Hell means Honesty

I have recently written a couple of posts about religious relics being put on display here in Chicago and so I have been musing about religion in general and Christianity in specific.

I also saw a very good presentation by Sam Harris (I adore Sam Harris.) in which one of his main points was that religion basically deals with death and consoling people when loved one’s die.

The main appeal of Christianity is its promise of everlasting life, which consoles Christians when they lose a loved family member or spouse or child. This in itself is just a delusion and should only harm those with the delusion, but that is only half of what is promised by Christianity. Christians believe that all people will live forever. That’s right; there is life after death and we all get one. Unfortunately, only a tiny number of folks, those who will be “saved,” get a nice afterlife. The vast majority of people on this planet including you and me will roast in Hell unfortunately, even those who were born and died before Jesus came along. Even those who were born and died before the Hebrew Bible was written, ca. 1 BCE. Even the batshit crazy creationists believe the earth is over 6000 years old, that means people were around for 4000 years before the Bible got written and 4000 years or so before Jesus made his promises. I expect we are talking many millions of people lived and died and then were sent to Hell on a technicality. Those fools were not saved as they didn’t accept Jesus in their hearts as their savior. You can almost smell the fat sizzling if it weren’t for the reek of sulfurous fumes.

“Christians believe that all people will live forever.
That’s right; there is life after death and we all get one.”

Christianity is not a nice religion. Studies show that the primary indicator of what religion a person espouses is the religion of their parents. That is we have little choice. All of those Christians are baptizing their kids before the kids can talk, let alone know what is happening.

Condemning 90+% of all people to eternal torment is terrorism. I have talked to a number of people who spent their childhoods in recurring fear because their grandparents or their friends were in the wrong religion and were going to roast in Hell. So, not only is this doctrine terrorism, it is child abuse.

Many people now say Christianity is nicer now and that as time goes on it becomes more gentle. If that is so, it is only because Christians are ignoring the Bible, which is considered by many to be the word of their God, so I can’t give much credit to people saying that a religion is much better now that they are ignoring its teachings.

I think everyone ought to be given a religious reset opportunity, kindo of a forced confirmation/opt out opportunity. It could be a sort of coming of age ceremony. We could get George Clooney to do the service. It would be short, George would merely ask : “Are you in or are you out?”

Author: Steven P. Ruis.

Comment: Yes, Christianity isn’t nice. It would very uplifting if Christians admitted this to themselves, so they wouldn’t be sucked into all sorts of passive-aggressive behavior like double-think.

I do not pretend to preach a nice religion, I simply state: hell is eternal, hell is eternal, hell is eternal…

Adolf Hitler


Observe, by the way, that, as a corollary, the Moslem was promised a paradise peopled with sensual girls, where wine flowed in streams — a real earthly paradise. The Christians, on the other hand, declare themselves satisfied if after their death they are allowed to sing hallelujahs! …Christianity, of course, has reached the peak of absurdity in this respect. And that’s why one day its structure will collapse.

What Could Possibly Be Wrong with Christian Masturbation?(2)


Masturbation is the use of sexual urges, and sexual ecstasy, for the self alone. (I’m here talking only about masturbation by yourself, not touching yourself as part of sex with your spouse.) Instead of our urge driving us to pour ourselves out for others—and to accept all the hard, weird, disappointing realities of sex and marriage—we seek to satisfy our urge on our own terms. Ecstasy becomes something we achieve by and for ourselves.

In Christian tradition, we are given two ways to accept and live out our sexuality. Both occur in the context of relationship. Marital sex places us in union and relationship in a fairly obvious way. Continence—refraining from all sex if you are unmarried, what a lot of people casually call “celibacy”—is the other. This is the way I try to live out.

In this form of sexuality, we may sublimate our sexual urges, transforming them into forms of love such as prayer, service to others, artistry, friendship. Or we may seek to sacrifice these urges, pouring them out over the feet of the Crucified. Either way, our sexuality is a gift we give to God and to those he places in our lives, both neighbor and stranger. It is not for ourselves. The ecstasy on the face of Bernini’s Teresa is the mark not of solitary pleasure but of contact with her Lord.

On an artistic level, sex serves as an image of encounter and reconciliation with the Other. Masturbation, by contrast, reflects our self-ownership at best, narcissism at worst. We are taught nowadays to think of our bodies in terms of use, not in terms of iconography; we are taught to think anti-poetically. Only artists still maintain that the body has meaning.

The ballet-horror movie Black Swancaptured this poetic meaning of the body brilliantly. A ballerina escapes her anguished reality in lustful fantasy and masturbation, where she can achieve orgasm—attaining ecstatic release without ever giving up control. A more sympathetic portrayal comes in the recent movie The Babadook, where an overwhelmed, widowed mother is about to use her vibrator to fall asleep when she’s interrupted by her son. Here, the movie’s use of masturbation is more ambiguous; the scene underscores the woman’s loneliness and exhaustion. But the overall arc of the film is about the widow’s attempt to avoid the grieving she must do. Masturbation, then, is a part of her attempt to escape the life she has been given.

I have read one portrayal of masturbation as a way of reclaiming one’s body after sexual abuse, and I think that will ring true for some. Yet even in such circumstances, we reclaim our bodies in order to give them to God and others. The path of healing and reclamation still leads us to a place where we can give of ourselves, through celibacy or marital sex. This position of “self-gift” can be stressful. Chastity is nearly impossible for most people I’ve talked to.

But our nearly universal failure at chastity is not an argument against it. My inability to be “good enough” is in its own way a gift. It reminds me that virtue—like orgasm—is not something I must strive to attain by and for myself. I depend daily on God’s mercy. And I hope knowing this affects how I treat others. The admission, “I can’t,” prompts us to be gentler with other people’s struggles and sins, whatever they may be—not to justify our own.

Much of the resistance to the traditional teaching against masturbation comes from a desire to reduce sexual shame. Shame isolates us in secrecy, its own secluded poison garden. It drives us to hide, separating us from God and others. Shame militates against self-gift.

For me, the confessional has been the place where shame is healed. I am set free by revealing my stumbles and failures and hearing in unambiguous terms the words of mercy. The priest hears the things I’m most ashamed of and responds, “May God grant you pardon and peace.”

Whatever I think of the specific priest and his advice or lack of it, in these words I hear Jesus. Sin isolates; confession reconciles. Even when I have turned away from relationship with God and sought ecstasy on my own terms, I can always return to him in the intimacy of prayer and penitence. Relationship is restored as repentance and forgiveness kiss.

What is the world, O soldiers?
It is I:
I, this incessant snow,
This northern sky;
Soldiers, this solitude
Through which we go
Is I.

—Walter de la Mare, “Napoleon”

Eve Tushnet is the author of Gay and Catholic: Accepting My Sexuality, Finding Community, Living My Faith and Amends: A Novel. She blogs at patheos.com/blogs/evetushnet. Hobbies include sin, confession, and ecstasy.

What Could Possibly Be Wrong with Christian Masturbation?


Masturbation doesn’t fit within typical modern ethical concerns. It’s not unsafe or cruel; in moderation it does not interfere with academic or economic performance, and it doesn’t make your children more likely to flunk high school or get pregnant out of wedlock. There are no peer-reviewed studies linking it to obesity or reduced charitable giving, and it is virtually the only thing on earth that doesn’tgive you cancer. Conventional wisdom tells us it’s a healthy form of stress relief. It’s organic, and nothing could be more local.

So the question for Christian ethics is not, “Is masturbation sinful?” It’s, “What could possibly be wrong with it?”

Now, this is the best-case scenario we tend to believe about masturbation, though many times the habit becomes compulsive and tied up into the exploitative porn industry—which are compounding issues on their own.

But for masturbation itself? I approach the issue from two perspectives. First, I have my own experience: I’m an artsy, celibate convert; I’ve masturbated since childhood; and I’ve never been able to give up this habit for more than a couple months at a time. The other perspective comes out of my faith as a Roman Catholic. Catholic teaching offers what seems to be a compelling argument against masturbation, but ultimately my ethics are rooted in my relationship with Jesus and his bride, the church. No Christian is left alone with her reason and experience; she is also given the church, which nurtures us with Communion and teaches us to follow Jesus.

The significance of relationship—the way love, contact, kiss lie at the beating heart of Christian faith—anchors the argument that masturbation squanders our sexuality. Scripture is the great love story of God and humans, climaxing at the wedding feast of the Lamb. Christ is himself an image of union: justice and mercy (echoing the promises of Psalm 85:11), man and God. The doctrine of the Trinity teaches us that relationship, union with the Other, is part of the inner life of the One God.

In this sense, Christianity is an erotic religion, in that it compels our longing for and contact with the Other. Our bodies are gifts given to us by God, and we give them to him and to others. We are not meant to keep them for ourselves. The sexual union of lovers shows an image and prophecy of our union with God. Sex is to prayer as masturbation is to comforting self-justifications.



Germany: Turkish Muslims pretend to convert to Christianity to gain residency

Like Zonoobi, most say true belief prompted their embrace of Christianity. But there’s no overlooking the fact that the decision will also greatly boost their chances of winning asylum by allowing them to claim they would face persecution if sent home.

Martens recognizes that some convert in order to improve their chances of staying in Germany — but for the pastor motivation is unimportant. Many, he said, are so taken by the Christian message that it changes their lives. And he estimates that only about 10 percent of converts do not return to church after christening.


A British Asian convert from Islam, Nissar Hussain, told Barnabas that a mob of around 40 Muslim young men of Pakistani descent gathered outside his home in Bradford on 18 August in a patent display of intimidation. Two days later, his car was pelted with eggs by youngsters. But last week’s attacks are merely the latest in a history of persistent persecution towards this Christian convert family.

Mr Hussain and his wife converted from Islam to Christianity in 1996 and have endured decades of persecution by Muslims in the UK. “We are quite simply living as prisoners in our home and as soon as we try to venture outside we are jeered at, mocked, and sworn at,” he wrote.

In the past year alone his car has been damaged four times, and this month the rear screen and side window of his son’s car were also smashed when he was back home during the university summer break.

Years of persecution from the local Muslim community forced Mr Hussain’s family out of their previous home in 2006. But problems resurfaced in 2008 when the couple participated in a BBCDispatches documentary called “Unholy war” that highlighted the plight of Muslim converts to Christianity. Since then, they have been the victims of violence, abuse and other attacks.

One of the most frustrating and distressing features of these problems is that the family gets little help from police, local authorities or even other Christians. Previously, he received advice from one police officer to consider moving house if he wanted to escape the intimidation and on another occasion he was advised by the police sergeant to “stop trying to be a crusader and move out”

Comment: Only if people learn important languages in masses a stable society can result.

Harun Yahya: Everything is an illusion


First off, for followers of Hinduism and Buddhism that believe in the doctrine of Maya, we must ask: Is it real that Christian relief workers desire to convert people in Nepal to Christ?  That is, if everything is ultimately an illusion (Maya) then it is not real that Christian relief workers desire to convert people in Nepal.  Or that an earthquake happened in the first place for that matter.  And it is hard to make a Hindu objection to Christian doing evangelistic relief work if an Hindu or a Buddhist believes everything is an illusion since that claim itself is an illusion.

Secondly, there is a lot of objection on Twitter that Christianity is exclusive.  It makes exclusivistic truth claims.   An undercurrent behind this objection is that Hinduism/Buddhism is not exclusive like Christianity.  And yet ironically they exclude Christianity.

Thirdly, in light of the point made above, if Hinduism/Buddhism really is not exclusive as it claims to be, then it would have to embrace Christianity as true.  Thus Christians who are doing evangelistic relief work are providing spiritual truths to those who are hurting.  But most Hindus/Buddhists on Twitter object to Christian presentation of the Gospel.  Instead they want Christians to provide physical aid without involving the Gospel.  But if Hinduism/Buddhism really is not exclusive and embrace Christianity as true, why would they reject the spiritual truths but only want physical aid?  Do they want physical aide more than spiritual truths?  If that is the case, isn’t this being attached to the material things with their physical desires being greater than their desire for spiritual realities?  And isn’t that contrary to the ways of Buddhism and Hinduism?

Fourtly, perhaps Hindus/Buddhists object to the above and say Christianity is not true and they object to Christianity because it is not tolerant while their religions is tolerant.  This does not make the problem go away.  If they are truly tolerant will they tolerate Christians who come with earthquake aid who also lovingly present the Gospel and leave the decision up to the individuals?

Comment: As Harun Yahya holds that the visible world of our five senses is illusionary as well, and also claims to be tolerant, the same objections can be used against him. The third point is very useful against post-modernism. The fourth objection is trivial against Antifa who claims that we shouldn’t tolerate the intolerant, ironically also used by Allen West and Geert Wilders.  There is a way, however, to escape the conundrum. Claim that only one thing is true: there are no other truths. I’d like to see the Christian answer to that.

Is “Christian pacifism” Christian?


I’m going to post part of a Facebook debate on pacifism:
Pacifists point to Jesus’ command to love enemies. It’s good to make sure we don’t ignore anything Jesus said. Jesus also said to love our neighbor. Sometimes loving a neighbor conflicts with loving an enemy (e.g., ISIS and Middle East Christians). Sometimes pacifists say that we cannot violate one command to serve another, for that would be to sin to bring about good. That may be true when the commands are equally weighty. But Jesus says that the second greatest commandment is to love your *neighbor*. That’s more weighty. Indeed, Jesus went on to say that the other commandments all hang on the first two. So loving enemies hangs on our fiercely loving neighbor. That must be protected over the command to love your enemies, and there are cases where loving your neighbor requires killing his and your enemy.
Regarding 1 Pet 2, every command or prohibition has an implied context. The question at issue isn’t even self-defense, but defending others. Indeed, defending another can put yourself at risk. 
Is 1 Pet 2:21-23 addressing the question of how we should respond if we see a mugger assault an old woman in the park? Is that the implied context? I think not.
Calum Miller:

“We are called to imitate Christ.”

Well, according to NT Christology, Christ is Yahweh. Christ commanded the Israelites to wage war against Canaanites in Palestine. Christ rained fire and brimstone on the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah. That’s just in the past. In the future, Christ will be the eschatological judge. 
So I’d say your principle backfires.
Calum Miller:

“I’m not normally so blunt or rude, but if you read the clause *immediately after* what I said there which *directly and explicitly* addresses what you just said, then you are being profoundly intellectually dishonest. If you can read it but chose not to, then you are uncharitable. If you can’t read it, then you are an idiot. Take your pick.”

i) To begin with, it’s ironic that in the context of Christian love, Calum is so abusive. Didn’t take much for his true character to break through the skin-deep rhetoric of love and civility. 
ii) If that’s how you wish to cast the alternatives, what if you’re idiotic for overlooking the obvious argument from analogy:
a) Christians should imitate Christ.
b) We’re debating whether imitating Christ selects for pacifism. 
c) According to NT Christology, the pre-Incarnate Son commanded Jews to wage war. And he himself was a warrior God. Moreover, he will resume that role in the future. 
That’s directly germane to whether the command to love your neighbor sometimes justifies killing the enemy. Israel was Yahweh’s neighbor (as it were). Yahweh loved Israel–at the expense of her enemies.
So, Calum, who’s the “idiot” now?
Calum Miller:

“The argument is obviously invalid, for starters.”

I didn’t present a formal logical syllogism. Rather, I listed some key elements of the analogy.

“Beyond that, c) seems false.”

That’s not an argument. 
What “seems false”? That the NT identifies Jesus as Yahweh? Or, given that identification, that commands and actions which the OT ascribes to Yahweh are likewise attributable to the Son? What are you denying, and why?

“not retaliating, and so on.”

At best, nonretaliation” refers to self-defense, not defending your neighbor. So your appeal is fatally, equivocal. 
Finally, scratch a pacifist, and look what surfaces! Unfortunately, I have extensive experience with professing Christians who wax rhetorical universal love, but the moment they perceive a verbal pinprick, they lash out and make it clear that in reality, they only love those they like. And they only like people like them. Like-minded people.
Calum Miller: 

“So the conclusion doesn’t follow. Right.”

It’s amusing how, in the name of “intellectual honesty,” Calum misrepresents the claim. I didn’t set it up as a syllogism where a conclusion (c) derives from premises (a-b). 
To say the “conclusion doesn’t follow” is a category mistake.

“I deny that predicates true of the Father are necessarily true of the Son, or of Jesus. Even if I granted it, I doubt any conclusion of interest to Christian militants would follow.”

How does Calum even come up with this stuff? I didn’t draw inferences from the Father to the Son, but inferences from Yahweh to the Son [or vice versa], based on how the NT itself identifies Jesus and Yahweh.
Does Calum deny that the NT identifies Jesus as Yahweh? Is he unaware of the exegetical literature on that subject?
That’s something I’d normally encounter from unitarians like Dale Tuggy.

“Nope. Part of what we were talking about was self-defence. And it is at least plausible that the reasons killing in self-defence are prohibited also prohibit violence in defence of others.”

You offer no supporting argument for treating those as comparable. You just assert that it’s “plausible.”
Calum Miller;

“Well, it is also false that predicates true of Jesus are necessarily true of God, and so of Yahweh if we take Yahweh to be identical to God.”

Are you just attempting to be evasive? If the NT identifies Jesus as the God of the OT, then how do you avoid saying that what the OT attributes to Yahweh is attributable to the Son vis-a-vis OT history? 
That doesn’t mean it’s only attributable to the Son, to the exclusion of the Father or the Spirit. But it is at least attributable to the Son. 

“Well, read the passages on vengeance, defence, retaliation, and the like. The grounds are usually that Jesus’ kingdom doesn’t work that way, that vengeance is for God alone”

And by what logic do you equate forcibly protecting an old woman from a mugger with “vengeance” or “retaliation”? That intervention is not, in the first instance, an act of retributive justice or tit-for-tat. It is simply protecting the innocent against wrongful aggression. Are you unable to draw rudimentary distinctions like that?

“Now I want to remind you, although you once fully knew it, that Jesus, who saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe” (Jude 5).

1. Notice how Jude identifies Jesus as the God of the Exodus, who subsequently killed faithless members of the wilderness generation. That ascribes divine violence to Jesus. It implicitly attributes the plagues of Egypt to Jesus, as well as killing faithless Israelites.
2. Jn 8:56-58 illustrates the same principle. Jesus makes a suggestive and provocative claim in v56. Considered in isolation, it might merely seem to be a reference to Abraham’s inspired foresight–although it could mean more (e.g. the theophany or Christophany in Gen 18). Yet as the exchange unfolds, the claim in v56 is less about Abraham than Jesus.

In v57, Christ’s opponents sense that Jesus is making a more audacious claim, by hinting at his contemporaneity with the historical Abraham–which they greet with contemptuous incredulity. How could a man his age possibly coexist with Abraham! 

Perhaps this reflects the difference between the spoken word and the written word. The speaker’s posture or tone of voice can communicate more than what appears on the page. 
Ironically, they were right! More so than they could ever imagine. For Jesus, confirms their interpretation by asserting his preexistence in terms which unmistakably evoke Yahweh (e.g. Exod 3:14; Isa 41:4). 
So Jesus claims to be Abraham’s God. And, of course, that entirely consistent with Johannine Christology.
But Abraham’s God firebombed Sodom and Gomorrah. Abraham’s God was not a pacifist. Rather, you have the “divine warrior” motif. And that’s not just a metaphor for spiritual warfare. That involves actual, repeated divine violence–often on a large scale. 
But in that event, the pacifist appeal to the “imitation of Christ” backfires. This is the basic argument: 
i) Jesus never resorted to violence
ii) Christians are called to emulate Jesus
iii) Hence, Christians should renounce all forms of violence
But given these NT counterexamples, we can plug them into the same principle (follow the example of Christ), but derive the opposite conclusion.
Therefore, pacifists will have to use a far more qualified version of that principle. Their argument either proves too much or too little. 
3. I should add that my argument actually doesn’t require a specific prooftext. So long as the NT identifies the Son as Yahweh, then what’s generally said about Yahweh’s commands and actions in the OT is implicitly attributed to the Son, inasmuch as he and Yahweh are regarded as one and the same individual. 
4. In fairness, my appeal to Jude 5 turns on which textual variant we think is original: “Jesus” or “the Lord.”
Metzger, along with commentators like Gene Green and Curtis Giese, favor the originality of “Jesus” on internal and external text-critical principles alike:
i) It is the best attested reading (external criterion).
ii) It is the more difficult reading (internal criterion).
Hard to see what would prompt a scribe to substitute “Jesus” for “the Lord.” “Jesus” is so unexpected in that passage. 
iii) Jarl Fossum has argued that Jude views Jesus as the Angel of the Lord in vv5-7. That would account for the Yahwistic identification and narrative flow alike, inasmuch as the Angel of the Lord is a divine agent in all these events. 
iv) if “Jesus” is the original referent in Jude 5, that would dovetail with v4.
v) So Jude draws a parallel between Christ’s past (OT), present (NT) and future (parousia) agency.
Pacifists could try to preempt my Christological argument by denying the historicity and inspiration of the offending OT passages. That, however, would be a short-lived victory, for the same skepticism can be redirected at pacifist NT prooftexts. You can’t impugn the OT without impugning the NT, for the NT so routinely relies on the authority of the OT.
Calum said:

“It’s usually more of a recognition of the fact that the kingdoms of this world are going to expand their kingdoms by killing anyway, and that Christians aren’t *primarily* to be concerned with how the kingdoms of the world are run.”

To recur to my stock example, defending an elderly woman from a mugger has nothing to do with political-military expansionism. That’s just a bait-n-switch. 
This isn’t a question of how or whether we should build an empire. This isn’t even, in the first instance, about national defense. It can just be a question of defending your immediate family, or the neighbor across the street.
Pacifists typically rip Jn 18:36 out of context.
i) Remember that this disclaimer takes place in a Gospel which opens with the statement that Jesus is the divine Creator of the world (Jn 1:1-3). 
His power and authority don’t derive from the world; rather, the world derives from his power and authority.
His kingdom doesn’t have its source of origin in the world; rather, the world has its source of origin in his (divine) kingship. 
And that implies ownership. He’s pulling rank on Pilate and the Roman regime which he represents. To some extent, the Romans are usurpers. For the world truly belongs to God.
ii) Keep in mind, too, that in John’s Gospel and 1 John, “the world” has a sinister connotation. It’s not a synonym for the creation, but for the fallen creation. For the “kingdom of darkness.”
C’Zar Bernstein:

 “Why is this even a debate? St Paul says pretty clearly that the state can kill. My suspicion is that Christian pacifism is motivated by a strange anti-violence intuition.”

I think it’s generally motivated by decadence and self-flattery. Most professing pacifists are pacifists in the abstract. They are safe because others protect the country they live in. This, in turn, gives them a chance to feel smugly virtuous.
It’s a position that few of them have ever had to put to the test.
Maul Panata Some Christian pacifists hold the nuanced position that state may kill (they don’t ignore Rom 13), but *Christians* may not. So Christians should not be police, join military, etc.
David Houston Which is awkward because its basically means that you get those unholy non-Christians to do your dirty work for you so you can enjoy all the benefits of living in a country with military protection.
I understand the position but you’ve got to admit that its a bit awkward to preach non-violence when you’re under the protection of a powerful military, police force, etc. This may not be the pacifists fault but it does tend to raise the, “You can only say that because of…” objection to everyone’s mind. Not a defeater. Just awkward.
Steve Hays To piggyback on David’s point, it’s like a woman who marries a “drug kingpin” for the lifestyle. She herself doesn’t murder anyone or order any hits. But she benefits from the “family business.”
Maul Panata Cody, to bring up that Jesus didn’t sin, and he never killed anyone or went to war, therefore we shouldn’t, is obviously question begging unless you think that everything Jesus did is normative. But then you get the silly counter examples about staying single, growing a beard, etc. 
…But here we can *easily* explain why Jesus didn’t kill anyone or start a war. He had a unique mission, he had to die for people. If he had acted like he will act at the end, then we’d not have salvation.
Maul Panata Okay Calum Miller, getting to your comment now:
Before getting into my reply, I’ll just say that I don’t think the argument from silence, viz., Jesus didn’t make your dependency point, holds much weight—especially when I think I cited Jesus saying just that. Okay, so you’re claiming that *just as* we *were* commanded to love our neighbor back in Leviticus 19:8(right, we agree that that’s clearly what Jesus is referencing), we are commanded to love our neighbor *in that way*. Thus, you’d be bound to say, that if X was consistent with loving one’s neighbor, X is consistent with loving one’s enemy, for we’re to do the latter “*just as*” (your emphasis) we do the former. Now, Jesus clearly knew the OT, and he’s clearly saying that “just as” you knew and understood to love your neighbor, I now command that you extend that very concept to non-neighbors, namely, your enemies.
So here’s the problem: In the OT it was acceptable to kill your neighbor (the DP). Moreover, it seems just obvious that, in the OT, had a group of people from one tribe grabbed swords and began systematically beheading people from another tribe, it would be acceptable to “violently resist” and even “kill” these “neighbors.” All of this was *consistent* with the *command* to “love your neighbor. Thus, if, as you grant, the command to love your enemy is “just like” the command in the OT to love your neighbor, it’s not at all clear why you must think killing certain enemies is impermissible (based off this command here to love your enemy “just as” you were told to love your neighbors).
There’s other interesting factors too. The command in Leviticus 19 says we are to “love our neighbor” and not “take vengeance.” Christian pacifists will often refer to Paul’s injunction in Romans 12:19, for example, that we are not to “take vengeance,” and then use that to say Paul is speaking against actions like the death penalty. But we know that this very same command was included in Leviticus, this “not taking vengeance” was considered, by God, the Jews, and Jesus (and Paul I’d argue) *consistent* with certain cases of killing people, e.g., the death penalty.
Maul Panata I don’t think one needs bother with the awkwardness point. We can grant that the kingdom advances through the preaching of the word, making disciples, etc. We can agree that, for example, churches engage in excommunication rather than using the death penalty. We can agree that Christ is Lord over all, and that we are citizens of his kingdom. However, though we are not *of* the world, we are *in* it. We live ordinary lives in a certain sense, as doctors, teachers, husbands, wives, etc. There are plenty of things that we do that are not “the way the kingdom grows and advances.” We might lift weights, play football, or engage in other physical contests. It’s not clear these things are to be left to the “pagans.” One also cannot beg the question by assuming that killing in a war, or as a police officer, is automatically sinful, and so Christians cannot do it. So there’s a *lot* of steps from “give to Caesar” to “Christians can’t be soldiers.” Indeed, that verse plausibly *supports* the permissibility of “giving to Caesar” in the capacity of, say, soldier. There’s also the arguments I’ve raised above that the nuanced Christian pacifism must address. So the nuanced Christian pacifism still has a ton of work to do to tighten the wide gap between the way the church advances and what Christians may do for a living or out of a sense of duty, love of neighbor, or etc.
David Houston Two quotes from CS Lewis’s fantastic essay _Why I Am Not a Pacifist_:
‘The whole Christian case for Pacifism rests, therefore, on certain Dominical utterances, such as “Resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.” I am now to deal with the Christian who says this is to be taken without qualification. I need not point out—for it has doubtless been pointed out to you before—that such a Christian is obliged to take all the other hard sayings of Our Lord in the same way. For the man who has done so, who has on every occasion given to all who ask him and has finally given all he has to the poor, no one will fail to feel respect. With such a man I must suppose myself to be arguing; for who would deem worth answering that inconsistent person who takes Our Lord’s words à la rigueur when they dispense him from a possible obligation and takes them with latitude when they demand that he should become a pauper?’
Commenting on ‘not resisting an evildoer’: ‘I think the text means exactly what it says, but with an understood reservation in favour of those obviously exceptional cases which every hearer would naturally assume to be exceptions without being told. Or to put the same thing in more logical language, I think the duty of nonresistance is here stated as regards injuries simpliciter, but without prejudice to anything we may have to allow later about injuries secundum quid. That is, insofar as the only relevant factors in the case are an injury to me by my neighbour and a desire on my part to retaliate, then I hold that Christianity commands the absolute mortification of that desire. No quarter whatever is given to the voice within us which says, “He’s done it to me, so I’ll do the same to him.” But the moment you introduce other factors, of course, the problem is altered. Does anyone suppose that Our Lord’s hearers understood Him to mean that if a homicidal maniac, attempting to murder a third party, tried to knock me out of the way, I must stand aside and let him get his victim? I at any rate think it impossible they could have so understood Him. I think it equally impossible that they supposed Him to mean that the best way of bringing up a child was to let it hit its parents whenever it was in a temper, or, when it had grabbed at the jam, to give it the honey also. I think the meaning of the words was perfectly clear—“Insofar as you are simply an angry man who has been hurt, mortify your anger and do not hit back”—even, one would have assumed that insofar as you are a magistrate struck by a private person, a parent struck by a child, a teacher by a scholar, a sane man by a lunatic, or a soldier by the public enemy, your duties may be very different, different because [there] may be then other motives than egoistic retaliation for hitting back. Indeed, as the audience were private people in a disarmed nation, it seems unlikely that they would have ever supposed Our Lord to be referring to war. War was not what they would have been thinking of. The frictions of daily life among villagers were more likely to be in their minds.’
Comment: A balanced discussion. Is pacifism caused by weaknesses in doctrine, or by human cowardice?

Reincarnation Sucks


Since Christianity claims that there is one God and after we die we face one eternal judgment (Hebrews 9:27) you should consider it first, at least over atheism and any religion with either a concept of reincarnation or with no concept of judgment.  If atheism isn’t true, then nothing eternal matters.  If “second chance” religions like Hinduism and Buddhism are true then the worst case scenario is that you lose a little ground going into your next life.

But if Christianity is true and you don’t trust in Jesus and accept God’s free gift of salvation, then you spend an eternity paying for your sins.

Consider matters of eternity very carefully, because eternity matters.

Comment: As I always say, Hell is eternal, Hell is eternal, Hell is eternal…

The lowest of the Khawarij


This is the true face of Jabhat al-Nusra…the terror attack was directed right at women and children of the Muhajirs. This is not the first time. Their aim is to frighten Muslims, to restrain those who make Hijra to the Islamic State. Because there is a big flood of immigrants. So they take the lowest measures – target women and children. They are the true Khawarij. And the lowest of them.

Comment: The reason why Jabhat al-Nusra and ISIS destroy each other in Syria is because both groups have a hard time understanding that God can consist of several Persons. Of course, the problems would not completely disappear, but infighting would lessen. Not just Christianity, but also many Pagan religions accept the idea of Trinities, like that of the Slavic deity Triglav. Triglav consists of Svarog, Perun and Veles.

Buddhists Want To Ban Christianity


By Theodore Shoebat

True Buddhists want to ban Christianity. It is of the nature of Buddhism to conquer and kill those who go against its doctrines.

In the Natahall village of Laos, government authorities have actually “acted to ban the Christian faith from the village and expulse residents who are Christians”. In March 11, officials of the village mocked and attempted to coerce through scoffing the Christians into their Faith.

In September of last year three Christians in Laos were arrested before meeting a delegation of Korean missionaries. And in June, the Phin District military command discharged two men from active duty upon discovering that they had converted to Christianity.

This is just another evidence as to what we at Shoebat.com have been saying: Buddhism is not a religion of peace. There is an image, a perception really, of Buddhism, that it is merely a peaceful means to spirituality. In the words of Elverskog, “the image of Buddhism as the perfect spirituality for the modern age is also a Western fantasy, or construction, of the nineteenth century.” (1)

The modern view of Buddhism is just that, a fantasy. As I have written in my earlier article on Buddhism:

The reality is that Buddhism is just as violent, just as tyrannical, just as dangerous, and just as demonic, as Islam.

People may not realize this reality, but they will in the future, once Japan rises to a great threat, at a universal level, and the political Buddhist party, New Komeito, shows its true colors to their fullest.

In 1937, when the actualities of the Second World War were looming and on the verge of manifesting, interest, discussion and writings on Zen Buddhism increased, and its influence was most definitely involved in the conquering and warring spirit in Japan. (2)

Just one month before Pearl Harbor, on November 10, 1941, the very popular and authoritative Buddhist writer, who is called the foremost exponent of Zen Buddhism in the West, joined hands with Japanese military leaders general Araki Sadao, navy captain Hirose Yutaka, and others, and published a book together in which they wrote that Bushido, or the Buddhist philosophy of the Samurai, was the system that was truly pushing Japan into its great state of power:

It is Bushido that is truly the driving force behind the development of our nation. In the future, it must be the fundamental power associated with the great undertaking of developing Asia, the importance of which to world history is increasing day by day. (3)

Buddhism is antagonistic toward Christianity. Hirai Kinzo, a 20th century Buddhist writer, in his bookThe Real Position of Japan Toward Christianity, calls for the outright banning of Christianity from Japan. (4) And the Buddhist authority Ryōgen said in the year 975:

If we left the bows in their sheaths and neglected the arrows, we would not be ensuring the duration of the Real Law [of Buddhism]. (5)

This Buddhist mindset of warfare is being advanced over Christians in countries like Sri Lanka, Laos, and Bhutan, and it will only accentuate with the rise of Japan.

This may all sound strange now, but at one point in time, it was unusual to hear someone warn about the dangers of Islam, until 9/11 happened.

As a side note, we are working constantly to save persecuted Christians in Pakistan, Iraq, and Syria.I ask you to please donate to save Christian lives in these Muslim dominated countries.

(1) Elverskog, Buddhism and Islam, introduction, p. 3

(2) See Brian Victoria, Zen at War, ch. 8, p. 102

(3) Handa, Bushido no Shinzui, p. 1, in Brian Victoria, Zen at War, ch. 8, p. 111, see also p. 110

(4) Ibid, ch. 2, p. 16

(5) Keishin, Jie daishi den (around 1469), as cited in Heki, Nihon sohei kenkyu, 20-21, quoted by Paul Demieville, Buddhism and War, trans. Michelle Kendall, published in Michael K. Jerryson and Mark Juergensmeyer, Buddhist Warfare, p. 40, brackets mine

Comment: Shoebat and Loonwatch  can agree on some things…