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Biblical perspective on Morality

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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 1st February 2000, 05:07
El_Jibaro El_Jibaro is offline
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The Apostle Paul wrote on 57AD (just 27 years after the Death and Resurrection of Jesus) about the Moral Conditions of the Roman Empire:

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Romans 1.18-32

The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature--have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.

For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles. Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator--who is forever praised. Amen.

Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.

Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Although they know God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.

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Doesn't it seem like it was written in today's newspapers?

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Manuel Alonso
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Old 3rd February 2000, 10:58
Joseph Joseph is offline
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Manuel:

To simplify History is inconclusive.
Another words, each Historical event has a
definitive purpose sorrounded by perspective
varying conditions. Lets take your example regarding "The Roman Empire"; Present Dictatorships, or even Communists States, have more tolerance than The Romans
did then. This is why just 27 years after the life of Jesus, The Apostle Paul wrote about the inhumane & wicked conditions during that
time. Surely any prolonged state of oppression would bring out such deep critical sentiment. However Jesus himself said:
"forgive them Father, for they do not know what they do"; when crucified. During his
time speaking The Word Inspired by God; he
never verbaly condemned The High Priests or The romans, even while on trial. So to assume that The Apostle Paul has the authorative right for condemnation is contradictory to the purpose and life of Jesus Christ. This is another form of interpretation, which I feel is open to
further discussion. I am not saying Manuel, that you are wrong, just trying to impose
moral conditions which are not relevant in today. I gave several examples of this, in comments under "The bible, is it 100% Factual. You never directly answered these examples:

1) Divorce, widely accepted in many countries
today with legal implications.

2) Television, Movies exposure to society
about Adultery, Violence, and Drugs have
been subject of criticism, from our
President and State Leaders, acknowledging
the 'major negative influential' capability. Another Words: Don't you feel
Manuel, that if Leaders from of Country recognize this dilemma, that God would not
as well. The same as for the Hundreds Of
Millions Of People who never encountered
Christianity, or raised to accept another
form of Worship? I am not stating that
violence doesn't have legal or 'judgemental' consequence; only that minor
moral issues such as Abortion, acceptance
of Gays, Prostitution, Gambling, and even Cloning, which can provide great medical breakthroughs in the future,
should not be given more attention than
greater acknowledgement to God, regardless
of Individual Faith or Denomination, and
living a lifestyle which contributes
to our society. We have enough legal laws
which abide with God's loving and Peaceful intent for us, without the vague moral
self interpreted clauses, which by far
alienate people from each other and in some cases, away from God.

3) We live in a more complex and plurastic
World-Society. To simplify Historical
events without taking into account 'varying conditions', is in-complete and
therefore not 100% Factual. Any written document is open to rational, logical definition. Millions agree that God just
wants greater and peaceful acknowledgement
as we progess forward in time. Why not
express a message which will broadly unify
and positively advance society, and greatly increase therespectable worship
to our God as well? Sincerely, Joseph.

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Old 3rd February 2000, 20:51
El_Jibaro El_Jibaro is offline
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Hi Fito

Your constant concern about “consensus morality” shows me that you are extremely unsettled by Biblical Morality.

Morality by Consensus is nothing new, is also commonly called Situational Ethics, or Relative Morality. The problem with this type of Ethics is that of – Who determines what is right or wrong, Majority? Somebody did that sixty years ago, Adolph Hitler. He whipped up the German masses into a frenzy to the point of making them first accept Euthanasia, then Eugenics, to conclude by bringing about the Final Solution: Targeted Genocide. Remember it was law abiding Germans who were the ones turning over the Jewish children to the authorities for “deportation”. And how did Hitler do it? By appealing to the notion that whatever he and the party did for the German Nation was right. His famous slogan was “Might is Right”, which is intrinsically “Majority Rules”. The Philosophical Foundation for this was laid long before: 1) Nature is All There Is, 2) There is NO Absolute Being in the Universe Establishing What Is Right From Wrong. When people deny the Creator they end up trying to sit on His Throne. And who, my dear Fito can say what is wrong then?

To some Racism is Right. Just think about it. For Charles Manson, his Cultural Ethics may dictate that Murdering Black People is Not Wrong. If there is not Absolute Standard for Ethics, then who am I to say that what he does is wrong? The logical conclusion for that is that someone’s wrong is another person’s right. If both are right then only the stronger of the two determines what is right. Normally this will lead to Anarchy, except this is where usually the Government steps in and establishes Morality by Consensus.

The Christian Message is not one of Relative Values. It is one about God being the Standard of Good, and everything else deviating from Him to be Evil. The Pharisee, who contended with Christ, wanted to establish his own human righteousness as the Standard of Righteousness. Christ did not came to concede on Ethics, as you propose, but to establish that He has the Final say on Right and Wrong, Punishment and Forgiveness. Only the Father and His Son have the Right to Forgive Sins. Only the Son has the final say on how to apply the Rules given to the Prophets, chief of which was Moses. And to prove it He rose from death to Immortality (I hope that you don’t ignore that the Resurrection of Jesus is of a different type to the one of Lazarus… - read 1 Corinthians 15 any time you like). That is why when the Temple Priests questioned His authority to drive out the farmer’s market from the Temple Court of the Gentiles He challenged them to kill Him and in three days He would Rise. And He did! When Jesus was bleeding on the Cross, He was not a mere victim, but He was a WILLING VICTIM (John 10.17,18), taking on the Sins of the Whole World. His was a Sacrifice of Atonement: the Truly Innocent, Sinless Man, the King of all Creation, the Author of Life, dying on a Roman Cross for all sinners, past, present and future. And the Gospel preached from His Assent until He Returns is that those who believe that He Rose to Immortality and confess that He is the Lord of the Universe (including the logical surrender of one’s own life to Him) will be saved and declared righteous by God (Romans 10.9,10).

You will argue that Ethics in the Bible changed as time went along. There is no argument against that. But if you are as smart as you portray yourself to be you will notice that it was God who changed the Rules. The Rules were not changed by a panel of experts. The big mistake made by many is to think that the Laws God gave to Moses have universal application. They don’t, God gave them to Moses as a Contract between Him and Israel. Only Israel has to obey the Sabbath. Only Israel has to eat Kosher Food. When the Apostles began to Preach the Gospel to Gentiles they did not compromise on the Torah, they just did two things: first accept the Supernatural Revelation given to Peter about sharing the Gospel to Gentiles (Acts 10), and accepting the Fact that the Torah was only for Israel, not for Gentiles. Still, after that point, many Christian Jews wanted to force Gentiles to follow the Torah, but Paul pointed out (again by Supernatural Revelation) that only one could obey completely the Torah, Jesus Himself. All the rest of humanity could only be brought under condemnation (Romans 3.23) for not obeying it until Jesus came (and please read the Letter to Galatians any time you can). Even now, after Jesus came to the World to obey the Torah and die for all humanity the Law was not eliminated, we who believe in Him are bound to a New Torah, the one of the Spirit (Romans 8). Thus the Torah is a Subset of the Law of the Spirit: this is why Jesus proclaimed in His mountainside sermon (Matthew 5.21-30) that murder was no more contained to the physical act, but hatred itself was the act, and that adultery was no more defined by the physical action, but the lusting alone after someone married was in it of itself the act (no wonder you are so scared about Biblical Morality). The New Law of the Spirit can only be obeyed with the supernatural help of the Holy Spirit.

No doubt you will further argue that new developments in technology have rendered moral laws obsolete. But I tell you that not because someone developed latex condoms does that render sex out of marriage less immoral. Countless people have broken hearts and their notion of love cheapened because of an inexpensive item of latex. Venereal diseases are of less impact to humanity than the spiritual and moral effects of sex out of marriage. Countless lives are affected by immorality, from children to adults. The innovation of computers have brought about new modes of theft. Abortion is a new type of infanticide which was impossible in its present antiseptic form back in the days of the Romans. That we can do it today with a pill does not render it less anti-ethical. Therefore the challenge to Christian Ethics is not that new inventions render them obsolete, but that we have to discover how to apply them to today, and in this effort Christian Leaders must rely on Supernatural Revelation just as the Apostles did then. Some deep issues, like cloning, will only be resolved in fullness by direct Divine Intervention (perhaps the soon Return of the Lord). But don’t count out Godly Intervention in unexpected ways. Hitler almost conquered the world, but God did not allow him. We almost had a Nuclear War, but God was in control of the world all those five decades of the Cold War.

Well, I got to go. Remember, Gods patience is not a sign of weakness on His part, rather a sign of His mercy, that He is giving Humanity a chance to repent (2 Peter 3.9). You constantly gripe about the Inflexibility of Christian Ethics, may be it is time for you to reconcile to the Lord: He will help you live out His Ethics.

1 John 4.17-19
“In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because he first loved us.”

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Manuel Alonso
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  #4 (permalink)  
Old 5th February 2000, 15:51
Joseph Joseph is offline
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El_Jibaro;

I am not surprised that you have chosen to
again take my words out of context. Remember
Millions of people privately and publicly
question specifc moral issues in the Bible, not to mention other Faiths, where less public sentiments are expressed.

I never used the word 'concensus morality'.
This phrase simplifies the complex moral issues into one line between 'good & evil'.
When you do this Manuel; it allows you to
portray my position with the minds of Hitler
and Charles Manson. I have clearly defined examples Moral conduct in question, why do you intentionally mis-interpret clearly stated reasonsing. I never questioned the
words of Moses. Since you have let me state
my opinion: moses was a phrophet, who led Israel out of great bondage with the inspiration of our God. We live in a far more complex World today. So it is not out of
order, to believe that; "God's power and level of understanding is far more complex than any of us could imagine". This is why
I stated modern day examples of morality.

Answer this rephrased question:

God created our World, and witnessed its
progress through early brutal times of mass tyranny to modern multi-national era, where
his Spirit is praised in many ways in greater peace than ever before. Don't you think that
he understands the difference between causing
alienation between people, and God, on 'minor questionable issues' as more catastrophic?
God is loving and knows our private and public behavior. He has witnessed people being killed for their beliefs on; Abortion, Gay and basic Human rights, including centuries of mass Religious conflicts, to name a few. Don't you think, Manuel, that God
understands the individual choice people face
regarding thses minor moral issues? Do you think he is as stone-cold where he rules
just as the tyrants in early Biblical times.
I suppose if authors of the Bible were largely under the influence of tyranny, then it would not surprise me for them to believe
God acts in similiar fashion. But then again this is another minor questionable issue.


Best Regards, Joseph


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Old 5th February 2000, 20:28
El_Jibaro El_Jibaro is offline
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Hi Fito

When you learn how to spell maybe I can come to understand your "clearly stated reasonsing".

If what you want to present is that THERE IS NO Right or Wrong, then clearly that is pure nonsense. The corollary question that is begging for an answer in that concept is: What is Right and Good? Do I determine it myself? Then I can say that killing my enemies is Good. Then I should be able to jump off the Empire State Building and come out flying like Superman without any help from technology. You see the Foolishness of the Concept [Nothing is Wrong...].

I will give you the benefit of the doubt [about your position not being that THERE IS NO Right or Wrong], so for the present moment I take it that what you are advocating is "Situational Ethics". However, Situational Ethics had a previous incarnation [late '60s and '70s], it was "if it feels good do it". But I ask you, if I wait for the moment when the "complex problems of today" present themselves to make a decision of what to do, then what is there to stop me from making a wrong decision? [If no decision is wrong in it and of itself, then all bets are off, and those who are ruthless will get ahead: survival of the strongest, the law of the jungle...] Clearly there are wrong decisions, like choosing to drink cool-aid with cyanide, versus pure water alone to quench my thirst. Clearly to defend the innocent from the violent criminals is Good and Right.

You know, your “complex philosophy” lends itself to the following situation: Lets say that I am in a party out in the countryside and we are five men and a 15 year old virgin girl is with us alone in the woods. Lets say that four of the guys decide to rape the girl and kill her, and cut up her body so that no-one would find any evidence; even more, each of us has to take a piece so that no-one could say later that they were unwilling participants. They decide that all five have to be in on it or otherwise the guy who doesn't participate may later on become a squealer. Let’s say that I have to choose between going along with the four guys or opposing them, with the associated danger to my life. In such a situation it would be more convenient to go along with the four guys. After going along I could in the privacy of my home "repent" later. If later the police came knocking to my door I could always say that they forced me to go along. However, contrary to Situational Ethics, the Biblical Ethics position in this case is clearly to Resist and Defend the Innocent: Proverbs 24.11,12 <<Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter. If you say, "But we knew nothing about this," does not He who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not He who guards your life know it? Will He not repay each person according to what he has done?>> So what if they kill me? I will give them the best fight of my life, and I will keep in mind the words of Jesus: “For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for Me will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self?” Luke 9.24,25

Situational Ethics drove many good Germans to sit quietly while the SS took their Jewish Neighbors to the Gas Chamber of Auschwitz or Buchenwald. Situational Ethics is driving now many to go along with any new fashion that comes along. Situational Ethics will drive many in the End Times to follow along and be marked in their foreheads by the Future Leader of the World. Situational Ethics will drive many to acquiesce to the genocide that will come then [fifty years ago it was Jews, in years ahead it will be Christians].

That is why I find your position unappealing. I rather die with the martyrs who were eaten by the lions in the Roman Coliseum than to live quietly in acquiescence.

Today there are millions of innocent children being murdered legally: Abortion. I will not be violent, but I will voice my conviction that Abortion is Murder. I will vote for politicians that defend the Right to Life. I will Teach and Proclaim that Jesus is the Creator of the Universe, that He died on the Cross to save Humanity, and that those who Reject Him as Messiah and Reject His Death+Resurrection will be lost forever.

Fito, not all religions lead to heaven, there is ONLY ONE WAY.
<<There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.>> Proverbs 14.12

However,
<<In the Way of Righteousness there is life; along that path is immortality. >> Proverbs 12.28

I heard someone on the radio say: the Highway to Hell is paved with good intentions.

I advice you, follow THE WAY--JESUS. Any other way is the Turnpike (Autopista) to Perdition.

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Old 7th February 2000, 11:09
Joseph Joseph is offline
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El_Jibaro:


Minor error in spelling, do not constitute
your intentional "Twist" of statements
presented. For example people who have read these comments know that I am talking about specific questionable 'mora' behavior. When
you compare this to muder and rape; after repeated clarification on my part, shows your
in-ability to support your claim. Instead you call me 'Fito', and try and ridicule my position with your mis-interpretations...

Look Manuel, if you so abide with 'morality'
why don't you speak in rational terms, and
acknowledge when the fact and references overwhelm your position. What is the point
of writing long commentaries when they do not
answer questions designed to sort out truth?
Is it because you agree with the Historical
facts and references made in my answers to you? Or is it just that you don't wish to
proved wrong?

Let me advise you that I am not interested in winning any debate or discussion over you.
Simply to point out rational and logical points which can make people feel more comfortable regarding the many questionable
'minor' moral issues in the Bible. When
you continue personal attacks and ridicule
which are in-comprehensible because of lack
of credible facts or references, then one must ask about your personal 'moral' character and incentives? I have already
answered all of your criticism, questions
and concern. Your previous memo only adds
pity to the manner you wish to end this
once 'constructive' discussion. Let me repeat, I have talked about Philosophy and Religion for years with many people, who at times convinced me to amend my position.
This is why it is difficult to criticize
in a respectable rational and logical manner.
It takes real morality to accept when the facts and references prove themselves against
previously held beliefs; specially in areas of great sensitivity, such as Religion, Ethnic Diversity, and even talk of changing
a person's diet, to conform to increase our
prevention. Believe it or not, it is far more sensitive to speak in areas of Herbs,
Vitamins, Alternative and Traditional practices of Medicine. However many have.
"The Green Pharmacy", By Dr. James A. Duke,Phd.(World foremost authority on Herbs),
is just one example. You can search details
on this at: http://www.amazon.com ...

Unless there is constructive new data to support your 100% Biblical perspective, do
not anticipate repeated answers. I respect
the Bible as a Historical account of Religious Freedom. Accurate but not Perfect,
(In terms of percentages 90% accurate)because it was written and interpreted by man. Man is not perfect, otherwise we could never improve. But for some reason this is not
suit you. Why do you think there are so many Christian Denominations? ...

Another example of vague or not specific
references of the Bible, to which we have the Freedom to respectfully define. So do not try and personally criticize a position which Million share to a certain extent. Stop trying to prioritize Minor Moral questionable issues which only alienate people and in cases from God as well. Just look at what is most important: Greater acknowledgement of
our God, regardless of Individual Faith, Worship and to live in peace positively contributing to our society. Blessings.

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  #7 (permalink)  
Old 7th February 2000, 13:07
El_Criollo El_Criollo is offline
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Hey El_Jíbaro:

You offended Joseph here by calling him Fito. Don't do that anymore, since when a person is offended he/she won't pay attention to your arguments.

Also, Joseph doesn't sound much like an Orthodox Christian, he comes across as New Ager, perhaps a "espiritista científico". You will waste your time debating with them. To the New Age movement TRUTH is relative.

El_Jíbaro, to the New Ager the Bible is as True and Historic as the Koran, or the Sanscrit Bhagavad-Gita, he will never agree with you in putting forward the Bible in the same league as a book in Physics.

El_Jíbaro, when you talk about God with Joseph, you are not talking about the same God. To the New Ager God is just a Force-Field permeating the entire Universe, while the Bible presents God as a Person, with a Heart and a Will and an Intellect. To the New Ager you will come across as someone like the Greek polytheists (the Greek gods were very human), never mind that a Will-less Life-Force is as attractive as a bag of sand.

El_Jíbaro, when a New Ager prays, he prays to himself (to the Force inside him), while you on the other hand pray to a Person outside of yourself. Interestingly, when a New Ager meditates, he empties his mind, while when you, as Bible Believing Christian, meditate, you think about something, like a verse in the Bible, or a Good Thought. Emptiness versus Filling Up, these are diametrically opposite concepts.

When you talk about the After-life with Joseph here you are convinced about Heaven being a Real Place based on the Bible, but Joseph here is convinced that once he has reached his Kharma he will become "a drop in the infinite sea of perfection of God".

Also El_Jíbaro, in the New Age there is nothing as having only one life before the Judgement Throne like you find in Hebrews 9:27,28, they have Reincarnation. This sounds like Resurrection, but it is not. In Reincarnation every time you die, you come back as a baby, be it in animal form to the Hindus, or as another human being. I know El_Jíbaro, as a Bible Believing Christian you will cringe at the notion of having to endure another life of misery and pain.

And El_Jíbaro, don't bother debating a New Ager on Ethics, the concept to them is as absurd as Reincarnation is to you. Right, Wrong, what is that? The Unification of Religions is what the New Age strives for, while to you that sounds like giving up your Convictions to fellowship with a Satanist, but to the New Age movement Satan doesn't exist (and certainly not the historical Jesus the Bible portrays). Sin doesn't even enter into his mind as a concept, while you, as a Bible Believing Christian, define Sin as Disobeying the Laws of God.

So take it easy, El_Jíbaro, and don't be so passionate with the wrong crowd. Better spend your time with other Bible Believers like yourself, or with people that are more open to the Bible than New Agers.

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