[Home]KnowingGodsWill

ec2-3-230-1-126.compute-1.amazonaws.com | ToothyWiki | RecentChanges | Login | Webcomic

Continuation of discussion from Sexuality/LimitsOnSexuality



Curses, you found this.  I deleted it as soon as I was back in the house again.  I'm sorry.  Much of what I wrote was out of order, and I acknowledge that I didn't carefully enough read your points before hurling abuse at them.

Gomen-nasai-gozaimasu
 *deep bow*

Attempt to restart the discussion where it ought to have been all along follows at the bottom, but I thought this needed to go at the top. MikeJeggo




(language in the response is intended to be a tongue-in-cheek, caricaturised version of a flame - for goodness' sake no-one take offense!)

MikeJeggo: Your response clarifies a lot about your position.

Likewise.

It also makes it quite clear to me that once again I'm wasting my time on this debate as the position of yours I am contesting appears to be axiomatic on your part.

Likewise.

Namely, that anything someone thinks God has told them cannot be contested by another, and my contesting what presumeably is in you the result of this process is like taking a hacksaw to a mountain. 

Namely, that anything someone thinks a Biblical verse actually means cannot be contested by another, and my contesting what presumeably is in you the result of this process is like taking a hacksaw to a mountain.

What then is left to resolve the argument?  You appear to regard the Bible as worthless in this respect.  You wrote:

"I don't feel qualified to reply to any of the following in kind, since I don't have your experience in verse-tangling. I can Google for critiques that show the opposite of your points to be true from the same verses, but so can you."

I most certainly do not regard the Word of God as worthless. Please read what I said, I quite clearly said so several times. I do think that God has the power to supersede our interpretation of the writings in which someone else has scribbled it, and moreover has demonstrated this ability enough times in Scripture to form a tangible precedent.

This reads to me as "any argument you make from Scripture will be assumed countered and thus null and void" even if you cannot immediately find or think of it.  You also wrote:

This was intended to read as "any argument you make from Scripture has already been made and countered several hundred thousand times, and you can Google for it as easily as myself. The fact that Christians with better brains than myself cannot logically convince the Christians they debate with of the validity of their issue on the basis of Scripture - and this is true for BOTH sides! - implies to me that Scripture is not conclusive on certain issues and the answer from these issues must, at least in part, come from Someone Else.

"I believe the Bible is indispensible for leading people to Jesus, and possibly a useful reference for matters on which God is otherwise silent, although I am not convinced the latter is its main purpose - it's not there to tell us how to live, it's a dead book! It's there to make us examine our lives and pray to God about them. It's there to lead us to the living God, who can lead us in how He'd like us to live. In the cases I am talking about, He has not been silent."

If the latter is true, why is so much of it devoted to matters of how to live?  Don't bother to answer, I know you've got a nice unnassailable one. 

If you mean that, why do you choose to persist in your ignorance?
If you are just growling, I shall ignore the tone and answer anyway. Please read my statement again. Nowhere have I said, "don't read the Bible." Nowhere have I said, "don't ask God about what it says." My point in its entirety is, "when God is not silent on a subject, you should listen to Him". I have several times said that God uses Scripture to communicate with us but is not limited to it. Please attack my actual position, not the one you imagine me to be at!

Incidentally, how much of it is devoted to matters of how to live? In the Gospels, Jesus explicitly derides the Pharisees for reading Scripture - our Old Testament - to find out how to live, following rules to the letter without stopping to think about them, and leaving God out of the process. Jesus makes a lot of comments about the particulars of how people should live, but also says that love and grace are the guiding principles behind them, can be used to derive them and supersede all of them. Revelations contains predictions about the future. This leaves Paul's letters. Even if we can agree on what he actually said about sex - there is considerable debate over how to read the originals - I worship Jesus, not Paul. Notice that saying that is not the same as saying Paul has no authority. It's saying that he has less authority than Jesus. Turning to Paul for help is a little like praying to the Virgin Mary - I've seen various explanations and justifications for both, but ultimately Jesus has to be at the core of the justification you use if I am to agree with you.

I know that my pointing out that "God told me it's OK" can be made to cover a multitude of sins from petty theft up to terrorism and war has the answer that anything interfering with another's interpretation of God is out. 

Do you disagree with that? Go read NIV: Exodus 32 again for one of many examples of precisely this happening in Scripture; documentation for you that God told people that it was OK for them to ignore the "Do Not Murder" rule for a bit. And yet I don't think what you say is either true, or applicable, or an accurate reflection of what I've said. The difference between petty theft, murder, terrorism and consensual homosexuality (as I'm sure you spotted me explaining to Angela) being that in the first three cases it is clear and obvious that someone gets harmed, for reasons other than your - not the Bible's, not God's, as far as I can tell, but your - say-so. All of the many rules by which we are to live can be generalised to "love each other" - Jesus said as much in scripture, to those who would hear. "God is love"; blind exercise of rules in a book, without the involvement of God, is a denial of this truth. Again, I am supported by, for instance, Jesus' comments about the Phariseans. But, "don't bother to answer, I know you have nice unassailable reasons" backed up with hundreds of scripture quotes for what you believe me to be saying.

I know that pointing out that you have to get this rider from some universal authority on what is godly

You know of a better authority than God? Please enlighten me.

has its justification, as does the fact that this is the one condition that you do have to impose on others.  I can say till I'm blue in the face that 'Do what you think is right, as long as you don't harm others or tell them what to do' sounds far more like the spirit of this age than of God,

I agree. What I said, however, was 'Do what God tells you is right, as long as you don't harm others'. I also said lost of things about precisely when telling someone they are mistaken is harmful. If you wish to rant at me, please at least rant at what I actually said.

but who am I to judge what is godly for anyone other than myself?  Even if I pray and God tells me it's OK to?

If your statement is true, why do you study the Bible in homegroup and church? 

Because I think it contains lots of useful information. If you don't believe my statements are true, why do you bother praying to God when you read the Bible and make your mind up on what you think it means? (I assume you do. If you don't, there is a lot less point us carrying on than I thought there was.)

Or go to a group where you are accountable, since who are they to tell you what to do? 

They are my friends, with whom we share trust. Part of that trust is knowing that if someone tells me that they have thought about something and talked to God about it, they really mean that.

What can it tell you that can't be contradicted?

..but, of course, what can I tell you about God that you don't already know? After all, the Bible is the definitive guide to Life, the Universe and Everything - not via God, but somehow in its own right - and anyone who disagrees with your interpretation of what it says must be mistaken..

Does God really permit everything that this age does, in some people? 

No. What relevance does this have?

If so, then what does this age have to repent of, if life under Christ's lordship is no different from outside it?

Are there no circumstances when sin may be more readily perceived from outside where a more objective view is possible? 

Sin is more readily perceived from the outside. Mistakes, also, are more easily made from a distance. However, (a) sin can only be stopped from the inside, (b) it cannot be stopped without God's help, (c) only Jesus can forgive it and (d) God is the ultimate outside observer, so disagreeing with His decisions is somewhat silly.

In such cases, isn't to say "they know God's will for them" to equate the amazing grace of God towards them, you and everyone else with the indulgence of a slightly senile old grandparent?

Isn't your alternative equating the amazing grace of God towards them, you and everyone else with the dry, dusty, dead diatribes of a psychiatric self-help text?

As I said, you don't need to bother answering.  More or less politely, much less after this I suspect, you'll tell me I'm overwheeningly arrogant, locked hidebound in tradition and have a mind whose width has to be measured in Angstroms, and I hang around with a bunch of fundamentalists to go on reinforcing my untenable position.  Oh yes, and I'm a hypocrite as well since I certainly don't have my own life in order, what has happened to my humility and my cool temper?

I can't be bothered with the FlameRetardantSuit.  It's not going to help after that.

Certainly not. If writing the reply to your excellent flame was anything to go by, that one scorched you more than it did me. I'm a hypocrite too, it seems. Ah well - if you find our tempers first, do let me have mine back ^^;




MikeJeggo: OK, let me try and put some sanity back into what I meant to say.  Your response before, MoonShadow, has clarified the reason for some uncounted number of disagreements between us over the past year or two never coming close to resolution.  I hadn't appreciated the width  of the division in our understandings.  The sudden realisation causing a release of all the frustration from them is the (very feeble) excuse for my outburst.  I suppose the point is - we have an impasse, and over an issue neither of us is really prepared to let drop.  Not perhaps in the sense that we couldn't drop this debate, but that neither of us is going to be prepared to give way when an issue such as homosexuality comes up, or indeed issues more relevent to our own lives or those of people we both know.  I should have known better than to get started on homosexuality, but it won't avoid those other issues.

Any suggestions what to do with those?

AR: I hope you don't mind if I chip in, but I've a suggestion.  I suggest that you offer all of the differences that you perceive with one another to God.  Offer all understandings and all divisions as you perceive them before God.  Offer up all of the comments that you've made to one another before God.  This cannot really be avoided because God doesn't just amble in and out anyway...  Pray about it until you know that you will feel charitable towards one another despite your disagreements.  (I've had to do this a lot in the past and I've by no means got it sorted so just tell me to butt out if I'm being condescending).  In fact, I shall pray too and call all of those who are likeminded to do the same.

One of the ways to know that people deeply care about issues is (IMO) the vociferousness with which they argue about them.  From the way this discussion has been going, both of you have a lot at stake here...  Discussions about authority, be it bible, tradition etc. are always difficult precisely because a) Nobody ever agrees with *exactly* what anybody else thinks, and b) Authority is a lynch-pin on which an awful lot of other things seem to hang.  What I would say is that your unity comes from you being in Jesus Christ.  You might not agree with one another, but Jesus Christ transcends disagreements in ways that we can't.  If we're busy enough contemplating God, we're going to be quite caught up in God.  When we're caught up in God, we cannot do anything other than love.

Actually, I think that loving our neighbour is the most difficult thing to do when our neighbour is one with whom we are theoretically very close (ie. in the same religion as) and conceptually (ie. take different interpretations of the religion) very different.  I mean, if one of you was a FlapJack and the other a ChocolateBiscuit?, you could ignore one another in the knowledge that it was expected that you would not really agree.  But as both of you are  FlapJacks, but one with honey flavour and the other with treacle flavour, it is difficult to know what to do.  Now here the metaphor works wonderfully.  Each of you will hope that when people look into the tin, that those people will pick your flavour and not be mistaken by the other person's flavour (or error).  Fortunately, I do think that all you have are flavoural differences.  I guess that one of you might disagree and say that whether you are made with honey or treacle changes whether or not you are a FlapJack.  [Slipping out of the metaphor briefly, is the object of your worship different?  No.  We are bound up in God and not the other way around.]  Flavour tastes are things that (as far as I know) are developed when one is young, but they can change with time.  As we get older, our sense of smell goes and often so does our vision and we can't always tell what the heck we're picking from the tin anyway.  We have to hope it's FlapJack and not CarpetFluff?.  All FlapJacks get eaten in the end though and then they cease to worry about what kind of FlapJacks they are :).  Maybe Morag would experiment with making a mixed FlapJack to sort this difference out...  What we do not want is either of you denying that you exist in the same tin as the other :-)

Practically, I suggest that one or both of you stay away from homosexuality for a while.  (Darn, that came out wrong).  Stay away from the homosexual practice debate for a while.  I agree that you guys have reached an impasse.  I don't agree that neither of you will be able to give way when an issue that you disagree with comes up.  I think we all need to remain aware of the times that this might happen and identify the times as such.  It is ok to agree to disagree, but there is little point in rehashing this argument (and which of you would want to?) every time an issue comes up.  Further I know that you guys play large parts in some of our lives.  We love you both exactly as you are and value the fact that you have different perspectives on things.  If I were sensible (and I wanted to know), I would ask for both of your opinions on a subject that you disagreed on.  I would then weigh for myself, with the support of you as friends and under the continuing sustaining hand of God what both of you had said.

Oh well, my bit said.  Hope it's not too condescending as I said.  Scrub it if so.



MikeJeggo: Thank you, Angela.  MoonShadow, shall we agree to stay away from homosexuality for a while? >:>


Having sat, cooled, calmed and taken big deep breaths, I think I can try to answer some of your most recent points, MoonShadow, without getting the hacksaw out, in the interests of informed academic discussion.

You wrote " Incidentally, how much of it is devoted to matters of how to live? In the Gospels, Jesus explicitly derides the Pharisees for reading Scripture - our Old Testament - to find out how to live, following rules to the letter without stopping to think about them, and leaving God out of the process. Jesus makes a lot of comments about the particulars of how people should live, but also says that love and grace are the guiding principles behind them, can be used to derive them and supersede all of them. Revelations contains predictions about the future. This leaves Paul's letters. Even if we can agree on what he actually said about sex - there is considerable debate over how to read the originals - I worship Jesus, not Paul. Notice that saying that is not the same as saying Paul has no authority. It's saying that he has less authority than Jesus. Turning to Paul for help is a little like praying to the Virgin Mary - I've seen various explanations and justifications for both, but ultimately Jesus has to be at the core of the justification you use if I am to agree with you."

Having run a BibleGateway? search on the word Scripture in the Gospels, those occurences where Jesus talks about it to the Pharisees are where he rebukes them for their lack of understading of the Scripture.  I assume that the passage, or one of the main passages, you are thinking of is this one; "You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me,  yet you refuse to come to me to have life." (NIV: John 5: 39-40)?

Brief addition before I go to bed, and complete this sometime later.  Doesn't this statement imply that the Pharisees ought to have seen Jesus for who he was - and since you say that the point of Scripture is to point to him, this would agree with that, wouldn't it?

Sorry for butting in, but I thought it might be helpful to point to a vaguely related passage which might be the one being referred to: NIV: Luke 11: 42.
"Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God. You should have practiced the latter without leaving the former undone."
Ignore this if it's unhelpful or irrelevant  --AlexChurchill
Thanks, that's one I was probably after too - MikeJeggo


Rats, I have to go.  Don't start answering yet (not that I have really written enough to answer yet, except to confirm or deny whether that passage is relevent to this debate), I will finish when I have time...

MikeJeggo: OK, this is going to be a long job, constructing this answer without resorting to 'verse tangling', i.e. not looking at all the relevent passages.  If nothing new comes up here for a while, it's 'cos I'm writing it in notepad to paste in when it's done, so as to avoid leaving half-finished arguments cluttering up this place.  No promises on when it'll be done...

I should like to point out that the page should be entitled Knowing God's Will unless this site is in favour of proposing polytheism. Niceties of grammar are very important.
You are proposing that God's name is Will then? --Kazuhiko
{alt} Knowing Gods will ... what?  --Vitenka (And there's two possible readings of that too.)

Well the grammar seems all tangled to me. But I have a new theological reflection which might appease both Mike and Serge. Mike because it comes out of the bible, and Serge because it represents his view ;-) Maybe Serge is Paul. NIV: 1Cor 5: 12-13 "What have I to do with judging those outside? Is it not those inside that you are to judge? God will judge those outside. "Drive out the wicked person from among you." Actually, on 2nd thoughts that might only suit Mike.. Oh goody... flamewar with moonshadow... yibble



This is useful, because otherwise His possessions will go to the wrong people when He dies.  --Angoel

ec2-3-230-1-126.compute-1.amazonaws.com | ToothyWiki | RecentChanges | Login | Webcomic
Edit this page | View other revisions | Recently used referrers
Last edited November 17, 2003 10:40 am (viewing revision 27, which is the newest) (diff)
Search: