Since this isn’t GD, I’m not going to bother with a lot of cites and links.
However, I think most of this schism can be traced directly back to the apostle Paul. In very general terms, he and the apostle Peter represented a divide as great as the rift between Shiite and Sunni muslims. You’ll notice that fundamentalist preachers tend to quote Paul more often than Yeshwa, at least all the ones I ever heard did.
Peter’s teachings seem to coincide much more closely with the teachings of Yeshwa. Paul, on the other hand, was working to extend a power base and shoehorned a great many things into early church doctrine that don’t make any sense in the face of what the alleged son of god said. Just as one example, I don’t think Yeshwa would ever have said, “Long hair on a man is an abomination,” particularly since there was a decent chance he was a Nazarite and would not have cut his hair or beard.
There’s a reason some interpretations of Revelations identify Paul as the antichrist. The line of separation between Yeshwa’s words and the doctrine of the churches tends to start with him, and corruption of message tends to veer off on an ever expanding tangent once it begins.
As a comparison, look at what has happened to Islam since the death of Muhammed. Two primary factions, ever-expanding interpretations of what the word of god means by committees of scholars, a rise in fundamentalism that cannot be reconciled with the words of the faith’s originator. It’s stunning how much the two faiths have in common in terms of their deviation from the source.
I’ve long thought that Paul was, well, excessively militant beyond the message Jesus brought, and was most displeased when my daughter joined a Lutheran church, expecting more of that Paulist grumpiness. However, they manage to still be a nice shade of pink. I feel right at home.
In Acts, Paul said:
12:19-21 Don’t seek revenge yourselves, beloved, but give place to God’s wrath. For it is written, “Vengeance belongs to me; I will repay, says the Lord.” Therefore "If your enemy is hungry, feed him. If he is thirsty, give him a drink. For in doing so, you will heap coals of fire on his head. Don’t be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
DROPZONE, I do not give a rat’s ass what Christianity means “to you.” Really. I resent any attempt by you to tell me what it means to me, and I resent any attempt by you to say what it means in the larger sense – that is, to most Christians, or to the world at large, especially when you have your head so far up your ass.
If you want to start a debate about whether Christianity is compatible with self-defense, then do so. But kindly refrain from baldly stating that it is not, when what your really mean is that you don’t think it is. That is only your opinion, and I do not take instruction from you on what my religion means.
BTW, Jesus told Peter to put his sword away because He knew that He was to be put to death, and that nothing could be allowed to interfere with that. If He did not accept that as His burden, He could have merely run away, but He didn’t do that either. Refusing to defend Himself under such circumstances can hardly be construed as a condemnation of self-defense. And I ask again – why do you think He told His disciples to carry swords after He was gone from the earth? Decoration?
And your quote from Paul doesn’t speak about self-defense, either, as you would know if you bothered to read as well as post. It abjures revenge, as Jesus Himself did. Revenge is not defense.
Or it sounds like Jesus had an undertanding of the inevitable and redemptive nature of his upcoming crucifiction…at least have the courtesy to place your quotes in their proper context…he was most certainly not preaching against self-defense in the garden.
He was saying this in the Garden of Gethsemane, surrounded by Roman and temmple soldiers as they came to arrest him to take him before the high priest and the Sanhedrin. His disciples were with him. Maybe he was preventing what would clearly have been their slaughter? I mean, his followers were just fishermen and common people.
The Pharisees/Saducees were clearly looking for reasons to have him condemned to death - resisting arrest would’ve been a perfect excuse. “Gee, he put up a fight and got killed in the brawl.”
I hate to speculate on the movtives of a man who died over 2,000 years ago, but no one else seems to have any problem with it. Is it impossible Jesus simply didn’t want to have his friends killed in a struggle to save him? If they had been killed, who would continue to spread his message?
One wonders what kind of a response this “hypothetical” post would engender?
"Where did all these violent Muslims come from?
Lately I have been struck by the bloodthirstiness of people who call themselves Muslims, be they Osama Bin-Laden or Hezbollah . I have ended up quoting the Koran to explain that NO, people who actually follow the teachings of Allah do not kill, do not indulge their thirsts for revenge, and do not hate even the most horrible person. For any reason. C’mon, guys! It’s all over your own rule book. You can’t go picking and choosing what you want to follow.
Fortunately for me, because I am not Islamic, I don’t have these restrictions on my behavior. (hehehe!) But you do. Either follow the rules or face the fact that you are violating them. Allah doesn’t give you any middle ground or exceptions. "
The consensus of the interpretations I’ve heard is that Jesus was using it as a symbol to convey to the disciples the seriousness of the moment - the moment when he would be arrested.
After all, when Jesus is arrested, and his disciples draw their weapons, Jesus says:
Matt. 26:52. Since Jesus didn’t desire his disciples to actually use their weapons, I don’t think this particular passage can be used to justify the use of weaponry by Christians, even if - as I believe - there are situations where it is justified.
ANDROS – You don’t think she said anything of what sort? That all Christians are in favor of “nuke 'em all”? Well, she started off by grossly over-generalizing what, in her opinion, all Christians must believe, and then went on to say that the “bloodthirsty language on the boards and in the news - Nuke them all!- does not” fit in with my position. To me, that sounds an awful lot like all (or most) Christians are in the “nuke 'em all” camp.
If she didn’t intend her comments to be taken as referring to all Christians, then she shouldn’t have posted espousing what in her opinion all Christians must believe or do.
And allow me to clarify – I am not angry with MAGDALENE. I greatly respect her as a poster, which is why I am more than a little surprised to find her posting about “loopholes” that Christians must find – as if we don’t truly believe what we truly believe – and theorizing about what “all” Christians ought to do.
RTFIREFLY – I respectfully disagree with your interpretation; I have not heard and do not believe that Jesus told His disciples “let him who has no sword sell his cloak and buy one” to “convey the seriousness of the moment” – I’m not even sure what that means. I take it to mean, rather, that once He is put to death, He will not be protecting His disciples from injury or evil, as presumably He did while on the earth, and that therefore they must defend themselves. The “put your sword away” moment has, I believe, been explained above. He prevented them from defending Him; he did not prohibit them from defending themselves. He even foresaw that Peter would defend himself by denying Him, and He did not prevent that, either.
Actually, I would have except I was NOT raised a Muslim. I am unfamiliar with Muslim teachings and cannot comment on them. I was raised a Christian. I am familiar with both its base philosophy AND how that philosophy has been warped in the interest of creating a state religion in Rome and later countries. The early Christians, those who went readily to martyrdom for their beliefs and their refusal to follow the dictates of the State when it was contrary to their beliefs, saw that Christ’s message was not one of vengeance and self-defence but one of love and acceptance of death. That has been lost or, more specifically, thrown out by Constantine and those who followed him.
Jesus saw that there was no point in fighting the men who came to arrest him and saw his death as important to the fulfillment of the prophecies. Sure, I know that. But there is no place, beyond that single place where He says to sell your garment to buy a sword, where the message of Jesus is anything but one of loving one’s enemies. Basing one’s beliefs on one Bible verse is akin to what the snake handlers do.
And Jodi, the quote from Acts was given as an example of the softer side of Paul. It obviously isn’t about self-defense and was not intended like that. If you were able to extricate your own head from your ass you’d have figured that out.
Please take this in its intended spirit of love: Jodi, I know you feel attacked, and I know you’ve been sensitive to criticisms of your beliefs lately. But I’m not certain that attacking in return is necessarily the best way to address your frustrations.
I don’t know about the rest of you, but the Bible I read seems to indicate that war is sometimes justified and necessary. For the sake of this arguement I’ll stick to the New Testament only, since that sems to be where the most of the ‘rebuttals’ are coming from.
In Luke chapter 3 John the Baptist is quoted as teaching:
The general message is “do unto others…” but there is a specific message to the soldiers being baptised - be just in your actions. If war was never permissible wouldn’t this answer more likely have been “Stop being soldiers”? The answer clearly indicates that one can be a Christian and a soldier.
Later, in Luke chapter 14, Jesus himself uses this analogy:
The passage is speaking of planning and counting the costs before making any decision in general and particularly the decision to follow Christ. If war were never permissible the whole analogy would be ruined. Jesus is saying, while making another point, that war may be justified but to enter a war where you have no reasonable chance to win is stupid. There are other NT texts which support this view as well.
How do I reconcile this with “love your enemies” and “turn the other cheek”? I believe that Jesus sometimes modified his teachings somewhat to fit the human condition. For example, slavery is not outlawed by Jesus. It’s obvious from his teachings that Jesus believed that all men (and women) are equal in His sight, but He also knew that slavery was not going to go away any time soon. So He instead gave instructions, through NT writers, that slaves should obey their masters and masters treat their slaves fairly. The same would apply to war. While it is not the desired state, it is sometimes necessary. It should always be fought justly. There is also, I believe, some validity in the ‘individual morality vs. state morality’ view.
I don’t profess to have all the answers, this is how I reconcile these Biblical teachings. If your view is different, so be it, but to base that view on a few verses applied out of context is misleading at best.
Loving one’s enemies isn’t incompatible with self-defense, you moron. Leave them to it? Where’s the morality in that? My beliefs are not based on one Bible verse, but neither are they based upon principles that do not exist in any Bible verse, such as that defense of self is not allowed. The New Testament, taken as a whole, is not incompatible with self-defense to most main-stream Christians, nor has it historically been interpreted as such. You’re claims to the contrary cannot make it so, nor can your laughable attempt to equate mainstream Christian thought with “snake handling.” The one positing the fringe belief in this debate is you, not me.
Gee, DROP, sounds like your opinion of Paul is based on one single Bible verse, you snake-handler, you! The truth is, he’s just as militant and as mysogynistic as you probably suspect – an impression you ought to receive from reading all his writings, not just one that happens to turn you a bunnyish shade of pink.
From the More Knowledge is Good Knowledge Department of Cecil Adams University, I tender the following to all and sundry.
For what it’s worth, the debate over Exodus 20:13 (the sixth commandment) has been raging for centuries. Often, for whatever reason, people gravitate to simply “It says ‘Don’t kill’” and “It says ‘Don’t murder’.” Of course, while the former is easily defined, the latter opens itself widely to interpretation–What, precisely, is meant by “murder?” Do we go by the ancient Hebrew cultural understanding of the original word, or my modern legal definitions, or by context throughout the entire Jewish Bible, or just the New Testament, or both, or . . .
Anyhoo, some light reading for those who may not have looked into the matter previously:
John Wesley has this to say:
Matthew Henry, in his 1706 Commentary on the Whole Bible, says:
Adam Clarke’s Commentary expands somewhat:
And finally, back to Henry, in his Concise Commentary:
And Jodi, I apologize that I attacked your beliefs. The different interpretations of the Bible have caused more trouble over the years than just about anything. And my attitudes were first formed in pre-Vatican II Catholicism, and dismissing people who disagree with my interpretation as heretics and blasphemers comes too easily sometimes. This thread started out as an attempt to understand why what I see as an obvious interpretation of Scripture has not been followed. It was I who started with the insults and I apologize.