Exploring Our Matrix
The Blog of Dr. James F. McGrath, Clarence L. Goodwin Chair in New Testament Language and Literature at Butler University, Indianapolis
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Hemant Mehta shared the above church sign, asking for captions. Mine as a liberal Christian would be something like, “I love it when Christians have enough faith, courage, and moral conviction to disagree with the Bible.”
I think you have a broken link (for the image).
The image didn’t work for me, either, but if you click the link you can see it over at Hemant’s site. That’s what I did.
I had already seen the image at Hemant’s site, before this was posted.
The image problem seem to have now been fixed.
I think Hemant Mehta is equivocating between something being of God and being done by the faithful. Not everything done by a Muslim is what Allah desires or commands, but that does not keep the person from being a Muslim. And ditto for Christianity, and other religions, and for secularism in all its variety.
That said, there are at least three occasions I can think of where God is connected to mass-scale killings: Noah’s Flood, which He directly accomplished; the Canaanite genocide, which He commanded; and (on the annihilationist account of hell), the death of all the unsaved. Are those mass murders? They’re simply massive, although I guess we could discuss what is meant by murder.
Which raises a rather interesting question: is everything God does “of God”? That’s some uncomfortable theology, but important intellectual work all the same. Sadly, questions like this can almost never be answered via church marquee.
I’m curious as to what the purpose of this announcement is. Is there some potential mass murderer out there who is going to be deterred by seeing this? Or, if it is supposed to clear God of a charge of mass murder, I suspect that it will only have the opposite effect: By seeing mention of the charge, won’t some begin to think about whether it is true?
““I love it when Christians have enough faith, courage, and moral conviction to disagree with Jesus.”
Fixed it for you
Can you elaborate, Herro? I’m not trying to be confrontational, I genuinely don’t get your point. When did Jesus commit mass murder, or even advocate it?
1. Jesus talks about people being thrown into a furnace of fire at the end of the world. Mass murder or worse (eternal torment).
2. Jesus mentions, in a positive light, OT mass murders like the flood of Noah and the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. I also assume that he had a positive view of the genocide of the Canaanites (although I don’t recall a saying about it attributed to Jesus).
Jesus doesn’t mention a furnace and how can you be sure his view of Noah and Sodom and Gomorrah are as literal as yours?
There’s tooooo much “assuming ” goin on round here
1. “As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a **furnace of fire**: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.” (Mt 13:40-42)
2. As literal as my view? Do you think that Jesus thought of these stories as parables or somehing?
It sure sounds like he thinks of those as actual events. And as far as I know these were generally believed to be actual events.
I see some translations do use furnace and others just fire, so my bad.
That being said I understand Jesus to be speaking of the coming end of the Old Covenant age which happen with the destruction of Jerusalem in 70AD.
Although we have no account of this in our Bible we do have Josephus’s account and I don’t think there was an actual physical furnace mentioned.
So no I do not think they were to be taken literal but see it as apocalyptic language used to describe these events.
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