charting the main trajectory; ethics pt. 8 revised

charting the main trajectory; ethics pt. 8 revised September 11, 2022

I personally don’t know exactly why the original format seems different.

The intent was to review some literature and then perhaps offer some Biblical ideas either before or afterwards, only as a way of answering questions Christians sometimes have about other source materials for ethical decisions.

However, some works are a work in progress. I do not know how to revise the words. I have attempted already.

There are some lines I try not to cross. Pre flood is one of them. After the flood on through the ages, I truly believe religions began to differ, at least semantically, at the start. Any antediluvian talks and teachings I have shared are usually done with those who are well versed. There are stories of great floods from around the world. I guess it would take a lot of shovels and back and forth between hot and cold and a lot of road clearing vehicles to swim upstream so to speak, forge Antarctica, and those frozen areas to the north from all I’ve heard. I’m only speaking if this was done by an act of man because there I little evidence of prehistoric animals working with humans, correct? These are some of the reasons why I don’t like to talk about the antediluvian times or postdiluvian. My opinion is just another one.

I really like stories from the flooding river or monsoon regions, if I read them correctly because they can be applied in various ways, hint at a flood, and point to times when other religions were in talks.

This could be the revision of sorts, a lead in to the following writing.

Neither this nor the original writing seems to be much assistance. Trajectory can be related to the Classical Greek term telos. Trajectory could be some form of advanced calculus too, unless people groups have all types of other ways to learn.

Published on: Aug 19, 2022 at 16:46

Both Paul and natural law theorists make a case for and innate or community-based conscience-esque quality among humankind. The ideal of natural law (may I venture to include Thomists) is similar to the case Paul is building in Romans 14:

see previous post

God has given us the ability to know right from wrong, both in our communities and in our personal lives. For instance 1) at times communities form good laws and ethics without knowledge of the Scriptures or the aid of Christians, or 2) unsaved spouses have a lifelong and fulfilling marriage, etc.

Man is fallen and in need of a Saviour[1] but nevertheless wills to good.[2] This cannot be dismissed as merely humanism, because it does not provide salvation.

What if we pointed out to the sinner his/her good, instead of only his/her evil?

Does not everyone know what sin is?

Does everyone know the good they do, and hope to do, is a greater evidence?

are we charting the main trajectory based on an outside guiding telos; even unwittingly?

In our postmodern paradigm shift including relativism, this is exactly how some Christian ethicists utilise natural law theory. Is this the only or right approach? Please don’t consider the idea if various Christian scholars hold no sway. From ancient history, Paul’s words in these passages correspond with some of these current views.

Convictions might have a strong effect on ethics. Paul speaks of specific debates, “doubtful disputations | disputable matters;” now often commonly (perhaps mistakenly) thought of as convictions (KJV | NIV-UK).

There are two characters.

The phrase, “weak in the faith,” is also transliterated, “whose faith is weak.” The weak is the one who has the greater conviction and refrains, does not do certain things, or holds group tenets.

The second character, even if unnamed, is the strong; literally the receiver of these commands.

Although the term strong is not easily found in the New International Verson-UK, the whole chapter together with the Pericope, has the heading:

“The weak and the strong”

The strong is the one who has liberty. The strong receives the weak without, “doubtful disputations,” not questioning his/her choices, or judging what convictions he/she has (KJV). 

Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarrelling over disputable matters. (NIV-UK)

In other words, the one who has liberty seems limited when the freedom infringes on the convictions of the weak. At least this is what we typically think, right?

Who is really bound by conviction? Is conviction only personal conviction?

Both are bound, one by shared/personal tenets/convictions, and the other by the former’s tenets.[3] In this regard, the terms weak and strong are certainly in juxtaposition.

To reframe, according to Paul’s use of language in context, the phrase, “doubtful disputations,” means the strong are passing judgment on the weak (the weak having a heightened sense of conviction in some area/s). Quite literally, Paul exhorts the strong to receive the weak without questioning and doubting their fundamental tenets.

Here the evangelist offers an overarching principle, to not judge based on (extra-Biblical) differences in opinion, leading to “disputations.” He then turns to cite specific examples facing those in Italy.

ancient Judaizers in comparison to some minor sects of Shiites

As a set-up to the specific examples to be explored in Romans 14, we understand the Judaizers are trying to make the Gentile Christians observe the Law.

Who are the Judaizers?

Specifically, the Judiazer sect within the NT simply does not reflect the opinions of the nation at all since Christians are still considered a sect of Judaism, especially in the first few chapters of Acts.

As an outside reference (if I can say so very cautiously) out of all the Muslims I have ever met, I simply do not recall anybody who has ever endorsed the Shiites, such a small fraction of the faith, and yet a fraction we often concentrate on because we know little. Forgive me, the Shiites are often noted as extreme militants from those of us on the outside, but there are countless subgroups as well as we have discovered in recent history. The Shiite metrics could very well be skewed because it is possible peoples may be coerced to identify as Shiites. I really do not know if there is a genealogical heritage, a right of passage, or both.

In a similar way, these Judaizers, who seem to have disappeared in the sands of time, were coercing members of the Primitive Church to adhere to the tenets of Judaism; in effect to become Christian Jews. If I could venture a guess, from what is stated throughout the New Testament, those ancient Judaizers may possibly even be disappointed with Reformed Jews today.

In my opinion, and I do reiterate opinion as a disclaimer, neither the Judaizers nor the extremely militant Shiites reflect the time honoured whole of the faiths they represent, vividly witnessed (i.e. in their evangelical and catechetical methodologies).

on the other hand; we’re learning so opinions change at times

The example of the Judaizers Paul is offering gives us a glimpse of his teaching and skill in sociology, to say the least. Pointing out a group, considered to be a little unnerving at the time of his writing, would more than likely cause people who are following their trajectory/telos (even if unwittingly) to realise it’s not really for the greater good.

In many ethical codes today, we neither impose our values on others, nor do we disregard the values of others. If we do so, we may also be breaking the Classical Greek tenet (at least in principle) found in the Hippocratic Oath.


[1] There is the question of the fallen nature of man. Paul develops the idea of the sinful nature, often describing the propensity to sin as “the flesh” in general, including with it the interior life as opposed to God. Original Guilt and a marred imagoDei are a couple other threads of Theology describing the fallen nature.
[2] Is The Name spelled Savior or Saviour? Patheos is editing my work with some sort of European spell-check, I guess. Does my engrained knowledge of the NKJV, NRSV, and maybe the NIV-UK lend itself to whichever auto-correct is being utilised? I do not know! I have never spelled utilize or utilized in this way before; another example of the new auto-correct.
[3] According to the common translation eventually springing from Erasmus (Huldrych Zwingli’s mentor) the language of verses 2-3 is singular. However, for the sake hermeneutics, there is certainly precedent for speaking of a people group with singular pronouns throughout the Bible. This certainly is seen within sociology as well, where hermeneutics is in fact a study of ancient historico-contexts, including anthropological linguistic patterns.

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