Abandon All Fear

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Posts Tagged ‘mercy’

[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 »

[Resolutions] Foolish Words

Posted by Lex Fear on May 16, 2007

This is a sidestep from my usual rant.

This new year I made 1 resolution. My resolution could be viewed as foolhardy, unwise and uninformed. It felt that way anyway. Even as the words left my lips, I felt uncomfortable and had no way of backing it up. Nevertheless the words had passed into the air, and were out there. They were verbal deeds. My declaration?

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Anecdotes, Civil Disobedience, Dark Side of the Light, Justice & Mercy, Morals & Ethics, Non-Compliance, Takeback, The Purpose Missing Church, Wealth Creation | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

[Skynet Is Online] Terminators

Posted by Lex Fear on March 12, 2007

Prof. Prabhu Guptara blogs on the lack of discussion about the dangers of creating murderous machines.

“In any case, if my dear pet Jupiter is hacked into by my worst enemy and kills my best friend visiting me in my house, will it be I who am up for murder for not having my robot in my control…?” Renaissance: Insights for Action in Today’s World

I agree with Prof. Guptara that there desperately needs to be a debate on ethics, particularly in regards to anti-personnel robots being created to destroy and maim human life. Prof. Guptara quite rightly questions whether a killing machine would understand and “respond to pleas for mercy?”

Some other questions that could be asked:

  • How would a battle droid distinguish between innocents and combatants?
  • How would a battle droid recognise surrender?
  • What is the potential devastation that could be caused if a an evil genius managed to hack a small army of battle droids and deploy them to a major civilian area, or hold a government to hostage?
  • How would a battle droid handle a child soldier, how would it distinguish a toy-gun in a civilian situation?
  • What is the risk to human life if a bug got in the system?

20 years from now, if RoboJeevesTM develops a fault, your food is undercooked and your shirts are all crinkled, but nobody dies. If RoboMercinary develops a fault, suddenly Saturday afternoon at Bluewater turns into sniper alley!

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[False Choice] Justice or Mercy?

Posted by Lex Fear on June 7, 2006

Mercy is not the opposite of justice, in fact, it can be argued that mercy compels us to fight for justice.

There is a false truth being propagated in the Church today, you may have heard it already.

I don’t know the exact source this has come from but it goes that people tend to fall into one of 2 categories: Justice (Judgment) or Mercy. Whichever side of the line you fall will influence your decisions and interactions with people.

I would go so far to say this is a lie and it has come from the enemy. For a start, God through Jesus is the only judge, he repeatedly reminds us in his word:

“For we know him who said, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” and again, “The Lord will judge his people.” – Hebrews 10:30 NIV

Secondly, mercy is not the opposite of justice, in fact, it can be argued that mercy compels us to fight for justice. In fact Jesus repeatedly reminds us not to judge, in the word:

“Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.” – Luke 6:36-37 NIV

and

“…because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment!” – James 2:13 NIV

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Posted in Justice & Mercy, Laymans Theology, The Purpose Missing Church | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »