Pope Francis recites the Angelus noon prayer from the window of his studio overlooking St.Peter's Square at the Vatican on July 23, 2017. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

When we agree on principles but still disagree

Often in our divided world we disagree with someone about a principle.

Person A says that what matters is reproductive freedom and B says that what matters is protecting the unborn. Person C says that what matters is protecting American security and D says that what matters is hospitality to refugees from tortured lands.

Principles conflict and we can't agree on what's right. That's one kind of argument. It usually doesn't get very far, because if we disagree on principles we often find ourselves in a deadlock rather quickly.

But sometimes we actually agree on principles while still disagreeing on how best to put them into practice.

Person E says that what matters is compassion to the poor — very happily, F agrees. But F thinks compassionate care for the poor is best handled by the church, and E envisions a greater role for government.

Or, both E and F agree on compassion toward the poor, and on the church's central role. But then they discover that they disagree about the best way to implement such compassion. E believes in spending the church's resources on a targeted program to house a small number of homeless people, while F would rather offer free lunches each day at church to a larger number of people.

Or perhaps E and F agree on compassion, and on the respective roles of government vs. church, and on a massive free lunch program at church, but disagree on whether people should be able to get food every day or only every week, or who is responsible for providing the food, or whether people should be allowed to camp out in front of the church before and after getting their food, or ....

You get the point.

Let's follow a move mainly made in Catholic moral theology and call this a distinction between judgments of principle and prudential judgments.

People can agree strongly on a moral principle but disagree strongly on the best way to advance it. The latter is a prudential judgment rather than a judgment of principle. It is sometimes mistaken for a judgment of principle, however. E concludes that F is not adequately compassionate, but instead F has concluded that the best practice of the principle of compassion just looks different from what E thought it should look like.

When this happens, mutual incomprehension and frustration are sometimes worse than if our interlocutors disagree on the principle itself. It is as if they are in the same moral neighborhood, which is great, but they find that just being in the same moral neighborhood hasn't resolved crucial differences of opinion between them. They had not expected this and they find it quite frustrating.

Pope Francis, I believe, is facing exactly this issue in disputes within Catholicism over such issues as the sacramental status of Catholics who have been divorced and remarried, or are in "irregular family situations." He and his critics seem to agree on the key principles but not on how they are best implemented. (At least, that is the pope's perspective on what is at stake.)

It helps to remember that a different kind of moral reasoning process is required with prudential judgments over against judgments of principle.

To arrive at the most important relevant principle in most situations mainly involves resorting to the major norms of the moral tradition you are operating in.

But to arrive at prudential judgments involves analyzing often complex situations, assessing the motivations and behaviors of people under various conditions, judging anticipated outcomes of various courses of action, weighing costs and benefits of different approaches, and so on.

Prudential judgments are best performed by people who have the relevant expertise and experience with the concrete issues at hand. It is a conversation about practical wisdom in relation to important goals but complex human realities. It also involves accessing that elusive realm called the "factual," or that even more elusive realm in which facts are projected for the future based on key assumptions and experiences from the past.

A sports analogy comes to mind. In sports the goal is to win, and the main operative principle is to do what it takes to win, within the rules of the sport. But that just leaves open a hundred different prudential judgments about what to do during any particular game situation in order to win. Blitz or no blitz? Run or pass? Punt or go for it on fourth down? And so on.

If you are morally passionate about a specific principle that you consider nonnegotiable, that's great. But do not assume that even those who agree with you about that principle will agree with you about the best way to implement it in a particular set of circumstances. Agreement on the principle, if you can get that far, is the beginning rather than the end of the conversation.

Comments

  1. To be principled requires education. Religious education is very easy for example and is accomplished in less than ten seconds.

    Putting the kibosh on all religion in less than ten seconds: Priceless !!!

    • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Abraham i.e. the foundations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are non-existent.

    • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Moses i.e the pillars of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have no strength of purpose.

    • There was no Gabriel i.e. Islam fails as a religion. Christianity partially fails.

    • There was no Easter i.e. Christianity completely fails as a religion.

    • There was no Moroni i.e. Mormonism is nothing more than a business cult.

    • Sacred/revered cows, monkey gods, castes, reincarnations and therefore Hinduism fails as a religion.

    • Fat Buddhas here, skinny Buddhas there, reincarnated/reborn Buddhas everywhere makes for a no on Buddhism.

    A constant cycle of reincarnation until enlightenment is reached and belief that various beings (angels?, tinker bells? etc) exist that we, as mortals, cannot comprehend makes for a no on Sikhism.

    Added expanded details are available upon written request.

    A quick search will put the kibosh on any other groups calling themselves a religion.

    e.g. Taoism

    “The origins of Taoism are unclear. Traditionally, Lao-tzu who lived in the sixth century is regarded as its founder. Its early philosophic foundations and its later beliefs and rituals are two completely different ways of life. Today (1982) Taoism claims 31,286,000 followers.

    Legend says that Lao-tzu was immaculately conceived by a shooting star; carried in his mother’s womb for eighty-two years; and born a full grown wise old man. “

  2. Perhaps religious education takes MORE than 10 seconds, if this is the best you can offer.

  3. As requested:

    origin: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20E1EFE35540C7A8CDDAA0894DA404482 NY Times review and important enough to reiterate.

    New Torah For Modern Minds

    “Abraham, the Jewish patriarch, probably never existed. Nor did Moses. (prob·a·bly
    Adverb: Almost certainly; as far as one knows or can tell).

    The entire Exodus story as recounted in the Bible probably never occurred. The same is true of the tumbling of the walls of Jericho. And David, far from being the fearless king who built Jerusalem into a mighty capital, was more likely a provincial leader whose reputation was later magnified to provide a rallying point for a fledgling nation.

    Such startling propositions — the product of findings by archaeologists digging in Israel and its environs over the last 25 years — have gained wide acceptance among non-Orthodox rabbis. But there has been no attempt to disseminate these ideas or to discuss them with the laity — until now.

    The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, which represents the 1.5 million Conservative Jews in the United States, has just issued a new Torah and commentary, the first for Conservatives in more than 60 years. Called ”Etz Hayim” (”Tree of Life” in Hebrew), it offers an interpretation that incorporates the latest findings from archaeology, philology, anthropology and the study of ancient cultures. To the editors who worked on the book, it represents one of the boldest efforts ever to introduce into the religious mainstream a view of the Bible as a human rather than divine document. ”

    The Apostles’ Creed 2017: (updated by yours truly and based on the studies of historians and theologians of the past 200 years)

    Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
    and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
    human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven??

    I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
    preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
    named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
    girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

    Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
    the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

    He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
    a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of
    Jerusalem.

    Said Jesus’ story was embellished and “mythicized” by
    many semi-fiction writers. A descent into Hell, a bodily resurrection
    and ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
    Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
    grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
    and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
    called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

    Amen
    (references used are available upon request)

    From the studies of Armstrong, Rushdie, Hirsi Ali, Richardson and Bayhaqi————–

    The Five Steps To Deprogram 1400 Years of Islamic Myths:

    ( –The Steps take less than two minutes to finish- simply amazing, two minutes to bring peace and rationality to over one billion lost souls- Priceless!!!)

    Are you ready?

    Using “The 77 Branches of Islamic “faith” a collection compiled by Imam Bayhaqi as a starting point. In it, he explains the essential virtues that reflect true “faith” (iman) through related Qur’anic verses and Prophetic sayings.” i.e. a nice summary of the Koran and Islamic beliefs.

    The First Five of the 77 Branches:

    “1. Belief in Allah”

    aka as God, Yahweh, Zeus, Jehovah, Mother Nature, etc. should be added to your self-cleansing neurons.

    “2. To believe that everything other than Allah was non-existent. Thereafter, Allah Most High created these things and subsequently they came into existence.”

    Evolution and the Big Bang or the “Gib Gnab” (when the universe starts to recycle) are more plausible and the “akas” for Allah should be included if you continue to be a “creationist”.

    “3. To believe in the existence of angels.”

    A major item for neuron cleansing. Angels/de-vils are the mythical creations of ancient civilizations, e.g. Hitt-ites, to explain/define natural events, contacts with their gods, big birds, sudden winds, protectors during the dark nights, etc. No “pretty/ugly wingy thingies” ever visited or talked to Mohammed, Jesus, Mary or Joseph or Joe Smith. Today we would classify angels as fairies and “tinker bells”. Modern devils are classified as the demons of the de-mented.

    “4. To believe that all the heavenly books that were sent to the different prophets are true. However, apart from the Quran, all other books are not valid anymore.”

    Another major item to delete. There are no books written in the spirit state of Heaven (if there is one) just as there are no angels to write/publish/distribute them. The Koran, OT, NT etc. are simply books written by humans for humans.

    Prophets were invented by ancient scribes typically to keep the un-educated masses in line. Today we call them fortune tellers.

    Prophecies are also invali-dated by the natural/God/Allah gifts of Free Will and Future.

    “5. To believe that all the prophets are true. However, we are commanded to follow the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings
    be upon him) alone.”

    Mohammed spent thirty days “fasting” (the Ramadan legend) in a hot cave before his first contact with Allah aka God etc. via a “pretty wingy thingy”. Common sense demands a neuron deletion of #5. #5 is also the major source of Islamic vi-olence i.e. turning Mohammed’s “fast, hunger-driven” hallu-cinations into horrible reality for unbelievers.

  4. But there is no agreement on principles over reproductive rights.

  5. If I said I agree with you that a woman should have the right to seek an abortion I think we would be in agreement over that. If I said I never think abortion is the best solution in any situation it doesn’t nullify what we already agreed on. If we continued to talk about the issue you would probably never come to an agreement with we that abortion is never the best option but we would probably come to some conclusions where we agreed abortion not to be the best solution.

    I really believe this is not an issue that is as bleak as you see it.

  6. It’s not “bleak” because the issue is not abortion. Abortion occurs at the same rate whether it’s legal or illegal. Political and religious charlatans have misrepresented the issue. Criminalizing abortion will not reduce it, it will only drive it underground and thereby increase deaths of women. The antiabort groups could care less about that, because all they have for these women is contempt. A grand bargain could be accomplished in minutes if the antabort pols would accept strong limitations on abortion after the first trimester with exceptions for the health of the woman. They won’t because they gain more by playing the “Ain’t it Awful?” game and that would deprive them of it. Their concern is sex, period, not fetii.

  7. I don’t see the pro-choice and anti-abortion agreeing on the principle that abortion is murder.

  8. Well, I always admire a skeptic who’s ready for action.
    So let’s get ourselves some good Abrahamic action, yes?

    “Abraham, the Jewish patriarch, probably never existed.
    (prob·a·bly —- Adverb: Almost certainly; as far as one knows or can tell).”

    Okay, you clearly wanna fight, and this forum needs a beer-joint brawl anyway.
    Since you’re appealing to “probability”, a Jew, Christian or Muslim can reply that the Biblical Abe’s existence is far more probable than not, based on archaeological facts and ancient texts.

    But first, many readers would ask, “Why is this discussion even important to anybody’s faith?” For that specific answer, go here:
    http://www.simpletoremember.com/vitals/conservativebible.htm

    So now that we see the importance of the debate, let’s get on with the real Abraham:

    1. Abe’s hometown: Skeptics used to say that Abe was a myth because nobody could find Ur, his biblical hometown. But then, archaeologists found Ur, and even found a big pagan temple there (the Bible DOES suggest that Ur was into idolatry). Skeptics looked for other topics, very quickly! By the way, Abe traveled to Haran, and guess what? Haran was located as well (southwestern Turkey or something).

    2. Abe’s name: In the Mari Texts, you can find clear Amorite-ish parallels to Abraham’s name. For example, “A-ba-am-ra-ma”, “A-ba-ra-ma”, and “A-ba-am-ra-am.” So you indeed **could** have the biblical Abraham living in that region, Ur itself. Plus the Mari Texts show that the safest migration route (if you were Amorite-ish and departing Ur), just happened to be northward — which is the direction Abe’s journey started off.

    3. Abe’s clear familiarity with the actual laws/culture of the time: The Nuzi Tablets give you some ancient laws of that time/culture, that help illuminate what Abe was doing (in terms of legal arrangements) in Gen. 15 and 16 regarding Hagar and Sarah.

    4. Honestly, if I asked you, “Hey, please show me some archaeology or non-biblical texts that make it IMPOSSIBLE for a real guy named Abraham to live and migrate in that exact region, cities, cultures and time,” you would have no answer for me.

    These clear points show you that far it’s more ***probable*** that Abraham really existed and trekked through those Mideast cities (which really existed), and that he was aware of some of the laws and customs of his times. You did appeal to probability, yes?

    5. Finally, what evidence can these NY Times skeptizoids offer you to demonstrate that the biblical Abe never existed, hmm? NOTHING, they only got a flimsy argument from silence (viz., that we don’t have Abe’s exact burial site with his exact notarized obituary attested by 100 exact skeptics and atheists). But ***probability*** is CLEARLY on the side of all Jews, Christians, and Muslims who still believe that Abraham was truly real and historical.

    Hat tip to:
    http://www.biblegateway.org
    http://www.christianleadershipcenter.org/bibarch2.htm
    https://www.thoughtco.com/archaeological-evidence-abraham-in-the-bible-116875
    https://www.gotquestions.org/Abraham-religion.html

  9. I have no arguement with any of that. There are more and more pro life out there who feel the same way, but I don’t think it is a political position that will get a person elected. Ain’t it awful gets votes and sells ads in all media, compromises don’t get you votes and doesn’t sell many ads. It’s a two way street, I don’t mind owning my side.

  10. Helluva story. I’m sure my life will change in the morning.

  11. The sources for your argument are hardly the last word on the subject.

  12. There is no final resolution in the author’s analysis, nor is there likely to be. Such contentions, inside and outside the Church, will be everlastingly tiresome, except in those few instances where prudential compromises occur. At least until Christ Himself sets the final resolution..

  13. Major agreements achieved but by different
    methods:. Professors Crossan,
    Borg and Fredriksen, agree with what is currently being taught in graduate
    theology classes at many large Catholic universities (e.g. Catholic U, Notre
    Dame).

    1. There was no physical resurrection
    (i.e. Heaven is a Spirit State)

    2. And it therefore follows there was no
    ascension and no assumption.

    3. There is/was no original sin. A&E
    were fictional characters living in mythical land.

    4. And it therefore follows, baptism does
    not erase original sin since there is no sin to erase. Limbo therefore is a
    non-issue.

    5. Jesus was crucified but details of the
    deed have little historic verification.

    As per J.D. Crossan,

    From Crossan and Watts book, Who is
    Jesus????

    “My best historical reconstruction would
    be something like this. Jesus was arrested during the Passover festival, most
    likely in response to his action in the Temple. Those who were closest to him
    ran away for their own safety. I do not presume that there were any high-level
    confrontations between Caiaphas and Pilate and Herod Antipas either about Jesus
    or with Jesus. No doubt they would have agreed before the festival that fast
    action was to be taken against any disturbance and that a few examples by
    crucifixion might be especially useful at the outset. And I doubt very much if
    Jewish police or Roman soldiers needed to go too far up the chain of command in
    handling a Galilean peasant like Jesus. It is hard for us to imagine the casual
    brutality with which Jesus was probably taken and executed. All those
    “last week” details in our gospels, as distinct from the brute facts
    just mentioned, are prophecy turned into history, rather than history remembered.”

    For those interested in an analysis of sayings
    and ways of the historical Jesus where said analysis, based on the number of
    scriptural attestations and the stratum or time period of their
    “recording”, separates the actual utterances of Jesus from the
    embellishments and fiction, see http://www.faithfutures.org/Jesus/Crossan1.rtf
    and http://www.faithfutures.org/Jesus/Crossan2

  14. ” By the beginning of the 21st century, archaeologists had given up hope of recovering any context that would make Abraham, Isaac or Jacob credible historical figures.[7]”

    https://books.google.com/books?id=6-VxwC5rQtwC&pg=PA98#v=onepage&q=%22respectable%20archaeologists%22&f=false and
    https://www.amazon.com/What-Biblical-Writers-Know-When-ebook/dp/B001G0O3DI/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1501074665&sr=8-1&keywords=What+Did+the+Biblical+Writers+Know+and+When+Did+They+Know+It%3F%3A+What+…+By+William+G.+Dever

  15. Added details:
    See also Professor Crossan’s reviews of the existence of Jesus in his
    other books especially, The Historical Jesus and also Excavating Jesus (with
    Professor Jonathan Reed doing the archeology discussion) .

    Other NT exegetes to include members of the Jesus Seminar have published
    similar books with appropriate supporting references.

    Part of Crossan’s The Historical Jesus has been published online at
    books.google.com/books.

    There is also a search engine for this book on the right hand side of the
    opening page. e.g. Search Josephus

    See also Wikipedia’s review on the historical Jesus to include the
    Tacitus’ reference to the crucifixion of Jesus.

    From ask.com,

    “One of the greatest historians of ancient Rome, Cornelius Tacitus is
    a primary source for much of what is known about life the first and second
    centuries after the life of Jesus. His most famous works, Histories and Annals,
    exist in fragmentary form, though many of his earlier writings were lost to time.
    Tacitus is known for being generally reliable (if somewhat biased toward what
    he saw as Roman immorality) and for having a uniquely direct (if not blunt)
    writing style.

    Then there are these scriptural references:

    Crucifixion of Jesus:(1) 1 Cor 15:3b; (2a) Gos. Pet. 4:10-5:16,18-20;
    6:22; (2b) Mark 15:22-38 = Matt 27:33-51a = Luke 23:32-46; (2c) John
    19:17b-25a,28-36; (3) Barn. 7:3-5; (4a) 1 Clem. 16:3-4 (=Isaiah 53:1-12); (4b)
    1 Clem. 16.15-16 (=Psalm 22:6-8); (5a) Ign. Mag. 11; (5b) Ign. Trall. 9:1b;
    (5c) Ign. Smyrn. 1.2.- (read them all at wiki.faithfutures. Crucifixion
    org/index.php/005_Crucifixion_Of_Jesus )

    Added suggested readings:

    1. Historical Jesus Theories,
    earlychristianwritings.com/theories.html – the names of many of the
    contemporary historical Jesus scholars and the ti-tles of their over 100 books
    on the subject.

    Early Christian Writings,
    earlychristianwritings.com/

    – a list of early Christian doc-uments to include the year of publication–

    30-60 CE Passion Narrative

    40-80 Lost Sayings Gospel Q

    50-60 1 Thessalonians

    50-60 Philippians

    50-60 Galatians

    50-60 1 Corinthians

    50-60 2 Corinthians

    50-60 Romans

    50-60 Philemon

    50-80 Colossians

    50-90 Signs Gospel

    50-95 Book of Hebrews

    50-120 Didache

    50-140 Gospel of Thomas

    50-140 Oxyrhynchus 1224 Gospel

    50-200 Sophia of Jesus Christ

    65-80 Gospel of Mark

    70-100 Epistle of James

    70-120 Egerton Gospel

    70-160 Gospel of Peter

    70-160 Secret Mark

    70-200 Fayyum Fragment

    70-200 Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs

    73-200 Mara Bar Serapion

    80-100 2 Thessalonians

    80-100 Ephesians

    80-100 Gospel of Matthew

    80-110 1 Peter

    80-120 Epistle of Barnabas

    80-130 Gospel of Luke

    80-130 Acts of the Apostles

    80-140 1 Clement

    80-150 Gospel of the Egyptians

    80-150 Gospel of the Hebrews

    80-250 Christian Sibyllines

    90-95 Apocalypse of John

    90-120 Gospel of John

    90-120 1 John

    90-120 2 John

    90-120 3 John

    90-120 Epistle of Jude

    93 Flavius Josephus

    100-150 1 Timothy

    100-150 2 Timothy

    100-150 Titus

    100-150 Apocalypse of Peter

    100-150 Secret Book of James

    100-150 Preaching of Peter

    100-160 Gospel of the Ebionites

    100-160 Gospel of the Nazoreans

    100-160 Shepherd of Hermas

    100-160 2 Peter

    4. Jesus Database,
    http://www.faithfutures.o-rg/JDB/intro.html –”The JESUS DATABASE is an
    online a-nnotated inventory of the traditions concerning the life and teachings
    of Jesus that have survived from the first three centuries of the Common Era.
    It includes both canonical and extra-canonical materials, and is not limited to
    the traditions found within the Christian New Testament.”

    5. Josephus on Jesus mtio.com/articles/bis-sar24.htm

    6. The Jesus Seminar, http://en.wikipedia.o-rg/wiki/Jesus_Seminar

    7.
    http://www.biblicalartifacts.com/items/785509/item785509biblicalartifacts.html
    – books on the health and illness during the time of the NT

    8. Economics in First Century Palestine, K.C. Hanson and D. E. Oakman,
    Palestine in the Time of Jesus, Fortress Press, 1998.

    9.The Gn-ostic Jesus

    (Part One in a Two-Part Series on A-ncient and Modern G-nosticism)

    by Douglas Gro-othuis: http://www.equip.o-rg/articles/g-nosticism-and-the-g-nostic-jesus/

    10. The interpretation of the Bible in the Church, Pontifical Biblical
    Commission

    Presented on March 18, 1994

    ewtn.com/library/CURIA/PBCINTER.HTM#2

    11. The Jesus Database- newer site:

    wiki.faithfutures.o-rg/index.php?t-itle=Jesus_Database

    12. Jesus Database with the example of S-u-pper and Eucharist:

    faithfutures.o-rg/JDB/jdb016.html

    13. Josephus on Jesus by Paul Maier:

    mtio.com/articles/bis-sar24.htm

    13. http://www.textweek.com/mtlk/jesus.htmm- Historical Jesus Studies

    14. The Greek New Testament: laparola.net/greco/

    15. D-iseases in the Bible:

    http://books.google.com/books/about/The_d-iseases_of_the_Bible.html?id=C1YZAAAAYAAJ

    16. Religion on- Line (6000 a-rt-ic-les on the
    hi-story of religion, churches, theologies,

    theologians, eth-ics, etc. religion-online.o–rg/

    17.
    The New Testament Gateway – Internet NT n-tgate-way.com/

    18
    Writing the New Testament- existing copies, oral tradition etc.

    ntgateway.com/

    19. JD Crossan’s c-onclusions about the
    a-uthencity of most of the NT based on the above plus the c-onclusions of other
    NT e-xege-tes in the last 200 years:

    http://wiki.faithfutures.o-rg/index.p-hp?t-itle=Crossan_Inventory

    20. Early Jewish Writings- Josephus and his books
    by t-itle with the complete translated work in English
    :earlyjewishwritings.com/josephus.html

    21. Luke and Josephus- was there a c-onnection?

    in-fidels.o-rg/library/modern/richard_carrier/lukeandjosephus.html

    22. NT and beyond time line:

    pbs.o-rg/empires/pe-terandpaul/history/timeline/

    23. St. Paul’s Time line with discussion of
    important events:

    harvardhouse.com/prophetictech/new/pauls_life.htm

    24. See http://www.amazon.com for a list of JD
    Crossan’s books and those of the other Jesus Seminarians: Reviews of said books
    are included and selected pages can now be viewed on Amazon. Some books can be
    found on-line at Google Books.

    25. Father Edward Schillebeeckx’s words of wisdom
    as found in his books.

    27. The books of the following : Professors Gerd
    Ludemann, Marcus Borg, Paula Fredriksen, Elaine Pagels, Karen Armstrong and
    Bishop NT Wright.

    28. Father Raymond Brown’s An Introduction to the New Testament, Doubleday, NY,
    1977, 878 pages, with Nihil obstat and Imprimatur.

    29. Luke Timothy Johnson’s book The Real Jesus

    Did Jesus Exist?: The Historical Argument for
    Jesus of Nazareth [Hardcover]

    Bart D. Ehrman
    (Author)

  16. Nor do I but the other side does and neither side is going to change in the near term.
    (edited) I was only focusing on the extreme view. Some Christians agree to abortions for medical reasons and rape or incest so I see your point.

  17. ” . . . both E and F agree on compassion toward the poor, and on the church’s central role. But then they discover that they disagree about the best way to implement such compassion. E believes in spending the church’s resources on a targeted program to house a small number of homeless people, while F would rather offer free lunches each day at church to a larger number of people.”

    Rev. Gushee, don’t most Americans agree on general principles and disagree on how they can best be implemented?

    So, what else is new?!

  18. The book of Genesis is mythical and full of historical and scientific errors so how do we differentiate him from the mythical Adam and Eve, the people who could live to nearly 1000 years, the half-human and half-Angel Nephelim, Noah or Lot? Abraham lived 180 years and his wife gave birth at ninety. An angel appeared to him and commanded him to make his son a human sacrifice. If this is your Abraham then I say there is a extremely high probability that he didn’t exist.

  19. Thanks. I think you and I probably have some reasonable differences, I just don’t want to be identified with the extreme who hold a general same view as I. Why give them the primary voice in the conversation? Thanks again.

  20. Obsessive copying and pasting is a newly recognized psychological disorder. Get help before it’s too late. Lol.

  21. As a good student, you have read the reiterations of the “fems” (falsehoods, errors, muck and stench) of religion. Therefore the seeds have been planted in rich soil. Go therefore and preach the truth to all nations, reiterating as you go amongst the lost, bred, born and brainwashed souls of Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism as Rational Thinking makes its triumphant return all because of you!!!!

  22. Rational conclusions – not.
    Irrational screed – copious.

  23. Your premise is defective.
    Therefore your supporting evidence is irrelevant.

  24. Do me a favor please: state only your claim.

  25. This debate, like so may others, reminds us of the ethical limitations of moral reasoning itself. Does the fact that we even have a capacity for moral reasoning itself make us moral? We can imagine ‘principle’ but rarely find a way to realize insight into such ideals without corruption or compromise. Has evolution fixed limits upon the moral construct of culture we are able to realize? What constrains the highest of human aspirations is rarely
    imagined but if the catalyst with the necessary authority to realize
    the dream were ever revealed, who would care enough
    to believe with sufficient courage and conviction to act? Unfortunately
    the world has usually preferred the soft, the easy and more convenient
    ways of intellectual vanity, political correctness and spiritual confectionery
    than the honesty and courage to confront human nature itself! http://www.energon.org.uk

  26. See my updated Apostles’ Creed for 2017. Google will lead you to it.

  27. Okay…rewrite your claim into one – no more than two – sentences. Please!

  28. A rational discussion can only proceed from a clearly articulated claim – not more than a sentence or two. Please reduce your updated creed into a clearly articulated claim. That will help you and your reader follow your argument.

  29. The updated Creed is articulated and is based on five years of intensive study of the NT. Many of the references used have been presented. Pick any of the articulated sentences in said Creed and have at it.

  30. Those are not claims. Come on RC write an arguable claim with supporting evidence and I’ll give it my best shot.ok?

  31. The Apostles’ Creed is not a series of claims? Give me a break!

  32. You have written a series of comments on this thread. I’m just asking you to review your comments, formulate a claim with evidence, and I’ll attempt to address your argument. No gotcha here. Just a reasonable discussion.

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