Yesterday, I apparently hurt ELAshley's feelings:
What you're not seeing is your poor behavior... your snide and rude comments, and condescension toward those with whom you disagree. Civil discourse is lost on you. As evidenced at ER's place.
My response is what I wish to elaborate upon today:
Why should I be civil? What possible benefit is there for me to be civil with someone who honestly believes that I am not a Christian, and am destined for hell? I see no reason at all to treat you with anything but scorn and disdain precisely because
(a) you, and others like you, have refused to actually read what I write, and react to some caricature of the evil liberal who wants to surrender our country and our faith to heathens;
(b) you, and others like you, spout nonsense and ignorant gibberish and insist it is wisdom from on high, while those who are actually educated, thoughtful, prayerful, and hesitant in our faith are scorned as some dangerous anti-Christian elite bent on the destruction of the godly (just re-read Marshall's post where he talks about Sproul saying that the Bible should be kept away from the people for their own good; that there are still those who support such an idea tells me more than enough about you and those like you);
(c) I have yet to feel as if me, my family, my friends, or my thoughts actually mean anything to you or those like you.
Civility on terms set by those who don't know how to define words is a losers game. I don't play games. Sorry to break the news to you, but I am still fed up with nonsense, especially hate-filled nonsense spouted in the name of Jesus. Once you accept some kind of abstract rule set by others, you've already lost, and I don't plan on losing. In fact, I don't even plan on playing.
It is apparently lost on some people that "Christian love" does not mean putting up with bullshit. It is apparently lost on some people that the demand for "civility" and "politeness" is a demand to play by rules set by others. It is, finally, apparently lost on some people that in so doing, one is already conceding the game before it is even begun.
This summer I had the unfortunate bad luck to run across a blog from a fundamentalist. In trying to engage over there, I ended up, shall we say, in a less than congenial place psychologically and spiritually. A sampling of the after-effects can be seen by perusing some of these posts. I learned a valuable lesson from this excursion to the dark side - the fundamentalist is bent on yoking us Christians to a slavery to a particular dogmatic, doctrinal, and ethical standard that is contingent, arbitrary, un-Biblical, and empty of either grace or love or acceptance. In all my life, I have never been attacked as harshly as I was there.
While I know that ELAshley's comment was not pointed at me, as one of his "detractors" the following comment is a not-quite succinct summary of the kind of thing I have experienced:
I am convinced that our detractors, for the most part, are listening to ghosts OTHER THAN the HOLY Ghost. Because, as you've stated, any new "revelation" given MUST agree with the entire body of the "Received" and complete Revelation of God, FROM God, which is the Bible.
My pastor continually says from the pulpit that every verse of scripture has only one meaning-- in terms of context; to whom was it written, when, why, etc. --but many applications. The best thing is to allow the Bible to say what it says, where it says it. And if a contradiction seems to arise, we must understand it is our lack of understanding that is at issue.
To clarify, three rules I've devised for dealing with difficult/seemingly contradictory passages...
..::Axiom of Translation::..
1-- God cannot lie. (Num 23:19. Tit 1:2, Heb 6:18)
2-- The truth of one verse cannot negate the truth of another.
3-- If the truths of two or more verses appear to be contradictory, the verses must be viewed as possessing dissimilar contexts and/or dispensations.
The problem with our detractors is that they are relying upon their own human intellects, rather than relying on the guidance of the Holy Ghost for understanding. Jesus said the Holy Ghost would be a Comforter to us, a Friend who would guide us in ALL truth. If we are confused we are either not listening to the voice of the Holy Ghost, or worse, listening to the voice of some "other" ghost NOT of God.
I try to stay out of the kind of discussions that debate the validity of our numerous detractors own pet doctrines. But sometimes I have to wade in... mostly when I see that the Faith needs defending from spurious and specious attacks. God speaking through Jude tells us we are to "Earnestly. Contend. For. The. Faith. Which. Was. Once. [and for all]. Delivered. Unto. The. Saints!" [Jude 1:3]
Following a spirit that is not of God. Relying upon human intellect (as if there were some other intellect upon which to rely?). Confusion comes not from life, but from some kind of failure in "listening". I, and other of his "detractors", have "pet doctrines". That is a nice summary of what ELAshley considers "civil" - I, and others of his detractors are not Christian, and our protestations to the contrary are the result of listening to spirits other than those of God.
Because we don't believe the way he does.
I have two words in response:
Part of my response follows, in less scatological terms:
Yeah, I'm caught. I actually pray through a "Liberal Anti-Christ Spirit", a gay, fetus hating spirit that wishes nothing but death and destruction upon the world. How astute of you both to have found out the truth.
ELAshley, it would be a very shallow world indeed if the Bible had only one meaning. Fortunately, there are those who believe differently and yet, somehow, manage to live healthy, Christian lives.
This was my uncivil reply.
Why is it necessary to explain to some people that "rules" set by other people are a guaranteed loser? Why in the world would I play by the rules set by someone who insists that I am not a Christian? Why in the world would I play a game at all over an issue of serious import? It doesn't work that way, and I refuse to abide by someone else's idea of "civility" when that same person feels quite free to remark with finality and authority upon my spiritual status.
I quoted from Galatians above because this, to me, is a nice summary of Christian ethics. This is my approach to the Christian life. This is where true Christian living begins - in the freedom from religious bondage put in place by others who would demand our conformity to their own nonsensical drivel and authoritarian systems. I am happy to live under the grace of God offered in Jesus Christ, rather than the demands for civility from someone who thinks I am listening to the anti-Christ.
UPDATE: When someone questions my faith, I wonder why, exactly they think I should be nice to them.
Am I mistaken or do you classify yourself as a Christian with these kind of doubts?