When it come to moral reasoning, the premises must encompass and contain the entire moral world. We are creatures, which means that our starting point must be bounded and finite, with a consistent set of moral assumptions embedded.
“The ultimate ethical injunctions have always been premises, never conclusions. Kant was perfectly right on that point at least: the imperative is categorical. Unless the ethical is assumed from the outset, no argument will bring you to it” (C.S. Lewis, Essays, p. 313).
This means that in order to presuppose Scripture (which I do), I must also presuppose the world in which it was given. In order to presuppose the morality taught in Scripture, which I do, I must also presuppose that same moral universe for the men to whom the Scriptures first came.
Before the first special revelation was given, the men who inhabited that world were men inhabiting a world about which the coming special revelation would be true. Another way of putting this is that men were without excuse before Romans 1 was written.
Natural revelation, natural law, is manifest. It is plain, obvious, clear. There is nothing obscure about it. More than this, it is inescapable. No man ever revolted against the divine order of things except by caricature — suppressing some features of the traditional morality and exaggerating others. We are incapable of inventing a new morality de novo. The most we can do is rearrange the furniture.
Christians who deny natural law, therefore, despite their best intentions, are doing this very same thing. An unbeliever might suppress certain elements of sexual morality and exaggerate our duty to “be nice, not mean,” for example. This is arbitrary cherry picking. But a Christian who says that the Bible is for those who believe in the Bible, and those who do not accept what the Bible says are not bound by it, is doing the same thing. He is suppressing one aspect of the only morality that exists and is exaggerating another part of it. In this case he is suppressing the necessary element of universal authority and exaggerating the principle of voluntarism. Different cherries are being picked, but everyone is in the same orchard. Every man has his own basket, but it is absurd to postulate a morality that can fit within a bushel. Nothing is moral unless it encompasses the entire orchard, not to mention the cosmos containing the orchard.
All men answer to God. All men answer to the same God, the living God. No aspect of the created order is outside His authority. The fact that this is the case is self-evident to every man. All of us know it. Unbelievers deal with this by stubborn and willful suppression of the detested truths. Compromised believers deal with it by retreat to a limited jurisdiction in order to flatter the demoted truth with false honors. “Jesus is Lord” is the monarch and emperor of all propositions, but when our retreat to commitment is complete, we find that we have made it the mayor of our little village — a village comprised of a handful of cottages. You know the cottages, our statement of faith, our constitutional documents, and our hymnal. Some of the hymns have a thatched roof, and are quite picturesque.
Nihilists hate being told that’s what they are. They think they can create value.
They want both I think: To create meaning while simultaneously denying it. They want to have eaten the apple, and not have eaten the apple. They want sins when they want sins and virtue when they want virtue.
> All men answer to God. All men answer to the same God, the living God.
So refreshing. Such good news.
So in light of this, then, can we say that an unbeliever blaspheming is committing a sin? I’ve heard some Christians argue that because they’re not believers, it’s not a sin for them to take God’s name in vain…but that never sat right with me.
Gravity does not care if someone does not believe in it.
A sixty story building still has 60 stories even if someone does not believe it.
Let God be true though every one were a liar, as it is written,
“That you may be justified in your words,
and prevail when you are judged.”
It is a sin. Though they may be less culpable. God judges, in part, on what we know.
I have known few Christians to say that unbelievers are not bound by the Bible in an authoritative way. On the other hand, I have known many to say that requiring unbelievers to live by the standards of the Bible is not profitable because they do not have the means to obey it. It isn’t about them not being bound and condemned by the Bible. It is about them not having the Spirit of God in them. Sabbatarians like you Doug, from what I understand, would find the commandment to worship God one day in seven rooted in a creation… Read more »
I think what you’re missing is that even for Christians, not all sins are crimes. Just because God requires (and in fact expects and demands) something, it does not logically follow that it should be civil law.
Unbelievers (like believers) are sinning every moment they do not do everything that God requires of man. But not all of those things are matters for human justice.
Thank you for that response. I don’t think I am missing that point. I understand that not all sins should be crimes. But Doug is saying that marriage between two men should be a crime and he is tying it to natural law through the testimony of the Bible. I am simply asking how the Sabbath doesn’t have just as much of a claim on those grounds as marriage does in his mind.
Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just?
Yes, He did.
To both righteous Lot, and to the crowds at the front door.
And of course, Nineveh.
She answered (sins ain’t always crimes) based on your example of Sabbath breaking. Of course some sins are crimes. And some laws are just nonsense. If we have a law defining pi to equal 3, even though the vote is unanimous of all the citizens, it is a nonsense law and pi remains unaffected. Once can have various laws giving gays rights, or removing them, and they may be very real, and either just or unjust. But a law allowing marriage is a nonsense law. Not so much an unjust law (though it is) but everyone agreeing to and acting… Read more »
I feel as though I’m saying the same thing over and over and people aren’t understanding me. That usually means I am the one with the problem communicating so I apologize… Let me try again using your analogy. If we have a law defining pi to 3.14 and all the citizens vote unanimously yes on the basis that it is mathematically true, and then we hold another vote as citizens concerning a2+b2=c2. When people start saying “no” to that one and I look at it and think “but it’s true for the same reasons pi is true” then I want… Read more »
As a creation-based argument, I think (as you intimated) that it seems clear that God resting on the seventh day is a natural model. In particular, the fact that He “blessed the seventh day and made it holy” shows it as a special day (holy/set apart)), and since it is part of the creation order, it would seem to supersede the Mosaic (Exodus, Leviticus, etc) requirements.
From a more universal (beyond natural) point of human subordination, there is always this: “ALL AUTHORITY in heaven and on earth has been given to me.”
Who is not subject to that?
Everyone is subject to the Lord Jesus. I do not contest that. It is clear that our Lord claims authority over everything and everyone. The question I have in view, however, is this; in what ways does he claim that authority and in what way would he have us claim that authority? Put another way, How does Jesus intend for us to go about this world executing his authority? He claims it to be sure and there are a billion ways he could go about using it. He could come on the clouds right now and that wouldn’t be outside… Read more »
I would say “…make “disciples” (mathéteuó, trained, disciplined, to train in the truths of Scripture and the lifestyle required) of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.”
I totally agree with you. That would be the Church’s job though right? Not the government’s? Jesus gave that command and authority to the Apostles and through them to his church. So when we fight against disobedience, in all it’s forms, on the basis of the Gospel’s truth then we are engaging in the fight in a way that we have the authority to do. And when we do such things, we can be assured that as more and more people are saved and taught the truths of God, then the culture around them will be transformed. But that type… Read more »
Mr. Arnold, First of all, I wanted to reprise the issue of: “Natural revelation, natural law, is manifest. It is plain, obvious, clear. There is nothing obscure about it. More than this, it is inescapable.” I do not think that it is completely accurate to call it a presupposition; it is direct scriptural doctrine: “For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world,in the things that have been made.… Read more »
He writes his law on our hearts. We willingly (as America used to) keep the Sabbath.
Well Sabbath, if it holds, is special revelation. Not so gay marriage.
Natural revelation is true, but incomplete.
How is it not so with marriage? Where in the natural realm do you see marriage ceremonies going on? We see the sun set and the sun rise and we know that there is a thing called a day. God also tells us that he has sanctified one of those days. We see that male and female uniting together sexually reproduces, but you don’t get marriage from that. You need God showing you in his word what marriage is. You are correct, natural revelation is true, but incomplete. You are incorrect, I think, in believing that the covenant of marriage… Read more »
Possibly*, but then even if we were to have a human construct of contract with sexual sharing, natural revelation would prove that it could not involve 2 men.
(*1. Because marriage was instigated at the beginning of creation, tradition means it is universally known unless forgotten about.
Our conscience is also part of natural revelation and our jealousy over sexual infidelity suggests that sexual commitment is part of natural law.)
Genesis 2:23-24: “The man said, ‘This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.’” The very least you must say about this verse is that it explicitly roots marriage in the creation order. It is “for this reason,” – a direct link. The fact that it is recounted and explained in God’s Word does not change the fact that it emanates from the created order – the natural order. And that’s the issue – whether or not something is rooted in the creation order. The… Read more »
Mr. Massingill, Thank you for your post. I have read it several times now to make sure I understand what you are saying and I am still not positive I have it. First, I’m not disagreeing that marriage is a creation mandate. I’m assuming it. Secondly, Please remember that I am attempting to work within Doug’s presuppositions to understand this, “Natural revelation, natural law, is manifest. It is plain, obvious, clear. There is nothing obscure about it. More than this, it is inescapable.” Third, How does Adam saying what he said about Eve, regarding their oneness, make any more of… Read more »
You do misunderstand Doug on Sabbath.
Natural revelation and Scripture both reveal that God requires Sabbath observation by all men.
And Sabbath is a daily occurrence.
(God did not “rest up” on day 7 so He could get back to work the next day.)
That men and our governments have an impossible job enforcing the required holiness restricts our judicial effectiveness.
Not so with marriage — that’s a piece of cake.
Thank you very much. If you are correct that what you expressed is where Doug would stand on this issue then that answers my question. Since you are speaking for him would you possibly have a sermon or blog post to point me to which would corroborate your answer?
Side question, if you have time. What do you mean by “Sabbath is a daily occurrence”? Thanks again!
Perhaps the dichotomy you see is a result of Christians being nearly unanimous on the notion that God created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve. But Christians are quite disparate on the notion that God sanctified the seventh day for all eternity, and therefore so should we, and by the way, it’s now the first day. It’s hard for Christians to make judicial laws that reflect Scriptural mandates when we can’t agree on what Scripture says. And perhaps the reason for this disagreement is not rooted in the fact that the NT seems to provide at least something of… Read more »
Thank you Malachi. My problem with your proposition is that I can’t ever remember an issue where the majority opinion within Christendom ever really mattered to Doug in a final sort of way. I find him to be more Biblically thought through than that and so I am hoping he can provide an answer more justifiable than, “We all agree on this one and we don’t all agree on that one.” For the record, I could be totally misunderstanding his position on the Sabbath in the first place. But if I am not, and he actually does believe the Sabbath… Read more »
Colossians 2: 14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; 15 And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it. 16 Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: 17 Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ. Certain things were nailed to the Cross. Certain… Read more »
I am not asking about whether the Sabbath has been fulfilled in Christ or not. I am asking about how his foundational assumptions play out in two issues of the same type. You may very well be convinced that the Sabbath has been fulfilled in Christ, but that doesn’t mean Doug is.
On the Sabbath issue, “Let no man therefore judge you”. Are you judging? Are the issues of the same type then? Are you not self interpreting? We seem to have a lot of that going around now; the world is very alluring. We all need to be careful.
Interestingly, though – Sabbath breaking was a crime in ancient Israel.
As well as in the Puritan colonies.
We do honor those businesses that keep the Sabbath. The local business in mine do, the national chains and state-wide chains do not.
I would welcome such laws. It does the society good to stop all commerce, the mind then naturally turns to the important things.
I don’t necessarily disagree. But as a matter of principle, “If God wants everybody to obey Him, why isn’t everything bad illegal?” is a specious question.
Are you still under the impression that I’m asking why everything bad isn’t illegal? Or is there another “specious” question you are referring to?
If I’m a Jew, whose Sabbath is Saturday, or a Muslim, whose Sabbath is Friday, then requiring me to shut my doors on your Sabbath means I’m closed two days a week, which might well put me out of business. Do they get an exemption that allows them to be open Sunday, or can they just not make a living?
Maybe they should move to a Jewish or Muslim country if they can’t respect the culture and laws they’re living with.
Dude, you’re currently living in a secular culture reflected by secular laws. By your standard, maybe you should find a Christian country to move to. Uganda is pretty.
My family was here before those laws and that culture arrived. Get off my lawn.
So long as you and your family stay off the culture’s lawn.
As you may have noticed, we have no principle requiring it and no motivation to do so.
Which is why non-theocrats must look to the legal system for protection in self defense. Like I said to Timothy, nobody is asking you to submit to us; just that you stop trying to get us to submit to you.
Ahem. That is equine excrement of the first class. A society where nobody is asked to submit to the laws of the king and to the norms of the culture is a contradiction in terms. The entire purpose of a legal system is to compel submission.
The entire purpose of a legal system is so that people can live together in relative peace and harmony. Granted, that does include coercing people who don’t wish to live together in peace and harmony, or whose idea of peace and harmony is making life miserable for everyone else.
And there’s no reason why a culture can’t have as its basis the idea that people who aren’t hurting anyone else should generally be left alone. In other words, there’s no reason why the Episcopal church can’t perform gay weddings that Baptists refuse to recognize.
Ahem. Ahem. What’s the difference between “law” and “custom?” Ans: Takes a LOT more nerve to break a custom. ashv, your problem here is an unwillingness to recognize the difference between “law/gummit” and “society/culture.” You’d be much more comfortable in an ISIS version of Islamic society where it is literally not possible to speak of a concept such as “separation of church and state.” (You even use the word “submission.” That’s eerie. Or off-the-chart irony?) Or you could become a Democrat, so you could echo “Government is the only thing we all belong to.” But in NO free society is… Read more »
But in NO free society is the purpose of the legal system to enforce cultural norms.
Plutarch has an account of a woman who,as a matter of public display, had sex with a goat.
That is what being a slave to sin does to women and men.
You write that law is downstream from culture. Well, culture is downstream from spiritual things. Spirit->culture->laws .
Hi Timothy, is your position that people should be deterred from being slaves to sin by making more sin illegal? But how does it please God if the only reason I refrain from sin is fear of the civil law?
How does the king please God if he does not use the power of the sword to restrain public wickedness?
He pleases God by ruling justly and mercifully, by defending his people, and by using the power of the sword to restrain murderers, thieves, rapists, kidnapers, child molesters, and so on. I don’t see his function as restraining sexual sin that doesn’t fall into one of the above categories.
So you oppose indecent exposure laws?
I did say “and so on.” You can count flashers into that category. And drunk drivers. And people who sell crystal meth to school children.
How is public celebration of sexual perversion any different?
People should keep their clothes on. People should not have sex in public. Other than that, it depends what you mean by “celebrate.” I think people have a civil right to gay pride parades. I think they should keep their clothes on and refrain from having sex.
So your objection is merely emotional, based on what offends you at the moment.
I don’t think it is emotional, and I don’t think it is a question of what I find offensive. I tend to wander around in a haze, and don’t notice much of what goes on around me. I have been in Disneyland on Gay Days, and have not seen any of the carryings-on that outrage other people. My standard is based on what the culture has traditionally defined as not okay in public: sexual activity and some types of nudity. Just because the secular culture here is much more tolerant of gay sex these days, there is no need to… Read more »
A mockery of a marriage ceremony for sexual perverts is public sexual perversion. This is certainly within the reach of the law and doesn’t involve knocking down any doors.
I believe that when two divorced people, who have spouses still living, get married, it is a mockery of the marriage ceremony. It is a pretense that glosses over the fact that the new union is frankly adulterous. Should I be able to invoke the law to stop this? Unrepentant adultery will send its participants to hell just as surely as unrepentant sodomy. So will fornication. Should the law punish fornication?
If adultery was a capital crime under Moses, it seems uncontroversial to say that civil laws can be made about it now. I would merely note that such a marriage is a marriage in form, rather than something of a different nature altogether, so distinct treatment under the law wouldn’t surprise me.
It hasn’t been a capital crime for some centuries now. Of course, in a theocracy, it could well be a capital crime, but I don’t see any popular desire for such a state. I think we are kind of going in circles here. I don’t believe sins can be treated as crimes unless there is a real shift in public opinion so great that legislators pay attention to it. Even then, any such legislation has to pass muster by the judiciary, who adhere to the principle that laws must serve a primarily secular purpose. Outside some religious people I don’t… Read more »
First off, we’ve been talking about public sexual behaviour. Second, your use of “theocracy” seems somewhat confused. What are you using “theocracy” to mean, and in contrast to what? To harp on a theme common on this blog: “not whether, but which”. Laws have to come from somewhere.
Scroll around to ashv’s thread with me; “I [ashv] object to justifying laws or customs on any basis other than obedience to God.” But we have many flavors of Christianity, and even Catholics come in three flavors. So “discussion” will be necessary but not enough.
Shifting over to Game 5. Ya’ll have fun.
the concept you’re missing is “borders”.
“a civil right”
Where do “civil rights” come from?
I believe they are intrinsically human from our having been created in God’s image. Government exists to protect them. We can use these rights for foolish or even wicked ends. For example, I have the right of free speech, and I can use this to spread ignorance or heresy. I have the right of free assembly, and I can use this to promote wickedness as long as I don’t break the law. It is kind of an extension of the paradox whereby God gives me all the means to rebel against Him yet desires that I will not.
From the entirely utilitarian notion that societies function better, and people are happier, with them than without them. They existed in ancient Greece, a good 300 years before Christianity. Not to the same extent as they do know, but the concept was certainly understood.
As a Christian people do we really want to tolerate goat sex in the name of compassion, diversity and multi-culturalism?
But goat sex is illegal, and I’m not aware of any grass roots desire to change that. There are lots of ways in which sex with goats is quite different from other sexual sins such as adultery or gay sex. But would you be willing to knock down barn doors to arrest people you thought might be having goat sex, and how would this be good for society?
I have the same opinion of goat sex that you do, especially when it’s done in public, but why exactly is it a state concern? And that’s the central issue to which I’ve never really gotten a good answer. It’s against your religion, so fine, excommunicate her if she’s a member of your church. Evangelize her. Teach your children not to have goat sex. Criticize her on the internet. But it seems to me that criminal law should be reserved for things that actually make it difficult or impossible to live together in peace with one another. I live in… Read more »
Put the woman and the goat on the fountain on Lake Eola in downtown. Your ‘culture’ will not use the law to bar that. Good to know. http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://orlandoonthecheap.com/lotc-cms/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/Lake_Eola_Orlando_Florida.jpg&imgrefurl=http://orlandoonthecheap.com/free-lake-eola-fountain-light-show/&h=1200&w=1600&tbnid=i2zJZ909jrIQhM:&docid=PHqGJ2fL4-Q_cM&ei=3EQ3VvKdCIjxmQHPrqK4Aw&tbm=isch&client=firefox-a&ved=0CC8QMygJMAlqFQoTCPL737PN8cgCFYh4JgodT5cINw I see lots of things that offend me; most of the time my remedy is to turn my head and keep walking. This willful blindness is a triait of your culture–a social more. “Do not see” is the commandment. When men like me have the temerity to see you get upset. Why? because it reminds you that you are made in the image of God; that there is a moral order; that… Read more »
BTW, there is a beautiful Catholic church just up the road there with a lovely chapel where I used to make a point of praying. It was important to me to publicly pray amidst the depravity that is and has overtaken that once beautiful town.
Timothy, do you live in Orlando? For some reason I thought you lived in Ohio; maybe I’m mixing you up with another commenter. Me too. We should go out for drinks some time.
The woman and the goat aren’t going on the fountain any time soon because the culture wouldn’t allow for it, and if ever the culture shifted to where it would allow for it, the legal system wouldn’t be much use at that point either.
It used to be one of my homes. I was very fond of it. I first lived at the St. Regis on Church street , spent some years in Altamonte and some near lake Underhill. Lake Eola was my daily run/jog, etc. The Holy Spirit called me out of there some years ago. Don’t dismiss that thought. During that time I was working with engineers–solidly middle-class–think Altamonte/Longwood types–and about 5% of my compatriots in an office of < 100 where arming themselves and bugging out. This division I speak of is happening and it is real and it is not… Read more »
Fear of law is a valid scriptural principle, just not the only one: “For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.”
Yes, and Nero married men (twice? can’t recall; or was it Caligula?) while posing as the bride. But no one beyond a few courtiers applauded, and no serious person actually believed for a moment either one was a “marriage.” If you want to pathetic on parade, look no further than people who are willing to get up in public and claim with a straight face (no pun intended) that Obergefell is a serious work of legal scholarship. Don’t forget, I have NEVER defended Obergefell. Of course no one today would regard Imperial Rome as “free.” Finally, again as a minority,… Read more »
Even though I like Obergefell’s result, I will concede that it was a result oriented decision in which the Court basically went looking for a theory to reach the holding that they wanted. However, the theory they found is a facially plausible theory.
“results oriented” does not BEGIN to describe it; check out:
I’m not enamored by the idea of “free society” given the outcomes that concept has produced. And no, law can’t enforce or replace social norms. As an obvious example, it’s much nicer to live in a society where people believe in waiting in line. The past few decades in the USA have shown many examples of how loss of social cohesion cannot be repaired by law.
But the law _can_ enforce separation between different societies, and both America and Europe are entering a period when the need to do so is becoming clearer by the day.
Wish I could recall who wrote it, female law prof maybe?, but I saw an essay many years ago that female employees were better off when social norms disciplined “cads” than with the sexual harassment suit scheme which replaced it. Honest lawyers will tell you in moments of private candor that tort law is a poor and clumsy substitute for a moral code.
Actually, you DO have a motivation to do so. Otherwise the florists and the bakers have no grounds for conscience objections. Neither will the next Kim Davis, provided he/she does not exceed the limits of accommodation under Thomas/RFRA.
You also have a principle requiring it; “render unto Caesar.”
Hi Kelly, “You also have a principle requiring it; “render unto Caesar.” That is indeed a principle, but it is limited by the grantor of Caesar’s authority (with a fair elaboration by Samuel Rutherford in “Lex Rex”). As you by now have gathered (and as previously discussed), this site is populated by many who bow to the crown rights of Jesus Christ, as King of kings and Lord of lords. The authority therefore granted to demi-gods by Jesus (to include Caesar, the various Henrys, all dynasties east and west, including Kennedys and Bushs, and the current D.C. tripartite) is derivative.… Read more »
A pagan oppressive government is better than none, and Christians should certainly pay taxes to support its ability to preserve order. But we have no obligation to grant any moral validity to false religions. The grounds for rejecting sodomite “marriage” is that it is an abomination, not any abstract “freedom of conscience”.
Only if you get to pick and chose which secular laws to obey. I just do not get this fascination with Gettysburg, especially coming from people who aren’t even a majority among Christians, much less among Americans as a whole.
I have no idea what this is a response to. What is “fascination with Gettysburg”?
You’re a minority within a minority, yet you keep going down the path of nullifying or interposing or ignoring secular authority because it conflicts with your religious beliefs. If you win the civil war, you get to impose your theocracy . . . until you lose the next civil war. But you won’t the next civil war. If you’re too weak to muster a majority in something like an election, how can you possibly win a fight over imposition of civil marriage by gays? Scroll up to jellybean. She instantly caught my drift. Maybe I’m about to flunk both “tact”… Read more »
Worst possible move? How do you figure that? USA is going to fall apart politically fairly soon — if not in my lifetime, then my children’s. I’m not here to convince you, I’m here to get you to admit to disbelief in Christ as King and show how it relates to the ditch y’all have pushed the country in. (And to encourage others who have not bowed the knee to the false gods of “democracy”, “free society”, “human rights”, etc.) Civil war? We don’t have to start one, we just have to be ready to put things back together after… Read more »
Why haven’t you noticed that “building coalitions” is often a form of “witness?” Am I reading you incorrectly, or have you somehow concluded that believing Christ is King is incompatible with arguing for law X but against law Y? Of course Scripture is far from the only reason why a legislator would support banning the sale of meth to children.
But neither would anything in the Bible be a bar to such a law.
“Why haven’t you noticed that “building coalitions” is often a form of “witness?” I am unopposed to the concept of “building coalitions”, and I think that some of what occurs here is to the point of making a/that case. Because some do not agree does not make the effort futile or fruitless. I am glad that I have not descended to “stupid or clueless”, but I do confess that on occasion I will condescend to George Dickel No. 12. And as far as “tact” and “diplomacy”, well I would almost always defer to a BUFF driver over a striped-pants cookie… Read more »
Some chasms may not be bridgeable. I believe is not only possible, but desirable, that the gummit be neutral on some questions. For example, on what day must a deli close (if it is ever to close at all)? None of the magistrate’s business. If the gummit wishes to enforce a health or safety program, the statute would have maximum duty hours, like train engineers, bus drivers, and airline pilots. So the Jewish deli, the Christian bakery, and the Moslem photo studio might not ever all be open/closed on the same day. That’s the kind of neutrality both I and… Read more »
Thanks to the First Amendment, you can publicly insult any god you like and the worst that is likely to happen to you is that people who disagree with you will publicly say so, probably not very politely. If saying politically incorrect things were a crime, Kim Davis would have gone to jail and stayed in jail long before she did; it was only when she crossed the line and refused to do her job that she got into trouble.
I do not think that you intend irony, but think of what you are saying. A culture permeated, indeed, the very atmosphere in which they lived, so thorough with the a priori of Christianity, that the men responsible for “securing liberty” enumerate a statement protecting that very thing. This was not something that sprung from the hollow chest of atheism, and it was not because of any one individual’s personal belief. It was the culture, sculpted by Christian thought that produced it. Witness James Madison and George Mason writing to prohibit taxation to form a State sponsored church, saying that… Read more »
You’re seriously quoting Madison and Mason’s opposition to establishing religion for the proposition that we should have Christian theology? Seriously?
Read what they say, without an atheist overlay: “… the mutual duty of all to practice Christian…”
Their pre-supposition was overwhelmingly Christian. The entire premise of the issue was to not require denominational favoritism.
That is why they were able to call upon Christian virtue as the standard of their appeal. That is the history, not some revisional antiChrist theory.
Read that quotation again. They said the duty was to practice Christian forbearance and charity toward other people, not that the duty is to practice the Christian religion. And that’s after they’ve said that the coercive power of the state should not be used to prefer one religion over another.
Again, you are not taking them at their words; their Christian duty IS practicing the Christian religion. And, the history is not as you say, that Madison was trying to stop the preference of religion. That’s like saying that because someone does not like rhubarb pie that he is anti-pie. Madison was opposed to “denominational” preference, and was acting to prevent the Virginia General Assembly’s attempt to subsidize the Episcopal Church by taxation. Remember, you are speaking of the real James Madison, the one who said ““Before any man can be considered as a member of civil society, he must… Read more »
Practicing the Christian religion is one thing; making everyone else practice it is quite another.
I don’t object to arguing for or against laws. I object to justifying laws or customs on any basis other than obedience to God. Our understanding of how to apply Scripture in civil and political contexts is incomplete and imperfect and so discussion is necessary. But that doesn’t mean Christian and pagan rulers are equivalent.
Then in a pluralistic society – – or even in a solely Christian one – – you will find yourself agreeing with people whose rationale for supporting what you support differs from yours, as well as encountering people who share your faith but reject your conclusions, and thus oppose what you support.
Sure. See Pastor Wilson’s distinction between “allies” and “co-belligerents”.
The Jews lost in 1961, on exactly those facts; losing two shop days a week. American values changed faster than the law did. But, yet again, law is downstream of culture. When values change, law follows. Law does not lead the change.
So, I posed two short Qs to RFB above. Of course the whole thread is welcome to chime in.
And I will note that Christians who support blue laws were perfectly happy with the outcome in Braunfeld v. Braun, the case that held that Sunday closing laws can be imposed on Jewish merchants, but now that the culture has shifted and they are in the minority, they’re not so enamored of bakers and florists being told to bake cakes and provide flowers for gay weddings. Same principle, different application. What goes around comes around.
But on Sundays, when they weren’t working at their stores, the Jewish merchants weren’t required to glorify Jesus at the Christian churches.
Apples and Oranges.
But the very reason they were forced to close on Sunday is that it was the Christian sabbath. And losing a full day’s pay every week strikes me as far more intrusive and damaging than telling a baker to bake a cake.
“Losing a full day’s pay every week?” That doesn’t sound very economically plausible. People can’t just get paid for an extra day because a store decides to open its doors that day. The store actually has to sell 1/6 more than they would if they were only open for six days. And for most businesses, that just isn’t going to happen. People did not suddenly get 17% more disposable income when the Blue Laws went away, and hardly anybody starting working seven days per week because of it. So it seems dubious that there was an extra potential full day’s… Read more »
Google Braunfeld v. Brown, the Supreme Court decision requiring Jewish merchants to observe blue laws. It goes into detail about how damaging to the store’s bottom line the blue laws were.
And the Constitution forbids establishing religion, which I would have thought would have been the end of blue laws all by itself.
You and jellybean spotted the point instantly. And the principle in operation. One of the most useful things I learned in college did not arrive in a class room. “Don’t ever take anything into a fight you’re not willing to eat ’cause if the other guy takes it away from you, you’re in trouble!”
P.S. I also threw in a little point about 2+2=4.
If I am X, Y or Z, and I am a banker, .gov can order my doors closed on a “Federal Holiday”. I am not exempt due to my Yness, I have to bow to the D.C. highness.
Again, its not “if God”; it is whose.
I see a huge difference between requiring someone to close on a handful of federal holidays, most of which are on a Monday and therefore interfere with no one’s Sabbath, versus requiring someone to close a day a week in addition to another day a week for his own Sabbath. I don’t favor allowing the Feds to mandate that anyone close any time, but a handful of holidays won’t put anyone out of business. Forced Sunday closing a week after week might.
So it’s ok to be a little pregnant, just not full term.
The issue of bowing to the authority is the principle. You are willing to bow even if grudgingly. The only consideration is to who.
No, I said I don’t approve of mandating that any business close on any day; I think that should be up to the owners, absent unusual circumstances. I was speaking of the comparative harm. If I have to close every Sunday, I’ve lost 52 business days per year (104 if I have a sabbath of my own to keep). If I have to close every federal holiday, I’ve lost maybe 10 business days per year, and they’re not days that will disadvantage me relative to anyone else. So while I don’t approve of requiring either, the relative harm from one… Read more »
Not “approving” is strangling the gnat; you still are willing to submit to the (so-called) secular law. A bunch of guys gather together, call themselves “The Guv”, and you are willing (not approving, willing) to bow to their authority. Another group says that Jesus Christ, King of kings, deserves greater honor and glory, and gets the first bunch of guys (The Guv) to enact legislation for The Lord’s Day. That is that last straw. You are willing to bow to nostril breath, but God…no way. No, you will go along to get along for Kingumbuston’s Birthday, but this God stuff…NOT!… Read more »
Are you REALLY sure you enjoy my posts? I’ll be surprised if you enjoy this one. On second thought, I’m switching to a much shorter response, based on the difference between “require” and “prohibit.” Just a pair of brief questions: 1. A & B think they should be closed on Day X each week for religious reasons. What basis is there to FORCE them to stay open anyway? C & D want to buy what A & B normally sell. May C & D force A & B to stay open? 2. A & B (members of Faith #1) close… Read more »
I think you coulda gone home a while ago.
Would your dreams of imposing a theocracy follow me there?
Kelly, I do not want you to go home; I want you to come to mine. (Good bourbon, I promise.) Here is what I think; the hydraulics and actuators I would have to defer to others more learned, but as guiding principle, this: The premise of secular is false, not because of what any man believes, but because of what God says. The government rests upon His shoulders. It is His “deacon of wrath” to strike terror upon those who do evil. Since government exists as “an avenger who carries out God’s wrath”, the definition of evil is subject to… Read more »
Small scale. Alabama would not legalize pot in a zillion years. FAR too many people agree with ashv on that question over there than want to be Willie Nelson East. (Does anyone in AL want to “keep Birmingham weird?”) Nonetheless, AL submitted a brief in favor of California’s right to do so (Raisch, 2005). “Who gets to decide?” is a different question from “What’s a smart decision?” CA and AL both thought “medical pot yes/no” belongs to states, not to the feds. Larger scale. Let’s say either all (or the great bulk of) Christians, regardless of denomination, support the position… Read more »
Hi Kelly, “What does the secular ruler do?” I do not think in terms of secular, but in what god the then current civil ruler bows to; either Jesus Christ, or any one of the various and sundry manifestations of demos. The premise that there is something called fair and just, absent a standard, has no basis in reason. Any of the decisions of government, are decisions, and all are impacted by the decision, some negatively if the decision is evil. That then takes us to the question of who decides the definition of evil. These discussions invariably precipitate down… Read more »
“…the past 250 years…” is a stretch. Regret to say, but, no, it’s not. It’s spot on. I was not referring to gay marriage. As recently as 1972 (104 years after the 14th Ad), that wasn’t even a federal question. Not a comma has changed in the 14th Ad in almost 150 years; 1868 – 2015. Yet by 2015, what was irrelevant in 1972 (Butler) had become mandatory in 2015 (Obergefell). [For the record, before he got kicked out of the Garden, I did point out to McD/Rev Shaz that Loving was 1967 but Butler was 1972 so it’s obviously… Read more »
I was using the sodomy issue as a generalization (one that is easy to see, being all neon and rainbowy as it is). My point is that the strong influence of Christianity (for example, not being able to hold public office at the colony/state level if your were not a Christian in the founding era) created a certain set of shared cultural values, values that were reflected by law, that were reinforced every Lord’s Day. As the church declined in its faithfulness to the Word of God, so did the people, both inside and outside of the church. “… I… Read more »
“people who believe that everything, bar none, is based upon theology.” As in “Why Ministers Must Be Men?” So if the “wrong” theocracy comes to power, all the denominations WITHOUT female ministers must ordain some? But if the “correct” theocracy comes to power, then all the denominations WITH female ministers must defrock them? Or maybe what theology – – properly understood – – means is nothing more than that to be a “good X” you must do/believe A, B, and C but cannot do/believe D, E, or F? Maybe what Seixas was telling Washington was nothing more complicated than the… Read more »
I’m not sure it’s impossible for Loving to mandate Obergefell, even with an intervening Butler. The Butler order didn’t cite Loving (or any other caselaw) and I’m not sure if the parties raised it in their briefs. So it may have simply been overlooked. Even if not, Obergefell was an overruling of Butler, meaning that Butler is no longer good law.
The anti side raised it. No question Obergefell explicitly reverses Butler. But I am sure Butler is utterly incompatible with Obergefell, while I do not believe Butler and Loving conflict. However, that sort of thing is probably way too much “inside baseball” for this blog. If our paths cross next week we can kick the nitty-gritty around (if you care).
I’ve been around here for a few years now, and I still don’t understand this confidence that an American theocracy would reflect reformed Christian theology and morality. Nor do I understand why people who would detest living under a Catholic theocracy believe that Catholics would be happy to live under theirs. I’m a Catholic, and I would detest living under a Catholic theocracy. Spain either under Isabella or under Franco, England under Bloody Mary; I don’t think so!
May I join your club; just posted to ashv that I don’t get the fascination for Gettysburg. My best guess is that ashv, timothy, and RFB really don’t realize they are sawing off the limb they are sitting on.
Unworthy of me, but the only other explanation I can think of is that they want to oppose K2’s atheism so badly that they would line up on the other side of 2 + 2 = 4 if he took that position.
What is “the limb [we] are sitting on”, in your opinion?
I think it was RFB who quoted the Moses Sexias a day or two back. He was writing to George Washington, thanking both his G_d and Washington’s, for the new American republic. Those protections, such as what became the 1st Ad, are the limb a minority such as Pastor Doug’s church needs to operate. If you ever actually succeeded in imposing a theocracy, that limb would disappear.
If I took the position that 2+2=4, they would respond that I have no basis for determining that 2+2=4, since arithmetic depends on God for its existence. I know this because I used that very example myself a few months back and that was indeed the response.
I’d rather live under the rule of Franco than of USA.
Not if you were one of the poor children of Guernica.
Show me some evidence that God actually exists, then we’ll talk.
I do not care. I do not like your multi-culti progressive hell.
If I am living in NY Upper East side, and they choose to put their sabbath on Saturday, I don’t care. Look to Europe for what will happen to the muslims.
Remember EtR. You and I are not the same people. We are in a cold-civil war that I predict will go hot. You will not rule us. Got it?
I have no interest in ruling you; you’re the one wanting to pass laws telling me when my business can be open. I’m fine with you closing your business on Sunday (or any other day of the week) that you want to. It strikes me as a bit peculiar that you think it’s a violation of your rights if you’re not allowed to violate other people’s rights.
Oh, and by the way: This multi-culturalism that you hate so much, you can thank your own side for. We have it because religious minorities, sexual minorities, women, and others got sick and tired of people like you treating them like garbage, so they organized and demanded change, and got it. Maybe if those groups had been treated a little better when your side still had political power, your side might still have political power.
And how are those people doing in other cultures?
Depends on the culture.
I love your “nah nah nah” . When you first posted this tripe you did not have the courage to say you where of it, but said that “others say, just sayin”
What you have run into is the law of unintended consequences. You are of the opinion that we will submit. Here is a clue: we will not.
There are no sides anymore. There are two nations on one continent: one pagan (yours) one Christian (mine) . We will not be ruled by you. You are not legitimate authority. You are evil.
I don’t want you to submit; I want you to knock off trying to get everybody else to submit. Do you really not understand the difference?
Every man will submit to either the law of sin or the law of grace. We serve different masters. I will not serve yours.
So don’t. Just don’t use the coercive power of the state to try to get everyone else to serve yours.
Not whether, but which.
Not whether but which is nonsense. You’re not being forced to serve anyone merely by not being allowed to interfere with me.
No it is not. Man has two possible masters–God or sin. You will serve one or the other. Sin has a direction–it swirls down the drain of depravity to death. Along that swirling path lies a goat and a woman in public on a Sunday having sex on the fountain in Lake Eola. Under God, that does not happen. You have historical examples to compare and contrast the fruits of the Spirit and the fruits of Sin. Compare Plutarch’s goat to St. James in Baroque Rome http://thumbs.dreamstime.com/z/saint-james-apostle-interior-view-lateran-basilica-greater-statue-rome-famous-baroque-landmark-was-first-34809975.jpg Furthermore, per the work of the Holy Spirit, the fruits of God on… Read more »
You act like political oppression arrived on earth with the political ascendancy of Christianity. Really? Political oppression started in the early 4th Century or thereabouts? News to me. That comment is also funny b/c indeed mutli-culturalism isn’t much related to our side, b/c indeed multi-culturalism is coercive and oppressive itself. Multi-culturalism isn’t a logical outgrowth of the oppressive tendencies of Christendom. If it were, politically-correct multi-culturalism would have arise in previous centuries, when politicized Christendom really did have it’s issues. Instead, that multi-cultralism arose and became more acute more recently, when the recent history was one of liberty of conscience… Read more »
Show me where I said that political oppression arrived on earth with the political ascendancy of Christianity. And there’s a long list of historical and political events that made multi-culturalism possible in our time that didn’t exist in previous times.
Timothy, having read many of your comments it doesn’t surprise me one bit that you would welcome such laws. :-)
As an interesting aside, I am more than old enough to remember living in a cultural milieu that was permeated with the premise of Sunday “Blue law”. And this was not in the “backwater of the hillbilly redneck’s”, this was in downtown northern mid-Atlantic Yankee hell.
On Sundays, everything except for the occasional gas station or tavern was closed. Nobody thought it odd; nobody complained about the “uptight puritanical hypocrites that were forcing their religion down our throats”; and no downturn in business occurred because of it.
It was the normative lifestyle. “Of course they are closed, it is Sunday”.
I remember blue laws too, and you’re right, nobody questioned them back then. That was then, this is now.
In Florida we used to pull off the side of the road, stop and get out of our cars when a funeral procession passed. They don’t do that now. I recently ran into that wonderful custom in Alabama and felt ashamed when I was the last one to stop. The life of a person, I had never met, and did not know, was honored because they where human and the respect and honor the community was bestowing should be respected by all. The culture of pagan America is a culture of death. They serve commerce; They organize themselves around it… Read more »
Is it not interesting that a quite large section of the demographic that is in favor of the murder that is abortion, are opposed to capital punishment for murderers.
“You can’t pick cherries without a place to stand.”
Or, all cherry pickers stand on the same giant cherry of God’s Creation. The smaller cherries they pick all come from the big one. The One that they do or do not realize they are standing on.
Or, as Wilson has said before, in order to slap God in the face, you have to stand in His lap.
I’d advise against anyone doing that.
I find myself awaiting a legitimate response to Mr. Arnolds proposition. Not suggesting that I have one. Just seems to me that it is a valid question. I don’t believe he is coming at this from a contrarian position. If anything, there appears to be a genuine desire for consistency. As previously stated, he may be missing it entirely. Possibly, the standard responses do not suffice. Or not.
just the quest for consistency. i don’t find DW to be arbitrary so i assume I’m missing something. but hey, there is a reason i post reluctantly. i’m often 3 steps behind.