But it’s all so clear to me!

Lost in the midst of this discussion on the morality of Old Testament genocide is that when one side claims that it is very clear that God is ordering genocide and the killing of infants in the Old Testament what they’re really saying is that that their interpretation of a several thousand year old book, written by many different authors, during different time periods, by a culture vastly different from ours, and in a language they don’t understand is MORE likely to be correct than the fact that killing babies is always evil.

If you’re utterly convinced that your interpretation of the verse means we can overturn natural law I would argue that that it’s a good time to remind yourself that you, in fact, are not God, and not a Sacred Author, and not an infallible interpreter of Scripture. You’re a man who is arguing that, because of your understanding of certain Old Testament verses, that it is okay to kill babies. The problem here is not with natural law; it is with you.

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to But it’s all so clear to me!

  1. Chad says:

    You’re confusing my argument with others. I’m not saying natural law was overthrown, I’m saying it stayed completely intact and unaltered. I’m saying that your understanding/interpretation of natural law is wrong, that the order was not evil, that it came from God, was good, and that the circumstances of the situation dictate such.

    And, so far, you have shown yourself to be a feckless man, behaving like a little girl afraid to get her hands dirty. To say you’re done and then retreat to here to take a last stab…

    What is more is that I am the one humbly submitting to those better than I, Moses, Augustine, Christ’s words, the Holy Spirit as author through mortal hands, and God as a Father who would not let his people err.

    And, despite the fact that you have stood in trembling silence on all appeals to authority, you call me prideful in my interpretation?

    Hah.

    Here, this is what I have to say:

    If you’re utterly convinced that your interpretation of the morality means we can never inquire into natural law to seek better understanding, and can overturn scripture and God, I would argue that that it’s a good time to remind yourself that you, in fact, are not God, and not a Sacred Author, and not an infallible interpreter of anything God has created. You’re a man who is arguing that, because of your understanding of morality, that it is okay to ignore scripture and natural law. The problem here is not with natural law; it is with you.

    • And, so far, you have shown yourself to be a feckless man, behaving like a little girl afraid to get her hands dirty. To say you’re done and then retreat to here to take a last stab…

      I actually wasn’t responding directly to you, but making a general point.

      Also, I wrote this before I said I was ending the discussion. But nice try, I guess.

      I await the apology. *Holds breath*

    • I’ll continue though: You’re angry at me because, before the discussion was ended, I made the same point here that I made to you for you to respond to directly, and also linked my blog through my username. You found this post within, what, a day? Wow, what a retreat.

      It’s done, dude. You got the last word on a blog where the majority of people agreed with you, I got the last word on mine, except not really because as of now I still haven’t even responded to the Deuce’s arguments with me.

      And finally, you assume that this line:

      If you’re utterly convinced that your interpretation of the morality means we can never inquire into natural law to seek better understanding, and can overturn scripture and God, I would argue that that it’s a good time to remind yourself that you, in fact, are not God, and not a Sacred Author, and not an infallible interpreter of anything God has created. You’re a man who is arguing that, because of your understanding of morality, that it is okay to ignore scripture and natural law. The problem here is not with natural law; it is with you.

      …Would make me angry if you were using it in the context of something besides a pissy little retort to a post I made where I used exactly the same arguments, almost word for word, as I did in the original thread.

      You are mistaken. I would respond, and respond strongly, as is my general style. But one thing I would not get is angry.

  2. Pingback: Since I Doubt Chad is Going to Respond… | Malcolm the Cynic

  3. Chad says:

    “I actually wasn’t responding directly to you, but making a general point.

    Also, I wrote this before I said I was ending the discussion. But nice try, I guess.”

    If that is the case, than you do have my apology. All I have on when you posted here is a date stamp and the structure led me to believe it was done at the same time or after your last word comment there and directed, possibly not at me, but in response to me in a manner that was not as I was arguing, at all. I came here to see if I would want to read your posts after your invite, having no hard feelings, and got what appeared to me to be as I described.

    Anger is not what I have towards you either. Relentless deive to on the topic of God and knowing him better, yes. Drive to get at the truth, yes. Desire to make you angry? No. Not caring if I make you angry while I state my case and opinions? Absolutely do not care what your emotional state is.

    But sure, use that as an excuse to continue to deflect my argument that you have a poor understanding of natural law, refuse to read relevant links I give you on just war, refuse to engage. The statement was meant to try and show you that you are being hypocritical and projecting what you are doing onto myself. You simply see your interpretation of natural law as inerrant, which is just as flawed as seeing a personal scripture interpretation as inerrant. I’ve already admitted I don’t hold such views, but demand authority as high or higher than Moses to question Moses. And, as from what I can tell, all the of what God has given us hold Moses as correct and this is supported by Augustine. If I find other saints with contrary opinions, I will adjust my own accordingly, but my knowledge on Aquinas would fall under ‘support’ as well. All you have are vague maybes and your own personal morality projecting onto your interpretation of natural law. Again, you seem hypocritical when you call upon no one other than yourself, and then have the audacity to accuse me of pride.

    As for your claim that other people agree with me, why would I care? I’m discussing it with you and getting to know the truth better, and hoping you do as well. You already stated you feel the same. So stop being a coward and engage if you really enjoy the engagement. Stop acting like a leftist pansy that will do anything but actually discuss a point, repeatedly falling back to deflect an argument

    Aa far as agreement from others, I haven’t seen anyone in the discussion make the argument I am now – I’ve seen them make different arguments to reach the same conclusion. That is not the same at all and creates a completely different interior disposition. Saying God overrides natural law, or breaks it, is not the same thing at all as saying he worked within natural laws to bring about his Justice within a Just War situation.

    • Gotta love the backhanded apology instead of you just admitting you were dead wrong.

      But sure, use that as an excuse to continue to deflect my argument that you have a poor understanding of natural law, refuse to read relevant links I give you on just war, refuse to engage.

      I DID engage, over a long period of time, with many different people, and changed my views, and responded to long posts you wrote TWICE. That you don’t think my responses were satisfactory is frankly your problem.

      I’m not “deflecting”, I just want to stop discussing it with you, and even attempted to do so on relatively good, or at least not bad, terms, until you came in here like a bitch and started acting offended. If you consider all attempts to end a discussion (and remember, the one post you THOUGHT was addressed at you, but wasn’t, was written before the discussion had ended anyway) “deflection”, well, I don’t know what to tell you. I don’t think there’s anything else either of us can say in this discussion that will lead to a better understanding on either side. I guess by your criteria, I’m deflecting. All right then. Good luck finding the truth.

      • Chad says:

        Explain to me how this is backhanded:

        “If that is the case, than you do have my apology. All I have on when you posted here is a date stamp and the structure led me to believe it was done at the same time or after your last word comment there and directed, possibly not at me, but in response to me in a manner that was not as I was arguing, at all. I came here to see if I would want to read your posts after your invite, having no hard feelings, and got what appeared to me to be as I described.”

        It is not. It is an apology explaining my thought process so you could understand it was a lack on my part and not a lie nor malign in intention.

        If you cannot separate my apology from the rest of the debate, thats your problem.

        As for engaging… you kind of did. You typed some words, and as I tried to make clear they weren’t relevant to my argument. I said you were wrong on your understanding of natural law and… you continue to talk as if nothing was said. I say you’re calling me prideful as I appeal to authorities placed over us by God, and say you’re hypocritical as you rely on your own flawed views… and you either misunderstand or ignore it (I’m honestly not sure which). I say you’re working against the hierarchy of how we Christians learn of God, his laws, and morality and you ignore it. I bring up Just War theory, ignored.

        So yes, you write a lot of words either deflecting the argument onto a topic such as how Natural Law is God or you call me mean. That isnt engagement with anyone other than your pre-defined talking points no matter how many comments you make

  4. The Deuce says:

    Hi Malcolm, my last post directly on the topic was here, so I’ll just make this brief: https://malcolmthecynic.wordpress.com/2014/09/10/a-quicker-response/comment-page-1/#comment-1416

    I’ll just say, briefly, that since I am not God, it’s possible that my interpretation of Scriptural Revelation is wrong OR that my interpretation of Natural Law is wrong. *Neither* of those is just a “given,” but each relies on our rational faculties in concert with what we gather with our senses, both of which are fallible.

    Furthermore, while it *might* be the case that Scripture doesn’t mean what it appears to in these multiple instances (and what the Church Fathers and Jews in Esther, etc seem to have taken it to mean, including individuals who developed the philosophy of natural law in the first place), I don’t think we should put all our eggs in that basket. In case it does mean what it appears to say (and for the sake of those who can’t make themselves believe that it doesn’t), I think we should endeavor to have an answer ready which is at least plausible.

    I’m not suggesting that my interpretation of Scripture is right and Natural Law is wrong. I’m suggesting that it *does* violate Natural Law to kill an innocent life in the normal case, but that the actual *reason* for that, the actual intrinsic evil committed, is one of taking something precious that is only God’s to take an not yours, but that God can delegate the authority to take lives He has decided to take. Hence, when God commands it, He’s neither ordering something against His Nature nor against human nature.

    FWIW, I think what I’ve sketched out is essentially the same as Aquinas’ answer to this issue too. He argued that God is author of life, and can withdraw the right to life from anyone He so chooses, and that He can delegate the ending of a life from which the right has been withdrawn. And yet he also believed that God cannot lie or order someone else to lie, etc, because He would be acting against His Nature and ordering others to act against theirs, so it’s not that he thought God could just abrogate the Natural Law like in Islam.

    So St. Aquinas didn’t see a contradiction between Natural Law and what Scripture appears to say, and neither did generations of top-notch theologians before and after him. So I’m not just going by my fallible reasoning and interpretation of Scripture here, but also by theirs, and I place a lot more trust in their collective reasoning and understanding of Natural Law than in my own. If there were an OBVIOUS contradiction here, an obvious binary choice between “your interpretation of Scripture” and “the fact that it’s wrong to kill babies under Natural Law,” I have trust that these men (who’s thoughts on the matter constituted the main of Church teaching for centuries and centuries) would’ve noticed it.

  5. The Deuce says:

    Btw, malcolm, I know this is an emotionally-charged issue, so I won’t take this sort of rhetoric personally:

    You’re a man who is arguing that, because of your understanding of certain Old Testament verses, that it is okay to kill babies. The problem here is not with natural law; it is with you.

    But I will say that, in the spirit of charity in these sorts of discussions, when someone is expounding on what is the majority opinion and reasoning of the Church Fathers and natural law theologians throughout the Church’s history by a wide margin – most of the Church’s brightest and holiest men – you shouldn’t say anything disparaging to that person about their motives or respect for Natural Law that you wouldn’t be willing to say to them if they were here.

    • The Deuce says:

      Just checked out the discussion on Free Northerner’s blog for the first time, which is a lot more acrimonious all around than our discussion, and I realize that your reply to me was probably cut n’ pasted from your reply there and not primarily meant for me, but I’d still urge the same thing. In the spirit of charity, when people are advocating the same view as most of the doctors, fathers, and natural law theologians of the Church through history, you should try to abstain from disparaging that person for their understanding of Scripture and Natural Law in any way that you wouldn’t be willing to do to those guys.

    • Deuce,

      After parsing over all of this with Chad, I’ll say two things:

      1) Sorry

      2) Thank you for taking this well

      3) You’re right

      You’re a good commenter here. No hard feelings?

      (BTW, that said – I urge you to look at Cane’s responses to Lydia originally. I certainly am not the only person here who was talking, shall we say, acidly – not that that’s an excuse. But the discussion, I suppose, was more or less doomed from the start in some ways, I think.)

  6. Some are always arguing that the Bible isn’t 100% accurate, and then they get mad at us when we say things like this. Honestly, you can’t have it both ways. Either the Bible is 100% accurate and meant to be read like that, or there are parts that can be interpreted more loosely. (For the record, Catholics are allowed to believe that evolution was the means of creation, but they must also acknowledge God’s guiding hand in it.)
    I think what the argument here is about is at least partly old law vs. new law. The old law was transient, while the new is permanent. (But please don’t hate me if my theology is faulty. It’s probably the sleep deprivation talking, and it’s hard to make sense after a long day of college. Higher education=Muddier waters.)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s