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  • Thank you for the thoughtful article, Brandon. I agree that the issue is far more nuanced than the polarities favored by social media. I agree with Lewis that pacifism is not the only way Christians can respond to very real dangers. I believe God does call his people to serve as police, soldiers, and in other roles that may use deadly force to contain evil.

    My concern with the current pro-gun rhetoric coming from Falwell and others is one of context. We have an epidemic of gun violence in the United States, and we are culture dominated by fear with a history of racial division. Into such a context I believe those claiming to lead as Christ should be calling the church—and the whole culture—to peace, unity, courage, and healing. Instead, what we’re hearing from Christian voices is that we should be more afraid, more divided, and carry more guns. This is the natural outcome of an evangelical movement that has made safety it’s highest value rather than love.

  • Jon

    Who would Jesus shoot?

    Well, why not just look at the scriptures for the answer? Jesus says exactly who he’d shoot, in Luke 19.

    “But those enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them—bring them here and kill them in front of me.’”

    He’d shoot anyone who isn’t Christian.

    Looks like we are talking about a “religion of peace”?

    Luckliy, many Christians know better than to take their Bibles literally.

  • Jon-

    I don’t know what Bible you’re reading, but that’s not in Luke 19 or anywhere else in the New Testament.

    There are plenty of things you can criticize Christians for if that’s your desire. But at least base your critique in something resembling a fact.

  • Billysees

    Here’s a possible solution to the issues brought up by this article —

    Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good………Romans 12:21

  • Talk about taking scripture out of context–Like 19:27 is the end of a parable Jesus told about a tyrant King who says this. To quote that as if Jesus approved of such tyranny is about as dishonest a reading as I have ever heard.

  • Jon

    Skye-

    As Neill helpfully pointed out, it is indeed in Luke 19, specifically at Luke 19:27.

    Neill – yes, it is in a parable, but reading the parable in context makes it clear that the parable is set up to show Jesus as the king. Specifically, Luke 19:11 begins the set up by talking about the Kingdom of God coming soon, and that “they were near Jerusalem”. The parable is told about a King coming into his Kingdom, and then immediately after that (Luke 19:28), with Jesus’ Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem as King.

    This is when Jesus’ followers shout:

    “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!”

    And Jesus confirms that he is the King coming into his kingdom, saying that

    “I tell you, if these were silent, the stones would shout out.”

    Luke knew what he was writing.

    .

  • Simon

    That also brings up another major issue I have with Christianity & the bible: given that several folks here very sincerely disagree on what the bible says and what is parable and what isn’t and what is reflecting Jesus’ demands or not, how is it that a supposed god, one that supposedly cares about his people, can’t do far better at making his intentions and instructions clear?

  • Simon

    Nice sentiments but not originally Christian and not too helpful in the face of parties firing guns at you who genuinely believe doctrine that says killing you is a good thing to do.

  • Jon

    As pointed out below, it’s not only where I said it was (Luke 19), but fits in context too. The fact that you don’t like that doesn’t change the text.

    A bigger point is that I’m not criticizing Christians. Quite the opposite – I praise the many Christians who ignore vicious scripture such as this. The fact is that the various Bibles are at least as vicious and harmful as any Qu’ran, and it’s only because many Christians don’t follow them that we don’t have a bigger Christian terrorism problem. I’ve read both the Catholic and Protestant Bibles, and we are lucky the Muslims have the Qur’an instead – the Bibles are worse, with mass killings in the name of religion, beheadings, eternal torture, and much more – both in the old and new testaments.

    It’s a tribute to our kindest Christians that these verses are rationalized away and ignored instead of being followed as examples (shudder).
    .

  • ben in oakland

    No, its the natural outcome of a faith that has become a political party, and requires the fear of others to maintain its base.

  • ben in oakland

    If you read just about any exegesis of the parable of the minas, you will find that the overwhelming majority of text-explainers say that Jesus is referring to himself.

  • Glyndon Morris

    Simon, please help me understand how a passage from Romans is “not originally Christian.”

  • Dave42

    Lewis also said that, if peace is sometimes wrong then war is sometimes justified (talking I think about Hitler and the pacifying pre-war tactics). The article raises questions I have struggled with. I imagine that if one person or a million people marched quietly and peacefully to Syria and tried to reason with ISIL, they would have no trouble murdering all of them. They are a group that loves death more than we love life.

    Old Testament law of “thou shall not kill” applied specifically to murder, not to war, which obviously was condoned and even ordered by OT Yahweh. Did that change with Jesus? I would say no, but I am no expert.

    I am deeply troubled by our country’s random drone attacks that kill dozens in “collateral damage” and makes people long for cloudy days when the drones cannot strike. It seems to me we are creating as many new enemies as we are destroying. My only suggestion would be a 21st century Marshall plan – offer a choice of peace or death.

  • JP

    *Whom

  • While I understand your point and I am not perfectly committed to complete nonviolence (although I lean that way), I have been thinking about your post off and on for a couple of hours now. I just cannot wrap my head around an image of Jesus the Christ shooting anyone.

    So, I guess you have done me a service in a way you did not intend–I lean even further towards complete nonviolence now.

    Thank you.

    Kindra

  • Jon

    Many people have idealized images of who they want Jesus to be – the “a Jesus for each of us”. Ask a capitalist, and Jesus is a capitalist. Ask a hippie, and Jesus is a hippie. Ask a pacifist, and Jesus is a pacifist. So maybe “trying to wrap your head around” a given Jesus is not the best approach – in the end, one can expect Jesus to become yourself with that process.

    The scripture has this:

    He said to them, “But now, the one who has a purse must take it, and likewise a bag. And the one who has no sword must sell his cloak and buy one. For I tell you, this scripture must be fulfilled in me, ‘And he was counted among the lawless’; and indeed what is written about me is being fulfilled.” They said, “Lord, look, here are two swords.” He replied, “It is enough.”

    That’s in Luke, the same Gospel that has Jesus ordering executions. The different Gospels seem to have different Jesuses.

  • I understand your point and, in fact, was talking with a family member about this very thing less than an hour ago–that we often form religion to fit our view of what should be.

    However, when I referred to not being able to wrap my head around that image of Jesus, it was after reflecting personally on what rang true with my soul. Over the course of my life, I have deeply studied, I have rejected, I have come back to religion in a different way–but always with a center of personal prayer and reflection.

    I acknowledge I could be wrong about Jesus. If anything, that is one thing I have learned–I can’t point to one source, one teacher or leader, and say, “This is truth.”

    But, I do rely more and more on that inner source of wisdom, the still small voice, that Light. That is what it is saying to me.

    Again, I could be wrong. I’m okay with that, as long as I am true to my best understanding. I can’t fault you for rejecting the violence and contradictions of the Bible,…

  • Anil Singh

    “When they heard this, all in the synagogue were filled with rage. They got up, drove him out of the town, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they might hurl him off the cliff. But he passed through the midst of them and went on his way.” Luke 4:28 – 30

    Jesus does defend himself when attacked by the crowd in his hometown. But he defends himself by running away, not by fighting or “standing his ground.” Whenever trouble comes, Jesus escapes. He does not fight or kill or take up arms. The same goes for Paul. And all the other disciples.

    People do not have to trade violence for violence in order to defend themselves. It is all too easy to mentally move from defending one’s life to defending one’s property to defending one’s interests to defending one’s “way of life.” These are all different ethical considerations. This discussion about armed “self-defense” falsely excludes other options.

  • Jon

    Nor do I fault you.

    I think you are wrong about Jesus – but the fact that you don’t blindly follow the violent aspects of Jesus I see as a good thing, not a bad thing.

    Indeed, I think that following that inner voice often leads to much healthier, beneficial, and yes, true, spirituality than following one or another of the different bibles.

    Blessings- .

  • Jon

    Like when Jesus made his own weapon and used it to violently attack the people in the temple?

  • Anil Singh

    Where does scripture say he injured any of them? Where does it say his life was threatened, or that it was in self-defense? Where does it say he killed them? He overturned tables and DROVE the money lenders out of the temple. He chased them out. This current discussion is about the justification for lethal self-defense. The whip of cords in the Gospel of John refers to Jesus driving out the sheep and the cattle from the temple, not people. Not once does Jesus harm or kill anyone, even in self-defense.

    Try reading scripture more closely. Irresponsible reading is what drives these conversations in inappropriate directions.

  • Jon

    It doesn’t say how much he injured them, but it wasn’t a harmless attack. I think we can agree that a whole temples worth of people aren’t going to just leave their money and property without a threat to themselves. What, do you think he just asked them to leave and they said “sure, OK, we’ll just do what you say and leave our stuff here, see ya.”?

    It doesn’t say that he only whipped the sheep and cattle. Here it is:

    **And He found in the temple those who sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the money changers doing business. When He had made a whip of cords, He drove them *all* out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen, and poured out the changers’ money and overturned the tables. ****

    This obviously shows Jesus harming people – or maybe he’s a Jedi and lifted and flung them out telekinetically?

  • Anil Singh

    It depends on how you read “all.” It also depends I guess on the translation. To me it reads that he drove all the cattle out of the temple.

    In either case, this article is not about whether arms are justified in driving apostates or other undesirables out of church in our current period of history. I think most would agree that indeed it isn’t. Other processes exist. This article is about lethal self-defense. How about you come up with a scripture where Jesus uses a weapon to kill an assailant?

  • Jon

    Yes, it comes down to “all”. It’s pretty simple that “all” means….. “all”.

    You can also see this in Mt 21, where it says:

    Then Jesus went into the temple of God and drove out all those who bought and sold in the temple…

    So unless the cows were the ones doing collecting the money, we are back to Jesus harming people.

    You accused me of reading scripture irresponsibly, but it appears that you are the one who is making up something and pretending that’s what the scripture says.

    As for whether or not guns are allowable in driving out apostates, Jesus did portray himself as a king ordering the execution of anyone who wasn’t Christian (Luke 19, see above) – so by comparison, threatening them with guns seems even kinder than what Jesus would do.

    As for lethal self-defense, the NT portrays Jesus on the attack (see Mt 21, Luke 19, much of Revelation, where Jesus kills thousands, etc.), so since lethal attacks seem OK, I’d guess that lethal…

  • Marcus

    Spoken like the Devil himself! Praising Christians for not following the Bible and calling that good!

    Actually, Christians are following Scripture by loving our enemies. Show me where we are commanded to do evil, but don’t? And don’t point out Old Testament commandments to me requiring stoning, etc. Christians are under the NEW Covenant/Testament, not the Old. Our two commandments are to love God and love people.

    And your example of Jesus as King slaying the wicked is misapplied because Jesus is NOT modeling how His followers are to treat non-Christians. He is showing how He will execute justice in His role as King at the final judgment. Executing justice is a judicial responsibility of His. Under an atheistic worldview in which there is no afterlife or final judgment, there is no ultimate justice. Their are many Heinous crimes and injustices that would go unpunished.

  • Richard Rosario

    The problem with the bible…you can’t follow it no one can.

  • Richard Rosario, you can’t follow the Bible (completely and faithfully) if you’re not a Christian. It REQUIRES the help of the Holy Spirit living within you to overcome the desires and ways of our sinful bodies and this evil world.

  • “Into such a context I believe those claiming to lead as Christ should be calling the church—and the whole culture—to peace, unity, courage, and healing. Instead, what we’re hearing from Christian voices is that we should be more afraid, more divided, and carry more guns. This is the natural outcome of an evangelical movement that has made safety it’s highest value rather than love.” Well said Skye.

  • Pablo

    Shane Claiborne cites the Gospel. This commentary cites fantasy author and amateur theologian C. S. Lewis. Two facts which really say everything there is to say here.

    Jesus Christ never said following him would easy. This is why most people, like the author of this article, only pretend to do so, while making pious, earnest, and very popular excuses for their failure.

  • LisaB

    I’m not arguing against self-defense. I do think we have a right to defend ourselves, but I don’t think that’s what Falwell, and his apologists are really encouraging with their rhetoric.

    As for “who would Jesus shoot?” and all the verses that keep getting quoted, I guess I would say it’s easy (hard?) for us to truly understand all the culture and context that went into those worlds.

    However, I do think we can take lessons from those who actually knew Jesus. Despite the importance some give to the “go buy a sword” verse, most of the apostles met a violent end. If Jesus had really intended for us to arm up and sally forth, one would think those that actually heard the words would do exactly that.

  • Chris

    There are a lot of good points being made here. I wanted to clear up one thing about Luke 19 – Jesus’ parable wasn’t talking about the present day; it was talking about the future, when Jesus returns in glory to make things right.

    The Bible makes it clear that all of us have fallen short of the glory of God and all off us deserve condemnation for our thoughts, words, and deeds. But through faith in and obedience to Jesus, we can be forgiven and made right with God.

    This parable points toward the ultimate victory of Jesus over the unbelieving and rebellious. It doesn’t have anything to do with Christians endorsing or rejecting violence.

  • Jon

    So killing non-Christians because they are non-Christians is good at one time, and not good at another time?

    I think you’ve answered your own question about the immoral and hurtful things the bibles command.

    There are plenty of others too, such as commanding people to put Jesus before their families, pitting “mother against daughter”, etc. (Mt 10, Lk 12).

    It’s not just family and non-Christians the Bibles says to shun, but even any denomination of Christian that is different. 2Jn 1:10 says to not even let such a person into your house.

    And the whole “nothing from the old testament” line isn’t honest either. Christians routinely use verses from the old testament, as long as, they say, they can find something similar in the New Testament. For instance – hating other religions. Dt 13 is “confirmed” by John 14:6, etc.

    Thank reality that more and more people are seeing how hurtful and human the bibles are. Yes, some can read them figuratively, and…

  • Jon

    So killing non-Christians for being non-Christian at one time is OK, but not at another? So much for “objective morality” or “religious freedom”. …

  • Anil Singh

    I had to post my reply to the exchange below up here.

    Actually, the operative word in that passage is “drove.” The Greek word here is ekballō, which Strong’s defines as “to eject (literally or figuratively): – bring forth, cast (forth, out), drive (out), expel, leave, pluck (pull, take, thrust) out, put forth (out), send away (forth, out).” Thayer offers both violent and non-violent shades of meaning to this word.

    Jesus could have used a sword or spear to drive out the moneylenders, yet he fashions a scourge of small cords. He uses the least lethal means to achieve his objective. And the passage still does not mention that anyone was injured or killed. Filling in blanks with supposition is not responsible interpretation.

    As to the other passages, I offered a specific instance of Jesus defending himself non-lethally. All you offer are passages unrelated to the topic, and then fill in the blanks with your own agenda. Yes. Irresponsible.

  • Anil Singh

    The full biblical quote is:
    Luk 22:36 He said to them, “But now, the one who has a purse must take it, and likewise a bag. And the one who has no sword must sell his cloak and buy one.
    Luk 22:37 For I tell you, this scripture must be fulfilled in me, ‘And he was counted among the lawless’; and indeed what is written about me is being fulfilled.”

    Funny how pro-gun proponents never include the part about being counted among the lawless. The sword in this instance is NOT a tool of self-defense, but a symbol of insurrection. A relatively ineffective symbol at that, given that Jesus later tells the Disciples that two swords among twelve is somehow enough to battle the chief priests and their slaves…and the Roman legions.

    People interpret scripture according to their own political preferences. Even Augustine observed that well over a thousand years ago.

  • Richard Rush

    The New Covenant looks more like the New Convenience.

  • Eric

    Is there an easier op-ed or blog post to write than the “both sides are guilty of _________?” As if there is some kind of equivalence between Falwell’s call to arms and Claiborne’s written response? As if the “obvious” position (to cite a word that is overused in this post) is some middle way?

    There are nuanced positions on the question of whether Christians can use lethal violence, sure. But Falwell’s rhetoric doesn’t even rise to that level of moral seriousness. He nearly incited a crowd to violence and slandered Muslims in the process. He wasn’t offering a nuanced position; he was fomenting fear and ignorance and bigotry. Period.

    To critique the responses to Falwell by playing the false equivalency game is just lazy thinking. The author takes Falwell more seriously than he deserves, sweeping his bigotry under the rug. Plus he doesn’t take Claiborne seriously enough, lumping him in with sentimental internet memes. Hope the author dances better than he writes.

  • Diogenes

    I thought RNS had established a policy of single concise posts related to the subject of the article without attacking other individuals, only arguments? Objective (or as much as may be) arguments are what’s called for. Anil Singh made an excellent exposition on the texts that Jon referenced, precisely what is needed more often, commonsensical interpretations of the literature, with an appreciation for the culture and context in which they were penned.

  • Serious Lee

    The problem is we address fear with guns. Guns today have permitted us to defend not only our lives but also our religion, our race, our sexuality. Guy goes into a church and prays with the participants, then shoots them. There is no nuance. There’s only the hanging tree. You’re either for moving toward the elimination of guns or not. There is no nuance.

  • Good to point out the diversity. I has similar thoughts a few days ago. I also find that certain psychological aspects of human nature are influential factors in the debate. http://geoffwsutton.blogspot.com/2015/12/call-to-arms-christianity-and-patriotism.html

  • Jon

    Driving people out of their businessplace using a whip is violent. Try it, and see if you get arrested. First you tried to suggest that he didn’t drive the humans out, and now you are trying to suggest that driving people out of their businessplace is somehow not violent.

    That’s certainly not the least lethal means. We’ve seen many times that Jesus regales the crowds with his wisdom, or even does miracles (like the loaves or Lazarus), and so anyone with any creativity can see that there are many non-violent ways to get people to leave the temple. Anyone suggesting that violence was his only option must have a pretty low view of Jesus.

    The other verses certainly are directly related to your claim that Jesus is always non-violent. Slaughtering thousands of people until the blood flows as high as a horses bridle is not something I would consider nonviolent. Reading verses is not irresponsible – though a claim that is contrary to scripture is irresponsible…

  • Mark Pertuit

    Amen

  • Jack

    Name me one person whom Jesus killed, tried to kill, or ordered someone else to kill.

    I’m waiting…..

  • Jack

    RNS makes it damnably difficult to post at times but here goes again:

    Name me one person whom Jesus killed, tried to kill, or ordered someone else to kill.

    I’m waiting.

  • Jack

    Enough of the hand-wringing and theologizing and hair-splitting about war and peace.

    If someone comes to kill a baby and we don’t try to stop that person, we’re lower than pond scum.

    If someone tries to kill us, it’s okay to defend ourselves, even if the result is we kill him.

    If a nation gets seized by a megalomaniac who proceeds to conquer and enslave the world, then if we just sit there and do nothing, we will have lots of ‘splaining to do on Judgment Day.

    If a group of sadistic fanatics like ISIS seizes a country from which we withdrew after leaving behind a mess, and if we just let them crucify and behead and enslave and do nothing because of our moral vanity, then neither God nor future generations will be kind to us in the end.

    There is no reason to agonize over these issues or pretend they’re moral dilemmas. In each case, we know darned well what to do.

    Shame on those who would use the Gospel or anything else to obscure the obvious.

  • Jack

    Don’t be ridiculous, Pablo. What CS Lewis wrote was easily the majority opinion of Christian theologians of all stripes through the centuries. He simply took their views and popularized them.

    The idea that the Gospel mandated pacifism is unsustainable.

    By the way, Pablo, nice try in trying to marginalize CS Lewis, who was a first-rate scholar in every sense of the word. And while his day job was professor at two of the greatest universities in the world — Oxford and then Cambridge — he wasn’t a bad popularizer of theology, either. He wrote with far more clarity and precision than most theologians, especially modern ones, some of whom are nearly incoherent. And he influenced more people than all of the ninnies put together.

  • Jack

    Jon, you just have a bug up your behind about the Bible and Christianity and thus nothing anyone will say in defense of either will have any effect, even if the logic and reasoning behind it are flawless. You will just twist the words expressing it, intentionally or not, and the subsequent exchanges will be exercises in futility.

  • Jack

    What silliness…..If anyone were harmed, don’t you think that would have been part of the charges against Jesus at trial?

    The sole charge by the chief priests and friends was blasphemy, not assault, let alone attempted murder. He only ended up crucified when they convinced the Roman governor, Pilate, that the content of the blasphemy charge was a claim to be king. And even then, it was an uphill battle to convince Pilate that this amounted to insurrection against Caesar. Pilate asked Jesus about his kingship and when Jesus answered that his kingdom was “not of this world,” Pilate did the obvious. He threw up his hands and said, “this guy is harmless. What the heck did you bring him in for?”

    Pilate was a brutal thug, but even he realized that Jesus was physically harmless. He only crucified Jesus because he feared for his job. The high priest threatened to go over his head to Rome, who hated Pilate and didn’t trust a word he said on anything.

  • Larry

    The Gospel is generally used to obscure the obvious. To outsource decisions to arbitrary authority rather than use careful consideration and reflection. Religious morality is all about doing what is commanded, not doing what is right. Hence the ease in which fundamentalist faiths descend into atrocious behavior.

    If one wants to justify their behavior, any kind of behavior, they use scriptural proof-texting and personally favorable interpretation to claim the act is God’s will or command.

    This whole discussion of “who would Jesus shoot” is a way to dodge moral implications of rhetoric and decisions people make. To pawn it off as God’s will or the opposite of such, rather than face the consequences of one’s own opinion.

  • Jack

    That sounds nice in theory, Larry, but in practice, some of the nuttiest forms of ethical calculus have come from your side of the fence, not necessarily you personally (although on one or two issues, you’re guilty, too), but those who embrace your views.

    The people today who are most willing to display moral clarity on issues like what to do about terrorism are those with some religious bent, whereas the worst appeasers tend to be those with no religious bent who end up drowning themselves in a sea of moral & cultural relativism.

    That doesn’t mean believers can’t be kooky themselves. My prior post was critiquing the excessive navel gazing among them, in the guise of theological reflection, resulting in analysis fueling paralysis.

    But the bigger picture suggests that people of a more militant secular bent are most likely to fall for relativistic arguments that undermine our resolve and resilience in fighting the enemy.

  • Larry

    The major problem is that you are willing to call adherence to principles of civil liberties and the democratic way “appeasement” and drowning in “moral & cultural relativism”. Religious moral concepts are as relativistic as one gets. Hence the ease in which it justifies terrorism.

    Those of a religious bent are generally the ones with the most immoral views of how to handle terrorism. They are mostly the ones stup1d enough to enable extremist rhetoric of terrorists. Doing the job for the terrorists. They also waste time trying to ignore the simple fact that ANY religion can be prone to violent extremism.

    One is not going to be successful against religious extremism by matching them in rhetoric or actions.

  • Jack

    I wasn’t referring at all to adherence to “civil liberties and the democratic way” when I mentioned moral relativism. Civil liberties issues are themselves based on the notion that absolutes exist and are quite real, which is what I believe.

    I was referring to the inability or unwillingness to make a clear and firm distinction between the sins and aims of the democratic West, past or present, and those of ISIS and other terrorist groups. We saw this same moral confusion during the Cold War, with the “racist” and “imperialist” West contrasted unfavorably with idealizing of “wars of liberation” waged by Marxist totalitarians.

    We especially see it today with the reluctance of many to shine a relentless spotlight on radical Islamism’s barbarous treatment of gay people and women while blasting the West for past mistreatment.

  • Mark

    This article’s author calls for nuance, but shows little of it himself. Aquinas’ use of casuistry (in the non-pejorative sense) doesn’t really help us in our current problems of violence, nor does Ambrosino successfully address Claiborne’s essay by simply sweeping it aside using Aquinas.
    We are now living in a time of permanent war, sometimes more active sometimes less, but always present. We live in a culture that validates such violence. Jewish, Christian, and Muslim just-war thinking has done some measure of good in fostering rules of conduct in war, but they have been utterly powerless in face of the wholesale culture, politics, and economics of permanent war. Aquinas simply won’t help us here. Jesus will.

  • larry

    “We especially see it today with the reluctance of many to shine a relentless spotlight on radical Islamism’s barbarous treatment of gay people and women while blasting the West for past mistreatment.”

    Christian fundamentalists use the mistreatment of gays by Islamicists as an excuse for their own mistreatment of gays with the weak rhetort, “at least we aren’t murdering them like the Muslims”.
    There are certainly enough Christian fundamentalists who call for the execution of gays, but just lack the political power to be more than idle talk.

    The bad deeds of others does not excuse nor minimize one’s own.
    To use your example, the evils of racism and imperialism weren’t excused by the evils of communism. In fact, the inability to address racism and imperialism was instrumental in enabling the advance of communism.

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  • Jon

    I mentioned both the killings Jesus ordered in Luke as well as the killings in Rev. They don’t give names. So is it not a killing if a name isn’t given?

    “Twisting words”? No, as mentioned before, biblical scholars agree in support of my posts – and I hope you aren’t disputing the killings/attacks/violence. If so, tell me where are we can discuss it.

  • Be. In oakland

    I have a difficult time with that, Jack. It is true that the Islamists have murdered gay people, and continue to do so. It is equally true that Christians used to judicially murder gay people for “the infamous crime against nature, not to be named among Christians.” It is equally true that they were murdered by Christians in Europe in the name of morality. It is also true that there are proposals among Christians even today in Africa to murder us. There are Christians who, while not actually able to murder or jail us–ANY MORE– are quite happy to blame us for the fall of Rome, to call us threats to marriage, family, children, faith, freedom, and civilization, enemies of God, and on and on and on and on and on.

    Saying, “hey! At least we,re not as bad as the Muslims.” Gives you a very, very low bar.

  • Julie

    >It seems a better use of our time to discuss those.

    And? You just leave us hanging there? This deserves more.

  • Jack

    I posted a lengthy reply but our friends at RNS can’t seem to maintain a web site properly. The bottom line is that nobody can name a single incident in Jesus’ life where he killed, attempted to kill, or ordered the killing of anyone. You are confusing this with the fact that Jesus spoke in parables about his second coming. If you studied the Bible carefully, you’d have realized the context for that return — the rise of a totalitarian dictator who conquers most of the world, demands worship, slaughters religious and political dissenters, and right before Jesus’ return, devises an insane plan to wipe out the nation of Israel and the Jewish people.

    Jesus, in other words, when speaking of his return, is not pointing to a world ready to recognize him with open arms. It is a world under the grip of the greatest horrors of history, with the majority of people swearing allegiance to a demonstrably monstrous ogre.

  • Jack

    Ben, the purpose of bringing up the terrifying current treatment of gays by radical Islamism is not to excuse anyone for anything. It is to make the obvious point that if we are to stop such horrors, we can’t if we are drowning in a sea of relativism, where we feel compelled to match every horror of ISIS with a corresponding horror of our own.

    We see the fruit of such a disastrous mindset in the stunning failure of the West, and especially our own White House, to do anything worthy of the name in response to ISIS.

    And so gays continued to be murdered, along with Christians and Yazidis, as well as dissenting Shi’a and Sunni Muslims. The current administration is so accustomed to seeing the West as equally bad, it can’t muster the moral will to do anything about a gang of mass murders and mass torturers.

  • Jon

    Jack, some basic facts on the ground:

    After being attacked by ISIL, France mobilized 10 aircraft, dropping 20 bombs.

    Compare this to the US – which has flown over 8,000 airstrikes, dropping over 28,000 bombs so far. We’ve not only killed thousands of ISIL fighters, but with our support, they’ve lost over a quarter of their territory as well as some important cities, and haven’t been able to take significant new territory nor cities. The bombing has been so extensive that it has been hard to keep our supply from running low. And you, out of ignorance, say this administration “can’t muster the moral will to do anything”. Wow – reality much?

    We’ve done this without putting US troops in danger on the ground. Is that what you want? Dead heroes?

  • Jon

    Demonizing the people being killed is the typical and predictable first step before any genocide. You demonstrate that quite well here by saying that Jesus will be killing in a world with “the majority of people swearing allegiance to a demonstrably monstrous ogre”.

    Killing is killing. You asked for examples of Jesus killing, and you got them. Justifying them the same way that other genocide supporters do is hardly helping your case.

    Plus, we all saw that the only “crime” of those that Jesus orders to be executed in Luke was to be non-Christian – if you are going to go by scripture. … …. …..

  • Ben in oakland

    Nonsense, Jack. Our government has done nothing?

    Billions and billions of dollars flushed down the toilet, air strikes and bombing raids, supplying arms to whomever will fight the people we were formerly supplying arms to, the deaths of thousands of our soldiers, hundreds of thousands of local peoples, and the destabilization of the entire middle east.

    I agree it wasn’t your intention to excuse the 2000 years of horror visited on gay people by good Christians. You are a much better man than that. But that certainly is the intention of a great many anti-gay, so-called Christians of the extreme right wing variety.

    when they are busy claiming that we cause the downfall of civilization and attack the family, are enemies to faith and freedom they are prevented only by secular law from doing what ought to be done to such people. It’s very much like love the sinner and hate the sin. It allows others to do the hating, while their hands are clean.

    Ironical pilatism.