Political monotheism and the slippery slope to Tucson

After Saturday’s tragic shooting in Tucson, some have pointed the finger at inflammatory political rhetoric. Many singled out Sarah Palin’s … Continued

After Saturday’s tragic shooting in Tucson, some have pointed the finger at inflammatory political rhetoric.

Many singled out Sarah Palin’s now-infamous “Don’t Retreat, Instead – RELOAD!” tweet and her ‘Crosshairs’ campaign map, which included Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords’ district, as a sign that some politicians have gone too far in stoking vitriol against their political opponents. (Since the shooting, Palin reportedly emphasized in an e-mail that she “hates violence.”) Others reject any connection between the shooter, who does not appear to espouse any coherent ideology, and our current political climate.

What are the ethical and moral implications of incendiary political language?

The man who calmly and methodically visited depravity and madness upon a grocery store in Tucson last week, wounds us deeply–unnerves us–beyond the utter tragedy of the lives lost and broken. The accused killer personifies the horror that our society has the potential to put forth–a profoundly disturbed, displaced soul, un-anchored and listless, until it hits a mine and explodes.

The killer was in our midst, everyone knew he would crack, it was just the time, date and place that was unknown. We may even know of such people in our own lives. What to speak of a society where you see in the sick, not a poor soul in need of help, love or treatment, but a ticking time bomb ready to blow?

We live in a society where not knowing neighbors is a virtue–so busy we are in our important lives, so absorbed–who has time to waste blathering over the backyard fence? An odd kid, the ornery old man are avoided, disengaged from our lives as a freak show we content ourselves to watch from afar.

Add to the daily alienation of our lives, the easy anonymity of interactions with others. Wimps become tigers on the Internet, wielding threats and epithets that toe a fine line, indeed, between metaphor and the literal. Politics take no prisoners, and the political discourse reflects the impersonal, polarized rhetorical discourse where only one way is right. A pluralist Hindu as myself, will hear echoes in today’s politics of the same exclusivity, intolerance for diverse opinions and unforgiving certitude seen in the relentless push of predatory proselytizers or a suicidal terrorist running amok in Mumbai in the realm of religion.

We watched last week as a moderate governor in Pakistan was gunned down for daring to advocate against the ludicrous anti-blasphemy laws of that country, and observers noted that one’s political and humanitarian instincts have deadly consequences there. To speak loudly for persecuted Christians, Ahmadiyyas and Hindus–and against laws that target them–will get you killed. Pakistan did not get to this notorious place in its history overnight. It is an insidious mix of politics and advocacy finding sanction in religious diktats that slowly, imperceptibly lead to a nation where others seek to impose one “true” ideology, religion or moral persuasion on others that results in a Pakistan of lost promises we see today.

Sarah Palin’s pugnacity mixed with militant metaphors vitiates the political narrative, though she is only feeding the appetite of a people that crave Rush Limbaugh’s, Sean Hannity’s and yes, Keith Olbermann’s and Bill Maher’s. The take-no-prisoner approach empowers one in the comfort of knowing the “truth”–but while it is good radio or television, it promotes intolerance and hate. Are we on a slippery slope where reasoned debate is shouted down at first, different opinions mocked openly later and then, finally, calumny and destruction for your words is the end game?

But let us be very clear. The killer himself is responsible. But for Palin’s ilk that happily point fingers at all Muslims when a Maj. Nidal Hasan cracks, or blame Muslims for not disavowing terror in Islam when the Twin Towers came tumbling, it is quite a hypocritical leap to now claim that the society that spits out a Jared Loughner is not partially culpable.

Lives were lost and and a congresswoman maimed in Tucson–compounded by the lost promise of a 9-year-old– not necessarily because of Palin’s bellicose imagery or Limbaugh’s rants. Easy access to a Glock, inability to deal with copious warning signs and stigma of mental illness are all culpable. The deranged man alone is responsible in the final accounting, but society failed all of the victims on many levels and this time for introspection should not be lost.

Views expressed here are the personal views of Dr. Aseem Shukla, and do not necessarily represent those of the University of Minnesota or Hindu American Foundation.

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  • marcello09

    Wow. I’m astonished. To continue to claim that any link exists between the actions of the gunman and political rhetoric is an act of willful, shameless ignorance. And to claim that society “spits out” people with mental illness is to completely misunderstand the nature and struggles of coping with these diseases. I have loved ones who suffer from such illnesses, Dr. Shukla, and your careless dissemination of misinformation does them no favors. Shame on you.

  • peterhuff

    Hi Walter,Just two cents here. You said:i believe reason and logic are very important tools gaining understanding about the world. but uncaused first cause is not logical. we don’t know of any other time where a cause was uncaused. it’s illogical to propose one at the start of the infinite regression.But Uncaused cause is the most logical. In an infinite regression how would you ever arrive at the present? Infinite regression is infinitely long, hence no beginning.

  • RCofield

    WALTER,Part 2 of 2First, let’s take the position of absolute, 100% certainty off the table. Let’s debate probabilities. In other words, let’s debate what we can know with a Secondly, working from the first proposal, we agree that reason and logic are useful tools for understanding our physical world, right? Ok. So, let’s ASSUME that IF there is anything outside of our physical universe, reason and logic MIGHT be useful in helping us understand that as well. See? That is not unreasonable at all, is it?Thirdly, working from my first and second proposals, let’s both posit some assumptions concerning the first-cause of the universe. Remember, our assumptions are not statements of absolute, 100% certainty, so we don’t have to stick with them if they don’t hold up to scrutiny. Then, let’s use logic and reason (because we have no scientific data) to determine the probability—the likelihood, if you will—of our respective assumptions.Fourthly, let’s both keep in mind that we can’t know these things with absolute certainty. Let’s remember that we are only seeking to establish a reasonable degree of certainty, for, in the end, that is the best we can do. Let me know what you think.Peace, brother.

  • peterhuff

    Hi RCofield,I think for GoldenEagles the best possible reply is to post Scripture after Scripture, like you are doing, that defeats his position in the hope that the Holy Spirit will bring him to his senses as we pray for God’s grace and mercy on him. He is failing to answer almost every question we have asked him.He seems to think sanctification (my submitting to God) comes before salvation or leads to my salvation. What does he not understand about a gift? The sinful mind is hostile to God and does not submit to God’s grace (Romans 8:7). Does he just read over the Scriptures and reason because Jesus did not speak them while on earth that they are contrary to the word of God? It is obvious that his authority does not come from the word of God, but from his own reasoning.I am reading all your exchanges with Gladerunner. He definitely has a host of beliefs and examples from history that he believes bolsters his position on moral relativism. That is the consequences of the Fall isn’t it? It is just that these examples don’t explain why this ought to be the case, in a shifting sea of ideas, other than by force or might makes right, just why such is. I think relativism is a good argument against his position.I don’t see how a relativist can justify his position as ‘good’ when the standard keeps shifting. It looks like he has gone to school to learn how to jettison any grounds for sound logic on this matter.I have started to listen to your series on the New Atheism to see what nuggets I can gleam from it! As you can see, I’m all over the board in my responses to Gladerunner. I definitely admire your approach, how you can remember the salient points from before and tie them together. A friend of mine who had brain surgery had a slogan that he posted at work, that of all the things that he had lost the thing he missed the most was his mind. I feel that way about my memory sometimes.One thing about sharing our faith/battling with atheists, cultists, false religions, aberrant Christians and agnostics on matters of truth, it certainly helps and gives us understanding in working out doctrine and correctly handling the word of truth because we are brought face to face with errors and beliefs that contradict the word of truth.

  • walter-in-fallschurch

    part 1rco: Your philosophical­ naturalism requires an infinite regression of causes, hence the first and moving cause of all things can never actually be determined. To which you responded:walter: well, no. i could just make ONE assumption: the matter/energy is eternal/uncaused.rco: So the question then becomes: Are you making that assumption? I cannot respond to your assumptions if I don’t know what they are. If you maintain that you “don’t know” and are therefore unwilling to make any assumptions, how can you contend (with any integrity) that my assumptions are certainly wrong? If you honestly don’t know, intellectual integrity requires that you not rule out the possibility of my assumptions.walter: i have repeatedly said, we have NO WAY OF CHOOSING btwn our assumptions. this is why i keep wanting to move on to discussing characteristics of the god you propose. but you keep wanting me to make a assumptions about which i keep saying there’s no basis to make assumptions… you are trying to create certainty for certainty’s sake.rco: It should be pointed out here that if you do assume that matter/energy are eternal/uncaused you do so in contradiction to Big Bang Theory and the Second Law of Thermodynamics. So…do you or don’t you make that assumption?walter: uh, no – not in contradiction to BB theory or any “laws” because BB theory makes no assumptions about what was before the big bang, and the “laws” of the universe apply only after the big bang. rco: This is where Occam’s Razor becomes applicable—your position requires the endless multiplication of explanatory entities (causes). To which you responded:walter: no, just the one assumption.walter: i don’t make any assumption about that. i know this is unsettling to folks like you and peter who like to have everything resolved. you guys invent certainty by inventing god to create the universe. you’ve even bought into the ancients’ rco: Though you reject the eternality of “God,” you embrace an eternality of “natural causes.” This seems inconsistent to me. To which you responded:walter: actually what i’m saying is more that we don’t have any basis for choosing between those two options.

  • walter-in-fallschurch

    rco: Actually there is more than adequate evidence from reason to assume the eternality of a first cause—otherwise it is not a first cause. Nothing—including God and the universe/matter/energy—is capable of causing itself. It would have to exist before it caused itself. We don’t have to put it under a microscope to know that to be absurd.walter: uh…ok… then i ask again, “what do you suppose “caused” god”. you can’t claim he’s “uncaused” because that’s irrational too… everything has a cause, right?rco: AND we do have a basis from scientific observation (Big Bang/Second Law) to reject the eternality of matter/energy and therefore to reject the eternality of “natural causes.”walter: BB and SL do not rule out the eternality of matter/energy. your notion of the universe “running down” is a metaphor. it’s a layman’s way of grasping a scientific principle. again, the big bang and universal “laws” only apply after the big bang. they may apply before it, but we have no way of knowing.rco: Conversely, my position is this: The “effect” of the universe requires a first (and ultimately eternal) first and moving cause. To which you respond:walter: Okrco: Are you accepting that postulate? If not, why not? “Ok” doesn’t give me much to go on.walter: well, no – not completely. i’m tentatively accepting it, for the sake of discussion, and seeing where you’re taking it. remember, i’ve said about a thousand times that science has no answers for what was before the big bang. rco: Unless we claim the irrationality of an infinite regression of causes, the ultimate cause of the universe must possess the power of being within itself. By definition, only such an entity could be an “uncaused” cause—that is, a cause that is dependent of nothing outside itself for its existence. And such an entity would, by definition, be without rival. To which you respond:walter: right, or, unless we claim the irrationality of an uncaused cause…. see? it’s really the same thing.rco: Actually it is not the same thing. You do realize that the only alternative to an uncaused cause is an infinite regression of causes, don’t you? And because your position is that of philosophical naturalism you would have to argue for an infinite regression of natural causes—which would contradict Big Bang Theory and the Second Law. Do you honestly find that more rational than an uncaused cause?!walter: well, “uncaused cause” is also irrational. what caused the cause? “nothing” isn’t really a good answer… so we’re both stuck. where you choose to insert “god”, i leave it at “don’t know”.walter: as far as “by definition…w/o rival”, well, that’s true only if you assume/define the uncaused cause as an “unrivalled uncaused cause”…but you seem to be multiplying (or at least adding to) your assumptions…

  • walter-in-fallschurch

    part 3rco: Not at all. It is a simple matter of logical progression. An uncaused cause is not dependent in any way on anything outside of itself for its existence. It is, by definition, self-existent, else it is not uncaused. Hence, an uncaused cause is without rival. Nothing can rob it of its existence because it depends on nothing external to itself for its existence, hence w/o rival/competitor/challenger. Nothing can threaten its existence.rco: That matter and energy (the “stuff” of which the universe is made) cannot be eternal is self-evident because it is subject to the law of entropy (Second Law of Thermodynamics). To which you responded:walter: proposing an uncaused cause violates this “law” too.rco: Only if the proposed uncaused cause consists of matter and energy. Given the above argumentation, an uncaused cause by definition would not consist of matter/energy. This is a difficult concept for philosophical naturalists, but it is in no way illogical.walter: hahaha – good one. more unwarranted assumptions.rco: The limitations of the natural sciences in determining the first cause of the universe are self-evident. To which you responded:rco: indeed. and it is a limiting characteristic of science is not to make assumptions which are not testable. the best a scientist can say about what “was” before the big bang is “we don’t know”. proposing and “uncaused cause” OR “uncaused matter/energy” is beyond the limitations of science. we may propose these things, but it’s not scientific.rco: ??? I pointed that out to you weeks ago. I said “this is beyond the current purview of science.” And it should be pointed out here that the mere fact that we don’t have “scientific” answers does not logically preclude either the asking or consideration of such questions. Certainly you wouldn’t contend that simply because science “doesn’t know” what caused the universe we must assume that it didn’t have a cause.walter: i suppose we can say there’s a cause, but we don’t know ANYTHING about that cause.walter: well, like i said above, i think ANY proposal about “first cause” is equally unsupported and purely philosophical.rco: You seem to be moving inexorably deeper into the position that we cannot know anything that science doesn’t tell us. Do you believe that reason and logic are legitimate means of attaining knowledge? Does your allegiance to science require that it inform you even of that which is apparent by the application of reason and logic? If so, we have a whole other wad of string to unravel here. If not, I don’t understand your seeming reticence to debate this particular issue.walter: i believe reason and logic are very important tools gaining understanding about the world. but uncaused first cause is not logical. we don’t know of any other time where a cause was uncaused. it’s illogical to propose one at the start of the infinite regression.

  • walter-in-fallschurch

    part 4walter: so, like i’ve said probably several thousand times by now, we don’t know anything about the cause of the big bang (but we do know it happened more than 6000 years ago!). we are left with apparently tow equally irrational options (uncaused cause vs self-caused universe) as potential answers. who knows? i can’t choose. you’ve definitely chosen uncaused caused maybe, ostensibly, because of something about occam’s razor? can we talk about that – and the universe of assumptions you heap onto the uncaused cause – yet?i also find it amusing that you’re talking about “big bang theory” as if it’s anything like genesis.

  • MrMeaner

    I had another thought as I read your last response to PH.

  • RCofield

    MRMEANER,Part 2 of 2 Further, he lifts statements made by us completely out of context and literally fabricates all sorts of unsubstantiated allegations against us, and refuses to be corrected when we try to defend ourselves against such. In short, his method of “dialog” is completely void of integrity. Hence, I (and I think Peter Huff as well) have come to the conclusion that it is virtually useless to try and engage him in debate because of his lack of integrity, refusal to answer direct questions, and general dishonestly accusatory approach.While you may completely agree both with his beliefs and his method of engagement on these threads (I have no way of knowing as this is the first time I recall encountering you), I thought it might be helpful to give you this background information.If you would like to engage in an exchange concerning the place of good works in salvation I would count it a privilege to dialog with you. I think you will find that I will be both cordial and reasonably conversant with the scriptural evidence associated with this issue.Regards.

  • RCofield

    MRMEANER,Well, that didn’t take long. As you can see, GoldenEagles has already determined that you have a demon influencing your decisions. :-)If you don’t respond to his post and do exactly as he is suggesting this demon-possession mantra will increase in vitriol until you will hardly recognize yourself when he posts about you. (I say “about you” because if you disagree with him he will inevitably begin referring to you in the third person.)Happy hunting.BTW: I would be happy to respond to the post you drafted if you would like to publish it.

  • MrMeaner

    That was to GE.You sneaked up on me, RCO.

  • MrMeaner

    You present me with a quandary, RCOSome of the beliefs you ascribe to GE are far-fetched, and some are not.First, this one;Would God knowingly create evil?

  • GoldenEagles

    Rcofield, if I might suggest, why don’t you post the forum link (with the date and time stamp of the post) where I have allegedly “fabricated complete lies about [your]self”. If this were true, I would agree that I would have some repenting to do myself.

  • MrMeaner

    Ditto to PHWhile I agree that Christ’s sacrifice was sufficient, I also believe that at a certain point, believers will have to “take up our cross, and follow him”, which is to say, that there will come a time when we will be persecuted for our Christian testimony. That testimony and martyrdom are works that will judged and rewarded.

  • GoldenEagles

    Peterhuff says, This is a very well-crafted and accurate statement Peterhuff. You have represented my basic premise in an accurate manner.I am assuming that in referring to “Christ’s Sacrifice” you are referrig to his death on the cross. And that this death means you are saved regardless of your behavior.And of course, Jesus Christ flapped his lips all for nothing, before that event. Is that right?I am sure his death on the cross had meaning. For example, it proves that the Power of Christ has all power over death. And the people of the earth needed that demonstration of power. But that begs the quesiton. What “sacrifice” was there in that, if he knew before hand, that he could not be killed? And scripture shows that he knew beforehand that he could not be killed.

  • MrMeaner

    “For He chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love He predestined us to be adopted as His sons through Jesus Christ,”This is ironic that you would post this.[28] And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.I post this question to all;Does God knowingly create evil?

  • GoldenEagles

    I think this “Sufficiency in Sacrifice” dogma is a false doctrine, as it is always used as the keystone in the archway of the larger false doctrine that allows people to believe, like Peterhuff and Rcofield, that they have no responsibility at all to obey the Commandments of Christ, which is a doctrine of rebellion, having its origin in serpent.Christ’s “death” on the cross, and his demonstration of power over it, was only “sufficient” in proving to us that he was who he said he was. Jesus was the Christ, and he had power over death. Or death had no power over him. The cross event was sufficient to PROVE that. And because he demonstrated that he had this power, this would increase our faith that he could fulfill his promise, that he could transfer this same power over death (eternal life) to all who would follow in his footsteps, making of them sons of God, as the scripture says, if they would only OBEY HIS COMMANDMENTS!Remember John 3:36 – He who obeyeth not the son will not see life.

  • GoldenEagles

    MrMeaner asks, “Does God knowingly create evil?”No. God is Pure Love, Pure Goodness. He could no more create evil that a lightbult can radiate a shadow. But he gave his children freewill. And you know the rest of the story.

  • GoldenEagles

    (typo correction – He could no more create evil than a lightbult can radiate a shadow.)

  • GoldenEagles

    (typo correction – He could no more create evil than a lightbulb can radiate a shadow.)

  • MrMeaner

    “He could no more create evil than a lightbulb can radiate a shadow”I agree.RC? PH?I need to know your position on this before I can address some of the points you brought up in your portrayal of GE

  • MrMeaner

    I just have trouble believing that we are just objects for entertainment, sent here to toil while we fantasize about immortality.

  • GoldenEagles

    Responding to Peterhuff’s explanation for God’s Creation, The purpose of life on earth is redemption of the fallen soul. That’s it. One cannot accurately discern the purpose of the created soul itself, unless you can examine it in its native domain, which is heavenly perfection.Remember that we have God saying in scripture, that the ways of the people of earth, are not his ways. So we cannot look at the people of earth, and their current behavior, and expect to discern therein God’s original purpose for creating these souls.We need to look to those heavenly civilizations that exist beyond our current vision, where the ways of the citizens thereof, are truly the ways of God. (The evolutions of earth fell from these domains long ago, and God would bring them home if they would only agree to return to their native obedience, which is not a forced obedience, but an obedience born of understanding and love). It is good to keep things in perspective in this regard, that the physical universe as we see it, is really no larger, and of no greater significance, than a shoebox sitting on a workbench in a basement workshop of one very large mansion, whose grounds extend far beyond the capacity of the eyesight of those who currently live there. The workshop may be in the basement, but it is well lighted, and the shop hums with activity, as this is still a very important project. The souls that fell from Grace, God our Father in his Infinite Love, will go to almost any effort to redeem.And the work is not carried on in a hurried fashion either. God has an infinite amount of time, along with all the workers in the shop.Looking to this larger reality, if we lived among regular citizens of heaven, all of them very much like the person of Jesus Christ (in a state of spiritual freedom) we would be able to more accurately estimate God’s Purpose in the creation of these Divine Children. The least that can be said, using Jesus Christ as an example, is that God created his children to be Co-Creators with him. He did not create them for the purpose of worshiping him, but created them for the purpose of sharing His awesome creative powers. Remember that Jesus Christ talks about watching what the Father does, and the Son doing likewise. Worship would follow as a natural consequence of such a relationship wherein you have a source of infinite goodness (God) intent on sharing as much of that goodness with the child as the child can usefully contain and apply to the purpose at hand.The purpose for which this one son, Jesus Christ currently lives, is for the salvation of the billions of souls associated with the evolutions of this planet. God our Father gives to him great measures of power and wisdom and love to accomplish this mission. Yet, a mission that cannot be completed, unless the people will one day decide to cooperate in the redemption process.

  • GoldenEagles

    Moving on …

  • GoldenEagles

    Each church is supposed to be a flight school of the Master Jesus Christ, and each minister, a flight instructor. But how can those who know not how to fly, teach the children?

  • GoldenEagles

    (

  • MrMeaner

    Just to clarify:

  • GoldenEagles

    MrMeaner says, ” … salvation is a gift …. obtained through Christ’s victory over death.”Please explain to me why Jesus Christ had to obtain victory over death to obtain the gift of salvation for us.Were not souls saved prior to that event? Did all souls burn in hell prior to that event? Did God not have mercy and compassion for the souls assigned to the earth prior to that event?

  • MrMeaner

    “Please explain to me why Jesus Christ had to obtain victory over death to obtain the gift of salvation for us.””Were not souls saved prior to that event? Did all souls burn in hell prior to that event? Did God not have mercy and compassion for the souls assigned to the earth prior to that event?”That is answered in 1st Peter Ch.3:18-20, the result is reported in 4:6

  • RCofield

    MRMEANER,Welcome back.I may need a little more interaction with you to get a bead on where you are coming from. I’m not sure I completely understand what you are saying. To that end, a couple of questions may help.First, when you say “I’m not so sure,” are you saying you are not sure that God is Omniscient?Secondly, what precisely do you mean when you say that “overcoming burdens” makes us “worthy of salvation?”Thirdly, could you maybe expand on your statement that salvation “isn’t free?”BTW: What would be your position on the two questions I posed in my last post to you?Peace, brother.PS. I try to move slowly when I engage a new poster on these threads. I don’t want to make too many assumptions until I have a feel for the person I am dialoging with. So please bear with me.

  • RCofield

    MRMEANER,Welcome back.I may need a little more interaction with you to get a bead on where you are coming from. I’m not sure I completely understand what you are saying. To that end, a couple of questions may help.First, when you say “I’m not so sure,” are you saying you are not sure that God is Omniscient?Secondly, what precisely do you mean when you say that “overcoming burdens” makes us “worthy of salvation?”Thirdly, could you maybe expand on your statement that salvation “isn’t free?”BTW: What would be your position on the two questions I posed in my last post to you?Peace, brother.PS. I try to move slowly when I engage a new poster on these threads. I don’t want to make too many assumptions until I have a feel for the person I am dialoging with. So please bear with me.

  • RCofield

    RCofield says “Bull.” Well, that is a step in the direction of profanity. And it is the more sinister, from the standpoint of heaven, in that you pull each reader into a state of participation with it, in way of completing the thoughtform, which everyone does.–GE

    A small matter you might think. If it is a small matter, you will apologize and repent. Which the average Christian would do. If there is a larger force (of darkness) operating behind that utterance, you will not apologize and repent, because it will not allow you to. So, let’s see what you will do here.–GE

    Now, in your use of the word “BULL” in your post of January 17, 2011, 10:40 PM, You have been disobedient to this Commandment of Christ.–GE

    The demon says to you, “Here, Rcofield, why don’t you respond to this f*** like so?”–GE

  • GoldenEagles

    MrMeaner says, “And yes to GE. I would agree that we don’t have complete access to all of God’s Word.”That may be one reason that Christians have not figured out how to fulfill the promise made by the Master Jesus Christ in John 14:12. He said, “he that believeth on me …” SHALL do such and such.Perhaps the belief structure referred to by the Master there, which he establishes as the criteria for doing the works, and so forth, is incomplete.In other words, when the Master said, “He that believeth on me,” he had in his mind an exact definition for what it means to believe on him. And perhaps Christians don’t have the necessary information to completely understand what he was saying there. Because of incomplete information, they cannot anchor the proper belief structure, and therefore, cannot fulfill the promise. What do you think?

  • RCofield

    MRMEANER,Thanks for the reply. Had a rather long day, just getting wrapped up.Will reply tomorrow.Peace

  • jonswitzer

    Dr. Shukla equivocates Muslim violence with Tea Party rhetoric. This is a vile analogy with no rational link. Muslims actually call for the physical death of blasphemers. There are several branches of Islam that actively promote, train and send out suicide bombers. Active violent religious training (over a thousand years) is COMPLETELY different from rigorous political speech that merely uses battle metaphors (and has for 2 hundred years) in a non-violent speech context. Unless Limbaugh and Palin are secretly training suicide bombers, your comparison shows magnificent misunderstanding of important issues.

  • RCofield

    MRMEANER,Re: Your post @ 11:33 PM Good man! That is truly rare on these threads. I look forward to productive discussions with you.

  • peterhuff

    Hi RCofield,I’m enjoying the teachings from your church!It is hard to know how to understand Melchizedek. It does say in the NIV that he is ‘I’ve heard both sides from Reformed theologians. Still no word from Pam. Walter seems to be having a hard time justifying his position. I’m not sure if that is why he is posting less frequently? I was so looking forward to see how the argument developed. I was hoping to learn. I’m also following your posts with Gladerunner and MrMeaner. Gladerunner has really bought into relativism/postmodernism, in my opinion. He tries to deconstruct any argument you throw at him, but his whole philosophy rests on thin air since he rests his authority on himself and on how well he can judge things truly/on how things really are, or really happened.He disparages Aristotelean logic, but I don’t see how you can do that and still make sense of anything. Aristotle expounded on something logically necessary just like the laws of gravity. He can say they are archaic, but he cannot live believing they are archaic.

  • MrMeaner

    “I think there is an inherent danger in this contention that God has not given us complete access to His revelation of himself and his Son in his Word. Scripture is clear that God has given us everything we need to know about Him.”God has given us complete access. Man has taken upon himself to limit that access.“1 Ti. 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect (or complete), thoroughly furnished (equipped) unto all good works.”All scripture is given by inspiration of God. But once again, at the time of this writing, there was scripture that has since been removed from “The Official Word of God”.PT 2

  • MrMeaner

    PHMy impression is that Melchisedec was called a man in the same sense that the name Gabriel means *mighty man of God*. We are made in their imageInasmuch as there was no established priesthood, and no chosen people, I doubt he would leave that duty to a flesh man. If Melchisedec was a flesh man who was able to give blessings on God’s behalf, that’s a story even more interesting than Abraham’s, who received the blessing. It would mean that there had to have been an earlier “Word of God”, to which Melchisedec would have had access.RC“when you see God predestining something in scripture, do you see God as doing so as a response to events, circumstances, and individual choices? Or, do you see the predestining acts of God as originating exclusively from the perfection of His own holy will without any external influence (i.e. events/circumstances/individual choices)?”Hmmm. Well I can think of countless examples where God explains to a person or nation that they are going to suffer consequences, that he then outlines in detail, as punishment for an act. Often those punishments are executed by other people who were completely unaware that they were carrying out God’s judgment. So I guess my answer to that question would be *both*“That being said, it seems to me there is little question that much of scripture is descriptive of the whole of mankind. For example, Paul argues beginning in Ro. 1:18 and running through 3:20 that the entire world of humanity is under the condemnation of God because of sin, concluding that section as follows:”I agree. In fact most of the Word is meant to be absorbed by all. Romans is one of those exceptions that requires your being informed, (or maybe chosen?) PT 1

  • peterhuff

    Hi MrMeaner,I found your question on Melchizedek hard to answer too.Who was Mechisedec, and why wasn’t he the Messiah? Mr.MI, like RCofield, have thought he could be a theophanic or pre-incarnate appearance of the Lord Jesus Christ because of the language used of him in Hebrews 7, but A.W. Pink offers another opinion.Pinks says:

  • peterhuff

    Hi MrMeaner,You said:I believe the elect will have to face persecution, and may be martyred for their testimony.
    (Luke 12:9-12, 21;12-15, Mk 13:9-11, Rev. 12:7-17…with a “posthumous” appearance by one of them, in Rev 19:10)-Mr.MI see the fulfillment of these verses as having taken place in the first century, although the principle is true for us today regarding persecution also. The audience in context were His disciples, for he says in Luke 12:11, Luke 21:12-15/Matthew 24, part of the Olivetti discourse, also suggests primarily a first century audience. His disciples question Him about the Temple and its destruction. It is the time of Jacob’s trouble spoken of in Daniel 9 with Luke 21:22-24 also suggesting judgment on Israel/Jacob for rejecting their Messiah.

  • RCofield

    Hey Peter,Good to see you back, brother.Have you seen any sign of Walter? He seems to have disappeared on us. I hope he is OK.And Pam. Have you run across her anywhere else on these threads? I’m still confounded by her sudden disappearance. Pink’s statements on Melchisedec (sp?) were interesting. Hadn’t thought about it in those terms. He may have been on to something, at least in part anyway.Peace, brother.

  • GoldenEagles

    Yes, that a righteous mask could be placed on the very heart of hatred, fooling the very elect.

  • MrMeaner

    John 21:25 – And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.I believe that there are many truths written in scripture that are obscured by limiting studies to pre-translated texts.Of course, there are also the mistakes passed down by teachers with poor reading comprehension.If it weren’t so sad, it would be funny sometimes

  • walter-in-fallschurch

    rco,if you’re trying to get me to say it’s MORE reasonable to propose an uncaused cause (for which we have absolutely no evidence) as the cause of the BB, than to say matter/energy are eternal, or some other hypothesis, then i can’t do it. if that’s a deal-beaker, and you really can’t continue discussing things w/o that “concession”, well then, so be it.i say i can’t do it because as soon as you say “uncaused cause”, i think, “huh?” and then “what caused the uncaused cause?” i know you’re claiming “uncaused cause”, you can’t just say “uncaused cause” and make it mean anything. it’s just a nonsense expression.but…if you would like to stick with “uncaused cause”, then i’ll propose “uncaused matter/energy” or something similar. since we have no idea how it all could have happened, we are both proposing things w/o analogues in our everyday world. neither option is any more reasonable/likely than the other.now, i’ve repeatedly said that i’d like to continue investigating the assumption(s) you make about the uncaused cause. if you’re up for that, let’s go!

  • GoldenEagles

    Rcofield says, “Your dishonest antics and hypocritical double-standards are beginning to multiply to the point of being comical.”All I can say is that I addressed the issue, I gave it my best. What you see in the post below is truly the best expression of every resource I have access to at the time. It is the deepest expression of all the sincerity I have in my heart. I sincerely believe I have proven, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that the “double-standard” you see, does not exist. Indeed, I believe with my whole heart that I have effectively shown that what you see is no different than a mirage seen through the parched and squinting eyes of a man dying of thirst on a scorchingly hot desert plain. It is simply a figment of your imagination.

  • MrMeaner

    These are the people for whom Christ will be” a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense, even to them which stumble at the word”. (I Pet 2:8)We’ve been spending some time in Romans. What did Paul mean here, as he was explaining how it was that the elect were chosen?[7]“…Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blindedAs for the “Let their table” emphasis, I think we can agree that this is referring to a table for food. (Gr. Word *trapeza*) Allow me to use this reference from Amos Ch.8 as an example of famine symbolizing a lack of understanding God’s Word.[11] Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD:In that example, we see that a famine of hearing the Word resulted in some worshiping a false idol.Keeping that in mind, what then is the meaning of verses 18-20 in the very important 37th Psalm?[18] The LORD knoweth the days of the upright: and their inheritance shall be for ever.PT 3That’s about all the time I have this evening.Have a good night, all

  • RCofield

    GOLDENEAGLES,Part 2 of 2Now I ask you: If “bull” is a step in the direction of profanity, is not “f***” equally a step in the direction of profanity? If “bull” is “sinister” and “pulling each reader into a state of participation” cannot the exact same thing be equally said of your use of “f***”? If “bull” would tempt “each reader” to “complete the thoughtform,” would not “f***” do exactly the same thing?If I need to “repent and apologize” for using the word “bull,” doesn’t it stand to reason that you would need to “repent and apologize” for using “f***”? If there is a “larger force of darkness operating behind the utterance” of “bull,” is there not a “larger force of darkness operating behind the utterance” of “f***”?If I am “in disobedience to the commandment of Christ” because I wrote “bull,” are you not equally “in disobedience to the commandment of Christ” when you write “f***”?IF I am guilty of insinuating profanity by writing “bull” are you not equally guilty of insinuating profanity when you write “f***”?Yet you dismiss your use of “f***” with a simple “that’s not what I meant.” Well, what you insinuated that I meant by the use of “bull” was not what I meant either. But that isn’t the point, is it? Your entire fabricated case against me was hinged on readers “completing the thoughtform.” I think readers would much more easily “complete the thoughtform” of “f***”, don’t you? That is such a common vulgarity that it is virtually unmistakable.Now, I ask you, GoldenEagles, are the manipulative tactics that you have used here to merely try and “score a point” against me fitting for one who professes the name of Christ?Is this not this entire fiasco over my use of the word “bull” a clear example of you having one standard whereby you judge your own writings and a completely separate standard whereby you have judged mine?

  • RCofield

    GOLDENEAGLES,Part 1 of 2
    Yes, and I need but offer one (out of dozens) example to unmask your entire statement above, however heart-felt and sincere you claim to be.You take me to task for writing “Bull.” That’s bull…period. I said nothing more and nothing less. That is a stand-alone, common term that everyone on this thread understands. You then inform me: “that is a step in the direction of profanity.” Further, you declare it “sinister” because I am “pulling each reader into a state of participation” because everyone will “complete the thoughtform.”You then manipulatively (manipulation is NOT a fruit of the Spirit) insist that if I am even an “average Christian” I will “repent and apologize.” This you do despite the fact that I neither used profanity nor insinuated profanity. You further use manipulative tactics by stating that if I do not “apologize and repent” of this “sin” that you have fabricated and attributed to me it is because “there is a larger force of darkness operating behind that utterance.”You then cap off all this nonsense by declaring me in “disobedience to the command of Christ.” This you do knowing all the while that you had, just a few days earlier, written “f***” in a post addressed to me.

  • peterhuff

    Hi GoldenEagles,Sorry buddy, but I stopped reading your posts in entirety a long time ago. I now take a quick perusal to see what current error you are making. Your claim that RCofield’s hates ‘One Billion Catholics’ is so far fetched, and unfounded. I have found that you are highly biased to anything that RCofield says while you make a mess of Christian doctrine, adding fictitious/imaginative books to the list of God’s revelation to us without one iota of proof on your part ever. You just say it and that makes it so. What the apostle John said was,There is a big difference between what has been written and what could be written, between the ‘if’ and ‘were’ written.God has given us everything that we need for salvation and relationship with Him in the Bible.You said earlier that you and I shared some commonality in that link that you posted but I don’t see it that way. I find many of your doctrines counter to what the word of God teaches. I point this out with the desire that you come to your senses and in the hope God will bring you to repentance and lead you into a knowledge of the truth (2 Timothy 2:25-26).

  • RCofield

    GoldenEagles,
    RcoField says, “[GE] holds human reason as the supreme measure of what scripture posits.”
    Not true….etc.
    I think where I am getting hung up with you is with your seeming insistence that the divine illumination of the mind has it’s source in our “accretion” (accumulation) of the mind of Christ.It seems that you are contending that divine illumination originates from our obedience rather than originating from (and being increased through) a supernatural work of the Spirit (Jn. 3:1-10).Doesn’t your contention place obedience prior to divine illumination?Am I misunderstanding you?(Please don’t respond in the third-person)

  • RCofield

    What the apostle John said was,

    There is a big difference between what has been written and what could be written, between the ‘if’ and ‘were’ written.

    God has given us everything that we need for salvation and relationship with Him in the Bible.–PH
    Well framed, Peter.

  • peterhuff

    Hi Walter, Glad to see you back! Have you heard from Pam on any other forums? She and you sure had me scrambling for answers during our times on these panels. Anyway, I’ll leave you to RCofield since I am interested to see what kind of answers you can come up with that can make sense of your position.RCofield, great job in developing the argument!I’m hope Gladerunner will re-engage also.

  • peterhuff

    It looks like Monday or Tuesday will be my most likely response to any of your replies since I’m starting a three night, dreaded 12 hour mid-night shift.

  • RCofield

    Rcofield says, “Well Framed, Peter”. That’s like Jesus saying to a disciple, after he trips and falls face down in a mud puddle, “well done.”–GE
    And yet no actual attempt to refute Peter Huff’s well-stated rebuttal of GoldenEagles’ misinterpretation of John 21:25. Only sarcasm and denigration…”mudballs” I think GoldenEagles likes to call them when he is fabricating another straw-man accusation against someone he disagrees with. Hmmmmm……No double-standard here, folks, no, not at all (sic).

  • GoldenEagles

    (Typo correction for January 21, 2011 3:00 PM – The soul cannot be saved, until the soul breaks off all alliances it has made with the demonic force.)

  • MrMeaner

    “First, if we apply that principle (that if a particular text is quoted in scripture the whole of that text should be considered the inspired Word of God) wouldn’t we need to include the texts of Greek mythology as part of the inspired word of God? Notice:”First, I have enough experience to know whether or not a certain reference is compatible with scripture, regardless of its source. There are many written works full of wisdom that aren’t part of any religious text.I’m well aware that some parts of these works were added by other authors at later dtaes. That doesn’t change the fact that the content of these works are completely in line with what I believe to be sacred text.”There are portions of these books that contradict the accepted canon.”I guess that depends on your interpretation scripture. As we’ve seen, some can read a passage and receive an entirely different message than someone else reading the same passage.”Within the context of Luke 11, precisely what was Christ contending that the scribes and Pharisees had done to “take away the keys to knowledge?””[47] Woe unto you! for ye build the sepulchres of the prophets, and your fathers killed them.We know that the priests had been teaching lies since the OT.Wouldn’t it have been better if they had told the people that God promised them safety if they would do his will?

  • MrMeaner

    If someone could explain to me why “If someone” appears in my last post, you’ll be a step ahead of me.

  • RCofield

    MRMEANER,Sorry you were strapped for time last night. Will you be responding to part 2 of my last post to you? (January 20, 2011 8:24 AM)Peace, brother

  • GoldenEagles

    Rcofield says, During the Impeachment Trial of President Bill Clinton, we heard something very similar come out of his mouth, during his video taped grand jury testimony.
    “A much-quoted statement from Clinton’s grand jury testimony showed him questioning the precise use of the word “is.” Contending that his statement that “there’s nothing going on between us” had been truthful because he had not seen Lewinsky on the day he was asked, Clinton said, “It depends upon what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is. If the—if he—if ‘is’ means is and never has been, that is not—that is one thing. If it means there is none, that was a completely true statement”.”

    (
    (Everyone knows, that when you start playing games with individual words like that, you are in a truth-dodging mode. We can thank Bill Clinton for embedding this truth in our culture, making the exposure of the spirit of prevarication that much easier to spot.

  • walter-in-fallschurch

    rco,but basically:if you’re asking me what caused the big bang, i don’t know. and as far as an ultimate first cause, i suppose it seems as if “something” besides matter/energy created or “caused” matter/energy to exist. frankly, i think “in the beginning god created the heavens and the earth” is a great verse.is that enough to move on?

  • walter-in-fallschurch

    rco,

  • RCofield

    The term “mammon” can be used to symbolize any and all variations of demon inspired agendas.–GE
    Webster’s: “Mammon”–1) the false god of riches and avarice. 2) riches regarded as an object of worship and greedy pursuit; wealth as an evil, more or less personified.Oxford: “Mammon”–god of wealth, regarded as evil or immoral; ‘those who worship mammon’ are equivalent to greedy people who value money too highly.Like I said, it’s all just a wax nose to be formed to fit whatever asinine argument Of course, it is evident to all that Ah, well. Such is the nature of men with no chests. “Defeat me on the field of battle” crows

  • peterhuff

    Hi Bill,I’m hoping that you will comment on RCofield’s and Walter’s posts concerning the uncaused cause and origins.

  • RCofield

    Hey Peter,Who is “Bill”?

  • peterhuff

    Hi RCofield,Bill is a humanist/atheist who lives in my home town and thinks Christians are not being intellectually honest with themselves in examining the evidence, since he is passionate about science. We touched on the Uncaused cause during one of our walks and so last night I pointed him to your conversation with Walter, since I like where you are going with it. He thinks that the Bible is not a divine revelation and in my stating such he feels I am being dishonest and cannot be taken seriously.He wants me to take back my claim of divine revelation and play by his rules.I have invited him and his humanist society of nine to debate on this forum and the link that will undoubtedly follow.

  • RCofield

    Peter,That is tremendous. I do hope they will participate.What do you make of Gladerunner’s sudden disappearance on the other thread? That was the first time I have engaged him, and as you saw we had a pretty extensive dialog (as did you and he). I was surprised that he just stopped responding.Peace, brother.

  • RCofield

    WALTER,Did you see the question I posed to you @ January 25, 2011 2:22 PM?I’d really like to get cranking again on our discussion if you can spare the time.Peace, brother