Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Reflection of the day by Joshua Kelly



27 comments:

  1. A couple of thoughts come to mind. First - Joshua Kelly must be ardently anti-abortion in order to be consistent. Second: When have Christians denied the necessity of the sacrifice of Jesus, the Lamb of God, for the sins of the world? This is not advocating other human sacrifice, but only that of God incarnate.
    Peace in Christ,
    Pastor Kevin Jud

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  2. Who exactly is condoning human sacrifice? Good on you for supporting Kiva. My pastor does too.

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  3. I'm glad I came across this. Thank you for posting, sir! (I am the Joshua Kelly in question, as it happens.)

    To answer the good pastor's question on abortion, I can freely confess without qualm that the practice makes me vertiginous. However, there is a remarkable difference morally between the act of terminating a fetus for any number of medically relevant reasons and ending a life already in progress for the spiritual validation of others. And in order to answer both Mr. Jud's and Ross's questions simultaneously, a brief list of human sacrifice done to appease religious inclination includes:

    Servants being killed with their Pharaohs to wait on them in the afterlife; Aztec priests ripping the still-beating hearts from their followers to ensure a rising sun; King Moab kills his firstborn in Second Kings to curry god's favor before a battle; god commands Abraham to sacrifice his son Issac; Jepthath sacrifices his daughter to god in Judges; Celtic Druids practiced gave human offerings to their deities -- from MesoAmerica to IndoChina, human sacrifice as a part of divine placation has been the norm. This is, of course, without citing an all-knowing, all-powerful god being unable to come up with any other plan to purge the sins of mankind other than allowing his son to undergo the most obscene and barbaric torture in human history.

    It is all these actions and countless more to which my quote refers. All followers (past or present) of any of these faiths regard the actions listed above as moral for the sake of their own salvation. It is a sad example of my point that Pastor Jud is happy to concede that all other human sacrifice is immoral, but the one he has in mind supersedes the rule. I submit that his is a contemptible and selfish frame of mind and not in the least macabre.

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  4. Mr. Kelly,
    I am glad to hear that abortion makes you dizzy but troubled that it doesn't offend you enough to oppose the practice. This is the real human sacrifice being practice at a staggering rate and generally not for any medically relevant reason. These are babies being sacrificed on the altar of inconsequential sex. If you are truly horrified by human sacrifice this is where it is happening right now.
    On the other point, your examples of human sacrifice are all of other religions sacrificing others to appease their gods.
    Christianity teaches that God came to earth not to sacrifice others, but to sacrifice himself for others. On this Good Friday we remember that sacrifice as the suffering servant who came to offer himself. This is remarkably different from a religion that teaches the sacrifice of others.
    May you find peace in Christ,
    Pastor Kevin Jud

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  5. Mr. Jud,
    The lack of generally relevant reason for the case of medical abortion sincerely isn't true. While I cannot properly ascertain my personal feelings, having never been in a place to make such a decision, I refuse to deny the rights of others to make such decisions for themselves when legitimately dire consequences are involved. I don't regard the situation as flippantly as you seem to think I do. Terminating a potential life for the safety of oneself is absolutely not the same as terminating a legitimate life to satiate one's imaginary friends.

    As to your rather feathery explanation of the Crucifixion, I can only respond most simply by saying that I refuse to take solace in an act of torture and murder, regardless of who is responsible. Christians do this very thing. They bedeck their necks, buildings, and belt-buckles with his instrument of torture. They drink of his blood and eat of his flesh. They praise his death as the means to their own cleansing. If this is not in some effect reveling in human sacrifice (an offering meant to purge humanity of its sin), then I think the concept seriously needs new definition.

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  6. You raise an interesting point, Joshua. What does it mean when atheists take transubstantiation more seriously, and less ironically, than believers?

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    1. I find the idea of cannibalism to be a serious one, even used figuratively. I see your point and even find it funny, but the nature of belief by definiton makes the act more sincere for the faithful than it could ever be by the most literal-minded atheist.

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  7. Mr. Kelly,
    I see your language on abortion has adjusted from "medically relevant reasons" to "generally relevant reasons" and I fear you cannot find it in yourself to oppose the ongoing human sacrifice that is abortion on demand for any and every reason as is practiced in the United States. This practice means that 50% of babies conceived in New York City are sacrificed for any and every reason.

    We come to the crux of the matter on the crucifixion. Is it a human sacrifice for the divine? Or is it a divine sacrifice for humans. Christians believe Jesus is God in flesh offering himself as a substitutionary sacrifice for all mankind. We revel not in human sacrifice, but in God's sacrifice for humans.
    Peace in Christ,
    Pastor Kevin Jud

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  8. Frankly, the switch in words was absent-minded, but it's rather a happy accident in that I limited myself in earlier responses to medical reasons for abortion, but in truth there are many valid reasons for the same that don't require medical justification. Abortion because of social status, economic concerns on a macro level, emotional capability, etc., are in my mind valid reasons to terminate a clump of cells, the humanity of which still has yet to be determined with any efficacy.

    And your contrast of human/divine sacrifice is rhetorically beautiful, but objectively null. The only thing required to satisty your point of view is to buy into the caprice of an Invisible Sky Wizard. If you happen to be incorrect, you're perpetuating not only a lie, but the bloodiest, most catastrophic lie in history. Thankfully there's not a single compelling reason to believe it is true.

    Furthermore, if your stance is true, your salvation is a matter of incredible convenience. It must be soothing to have found such a rhetorical loophole that allows you to bystep the remarkably sinister implications of your benefitting from the violent death of another. I confess, I would be wholly incapable of the same nonchalance.

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  9. I have a slight technical disagreement with the sentiment specifically concerning Yeshua of Nazareth, though in general terms I wholly agree.

    Yeshua, according to the mythology, was not an example of human sacrifice per se. Though there are immense parallels, the reality of human sacrifice requires taking a living human being and permanently snuffing the life out of it to appease whatever primitive deity you tremble under the gaze of. The proverbial natives tossing a virgin into an active volcano is an act of human sacrifice.

    What YHVH did is far more similar to Gandalf's sacrifice, which (as Tolkien explains in one of his letters) "was for him a sacrifice to perish on the Bridge in defence of his companions, (but) less... than a mortal Man or Hobbit". After all, Gandalf comes back, more or less unscathed (and, in another parallel, even more powerful than before, if we are allowed to use the Gospel of Peter).

    I personally know literally hundreds of individuals that would gladly give their very lives up in order to prevent the eternal infinite suffering of the entire human race. Evidently, YHVH prefers to hedge.

    EDIT: The similarities fall flat in the fact that Gandalf didn't necessarily know the eventual outcome of his actions. A more accurate literary comparison would be Aslan, who knew goddamned well what was going to happen, but made the Pevensies cry their eyes out anyhow.

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  10. Mr. Kelly,
    The cross is certainly foolishness to those who don't believe that Jesus is God incarnate. This is proven by Jesus rising from the dead. If he didn't rise from the dead then Christians are the biggest fools around. Just find the body of Jesus and you have the whole thing proved wrong.
    The Good News is that Jesus is God come to earth to save sinners like me and you. This is Good News. It is soothing to know that blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
    I believe you will find the bloodiest lie in history to be Atheism perpetrated by the likes of Mao, Pol Pot, Lenin, Stalin, Hitler and the like. There are some dark times in Christian history for which it should repent, but nothing like the blood shed by atheists.
    It saddens me that you are concerned about Christians' "fairy tale" beliefs regarding human sacrifice, but you fully support a woman's right to sacrifice her unborn human.
    Peace in Christ,
    Pastor Kevin Jud

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  11. Mr. Jud,
    The Mao, et. al, argument is beyond stale now, mostly for reasons of its complete historical inaccuracy when it comes to defining the anti-religious motivations of these individuals. My book, for example, has an entire chapter on the people you list, and I can recommend several others that go into detail on the political issues that led to their actions -- none of which were motivated by their lack of faith. Hitler, on the other hand, was a devout Christian baptized at birth; the first and most useful treaty of his career was an agreement with the Vatican called the Reichskonkordat; a large majority of SS officers were practicing Catholics; all members of the Third Reich had "Gott mit uns!" emblazoned on their belts; and the merest glance at MEIN KAMPF will readily demonstrate to the reader Hitler's fervent regard for Jesus Christ and his desperate need to dedicate all his atrocities to god. These characters are philosophically and historically beyond the responsibility of atheism. Again, this is a condensed argument -- if you wish to read my entire stance on that subject complete with citations, I'd be happy to send you a copy of my book as a thank you for a civil and spirited debate!

    The rest of your claims are so dependent on the spiritual and dogmatic perspective of the subject that they cannot be objectively argued with except for one: the inability to find the body of Christ does not ipso facto mean that it rose to heaven -- it is equally supportive of the idea that he never existed at all.

    And to the final point -- again, I can only submit that I am unconvinced that a bundle of non-sentient cells can be defined as human, and therefore is not morally equivalent to the kind of human sacrifice that I mention earlier. Until that issue is solved empirically, I am afraid that people like you and I are stuck in semantic limbo on the topic.

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  12. Mr. Kelly,
    Martin Niemoeller would disagree with you about Hitler's Christianity.
    Pastor Kevin Jud

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  13. Mr. Jud,
    Hitler's own autobiographical work would disagree with Mr. Neimoeller.

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    1. Hitler was a manipulative liar. He was no Christian.

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    2. Which might imply that he was a typical Christian.

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    4. @Kevin-that is an opinion. I have known many manipulative liars and they are both Christian and non-Christian. @Rich-some of the most wonderful people I know are Christian and their faith actually saved them. I don't know one way or another but I am glad they found something because my life is richer for having them here. I don't care what they found, I'm just glad they are around. The latter part of my post I channeled Dr. Seuss.

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  14. Mr. Kelly,
    So you have feathery explanations as to why the bloody, bad atheists don't count because they aren't like the pure good atheists that just want to condemn Christians for being religious and being lumped in with every bad Christian of the past 2,000 years, plus Druids and Aztecs and Jihadists. I think I'm getting it.
    Peace in Christ,
    Pastor Kevin Jud

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    1. The closest humanity has ever come to genocide in the name of atheism is the French Revolution.

      The closest humanity has ever come to genocide in the name of theism is...

      Actually, literal genocide in the name of theism, specifically caused because of religious beliefs, still occurs to this day.

      ...weird.

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  15. Mr. Jud, now you're being purposefully obtuse. I never said that the bloody, bad atheists don't count -- I said that the bloody, bad things that they did had nothing to do with their views on faith. This is a claim that the religious are expressly unable to boast. Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot were not applying atheist doctrine when they began the Gulag or the Killing Fields because atheism doesn't have a doctrine. There is no philosophical connection between atheism and their actions. All the instances of faith-based atrocities that I have and could cite, however, occur directly from mandate in holy text or in revelation, because of or in the name of god. The examples of these run so rampant that they are countless. More to the point, it doesn't lump "every bad Christian" in with immorality, it is a direct accusation at Christianity itself.

    In short, if the big book of atheism had ever commanded these individuals to unleash the horrors that they had, you would absolutely win this point. Thankfully, no such strictures exist in the atheistic moral compass and these men acted from political and sadistic motivations of their own. Their non-god, in other words, certainly didn't tell them to do it.

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  16. Mr. Kelly,
    Where does Christianity direct violence toward others? Why would you think that if I am wrong I am "perpetuating not only a lie, but the bloodiest, most catastrophic lie in history"?
    Pastor Kevin Jud

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  17. Mr. Jud, a terse list of Christian violence:

    God smiting the entire populations of Sodom and Gomorrah, save for a single family, one of whom is divinely calcified for the innocent crime of looking backward; god smiting the armies of Sennacherib, around 185,000 souls; the total human annihilation of Noah's flood; god killing scores of innocent Egyptian firstborn; god sending she-bears to kill forty-two innocent children after taunting Elisha for his lack of hair; god stopping in the earth's orbit for three hours so that Joshua would have light by which to massacre the city of Jericho; god killing countless Israelites for complaining of hunger and plague, etc. In the New Testament, god is personally guilty for the deaths of Ananias, Sophia and Herod in grisly manners, and condemns all non-Christians to tempestuous deaths and eternal punishment in Revelations. While the obvious counter to these examples would be that these are actions of god and not doctrines of Christianity, I think it’s highly suspect to respect such a destructive, callous temperament in a deity, especially if he has prescribed the antithesis of those actions as a basis for his moral compass. How is it possible to have a peaceful Christianity under a non-peaceful god?

    In the case of doctrine, one might point out that god demanded the butchery and rape of the Amalekites by Moses, demands murder to those who do not listen to priests in Deuteronomy, demands the killing of gays and witches in the same book; interestingly on your abortion note, he demands the forceful killing of Samarian pregnant women in Hosea and allows the same to occur in Tipshah in 2 Kings; he demands the killing of the followers of other religions in Numbers; etc., etc., ad nauseum. It can readily be assumed that doctrine, dogma, and laymen interpretation of these events could (and frankly, do) give Christians divine license to perpetrate the same actions. Again, this list is brief and not purposefully trite -- one must be summary when trying to tally up the bloodshed that god has either demanded in his name or conducted himself.

    This is without mentioning the millions of acts that have since been inspired to the faithful post-Biblically from those that will claim it was all done for him -- and just to stay with Christian advocates: the Inquisition; the Crusades; the Salem Witch Trials; the Ireland Troubles; the Rwandan genocide advocated by Catholic Churches; the Gunpowder Plot and the Cromwell Protectorate; the Holocaust (again, read MEIN KAMPF); Anders Breivik's bombing in Oslo; the Army of God's bombing of abortion clinics and the killing of doctors; the lynchings of the Ku Klux Klan; the pipe-bombing of Wedgewood Baptist Church by Larry Ashbrook; Eric Robert Rudolph's bombing of the Centennial Olympic Park; sectarian violence spanning from IndoChina to Orissa to the former Yugoslav and back -- all these events and numerous others occurred under the watch of a god who either inspired such violence by those who proudly wear his badge of honor, or stood by silently while his name was dragged through the mud by psychopaths who were somehow drawn to his worship regardless. Again, while this does not convey examples of Christian doctrine as the first section did, we can hardly deny that all of these men believed they derived their moral compass from an authority that gave them license to commit such heinous crimes -- whether by revealed information meant for themselves alone (which would be impossible to disprove the contrary) or by following the divine example that their capricious lord had set for them -- people who either outright did what they did for Christianity or because they were convinced they were told to by god. Either way, we are dealing with a god of violence as evidenced by his actions in the Bible, who was the portrait model of a faith equally bent on demonstrating that kind of sanguine lust.

    As you can see, "bloodiest" and "most catastrophic", given my serious summation, might be an understatement.

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  18. I enjoyed reading this thread but the truth/untruth of theism/atheism isn't dictated by the propensity of its adherents to violence. All we're left with is a "No True Scotsman" fallacy.

    When Kevin writes: "I believe you will find the bloodiest lie in history to be Atheism perpetrated by the likes of Mao, Pol Pot, Lenin, Stalin, Hitler and the like", I am left wondering what he hopes to achieve by these examples? All they suggest to me is further evidence against an all-powerful, all-loving god who intervenes in the world of human affairs.

    The discussion about abortion is also interesting and Joshua's "vertiginous" comment is right on the money. I continue to struggle with the morality of abortion but (as I have mentioned to Kevin the past) I have been pushed towards the pro-choice side after watching Catholic theologian Peter Kreeft and philosopher David Boonin debate the issue. I also commend a reading of Boonin's "A Defence of Abortion" (2003, Cambridge University Press) which has been described as one of the most thorough treatments of the moral permissibility of abortion.

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    1. Excellent response, sir. I would just mildly point out that my examples on the violence of Christianity were not to negate its legitimacy, but to highlight its immorality. In this case, the Scotsman fallacy doesn't come into play.

      I'll definitely take a look at the works you've suggested. I'm never adverse to reading new arguments.

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  19. Back to the original meme. Christianity does not direct people to violence or human sacrifice. God's actions are ones of judgment and grace. Old Testament warfare shows this. Enemies are put down and enemies are used to put down the children of Israel.
    Followers of Jesus are not called to violence and certainly not to human sacrifice. Jesus sacrifice for us is not a call for us to sacrifice others. Many have done great violence in the name of Christianity and they are wrong. Many have done great violence in the name of there being no God and they are also wrong.
    The ongoing, catastrophic human sacrifice of abortion on demand for any and every reason is horrifying but I'm sure not nearly so horrifying as Christian parents teaching their children to love God and love one another.
    It has been an interesting discussion. I didn't imagine I'd get to interact with the author of the saying himself.
    Have a blessed day. I pray you will have the peace that you are seeking.
    Pastor Kevin Jud

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