there was a no-gun rule there, it didn’t deter the gunman and may have actually encouraged him.

Now I’ve discovered that (if the information on this “progressive” website is correct, as I believe it probably is) this question is actually a hotly debated topic in Christianity:

Whereas states like South Carolina ban guns in church in most instances, Texas allows firearms in sanctuary halls unless a church explicitly says otherwise. And a new Texas law signed in September allows houses of worship in the state to arm their congregations as a security measure.

However, while it’s certainly not unusual for churches to have security precautions or personnel, many faith leaders rebuke Paxton and Jeffress’ ideas that guns should be allowed in Sunday morning services. A 2012 PRRI poll found that 76 percent of Americans oppose allowing concealed weapons in church; This includes pastors in Texas, where many churches opted to ban guns on their premises after open-carry became the law of the land there in 2016. The Catholic Bishop of Dallas, for instance, banned guns in all his diocese’s parishes that year, following the lead of Catholic leaders who took similar steps in Georgia. Other Catholics also spoke out against open carry.

“This policy [of banning guns in church] is rooted in the belief that our churches, schools and other places of worship are intended to be sanctuaries – holy sites where people come to pray and participate in the ministry of the Church,” Dallas Bishop Kevin Farrell wrote at the time.

Religious leaders have long been one of the loudest, most consistent voices calling for legislation that would restrict gun sales and use—not increase them

I followed some of the links in the article, and found statements that seem to me like an invitation to terrorists and other mass murderers. For example, see this:

Atlanta Archbishop Wilton Gregory and Savannah Bishop Gregory Hartmayer issued a decree prohibiting guns and knives with blades longer than 5 inches from parishes, churches, schools, administrative offices and other buildings owned or used by the Catholic community effective July 1.

In a statement, the bishops said Catholic places of worship are sanctuaries where “ways of peace and reconciliation” should be the rule.

“This decree is rooted in the belief that our churches and other places of worship are intended to be sanctuaries — holy sites where people come to pray and to worship God. In this nation of ours, they have seldom been the locations where violence has disrupted the otherwise peaceful atmosphere. Should it be necessary, we will seek the assistance of trained law enforcement personnel for protection, but among ourselves we will first seek ways of peace and reconciliation.”

That statement was issued back in July of 2014. It seems to me that it doesn’t make sense to wait to protect yourself until a certain quota of innocent people are killed. And if you are going to “seek the assistance of trained law enforcement personnel for protection” if the death toll in churches meets your standard for activating self-defense, then why not let your church members protect themselves? After all, an armed guard can be more easily shot or disarmed than a church full of armed—or possibly armed—worshipers. How many guards are you going to hire?

More here:

Other critics of gun violence include Shane Claiborne, a prolific Christian speaker and writer who works with an initiative that literally melts down AR-15s—weapons similar to the one reportedly used by Sutherland shooter—and turns them into plowshares, in keeping with a biblical reference.

When asked about Paxton and Jeffress’ comments, Claiborne responded by citing various Christian scriptures decrying violence and weaponry.

“Jesus carried a cross not a gun,” Claiborne told ThinkProgress. “He said greater love has no one that this—to lay down their life for another. The early Christians said ‘for Christ we can die but we cannot kill.’ When Peter picked up a sword to protect Jesus and cut off a guys ear, Jesus scolded him and put the ear back on. The early Christians said ‘when Jesus disarmed peter he disarmed every Christian.’ Evil is real but Jesus teaches us to fight evil without becoming evil. One the cross we see what love looks like when it stares evil in the face. Love is willing to die but not to kill.”

Hey, unlike Claiborne I’m no Christian speaker/writer, prolific or otherwise. But I’ve always been under the impression that that “swords into plowshares” verse—and the Book of Isaiah in general—is a prophecy, not a description of the way things are now. Not only that, but if Christians were to disarm themselves prior to the apocalypse there will be an awful lot of dead Christians.

Apparently, the Crusaders didn’t get the memo, either.

By the way, that story about Jesus, Peter, and the ear (with which I was previously unfamiliar) appears to be not a general call for complete non-violence, but a specific call to allow the process by which Jesus was arrested, sentenced, and later crucified to unfold:

According to the Bible, one of the disciples, Simon Peter, being armed with a sword, cut off the servant’s ear in an attempt to prevent the arrest of Jesus…

Then said Jesus unto Peter, Put up thy sword into the sheath: the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?

I would add that the Commandment that is often cited as being “Thou shalt not kill” is a mistranslation of the Hebrew, which originally said “Thou shalt not murder.” As far as I know, there is no Torah (Old Testament) prohibition against self-defense:

The Torah chooses its language very carefully, and indeed, every dot and tittle is parsed to understand the full meaning. G-d chose the root R-Tz-Ch for the Ten Commandments to make it clear and explicit: murder is an evil, heinous crime, a crime that — like the others in the Ten Commandments — is destructive of civilization itself. But killing, while a grave action that must be seriously evaluated, is at times a necessary action — one that is a sanctioned last recourse under prescribed circumstances and one that is occasionally morally appropriate as in the taking of life as penalty for a capital offense.

I never thought Christianity was a pacifist religion in terms of self-defense, but apparently there is a pacifist strain. It reminds me of Gandhi’s advice to the Jews to allow themselves to be slaughtered, or to the Hindus of Lahore to do likewise (and if you haven’t already read this post describing both, I urge you to do so).

Lastly, the Texas church killing made me think of this scene from “High Noon.” It’s not really analogous—there is no mass murderer coming to the church—but it’s a discussion in the church about whether the parishioners are going to assist Sheriff Kane in fighting off the Miller gang that is coming to take revenge. Note particularly the pastor’s speech at the end, which I originally thought didn’t ring true, but I’m now thinking he represents a certain strain of more pacifist Christianity (the pastor speaks at 2:34, but it’s worth watching the whole thing):

Here’s a little bit more that constitutes the end of the scene:

Gary Cooper as Kane remains silent for most of the scene, with lasts about four minutes. But his face is more expressive than speech would be. He is not totally silent, however; he says this:

Which in turn reminds me of one of my favorite movie moments:

62 Responses to “On carrying guns in church: thou shalt not kill, or thou shalt not murder?”

  1. Assistant Village Idiot Says:

    If I were to ask someone to describe “What do Christians believe in the 21st C?” any sensible person would look puzzled. Why, the church is somewhat varied in its teachings, to say the least. There isn’t a single standard that we have all agreed on. It was just the same in the 1st C. There was enormous disagreement, which is why the Epistles were written to begin with, and why the church had council after council over the next few centuries to try and get everyone on the same page. Any person starting a sentence with “Early Christians said…” should immediately be regarded as a potential fraud.

    There were pacifists in the early church, but the great majority of these were those who refused to go to war because they believed no earthly cause remotely compared to the spiritual one. Jesus did not tell soldiers to quit their jobs, nor did the early church forbid its members from being soldiers. It was legionnaires, in fact, who brought Christianity to the edges of empire even before the missionaries got there.

    The Third Commandment insists we are not to misuse God’s name, and part of that is not declaring that we know what Jesus “really meant.” This is like forging God’s signature under our own writing.

  2. Assistant Village Idiot Says:

    Related: this is continuing evidence that liberalism is itself a religion, a god which eventually demands that all others be put away.

  3. arfldgrs Says:

    Jesus carried a cross not a gun…

    no he didnt… he carried neither

    he was forced to drag a cross he would be nailed to –
    so the example of jesus and self protection is kind of idiocy

    why not ask him if we can torture him to death over his religion, so he would be happy with future beatification..

    it would be akin to saying the jews of the ghetto didnt have guns either, and they died a noble death… though unlike jesus few if any can name any from memory..

  4. neo-neocon Says:

    artfldgr:

    Agreed.

    Jesus was sentenced to tote the cross as part of his death sentence and martyrdom.

    However, if you haven’t yet read the link I provided to my Gandhi post about Gandhi and the Jews, he basically said that they should acquiesce in the own murders for noble reasons. Most people are unaware of the extremity of Gandhi’s position.

  5. M J R Says:

    neo writes, “I would add that the Commandment that is often cited as being ‘Thou shalt not kill’ is a mistranslation of the Hebrew, which originally said ‘Thou shalt not murder’.”

    In a word, yes.

    In more than one word, that commandment has a context, and that context, an Old Testament context, includes various death penalties for various infractions of what was then the law of the land. If documents (or testaments) are to be read as an integrated whole (which I would encourage), then “thou shalt not kill” is inconsistent with the context, whereas “thou shalt not murder” is thoroughly consistent with it.

  6. Gordon Says:

    ““This decree is rooted in the belief that our churches and other places of worship are intended to be sanctuaries–”

    No, it’s simply a justification for imposing standard liberal doctrine on your congregations. Banning knives longer than five inches? Seriously? That’s the kind of crap they pull in England, and it isn’t working there.

    It reminds me of when I was entering the Hennepin County building in Minneapolis, to discover that my pocket multitool was prohibitado. Because so many judges have been pinched to death by maniacs with folding pliers!

    Liberals only trust people who work for them with guns, i.e. their own private security, or police–except when they don’t trust the police, of course. Because when seconds count, the police are only minutes away.

  7. CBI Says:

    While all Christian groups have prohibited Christians drawing weapons and fighting each other within a church sanctuary, there have long been differences in the display of weapons themselves. I was taught that, as a very rough rule of thumb, “high church” (liturgical) traditions tended to allow it, while “low church” (less liturgical) tended to ban or discourage it.

    Currently within the U.S., the main differences tend to be less along liturgical lines than on the extent that the church (or church body) in question has marxist ideology supplementing or supplanting its historical theology.

  8. Philip Says:

    @AVI, as to the general question of what Christians believe today, there is no puzzlement among us Orthodox – the Nicene Creed has served quite well for 1600 years. In fact, I’m puzzled that anyone should be puzzled. So yes, there is a single standard as far as those matters go.

    But as to the question of arms in churches, let us not forget that Christianity is a call to self-sacrifice – to death – in the face of the evil of this world. Therefore, there is a legitimate strain of thought that would eschew being armed within a church even against invaders like this one in TX. So it’s not entirely a black-and-white answer, and it’s not just about “liberal virtue-signalling”. Physical self-preservation is simply not the ultimate virtue in Christian thought that it is in some secular philosophy. That’s not just me talking, that’s the Lord Himself and all the martyrs and the ascetics, etc. etc. For non-Christians, I can understand why this seems hard to swallow, and indeed this teaching is not really directed to them in the immediate sense. But for a Christian believer, this should be obvious with proper teaching, even if the implementation may not be so easy – the flesh is weak.

    It’s too bad that we can’t stop shooters at the door of the church to ask if they’re here to kill people because they hate God or something similar, or for some unrelated reason. If we could, that would make this topic much easier to figure out, I think. That’s where the gray comes in.

  9. OldTexan Says:

    Once upon a time I was in Rome and went to the Vatican and what I saw there were some of the most proficient Swiss Guards. These are real warriors with a tradition going back centuries in fact, at one time they were so deadly that the Vatican was the only place outside of Switzerland they could ply their trade.

    As far as my fellow Christians not taking up arms I seem to recall that 500 years ago when Martin Luther got the reformation going there was 30 years of warfare between Christians and a lot of uneasiness for a long time after that.

    Stopping a deranged person who is bent on killing innocent worshippers with lethal force makes sense to me. I would no want to be the person doing that but I am reasonably proficient with firearms, at the shooting range three or four times each month, and I hope I could learn to live with the aftermath. Killing mad-dog, human vermin and committing murder are two entirely different things.

  10. Richard Aubrey Says:

    Most of this discussion is either the “two party problem”, i.e. him or me. Or him or they, decider being neither and very likely not related to the potential victim.

    But what we actually have is the three party problem, i.e. The attacker, the potential victim and a third party who gets to decide. Do I kill the attacker, thus sparing the victim, or do I allow the attacker to kill the victim?
    In either case, I kill, and in either case, somebody is dead.
    What to do?
    Are my hands cleaner if I am passive?

    This is a conundrum which normal people don’t often have a problem with. It’s why the churchly liberals make sure they pretend it’s the two-party problem.

  11. neo-neocon Says:

    Philip:

    I thought the Christian call to martyrdom and self-sacrifice in the face of evil was to do things like not renounce your faith in the face of threats to harm or kill you, or not give up your principles likewise. In other words, meaningful self-sacrifice.

    I cannot quite imagine how this includes refusal to protect yourself, or that matter innocent children and pregnant women, in the face of a crazed armed gunman. That is not self-sacrifice and martyrdom for a cause. That is absolute pacifism and surrender to evil.

  12. Frog Says:

    Christianity is not a suicide pact.
    There is a big Leftist strain in Catholicism, called ‘liberation theology”, which is basically Marxist at its core. Pope Francis comes to mind, being from the South American heart thereof.
    Bishops sin just like the rest of us. Their words are not Gospel. Only the Gospel is Gospel.

  13. n.n Says:

    Though shall not abort. God does not give license to elective killing or human sacrifice.

  14. Sharon W Says:

    Philip’s understanding of the teaching of the church doesn’t comport with the history of the ascendancy of Christianity in the western world. But it does comport with what we see regarding the Coptic church in Egypt. Neo, your point of distinguishing “kill” and “murder” with regard to the commandment is one I make all the time. I think that very thing has confused many Catholics in our present time. Terrible confusion resulting in erroneous thinking.

  15. Dave Says:

    Obviously the real meaning is thou shall not murder. if thou shall not kill was the real meaning then there should an object at the end of the sentence like thou shalt not kill another person… does that mean we cant kill a duck or a cow or grem or anything?。that is basically impossible, even a sip of water involves kill billions of microorganisms

  16. Francesca Says:

    I was just talking to my son about the church shooting, and he told me that his church had a few people in their congregation who were concealed carriers. The congregation knows who they are. One is a military man, for example.
    A good idea imo.

  17. Philip Says:

    Sharon, indeed my point of reference is generally not the Western tradition. (Or if anything, the pre-Schism one, in broad terms.)

    Your mention of the Copts in this context is interesting, as I am often ambivalent about the calls that we sometimes hear that the Western powers should do more to protect them from persecution, however indirectly, by pressuring the Muslim governments to do better with security or what have you. My ambivalence comes from the fact that what the Copts, the Iraqi Christians, and these others suffer in murders and arson and so on because they are Christians is actually, in our Orthodox thought, a blessing for them. Again, the Lord’s words, not mine, and as lived by the saints for millennia.

    Suppose, for example, that we twist the Egyptian government’s arm hard enough that it forced all Islamic militant activity in that country to stop, and thus no more persecution of the Coptic church – is that not then a certain loss for the Copts, spiritually? People don’t like to hear this, I realize, but the message of our faith has been clear from day one – the Cross can be about nothing else than witness unto death in the face of – not just ISIS, not just some random shooter, but who stands behind all that? The Evil One. That’s the ultimate target. If we take our eyes off of the merely human element, as St. Paul describes, this becomes clearer, if no less easy.

    Therefore, Neo, the ’cause’, as you put it, is not restricted in the Gospels to such specific circumstances. There are different forms and circumstances of martyrdom. The Lord’s words are fairly plain on this subject, I think, and all our attempts to justify specific doctrines of self-defense are so much rationalization based, again, on self-preservation being the ultimate plumb line of personal ethics in modern Western thought, which is a human point of view. Much of this can perhaps fall under the general umbrella of economy, as understood in the canons; but we mustn’t deceive ourselves that it is rationalization. “Moses allowed you to divorce because…”, etc. – a similar approach.

    Meaningful self-sacrifice, you say – who decides which self-sacrifices are meaningful? This is why I mentioned how nice it would be if we could poll the shooter at the door; but since we can’t, the doubts arise. But to say that a parishioner who takes a bullet without resistance is not making a meaningful sacrifice there is too categorical to me. Or if he takes a bullet while resisting, which gains time to save another parishioner from being shot instead, I wouldn’t be prepared to say that that isn’t meaningful either.

    As to whether person C could make the decision on behalf of person A attacked by B, there I’m hesitant personally. But there are people in this world of sufficient spiritual authority that I would accept even a hypothetical judgement from them in the matter ‘on spec’.

  18. OldTexan Says:

    Some of you’all confuse me a bit but if you have time, this is an interview with the TEXAN who took on the shooter without his shoes on. Jumped in the pickup with another TEXAS he did not know and they ran the bad guy down. Stephen went to the sounds of gunfire, receiving fire returned fire and then jumped in the truck with Johnny and at 95 mph pursued until the chase ended and then turned it over to the appreciative police.

    This is 37 min. and you can see the emotion of the shooting and the loss of his neighbors expressed as he tells his story.

    https://youtu.be/B4HEchh0XD8

    A neighbor to the church with an AR returns fire to a killer who had an AR. Lord, I hope if I were in that situation I would have the presence of mind to help in that manner.

  19. neo-neocon Says:

    Philip:

    Taking a bullet to save a life, etc., can be a meaningful sacrifice. But voluntarily disarming so that the killer can successfully kill more people is not. I hope you understand the difference.

  20. Richard Aubrey Says:

    neo. Phillip either believes this–doesn’t see the difference–or is doing a terrific job of virtue signaling.
    If we presume he is a rational person, it would have to be the latter.

  21. Richard Aubrey Says:

    Whoops. Phillip is consigning people whom he does not know to death in order to make himself feel good about himself.

  22. Philip Says:

    Two other thoughts that I had on the subject overnight – not fully developed, but they may be a useful part of the picture:

    1. Thinking of St. Paul’s meditation on divine love as found in his first letter to Corinth (“Love is patient, love is kind…”), in the lead-up to that, he talks about “If I have all faith such as to move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. […] and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.”

    It strikes me that if I, say, interpose in an armed invasion with the intent to block the shooter, expecting to be shot down myself, but don’t do so in an attitude of love toward my fellow parishioners and indeed even toward the shooter, but rather in a sense of outrage/fury/hatred at the atrocity or its committer, then in that moment, I would have lost any spiritual gain that would have come to me otherwise. In which case it seems more logical to resist violently at that moment.

    2. I wonder if there may be a connection with St. Paul’s directions on being subject to the governing authorities in Romans, that being one of the rationales sometimes given for why society should avoid “vigilantism”, which is, as we know, one of the subtexts in the mind of the Left on the subject of gun control generally – not that they approach it necessarily from a spiritual perspective, but in the Christian-pacifist school of thought, this does play a role.

    But what if, in our republic, we think of it like this: the militia being all able-bodied citizens and so on, are we not in some sense already part of that whole law-enforcement realm, such that we the citizenry can “bear the sword” in order to defend justice? I wonder if that line of thinking, i.e. connecting the New Testament discussion of the Christian relationship with government in a democratic republican context, has been a consistent part of 2nd Amendment thought over its history – I would be surprised if it weren’t at least represented. Given that, the notion of arms in church takes on a new light entirely, I think.

    The larger consequences of idea #2 would fly in the face of the prevailing views in Western Europe, for example, where the state has the monopoly of force.

  23. Ymar Sakar Says:

    Religion and theology… wow, it’s like somebody threw the thread into my arena.

  24. Surellin Says:

    I would say that Christianity was originally pacifistic, but that was relatively easy for a despised minority. By the fifth century, Christianity was the official religion of the Roman Empire and St. Augustine had come up with the concept of “just war” , which is basically the framework that we use today in arguing for or against a war. Will this war save lives? Will it protect the innocent? Etc. So, not the pure quill pacifism of Jesus, but that goes with the turf of having executive responsibilities in the freakin’ Roman Empire..

  25. Assistant Village Idiot Says:

    Philip, you add in some true and useful things to the discussion which are indeed part of the Christian tradition that the West often overlooks.

    A single standard? Yes, in one sense the creeds are summary statements of doctrine. Yet you yourself then note the disagreements between groups.

    You come off as quite smug about Orthodox finality and superiority in these matters. Perhaps you did not mean to. I agree with the
    Eastern churches about many things, but they have much against them as well. You can have that discussion inmany places (I like “First Things” myself) but I will not be entering it with you. I find no listening in any of your statements above.

  26. Ymar Sakar Says:

    It was legionnaires, in fact, who brought Christianity to the edges of empire even before the missionaries got there.

    Bringing State Christianity where having other beliefs were punished by torture, rape, robbery, and death under the Romans…. that assumes the Christianity they brought had anything to do with Yeshua of the Nazarene.

    There’s a better argument that Scotland or the Celts or the Saxons were related to the lost 10 tribes of Israel. There’s even a theory that Jesus of Nazareth went to Britain, in the lost years.

    Any person starting a sentence with “Early Christians said…” should immediately be regarded as a potential fraud.

    I would apply that to any human claiming anything, irregardless of their self proclaimed status, title, IQ, or affiliation.

    What one tribe immediately regards another as due to traditional clan bias, isn’t all that important to the truth.

    The Third Commandment insists we are not to misuse God’s name, and part of that is not declaring that we know what Jesus “really meant.” This is like forging God’s signature under our own writing.

    Correct, although I would add that without prophets, apostles, and direct vassals of your god, all you can do is to operate on individual initiative and creative invention or imagination. A person cannot follow a god, when he gets no communication and no directives, makes no contracts or covenants. Then that person is just a stalker, he is one sidedly pursuing a relationship, but there’s nothing from the other side validating it. That’s why people rely on scriptures and the 1st AD apostles. They have no authority otherwise. If they knew that the scriptures had been changed… it’s not something modern Christianity can withstand. That revelation people will pass on.

    The problem with the Vatican is that humans create human laws and declares them as divine laws. Wasn’t October 31st about the 95 theses and all the conflicts that resulted in. It’s not about liberal church theology vs the right church theology. All the university theology degrees in existence are flawed and created by man, thus wrong. If the church leaders, whether of a human organization or meant in the original sense of Body of Believers, determine that a doctrine is correct, the political situation changes. That is the consequence of Constantine and the Patriarch of Rome excommunicating the Patriarch of Constantinople. But that’s politics of this world, it’s not about the spiritual cosmic war of the heavens between the angels and the Most High.

    Peter is a very good example of humanity in several incidents. Peter was told to keep watch while Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane, praying over what he already knows will happen and must happen if he is to fulfill his divine mission as a mortal avatar. Peter went to sleep. One hour later, Jesus woke him up and said “you can’t keep watch and warn me of dangers for even one hour?” paraphrasing. Jesus went back to inside the garden for seclusion, and Peter fell asleep again. Jesus knew they were coming for him that night and just wanted his disciples to be awake to warn him so he can mentally prepare himself. Instead of doing that, Peter wakes up and he’s like “Enemies are here, I must prove my loyalty to my guru master family”. Then Peter goes up and starts trying to kill people, which is a nice way to forget that he went to sleep as a sentry.

    The body calls and the soul sleeps, even if the Will wants to do something else entirely. The human mind body is weak. That is why the Romans used crucifixion, because pain and death will break any mortal. This makes for a good example to the rebels and it is better than raping, killing, and exterminating entire villages full of women and children. The Romans wouldn’t have any taxes or armies left, if the people they ruled died off too many times.

    Peter, even during the time when a mob gathered outside the house of his shisho or master/teacher, often looked reckless. He would act without thinking, because he is that lacking in confidence lackey that many people see who attach themselves to strong leaders. This is not a rock or a tree with strong roots. Peter even said to his teacher that Peter would go to the death with him as a show of his loyalty. Then he denied him (teacher) in public 3 times, which is like a public divorce and family legal disownership. That’s why he had to say “I love you” 3 times to get re instated.

    It was only after the transformation of the Holy Ghost that Peter became an Apostle. Now it is like he is a different person. He’s no longer using his sword to smite enemies. He just says “you have lied in the presence of God”, and the people he is accusing just falls down and dies. He is not that weak confidence lacking lackey that is attaching himself to a strong authority figure for fear of the world. Now he is the plenipotentiary ambassador and representative, using authority directly delegated to him. Now he is the leader people look up to, because he no longer has the teacher he looked up to as mentor and family, brother and friend.

    Thou Shalt Not Kill indeed. If that is the commandment, then why did Moses kill thousands of his own Hebrew clan people? Was Moses, the person by which the Law of the 5 books of Torah that the Jews follow came, is that person someone that violated the divine commandments?

    From a Hebrew tradition, it makes no sense, so they don’t interpret it that way.

    Every time somebody did something that needed ritual purification, an animal had to be sacrificed. Is killing animals also against divine commands?

    https://bible.org/seriespage/15-capital-crimes-leviticus-20

    Leviticus is even stranger, because there are death penalties for certain things such as having sex with a woman on her monthly moon blood flow.

    This is interesting because King David did exactly that, and also on top committed adultery by killing off the husband of the woman he seduced or kidnapped. Or all put together. It’s like David had a list of the commandments and Leviticus and was just crossing things off on his list of things to do…

    If an American President did a similar offense for our culture, people would not record it in history books. They would make excuses for it. Even if it was a Republican now. Kennedy, for sure. They would not put it in an official book that kids and elders would read, because Americans might laugh at the pride and status of the previous traditions and kings. The Naked Emperor.

    By the way, that story about Jesus, Peter, and the ear (with which I was previously unfamiliar) appears to be not a general call for complete non-violence, but a specific call to allow the process by which Jesus was arrested, sentenced, and later crucified to unfold:

    That is mostly correct Neo, although as I mentioned above there were some details that people tend to overlook or not mention.

    This decree is rooted in the belief that our churches and other places of worship are intended to be sanctuaries

    The Vatican doctrine is rooted in human law, because it is a human organization. The idea that some god is in charge of it is not believable. If a god is in charge of it, it would be one of the Watchers/Elohim.

    There are two organizations in human history who have killed most of the holy ones, saints, of the Most High. Islam and the Vatican. Third one might be the Eastern Orthodox, but they mostly attacked Persians in the days when the Empire still had Constantinople.

    On excommunication, when France was excommunicated (or just their king), all the Catholic nuns and christians in the territory became not under human law. That means Catholic priests would authorize English invading armies to rape the nuns, because it’s not like these are Christians and thus they are also not covered by the sanctuary. Pagans can’t expect for sanctuary from the Catholic god. It’s what happens when people think sanctuaries are safe places when in fact they are just confusing divine law with the human laws they were forced to obey.

    As for places of worship being intended to be sanctuaries, that’s what the tabernacle and temple were later considered. The tabernacle was the original Ark of the Covenant, this Golden Rectangle that a circular tent with stakes setup would create an eating area for the sacrifices. The Most High was said to literally have his existence partially on the throne, the golden rectangle. Anybody that touches it can die, even the Levites that were ritually purified and given the authority to carry the Ark.

    The death penalty is the LEAST penalty for those that commit sacrilege in a holy space. They who seek to destroy the sanctuary are killed. The Roman context is not the Hebrew context, because the Romans were dumb enough to think the King of the Jews they were executing was actually a mortal. Technically, in the Roman lexicon, Jesus was a hybrid. The union between a god, the Most High, and a human woman. Like Hercules, the son of Zeus. That is why when the Romans witnessed the side of this hybrid demi god with his side being pierced, and clear water came out, they realized who they had killed. That is not blood, but water, and water mixed with unearthly blood is close to the blood of the gods as described in Roman tradition.

    The Romans were superstitious beyond belief. They believed in the gods, as they believed their people came from the gods. To make an enemy of a god by killing off the children of that god without divine sanction or the protection of an equally powerful god, was not a good idea.

    The Copts, like Mormonism, have special circumstances. Mormonism has many incidents like the Anti Nephite Lehites (don’t ask me what that means I don’t know), who committed to an oath, covenant, contract of pacifism. The Jehovah Witnesses and the AMish have a similar contract.

    That means the benefits and commands are two ways. They do something they promised to do, and they receive divine blessings that the Most High “must do”. The Most High is considered straightforward and will always obey his word. If he agrees to the covenant and you agree to a covenant of pacifism, you are not going to be given “oops, let me get a return on that deal”.

    That is a personal contract, you cannot be entered into it by your forefathers or society. This is witnessed by the children of the oath takers, who can choose to take the same oath or not (the AMish youth are given a choice to leave or stay). Another incident concerns when Nephite, an old Mormon prophet that was said to travel from Jerusalem/Israel to the Americas using the same knowledge trick Noah used to build the Ark, was commanded to kill a person that had his genealogies. Sort of like when King David was given Saul, but King David refused to kill Saul. To David, killing off Jonathan’s father or the Most High’s anointed (holy king priest) was something he could not do. He wasn’t exactly commanded to do it either. In this circumstance, Nephite did kill.

    There goes “Thou Shalt Not Kill”. Is the Holy One of Israel a retard or something that can’t stop contradicting himself?

    Dawkins might think so… ask him.

    But there are people in this world of sufficient spiritual authority that I would accept even a hypothetical judgement from them in the matter ‘on spec’.

    Your faith is commendable, Phillip, but it is misplaced. The Vatican has zero authority from Peter or any of the other Apostles. Whatever authority they did have, it was rescinded. If you are Eastern Orthodox or one of the other heresies titled during the 4th Ecumenical Council, then the issue is similar but they might still retain some of the bishopric authority from the apostles but not the authority of the apostles. The Vatican goes past the 4th Ecumenical Council, while the Eastern Orthodox accepts up to the 3rd. This has an interesting effect on other believers.

    Relying on humans for spiritual authority? That is what you accused the world of doing by obeying rationalization and economic self interest in survival. Not a good idea.

    Relying on humans for the Word of God is self contradictory. If you want the words of a god, why don’t you ask your god directly. Ask and it shall be given (if the request is valid and rightful, lottery numbers don’t count). Knock and it will be answered. But only if you ask the right source.

    Humans make this more complicated than it needs to be. Let’s have some divine condescension in the form of the Teacher then. The Good Shepherd protects his flock from wolves. The bad shepherd just leaves to save himself.

    What is a pastor or bishop? He is the shepherd of his “flock’ or congregation.

    Humans are getting rather arrogant to think they will judge the rulers as Paul said to the Holy Ones (the congregation of saints), when they can’t even protect their flock of suicidal sheep. The weak, dumb, ignorant, sheep. Even though they are inferior, you were commanded to protect them and you can’t even do that. How then would anyone expect to become a Holy One and judge the angels and elohim, the watchers and supernatural gods?

    Time to get a lower paying job in the divine hierarchy. And I say that to humanity in all, not to individuals here.

    One of the things I challenge myself with is how to tell the story of a mainstream religion without mentioning words like “Jesus”, “Bible”, “Christianity”, and “sin”.

    I’ve seen people do it, they just weren’t Americans or Europeans.

    The Holy One of Israel gave to the Hebrews, the Sons of Jacob, Israel basically, divine laws and other laws that humans could understand and enforce. The Hebrews could not tolerate divine law, so they were given knock offs… to put it lightly.

    In the USA, the people were given the US Constitution as the holy covenant and contract of promise. Obey it, and things will go prosperous. Disobey it… and there will be penalties. It was not a coincidence that the Founding Fathers had this time, in all of human history, to be exceptional and to create a revolution that did not end up like every other revolution, including the parallel French REvolution of EQUALITY.

    Since the USA no longer obeys the US Constitution, there is no divine protection over the country. It’s been stripped. Thus every region has to fortify themselves and establish themselves as either for or against the US Constitution, which includes the 2nd Amendment.

    The people that want to be pacifists, will be tried under the contractual obligations of their pacifism. The ones that have other covenants and contracts, will not be tried under the contracts of other groups. Simple right? Something even lawyers and judges can understand, without needing lawyers and judges.

  27. Ymar Sakar Says:

    You come off as quite smug about Orthodox finality and superiority in these matters.

    I interpret it as autocephalous in doctrine. Meaning, Eastern Orthodox does not have dogmas or doctrines that applies everywhere or to any Christian. A Patriarch of X only has authority, even the authority of excommunication, for his geographic area. It was only when the Patriarch of Rome overstepped himself, excommunicated the Patriarch of Constantinople (can’t do that without Apostle authority), and then declared himself the Vicar of Christ over all of Christianity (he stands as intercessor to Christ and the Christ stands as intercessor to the Holy Father, but every Christian must bow down, pay tithing, and accept the Patriarch of Rome as Holy Father).

    The dogma baggage of the West is mostly tied up with the Vatican’s way of doing things, which ends up as one dogma for everyone. Which is not how it worked. Paul was given the APostleship to the Gentiles, the 70 nations divided at the Tower of Babel. Israel wasn’t one of the 70 nations, so Peter held the keys instead.

    After a few centuries of hunting down Christians like the Albigensians and Jean de Arc, the Vatican has inculcated a fear of the One Doctrine of Unity in the West. Even the Protestants cannot resist it entirely, that is why they keep fracturing. They are still afraid of Unity, one doctrine, one leader, one body of believers.

    This fear is at the same level as that the West holds towards Islam. Centuries of Islamic slave raiders and genetic shaping, that led to the fearful surviving and the brave being taken as slaves (because they actually fought). The only way to survive, was to pay the Italians to ship more blond slaves to the Caliph, and pay them to ignore the ones that had money and connections in the West.

    The Eastern Orthodox only has 3 ecumenical councils, so their self autonomy is the highest of many lineages. That’s only 3 ecumenical councils from 1st century AD body of believers.

    I find no listening in any of your statements above.

    Are these words coming from the lips of a human or did you pray and ask for the Holy Ghost to download instructions of truth into you and communicate to the world using human lips?

    The Holy Ghost has an IQ upgrade that is several orders higher than the highest IQ rated by the high IQ societies.

  28. Ymar Sakar Says:

    Ghandi believed in the eternal circle of reincarnation, nirvana, and perhaps a view of karma closer to the Purity of the Jains than that of the Hindus.

    That is why he actually thought it was a feasible thing to offer the whole Jewish people as a living sacrifice, or a Holocaust in the Hebrew terminology, in order to call upon the blessings or curses of the divine unto his enemies. And since you would get reincarnated and be given a better life via “Purity”, then you are okay.

    Purity in the Jain sense means if you kill anything, even an animal, you incur karmic debt in the next cycle of life and will never ever achieve nirvana without full purity. Since it’s impossible to fight Nazis without incurring impurity through anger and kills, Ghandi thought the best way to win strategically was to think long term.

    His long term was longer term than most Westerners could believe though.

    But many secular or religious Jews use the victimhood of the Holocaust and that defenseless sacrifice, as a political lever to beat people on the head over Israel, the state. So they’re still using Ghandi’s strategy, even though they abhorred his tactics and advice.

    Ghandi believed that by making the Nazis kill and thus obtain impurity, they could turn the supernatural powers of divinity against the state of things on Earth. That’s why he utilized the ascetic Eastern tradition of fasting to death. He believed in a spiritual power greater than Britain’s military and economic power. Of course, we in the West would think Britain just chickened out, not because Ghandi became a demi god or something.

    Britain lost the Revolutionary War to the US because Britain was weak politically or economically right, it wasn’t because a god protected the American Colonies… at least that is one theory: the secular atheism kind.

    Btw, the root meaning of “Catholic” is similar to “Orthodox”. The Roman Church that is “universal”, vs the Eastern “Orthodox” or correct doctrine.

    If the Vatican is getting more “liberal”, then the Eastern Orthodox (Russians included) might be getting more “traditional” or conservative.

    India, btw, is about the only place with 3 religions that didn’t kill each other for conversion or dogmatic conflicts. I find that amazing, actually. Whoever founded the 3 religions, were truly on the road to enlightenment. And may not even have been human to begin with. Partial divinities.

  29. Ymar Sakar Says:

    So it’s not entirely a black-and-white answer, and it’s not just about “liberal virtue-signalling”. Physical self-preservation is simply not the ultimate virtue in Christian thought that it is in some secular philosophy.

    Human laws and doctrines corrupts the essence of the divine. It is a common motif. That is why religion should separate itself from politics, which isn’t often.

    Self preservation is not a “big thing” in warrior ethos, ethics, and values either. In ancient Japan, it was considered a “win” if two duelers killed each other in one exchange. Ai uchi. One hit, one kill. Even if you can’t kill the enemy while living, at least you can allow your bones to shatter and die in exchange for his life.

    That’s the mentality of fanatical warriors.

    “Cause pain before you injure. Injure before you maim. Maim before you kill. And if you must kill, make it a clean kill. Squeeze every drop of life from the opponent. Because life is so precious, it cannot be wasted, even in death.”

    “Let him cut your skin, and you cut his flesh. Let him cut your flesh, and you cut his bones. Let him cut your bones, and you cut off his life.” – this was a latter modification of the life philosophy since samurai were bureaucrats primarily, not nobles fighting for a liege, title, or land.

    Those that refuse to adhere to such precepts, often end up like the Christians of Iraq and the Jews of Judea. Somebody’s always going to find an excuse to get em. Absent any yojimbo around.

    “‘He either fears his fate too much,
    Or his desert is small,
    Who fears to put it to the touch,
    And win or lose it all.’ – Montrose’s Toast

    I think it would be funny if someone called me “liberal”, given how my history with fake liberals.

    From my perspective, I don’t despise pacifism. That may be as strange thing for someone that adheres to the warrior ethos to say but it is true. What I despise are fake pacifists, like anti war protestors that don’t actually protest wars, just Republican wars.

  30. Stan on the Brazos Says:

    Neo: Good column and discussion, thanks. My wife and I grew up in tiny Baptist Churches similar to this one. With regards to the founder of my wife’s church I sometimes think he may have helped cause the non-establishment clause, he was frequently jailed for starting Baptist Churches in western Virginia and SW Pa. Then was one of the 2 people jailed for the longest term as a result of his participation in the whiskey rebellion. Virginia had a state decreed religion until the early 19th century.

  31. I R A Darth Aggie Says:

    But as to the question of arms in churches, let us not forget that Christianity is a call to self-sacrifice – to death – in the face of the evil of this world.

    Does that include your children? parents? the mentally challenged?

    Should one not feel obligated to protect those who can not protect themselves?

  32. Sharon W Says:

    I R A –I see it as you do. Protecting is not only an obligation, but indeed, love in action. My son served 8 years as a Marine. Now he is a veteran, has a family and is one of the finest men I know. He knows what it means to be a real man and can be trusted.

    Philip, when I cited the Copts, I wasn’t referring to their martyrdom, something embraced and understood in my Catholic faith (in the way Neo explains–personal laying down of one’s life when called to do so). I was referencing how the ascendancy of Christianity in the western world (of which we are recipients) is born of the historical truth of sacrifice including taking up arms (WW 2 anyone?). The way of the Copts when faced with the Muslim aggression–where, oh where would Christianity have manifest?

  33. neo-neocon Says:

    Ymarsakar:

    If you read the Gandhi link I offered in the post you’d see that Gandhi was (among other things) inconsistent and contradictory in his statements to groups of people to lay down any thought of fighting and to die en masse. For example:

    In most of these cases, Gandhi’s mistake was not his pacifism per se…The Khilafat pogroms revealed one of the real problems with his pacifism: all while riding a high horse and imposing strict conformity with the pacifist principle, he indirectly provoked far more violence than was in his power to control. Other leaders of the freedom movement, such as Annie Besant and Lala Lajpat Rai, had warned him that he was playing with fire, but he preferred to obey his suprarational “inner voice”.

    You can find Gandhi’s quotes on using violence as self-defense here.

    You write:

    But many secular or religious Jews use the victimhood of the Holocaust and that defenseless sacrifice, as a political lever to beat people on the head over Israel, the state. So they’re still using Ghandi’s strategy, even though they abhorred his tactics and advice.

    I find those remarks rather curious. First of all, using words to “beat people over the head,” although a metaphor, is one that indicates violence through words, a contradiction. How is bringing up the Holocaust in relation to Israel “beating people over the head” about it? The Holocaust is completely relevant to the historical context of the formation of the state of Israel. The partition was a reaction to the Holocaust in that the world (at the time, or at least much of the world) realized the Jews were not safe anywhere, or welcome most places, and it was thought at the time that if they were allowed to return to Israel and establish their own country that something like the Holocaust would not recur.

    And I have no idea why you say that—if Jews are indeed “beating people over the head” with connection between Israel and the Holocaust—this would be a case of “using Gandhi’s strategy.” Gandhi’s strategy of nonviolence and/or allowing oneself to be slaughtered is not Israel’s strategy.

  34. Hangtown Bob Says:

    So….

    In a church where all guns were prohibited and in which a crazed killer had taken the parishioners hostage and started killing them one by one, would the church deny permission for armed law enforcement to enter the church and possible save some???

  35. neo-neocon Says:

    Yamarsakar:

    One more thing, from John Updike—on the Jains:

    To be alive is to be a killer; and though the Jains try to hide this by wearing gauze masks to avoid inhaling insects, and the antiabortionists by picketing hospitals, and peace activists by lying down in front of ammunition trains, there is really no hiding what every meal we eat juicily demonstrates. Peace is not something we are entitled to but an illusory respite we earn. On both the personal and national level, islands of truce created by balances of terror and potential violence are the best we can hope for.

  36. Hangtown Bob Says:

    So….

    In a church where all guns were prohibited and in which a crazed killer had taken the parishioners hostage and started killing them one by one, would the church deny permission for armed law enforcement to enter the church and possibly save some???

  37. Sharon W Says:

    Great question Hangtown. It brings to mind these political elites that are protected by the greatest fighting force in the world and others, with personal security guards, all while trying to take away our right to protect ourselves with arms.

  38. neo-neocon Says:

    Hangtown Bob; Sharon W:

    I assume the question was rhetorical. But the answer is that of course they would allow it.

  39. Richard Saunders Says:

    Ymar Sakar I do wish you’d take the time to learn something about Judaism before writing so extensively about it. Just for example, “The Holy One of Israel gave to the Hebrews, the Sons of Jacob, Israel basically, divine laws and other laws that humans could understand and enforce. The Hebrews could not tolerate divine law, so they were given knock offs… to put it lightly.”

    I guess you never got to Exodus 19:8: “All that the Lord has spoken, we will do.” (Not to say the Israelites didn’t fall off the path way too many times, but they always knew what the Law was — they didn’t make up new laws to justify their malfeasance.)

  40. Philip Says:

    I must face the music; therefore a few small things:

    1. Ymar Sakar, the Eastern Orthodox do accept up to the 7th Ecumenical Council; you may be thinking of the Monophysite traditions, for example, which do make their cut at the 3rd.

    2. It wasn’t the Vatican that I had in mind as a spiritual authority, but more along the lines of the monastic saints that are still scattered around even these days, for example. Would be interesting to hear what they would have to say on the immediate subject. It is quite possible that they would differ with the views I’ve expressed here, in which case I would necessarily have to reassess my stance.

    3. To be clear(er), what I was trying to get at in some of my statements was that that call to self-sacrifice represented by the cross is something I would like to be able to act on for myself, but I did not and do not legislate it for others. I only wanted to point out that that’s the standard laid out in the Gospels, but I have no authority to make someone else follow it.

    That was partly what I meant with the bit about C deciding in the conflict between A and B. But insofar as I or any of us decide not to go to such a radical length for ourselves as I described, to that extent we are objectively missing the mark on what the Lord laid out. I simply think we should be honest with ourselves about that when it happens.

    4. Sharon, it’s a good question how things would have turned out if, say, from the time of the first appearances of Islam spreading out from western Arabia, the Greeks had taken a strictly pacifist approach to it. I like to think it wouldn’t have been dissimilar to how things were in the first or second century AD, when there were (at least as far as I’m aware) no Christian self-defense militias, for example, to guard against the admittedly somewhat intermittent Roman persecutions, yet the Church grew even so. “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church” – in there is the explanation, I think.

    5. AVI, I appreciate that you don’t want to get tangled up in all that litigation of the past, and indeed I think it’s better avoided in this forum. As for the smug impression, I apologize for that. But as you mentioned, there is that claim of finality, which has to be dealt with on its own terms, take or leave. I guess I came to feel over time that either we have one Church indeed, or just chaos. We all make our choices. Some of the context in my case stems from the fact that I was Evangelical once, and it was partly to run from that sense of disorder that motivated me. The way I see it, it’s just something I need to grab onto with both hands and am tired of allowing myself to be wishy-washy about it.

  41. Bilwick Says:

    I was going to Catholic high school back when, apparently for the first time, the Church was having students learn about the Bible (both Old and New Testaments) in more depth. (Prior to this the Bible was considered by us Papists to be a Protestant hobby-horse.) Part of this–in accord with Pope John XXIII’s statement, “Spirtiually we [Christians] are Semites”–involved some Biblical linguistics. We were told that the original commandment was “Thou Shalt Not Murder.”

    Regarding the incident of Jesus, Peter and that ear, I believe Peter had the sword because Jesus had told the disciples to go out an buy swords as defense against the coming persecutions. Perhaps one of your readers can find the chapter and verse.

    Of course, Jews didn’t have to worry about such things. Moses and the Hebrews cut a pretty bloody swath through the Holy Land. I once heard Rabbi Meyer Kahane, founder of the Jewish Defense League, quote from the Talmud: “If someone is coming to your house to kill you, kill him first.” Good advice.

  42. AesopFan Says:

    This is the considered position of a shooting instructor whose website I discovered yesterday (how’s that for serendipity).
    She makes sense to me.

    http://www.corneredcat.com/article/ethical-questions/christianity-and-pacifism/

    Many of the facets addressed above are discussed, and there are links to other posts on the ethics of self & other defense.

  43. AesopFan Says:

    Hangtown Bob Says:
    November 7th, 2017 at 1:09 pm
    So….

    In a church where all guns were prohibited and in which a crazed killer had taken the parishioners hostage and started killing them one by one, would the church deny permission for armed law enforcement to enter the church and possible save some???
    * *
    Some religions (or at least some practitioners thereof) prioritize things that way.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2002_Mecca_girls%27_school_fire
    On March 11, 2002, a fire at a girls’ school in Mecca, Saudi Arabia killed fifteen people, all young girls. The event was especially notable due to complaints that Saudi Arabia’s “religious police” (aka the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice) stopped schoolgirls from leaving the burning building and hindered rescue workers because the girls were not wearing correct Islamic dress, and possibly for not being escorted by a male.[1]
    As Hanny Megally, Executive Director of the Middle East and North Africa division of Human Rights Watch put it, “Women and girls may have died unnecessarily because of extreme interpretations of the Islamic dress code. State authorities with direct and indirect responsibility for this tragedy must be held accountable.”[2]

  44. Bilwick Says:

    Found the passage about Jesus telling his apostles to buy swords. It’s Luke 22:36 (hike!). I should point out that I’m a non-believer, so–in the immortal words of James Lileks–I don’t have a God in this fight. But for those interested:

    http://biblehub.com/luke/22-36.htm

  45. Ymar Sakar Says:

    I guess you never got to Exodus 19:8: “All that the Lord has spoken, we will do.” (Not to say the Israelites didn’t fall off the path way too many times, but they always knew what the Law was — they didn’t make up new laws to justify their malfeasance.)

    Oh, Moses didn’t break the 10 Commandment tablets (the original ones the Holy One of Israel actually wrote on, but maybe that was the angel and the one that actually wrote on the tablets was the Most High) when Aaron and the rest started worshiping a golden bull?

    Of course Moses did, and got a new set, after killing off a few thousand of the precious Hebrew clansmen he brought over from Egypt.

    Did you ever read to the point where the scouts returned from reporting on the Amorites and other giant clans that they were supposed to conquer and wipe out? Not only did they get really negative, they started spreading rebellion amongst the Hebrews and convincing them that it would have been better in Egypt than following this “god” of theirs into the wilderness to sure death.

    All that the YHVH Yehoshua said they will do? That’s the rabbinical Jewish ideal, but it’s not the Torah.

    The problem with cursory reading of Israel from an Israeli or Jewish supremacy point of view, is that the Torah itself contradicts your claim to special status. It’s a story about humans, and a relatively honest one at that. Check what I wrote about King David. Solomon was similar.

    The issue isn’t whether you read and understand more of the Torah than me, Saunders. The issue is that you have a bias and want the Torah to be a white wash account of Jewish ancestors. That’s not what it is. Nor is it a special citizen card or moral superiority for the State of Israel.

    I don’t have that bias, so it looks to you like alternative ideas are due to “ignorance”. That works for those of the human idiots with IQs lower than mine and yours… doesn’t work between you and me. Pulling the “Jewish higher IQ” card doesn’t work for someone with equal or superior intellectual capabilities and knowledge.

    1. Ymar Sakar, the Eastern Orthodox do accept up to the 7th Ecumenical Council; you may be thinking of the Monophysite traditions, for example, which do make their cut at the 3rd.

    Probably, if the Eastern Orthodox are still Chalcedonians. Although how they work with other sects like the Copts or the Miaphysite/Monophysites isn’t well documented in the West. Language barriers.

    There are so many side branches of Christianity, it would take a scholar to keep them all straight. Then there’s Islam…

    It is quite possible that they would differ with the views I’ve expressed here, in which case I would necessarily have to reassess my stance.-P

    The issue is one of autocephalous local jurisdiction. A bishop or pastor can set doctrine and policy, to a certain limit, for their flock. Individual monks are only responsible for their own community or solo way.

    And as for monks, there have been warrior communities, like the Essenes. Once called “mighty men”. Like the far Eastern Shaolins, they would seclude themselves and train only for war/peace, to protect the scriptures by using the scriptures to upgrade their abilities.

    I think you were going with the right direction with that last comment of yours over the US Constitution. The Christian communities of the Mid East, are under rule by Islamic governments. Thus they have little choice but to continue the status quo, until the West resolves our little problems with apostasy and reinforces the work. In the US, however, we have laws that are closer to the laws given from Moses. Instead of 10 commandments, we have the US Constitution and amendments. And since this incident happened in the US, we do not need to utilize eastern limitations and jurisdictions.

    That is why you witness so much hostility here, even from your fellow Christians. Americans do not take kindly to “foreigners” talking about certain things. It’s a national flaw really, a circle the wagons defense. Some foreigners are anti Americans, but I try not to assume that.

    I only wanted to point out that that’s the standard laid out in the Gospels, but I have no authority to make someone else follow it.

    In the West, we are used to Vatican Cardinals and Archbishops creating doctrine for every Christian (supposedly, Catholic means universal, even though the Body of Believers in the Christ is not universally under the Vatican). Or Evangelicals creating laws that affect every Christian.

    It is easy to forget the context from an Eastern Chalcedonian pov. In America, the separation of religion from politics is not guaranteed or sure fire. We are still debating, fighting, and killing each other apparently, over it still. They may not be all that familiar with the Patriarchal autocephalous authority styles of the East. Even the words I am using, while accurate, means “hardcore, rigid, tyrannical” in context to many Westerners.

    Fight the Patriarchy!

    Gandhi’s strategy of nonviolence and/or allowing oneself to be slaughtered is not Israel’s strategy.-Neo

    I was highlighting how Ghandhi’s strategy centered not on the Germans getting tired of killing people, but of supernatural or moral consequences that would destroy the German center of gravity with the killing.

    This is highlighted in the Jewish or Israeli usage of “anti semitism” as a way to defend against or attack their detractors. This is inevitably tied to the morality issue of the Holocaust. The term even comes from the Germans who used it against the Jews first, but that is probably not relevant to this context.

    As for Israel’s strategy, why do they release 500 Palestinian fighters for the bodies of 2 of the Israeli dead?

    That seems like Israel, the state, is prioritizing moral, theological, or supernatural issues over the concrete. The concrete is that 500 Pali fighters will be killing a lot more than “2” Israeli children via suicide bombs and rockets. The State of Israel thus decided that it can “take the hit”. That is merely a partial application of Ghandi’s method, but it is closer to Ghandi than Total War.

    Total War doesn’t involve us trading the lives of 6 Americans and 5 Taliban commanders, for one traitor.

    We discussed and argued this point years ago, Neo, over Israel’s impractical trades of killers for dead bodies or hostages. Israel prioritizes the divine or theological or supernatural, over the deaths they would suffer. That’s not me putting up a policy, that’s them applying it. They don’t call it Ghandi but it is a lot closer to Ghandi than the US philosophy of Total War.

    How is bringing up the Holocaust in relation to Israel “beating people over the head” about it?

    Can’t criticize the Jews or the State of Israel or else you are an anti Semite. The Germans used it to say the Jews are a bad people. An anti Semite is a bad person.

    This is not often used against Jews that undermine Israel, because then the issue is how does a Semite become an “Anti Semite”? Well Arabs and Kurds are Semitic, so how are they anti semitic, do they hate themselves?

    The term is not used as an accurate criticism of critics, it is used as a weapon to beat on people’s morality. And that is closer to the original use the Germans came up the term for. For the Germans, the semites were inferior because of the nationalist belief in Aryans or hybrids becoming gods, superior than the other races. They needed an all encompassing term for Jews that weren’t not loyal to Judaism, for Jews that considered themselves Germans first. So Semite. For the Jews, the Holocaust means that being anti semitic is too dangerous. And by that they don’t mean against Semitic people or languages, but being Anti Jewish or Anti Israeli in the holocaust sense. But even that term doesn’t get applied to Soros as often as it gets applied to other people, the Gentiles.

    It’s not a description, it’s a weapon to determine morality, like the SJW term “you’re a racist”. It’s a morality play, not necessarily an accurate rendition of reality. It’s been used often enough, I wonder why you don’t see it, Neo. For an objective observer, this is what comes up.

    The way of the Copts when faced with the Muslim aggression–where, oh where would Christianity have manifest?-Sharon W Says:

    Ever hear of Jean De Arc? Transliterated in English as Joan of Arc.

    If humans want to win a war, they can depend upon two sources: military knowledge born of human resources or divine knowledge born of divine resources.

    The reason why the Crusades failed wasn’t because of the Knights Templars. It was because the fleet logistics was sustained by the naval power of the merchant families, and during one Crusade, Sicily went full Satan rebellion and killed off a few families. The navy was rediverted to reconquer this colony or merchant outpost, which left the Holy Land of the Levantine open to the assault of the Egyptian army. The USa has problems just invading Iraq and Afghanistan. Putting that many troops into the Middle East, against local powers that had plenty of time to form defensive armies, was always problematic.

    The cause was not Holy, even though some of the warriors and kings were or wanted to be.

    The Knights Hospitaller continued to do their work of protecting pilgrims. Some Muslim overlords allowed it. So they didn’t necessarily need a war to protect pilgrimage.

    Westerners believe that if they win a war, god is on their side. That’s not always true.

    The Holocaust is completely relevant to the historical context of the formation of the state of Israel.

    That’s the Ghandi strategy. Make them kill enough of your people, they get tired of it, and in the next life you can squeeze benefits out of them. That’s why they did in India against the British. Now the Germans are intensely afraid of the term “anti semite”, because of the Holocaust.

    Some Jews even think that the Holocaust, because it was this big sacrifice of life, was the prerequisite for Jews getting Israel back. I mean Jerusalem or the state. Not the 10 tribes, they haven’t gotten that back, and neither do I hear that they want them back.

    The word “holocaust” originally derived from the Greek word holokauston, meaning “a completely (holos) burnt (kaustos) sacrificial offering,” or “a burnt sacrifice offered to a god.” In Greek and Roman pagan rites, gods of the earth and underworld received dark animals, which were offered by night and burnt in full. The word “holocaust” was later adopted in Greek translations of the Torah to refer to the olah,[3] standard communal and individual sacrificial burnt offerings that Jews were required[4] to make in the times of the Beit HaMikdash (Temple in Jerusalem). In its Latin form, holocaustum, the term was first used with specific reference to a massacre of Jewish people by the chroniclers Roger of Howden[5] and Richard of Devizes in England in the 1190s.[6]

    The earliest use of the word holocaust to denote a massacre recorded by the Oxford English Dictionary dates from 1833 when the journalist Leitch Ritchie, describing the wars of the medieval French monarch Louis VII, wrote that he “once made a holocaust of thirteen hundred persons in a church”, a massacre by fire of the inhabitants of Vitry-le-François in 1142. As this occurred in a church, it could be seen as a religious offering. The English poet John Milton had used the word to denote a conflagration in his 1671 poem Samson Agonistes, in which the massacre was clearly divinely dedicated.[7] The word gradually developed to mean a massacre thereon, taking on a secular connotation

    The etymology of the word means a sacrifice for religious power. Not all Jews use it, of course, because in the Hebrew they choose a different word. But they chose it BECAUSE they know what Holocaust means. In The Torah, sacrificing animals and using blood to cleanse things, is natural or godly. They don’t want to attribute that to what the Germans did, but they understand the concept from a Judaism pov.

    Ghandi was talking about the same thing, except on a more dramatic level. Thus it is the Ghandi strategy, using a Holocaust to get a victory or Israel back from the enemy.

    As for Ghandi listening to voices… that would have to be the case if supernatural gods existed, after all. How else do they communicate to people. Signs? Miracles? Burning Bush? Jean De Arc had voices too.

    If gods exist and have human like bodies, of course they would be able to talk too. They just choose not to. It’s not something secular Jews think about. It’s not something secular anybody thinks about.

    (This is why I tell people that the things they thought was long from me, was just short paragraphs compared to what I wrote when Neo Neocon was in 2003-2005 blog days)

    “Long” happens when this happens.

  46. Ymar Sakar Says:

    Bilwick uses an interesting passage.

    “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. 32But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”

    33But he replied, “Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death.”

    34Jesus answered, “I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me.”

    35Then Jesus asked them, “When I sent you without purse, bag or sandals, did you lack anything?”

    “Nothing,” they answered.

    36He said to them, “But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one. 37It is written: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors’b ; and I tell you that this must be fulfilled in me. Yes, what is written about me is reaching its fulfillment.”

    38The disciples said, “See, Lord, here are two swords.”

    “That’s enough!” he replied.

    It is easier, and it is what I recommend, to read the passage in greater context.

    People like to pick out verse lines that they use to bludgeon people over the head. That’s like a Leftist quoting Bush II about WMDs to make the point that anti war on Iraq is moral. It’s often times out of context. They also quote Reagan to bludgeon us over the head over what we should be doing, except not all of us are obedient slaves to Reagan… that’s what they are, slaves to Hussein their Messiah and Clintons and the Deep State.

    So the context. The original missionaries of the Jewish time was you went out, had no money, and just stayed in the homes of those you talked to. That’s it. It’s a test of faith.

    And it is interesting how it talks about “Satan” as the prosecutor. As a Holy Divine Watcher in the Counsel of the Gods or Elohim, who is making the case against humanity. Much like Job’s account (or Moses account of a fictional parable).

    Now that Jesus was getting to the end of his mission or quest, now he wants you to take some purse and other things. Is it because his power is going to be limited or something else is going on…

    The mortal avatar Jesus is a little bit different from the post mortal Jesus that reached Ascension or godhood.

    The New Testament, technically, doesn’t happen until post crucifixion. That is when the New Covenant continues after the Old is fulfilled (Torah).

  47. AesopFan Says:

    Your Gandhi post and comments were very interesting. I pulled a bit from your Quaker essay that seems apropos to this discussion.

    http://neoneocon.com/2005/10/03/varieties-of-pacifism-part-iia/

    The dangers of pacifism, especially of the absolute variety, were well-expressed in 1974 by the British Quaker writer and teacher Wolf Mendl (who, by the way, began life as a German Jew—an unusual journey, I would imagine):

    “Because of their personal experience and convictions, [early] Friends did not deny the reality of evil and of conflict. Nor did they equate conflict with evil. They were well aware of the suffering which a non-violent witness could bring in an imperfect world. This is in contrast to those who identify peace with the absence of conflict and value that above all things.It is the latter who have given modern pacifism its bad name and have led their critics to refer to them contemptuously as ‘passivists’. The failure to take evil and conflict into account as elements in our human condition and an obsession with the need for peace and harmony have led pacifists badly astray… Christian pacifists [are] not exempt from the temptation to sacrifice others for the sake of peace.

    Mendl is not exactly a hawk, to be sure. But his writing shows a deep awareness on the part of at least some Quakers about what is at stake, and of the damage that can be done by “passivists” in the name of goodness.

  48. Steve57 Says:

    Curious what if anything you think of Paul’s teaching in Romans. I don’t expect you to have an opinion about a Christian teaching. But he was a Pharisee and a student of Gamaliel. So his ideas didn’t come out of nowhere.

    “…3For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but bad. Do you want to be unafraid of the one in authority? Then do what is right, and you will have his approval. 4For he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not carry the sword in vain. He is God’s servant, an agent of retribution to the wrongdoer. 5Therefore, it is necessary to submit to authority, not only to avoid punishment, but also as a matter of conscience…”

  49. Steve57 Says:

    “This is the first and greatest commandment. 39And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commandments.”…

    No, Christianity isn’t pacifist. if you’re going to love your neighbor like yourself, that means you must love yourself.

  50. Richard Saunders Says:

    I don’t know why, Ymar Sakar, I even try to respond to you, because your thought processes are unknowable. I will, possibly out of masochism, make one last try — but only to the parts where I think I can guess your meaning.

    Do you actually think I don’t know about Moses’s order to kill the Israelites dancing around the Golden Calf? Or what the scouts said? Or Cain and Abel? Or Joseph’s brothers? Or Korach? Or the constant complaining of the Israelites in the desert? Or the order to extirpate the Canaanites? To say nothing of what happens in Judges, Kings, Chronicles, the writings or the Prophets?

    No serious reader of the Torah or the Bible can have any notion of “a bias and want the Torah to be a white wash account of Jewish ancestors.” I certainly don’t. I’d go so far as to say that while the Torah gives us the 613 commandments, it and the rest of the Bible (Old Testament, you would say) are examples of what not to do and what happens when you don’t.

    As far as pulling the “Jewish higher IQ card” I’m perfectly willing to concede that you’re smarter than I, but that doesn’t mean you know more about Judaism than I do, since I’ve been a Jew studying Judaism all my life, and you haven’t.

    I can’t respond to your long rant about the Holocaust, Israel, and anti-Semitism because I have no idea what you’re trying to say. However, I can say, with respect to the trade of 500 Pali terrorists for two Israeli bodies, that, yes, Israel considers recovering two Israeli bodies worth more than 500 Palestinian terrorists, who Israel will probably intercept and catch again. Call them crazy for not being practical!

    Okay, that’s my last try at communicating with you, Ymar. Live long and prosper, or, as we say in Yiddish, “Soll sein mit glick!”

  51. AesopFan Says:

    Another pull-quote from the past.

    http://neoneocon.com/2005/10/13/varieties-of-pacifism-part-iib/

    Here is Ms. Lord explaining the pacifist belief system:

    The path of war is always, as history proves, the more naïve. War almost never works. Even when it seems to, for a short time, or after a long struggle, it is with a horrific cost of life, and property, and treasure, and the fouling of the earth, and the killing if its creatures. Almost always, similar ends could have been achieved through negotiation or international law and peacekeeping, with far less cost.
    * * *
    The thesis advanced by the pacifist in bold (which Neo also highlighted, in order to note that there is absolutely no evidence supporting this position) is covered in the comments to the post, but not, I think, explicitly directed to it as quoted.
    Several writers noted that, in applying to the police for protection, a pacifist is simply transferring the violence he eschews into other hands.

    Substituting violence-by-international-law for war is NOT pacifism.

    Many pacifists realize this, but are willing to be “practical” about the needs of civilization.
    Ms. Lord, however, seems to believe that “international law and peacekeeping” do not involve violence.
    The mind-set is the same as that of the “gun free zones mean criminals won’t use guns here” idiocy.

    Now, in fairness, by adding “with far less cost” she might actually mean that “international law and peacekeeping” although violent, are less so than “war” — but I don’t see how any rational person can make that calculus.

    The degree of violence required to stop Hitler or bin Laden doesn’t change because the men holding the guns wear different colored helmets.

  52. Steve57 Says:

    “The path of war is always, as history proves, the more naïve. War almost never works.”

    Key word. Almost.

    “1I love you, Lord, my strength.
    2The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
    my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge,
    my shield18:2 Or sovereign and the horn18:2 Horn here symbolizes strength. of my salvation, my stronghold.
    3I called to the Lord, who is worthy of praise,
    and I have been saved from my enemies.
    4The cords of death entangled me;
    the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me.
    5The cords of the grave coiled around me;
    the snares of death confronted me.
    6In my distress I called to the Lord;
    I cried to my God for help.
    From his temple he heard my voice;
    my cry came before him, into his ears.
    7The earth trembled and quaked,
    and the foundations of the mountains shook;
    they trembled because he was angry.
    8Smoke rose from his nostrils;
    consuming fire came from his mouth,
    burning coals blazed out of it.
    9He parted the heavens and came down;
    dark clouds were under his feet.
    10He mounted the cherubim and flew;
    he soared on the wings of the wind.
    11He made darkness his covering, his canopy around him—
    the dark rain clouds of the sky.
    12Out of the brightness of his presence clouds advanced,
    with hailstones and bolts of lightning.
    13The Lord thundered from heaven;
    the voice of the Most High resounded.18:13 Some Hebrew manuscripts and Septuagint (see also 2 Samuel 22:14); most Hebrew manuscripts resounded, / amid hailstones and bolts of lightning
    14He shot his arrows and scattered the enemy,
    with great bolts of lightning he routed them.
    15The valleys of the sea were exposed
    and the foundations of the earth laid bare
    at your rebuke, Lord,
    at the blast of breath from your nostrils.
    16He reached down from on high and took hold of me;
    he drew me out of deep waters.
    17He rescued me from my powerful enemy,
    from my foes, who were too strong for me.
    18They confronted me in the day of my disaster,
    but the Lord was my support.
    19He brought me out into a spacious place;
    he rescued me because he delighted in me.
    20The Lord has dealt with me according to my righteousness;
    according to the cleanness of my hands he has rewarded me.
    21For I have kept the ways of the Lord;
    I am not guilty of turning from my God.
    22All his laws are before me;
    I have not turned away from his decrees.
    23I have been blameless before him
    and have kept myself from sin.
    24The Lord has rewarded me according to my righteousness,
    according to the cleanness of my hands in his sight.
    25To the faithful you show yourself faithful,
    to the blameless you show yourself blameless,
    26to the pure you show yourself pure,
    but to the devious you show yourself shrewd.
    27You save the humble
    but bring low those whose eyes are haughty.
    28You, Lord, keep my lamp burning;
    my God turns my darkness into light.
    29With your help I can advance against a troop18:29 Or can run through a barricade;
    with my God I can scale a wall.
    30As for God, his way is perfect:
    The Lord’s word is flawless;
    he shields all who take refuge in him.
    31For who is God besides the Lord?
    And who is the Rock except our God?
    32It is God who arms me with strength
    and keeps my way secure.
    33He makes my feet like the feet of a deer;
    he causes me to stand on the heights.
    34He trains my hands for battle;
    my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
    35You make your saving help my shield,
    and your right hand sustains me;
    your help has made me great.
    36You provide a broad path for my feet,
    so that my ankles do not give way.
    37I pursued my enemies and overtook them;
    I did not turn back till they were destroyed.
    38I crushed them so that they could not rise;
    they fell beneath my feet.
    39You armed me with strength for battle;
    you humbled my adversaries before me.
    40You made my enemies turn their backs in flight,
    and I destroyed my foes.
    41They cried for help, but there was no one to save them—
    to the Lord, but he did not answer.
    42I beat them as fine as windblown dust;
    I trampled them18:42 Many Hebrew manuscripts, Septuagint, Syriac and Targum (see also 2 Samuel 22:43); Masoretic Text I poured them out like mud in the streets.
    43You have delivered me from the attacks of the people;
    you have made me the head of nations.
    People I did not know now serve me,
    44foreigners cower before me;
    as soon as they hear of me, they obey me.
    45They all lose heart;
    they come trembling from their strongholds.
    46The Lord lives! Praise be to my Rock!
    Exalted be God my Savior!
    47He is the God who avenges me,
    who subdues nations under me,
    48who saves me from my enemies.
    You exalted me above my foes;
    from a violent man you rescued me.
    49Therefore I will praise you, Lord, among the nations;
    I will sing the praises of your name.
    50He gives his king great victories;
    he shows unfailing love to his anointed,
    to David and to his descendants forever.”

  53. Steve57 Says:

    I have not been blameless before Him.

  54. Steve57 Says:

    Now don’t you wish i stopped commenting here permanently?

  55. om Says:

    Steve57:

    Thank you.

    Richard Saunders:

    Thank you, as well.

  56. Ymar Sakar Says:

    What did Jesus say about pacifism?

    To Aesop, the weirdest thing about mainstream christianity to me is how they tend to ask this question in this tone.

    What did Jesus say about pacifism?

    Why don’t they go to the Divine Throne room and ask him.

    Dead people and Presidents, yea, we have to go dig through their quotes and say see, Lincoln said this and that means… something.

    But if your god is a living god, then all you need to get his words on a point of doctrine is to Ask. Communicate. That’s what monkey evolved humans are good for right.

    Some psychics can pick out the aura of dead spirits, guardian angels of the ancestor variety, but people might not want to put too much stock in that as their guiding light.

    If you follow a god, any god, and that god is reigning in power somewhere, go there and ask him. Unless he doesn’t want to see your face because you lack the qualifications to appear in court. Which is how many of the Watchers treat you mortal frail humans, even though people still worship the Watchers as gods. They aren’t all that more powerful than the nephiliim at this point.

    One of the covenants, contracts, Hollywood directors sign is a deal for power in return for obedience to evil. This makes many of them successful. Because the elohim have ownership of significant parts of the world’s wealth still. Humans like the Rockefellers and the Bilderbergers, are just their front men or pawns.

    Ooops, said too much. We’re getting into Alt Right theories and Deep State onions.

    In your lexicon, Aesop, think “secret combinations”. That is about the same meaning.

    As for Ghandi being a pacifist, I would state that Ghandi was not a pacifist. He only looked like one because to most of the secular West, the battle or war ends if you die. To Ghandi, the conflict continues.

    It’s why Jihadists with their heaven virgin motivation was so foreign and alien to Americans on 9/11. Suicide yourself to win a war? How can you win, if you are DEAD?

    It just doesn’t compute to most of the secular agnostic Westerners who grew up thinking this way. And even if they are religious, it doesn’t mean they can adapt their thinking to the truly supernatural.

    Religion, like Marxism, is a human construct. Albeit with divine inspirations from time to time.

    http://neoneocon.com/2005/10/02/gandhi-nobody-knows/

    I’m not sure if Neo was talking about this Ghandi link, but I found the comments there enlightening. 2007 was definitely a different vibe than 2017 heh.

    Don’t worry Steve, I still quote longer biblical verses.

    /2005/09/varieties-of-pacifism-part-i-gandhis.html

    The comment I wrote there is still there from 2005 ish.

    That version of myself made far less typos.

    As for Romans 13:1, they translate that as the “God”, but “a god” would be more consistent with Paul’s other letters. Especially that bit about lawsuits. In trying to crack the context:

    The theology was going along the path of human to -> deification route. And by deification, the purpose would be to replace the Watchers. That is why humans can be said to judge angels in the future. Also why serpent really didn’t like Adam.

    As scholars study more translations from the Dead Sea Scrolls, so many things in the NT and Old Testament/Torah are becoming clearer and clearer as to which was human interpretation/scribal edits, and which was the contextual original understanding and meaning of these lines.

    Polytheism is many gods, but monotheism is not mutually exclusive with polytheism. Both terms are later additions anyway to the 1st century AD context.

    “Well then, tradition tells us how blissful was the life of men in that age, furnished with everything in abundance and of spontaneous growth and the cause thereof is said to have been this. [so why is everything working so great? why is everything in this beautiful cosmic order? he gives you the reason, he says] Kronos [high god of time] was aware of the fact that no human being as we’ve explained is capable of having irresponsible control of all human affairs without becoming filled with pride in injustice. So pondering his fact he then appointed as kings and rulers for our cities not men but beings of a race that was nobler and more divine, namely demons. He acted as we now do in the case of sheep and herds of tame animals. We do not set oxens as rulers over oxen or goats over goats, but we who are of a nobler race ourselves rule over them. In like manner, the God in his love for humanity set over us at that time the nobler race of demons, who with much comfort to themselves and much to us took charge of us and furnished peace for us, and modesty, and orderliness and justice without stent, and thus made the tribes of men free from feud and happy.”-Plato’s laws

    This is the Greek-Roman context. When Paul writes a letter to Corinth or the Romans, they are reading it from this world view. It is very likely Paul is not talking about human authorities at all, which changes the meaning a lot.

    By daemon, Plato probably means spirit or divine level entities.

    DB: There it is. So what Paul’s envisioning here is if they’ve actually come out from under them. They’re not actually under their rule anymore. And you see this pop up this language. People read over this language and they’re not catching the narrative. There is election narrative going on here where Paul talks later in 1 Corinthians 12:2, 2 You know that when you were pagans you were led astray to mute idols, however you were led. DB: You see the language there? He’s drawing on the idolatry section still from this idea from Deuteronomy 4 that you were under them and that made you nations right? Those nations, they have those celestial powers all allotted to them, right? So you are going after those idols however you were led to do so. It’s like you were led into doing that by the powers in Paul’s mind. So he calls them demons just like the Greeks do. So this whole idea is you were ethne but you’ve been taken out from under them. Now a lot of Paul scholars in recent scholarship, this debate over identity and Paul, are they Jews? Is it a new thing called Christianity? Are they just practicing Judaism? These debates are so caught up in the ethnic identity in modern Jewish Christian relations conversations that they sometimes become all historical at times and it’s straying away from the language that Paul’s using because Paul, when he’s saying that you were pagans, you were nations or ethne, you were Gentiles, it’s not meaning it’s like all of a sudden you’re becoming a Jew. MSH: It’s a theological category, not an ethnic category. DB: Yes, exactly, it’s theological. They were under these demons. They were under these powers but now all the way back to 1 Corinthians 8 where the conversation began, we don’t have those other gods anymore. We have one God. It’s Yahweh. So they picture themselves whatever’s happened as a new exodus, a new election, which this is an Old Testament concept, the idea of election is Exodus in the Old Testament. Take the language with Abraham. When Abraham’s chosen out of the 70 nations, that’s the Deuteronomy 32 worldview right there. In Genesis 10-11, he’s taken out. He’s not one of the 70. Israel or Jacob is not listed in the Table of Nations because they’re not one of them. They’re not one of the ethne. They’re taken out from them. And by the time you get to Genesis 15 and you have the promise of star-like seed, the thing we talked about in my last interview, what does he tell Abraham right after that vision of star-like seed? He tells him that I delivered you, Abraham, out of Ura the Chaldeans. I’ve purchased you. I delivered you out of the Chaldeans to give you this land to inherit. And that phrase in the Hebrew is kind of a stock phrase used all throughout Torah for the exodus. You just changed the Chaldeans for Egypt. I am the God that delivered you out of Egypt to give you this land to inherit. So he sees election as an exodus from under the powers. You are under the powers. I elect you. I choose you out from the 70 who I allotted powers over and you’re mine. You’re my allotted inheritance.

    A podcast transcript nakedbiblepodcast naked-bible-95-david-burnett-resurrection-and-the-death-of-the-gods/

    Another problem with having a bunch of letters translated from Paul, is that the context is missing even more. Paul, don’t you know that if you write a narrative story and parable, it’d be easier for us to decipher later on?

    In Romans 12, their understanding of love is a little bit different from what we think of.

    Love in Action

    9Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality

    To love good is to hate evil. That changes things because that’s not what moderns mean when they say love. It’s treated more as blind love.

    Because the emotion has many expressions in humans, people would have naturally asked Paul what the commandment means for them personally.

  57. Beverly Says:

    Luke 22:36: New International Version:

    He [Jesus] said to them, “But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one.”

    The Bible is full of references to the people of God taking arms in a righteous cause. Evil men with weapons can only be taken out by good men with weapons.

  58. Steve57 Says:

    i’m actually pretty good with my hands, Beverly.

  59. Steve57 Says:

    Feet not so much as since I turned 45 I can not strike above the waist.

  60. Steve57 Says:

    You have to practice, like, 200 times more with your feet then your hands. I could be off.

  61. Ymar Sakar Says:

    Beverly Says:
    November 8th, 2017 at 2:54 am

    The Bible is full of references to the people of God taking arms in a righteous cause.

    That’s not the context of the line.

    Without using or providing the context of what they were originally talking about, humans will start exploiting the authority of the past to push their modern objectives.

    The context was provided a little bit in the above lines concerning missionaries journeying around without food, purse, or supplies. These are supplies for wandering missionaries. Self protection, not “holy wars”. Something was about to happen that could no longer account for the divine protection given to those missionaries.

    They would need a lot more than two for armed organized conflict. If they were being attacked by elohim or the forces of darkness, then these aren’t things humans can kill, so a sword would only be effective against humans, and only some humans.

  62. DNW Says:

    I R A Darth Aggie Says:
    November 7th, 2017 at 12:44 pm
    … Should one not feel obligated to protect those who can not protect themselves?”

    Possibly. But not those who will not.

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