Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Abortions and Atrocities

The issue of abortion is often a hot button issue with Christians. I tend to avoid the debate, but frequently Christians want to steer the debate to that topic, particularly if we are talking about Bible atrocities. Abortion came up again in our discussion of absolute truth below. I will move the discussion here, since it is way off topic.

First, most people can agree that a mother can have the right to abort the life of any tissue that is not yet a person. But when does tissue become a person? Does it happen when the egg is created, when the sperm and egg combine, when the cell attaches to the uterus, when the cell starts to divide, when the heart forms, when the brain forms, at birth, or at some other time? There are numerous opinions on this. I understand many Catholics treat the egg almost as a person before fertilization (and thus contraception is sin); many conservative protestants consider the zygote to be a person at conception (and thus the morning-after pill is sin); and liberal Protestants see that the fetus becomes a person about 6 months after conception. You will see endless debates on exactly when this happens, with each assuming that they have the absolute truth, and that the other opinions are misguided. It is really quite comical, and I tend to avoid the whole thing. But somehow I can't even discuss Absolute Truth without somebody insisting I need to talk about abortion. Go figure.

The other instance where one might justify abortion, even when the fetus is acknowledged as a person, is where the doctors determine that there is no way to save the life of the mother without aborting the baby. It is like shooting down a hijacked plane full of innocent people before it hits a heavily populated building. Most people cringe at the thought of downing a commercial airliner, but when they think it over, most can realize that, if there is no other way to prevent the disaster, it would be better to shoot down the plane than to watch thousands of innocent people die. Many would see that the same principle could apply to a baby hopelessly stuck in the birth canal, with no possibility of saving either the mother or the baby unless the baby is killed to save the mother.

Much worse than being honestly mistaken about when life begins, or killing a baby in self defense, is the brutal act of killing a baby because one does not like his parents. But those who do that act are blessed in Psalm 137, and the act is even commanded in passages such as 1 Samuel 15.

In another thread I had been discussing Psalm 137:9 ( "How blessed will be the one who seizes and dashes your little ones against the rock."). I respond here to Lormar, who made the comments in quotes below:

--------
Lormar,

Do you or do you not agree that late term abortion (to save the mother's life) leads to the death of the baby? (guess what Merle, I happen to be pro-choice on that matter). Although I would like to save the life of the mother, I can admit that the baby is still dead. Can you?
First this response appears to be an evasion of the question. For you wrote this in direct response to my question, "Do you or do you not agree with Psalm 137 that it is blessed to dash babies against rocks?" And your answer doesn't address the question. Please answer. Do you or do you not think it was blessed to dash the Babylonian babies against the rocks?

Regarding your question, yes, of course, a late term abortion causes death to the baby. Why do you ask?

I believe the Bible teaches us lessons through the books included within it.
Sure the Bible gives us lessons. But it also gives bad advice. It has some good advice and some bad advice. Do you agree?
What would have happened if Hitler were killed as a child? What about Osama? Pol Pot?
So? You are not suggesting that it was OK to kill Babylonians babies because they would have grown up to be evil, are you?

Would your opinion change if the Bible declared that all of those babies were slaughtered through abortion?
If they were killed by a willing mother who wanted to terminate a pregnancy before the embryo became a person, sure, that would be different from slaughtering somebody else's baby to get revenge. Can you see the difference between the two acts?

You said innocent babies. Are you implying that babies sometimes guilty?
No, of course not. All babies are innocent in the sense that they have done nothing worthy of capital punishment.

Do I complain about babies killed in the Bible? Believe it or not, No. If I am pro-choice on late term abortions (to save the life of the mother), I see no reason to complain about the Bible. How about you?
Yes, I have a problem when the Bible says to kill babies. And you do not have a problem with that? If you were a soldier in the army of Saul, would you have willingly plunged your sword through enemy babies as the verses command?

I can admit that the baby is still dead, dashed against the stones or aborted. What about you?
Yes, I agree, dead babies are dead. Why do you ask?

You had a picture of a baby (one of your pages) as an example of your disgust at certain Biblical passages. Do you mean to tell me that you would see it as morally right to have that baby aborted (assuming he/she is still in the mother's womb at the 8th or 9th month) and morally wrong if the baby were dashed against a stone? Surely, you must see that there would be no difference since that baby would be dead either way.

You want my opinion? OK, It might be morally acceptable to kill a baby if the only possible way to save the mother's life was to terminate a baby that is stuck in the birth canal. That is an act of self defence. Yes, it would be a heart-wrenching decision, but I can see the moral justification. We could have a deep love for both the baby and the mother, and nobody would ever want to be faced with such an agonizing situation.

But it would not be acceptable to kill a baby out of the desire to get revenge against the baby's dad. Can you see the difference?

You seem to believe that we should not kill babies unless we 'kill them nicely' (via abortion).
Sorry, that is not the issue. The issue is killing in self-defence versus killing in a premeditated act of revenge.

Since you love to debate, allow me to give you a tip for future reference: Be sure to get that person's stance on an issue before proceeding with a debate)...again, I am pro-choice when it comes to saving the mother's life.
Huh? What I had said was, "Do you care to weigh in with your opinion on this? If the doctors conclude that both the baby and mother will die, that the baby cannot be saved, but that the mother could be saved if the baby is aborted, what would you do? "

I did exactly what you ask me to do! I didn't know your views so I asked you. I had no intention of implying which way you believed on this isssue, and apologize if my words came across as assuming something wrong about you.

The difference with me is, I can admit that the baby is still put to death. Can you?
Yes, dead babies are dead. I agree. Why do you ask?

I was a victim of serious crime. I wished horrible things on those who hurt me. Do you see me as bloodthirsty and hateful?
It saddens me to hear you were a victim of serious crime. I can understand that you may have felt a desire for horrible things to happen to the guilty party. I suspect those feelings were also tempered by desires for fairness, justice, and mercy, but there is no problem with experiencing a mass of painful emotions after being a victim. Having such feelings does not make a person evil.

But if you had come on the Internet and said, "Blessed shall he be that takes my attacker's baby girl and smashes her head into a rock", then I would think you are not responding in a wise manner. Can you see the difference between feeling a desire for revenge, and announcing a blessing on killing babies?

34 comments:

LorMar said...

"I had no intention of implying which way you believed on this isssue, and apologize if my words came across as assuming something wrong about you."

Yes, it came across that way to me. No need to apologize. I misunderstood.

First this response appears to be an evasion of the question. For you wrote this in direct response to my question, "Do you or do you not agree with Psalm 137 that it is blessed to dash babies against rocks?" And your answer doesn't address the question. Please answer. Do you or do you not think it was blessed to dash the Babylonian babies against the rocks?

Merle, honestly. Are you doing this on purpose? Here is what it really says:

Psalm 137
9Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones.

Maybe you shouldn't read the NASB (I don't). Still, even that does not support what you claim it does:

9How blessed will be the one who seizes and (O)dashes your little ones
Against the rock.
Are you aware of the complexities of the English language. Sometimes words can have more than one meaning depending on the context? The NASB and others sometimes creates more problems than they solve. Are you aware that entire sentences, using all of the same words, can have two different meanings? ex: "Her dress was blue" can imply two different things. Thus the issue with the usage in the NASB.

In answer to your question, No, I do not believe it is a blessed thing to dash babies' heads against rocks. The passage doesn't say it is. In fact, the person speaking doesn't even say that he will be happy, the guy who does it will. The speaker had a horrible experience and believes that his adversaries will be repaid. Have you read a version which states "happy shall I be when I dash your baby's head against a stone?"

"Sure the Bible gives us lessons. But it also gives bad advice. It has some good advice and some bad advice. Do you agree?"

The bible doesn't give any bad advice. Can't wait to read what you will bring in next, he he.

"What would have happened if Hitler were killed as a child? What about Osama? Pol Pot?"

"So? You are not suggesting that it was OK to kill Babylonians babies because they would have grown up to be evil, are you?"

This response from the same man who said:

"First this response appears to be an evasion of the question."

I answered your question about 137:9, Merle. Answer mine. Should I assume that you are a fan of Hitler because you avoided answering?

Ya know something? I have been involved with the anti-Iraq war movement. There are many soldiers and Marines out there who have had to kill children. I'd like to think that all were accidental (as in an enemy soldier using a baby as a human shield). There is no question that those babies were innocent. What would you say to such a soldier?

"Yes, I have a problem when the Bible says to kill babies. And you do not have a problem with that? If you were a soldier in the army of Saul, would you have willingly plunged your sword through enemy babies as the verses command?"

Well obviously, if I were in the army of Saul I could have killed a baby. Just as if you were in the Army of Saul you could have killed a baby. Neither one of us were in that army so we couldn't do it ourselves, nor would we want to. The bible doesn't say that we have to or want to. A soldier or Marine today must acknowledge that he/she may have to kill a child. Are they evil? Do you feel they're wrong?

The ARMY OF SAUL was commanded to destroy ALL in the city of Amalek. That's what an army does unfortunately (whether we admit it or not). Do you think Armies are evil?

"You want my opinion? OK, It might be morally acceptable to kill a baby if the only possible way to save the mother's life was to terminate a baby that is stuck in the birth canal. That is an act of self defence. Yes, it would be a heart-wrenching decision, but I can see the moral justification. We could have a deep love for both the baby and the mother, and nobody would ever want to be faced with such an agonizing situation."

But it would not be acceptable to kill a baby out of the desire to get revenge against the baby's dad. Can you see the difference?"

Yes. Putting a baby to death does not bother you. But, rather, why the baby is put to death makes the difference for you. As far as revenge against the baby's dad, I will say this: A woman has a right to an abortion no matter what. Who are you to tell her if her reasons are justified or not? That is, if it is what you meant. Or is the dad in this case a biblical figure (like a Babylonian dad?). I'll keep both comments just in case.

"You seem to believe that we should not kill babies unless we 'kill them nicely' (via abortion)."

"Sorry, that is not the issue. The issue is killing in self-defence versus killing in a premeditated act of revenge."

Let me repeat myself: Putting a baby to death does not bother you. But, rather, why the baby is put to death makes the difference for you.

"But if you had come on the Internet and said, "Blessed shall he be that takes my attacker's baby girl and smashes her head into a rock", then I would think you are not responding in a wise manner. Can you see the difference between feeling a desire for revenge, and announcing a blessing on killing babies?"

Again, the passage doesn't state what you claim it does.

Next? (altough I suspect you'll claim that "blessed are the peacemakers" refers to the blessing of Smith and Wessen)

MSpeir said...

Personally, I don't care if Psalm 137 is purely hyperbolic and provably so. It's loathsomely disgusting. Anyone who used such language today, even rhetorically, would be called a fiend.

BTW, here's what Strongs says about the word rendered "blessed":

H835
אשׁר
'esher
eh'-sher
From H833; happiness; only in masculine plural construction as interjection, how happy!: - blessed, happy.

Brown-Driver-Briggs’ Hebrew Definitions"

H835
אשׁר
'esher
BDB Definition:
1) happiness, blessedness
1a) often used as interjection
1b) blessed are
Part of Speech: noun masculine
A Related Word by BDB/Strong’s Number: from H833
Same Word by TWOT Number: 183a

The King James Concordance gives these other places where the word is used:

Total KJV Occurrences: 45
blessed, 27

Psa_1:1, Psa_2:12, Psa_32:1-2 (2), Psa_33:12, Psa_34:8, Psa_40:4, Psa_41:1, Psa_84:4-5 (3), Psa_84:12, Psa_89:15, Psa_94:12, Psa_106:3, Psa_119:1-2 (3), Psa_128:1, Pro_8:32, Pro_8:34, Pro_20:7, Isa_30:17-18 (2), Isa_32:20, Isa_56:2, Dan_12:12

happy, 18

Deu_33:29, 1Ki_10:8 (2), 2Ch_9:7 (2), Job_5:17, Psa_127:5, Psa_128:2, Psa_137:8-9 (2), Psa_144:15 (2), Psa_146:5, Pro_3:13, Pro_14:21, Pro_16:20, Pro_28:14, Pro_29:18

One of those, which I'm sure you'll recognize, LorMar, is

Psa 33:12 Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, The people whom He has chosen for His own inheritance.

In fact, look up any of them. The word is always referring to what the writer obviously thinks is a good thing.

Still, the bottom line for me is that the author of the Psalm was clearly not revolted by such an allusion. That's barbaric.

LorMar said...

"In fact, look up any of them. The word is always referring to what the writer obviously thinks is a good thing."

Respectfully Mspeir, I'd rather not speak with you as have been too arrogant for my taste. Also, you have no understanding of the Bible (whether you taught it or not, all I can go by is what I see in your responses now). That is not to say that I feel Merle does either.

As for the verse in question (psalm 33:12), we don't know how the author thinks and feels unless something else confirms it.

For example, here is something else in psalm 33:
20Our soul waiteth for the LORD: he is our help and our shield.

21For our heart shall rejoice in him, because we have trusted in his holy name.

22Let thy mercy, O LORD, be upon us, according as we hope in thee.

In the above, the author includes info about how he feels (the use of we, our, us). He did no such thing in psalm 137 (no indicaiton of his feelings about dashing babies heads against stones--he said happy is he, not happy are we). Personally, I think the author was so worked up about what happened, he made the comments about someone being happy about dashing the babies' heads against stones. My point in bringing up the semantical issue of happy/blessed is to show that if we look at it Merle's way (and even yours) it isn't correct.

The ideas presented from you two aren't believable. However, you two are free to present your points of view and I will listen and respond. If I don't respond, don't take it as me not being able to answer. I must be honest in telling you both that I walk away from this blog flabbergasted at some of the assertions you two bring up. There are some things that leave me in stitches (get my drift?) Rather than say something that might appear insulting, I try my best to be quiet (thus my lack of responding to Merle's last post to me about not being absolutely certain about the existence of the universe or place of birth.)

"Still, the bottom line for me"

Exactly, the bottom line for you.

"is that the author of the Psalm was clearly not revolted by such an allusion. That's barbaric."

So why didn't the author clearly state that he'd be happy? As I mentioned before, he was clearly in a broken state of mind. If I met that author I'd ask him, would you do it yourself?

MSpeir said...

"So why didn't the author clearly state that he'd be happy?"

I'll ignore the insults and ask you this. If you read that exact language in any piece of poetry written today, what would your reaction be? What would you think of someone who made any allusion whatsoever to smashing babies's heads against rocks? Try to imagine those words written nobly. Imagine them written in jest or in a sudden spate of anger. Exactly what emotion of frame of mind in the author would cause you to see those words as anything but a reflection of some reprehensible savagery within him?

Merle Hertzler said...

Lormar,

Your words are shown in bold:

"That does not support what you claim it does:

[Psalm 137:]9 How blessed will be the one who seizes and (O)dashes your little ones
Against the rock. "


I claim that this verse (wrongfully) teaches that it was blessed to seize babies and dash them against rocks. What makes you think this verse doesn't say what I claim it says?

"Are you aware of the complexities of the English language. Sometimes words can have more than one meaning depending on the context? The NASB and others sometimes creates more problems than they solve."

Of course I am aware of complexities of the English language. But it still seems to me that this verse praises the killing of babies.
You criticize my translation, but nearly all translations could be used to prove the same point.

"In answer to your question, No, I do not believe it is a blessed thing to dash babies' heads against rocks. The passage doesn't say it is."

You think the words of Psalm 137:9 don't teach it is blessed to dash babies against rocks. I think they do. We'll leave it at that, and the readers can decide for themselves.

" In fact, the person speaking doesn't even say that he will be happy, the guy who does it will. "

Nowhere did I claim this verses teaches specifically that the author will be happy if he kills babies. The author is saying that those who do it will be happy. He is inciting an act of terrorism. That is the problem.

"The bible doesn't give any bad advice. Can't wait to read what you will bring in next, he he."

How about 1 Samuel 15:3--"Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass." I think this is bad advice. What do you think?

"What would have happened if Hitler were killed as a child?"

If Hitler had been killed as a child, he would be dead.

What else would have happened? Nobody knows. Would a worse man have taken over Germany? Would one of his generals have led the Nazis to worse atrocities? Or would the Nazis have invented the atomic bomb before starting WWII? Was the situation so volatile that war was inevitable? Or would peace have reigned? Nobody knows.
Why do you ask this ridiculous question? It seems completely irrelevant to the discussion at hand.

"Should I assume that you are a fan of Hitler because you avoided answering? "

Excuse me. Are you aware that linking people to Hitler is a rude debate tactic, and often leads to flaming and name calling? Perhaps you would like to reconsider, and not go around insinuating that others you meet on the Internet are a fan of Hitler without good reason.

And, of course, I have said absolutely nothing that indicates I am a fan of Hitler. I despise what Hitler stood for and did.

"There are many soldiers and Marines out there who have had to kill children. I'd like to think that all were accidental (as in an enemy soldier using a baby as a human shield). There is no question that those babies were innocent. What would you say to such a soldier? "

If a soldier accidentally killed a child in the heat of battle--in a necessary and legitimate act of defence against a specific enemy attack--then I would agree that this is an unfortunate consequence of war. But if he aimed his gun at children with the specific intent of killing innocent children, than he is committing a criminal act.

And the Geneva Conventions agree with me on this point.

Can you not see the difference?

"Well obviously, if I were in the army of Saul I could have killed a baby."

That is not what I asked. I asked, "If you were a soldier in the army of Saul, would you have willingly plunged your sword through enemy babies as the verses command?" That is my question. Would you willingly have done it? Would you have willfully and deliberately killed babies with your sword?

"The ARMY OF SAUL was commanded to destroy ALL in the city of Amalek. That's what an army does unfortunately (whether we admit it or not). Do you think Armies are evil?"

Armies that kill all of the people in a city are evil, yes. But that is an extremely rare occurrence. Generally conquering armies occupy the land, and many of the civilians are either allowed to stay, or to move on as refugees.

"Putting a baby to death does not bother you."

Huh? You said this in direct response to my statement, "it would be a heart-wrenching decision...We could have a deep love for both the baby and the mother, and nobody would ever want to be faced with such an agonizing situation."

OK? What I said is that it would be a heart-wrenching decision to kill a baby that was without hope of surviving, was hopelessly stuck in the birth canal, and the only way to save the mother was to destroy the baby. I said it would be an agonizing decision. How you get from "agonizing situation" to "does not bother you" is beyond me.

Could it be that "agonizing situation" is another one of those English phrases that has two meanings, and you think it means something different from what I think?

"Let me repeat myself: Putting a baby to death does not bother you."

Are you aware that repeating a false statement twice does not make it true?

"As far as revenge against the baby's dad, I will say this: A woman has a right to an abortion no matter what."

You misunderstood. When I had said, "But it would not be acceptable to kill a baby out of the desire to get revenge against the baby's dad," I was not referring to early-term abortion. I was referring to Psalm 137:9 which praises the killing of babies because the author didn't like what the Babylonian dads had done. That verse is praising an act of revenge against dads by killing babies. That verse praises something that is wrong.

Anonymous said...

"Should I assume that you are a fan of Hitler because you avoided answering? "

"Excuse me. Are you aware that linking people to Hitler is a rude debate tactic, and often leads to flaming and name calling? Perhaps you would like to reconsider, and not go around insinuating that others you meet on the Internet are a fan of Hitler without good reason."

I am reading you exactly the way you read the Bible. You should be able to receive the same critical eye that you apply to biblical texts. Respectfully, you created this new thread directing it at me. "You have called me out" so to speak. All I can say is, here I am Merle. When I first came here, I mentioned that I would not debate because people often (christians and non-christians) can't handle the fact that I am frank and bold. You dodged the question so I made an assumption. This is the reason I try to avoid debates. Again, you wanted this Merle. Granted, now you admit that you do not support Hitler. Well, the passage doesn't support what you say it does.

"That does not support what you claim it does:

[Psalm 137:]9 How blessed will be the one who seizes and (O)dashes your little ones
Against the rock. "

I claim that this verse (wrongfully) teaches that it was blessed to seize babies and dash them against rocks. What makes you think this verse doesn't say what I claim it says?

As I said before. You are wrong. The passage does not teach that it is right to dash babies heads against stones. It expresses the thoughts of a broken individual.


LorMar

Merle Hertzler said...

Lormar,

"I am reading you exactly the way you read the Bible. You should be able to receive the same critical eye that you apply to biblical texts."

Uh, but I have mentioned specific texts in the Bible that teach the atrocities that I have opposed. You have tried to link me with a horrible regime, but you have had absolutly zero evidence to support your claim. You have mentioned zero texts that support your claim. Can you not see the difference?

If you have any evidence to link me with such evil, what is it? In the absence of evidence, why do you persist that your outrageous claim has the same merit as mine?

"When I first came here, I mentioned that I would not debate because people often (christians and non-christians) can't handle the fact that I am frank and bold."

I love frankness and boldness. But I cannot understand repeatedly telling debate opponents that they are not bothered by killing babies, when they had specifically described how they are boithered by killing babies and oppose it. And when you leave those false accusations up on the board with no attempt to apologize or make it right, that goes far beyond boldness and frankness, in my mind.

"You dodged the question so I made an assumption."

No, I did not dodge the question. Your question was totally irrelevant, as far as I could see. And so I responded by asking a question about the relevance.

There is no law that says debaters must answer questions that are totally irrelevant. If debaters are required to answer each and every irrelevant question, than I will ask you for the names of every one of your ancestors for the last 100 generations. And if, in your view, debaters that do not answer irrelevant questions are fans of Hitler, then, if you fail to answer, we would need to conclude....

And you made an assumption? May I remind you of what you said a few posts back? You said, "Allow me to give you a tip for future reference: Be sure to get that person's stance on an issue before proceeding with a debate." Interesting. Can you explain to me why you lecture others on the evil of making assumptions, and then turn around and make a horrible asumption about others with no evidence?

"Granted, now you admit that you do not support Hitler."

What in the heck are you talking about? I have vigorously opposed war atrocities and the killing of babies, the very things that Hitler supported. And I have said absolutely nothing that would indicate I am a fan of Hitler.

"The passage does not teach that it is right to dash babies heads against stones. It expresses the thoughts of a broken individual."

Yes, Psalm 137:9 is the thought of a broken individual. And what exactly was that broken individual thinking? It sure seems to me that he is thinking that it is good to kill Babylonian babies. In that, the author is mistaken. It was not good to kill Babylonian babies.

LorMar said...

"May I remind you of what you said a few posts back? You said, "Allow me to give you a tip for future reference: Be sure to get that person's stance on an issue before proceeding with a debate." Can you explain to me why you lecture others on the evil of making assumptions, and then turn around and make a horrible asumption about others with no evidence?"

In the post that you read, you saw the following (including the question mark):

I answered your question about 137:9, Merle. Answer mine. Should I assume that you are a fan of Hitler because you avoided answering?

Since I asked you if I should assume a certain thing about you, I did not violate my rule so to speak. You probably knew that when you read my question.

"And I have said absolutely nothing that would indicate I am a fan of Hitler."

Your comment below appears insensitive to me:

"If Hitler had been killed as a child, he would be dead."

He would be dead, and millions of people would still be alive. Should I assume that fact means nothing to you? Correct me if I am wrong, but it appears you have more respect for Hitler's life (unable to speak about what would have happened had he been killed as a child) than his victims.

"What else would have happened? Nobody knows. Would a worse man have taken over Germany? Would one of his generals have led the Nazis to worse atrocities? Or would the Nazis have invented the atomic bomb before starting WWII? Was the situation so volatile that war was inevitable? Or would peace have reigned? Nobody knows.
Why do you ask this ridiculous question? It seems completely irrelevant to the discussion at hand."

"Would one of his generals have led the Nazis to worse atrocities?"

"Would one of his generals have led the Nazis to worse atrocities?"

Are you kidding me? So you suppose that if Hitler had died as a child, maybe someone else would have come along and killed more Jewish people (and others) than he did? Do you have any idea how insensitive you sound? Easy for you to say the above as you were not a victim of the nazis. I'd like to add that your comment below does not "clean up" your insensitive remark.

"Or would peace have reigned? Nobody knows."

Then again, I am not surprised that you would say all the above when you made a comment like this on one of your pages:

"Far too much damage has been done by soldiers who have been fighting for peace--" your humanism page

What??? Are you blaming soldiers who fight for peace? The soldiers fighting for peace were fighting for what was right, Merle. And you accuse them of causing too much damage? I would think that any person with an ounce of respect for peace would blame those who are against peace as causing too much damage.

http://www.geocities.com/questioningpage/humanism.htmldamage? Number 13.

To think that I actually wrote to you (my first email, challenge the God of the Bible) in order to find support and understanding. Nevermind Merle. I've asked you sincere questions on this blog site and I've received snappy remarks and hostility. You are insensitive, arrogant (just like Mspier), and hostile. You have no problem challenging others. You need to realize that you'll meet people who think you are wrong. That's life.

MSpeir said...

Bad news, LorMar. I've gotta go.

Seriously, I enjoyed our discussions, at least until one or the other of us got frustrated.

MSpeir said...

Merle,

It's been fun, but I probably won't be able to come back. I've enjoyed your site and the give and take immensely. Keep it going!

Merle Hertzler said...

Mspeir,

Thanks for posting here. I have enjoyed your comments. You are always welcome back.

Merle

Merle Hertzler said...

Lormar,

You tell us that Psalm 137:9 express the thoughts of a broken individual, but you do not tell us what you think that author is trying to express. I think he is expressing that it was good to kill Babylonian babies (and, of course, he was mistaken when he thought this was good.) What do you think the Psalmist was trying to say? You never tell us. You tell us only that my view is wrong, and that the author was trying to teach something. But what?

"I answered your question about 137:9, Merle. Answer mine."

And what was the author of Psalm 137:9 trying to teach us? If you answered that question, what did you say?

"[If Hitler had been killed as a child], He would be dead, and millions of people would still be alive. Should I assume that fact means nothing to you? "

No, of course you should not assume the Holocaust means nothing to me. I have written often about the horrors of the Holocaust and the horrible evil involved. It saddens me to hear of that inhumane treatment of others.

But I also know that the Nazi movement was going strong before Hitler, and many others participated in that horror. Hitler was not the only source of Nazi evil.

And I honestly do not know how world history would have turned out if Hitler had died as a child.

"Correct me if I am wrong, but it appears you have more respect for Hitler's life (unable to speak about what would have happened had he been killed as a child) than his victims."

Sorry but you are very, very wrong. What could possibly make you think I respect Hitler's life more than his victims? I have told you: I hate what Hitler stood for and did. Why don't you acknowledge that? Why do you insist on trying to tie me with Hitler with absolutely no evidence to back you?

"So you suppose that if Hitler had died as a child, maybe someone else would have come along and killed more Jewish people (and others) than he did? Do you have any idea how insensitive you sound?"

First, let me remind you that this discussion of what would have happened if Hitler had been killed as a child has absolutely no relevance to this thread. Zero. Zilch. Zip. Nada. This thread is talking about Bible atrocities and about abortions. We are not talking about Hitler. But it is you who insisted on bringing Hitler into this thread. When you brought it up, I asked you a question about the relevance of Hitler to this thread. Instead of answering that question, you insinuated that, I was a fan of Hitler for evading the question. But I was not evading the question. The question was completely irrelevant. So I was hoping to avoid an irrelevant rabbit trail discussing Hitler. You insisted that I had to answer the Hitler question, but you never told me why it has any relevance to my point on this thread. I answered your hypothetical question by saying, "I don't know." And now you get on my case for saying that I don't know! Huh? This is totally irrelevant to this thread. I don't know much about European history, and you insist that I am insensitive because I tell you I don't know!

I do know that there was a growing Nazi movement long before Hitler. What would the Nazis have done if Hitler had not come on the scene. I don't know.

Do you know what the Nazis would have done if Hitler had not come on the scene? If so, tell us exactly what they would have done.

"Are you blaming soldiers who fight for peace? The soldiers fighting for peace were fighting for what was right, Merle. And you accuse them of causing too much damage?"

In real life, nothing is quite as black and white as you imply. Both sides in a war claim to be fighting for peace.

The Germans went to war in WW1 with the words "God with us" printed on their helmets. They claimed to be fighting for good, but they did more harm than good. All governments claim that they are fighting for good. I am just saying to be cautious. Sometimes governments tell us we are fighting for good, but we do far more harm then good.

Let me make it very clear that I am totally against the Nazi regime, and that I am very thankful to the Allied soldiers who fought to oppose Nazi Germany.

"To think that I actually wrote to you (my first email, challenge the God of the Bible) in order to find support and understanding."

I would love to give you support and understanding. But I cannot stand by while you insinuate that I am a fan of Hitler and that I am not bothered by the death of babies. If you publish false statements about me, I will defend myself.

"I've received snappy remarks and hostility. You are insensitive, arrogant (just like Mspier), and hostile."

I am so sorry if my remarks seem snappy, insensitive and hostile. I want to be as sensitive and kind as possible in my answers.

"You need to realize that you'll meet people who think you are wrong. That's life"

Absolutely. I love to discuss ideas with people that disagree with me.

But when people publish false statements about me, I defend myself.

Merle Hertzler said...

Lormar,

"I answered your question about 137:9, Merle. Answer mine."

Which question do you want me to answer?

LorMar said...

"MSpeir said...
Bad news, LorMar. I've gotta go.

Seriously, I enjoyed our discussions, at least until one or the other of us got frustrated."

Be good. ;-)

LorMar said...

You tell us that Psalm 137:9 express the thoughts of a broken individual, but you do not tell us what you think that author is trying to express. I think he is expressing that it was good to kill Babylonian babies (and, of course, he was mistaken when he thought this was good.) What do you think the Psalmist was trying to say? You never tell us. You tell us only that my view is wrong, and that the author was trying to teach something. But what?

Merle, you obviously have not paid attention or don't care what I have said already. Your goal here is simply to argue. As I have stated already, the verse does not teach us that it is good to kill Babylonian babies. That entire psalm teaches us about the traumatic experience of a people.

The Germans went to war in WW1 with the words "God with us" printed on their helmets. They claimed to be fighting for good, but they did more harm than good. All governments claim that they are fighting for good. I am just saying to be cautious. Sometimes governments tell us we are fighting for good, but we do far more harm then good.

Unbelievable??? Merle, were they fighting for good or not? You've made a clear decision on psalm 137:9 but you want to be cautious when it comes to who is really fighting for peace? I'd say, Osama Bin Laden and all his buddies are certainly not fighting for peace. What do you think?

Let me make it very clear that I am totally against the Nazi regime, and that I am very thankful to the Allied soldiers who fought to oppose Nazi Germany."

I'd like to add that the allied soldiers were fighting for peace, Merle. (see your comments below)

"Far too much damage has been done by soldiers who have been fighting for peace--" your humanism page

And another:

"All governments claim that they are fighting for good. I am just saying to be cautious."

Were you being cautious, Merle? Or should I assume that your views apply to some things but not to others?

I am so sorry if my remarks seem snappy, insensitive and hostile. I want to be as sensitive and kind as possible in my answers."

Oh please.


Which question do you want me to answer?

Your "avoidence" spoke louder than the any "dodging" answer you could possibly give.

I would love to give you support and understanding.

Yes, providing I bash christianity and embrace your views without question.

"But I cannot stand by while you insinuate that I am a fan of Hitler and that I am not bothered by the death of babies. If you publish false statements about me, I will defend myself."

You should not have a problem "being read" according to your own standards. Btw, I asked you what assumptions I should make based on your responses (and lack thereof).


Honestly, this whole discussion is futile. You believe that you're right, I believe you're wrong (and you believe I am wrong--which is respectfully, of no concern to me). Shall we agree to disagree?

Merle Hertzler said...

LorMar,

I have been trying to discuss Bible atrocities, and you have insisted that we need to change the topic to Hitler and the Holocaust instead. Further, you have insinuated that I must be a fan of Hitler because I did not immediately jump off my topic and jump on yours.

May I remind you who's blog this is? Why do you insist on derailing this thread to your topic? Why do you come here and demand that everybody drop their discussion and immediately switch to your topic, which is totally irrelevant to the discussion at hand?

You say I have been insensitive to you. Where? What words have I said that were insensitive? Please answer.

If I have said anything that is insensitive or rude, I apologize for it. I told you that once, and you responded:

"Oh please."

OK, so you insist that I said something insensitive; you refuse to tell me what I said that offended you; and when I tell you that if I said something unkind I am sorry, you doubt my sincerity? Does that about sum it up?

"As I have stated already, the verse does not teach us that it is good to kill Babylonian babies. That entire psalm teaches us about the traumatic experience of a people. "

I didn't ask you what the entire psalm teaches. I know Psalm 137 teaches about a traumatic experience. That is not in dispute. I asked you what verse 9 teaches ("How blessed will be the one who seizes and dashes your little ones against the rock.") Please tell us. What does that verse teach? I have told you what I think that verse teaches. If you think I am wrong, why not tell me what you think?

"Unbelievable??? Merle, were they fighting [the Germans] for good or not? "

The Germans were fighting for bad. That is my point. The German helmets said, "God with us," but I do not believe that God, if he existed, was fighting for their cause. But the Germans believed he was. That is exactly my point. Governments persuade people that their cause is all good; that the other side is all bad; and this is a war of good versus evil. But usually there are two sides to the story.

"you want to be cautious when it comes to who is really fighting for peace? I'd say, Osama Bin Laden and all his buddies are certainly not fighting for peace. What do you think?"

Once again, you are making my point. The followers of Bin Laden think they are fighting for God and good. They are mistaken. That is my point. It is too easy to fool ourselves into thinking we are fighting for good when we are not. That is why we should be cautious in our support of war.

"Your 'avoidence' spoke louder than the any 'dodging' answer you could possibly give."

Is this a big joke with you? You accuse me of not responding to some question. When I ask you which question you are referring to, you tell me I am avoiding something. What question? What are you accusing me of avoiding? I have responded to every major point you brought up. Why do you insist that I am avoiding something, but refuse to tell me what it is you think I am avoiding answering?

"Yes, providing I bash christianity and embrace your views without question.
"


No, of course not. I certainly am not asking you to bash Christianity or embrace my views without question. What did I say that would make you think that?

"You should not have a problem "being read" according to your own standards."

How are you reading me by my standards? I have presented clear texts that support my point. You evade the question when I ask you which question I am avoiding. Can you not see the difference?



"Btw, I asked you what assumptions I should make based on your responses (and lack thereof).
"


My lack of response to what? Please tell me? Which question do you want me to address?

LorMar said...

"I asked you what verse 9 teaches ("How blessed will be the one who seizes and dashes your little ones against the rock.") Please tell us. What does that verse teach?"

Merle,

Honestly, I really don't know what to think about you anymore. Here is my answer for the "one millionth" time (all caps does not mean I am yelling, but trying to make myself clear to you). PSALM 137:9 DOES NOT TEACH ANYTHING AT ALL. IT EXPRESSES THE THOUGHTS OF SOMEONE AND THEIR TRAUMATIC EXPERIENCE. THE WORDING ALONE MAKES THAT VERY CLEAR TO ME. Now had the verse said something like : "It is God's will that All of the world/humanity must take revenge against their foes by dashing their babies heads against stones," and the context supports it, that would be teaching. I don't believe in determining the meaning of verses in isolation. If that were the case, then I can and will do the same with every little sentence you type, like this one:

"Far too much damage has been done by soldiers who have been fighting for peace--" your humanism page

That sentence by itself epresses something evil and inhuman from my POV. It appears to blaim those fighting for peace. As you explain what you mean, I get a different picture of you. If I have to keep your comments in the proper context and take the time to discover what you are really saying, I should give the Bible that same respect.

In spite of all my questions regarding christianity, I still do not see what you see. Do you feel I have to eventually?

"No, of course not. I certainly am not asking you to bash Christianity or embrace my views without question. What did I say that would make you think that?"

I should not embrace your views without question. Hhmm, so I should embrace your views with question? Just about every post that I've made on this blog (that questions christianity and it's followers) has not been meant with the "attitude" you have now. As soon as I say something in defense of it, you all of a sudden want to argue.

"May I remind you who's blog this is? Why do you insist on derailing this thread to your topic? Why do you come here and demand that everybody drop their discussion and immediately switch to your topic, which is totally irrelevant to the discussion at hand?"

May I remind you that you created a thread directing it at me? I say what I like, Merle. You don't even see the connection. The point is that just as I was judging your character based on my misunderstanding, you do the same with the bible. However, you aren't nearly as clear as the Bible. I honestly don't know what you really think. I can only assume based on your words. I'll ignore everything else you say and decide based on a sentence here and there.

"Is this a big joke with you? You accuse me of not responding to some question. When I ask you which question you are referring to, you tell me I am avoiding something. What question?"

"Once again, you are making my point. The followers of Bin Laden think they are fighting for God and good. They are mistaken. That is my point. It is too easy to fool ourselves into thinking we are fighting for good when we are not. That is why we should be cautious in our support of war."

I asked you if Osama bin Laden was fighting for peace. I don't care what he says about God telling him whatever (just as I see no reason to believe that God led George Bush to start the war in Iraq--again, I couldn't care less what Bush claims). I'd like to add that I agree with a poster on christian forums who said that you should have gone ahead with what you believed God was telling you at the time (whatever plan you were speaking of--again, based on your side of the story). Back to the question at hand, I'd say Osama was more than mistaken. He is dead wrong.

"How are you reading me by my standards? I have presented clear texts that support my point. You evade the question when I ask you which question I am avoiding. Can you not see the difference?"

Merle,

You have not brought in anything to support your view. Again, I think you are wrong. Why are you so bothered by what I think? I mean...I don't care what you think about my views. Over the years, people told me many things about the bible that were and are incorrect (no pants, movies, if one marries an unbeliever it's a sin, no jewelry, braiding the hair, etc). Now you are telling me this. Those people thought they had verses to prove their point. So?

Honestly, what is your point in creating this thread, directing it at me, and asking the same things over and over again? What do you hope to accomplish here with me? Again, I don't see what you see. Is that so bad in your eyes?

As I stated before, I am pro choice when it comes to saving the mother's life. That involves killing a baby. Many people believe that God ordered the killing of the babylonians (including the babies) in order to save lives. I see no difference.

In war, many soldiers have to kill children (again, enemy soldiers using children as human sheilds). You may understand that, but tell that to the mother of that child. She feels the soldier should have allowed himself to be killed in order to save her child. If you agree, then tell that to the mother of the dead soldier. No one can win.

We can complain about the God of the OT all we like. In the end, I discovered that we are no better than He is. You are free to disagree with me as I am free to disagree with you. Fair?

LorMar said...

A few spelling errors in my post. Too late to change them all.

Merle Hertzler said...

Lormar,

What thought was the author of Psalm 137:9 trying to express when he penned the words, "How blessed will be the one who seizes and dashes your little ones against the rock." I think he was expressing the evil thought that it was good to kill Babylonian babies. What thought do you think he was expressing?

" Here is my answer for the 'one millionth' time (all caps does not mean I am yelling, but trying to make myself clear to you). PSALM 137:9 DOES NOT TEACH ANYTHING AT ALL. IT EXPRESSES THE THOUGHTS OF SOMEONE AND THEIR TRAUMATIC EXPERIENCE. THE WORDING ALONE MAKES THAT VERY CLEAR TO ME."

Yes, of course, the author was expressing a thought. But what thought was he expressing? I have told you what I think. What do you think he is expressing?

"I don't believe in determining the meaning of verses in isolation. "

Me neither. What part of the context of Psalm 137:9 makes you think he is expressing a different thought than what I think he is expressing? And what is that thought you think he is expressing in that verse?

"That sentence ["Far too much damage has been done by soldiers who have been fighting for peace"] by itself expresses something evil and inhuman from my POV"

Really? What is evil and inhuman about recognizing that war causes far too much damage, even if the war has a good justification? I have been watching the news from the Middle East. The news seems to confirm that soldiers fighting for peace can do a lot of damage.

"I have to keep your comments in the proper context and take the time to discover what you are really saying, I should give the Bible that same respect. "

Absolutely. And after you take Psalm 137:9 in context, what thought do you think the author is trying to express?

"May I remind you that you created a thread directing it at me? I say what I like, Merle. "

No problem. Say what you like.

The problem is when you insinuated that those who did not switch immediately to your new irrelevant topic--Hitler--were fans of Hitler. If you want to talk about something irrelevant to this thread, don't be surprised if people don't immediately respond.

"However, you aren't nearly as clear as the Bible."

My writings are that bad, huh?

"In spite of all my questions regarding Christianity, I still do not see what you see. Do you feel I have to eventually?
"


Nope. I am not asking you to be a carbon copy of me. You may think for yourself.

"I should not embrace your views without question. Hhmm, so I should embrace your views with question?"

See the quote at the top of my website? "The important thing is to not stop questioning." That is the important thing.

I would rather that you think for yourself than simply embrace my views.

"I asked you if Osama bin Laden was fighting for peace."

Bin Laden thinks he is fighting for peace. I think he is destroying peace. Does that answer your question?

"I see no reason to believe that God led George Bush to start the war in Iraq"

Me neither.

"I'd like to add that I agree with a poster on christian forums who said that you should have gone ahead with what you believed God was telling you at the time (whatever plan you were speaking of--again, based on your side of the story"

And what about those who thought God was telling them to vigorously oppose the plans that I thought were from God? Should they have opposed me as they thought God wanted? Is your God the author of confusion?

"Why are you so bothered by what I think?"

I don't yet know what you think about Psalm 137:9, so how can I be bothered by it? What thought was the author trying to express when he wrote that verse?

"Many people believe that God ordered the killing of the Babylonians (including the babies) in order to save lives. "

Psalm 137:9 implies it was good to target babies. I disagree. What do you think? Did God order people to target the Babylonian babies?

"Honestly, what is your point in creating this thread, directing it at me, and asking the same things over and over again?"

If you answer the question, I will stop asking. What thought is Psalm 137:9 expressing?

"In war, many soldiers have to kill children (again, enemy soldiers using children as human sheilds). You may understand that, but tell that to the mother of that child. She feels the soldier should have allowed himself to be killed in order to save her child. If you agree, then tell that to the mother of the dead soldier. No one can win.
"


Ah, so there are two sides to the story. The soldier thinks he is fighting for peace, and accepts the death of a family near an enemy bunker as an unfortunate consequence of the greater good he is bringing. But the mother thinks it would be better if the soldier just went away.

You seem to be making my points. Soldiers fighting for peace cause some great damage, and the propaganda on one side of a war does not reflect the whole truth.

"We can complain about the God of the OT all we like. In the end, I discovered that we are no better than He is."

Ah, but you do not order the death of infants as 1 Samuel 15 records, do you?

Anonymous said...

"And what about those who thought God was telling them to vigorously oppose the plans that I thought were from God? Should they have opposed me as they thought God wanted? Is your God the author of confusion?"

From what you are presenting, I'd say those people did not hear from God. My God would not scheme behind your back and have others plot to pull you down. I don't know the plan you had. However, if you were wrong, I believe that God would send people along to help you take the right path, not work against you. That's the God I know.

As for psalm 137:9 (honestly, this asking over and over is getting a little redundant to me, LOL). I have already told you what I thought about the passage. At this point, maybe you should go back to my first response.

"Ah, but you do not order the death of infants as 1 Samuel 15 records, do you?"

Nope. But I'd sure order the death of infants who may be stuck in the mothers' birth canal in order to save her life. I see no difference.

My writings are that bad, huh?

The mechanics of your writing are not the problem. From what you do write, it is difficult for me to determine your true thoughts. I leave this thread wondering, "has he said what he really felt or is he giving me answers simply because he is trying to win an argument?"

"Really? What is evil and inhuman about recognizing that war causes far too much damage, even if the war has a good justification? I have been watching the news from the Middle East. The news seems to confirm that soldiers fighting for peace can do a lot of damage."

It is evil because the problem is not the soldiers fighting for peace. I don't blame those who fight for peace. I blame those who are trying to destroy peace.

What if no one had ever fought the nazis? Do you blame the allied soldiers who were fighting for peace and leave the nazis blameless? Do you blame the allied soldiers in any way, shape, or form? Should the allied soldiers have done nothing?

Btw, who is fighting for peace in the Middle East?

Anonymous said...

the above post was from LorMar

Merle Hertzler said...

"I have already told you what I thought about the passage. At this point, maybe you should go back to my first response. "


I went back to your first response. What you said was, "I do not believe it is a blessed thing to dash babies' heads against rocks. The passage doesn't say it is." This is a statement of what you think Psalm 137:9 does not say. But what thought is that verse expressing? You never told us. If you are so sure my interpretation is wrong, why don't you propose an alternate interpretation?



If my view is the only view on the table, then I win by default. Do you care to propose an alternate interpretation of what the author was trying to express?



"Nope [I do not order the death of infants as 1 Samuel 15 records.] But I'd sure order the death of infants who may be stuck in the mothers' birth canal in order to save her life. I see no difference. "


You see no difference between a last-chance effort to save a mother dieing in childbirth and the deliberate killing of an innocent child who is harming nobody? I see a big difference in the two acts.



Surely you must see the difference between the man who roams the neighborhood killing children, and the doctor who tries to save a mother's life with a last-minute abortion? And yet you tell us you approve of the second act. Then how can you say you see no difference? If you see no difference, that seems to say you approve of both acts. But I am sure you approve of only one of those two acts. So how can you say there is no difference?



"From what you do write, it is difficult for me to determine your true thoughts. I leave this thread wondering, 'has he said what he really felt or is he giving me answers simply because he is trying to win an argument?'"



What I say here comes from the heart. I call it as I see it.


"the problem is not the soldiers fighting for peace. I don't blame those who fight for peace. I blame those who are trying to destroy peace. "



Ah, but all think they are fighting for peace. Do you not recognize that some acts of soldiers who are fighting for peace cause harm?



If so, then it seems it is right to mention the harm done by those who fight for peace.


"What if no one had ever fought the nazis? "

Sometimes one needs to fight. I hate to think what would have happened if Nazi Germany had not been stopped.



"Do you blame the allied soldiers who were fighting for peace and leave the nazis blameless? "



No, of course not. But I hold both sides responsible for the acts they committed during the war.


" Do you blame the allied soldiers in any way, shape, or form?"


Yes. I think some of the bombing of German civilians by the Allies was not appropriate. And the atomic bombs dropped on Japan were wrong, in my opinion.



"Should the allied soldiers have done nothing? "


No, the allies had the right to defend themselves in WWII.



"Btw, who is fighting for peace in the Middle East?"


All think they are fighting for peace. Hezbollah, Israel, Palestinians, Sunnis, Shiites, and Americans all claim to be fighting for good and elimination of evil. And the result is devastation.

LorMar said...

I went back to your first response. What you said was, "I do not believe it is a blessed thing to dash babies' heads against rocks. The passage doesn't say it is."

Remember this comment in the same paragraph?:

The speaker had a horrible experience and believes that his adversaries will be repaid.

For the last time, the verse does not teach that it is right to dash babies heads against stones. The sentence above expresses what I think the verse is about. Although he says "happy shall he be who dashes your little ones against stones," for some strange reason, he is distancing himself from the act. Honestly, I really don't know what else to say to you (except I find the bible to be a beautiful book, that includes Psalm 137:9 and every similar verse within it). (lol, am I bloodthirsty and hateful now?)

"No, of course not. But I hold both sides responsible for the acts they committed during the war."

What could the allied soldiers have done differently?

"Btw, who is fighting for peace in the Middle East?"


"All think they are fighting for peace. Hezbollah, Israel, Palestinians, Sunnis, Shiites, and Americans all claim to be fighting for good and elimination of evil. And the result is devastation."

I should make myself clear. Who do YOU think is fighting for peace? Some? All? None?

"If my view is the only view on the table, then I win by default. Do you care to propose an alternate interpretation of what the author was trying to express?"

Good grief, Merle. Is that what drives you? Winning. Is this why you created this thread directing it at me? You didn't win anything and neither have I. You discussed your view and I discussed mine. If it makes you feel any better, I'll call you the winner. Yippee! Merle has won! Feel better? I am surprised that this was your aim.

Merle Hertzler said...

"The speaker had a horrible experience and believes that his adversaries will be repaid. For the last time, the verse does not teach that it is right to dash babies heads against stones. The sentence above expresses what I think the verse is about."

OK, so when the Psalmist wrote, "How blessed will be the one who seizes and dashes your little ones against the rock." he ws trying to tell us he believes his adversaries would be repaid? Then why didn't he say what he meant?

Suppose someone had wrote "How blessed will be the one who seizes and dashes your airplanes against buildings." Would you argue that this statement does not praise terrorism? Would you argue that the speaker was merely predicting a future event, and was not praising the people who would do it?

And what about when Jesus said, "Blessed are the peacemakers"? Was he merely telling us that in the future people would be peacemakers? Was he not telling us that peacemaking is a good thing?

Can you give me another instance in all of literature where somebody said something like "How blessed are those who..." and was not praising the act he was talking about?

"Although he says 'happy shall he be who dashes your little ones against stones,' for some strange reason, he is distancing himself from the act."

Uh, and how was the Pslamist distancing himself? If someone said it was blessed to smash airplanes against buildings, would you argue that the writer is distancing himself from the act, and is not really trying to incite others to an act of terrorism?

"What could the allied soldiers have done differently?"

Instead of dropping the atomic bombs on ordinary civilians, the Allies could have had a more targeted attack with conventional weapons on military targets.

And the bombing of Dresdan is regarded by many as an unnecessary atrocity. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bombing_of_Dresden_in_World_War_II. The Allies could have directed their bombs more specifically at military targets. Yes, I believe the Allies were far more moral than the Nazis, but they must bear responsibility for their war crimes also.

"I should make myself clear. Who do YOU think is fighting for peace? Some? All? None?"

By "fighting for peace" I was referring to fighting with the intention of bringing peace. By that definintion, most fighters in the MIddle East are fighting with the intention that their acts will destroy evil and bring about peace for their people, and in that sense they are "fighting for peace". (But the end result of such fighting is not peace, but misery.)

Do you have a different meaning of the phrase, "fighting for peace"?

"Good grief, Merle. Is that what drives you? Winning."

Sorry. I did not intend to say that I would win if my idea is the only idea on the table. What I meant to say was my idea would win the discussion if there was no other idea to compete with it. I am interested that truth and good prevail, not necesarily that I prevail.

LorMar said...

"Sorry. I did not intend to say that I would win if my idea is the only idea on the table. What I meant to say was my idea would win the discussion if there was no other idea to compete with it. I am interested that truth and good prevail, not necesarily that I prevail."

Merle, there is no possible way for either of us to win this discussion. Your view of Psalm 137:9 has no bearing on my view of it. With all of this discussion, my mind has not changed. I will assume the same for you. Since you have not convinced me of your position and I have not convinced you, this is a no win discussion (from my POV). One has to be careful to automatically attach truth to the winning end of a discussion. There are people who can argue lies and win.

"If someone said it was blessed to smash airplanes against buildings, would you argue that the writer is distancing himself from the act, and is not really trying to incite others to an act of terrorism?"

Absolutely providing they are not on the offensive. For example, if a New Yorker said (after the WTC building collapse) "the person who knocks down your buildings as you have knocked down ours will be happy." I would not brand that person as bloodthirsty and hate filled as you might. That person witnessed something horrible and wants revenge (like the psalmist). People need time to heal, Merle. Would you put that person in the same category as those who were on the offensive and actually flew the planes into the tower? Why do I get the feeling you would?

"By "fighting for peace" I was referring to fighting with the intention of bringing peace. By that definintion, most fighters in the MIddle East are fighting with the intention that their acts will destroy evil and bring about peace for their people, and in that sense they are "fighting for peace". (But the end result of such fighting is not peace, but misery.)"

Who do YOU think is fighting for peace, Merle? Do you think Al Qaeda (sp) or Hezbollah are fighting for peace? Does the president of Iran want peace? What about the insurgents in Iraq? Do they want peace? Do you think the IDF wants peace?

What does "peace for their people" mean for all of the groups above?

"Do you have a different meaning of the phrase, "fighting for peace"?"

Yes, it means fighting for peace (smile).

Merle Hertzler said...

"Merle, there is no possible way for either of us to win this discussion....Since you have not convinced me of your position and I have not convinced you, this is a no win discussion (from my POV)."

Ah, but debaters usually do not convince their opponents. But sometimes they convince the audience.

"Your view of Psalm 137:9 has no bearing on my view of it. With all of this discussion, my mind has not changed. I will assume the same for you."

Sometimes minds change months after the debate. Sometimes thoughts take time to grow.

Are you sure your mind will not change next week?

"One has to be careful to automatically attach truth to the winning end of a discussion. There are people who can argue lies and win."

True, the audience should always approach a debate to learn the arguments being expressed, and to choose the best answers. Sometimes this is different from following the best debater.

"Absolutely, [If someone said it was blessed to smash airplanes against buildings, I would argue that the writer is distancing himself from the act, and is not really trying to incite others to an act of terrorism], providing they are not on the offensive. "

Huh? But those people that incite acts of terrorism do not necessarily do the act. How does not doing the act prove that one is not inciting terror?

Can you not see that those that encourage terrorism and incite people to an act of terror are doing wrong, even if they themselves are not doing the act of terror?

And can you not see that Psalm 137:9 is inciting people to an act of terror?

"For example, if a New Yorker said (after the WTC building collapse) "the person who knocks down your buildings as you have knocked down ours will be happy." I would not brand that person as bloodthirsty and hate filled as you might."

I am not asking if the person who says such things is bloodthirsty. I am asking if the person who says "Happy is he who knocks down those buildings" or "Happy is he who kills those babies" is encouraging people to do those acts. I think they are encouraging those acts.

"That person witnessed something horrible and wants revenge (like the psalmist). People need time to heal, Merle."

Yes, I agree. The Psalmist needed time to heal. He was faced with a horrible situation, and made a horrible statement which praised an act of terrorism.

Perhaps with a little time, the Psalmist would realize that he was encouraging evil. Perhaps he was later sorry for what he had written.

And perhaps he would shake his head in sorrow if he were alive today and saw Christians carrying that verse in their holy book.

"Would you put that person in the same category as those who were on the offensive and actually flew the planes into the tower? Why do I get the feeling you would?"

The person who incites terrrorism? Perhaps he is not deserving of the same punishment as the person who does the act, but it is still evil to incite acts of terrorism.

What do you think? Is it evil to incite acts of terrorism or isn't it?

"Who do YOU think is fighting for peace, Merle?"

If by "fighting for peace" you mean fighting with the intention of bringing peace, I have answered that question twice. If you mean something else, explain please what you are asking.

LorMar said...

"Happy is he who kills those babies" is encouraging people to do those acts. I think they are encouraging those acts."

And I don't think he was encouraging those acts. Shall we agree to disagree?

And can you not see that Psalm 137:9 is inciting people to an act of terror?

No, because the psalmist is not inciting an act of terror. Shall we agree to disagree?

"And perhaps he would shake his head in sorrow if he were alive today and saw Christians carrying that verse in their holy book."

If the psalmist ever shook his head in sorrow, I'd tell him to cheer up. The psalm written has helped me and perhaps millions of others. I thank God that your experience was included; including your words in verse 9. I saw myself in your pain and your anger. Others may condemn a victim for wanting revenge, but others with compassion know better. That is one of the reasons why millions of people love this "book". Shall we agree to disagree, Merle?

"If by "fighting for peace" you mean fighting with the intention of bringing peace, I have answered that question twice. If you mean something else, explain please what you are asking."

I see that you have dodged the issue again, Merle. You have shown me that you can't answer as the question was abundantly clear. You have also shown me that this so called free thought isn't free at all. I believe that any person who sincerely desires peace can declare a group like Al Qeada (sp) enemies of peace. I see that you cannot or will not call them what they are.

"Sometimes minds change months after the debate. Sometimes thoughts take time to grow.

Are you sure your mind will not change next week?"

When I first wrote to you, I really needed an ear and someone to understand the questions I have regarding christianity. After reading many of your posts, I realized my mistake in thinking you could offer any real help. I am now sort of "kicking myself" for asking you for help (try not to take that literally, LOL). Why? I have read some absolutely outrageous things from you. I honeslty can't believe that I thought you had answers I needed. As for changing my mind...well, I like to decide what is true and be free to call evil evil and good good, so I won't change my mind. I am able to admit what is true even when I don't like it or want it to be, so I won't be changing my mind. (is that poetic or what, LOL)

In all honesty Merle, I don't want any part of the mindset you have. I want true freedom of thought. So no, I am absolutely certain (uh oh, you don't like that phrase, LOL) I won't be changing my mind about the bible.

Shall we agree to disagree? Or do you really need "company" that badly? I can't be your "company", but I'll try to be an ear. Btw, I'll bring my own "wine" (smile).

Merle Hertzler said...

"The psalmist is not inciting an act of terror. Shall we agree to disagree?"

Sure. I think the words "How blessed will be the one who seizes and dashes your little ones against the rock" encourage people to commit an act of terror. You think not. We disagree on this point

"The psalm written has helped me and perhaps millions of others. I thank God that your experience was included; including your words in verse 9. I saw myself in your pain and your anger. Others may condemn a victim for wanting revenge, but others with compassion know better."

I assume that the "you" in your paragraph refers to the Psalmist, not to me.

OK, you see the Psalmist's pain. Me too. I have written about his pain. I have no problem with the Psalmist expressing pain. The question is not whether or not he feels pain. The question is whether we agree that it is blessed to dash babies against a rock as Psalm 137 wrongfully announces.

I do not condemn a person for wanting revenge. I have written several times about it being OK to feel our emotions. I do not condemn a person for having an emotion of desire for revenge.

If the Psalmist had said, "I feel so angry I could kill a baby" I could feel his pain. But when the Psalmist declares it it blessed to dash babies against a rock, then I must state my disagreement with the Psalmist.

Can you seeing the difference between expressing pain and announcing that it is good to kill babies? Can you see how one can favor the expression of pain, and disagree with the statement that baby-killing is blessed?

I am all for expressing the pain. I am opposed to killing innocent babies out of revenge. Got it?

"I see that you have dodged the issue again, Merle. You have shown me that you can't answer as the question was abundantly clear."

No, I have not dodged the "fighting for peace" question. I cannot answer a question that I cannot understand. Would you explain what you are asking, please?

"You have also shown me that this so called free thought isn't free at all"

I am sorry that you don't see my thought as free. I wish you could understand the freedom I feel.

"I believe that any person who sincerely desires peace can declare a group like Al Qeada (sp) enemies of peace. I see that you cannot or will not call them what they are."

Huh? Are you even trying? I told you very specifically that Bin Laden and his followers are mistaken when they think they are fighting for peace. Why do you simply ignore what I write, and insist that I did not answer?

Hello? Should I perhaps use a bigger font? Or should I use more repetition? Help me out here. What do I need to do to get you to actually read what I write before you condemn it?

"I have read some absolutely outrageous things from you."

If I have said something outrageous, please post it here. What have I said that you think is outrageous?

"As for changing my mind...well, I like to decide what is true and be free to call evil evil and good good, so I won't change my mind."

Ah, but doesn't good and evil consist of gray areas and nuances? And shouldn't we be willing to modify our opinions based on later knowledge?

LorMar said...

If I have said something outrageous, please post it here. What have I said that you think is outrageous?

Merle,

I do plan to respond to you. It is just that I'd like to choose my words more carefully. Give me some time because I'd like to go through the details of your questioning site and blog that helped me to form my view of you and why your path is not the one I should nor want to follow (if you don't mind me posting such). As you can see, I can shoot off at the mouth. The problem is, I can later regret not what I intended to say, but the manner in which I said it.

I'll be back (smile).

Merle Hertzler said...

Lormar,

Yes, by all means take your time and look at my site, and think about where you have come to different conclusions from me. I appreciate all such feedback to my site. If you want, I will add a new entry on my blog entitled "Comments on the Website", and then you can add anything you want as comments.

By the way, I do appreciate your taking the time to write. I do believe you are sincere and well-meaning in your comments. Perhaps in the heat of discussion some words may be said that appear harsh at first, but I think we both understand that such words are not intended to be degrading of the other.

I do defend myself against what I perceive as misunderstandings, but I also hope that none of those defenses are taken as attempts to belittle or hurt you. That is certainly not the intention.

I wish you well. May you enjoy the spiritual exploration you are undertaking, and may it lead you to a richer understanding of truth.

I will gladly read your comments should you find the time to put something together.

Hoping you haven't completely written me off,
Merle

Anonymous said...

MY COMMENTS ARE IN CAPS.

I learned early that I was not to question my religion.

My family and I left this church to join a fundamentalist church, one that did not question the Bible

I WAS ALWAYS TAUGHT TO STUDY THE BIBLE FOR MYSELF. NO ONE EVER TOLD ME NOT TO QUESTION...NOT EVEN THE STRICT PENTECOSTAL CHURCH I STARTED OUT IN. IN FACT, THEY ENCOURAGED QUESTIONS (ALTHOUGH THEY STILL UNWAVERED IN THINGS LIKE PANTS OR MAKE-UP). HOWEVER, IT WAS UP TO EACH INDIVIDUAL TO EITHER ABIDE BY THE TEACHINGS OR NOT. NOT EVERYONE FELT THEY HAD TO. I DID UNTIL ONE DAY I REALIZED THERE WAS NO POINT IN RULES THAT MAKE NO DIFFERENCE TO GOD. I PERSONALLY FELT FORCED ALTHOUGH OTHERS IN THE CHURCH DID AS THEY WISHED. I DIDN'T WEAR PANTS NOR MAKE-UP BECAUSE I, LIKE YOU, WAS FEARFUL OF HELL (ALTHOUGH IT DID NOT AFFECT ME LIKE IT DID YOU). NOT ANYMORE. WITH THE KIND OF CHURCH YOU STARTED OUT IN, I AM NOT SURPRISED YOU NO LONGER BELIEVE IN THE BIBLE. HONESTLY, I DON'T BLAME PEOPLE FOR LEAVING THE FAITH DUE TO BAD EXPERIENCES. THINGS HAPPEN WHICH CAUSE US ALL TO BECOME BITTER AT TIMES. (ALTHOUGH THAT MAY NOT BE YOUR REASON FOR LEAVING--IT APPEARS THAT YOU LEFT DUE TO QUESTIONS THAT YOU FEEL WERE UNANSWERED OR UNANSWERABLE).

I was terrified of hell and would often lie awake at night worrying about it...Even in social settings, I would be sitting there worrying about hell.

SO YOU WOULD OFTEN LIE AWAKE AT NIGHT WORRYING ABOUT HELL. MY GOD, EVEN IN SOCIAL SETTINGS? SO HYPOTHETICALLY SPEAKING, IF YOU WERE ON A DATE OR AT A COOKOUT, YOU'D BE WORRIED ABOUT HELL RATHER THAN FOCUSING ON THE FUN. I DO NOT MEAN TO INSULT, BUT I'D WONDER IF THERE WAS SOME TYPE OF EMOTIONAL ILLNESS OR THE CHURCH YOU BEGAN IN DID NOT DO A GOOD JOB OF PRESENTING THE GOSPEL OR BOTH. ALTHOUGH I PERSONALLY WON'T BLAME YOU, I'D HAVE TO WONDER...DID YOU REALLY KNOW CHRIST OR WAS YOUR BELIEFS BASED ON THE FEAR OF HELL?

So I did it. Did I do it right? I didn't know. So I did it again. I still wasn't sure that I had done it right. So I did it again and again in my mind.

I accepted him into my heart. Over and over I accepted him in any way I could think to accept Christ.

GEE, I DID IT ONCE ABOUT 14 YEARS AGO. THERE IS NO NEED FOR ME TO ACCEPT CHRIST INTO MY HEART AGAIN (UNLESS I TELL HIM TO GET OUT AND INVITE HIM BACK IN--HE HE)

In college, I joined an independent Baptist church, which then controlled every aspect of my life.

The pastor boomed his message from the pulpit, yelling

SOMEONE SHOULD HAVE CONFRONTED HIM ABOUT THIS. HE PROBABLY INTIMIDATED PEOPLE WITH THREATS OF HELL...WHO KNOWS? EVEN THEN, SOMEONE SHOULD HAVE BEEN BOLD ENOUGH TO TALK TO THIS PASTOR.

Once when we were singing Just As I Am over and over as an alter call, people became so bored that the song died in the middle of the verse and we never finished it

HONESTLY MERLE, THIS REALLY CRACKS ME UP, LOL. EVERY TIME I TRY TO IMAGINE THIS, I LAUGH. BUT IT WAS PROBABLY VERY SERIOUS TO YOU. I MEAN NO HARM.

I had been reading through the Bible every year since I was in 11th grade--every word of every verse--and was finding a lot of problems.

THAT HAPPENS TO ME TOO. HOWEVER, I ALWAYS FIND ANSWERS AFTER STUDYING. I DON'T LIKE THEM ALL, BUT THEY'RE ANSWERS NONETHELESS.

As my confidence in the Bible withered, apathy set in.

I DON'T EVEN WANT TO SAY WHAT SET IN AS MY CONFIDENCE IN GOD BEGAN TO FADE. AS IT TURNS OUT, IT IS INCREASING NOW. HONESTLY, THERE ARE STILL THINGS THAT I DON'T UNDERSTAND NOR LIKE. AS FAR AS I'M CONCERNED, THERE IS NO REASON FOR ME TO ABANDON IT.

I could see the futility in trying to convince scientists that the world was 6000 years old

WHY DOES THE EARTH HAVE TO BE ONLY 6000 YEARS OLD? DID YOU BASE THIS ON SOMETHING THAT SPECIFICALLY STATES THIS OR SOMETHING THAT "SEEMED" LIKE IT? I STARTED OUT BELIEVING IN AN OLD EARTH (BILLIONS) BUT AFTER READING CHRISTIAN FORUMS, I AM NO LONGER CERTAIN. AT THIS POINT, I DON'T CARE AND DON'T HAVE TO CARE. I AM OFTEN BAFFLED WHEN PEOPLE TREAT THE BIBLE AS A SCIENTIFIC BOOK.

Many of us had struggled for months to destroy evolution

WHY DOES EVOLUTION HAVE TO BE DESTROYED? IT DOES NOT DENY GOD'S EXISTENCE IN AND OF ITSELF. I PERSONALLY DON'T YET HAVE AN OPINION ON EVOLUTION. HOW DO THE SCIENTIST KNOW THAT IT IS DEFINITELY TRUE? I DON'T FEEL WE HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT SUCH THINGS. I AM MORE CONCERNED ABOUT THE PRESENT AND FUTURE SINCE THERE IS NOTHING I CAN CHANGE ABOUT THE PAST.

The odd thing to me is that no book of the New Testament specifically claims to be inspired (with the possible exception of Revelation.)

ADMITTEDLY, YOU GOT ME ON THIS ONE. I HAD NO IDEA THAT ANY OF THE WRITERS OF THE OT AND MOST OF THE NT KNEW THAT THEY WERE BEING INSPIRED TO WRITE THE TEXTS.

THINGS THAT BOTHER ME:

Really? What is evil and inhuman about recognizing that war causes far too much damage, even if the war has a good justification? I have been watching the news from the Middle East. The news seems to confirm that soldiers fighting for peace can do a lot of damage.

YOU DID NOT BLAME THIS ON WAR AT FIRST, YOU BLAMED SOLDIERS FIGHTING FOR PEACE. TO ME, THERE IS A DIFFERENCE.

Bin Laden thinks he is fighting for peace. I think he is destroying peace. Does that answer your question?

ARE YOU ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN THAT THEY ARE TRYING TO DESTROY PEACE? HOW DO YOU DETERMINE WHO IS OUT TO DESTROY PEACE. ALSO, (AS ASKED PREVIOUSLY, WHAT ABOUT THE IDF, HEZBOLLAH, ETC.).

Ah, so there are two sides to the story. The soldier thinks he is fighting for peace, and accepts the death of a family near an enemy bunker as an unfortunate consequence of the greater good he is bringing. But the mother thinks it would be better if the soldier just went away.

You seem to be making my points. Soldiers fighting for peace cause some great damage, and the propaganda on one side of a war does not reflect the whole truth.

I AM MAKING THE POINT THAT WHAT ONE PERSON MAY CALL THE UNFORTUNATE CONSEQUENSE OF A GREATER GOOD, ANOTHER CALLS EVIL. SO YOU WOULD CLASSIFY KILLING A BABY USED AS A HUMAN SHIELD AS THE UNFORTUNATE CONSEQUENCE OF A GREATER GOOD. THE MOTHER OF THE CHILD WOULD QUESTION YOUR HUMANITY FOR BELIEVING SUCH. WOULD YOU VIEW YOUR BELIEFS AS EVIL? YOU VIEW MANY THINGS IN THE BIBLE AS EVIL OR "BAD ADVICE", BUT YOU DON'T REALIZE THAT OTHERS COULD SAY THE SAME ABOUT YOU. WOULD THEY BE RIGHT OR WRONG? I AM NOT ASKING YOU TO ANSWER IF YOU DON'T WANT TO. THE QUESTIONS ILLUSTRATE MY POINT.

The person who incites terrrorism? Perhaps he is not deserving of the same punishment as the person who does the act, but it is still evil to incite acts of terrorism.

I WOULD NEVER ACCUSE SOMEONE DIRECTLY AFFECTED BY THE WTC ATTACKS OF EVIL. I'D FEEL SORRY FOR THEM AND HOPE THEY HEAL.

What do you think? Is it evil to incite acts of terrorism or isn't it?

PSALM 137:9 DOES NOT INCITE AN ACT OF TERRORISM NOR IS THE GENERIC VICTIM ALLUDED TO PREVIOUSLY.. BUT IN ANSWER TO YOUR QUESTION, IT DEPENDS. THERE ARE THOSE WHO ARE INSANE, THERE ARE THOSE WHO WERE TRAUMATIZED, AND THERE ARE THOSE WHO ARE EVIL. IT DEPENDS ON THE PERSON INCITING THE ACT. BTW, WHAT IS EVIL IYO?


Ah, but debaters usually do not convince their opponents. But sometimes they convince the audience.

I CAN'T BE CONCERNED ABOUT CONVINCING THE AUDIENCE. I HAVE TO FOCUS ON SPEAKING FROM THE HEART. AT THIS POINT, I DON'T BELIEVE THAT I CAN CONVINCE ANYONE AS IT IS NOT MY JOB. OTHERS SHOULD BE FREE TO MAKE UP THEIR OWN MINDS WITHOUT BEING CONVINCED BY YOU OR ME.

What if I wake up some day to find the entire universe was something I dreamed up? But assuming my senses have not invented the universe--and that does seem to me like a reasonable assumption--

WE ALREADY WENT OVER THE ABOVE. I DON'T HAVE A PROBLEM WITH ABSOLUTE CERTAINTY. THE WORDING TO ME SEEMED A BIT OUT IN LEFT FIELD FOR MY TASTE. NOT AN INSULT, JUST AN OBSERVATION.

Yes, why would a God of the universe be so intensely interested in several tribes along the Mediterranean Sea, while making no mention of the rest of the world? Did he have no message for the people of China or America?

HHMMM, SO WHY WAS AMERICA NOT MENTIONED? I HAVE AN IDEA, BUT NEVERMIND AS IT IS PROBABLY OBVIOUS. NOT BEING MENTIONED (CHINA, AMERICA, PARIS, OR THE SOUTH BRONX) DOES NOT MEAN EXCLUSION.

Unless we do this, our ancestors will face a desolate world.

MERLE, DO YOU SEE WHAT I SEE? I COULD BE WRONG, I HAD NO IDEA THAT OUR ANCESTORS WILL FACE A DESOLATE WORLD IN THE FUTURE. THEY COULD HAVE FACED A DESOLATE WORLD IN THE PAST THOUGH. (SMILE).

5. Feelings

a. Feelings are natural. Behavior can be wrong, but feelings are neither right nor wrong.

I HAVE A PROBLEM WITH THE ABOVE, THAT IS IF I UNDERSTAND YOUR USE OF THE WORD FEELINGS. I'VE HAD FEELINGS OF PURE HATE IN THE PAST. THOSE FEELINGS WERE CERTAINLY WRONG.
"Casting down imaginations," writes the apostle Paul, "and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ." (2 Corinthians 10:5 ) With these words Paul makes it clear that some thoughts are simply not allowed. The Christian must cast them down. Instead he is instructed to keep good thoughts captive in his mind. This is not an easy request.

NO WHERE DOES IT STATE GOOD THOUGHTS WERE TO BE CAST DOWN. ONLY THOUGHTS THAT ARE UNGODLY. THOSE THOUGHTS ARE NEVER GOOD. I THINK THE PROBLEM IS THAT YOU MAY CLASSIFY FUN AS WHAT THE BIBLE CONSIDERS UNGODLY (THUS ACCUSING THE BIBLE OF TEACHING THAT WE CANNOT THINK "FUN THOUGHTS.") THAT IS NOT THE CASE.

"And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth," says the writer of Genesis, "and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." (Genesis 6:5) And so we find the reason for the reported great flood--men were not having good thoughts. Can thoughts be that evil? Can we condemn a man because he thought something he should not have thought?

YES, I BELIEVE IT'S POSSIBLE FOR A PERSON TO BECOME SO DEPRAVED THAT EVERY THING IN THEIR BEING IS EVIL.

FOR THE RECORD, I HAVE NOT WRITTEN YOU OFF AS A PERSON. I HAVE WRITTEN OFF YOUR VIEWS (OR ATHEISM IN GENERAL) AS SOMETHING I SHOULD TAKE ON AS MY OWN. I DO AGREE WITH SOME OF THE THINGS ON YOUR SITE. BUT AS MUCH AS I QUESTION AND YES EVEN TRY TO FIND SOMETHING BETTER THAN THE BIBLE, I SIMPLY DON'T "SEE" THE THINGS YOU "SEE" WITHIN IT. YOU AREN'T THE FIRST TO PRESENT THESE PERCEPTIONS TO ME. AGAIN, WE MUST AGREE TO DISAGREE ON THE VALIDITY OF THE BIBLE.

I HAVE A FEW OTHER THINGS THAT I'VE NOTICED, BUT I HAVE A MUCH NEEDED VACATION TO GO ON LATER BEFORE I HAVE TO TEACH AGAIN IN FEW WEEKS. THIS IS ALL FOR NOW.

LORMAR

Merle Hertzler said...

Lormar,

You have told us that the Psalmist was not praising the killing of babies when he said, "How blessed will be the one who seizes and dashes your little ones against the rock." Rather, you tell us that these words were the author's way of telling us that he thought the Babylonian babies would be killed. If that is what the author meant, then it seems to me he must have been incompetent in his choice of words. Why didn't he clearly say what he meant to say?

Are you consistant in your view of language? For instance, when Jesus said, "Blessed are the peacemakers" was he not praising those who make peace? Are you suggesting that the words "Blessed are the peacemakers" really mean that people are going to make peace, and in no way encourage the act of making peace?

I'm sorry, but to me, the phrase "How blessed are they who..." encourages the act it mentions.

" BUT IN ANSWER TO YOUR QUESTION, IT DEPENDS. THERE ARE THOSE WHO ARE INSANE, THERE ARE THOSE WHO WERE TRAUMATIZED, AND THERE ARE THOSE WHO ARE EVIL. IT DEPENDS ON THE PERSON INCITING THE ACT."

I am sorry, this does not answer my question. Once more, here is the question: "Is it evil to incite acts of terrorism or isn't it?" I was not asking if the people who do it are insane. I was asking if it is evil to incite acts of terrorism. Do you agree with me that it is wrong to incite acts of terrorism? Please answer.

" WITH THE KIND OF CHURCH YOU STARTED OUT IN, I AM NOT SURPRISED YOU NO LONGER BELIEVE IN THE BIBLE. HONESTLY, I DON'T BLAME PEOPLE FOR LEAVING THE FAITH DUE TO BAD EXPERIENCES. THINGS HAPPEN WHICH CAUSE US ALL TO BECOME BITTER AT TIMES. (ALTHOUGH THAT MAY NOT BE YOUR REASON FOR LEAVING--IT APPEARS THAT YOU LEFT DUE TO QUESTIONS THAT YOU FEEL WERE UNANSWERED OR UNANSWERABLE)."

You seem to forget that I spent 2 decades in other churches after I left the fundamentalist Baptist church. My decision to leave the faith came after 2 decades of other Evangelical churches. So you cannot blame my unbelief on the fact that I was once in a Baptist church that taught hellfire and brimstone.

And by the way, there are very good answers to my questions about the Bible. The answer is that the Bible is a fallible book written by fallible people, and is frequently wrong.

"I'D HAVE TO WONDER...DID YOU REALLY KNOW CHRIST OR WAS YOUR BELIEFS BASED ON THE FEAR OF HELL?"

As I have explained before, I experienced what I thought was the reality of Christ in my heart when I had been a Christian. I think I experienced the same thing you did. If you think not, what did you experience of Christ that makes your experience real but not mine?

"HOWEVER, I ALWAYS FIND ANSWERS AFTER STUDYING. I DON'T LIKE THEM ALL, BUT THEY'RE ANSWERS NONETHELESS."

And one of those answers you found is that the phrase "How blessed will be the one who seizes and dashes your little ones against the rock," does not praise killing babies? Are those the kinds of answers you find?

"WHY DOES THE EARTH HAVE TO BE ONLY 6000 YEARS OLD? DID YOU BASE THIS ON SOMETHING THAT SPECIFICALLY STATES THIS OR SOMETHING THAT "SEEMED" LIKE IT?"

Actually, a literal reading of the Bible does yield an age of about 4000 BC for the creation. See, for instance, http://www.asa3.org/archive/ASA/200206/0231.html. Scientific discoveries show that the Bible is wrong on this point.

"I AM OFTEN BAFFLED WHEN PEOPLE TREAT THE BIBLE AS A SCIENTIFIC BOOK. "

Well the Bible does say that plants were created before the sun and that a flood covered the whole earth in recent times. Science shows that the Bible is wrong on these points.

"WHY DOES EVOLUTION HAVE TO BE DESTROYED? IT DOES NOT DENY GOD'S EXISTENCE IN AND OF ITSELF."

True. One can be a Christian and believe in evolution.

"I PERSONALLY DON'T YET HAVE AN OPINION ON EVOLUTION. HOW DO THE SCIENTIST KNOW THAT IT IS DEFINITELY TRUE? "

Seee http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc/phylo.html for evidences for evolution.

"SO YOU WOULD CLASSIFY KILLING A BABY USED AS A HUMAN SHIELD AS THE UNFORTUNATE CONSEQUENCE OF A GREATER GOOD. THE MOTHER OF THE CHILD WOULD QUESTION YOUR HUMANITY FOR BELIEVING SUCH."

Huh? I have been telling you that war is bad, that we should avoid war if possible, and that if we must fight a war, we must do it humanely as possible. This would mean that we would shoot at an enemy position and risk accidently killing a baby only as a last resort, in instances where the facts clearly justify the act.

And if the mother of the innocent victim agreed with me that the facts justified the act of self-defence, then, though she grieved, she would probably later see that the greater good of the act justified the act of self-defence.

If we could not expect to convince that mother, than perhaps that act of war is wrong.

"YOU VIEW MANY THINGS IN THE BIBLE AS EVIL OR "BAD ADVICE", BUT YOU DON'T REALIZE THAT OTHERS COULD SAY THE SAME ABOUT YOU. WOULD THEY BE RIGHT OR WRONG?"

Huh? Of course I realize that people differ with me, and that some people think some of my advice is bad advice. Some of my advice probably even is bad advice. I never claimed to be perfect.

Just like the Bible. Some of the things siad there are bad advice.

"I WOULD NEVER ACCUSE SOMEONE DIRECTLY AFFECTED BY THE WTC ATTACKS OF EVIL. I'D FEEL SORRY FOR THEM AND HOPE THEY HEAL.
"


Huh? Of course you would accuse someone that had been directly affected by the WTC attacks of evil if they committed evil. Suppose one of them murdered somebody. You would surely tell us it was wrong for them to murder people, wouldn't you?

Now back to the issue at hand: It is evil to encourage others to commit an act of terror. Surely you must agree with me on that. When Bin Laden makes a statement encouraging others to commit an act of terrorism, surely you must agree with me that it is wrong to encourage people to do such acts.

"I CAN'T BE CONCERNED ABOUT CONVINCING THE AUDIENCE. I HAVE TO FOCUS ON SPEAKING FROM THE HEART. AT THIS POINT, I DON'T BELIEVE THAT I CAN CONVINCE ANYONE AS IT IS NOT MY JOB. OTHERS SHOULD BE FREE TO MAKE UP THEIR OWN MINDS WITHOUT BEING CONVINCED BY YOU OR ME. "

I agree. Let us both speak from the heart. The readers can decide for themselves if any of our arguments are valid.

LorMar said...

Hi Merle,

I must be honest in saying that this exchange is a bit futile from my POV. The reason is, we seem to have radically different understandings and experiences.

For example:

Huh? Of course you would accuse someone that had been directly affected by the WTC attacks of evil if they committed evil. Suppose one of them murdered somebody. You would surely tell us it was wrong for them to murder people, wouldn't you?


I am sorry, this does not answer my question. Once more, here is the question: "Is it evil to incite acts of terrorism or isn't it?" I was not asking if the people who do it are insane. I was asking if it is evil to incite acts of terrorism. Do you agree with me that it is wrong to incite acts of terrorism? Please answer.

FIRST YOU ASK ME IF SOMETHING IS EVIL THEN YOU ASK IF SOMETHING IS WRONG. EVIL AND WRONG ARE NOT ALWAYS ONE IN THE SAME FROM MY POV. WE CAN'T HAVE A DISCUSSION IF WE DON'T UNDERSTAND WHERE THE OTHER IS COMING FROM. I GAVE YOU AN ANSWER BELOW:

" BUT IN ANSWER TO YOUR QUESTION, IT DEPENDS. THERE ARE THOSE WHO ARE INSANE, THERE ARE THOSE WHO WERE TRAUMATIZED, AND THERE ARE THOSE WHO ARE EVIL. IT DEPENDS ON THE PERSON INCITING THE ACT."

YOU ARE NOT SATISFIED WITH MY ANSWER, BUT IT'S MY ANSWER NONETHELESS. I TAKE THINGS CASE BY CASE. EACH CASE HAS TO BE EVALUATED INDIVIDUALLY BEFORE ONE CAN CALL IT EVIL. WOULD YOU CLASSIFY A PARENT WHO MURDERED HIS CHILD'S RAPIST AS EVIL? WHAT ABOUT A WOMAN WHO MURDERS HER HUSBAND WHO HAS SEVERELY ABUSED HER FOR YEARS? TO YOU THEY MAY OR MAY NOT BE EVIL. TO ME THEY CERTAINLY AREN'T.

Well the Bible does say that plants were created before the sun and that a flood covered the whole earth in recent times. Science shows that the Bible is wrong on these points.

I'VE READ YOUR OPINION ABOUT THIS AND I'VE ALSO STUDIED THE PASSAGE MYSELF. THE PASSAGE SAYS NOTHING OF WHAT YOU CLAIM REGARDING THE SUN AND PLANTS. AS WITH THE FLOOD, I'VE READ NOTHING THAT INDICATES EXACTLY WHEN A FLOOD TOOK PLACE.


I AM STILL AT THE POINT OF QUESTIONING. HOWEVER, I AM MOVING FROM QUESTIONING GOD TO QUESTIONING PEOPLE AND THEIR VIEWS. I'VE READ EVERYTHING FROM MINOR MESSAGE BOARDS, TO YOUR SITE, TO DAN BARKER AND MORE. I EVEN LOOKED AT THE LINKS IN YOUR GOD DOESN'T HEAL AMPUTEES THREAD. THE YOUTUBE VIDEO ABOUT PROVING JESUS IMAGINARY IN 5 MINUTES WAS BOTH HILARIOUS AND FELL SHORT. THIS MAY BE HARD TO BELIEVE, BUT I AM NOT INTERESTED IN CHRIST APPEARING TO ME IN HIS BODILY FORM. I THOUGHT, "IS THIS ALL THEY CAN COME UP WITH TO PROVE JESUS IMAGINARY, LOL? THE SAME OLD...SAME OLD ARGUMENTS FROM ATHEISTS. THERE IS TRULY NOTHING NEW UNDER THE SUN. I FIND THE ARGUMENTS IN FAVOR OF ATHEISM (OR EVEN AGNOSTICISM) TO BE INCREDIBLY WEAK. NOTHING THEY COME UP WITH PROVES GOD DOESN'T EXIST.

SOME CHRISTIAN FREINDS OF MINE HAVE DECIDED TO "CHECK ON ME." ONE HAS EVEN STARTED POSTING ON MY BLOG. IT APPEARS SINCE THE ATHEISTS/AGNOSTICS COULD NOT CONVINCE ME, NOW I AM BACK TO DEALING WITH "LEGIONS" OF CHRISTIANS WHO DON'T "WANT ME TO GIVE UP." I AM SURE YOU KNOW WHAT THAT'S LIKE.

EVER GO THROUGH A WOOING PHASE DURING YOUR DECONVERSION PROCESS? YOU KNOW, THE "LITTLE THINGS" THAT HAPPEN FROM TIME TO TIME TO REMIND YOU OF THE "FIRST LOVE?" THAT'S HAPPENING TO ME NOW. HEY, I EVEN TRIED BUDDHIST MEDITATIONS RECENTLY. I WAS TERRIBLY BORED. I FIND MYSELF COMPARING NEW "POTENTIAL SUITORS" TO THE "CURRENT ONE." GET IT? I CAN'T SPEAK FOR OTHERS, BUT I CAN ONLY SAY THAT I AM NOT FINDING ANYTHING MORE ATTRACTIVE TO ME THAN CHRISTIANITY. OK, NOW I AM GOING TOO FAR FROM THE TOPIC.

I AM WONDERING IF I MAY NOT BE THE BEST PERSON TO SPEAK WITH YOU ABOUT THESE ISSUES. DON'T WORRY, IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH INTIMIDATION (AS I AM NOT EASILY INTIMIDATED, HE HE). THE TRUTH IS, I HAVE LEARNED SOMETHING THROUGHOUT MY YEARS OF DOUBT, UNBELIEF, AND ANGER AT GOD. MY LESSON IS THAT ATHEISTS, MUSLIMS, JEWS, WICCANS, ETC. AND ETC. ARE NOT THE GREATEST THREAT TO CREATING EX-CHRISTTIANS. IT IS CHRISTIANS WHO CAN CAUSE THE MOST DEFECTORS FROM MY POV. SOMETIMES WE SAY THINGS (MEANING WELL) THAT COULD ACTUALLY MAKE A PERSON FEEL WORSE ABOUT THE BIBLE AND OR GOD RATHER THAN BETTER. THAT HAS HAPPENED TO ME.

HYPOTHETICAL CASE IN POINT: SUPPOSE PARENTS LOSE A YOUNG CHILD TO A HORRIBLE ACCIDENT. SOME WELL MEANING BUT IGNORANT CHRISTIAN WOULD SAY SOMETHING LIKE, "THIS WAS ALL PART OF GOD'S PERFECT PLAN." IF I HEAR THAT NONSENSE UNDER THOSE CIRCUMSTANCES TO ANY PERSON, I'D HAVE TO PRAY REALLY HARD IN ORDER TO AVOID YELLING EXPLETIVES AT THEM. I WOULD NOT EVEN BE ABLE TO CALM MYSELF DOWN NATURALLY; I'D NEED TO PRAY.

NOT ONLY THAT, BUT I HAVE READ QUITE A FEW WEBSITES BY "CHRISTIANS" WHO INSULT AND BERATE DAN BARKER. IT'S DISGUSTING. I AM NOT SAYING WE HAVE TO RESPECT IDEAS, BUT WE HAVE TO RESPECT PEOPLE. WHAT CHRISTIANS NEED TO UNDERSTAND IS THAT THERE ARE REASONS WHY YOU AND OTHERS HAVE RENOUNCED CHRISTIANITY. SUCH CHRISTIANS NEED TO BE MORE SENSITIVE IMO. THUS, I AM NOT SURE THAT I AM SENSITIVE ENOUGH FOR THIS. MY HOUSE ISN'T EVEN IN ORDER SO I DON'T WANT TO CREATE MORE "DECONVERTS", LOL.

Merle Hertzler said...

Lormar,

I am going to need to leave this discussion for now. I hope you have found it helpful.

You write, "SOME CHRISTIAN FREINDS OF MINE HAVE DECIDED TO 'CHECK ON ME.' ONE HAS EVEN STARTED POSTING ON MY BLOG. IT APPEARS SINCE THE ATHEISTS/AGNOSTICS COULD NOT CONVINCE ME, NOW I AM BACK TO DEALING WITH 'LEGIONS' OF CHRISTIANS WHO DON'T 'WANT ME TO GIVE UP.' I AM SURE YOU KNOW WHAT THAT'S LIKE. "

Yes, I was wondering if this might be some of your motivation. At first you seemed open to skeptism, but lately your writings have changed. And I was wondering if you were feeling pressure from the other side, and were holding back on your true thoughts lest you offend your friends.

You have a lot to think about, and I hope you enjoy your journey of discovery.

I wish you well.

Merle