Abandon All Fear

What nobody else seems to be saying…

Posts Tagged ‘good and evil’

[Whodunnit Pt. 2] Let Him Have It…

Posted by Lex Fear on June 10, 2009

Back in February I had a long comment discussion with an atheist called Postsimian which started on a post at The Friendly Atheist, but went off topic so I brought it here.

Whilst not intended, this makes an excellent follow-up to that post – Killing In The Name Of…

The gist of the discussion was one of hermeneutics. Postsimian argued that ‘if’ there was a God, he was evil, because of the certain events and commands given by God in the Old Testament, taken literally. My argument was that, as well as the need for proper exegetical context, there is a need for a greater perspective on what is written in the OT, which relies heavily on if we deem the events real or made-up.

The crux of the matter was whether God, assumedly being good, could be capable of evil – i.e. killing seemingly innocent people. Postsimians study of the OT led him to conclude that even if God is good, he is capable of evil, whereas my study of the bible leads me to conclude that certain acts of God which seem wrong on the face of it, are not when understood in context.

It later occured to me that this argument is demonstrated aptly in a film I watched years ago based on the true story of Derek Bentley called Let Him Have It. The premise of the film is of a robbery which goes disasterously wrong. During the attempted arrest, brain-damaged Bentley yells out to his younger accomplice “Let him have it” – referring to the gun, and subsequently his accomplice, Christopher Craig, shoots the policeman. For those not in the know, “Let him have it” used to be a turn of phrase in the UK for giving the go-ahead to attack someone. The question is: Did Bentley order Craig to hand over the gun, or fire it at the copper?

The real-life case, in actual fact, did not hinge upon these words, but it does prove useful for this exercise. For the police, by yelling “let him have it” Bentley was giving the order to shoot, and was therefore intending evil, and rightly deserved the death penalty. For the defence, Bentley was ordering Craig to hand over the gun and surrender.

The fact is, without any supporting evidence apart from the reading of Bentleys words, your view of Bentleys guilt will be based on your own preconceptions and bias. If you were not British and raised in the time of the 50’s you may well think that Bentley ordered Craig to surrender. However, if you were around at the time, you may have thought differently.

By now you know what I’m getting at. This is nearly the same problem when it comes to reading biblical texts literally. No, God is not going around in the OT ordering people to shoot other people, but there are times when he has commanded specific instructions and left it for his people to interpret and then act, or intercede.

More and more, it seems to me that what is not written in the OT scriptures, is more important than what is actually written.

In the end, Postsimian may be right after all about one thing, in some cases it seems like it is a mere subtle nuance. However, I must counterbalance this with the truth that in every instance of the OT where God orders the destruction of human life, as the law required (just like the American justice system), when people either interceded or pleaded for mercy, they were shown mercy.

This is why if you are going to honestly critique the Old Testament, you cannot read it literally. You need to be prepared to study a bit of history and culture at the same time. It is also why I feel I cannot emphasise enough, that God is not looking for people to carry out judgement (under the law), but instead he is looking for people to intercede and carry out mercy and forgiveness (when the law has been broken).

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Posted in Apologetics, Justice & Mercy, Laymans Theology, Xianity | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

[Neo-Atheism] The War Against Theism

Posted by Lex Fear on June 6, 2007

This Post Is Rated: O for May be deemed Offensive. But it’s not, really, not unless you want to be offended.

Side Note: This is my first post using Microsoft’s new Windows Live Writer, which works almost effortlessly with Blogger! It’s amazing, Microsoft is actually embracing third party and open source?! It’s actually pretty decent and so far was the easiest to configure amongst the ones I tested.

I consider myself a fairly moderate/progressive Christian, someone who believes in all the tenets of the Christian faith, but also someone who you could have a pint down the pub with and talk about current events. But I started to notice that some of the bloggers whose opinions I both read and respect have made negative reference to the Christian faith, both passively and directly. The basis of their arguments usually consist of the old Science vs Religion argument, but it can sometimes degenerate into the usual “religion is dangerous/evil/fault of the worlds problems”.

I therefore felt I should make a direct comment on the rise of anti-theism that is being led by fundamentalist atheists such as Richard Dawkins. It’s not just a point of discussing scientific theories, if that was the case most people would not have heard of him, it’s gets much more personal than that. The reason being is that Dawkins and people like him are hostile towards religion, specifically Christianity, and consider believers like myself to be infected with a “virus of the mind“.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Apologetics, Laymans Theology, Little Hitlers, Morals & Ethics, Opinion, Pharisees, Religion & Science, The Religious Wrong, Uncircumcised Philistines, V for Vendetta | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments »

[Fearisms] What Do You Fear?

Posted by Lex Fear on June 2, 2007

Fear is a powerful, unpleasant feeling of risk or danger, either real or imagined. – Wikipedia.

All of us experience fear at different times for different reasons, it has the power to take over and control our thoughts and actions. It can affect who we are and who we become. Fear comes in many forms: mortal, and psychological.

Abandon All Fear exists as a testament to overcoming fear. It is a statement, a statement of truth about standing up against intimidation and the dark powers and principalities. It is about speaking truth, regardless of cultural sensibilities. It is about the experience and journey, of being an overcomer.

Fear of God doesn’t mean living in the shadow of a judge or higher power, it means being filled with a higher power and fearing nothing else on this earth.

Posted in Anecdotes | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

[Ideologies] Right-Minded Individuals

Posted by Lex Fear on May 25, 2007

This Post Is Rated: M for You will probably be Mildly offended. But you won’t be able to explain why.

A while back Bryan Ferry was quoted in The Grauniad about his comments praising Nazi aesthetics.

“I apologise unreservedly for any offense caused by my comments… I, like every right-minded individual, find the Nazi regime, and all it stood for, evil and abhorrent.”

I found it interesting he referenced right-minded individuals (no, I don’t mean politically). I find it interesting because it causes me to wonder, do right-minded individuals really find the Nazi regime abhorrent? I think to verify that, we would need to know who would be considered a ‘right-minded individual’. We also need to establish what exactly was abhorrent about the Nazi regime?

Nazism, defined by Wikipedia is:

I haven’t listed every single reference on Wikipedia (one hotly disputed section argues that Nazism was anti-capitalist which is a joke), nevertheless these are the main associations with Nazi ideology. You will notice that ethnic nationalism, anti-liberalism, anti-communism and nationalism are on this list. Strangely enough, you can find examples of large groups of people who support these ideologies alive and well today (particularly in regards to the American government).

So is it really right-minded to oppose these ideologies? I suspect that many ‘right-minded individuals’ were caught up in the Nazi rhetoric before we could look back in hindsight knowing it was all evil and abhorrent. After all, how else would Hitler rise to power if he was not charismatic and good at blending a patriotic and religious message?

Perhaps being ‘right-minded’ is not enough… or perhaps it’s not about being ‘right-minded’ at all. The problem with using a term such as ‘right-minded’ is that it can only be defined in relative terms. Instead of acknowledging what is essentially evil or abhorrent, we define it as evil and abhorrent only as long as the majority of what we consider ‘right-minded individuals’ find it evil and abhorrent.

See how easy it is to fall into the trap of circular reasoning?

Why am I making such a meal of this? Because it’s quite apparent to me that “I, like every right-minded individual” is a rhetorical statement.

It’s important for us to analyse what makes an ideology evil, and to stand against it as a matter of principal. We should not stand against an ideology simply because someone we dislike believes in it, or everyone agrees it’s wrong – otherwise we will not recognise true evil when it stares us in the face.

Posted in Doublethink, Little Hitlers, Morals & Ethics, Opinion, Pharisees, Propaganda, Quoteyness | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

[Do No Evil] Google Staying Good

Posted by Lex Fear on March 15, 2007

Google raises the bar– and deserves an award for not joining the government suck-up Corporati.

Posted in Absolute Power, Bad Company, Buyer Beware, Databases, Morals & Ethics | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

[Created Image] Gods First Command

Posted by Lex Fear on September 27, 2006

“Where the heck was Adam when Eve was being seduced?”

A little while ago I watched a documentary on Channel 4 called Pram-Face. It was a documentary about young single mothers on benefits- a fly on the wall view of the unglamorous reality of bringing up children alone and on benefits.

Single mothers on benefits, or Pram-faces, get a bad press here in the UK. Generally looked upon with similar disdain reserved for asylum seekers. But something that one of the mothers said, and I’m only quoting from memory, made me stop and think about this particular underclass and their relation to society:

“Ever since I was young I just wanted to have children. I never wanted anything else, I never aspired to anything, just wanted children.”

That’s enough to make a Daily Mail readers’ blood boil. I also know many fellow Xians who would be quick to pick up their stones of righteousness.

In the UK, we live in a society that predominantly looks down upon people who rely on state benefit, particularly if they show no aspirations towards improving their life. We disapprove of young women who seem to have no higher goal than to get pregnant. We class them as a lower intelligence and a lower caste, however I have to question.

Have we as a British society got it the wrong way round?

I’m going to be taking my lead from the Bible, so if you’re not a believer this may not mean much to you, that’s fine. However, to those who connect themselves to faith, God, Jesus or the Word in anyway, it’s time for us to rethink our prejudices.

When I think about the words of the young lady above, I wonder where that desire comes from- where that “low” aspiration and “low” standard was conceived. Then, after some thought, I found the answer, it’s in Gods first command to us human beings:

“So God created people in his own image; God patterned them after himself; male and female he created them. God blessed them and told them, “Multiply and fill the earth and subdue it. Be masters over the fish and birds and all the animals.” – Genesis 1:27-28 NLT

It occurs to me that young girls whose only aspiration on leaving school is to have babies are not aiming low, they’re actually following the highest command given to us. They are following the natural instinct placed in us by God. Does that mean that they should have a baby straight away and out of wedlock? Obviously not! But it we also should assess our values and our treatment of those who aspire to be mothers. It is women who pursue careers, or possessions, or passion without love or commitment who are unnatural- and I mean that only in a theological sense.

So a young women with a desire only for motherhood is not necessarily wrong, certainly not sinning or a moral failure. However it is clear there is something wrong with society and with young women bringing up children alone and on benefit. Unfortunately the media, the culture and the religious right have focused on the victims rather than the perpetrators. The question I have to ask is…

Where are the men?

Rarely do we see a man or young man condemned for the increases in young single mums on benefits. Yet it is young men impregnating young women and not taking up the responsibility of fatherhood. We are becoming a nation of orphans, a nation without fathers, and it is men who are responsible, not single mothers.

Men have abused their position. Whilst a young girl may get frowned at for getting herself pregnant, a young man will get a pat on the back from his mates for ‘nailing’ her, possibly even older men in his life also.

Why is it as a society we don’t hold fathers and sons to account?

We are allowing men to get away with not taking responsibility for their actions, re-enforcing the idea that sex is something they gain as a reward and not something they give to a life-partner. Going from female to female with no thought for the consequences of their actions, boasting of their conquests down the pub.

Religion is partly to blame for this, the sex-culture has taken over but historically religion has misinterpreted Gods intentions. If we read on in Genesis, Eve eventually sinned by eating of the forbidden fruit of the tree of knowledge. God then explains the consequences of their actions, the curse. Mens’ innate lack of responsibility is evident even here:

“Who told you that you were naked?” the LORD God asked. “Have you eaten the fruit I commanded you not to eat?”
“Yes,” Adam admitted, “but it was the woman you gave me who brought me the fruit, and I ate it.”
Then the LORD God asked the woman, “How could you do such a thing?”
“The serpent tricked me,” she replied. “That’s why I ate it.”
So the LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, you will be punished. You are singled out from all the domestic and wild animals of the whole earth to be cursed. You will grovel in the dust as long as you live, crawling along on your belly. From now on, you and the woman will be enemies, and your offspring and her offspring will be enemies. He will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”
Then he said to the woman, “You will bear children with intense pain and suffering. And though your desire will be for your husband, he will be your master.”
And to Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate the fruit I told you not to eat, I have placed a curse on the ground. All your life you will struggle to scratch a living from it. It will grow thorns and thistles for you, though you will eat of its grains. All your life you will sweat to produce food, until your dying day. Then you will return to the ground from which you came. For you were made from dust, and to the dust you will return.” – Genesis 3: 11-19 NLT

The second line I have highlighted is a line that has been responsible for much suffering and injustice to women down the ages, ever since it was spoken. It has been used and is still used today by men in authority who do not want to take responsibility or show compassion: though your desire will be for your husband, he will be your master.

I believe mainstream religious authorities have gravely misinterpreted this bit of scripture. Why? Look at Gods original intent for Eve. An equal with Adam, a partner, a lover. What happened? Eve was seduced by the Serpent, and through that seduction she made a gross error. God now puts Eve under Adams authority. Therefore we must ask why God put Eve under Adams authority? Was Gods intention that Adam should lord over Eve, that he should now have some sort of advantage?

For a start, just look at Adams response to being confronted by God. He blames Eve, tries to absolve himself of the responsibility for his actions. Eve can then only blame the Snake (a possible allegory? …only kidding). But there is a
more pressing question that needs to be asked:

Where the heck was Adam when Eve was being seduced?

I reckon God put Adam in authority over Eve for responsibility. God was basically saying to Adam, look you can’t lay blame on someone else, I’m making you responsible for any mistakes in your marriage. God was ordering Adam to care for and look after Eve, to work hard for her, to protect her from the Snakes that are out there.

So as a society, how does God want us to respond to these single mums on benefits? Just as God made Adam responsible for caring, protecting, and working hard for Eve… Perhaps we as a society should be seeking to hold men accountable to the women and children they have abandoned, or are simply too selfish to bring up. Perhaps the Church should seek the opportunity here to lead the way in restoration towards women in general?

I reckon that old and young men who have neglected their father and husband responsibilities are going to have a lot to answer for when they finally meet God.

Thoughts?

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Posted in Apologetics, Justice & Mercy, Laymans Theology, Morals & Ethics, Smear Campaigns, The Purpose Missing Church, Uncircumcised Philistines | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

[Predicting Evil] Resourcing Not to Blame for 7/7 – Not Proud of Britian…

Posted by Lex Fear on May 13, 2006

Excellent post over at Not Proud of Britain…

“With hindsight, when would the authorities have arrested Mohammad Sidique Khan or ‘Sid the school assistant’ as he was known? As he headed towards Kings Cross on July 7th or sometime earlier when his intentions were still far from certain?” – Snafu

I think this pretty much sums up the whole problem with The War Against Terror (TWAT) and our current governments obsession with micro-managing our lives, and locking up people before they have (potentially) committed any crime.

There are 2 certainties here; number one, there is no person, scientist, government, computer or spirit on earth that can predict with 100% accuracy that someone is destined to commit a crime or turn into a terrorist. Secondly, every human being alive has the potential inside themselves to commit good or evil.

The bible, and indeed nature, tells us that we are inclined towards evil, and that good is only achieved when we overcome our own evil (selfish) desires. I wont get into it here, but anyone who wants to argue with me on these points can feel free to leave a comment and I will respond.

The only being that knows whether we will do right or wrong is God. So why doesn’t God intervene and stop these things? If Sid Khan was ‘destined’ to become a suicide bomber, why did God allow him to carry out his plan? Well, there are 2 answers. The first is if God was to start interfering with our lives, interfering with our decisions, good or bad, then where would it stop?

We know Sid Khan was basically plotting to murder people. What if God had read Sids mind when he started planning this? What if God just ended Sids life as soon as the thoughts began? Is there anyone who can tell me they haven’t thought about ‘murdering’ someone in the heat of the moment. Even spoken the threat out loud “I’m going to kill him…”? If God interrupted to take out any person who ever issued a threat or thought about doing wrong, I’m pretty sure people would start dropping dead everywhere, in the street and at work. If God did this, sure we would be safe, but there would be no people at all! We wouldn’t have had these people either:

Mother Teresa
Alfred Nobel (Nobel Peace Prize)
Stanley ‘Tookie’ Williams
St Paul

Since we know suicide bombers believe they are doing Gods work (just as Saul of Tarsus did), we can assume they also prayed to God, even before they carried out their malicious acts. What is to say that God has not already tried to appeal to these people on their way to the target?

Regardless, one thing the bible does make clear is that God could remove those destined to do evil, even stop them from being born. By his grace, he doesn’t, he allows them to live being patient. In other words, giving them a chance to repent and escape their destiny.

And by his grace, we all are allowed to live our lives.

Posted in Anti-Terrorists, Doublethink, Justice & Mercy, Opinion, Propaganda, Quoteyness, Realpolitik, Uncircumcised Philistines | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

What Did God Say?

Posted by Lex Fear on November 27, 2005

I drove to London yesterday to see an old friend who had flew in from Washington. We spent some time chatting and catching up with each other, then sure enough it got round to politics. Now I haven’t blogged on here about politics yet, and it’s not because I’m not interested, it’s actually one of my favourite subjects. I haven’t blogged simply because I have so much to say I wouldn’t finish. Plus there are lots of other blogs doing politics.

[Joe], my friend, is very worried about where his country is headed, the patriot act, invasions of privacy, all that stuff. I have to say I share the same sentiments. We shared a few jokes over Bush. I saw a cartoon recently, George Bush on the the telephone and the voice on the other end “George, it’s GOD, from now on try to play down our relationship.”

I can’t believe the hypocrisy of the UK and US governments at the moment. It seems odd that God would tell a bunch of guys to fly planes into the twin towers, and now it was God who told the President to attack Iraq. Anyone would think the God we have is some sort of Greek god of war, waging bets over the nations against the other gods like some sort of gargantuan cock-fight.

I can’t believe that opposition parties in both countries have failed abysmally to see the irony and the hypocrisies in the whole affair, so I’m going to point them out.

  • We invaded Iraq because Saddam had WMD, but he didn’t have any WMD.
  • Then they said it was to bring and end to a torturous regime, So we remove Saddam and inflict our own torture, but call it ‘abuse’.
  • Notice how if someone was stepped and forced into lurid sex acts in the UK, it would be called sexual abuse. They would probably be jailed then put on a sex-offenders list. When it’s carried out by our troops, it’s called sexual ‘humiliation’, not ‘abuse’. Because to abuse someone that’s just perverted, but to humiliate someone, well that’s just not nice.
  • We invaded to bring freedom to the Iraqis, but at home, we remove civil liberties and freedom bringing in draconian laws to detain people and use evidence extracted by torture.
  • We brought ‘democracy’ to Iraq and removed a regime that tortured dissidents, but Iraq’s own ‘US Trained’ security forces have been inflicting torture.
  • We got rid of a despot who used chemical weapons on his own people, and now we are using chemical weapons on those same people of Iraq.
  • hypocrisy doesn’t just end with the government. Back when the invasion was beginning, like churches all over the US and the UK I’m sure, at my church one of our pastors led a prayer for the troops. The only thing I could think was ‘who’s praying for the Iraqis, the ones our troops are killing?”. Now I don’t think we shouldn’t pray for our troops, but we have to not buy into Bush’s whole world view of Good and Evil. Too many conservative Christians are doing this.

I don’t care how much Bliar or ‘Burning’ Bush attempt to justify this war/insurgency or whatever, the more it goes on, the more ironies turn up… more and more it seems there was no reason invade in the first place.

I don’t even want to start on the home front and the erosion of our own freedoms, all I will say is the Brave New World of 1984, here we come.

Posted in Absolute Power, Anti-Terrorists, Bollotics, Morals & Ethics, Pharisees, Propaganda, The Religious Wrong | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »