When people with power do not fear God

When people with power do not fear God April 8, 2015

walter scott shootingLike many others, I watched the video of South Carolina police officer Michael Slager shooting Walter Scott while he was running away. For me, the most chilling part of the video was when Officer Slager stood over Mr. Scott as he was dying and said, “Put your hands behind your back” over and over, as though it was an entirely normal police procedure presumably so that he could document this verbalization in his police report. Not knowing that he was being filmed, he then planted his stun gun next to the victim’s body in order to construct a false narrative about what had happened. What if there had been no cell-phone video and only God had been watching? Why did Officer Slager think nothing of his profound abuse of the truth and disrespect for God’s honor?

In the Old Testament of the Bible, a phrase that gets used over and over again is the “fear of the Lord.” It’s treated as a positive attribute. Proverbs 1:7 says that “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” I realize that such a concept is offensive to today’s sensibilities. But after studying this Biblical concept extensively, I have come to the conclusion that it doesn’t so much mean being afraid of God as it means having such respect for God that you act with complete integrity regardless of what you can get away with doing. When people fear God, they do not steal when nobody’s looking; they do not mistreat people who have less power than they do; they do the right thing without expecting to get a reward for doing so.

The Biblical fear of the Lord means more than merely trying your best to treat other people well and avoid causing harm. It means that the truth matters to you for the sake of truth itself. It means that you actually care about honor. As much as I’m a student of postmodern thought and recognize that my access to genuine objectivity is always tainted by my conscious and subconscious agendas, I finally have to recognize that there is a real truth to my life which I can either honor or cynically disrespect. Every time I am deliberately dishonest, I am mocking God and corrupting my soul just a little bit more than it already was.

I don’t think that our age is necessarily less truthful than other ages. Politicians and authority figures have always had the ability to give God the finger and abuse their power. I imagine that there was a lot more police brutality last century than there is today. I suppose that the difference is that our media and technology today make it so that we are constantly bombarded by the scandals of abusive authority figures. And all the meta-layers of public relations analysis in our thoroughly stagecrafted world make it almost impossible to believe that anyone is straightforwardly honest anymore. For a person to actually live with integrity in our postmodern landscape is almost as rare and embarrassing as people who are still virgins when they graduate from college. It’s so easy to decide that since nobody else is doing it, why should I?

I guess I’ve been convicted by my own response to the scandals of our world. It costs me very little to retweet tweets about police brutality, corruption, and other manifestations of white supremacy. I think that opening the eyes of people in our society to the very real violence of systemic racism and other evil social forces is important and legitimate work. But the question I’ve been led to consider is what work am I willing to do on myself (that isn’t merely me congratulating myself for owning up to my privilege and racism unlike other people, etc).

I’ve been reading an excellent book called Community: the Structure of Belonging by a guy named Peter Block. He talks about the imp0rtance of changing our conversations by asking questions that elicit true accountability and commitment rather than trying to figure out who to blame for our problems. Maybe the best act of protest against a lack of integrity on the part of authority figures in our world is for me to live with integrity. Not to the exclusion of marches, vigils, manifestos, and retweets, but as a means of actually putting my own skin in the game. I realize this sounds very lame and naive. If somebody else said it, I would probably roll my eyes and say, “Stop being such a Boy Scout!” But why shouldn’t we say that every trivial act of honesty is actually a mini-revolution against a fundamentally corrupt world?

There’s one last thing I should say about the fear of God. Christians believe that Jesus’ crucifixion is the most perfect revelation of God. If we actually fear God, then the one that we fear is the one with the bloody, suffocating body whose ultimate power was deceptively powerless against the brutality of empire. The one thing that we should be afraid of doing is sticking another nail in Jesus’ flesh every time we participate in the world’s dishonesty, every time we give our allegiance to a reality that makes it so that people can’t breathe just like Jesus couldn’t breathe on the cross.

Jesus’ dialogue with Pilate right before his crucifixion in John 18 delineates the true battle-lines in our world. He says to Pilate, “For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.” And Pilate’s response is to ask him, “What is truth?” When truth and power met, truth won even though it seemed like power did. But we still prefer power to truth 2000 years later.


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  • Cynthia Astle

    Excellent post, Morgan. I’d like to pick it up for UM Insight. OK with you?

  • I really enjoyed this post.

  • charlesburchfield

    I think inserting ‘consequences’ for ‘fear of the lord’, had more solidity & makes more sense to me. I was extremely promiscuous in the 1970’s and I have been suffering w/ s.t.d’s and p.t.s.d. all these years. I can relate to ppl who don’t connect the context of ‘sin’ w/ an abstract ‘fear of god’, ‘hell and eternal damnation’, ‘repent!’. the physical, emotional, spiritual disconnect from conscience is what it is I think & cannot be ignored!

    • BJW

      I agree. There are plenty of agnostics and atheists who do the right thing just because they consider it right.

      • I would say that what I call “the fear of the Lord” could be translated into a non-theist perspective as simply integrity or a respect for truth.

        • BJW

          Exactly.

  • Dr. Mike

    Good thoughts. When I tried to save it in PDF there were boxes covering parts of the text. Is it possible to put a clean PDF print button on the blog for people who like to save them?

  • Mike, I am still in profound rage and disillusionment by the nonchalant execution of this poor man by authority. Why? How? Personal soul searching: Am I just a bystander? I doubt it.

  • Kathy K-m

    I hate to burst your bubble, and, as far as I’m concerned, you’re free to believe whatever you want to believe, but there are a great many of us out there, who don’t need to fear a deity, to do the right thing, whether that’s not stealing, being honest or taking responsibility for our actions.
    And frankly, from our perspective, the “God-fearing” don’t seem to have such a great track record anyway.

  • dmx92145

    When you give your HIGHER POWER a color or race and an image that looks like you, you begin to think that you are HIM. Or you at least think that those that are of a different race color or image are beneath you.

    • True. And that’s what I would call a lack of the fear of the Lord. A lot of Christians who supposedly have a scary God aren’t scared of God themselves. It’s actually a scary God-puppet. What’s scary is what he will do to their enemies. “Fearing” or honoring God means respecting God’s otherness. This is most exemplified on Jesus’ cross where he was crucified like a common criminal. It’s become an abstract symbol in our day but for God to be a criminal should be a huge scandal that causes us to worry about whether we’re crucifying God whenever we mistreat people who are incarcerated.

  • Marilyn Kaye Muma-Reid

    FEAR
    is what causes this kind of crap. FEAR is a human invention and “God,
    Source, Universe” does NOT require such nonsense. This is a religion
    taught emotion. NOT from a higher source at all. ALL there is, IS
    LOVE. Stop teaching fear and you will stop this ignorance. *facepalm*

    • You haven’t read what I wrote. The fear of the Lord does not mean being afraid; it means honor and integrity. This cop probably went to church regularly and probably received a self-validating message about the sinfulness of the other. Christianity today does not teach fear of the Lord in the positive sense of honoring God. It teaches fear of the other. In any case, this cop didn’t have any sense of honor or integrity whatever vocabulary you want to use for that.

      • NanaLynne

        That’s what you wrote…but that is NOT what the far majority of “Christians” have been taught…most have been taught fear, abject fear of an authoritarian God…it will take us much time to erase the concept of a fearful God and arrive at an awesome-invoking God. You can only change people’s concept of fear by repeated example, not by haranguing them…

      • S Cruise

        “The fear of the Lord does not mean being afraid”

        And don’t kill means kill… and so on. What a farce this religion is.

  • The Sanskrit word for truth is satya. This is about being honest. Another Sanksrit word that might come up for this officer is karma. How will he ever burn off karma like that? I know with the meat eating and all in our western materialist society we don’t care much about karma, but then do we ever wonder why this world is so horrible? This officer has no concept of becoming perfect or of the Self existing in all beings. He kills just as if he was buying meat at the grocery store. Nothing to it.

  • Elmore

    Fear of the Lord? Nah. That gets used for too much evil and unjust force in this world. I grew up fearing God and I have become much more moral through the process of rejecting the fear of god. How? By developing and growing my love for everyone and all beings. Love is the answer, not fear.

    • Fair enough. In your context given what fear meant for you, that makes sense.

  • Al Cruise

    ” When people of power do not fear God.” lets narrow it down to the power that comes with being a white conservative evangelical Christian. Using their own theology as a measuring stick, can an evangelical be racist and be saved?

    • In many ways, that theology has been shaped by the need to justify white supremacy.

  • NanaLynne

    “Fear” has been far too long mistranslated and misused…the words “Fear of God” should be “Awe of God”…now, put that into biblical context and read…

    • bill wald

      English speaking nations are not responsible for how their language is translated into other languages.

      • NanaLynne

        NB: The Bible wasn’t written in English…

  • Celtic Knight

    Allow me to give you, the middle finger. If you couldn’t choose a better line for an article, be prepared to have a lash back. Also, speaking as a retired law enforcement officer, from a much smaller area, being cuffed in ANY altercation IS STANDARD police procedure. Before you “open your mouth”, as they say, and write on something you’ve not personally investigated, ie police procedure, I highly suggest you chose your wording more carefully OR actually DO, some inquiring before putting your words in an article. NOW, upon saying, NO, this vid does NOT look good, nor the one from CA. However, I’d like to say, WE STILL don’t know what happened in the actual stop NOR do we know IF, there were any weapons involved and frankly, to be honest, I WATCHED the televised press conference the Mayor and Police Chief had on TV, and they were as polite as they could be when it was the small black group, instigators and rebel rousers that began their mischief and was COMPLETELY disrespectful of the Mayor and Police Chief! NOW, you tell me if their actions were any more inappropriate as well! By the way too, what do you think God thinks of people like the un-reverend Al Sharpton who is nothing but an instigator and rebel rouser as well?! What HE did alone to Officer Darren Wilson and smeared his name ALONG with many others in the black community! What do YOU Sir, think that God thinks of them? Isn’t there something about judging others in the Bible? Just saying! People need to start treading lightly before you start seeing slander law suits!

    • When people lie and construct a scene to support their lie, it means they do not fear God. You can give me the middle finger if you like as long as you realize you’re giving it to God too.

      • Celtic Knight

        I’m sorry. I didn’t realize you were “God”. But again, you’re a so called minister so, I guess that makes you God huh? Like I said, everyone is damn anxious to form an opinion or assumption based on initial footage.I was taught the meaning of ASSUME in the academy. Makes an ASS out of U and ME! By the way, doesn’t mean “they fear God”. Do you PERSONALLY know the officers religious leanings? He could be Pagan/ Wiccan, Jewish, Atheist or other. You’re choosing your biased based on your religious preference. So unless you specifically “KNOW” his religious preference, you can’t say he or anyone else for matter, “fear God”. He’s just being stupid and probably scared himself. But PLEASE, DON’T ASSUME, to know people OR judge for that matter, like you have. Only God can judge! OH..THAT’S RIGHT, I FORGOT, YOU ARE…GOD! Isn’t that blasphemy? Again, just saying.

      • Celtic Knight

        AH..YOU RE POSTED THIS AFTER REMOVING MY RESPONSE TO YOU! Talk about lies! I stated as before, I didn’t know you were god.I guess because you are a so called minister, you think you ARE god! I’m sorry, unless you are Him or Her, yah, NOW, you get both middles in surround stereo buddy! You sir, ARE NOT the “divine”. There I have ZERO problem giving it back to you. By the way, be deleting my previous response just shows and proves what a coward you are!!!!!!!!! By apparently referring to yourself as “God” is that NOT blasphemy?

  • little lotta

    Whether the police officer or the man fleeing believe in god is hardly the point, yet those who do believe always have your knee jerk reaction. When does “fearing” a god, (by YOUR definition of the word fear, or the bible’s) account for any acts of man? Usually the biblical definition of fear leads to carnage of entire races, so, biblically speaking, what would one man signify? This was a police procedure up to, but not including, shooting a man in the back. A misuse of power? Yes. Unacceptable? Yes. By human standards. We need no vengeful god to show us right versus wrong.

    • kiljoy616

      Actually this was just normal biology and nothing else. Both man did exactly was is expected when adrenaline is pumping thru them at a high rate and loose control of their facility. Here is the reality of not understanding normal human chemistry and how it impacts how we think. Mr. Scott had already given his license, even if he ran where was he going to go, he was not a violent man so basically he was going to be arrested no matter where he went and would be doing time. At least he was going to have to go in front of a judge and explain how he was planing to buy or had bought a car but had not paid the debt owned to his ex-wife. Personally I am against arresting people for failing to pay alimony, and if anyone has a problem then your ok to been arrested for failing to pay your water bill also on time.

      The officer could have walked after the man, but because of the terrible training he got and lack of understanding of human interaction dynamics he proceeded to become agitated himself and lost control. The issue here is less about these two people and about how messed up our legal system is and how flawed and self deluded the USA has become when it comes to crime. To many laws and lack of any sanity from politician gives me the feeling that little will be done. Police training will continue to be military inspired so when dealing with police keep an eye on their state of mind and understand that they will kill you if you provoke them.

      • little lotta

        You’re assuming it is due to chemistry and biology to provoke them?

        While the outcome was unacceptable, it is a rational mind-set to obey authority and take responsibility for your actions – on both sides.

        Next time you respond to a comment, please apply some rationality and actual content regarding the comment you are responding to.

        • I wouldn’t interpret this response as an invalidation of what you said which was also a legitimate point.

      • Asmondius

        Whatt, exactly, does ‘military inspired’ mean?
        .
        I’m not aware that the military trains people to shoot unarmed fleeing civilians the back.

      • That’s a very good point.

    • Asmondius

      Yet if the officer sincerely held ‘love thy neighbor’ in his heart he may have at least hesitated from pulling that trigger.

    • I realize that I’ve written this post for a more conservative audience who aren’t going to be scandalized by my word choice. Fearing God is not about being afraid of punishment. It’s about having a respect for truth in addition to compassion for other people. We don’t need a vengeful God. We need a crucified God who we desperately want to stop crucifying.

  • dosmena

    If the officer fears the Lord, he only needs to drop off his 10% and ask for forgiveness on Sunday. He will be in heaven with all the murders who found God in prison.

    • kiljoy616

      Like anyone ever really found god in reality. More like “look at me” I know the real truth.

      • Asmondius

        No interesting atheist blog stories today?

    • Asmondius

      Fortunately you’re not the author of Christian theology.

  • g75401

    A breathtakingly naive post…..the conversion of Europe to Christianity was done as a “top down” procedure, as in the tribal kings saw the new religion as a way to consolidate their power by introducing the priest and the threat of eternal damnation and ostracism. Your ancestors were “introduced” to the faith at the point of a sword. Our leaders saw “God” as a tool then and they still do. As for individual cops, they objectify civilians and that defense makes it easy to shoot “offenders” or “perpetrators”. And for the most part, their church confirms their bias. Religiosity is positively correlated with racism. I learned in psych class at Baylor and my knowledge base was confirmed by interacting with other students. Who knew blacks “couldn’t be Christian”? I didn’t until I went to Baylor and was told such by many students.

    • Asmondius

      Sorry for you.

  • chrijeff

    Why don’t people in power “fear” God? Because “fear” implies that you think he might hurl a lightning bolt at you–which, generally, he seems disinclined to do. And most of us figure that death (and whatever comes after it) is a long way off.

    If the translators of the King James Bible meant “respect” or “revere,” they should have said that–not “fear.” This is one of the many inconsistencies of Christianity: if God is “loving,” we shouldn’t have to “fear” him.

    • A breakdown of the original Hebraic can be found at http://biblehub.com/text/proverbs/1-7.htm , As you can see, the word is indeed “fear”.

      http://biblehub.com/proverbs/1-7.htm shows “fear” in all translations listed except from an Aramaic source – but the Tanakh / Old Testament is written in Hebrew, not Aramaic.

    • bill wald

      The KJB was written in plain even excellent English, and should not need “translating” for any educated American adult. The writers of the KJB could not foresee the “dumbing down” of future English speaking nations.

      • chrijeff

        Nevertheless, it is itself a *translation*, and translators can make mistakes. I refer you to the fact that in the original, the Commandment is not “Thou shalt not kill,” but “Thou shalt not DO MURDER,” which in Biblical days very probably meant that you weren’t supposed to kill within your group (i.e., other Jews); certainly the Jews killed quite a few people in their wars, yet God supposedly incarnated himself as one of them, which suggests he didn’t consider those killings to be significant.

  • iml

    The video of Michael Slager is chilling to say the least. What happened to Michael Scott is tragic and affects and entire community. It also has national ramifications. As a resident of Charleston who has read all the local news, watched the press conference, and followed the events closely, it’s striking to see so many people – including Scott’s family, law enforcement and local government officials act with integrity. The fact is that justice is being done: Michael Slager has been charged with murder and has been fired. Investigations are ongoing, and it is likely there will be more consequences. But groups like BlackLivesMatter that loudly threaten agitation and unrest will only complicate matters and add to the injustice. It is also striking that no one has mounted a protest against DSS, which dogged Scott and worked against a man who struggled to do what was right. It is a horribly broken system that unfairly targets the poor. When we speak of integrity, etc., maybe it’s worth taking action in ways that get to the roots of poverty and prejudice before lives become tragic.

    • Cyndi Simpson

      #BlackLivesMatter is not a “group,” but a national movement. It is a nonviolent movement. I’m not sure what you mean by “loudly threaten agitation and unrest.” Those sounds like code words to me – dog-whistle words. These are the kinds of words that are often used to suggest to black people and their allies that they do not have the right to speak up or demand change. As for “agitation and unrest,” other than seeming very negative in your context, I don’t know what youmean. If you would like to understand truly what #blacklivesmatter means as a movement, here is a link to an interview with Travis Smiley and Jon Stewart that explains the movement well: http://www.vox.com/2015/4/10/8382309/black-lives-matter-smiley.

      • Leo Toydog

        #BlackLivesMatter is non-violent? Wow, you could have fooled me! I’m sure all the burned-out shopkeepers in Ferguson and elsewhere will be glad to learn this!

    • Asmondius

      Good point about DSS – a system that made the victim so desperate he sought to flee from an armed officer.

      • The_Wretched

        Said officer murdering the fleeing person. The reason for the fleeing is secondary to the FUCKING MURDER!

        • Asmondius

          Can always tell a juvie.

          • The_Wretched

            Add approval of murder to your sin list JOP.

          • Asmondius

            Can always tell a juvie.

          • The_Wretched

            Add using ‘juvie’ as an insult to your sin list Joe.

          • Asmondius

            If the sneaker fits – wear it.

          • The_Wretched

            also a factual error but it’s not like you care about facts either

          • Asmondius

            Well, on the web it’s all about the perception your choice of language provides for others.

          • The_Wretched

            Facts still exist, even on the internet. Nice to see you give no shits about lying your ass off “since it’s about perception” on the web.

          • Asmondius

            The only fact here is your puerile use of foul language.

          • The_Wretched

            Deflection. Add an amoral willingness to lie to strangers to your sins list Joe. You will have a hard time with jesi & the pearly gates at the rate you’re going.

            Have you considered that your religion is messed up if it’s making you go to hell for being here while making you be here?

          • The_Wretched

            And yeah the_Wretched did quack:
            Olim lacus colueram,
            olim pulcher exstiteram,
            dum cygnus ego fueram.
            miser! miser!
            modo niger
            et ustus fortiter!

            (carmina burana, orf)

            And with apology to the regular readers on this blog, I didn’t notice Asmondius was cross-trolling. I’ll try to watch where I’m posting.

          • Asmondius

            Your dime is up – I wish you the best.

    • Amen on the DSS part. Don’t hate on Black Lives Matter though. If they hadn’t been doing what they’re doing, nobody would have ever shot a video and we would all believe that Walter Scott was trying to taser Michael Slager when he got shot. Someone has to be the agitator.

      • Iml

        There is no hate in what I said, actually, and none intended. All lives matter. But when people who speak for any group don’t acknowledge what is being done and issue ultimatums, it comes across as threatening.
        My comment about DSS doesn’t let Slager – who seems like a psychopath- off the hook. But it’s a grossly broken system that was wreaks havoc on so many. So, while on the topic of injustice, it sees to e that what they did in this one man’s life cries out for reform.

    • bill wald

      In the US, the roots of poverty can be found in the social contract of the various poor communities. Other communities can exceed the median income even though WASPS might not like or approve of them. Prof. Michael Harrington explained this in plain English in the 1960’s. See Google.

  • Bruce Van

    Why doesn’t God just ‘smite’ people right before they do bad? You still have free will, but if you mess up, “instant judgment” – no one else gets hurt. People would definitely stay on the straight and narrow. I would think an all powerful God could pull that off.
    The other flaw is you can do whatever you want as a Christian, because most believe they have that ‘get out of jail free’ card they can redeem at the end. “Forgive me for my sins. I really mean it this time because I could die any day now and I don’t want to burn in Hell for eternity”.

    • Asmondius

      ‘Why doesn’t God just ‘smite’ people right before they do bad?’
      .
      Because that would remove free will, and then there wouldn’t be much point to be beingn human.
      .
      ‘..most believe they have that ‘get out of jail free’ card they can redeem at the end.’
      .
      There is no free ride – the person must be sincerely contrite of heart. We have to assume that God is smart enough to know the difference.

      • From the number of public officials and candidates that claim to be Christian yet cut back on relief to the poor and needy while giving more to the rich, I can only conclude that most Christians in a position of power don’t assume that their deity is smart enough to know the difference.

        • Asmondius

          Rule 1` – never believe everything a politician tells you.

        • Right. They have no respect for the God they supposedly believe in who is actually an angry puppet they pull out of their coat pocket when they want to validate their own judgments of other people.

      • Bruce Van

        Are you saying free will can’t have any limits? You would have free will, but like anything else, if you break the rules, there are consequences. Even then, you are free to do what you want: you just have certain rules just like real life.

        There is no free ride? How do you know? Many think you are saved completely by grace – works don’t matter. My point is people don’t know where the limit is, and my scenario would cure that.

        Sorry but you have not answered my question.

        • Asmondius

          Free will can only have limits that are self-imposed – society’s method, for example, is usually to punish after the fact. Self-imposed limits could be conscience, altruism, fear of punishment, logical assessment, religious belief, affection, etc.
          .
          If you spend some time reviewing Jesus’ teachings in the New Testament it would become clear that there is no ‘free ride’ as far as Christianity is concerned.

  • Two points:

    1.) I haven’t seen any articles about what religion Michael Slager professes. For all I know, he’s a United Methodist. 😀

    2.) This may go to the heart of temporal power vs. spiritual belief, and the clear statement about separation of Church and State:

    “And He said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?”They said to Him, “Caesar’s.” Then He said to them, “Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and to God the things that are God’s.” And hearing this, they were amazed, and leaving Him, they went away.” (Mt. 22:20-22)

    Judaic law does not apply where the ruling power is not invested in a religious state that recognizes the Judaic law as scripture. The quote makes it rather clear that Christianity recognizes the idea of state power not fearing the Christian deity.

    In this case, people of the Christian faith should only be concerned about the faith professed by Michael Slager. In the longer run, maybe a study should be done of the religious beliefs of police officers who kill people so as to relate religious beliefs to action.

  • The implication of the headline is that bad things happen when people with power do not fear some imaginary God. As such, it comes across as ugly and ignorant hate speech aimed at atheists, agnostics and other freethinkers.
    For the record, people are perfectly capable of being good without belief in some imaginary God. In fact, the people who are convinced that some imaginary God is on their side are the truly dangerous ones.

    • ufofortytwo

      Excellent point, Michael… especially when they fear that the Lord will torture them eternally for NOT committing an atrocity commanded by someone who claims to have a hotline to that Lord. History and current news is rife with examples of this. No one has ever committed an atrocity in the name of or at the imagined command of Secular Humanism.

      • Asmondius

        No secular humanist ever committed a crime?
        .
        Sounds like Der Master Race!

        • James

          Hitler was a Christian

          • Asmondius

            Then please enumerate the principles of Christ that he practiced.

          • 90Lew90

            I dare you to write three whole paragraphs in response to a blog entry on which you have an opinion. Your “contributions” have consistently been the written equivalent of an old creep in an oversized parka going around exposing himself briefly and then running off.

          • Asmondius

            Enumerate the principles or call the nurse for another shot.

    • Asmondius

      Yes, yes, a man was killed in cold blood and it’s all about you.

      • 90Lew90

        That’s Christianity in a nutshell, is it not?

        • Asmondius

          Only for those for whom a nutshell is their universe.

          • 90Lew90

            But you’re ever so broad minded…

          • Asmondius

            And knowledgeable was well.

          • 90Lew90

            Mmm and modest.

          • Asmondius

            You’re too kind.

    • The term I am using is a term that only makes sense in intra-Christian discourse. The “fear of the Lord” within a Christian context translates into a respect for truth and honor in a secular context. It’s not being afraid; it’s being reverent.

      • Celtic Knight

        Again, we certainly can see YOUR…mindset! Whatever!

  • William John Meegan

    You know what the police officer’s defense is going to be don’t you? Michael Scott ran on a mere traffic ticket; thus, the officer will claim that he thought the man was dangerous fleeing from a dangerous crime. It will not work of course but that is going to be in the fray.

    • Asmondius

      He actually has outstanding warrants for failure to appear based upon child support.

      • William John Meegan

        I know that, I was just contemplating what the officer’s defense would be on a theoretical basis. He’ll have a hard time explaining away planting the stun-gun.

        I truly believe that God has heard America’s prayers. America and its judicial and jury system needed incontrovertible evidence like this to prove police plant evidence and commit perjury to convict the innocent man, woman and even children of crime as normal everyday procedure.

        Judges like to say, “why would the police officer lie?” As if police officers were purer then the driven snow. I don’t think there will be a judge in all of America that will have the humiliating gull to ask a defendant such a question again for such an insult to the American psyche, after this astonishing evidence, most likely would incite and anger the jury into automatically finding the defendant not guilty of whatever crime he or she is charged with.

        Now in the future jury members will be able to cite this kind of evidence as to why a police officers testimony may not be valid; because, he could be covering his glutinous maximus: i.e. C.Y.A. THAT ALONE COULD BE REASONABLE DOUBT.

    • Celtic Knight

      WRONG!!!!!! WRONG AS CAN BE! You know why??????? Because when you pull someone over, the first thing you do is call in the vehicle plate number of the vehicle you have pulled over. That way the office knows at least what vehicle you are out with and where. Secondly, once you (the officer) approaches the vehicle and asks for your license, soc number IF not already on license, and registration, then officer will call in the drivers soc number. With that, dispatch will run that soc number to see if there are any “wants” or warrants and previous criminal activity, if any. You Sir, ARE an idiot, and again, place your statement in NO real realm of understanding of police procedure! Just another ding a ling making assumptions. As we learned in the academy, assume means, makes and ASS out of U and ME! You don’t need to “assume” you know what or how this Officer is going to do anything. Unless you can PERSONALLY read this specific Officers mind, ALL YOU ARE DOING…is making assumptions up. Kind of sophomoric and pathetic! Again, right now, when a subject run, the Officer doesn’t know if that person has a weapon on them. All they see is someone fleeing and apparently, did have a warrant for his arrest. So, what would you have done Mr. Meegan, if you were that Officer, knowing A) this person whom you have pulled over has a warrant for his arrest and B) NOW fleeing Officers NOT knowing if he has a weapon on his person. Now he IS fleeing. The Officer has ZERO idea of knowing IF the fleeing subject has a weapon NOR does the Officer know as the subject runs from the Officer, IF the subject could turn on the Officer at ANY given moment and shoot the Officers. Yes, I say (plural) Officers as there was more than one. How do you react Mr. Meegan? Do you let the subject continue to run and HOPE he doesn’t turn around and begin shooting at you, because, you don’t know if he is armed or not. OR take steps to make sure he stops? GRANTED, I don’t mean kill the guy, as what happened here but, fire one or two shots, as we are trained to shoot in the “tap-tap”, for lack of a better term, shooting style.What would you do?

      • bill wald

        In which state is a person required to give his SS number to the police if it is not on his driver’s license? That is not the case in WA.

        • Celtic Knight

          Just curious Bill, how would any law enforcement officer then know of any criminal activity, wants or warrants without having a Soc number to have dispatch run, unless your specific State has another way of running that info. (You can’t run a VIN number. You can’t just run info via a DOB) Have you ever been pulled over? Just curious. YES, the majority, of States require you to provide a Soc number as that is attached to damn near everything. I AM a retired law enforcement Officer and YES, that IS how we do thing in my State. As well as in MI, IND, PA and other surrounding States.

          • William John Meegan

            Little boy go pull some girl’s hair, you are acting like the nincompoop you are. PLEASE GIVE YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER to anyone that asks. You have a lovely life by pleasing all.

          • Celtic Knight

            You sir, are an idiot! You have ZERO understanding. You obviously could NOT respond with a direct or appropriate answer answer other than your side comment. This just proves how sophomoric you are and want to play childish head games. The only “nincompoopery: is you alone. Beginning to think BOTH you and “Bill” are on in the same. Man, people still play those games too. LoL. Both of you are laughable at best. I’d recommend, you BOTH seek out your local law enforcement offices/department and ask a dispatcher how an Officer runs information. When you can do that, then get back with me. OH..and by the way, for you and “Bill” here yah go.also”William”. I DON’T LIKE LIARS as you attempted to lie to me about WA. Check this out: http://www.nbcnews.com/id/12359845/ns/business-consumer_news/t/when-are-social-security-numbers-required/ In Ohio, like many other States, L.E.A.D.S is the program used. This also can you an explanation of this computer program as well: http://www.icjia.state.il.us/iijis/public/index.cfm?metasection=strategicplan&metapage=sjis_leads

          • William John Meegan

            A silly little boy like you should be place in a corner and hopefully not heard for the rest of the day. Your mother should be sentence to prison for allowing you to breathe.

          • Celtic Knight

            I’m sorry your ignorance, reasoning and un-creativity is
            a handicap for you, not to mention the lack of ability to be rational when faced with facts for you to inquire upon yourself instead of retorting with childlike comments. That just shows and proves your lack of being an adult. You really have stooped to all time low Mr. Meegan. All you have personally shown is your childlike behavior and responses. This is not even an adult, educated response.Just being plain childish.

          • William John Meegan

            Your the child in this discussion: you are just a snot-nose little brat.

          • Celtic Knight

            Again sir, not an intelligent retort nor adult or educated.

            Frankly sir, you have been WAY OFF topic as you’ve taken this in other directions. I’m sorry you feel as you do and the way you feel you need to express yourself and/or take your anger out on myself, or any others for that fact. You can call me any name in the book, harass, belittle me as you wish. you only demean yourself in doing so. I think our conversation is over as i don’t feel the need any longer to respond to someone who may or may not be stable. I’ve already reported you and I think it’s in the best interest of everyone here that this ended. You may surely have the last word, as I’m sure you will prove me correct but, I’m not going to fly off the handle with someone who can not or refuses to be rational other than for everyone to see how you have responded. I think others will see who has been the simpleton. I wish you a great remaining Sunday Mr. Meegan and hope you feel that your responses have been “Christian like” and justifiable to you in the way you have handled yourself. Hope you’ve made yourself feel better about yourself. Good day Sir!

          • William John Meegan

            I speak truth to idiots if you can take the truth why don’t you go cry to mommy you little brat.

        • William John Meegan

          He is only a child don’t pick on him he know everything there is to know about police procedures and we know BECAUSE HE TOLD US SO.

          So much does he know that he even believe it is police procedure to commit cold blooded murder. Pat that idiot on the head and let him go his way.

          • Celtic Knight

            Again, Bill” or “William”, not sure which persona or personality, I am to address, could “you” kindly point me to my direct words where I said what you just stated ,” he know everything there is to know about police procedures and we know BECAUSE HE TOLD US SO.” I’d really like to see that. Again, check the links out I gave you and your even twin.

  • ufofortytwo

    People who truly fear (not the same as simple respect, pace this article) the Imaginary Sky Monster of Abraham in any of his 3 major alleged manifestations may well behave as Guyton asserts but they also elect public officials who pretend fear of the Lord but clearly act in ways which reveal that they fear only the discovery of their misdeeds by the general public.

  • ufofortytwo

    The simple fact that so many true believers have beliefs about God which contradict each other speaks to the undeniable fact that “The Lord” is a product of human imagination and has no basis in reality. A deity with even the limited powers ascribed to the Greek gods would certainly be able to create copies of Her True Commandments in places easily accessible to everyone in the world so that just as with science, where everyone has at least the possibility of seeing for themselves the truth of what the consensus of scientists is saying, those interested (and who wouldn’t be?) in the Word of The Lord would be able to read Her unalterable Words for themselves in their own native languages.

    The fact that every authoritarian religion mirrors, and declares as the will of the creator of the universe, the long since discredited social heirarchy model of society with hereditary, unaccountable dictators at the top supported by a team of sycophants and supports that against clear evidence that there are better ways to organize society is another clue that religions are the product of the imaginations of self-serving autocrats whose only consideration is preventing the kind of social progress which would reduce their power over their subjects.

    The fact that the more tightly a population adheres to a common religious dogma, the worse off by any standard of human thriving the average member of that population is, and that this fact has not changed in thousands of years is another clue to the nature of God belief.

    Everywhere you turn in the philosophy of religion, you run into contradictions which bring progress toward a common, obvious or at least potentially clear to everyone, truth to a screeching halt. That should really tell the theologically inclined something. When philosophy of religion always ends up in discussions indistinguishable from mental masturbation, and this has been going on for thousands of years even when it involved the brightest minds on the planet, maybe it is time to accept the fact that that is exactly what it is.

    • Don Ames

      If you are having trouble believing or are a non-believer, I urge you to read the book entitled “The God Diagnosis” by Greg E. Viehman, MD. If you approach it with an open mind, the concusions reached by Dr. Viehman may not fit what you perceive to be the truth. I have no commercial or any other connection with Dr. Viehman (except for being a former surgical patient on three occasions), but would point out that his book is available on Amazon.com at a very reasonable price.

      • Celtic Knight

        Who’s “truth” or “reality” is anyone suppose to believe? Aren’t these “truths” you speak of more individualized? Everyone has there OWN beliefs.Everyone has their own, “truths”.

  • Al Cruise

    Keep in mind the history behind all this. The institution [evangelicalism] that is/was the gatekeepers in upholding “fear of the Lord” were at one time slave holders. A southern Christian University taught that black people had the “mark of Cain” up until recently. This university trained many students as teachers who went on to private Christian schools to teach that message to children. This is only the tip of the iceberg. Because of this history, police officers who do this sort of thing feel totally justified in what they are doing, in fact during the act they feel a great sense “righteous duty” in protecting society from a perceived evil. To let Mr. Scott flee would be letting God down to them.

    • That’s a good point. I am choosing my language very deliberately to communicate a message to my fellow evangelicals. The “fear of the Lord” is a Biblical concept. Racists who have no integrity expose the hypocrisy of their religious beliefs.

      • Guest

        WHAT KUEHSCHEISSE!

      • Celtic Knight

        WHAT A FINE, PRIME example of the religious, holier than thou right judging others! What did “Jesus” say about judging others? Something to the affect of, “judge not unless thee be judged”? You basically admit,” I am choosing my language very deliberately to communicate a message to my fellow evangelicals.” So there you go!If those who reply are not of your religious leanings, then the rest are heathens and racists who have no integrity. WOW!..JUST WOW! Kind of sums up your thought process. You know, the Catholics use to think they were the “only way and true Christian concept and faith. I think most branches think the same as well as other religious organizations. Some are even brain washing theologies. I’m beginning to have a clearer vision of you.
        Yah, a bunch of KUEHSCHEISSE!

      • Randall Morris

        You are a fool and can’t seem to understand that it has nothing to do with fear it has rather to do with the delusion of superiority that religion gives you ignorant Evangelicals…

        • Diana

          Yet you’re the one who keeps touting his own superiority for not being like “those ignorant Evangelicals.”

          • Randall Morris

            Really? Or am I just bring to your attention that you are being lied to?

  • bill wald

    There is no evidence that human nature has changed in the last 6000 years. We do evil more efficiently and with better sanitation.

    • Randall Morris

      Their is no evidence that human nature has been changed in the last 12,000 years except for the ones who instead of blaming their acts on nonsensical ideas like “sin” take responsibility for their behaviour….

      • bill wald

        Glad to hear that non-Christians admit their responsibility for their screw-ups.

        • Randall Morris

          We do but Christians are far more inclined to blame it on their devil or a rib woman who ate an apple who never existed either…

  • Rex Berry

    Do morals and values exist only because of the fear of eternal punishment weighed against the promise of eternal reward? I am a retired cop and now a humanist. True or meaningful values exist independent of fear and reward.

    • Asmondius

      Of course not. Society, for example, largely operates with the threat of punishment after the fact yet it has never eradicated criminal behavior.
      .
      That is not the point of the article, by the way.

      • Randall Morris

        No the point of the article is to blame non-believers for the actions of believers….

        • Celtic Knight

          YEPP!..LoL Tell him!

          • Randall Morris

            Amazing how stupid and illiterate so many of them are isn’t it?

        • summers-lad

          The article says nothing of the kind – and you are calling others delusional.

          • Randall Morris

            Actually it blames the behaviour of people on lack of belief yet states like South Carolina are highly prejudiced towards Christians…. Yes I call you delusional because you are…

        • Diana

          For real? That’s what you got from it?

          • Save your breath Diana. Randall is either delusional or a troll looking to stir the pot. I refuse to feed the trolls or delusional fools.
            A “fanatic” is one having forgotten the end doubles the means to the end. Randall is simply a fanatic that is not content to live and let live but feels he has to throw stones at all the glass houses he sees. I suspect he is a liberal who looks at the past empires that have not had a God like the USSR or China and makes excuses for the millions killed trying to get it right but faults Christians of today for everything in the past.

          • Randall Morris

            Yes lets discuss those two countries where in the USSR for example less people died under Stalin than under the Tzars (those devout Christians). In point of fact under Stalin for the first time you didn’t have to be wealthy to see a real doctor…. Or how about the Buddhist Mao who killed off the Chinese Nationalist (Christian) loyalists? Mike dumbasses like you need to study real history not the biased crap the Christian Reich-wing fascists spew…. speaking of which how about Hitler, Mussolini, and Franco?

          • Randall Morris

            Stop looking at it from your prejudiced point of view. Not everyone believes in sky fairies and those who don’t are far less likely to commit atrocious acts like the example he gives blaming a “lack of fear of god” meaning they aren’t afraid of his magical imaginary friend because they don’t believe in him….

    • Nope. “Fear” in the sense that I’m talking is merely a respect for truth and integrity. You can have the “fear of God” and be an atheist humanist if you believe in honor. You would just use different words.

      • Rex Berry

        I can also believe in a “God” that is the harmony of all and still reject the concept of hell. I do not have the fear of God and the fear of God has resulted in uncountable atrocities in his name, the Inquisition, the Religious wars, Pope Paul III sanctioning the torture and murder of the American Indians based upon the fact they were heathens and not Christians. If a person does not have morals and values absent the “threat and reward” then they truly do not have them. Fear of God is absolutely no basis for a leader or authority; That is a very simplistic approach to civility.

      • Randall Morris

        Fear in religion id fear of going to your magic ground fairy to be burned for eternity. A ridiculous concept that you would never believe if your parents hadn’t brainwashed you into believing it as a child. Respect must be earned while fear only engenders subservient behaviour in the weak-minded while stronger personalities feel resentment and anger towards the source of that fear. Only an idiot would think differently….

      • chrijeff

        Then it’s the wrong word. I’m a writer; in my line every word has an exact meaning, and there is an exact word for every object and situation. Why would you “fear” an entity that you also “love,” or that “loves” you? The only possible answer is that either “love” or “fear” is the incorrect term.

        • “I’m a writer; in my line every word has an exact meaning, and there is an exact word for every object and situation. “

          I’m a flabbergasted! This totalitarian assertion of laser like verbiage. Gracious sakes, the ponderous pilings!!

          Unless, perhaps, you only write train schedules?

          • chrijeff

            You, I take it, don’t write, or you would know how important it is to find exactly the right term for each situation. When you write–whether you’re writing online or something that you hope will one day be a printed page–you aren’t *there*. Your reader can’t see your expression or hear your voice tone. All he has to go on is the words you choose. And *that* is why you *must* pick the right ones.

            And I repeat: Why should you/would you “fear” an entity you “love,” or that supposedly “loves” you?

          • Ok, sorry for teasing you.

            I can relate to the problem expressed in this line…

            “The only possible answer is that either “love” or “fear” is the incorrect term.”

            You are right, the match does not fit. I tend to think that both terms are off the mark in a similar way.

            The Love thing in Christianity always seems overly anthropomorphic and the fear thing seems like it means something different than we mean by fear.

            Morgan’s translating it as “respect” is a good solution.

            For what it is worth, I just finished “writing” a bit of a comment above related to this.

          • chrijeff

            Thank you for seeing that “the match does not fit.” Ever since I began delving into comparative religion, I’ve realized that Christianity is so full of contradictions I’m surprised it doesn’t collapse of its own weight. Which, apart from the fact that it expects you to “be perfect,” and that is something NO mortal can ever be, is why I stopped subscribing to it.

            I can agree with “respect” as the right word. We generally respect our parents, although we love them, and if God is supposed to be our “father,” why shouldn’t the same be true there?

          • You have me thinking about this more than usual. (also projecting myself into Christian shoes more.)

            Today I was realizing that something like fear arises when I catch myself behaving or thinking in ways that sets back “progress”. Or, might even precipitate negative karma, difficulty or bad luck.

            Like “judging” someone or realizing that I still have moments of “prejudice”, or “hate”.

            I can understand a fear of alienating God. (Whether that is possible or not, we might imagine it.)

            Ideally the Love thing should be unconditional.

            But for Jews, until Jesus, what assurance was there of that.

            And for those who misunderstand the actual message of his incarnation. (i.e. They make him a deity.) The fear remains. (i.e. Hell)

            Of course fear gets mitigated by forgiveness. But until that is assured, having mastered it’s practice ourselves, I suppose we will be prone to worry.

          • chrijeff

            Always nice to know I made someone think …

            I was thinking just this morning: The big difference between mono- and polytheism isn’t really the number of gods. It’s that “pagans” don’t expect their gods to “save” them. They expect to save themselves–to go to Heaven or Hell based on their own actions and decisions–or else to go to Heaven as of right (see the Happy Hunting Ground). What they expect the gods to do is defend them and their country from invasion, drought, illness, and the “thousand other shocks that flesh is heir to.” Whereas monotheists are fixated on “sin,” primarily theirs, and how to get saved from it.

            I have never been able to understand why/how Jesus was made a deity. In the Bible, we are told that when he went to be baptized, a voice was heard from Heaven saying, “This is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased.” It didn’t say, “This is me.” It said, “This is my son.” God was in Heaven, where he belonged, and Jesus, a demi-mortal, was on Earth, where *he* belonged. Therefore the Bible makes clear that God and Jesus were two different beings and should be regarded as such.

          • There is a lot of less than helpful psychological residue left over from that particular ancient culture.

            For instance the Hindus traditionally recognize something like 10 avatars. The Hebrews, besides imagining themselves as the Chosen People, imagine that theirs will be the first and only one. Just, couldn’t quite get 100% on board with Jesus. Wasn’t what they were expecting. Found something about the whole thing inconvenient.

            I don’t have trouble understanding, or even believing in, the phenomena of direct incarnation. However, that incarnation is subject to the same All Inclusive Nature of God as you or I am.

            Whatever it takes to drive the point home. Our reduced circumstances as self absorbed mortals, is not the “Real” picture.

            The confusion about what “Sin” is, is probably the most telling legacy of the Judeo-Christian trajectory.

            For me, it (sin) is the fundamental confusion of identity. The unconscious orbit around the mind generated imitation of Self often called ego.

            The simple statement, “I and the Father are One”, sums up the True Man. The Atman identical with Brahman.

            Whether through resolution of karma or direct and virginal incarnation.

            “The Son of Man”. Moksha, Nirvana, Heaven. No matter how much we beat around the bush. This is the business of Life.

          • chrijeff

            I’ve read that sin is “separation from God.” But human beings were never part of God. Even if you accept the Biblical story (I don’t), he created them out of existing materials, not from himself. (Now if he’d taken out one of his *own* ribs, and made Adam from *that*…) To me, sin simply means doing gratuitous harm to any living thing–including the Earth itself. Just as, in the original language, the Commandment isn’t “Thou shalt not kill,” but “Thou shalt not do murder”–which, in Biblical times, probably meant killing members of one’s own group (i.e., other Jews). Our American Indians generally had rules against killing within the tribe (even suicide, among the Cheyenne, was murder–a self-killing), but not outside it. Similarly, the Jews certainly killed enough people in their wars (Canaanites, anyone?), yet God didn’t turn his back on them; instead he chose one of their women to bear his son. Logic. Christianity isn’t logical, but my beliefs, I hope, are.

          • “But human beings were never part of God. Even if you accept the Biblical story (I don’t), he created them out of existing materials, not from himself.”

            Where do these existing materials come from?

            Actually they tell a pretty good tale of starting from scratch and iterating into the complexity of us.

            Not bad really. How else would it work? Primordial Awareness echoing off the walls of infinite void.

            Eternal compounding of it’s own nature upon itself.

          • chrijeff

            Supposedly, he used dust. He had made the dust when he created the Earth. But the dust was not part of *him*. He said, “Let there be…,” and there it was.

          • I can’t go down that road though.

            i.e. where is “there”?

          • chrijeff

            “In existence.” As in, “Let there be light,” and light was. It existed, where it had not previously.

            (Granting, as previously noted, that you believe the Biblical account.)

          • So, this “existence” thing. Upon what, or where, or how? Even when?

            First Theological problem. Does God exist?

            In this same manner as light?

            Who has made God?

            I would rather propose, that upon the first occurrence of “existence”, awareness of that existence is also born.

            “I Am That I Am” That which people usually call God. The Primordial Self.

            From this, all existence proceeds.

            The Potential to Existence, Existence and all that exists, not different.

            Infinitude. Neither large or small, nothing, and therefor All.

            You may have noticed that the primitive dualism of an Abrahamic religion leaves it rife with contradictions.

            But what does it matter? The potential of enlightenment is ever present anyway.

          • Harry H. McCall
  • Randall Morris

    Sorry to disappoint you Morgan but this trash you wrote is just the sort of Christian bigotry that is casing the problem in the first place. Most people who commit criminal acts and violent criminal acts are religious and the more highly religious they are the more likely they are to commit these acts. Terrorists are a prime example of this behaviour I am talking about and blaming these acts on people who are sane individuals instead of deluded psychotics or sociopaths makes you one of them yourself. You talk of non-believers as if they hate your imaginary friend but if you look at it from our POV it is the same as hating the Easter Bunny or Santa Claus…. How about it do you hate them? Did Santa not bring you a pony as a child is that why you “give him the finger?” My parents tried to raise me as a Methodist and I thought the whole mess was the most ridiculously unbelievable load of batshit I had ever heard of. I could never understand how anyone could believe such immature garbage even as a child. This left me with issues until as a teenager they sat me down for the bad news talk (the one where they usually tell you that you have an incurable form of cancer with only 6 months to live) thankfully they only told me I was adopted and couldn’t understand why it made me happy. I had been searching for years for the corners of the rubber masks because I figured I must have been kidnapped by a retarded alien species for study or that it had skipped a generation and my kids would all be morons…

    If you hadn’t been brainwashed as a child using fear of your imaginary sky monster you wouldn’t believe the batshit you are peddling either and would find it as offensive as any non-believer does. For example if you as an adult were told that MR Staypuft had created the universe and thrown a bag of mini-marshmallows into the sky to create the stars I imagine you would think the person peddling that batshit was insane. Frankly the only difference between what you believe and the MR Staypuft cult does is that your beliefs have been deemed socially acceptable even if they do make you nothing more than a delusional bigot…..

    • Asmondius

      Funny how you feel compelled to validate yourself against people of faith.

      • Randall Morris

        Funny how delusional religious bigots like you always feel compelled to validate their hate-filled fantasies by attacking others blaming them for their own vices. When are you going to take responsibility for your own evil actions instead of trying to blame them on others? After all how many atheists do you see flying planes loaded with people into occupied buildings?

    • It sounds like you’ve got a lot of unresolved issues or you wouldn’t be so antagonistic. When you speak in such hyperbole, it reveals an utter lack of inner peace.

      • Randall Morris

        I am not the one with “unresolved issues” or delusions of grandeur. I am not one of you cannibals and read your bible before I turned nine receiving from it the sure and certain knowledge that it was privative fairy tales designed to keep cowardly Sheeple from leaving the flock so they couldn’t be shorn by their shepherds. If you studied any history at all you would know that there was no such person as your Jesus that he was an invention of the Romans to pacify the rebellious Jews and get them to pay their taxes….

        • Kevin Osborne

          I am not a Christian but have a history degree and have read my share after college. I would say the evidence leans long in the direction there was a person named Jesus living in Palestine in that time frame. What you want to believe about him is up to you. It also seems you have internet disease. The cure is to wash your keyboard in warm, soapy water.

          • Randall Morris

            You would be wrong then because all evidence pointing to him has been shown to be falsified. I suggest you look further especially looking at the fact that the letter ‘J’ didn’t exist back then….

          • Kevin Osborne

            It depends on what evidence you want to believe. You have an agenda made of bricks. I’m open to the idea he is a figment but doubt it is true for the same reason I doubt all other history with less than perfect chains of evidence is false. For him to have been created out of whole cloth would take considerable coordination and intention and to what purpose? There was no reason to believe any such story would become more than a fly by night tale that dies like so many others. This one had legs.

          • Randall Morris

            Show one piece of valid evidence he ever existed unlike the many he never did including the records of the time that show the existence of over two dozen “messiahs” over a 200 year period spanning his so called existence none of which were him….

          • Kevin Osborne

            http://www.gotquestions.org/did-Jesus-exist.html

            I know none of that will be credible to you but it works, in general, for me, to put it on the side of likelihood.

          • Randall Morris

            Josephus? You just failed history and need to get your money back from that diploma mill you went to. The “James brother of Jesus” paragraph wasn’t in the early documents and was later added by a monk for political reasons…

          • Kevin Osborne

            Historians tend to disagree in general on many topics, for example how many were killed at Stalingrad. People can look at the same data and come up with different ideas. Since none of us were there at the time no one knows for sure. Why do you have to be certain?

          • Randall Morris

            Funny how you dwell on Stalin who was educated Russian Orthodox to be a priest but Stalingrad was Hitler attacking Russia. There is another reason we can never determine how many were killed by that “good Christian” Hitler and that is that not only were many of the records of his extermination camps destroyed but he used troops dedicated towards the murder of civilian “undesirables” which went through wide regions of Russia and Eastern Europe slaughtering entire populations as they passed while keeping few if any records. To say fearing a god (any god) is a good thing is sociopathic. To say Christianity magically makes a person moral is psychotic….

          • Kevin Osborne

            You did not answer my queston. Why are you so certain you are right? Certain enough that you attack people you don’t know as a matter of course? Why?

          • Randall Morris

            You never answered mine and attack me even though you don’t know me using completely biased and blatantly false information….

            Give me one good reason why you should be taken seriously because for the most part you look like a Christian troll….

            So far evidence here proves I know far more history than you do even though you claim to have a degree on the subject while I do not and learned through research on my own….

          • Kevin Osborne

            Since you won’t answer my question I’ll take a crack at it. Individuals get stuck. They try to figure out what is going on but due to complexity, meaning number of particles in the area, they are unable to discover why they feel stuck. It is confusing. They becomes less and less in the moment and less and less happy. At some point either they break out of it or sometimes, decide others are at fault for how they feel. This is a victim mentality. A victim is allowed to striike back. The individual feels okay about striking out at others even if there is no present reason. After all he/she is stuck to some degree in the past.This would explain at least your willingness or need to insult others. The solution is to become more in the present. There are lots of ways to accomplish this, one of which is being willing to see the other side.
            As to knowing more history than I do, I likely have my areas with more information and you have yours. One thing I do understand that you apparently do not is no genuine historian will take an absolute position especially on incomplete data. If you read what I have written so far you would realize I hold to that idea. At any good luck to you. When you can communicate with communication and not brickbats I’ll be happy to do so.

          • Randall Morris

            Yet you ignore through confirmation bias the facts that the data you use is not complete while the data I am using is. There are NO historical records of Jesus or anyone like him during the time frame that is required to make Christianity valid. This is not only true of Roman records but of Jewish, Byzantine, Persian,or any other contemporary record keeping culture of the time…

          • Kevin Osborne

            Thank you for the reasoned response. The Romans, I believe, destroyed Jerusalam and environs some time in that century. I know something about the Romans and when they took someplace down there was nothing left. Corinth and Carthage are examples. So for a relatively minor local personage, a year or two in the limelight if that, there would not be much mention. That isn’t proof he existed but it isn’t proof he did not. Your data is not complete, you are ignoring the fact that vast numbers of people, many not fools, much closer to the time believed he existed. There is a word of mouth history among American Indians of the Northwest tribes telling of historical catastrophes hundreds of years before, which have been substantiated by discovery of the hidden debris. I’m not saying Jesus existed, I’m saying it is more likely to me that he did than he did not. Exactly what he said or did may have been embellished or invented to a degree, but his quotes are in line with many teachings of spiritual folk from long before and since. You can’t prove it either way, so why pretend you can? You have your historical interpretation, I have mine. Now if you are going to say the Exodus never happened at least as advertised I agree. That would have been recorded.

          • Randall Morris

            Exodus was written when the Jews were expelled from the area we now call Israel in 722 B.C.E. by the Assyrians. It has been shown conclusively that the Jews were NEVER slaves in Egypt and that the story of Noah’s ark was stolen from a small religion in the area now known as Northern Iran. As for disasters in North-western America during that period they are irrelevant to this matter. The religion we now know as Judaism wasn’t even started until the Assyrians expelled them from their own lands less than 2,800 years ago and was cobbled together from several small religions based in the area known today as Iran and Iraq. There is also substantial historical evidence that the Roman empire invented Christianity in an attempt to influence the Jews to accept the empire and pay their taxes. There is however no evidence that a historical Jesus ever existed. Since I am not the one making the claim the rules of evidence show that I do NOT have to prove the default position you are the one making the claim he existed so yopu have to prove he did. Anyone with any education at all knows this….

          • Kevin Osborne

            You know that oral history is irrelevant? Okay, I don’t know that. And, again, you see fit to attack instead of discuss. I strongly urge you to look around to see if you locate why this is the case and let it go. Life is a lot more interesting that way IMO.

          • Randall Morris

            Really are you that ignorant of history? It isn’t oral history even if much of those “histories” were presented orally they were also written. Ever heard of the dead sea scrolls?

    • Celtic Knight

      ROCK ON Randall! 🙂

  • rani9k

    The “fear of the Lord.” is only for the poor people not for rich.
    You have to glorify your god. Where is your god when white killing black. Where is this god all those 6 million were killed by throwing them in fire?
    It is people like you who are promoting violence in the world.
    You talk from both side of your mouth.

  • Chris

    Morgan,

    You are at best ignorant of the fact or at worse a liar,
    either way you are dangerous. Based on what and how you wrote this piece I
    would guess that you are a politically correct person that does not care about
    truth or the facts, but let me point them out to you anyway;

    Fact: Approximately 50 officers are killed each year

    Fact: Approximately 3,200 officers are assaulted each year

    Fact: Black people are the perpetrators of crimes at a much
    higher rate than others, which is why they encounter the police more.

    Fact: Black people kill more white people than the other way
    around.

    Fact: An officer does not go to work looking for trouble;
    he/she goes to work looking to help people. Unlike the mutts they encounter who
    are out looking to commit crimes.

    Fact: An officer protects more minorities than they arrest.

    Fact: More often than not the officer is called to the scene
    by other minorities in the neighborhood.

    Fact: An officer will not engage someone that is not either
    committing a crime or acting in a suspicious manner.

    Fact: Each of these police shootings had one thing in common;
    the person shot initiated the action and fought the police.

    I could go on but I made my point so please stop with the
    Police Brutality and white people are racist garbage. You are what are wrong with the church; you
    are willing to look the other way when it comes to crimes committed by
    minorities, and you are willing to look the other way when minorities cross our
    border illegally, but you jump all over the slightest indiscretion by a white
    person.

    • Max Doubt

      “… but you jump all over the slightest indiscretion by a white person.”

      Wow. Shooting a guy in the back multiple times while he’s running away from you is a slight indiscretion? You might consider discussing your despicable morality with a competent mental health professional. You’re one seriously dangerous individual.

    • Michael Brian Woywood

      I find your use of the word “mutts” to describe any person very disheartening. I find your lack of awareness of the socio-economic factors that influence minority crime disheartening. I find your final swipe at immigrants disheartening. Most of all, I find your use of the term “politically correct” both trite and disheartening. This is Kingdom talk, which is rarely politically correct. That you could read a post about fearing the Lord and living with integrity, and see only dangerous lies, is disheartening.

      • Upvoting because I agree with most of your sentiments. Not exactly sure what you mean by “Kingdom talk,” though I think I have an idea.

  • ptoadstool

    A lack of empathy contributes to many of the bad behaviors we see when people interact. While I see no compelling evidence for a supreme being having anything to do with it, we all should learn to be empathetic through the guidance of caring parents and teachers. Religion can offer a platform for teaching empathy, too – so I guess it’s a “whatever works for you” kinda thing. As a former police officer, I know all too well how police work can be isolating and one can begin developing “us vs. them” thinking that can (by perception) ultimately dehumanize the very people we should be protecting and serving. This really does need to be addressed in ongoing training, because not doing so results in bad police work, plain and simple.

  • When Matthew McLaughlin filed the “Sodomite Suppression Act” in California calling for gays to be killed, his stated reason was “fear of God” and he cited Sodom and Gomorrah. You want to claim that fear can bring wisdom, but in my view of history it’s as likely to bring pogroms, lynchings and other abuses.

    For me, understanding is gained when the subject is viewed fearlessly, and that is doubly true for the Bible.

  • Michael Brian Woywood

    Morgan, thank you for speaking the truth to power, in the tradition of the prophets and of Jesus Himself. And remember that if the world hates you, it first hated Him. It may not feel like it, but you are in the best company.

  • I think the “fear” at stake in this instance is the sort of fear linked to disappointing someone you love. If you love God, you should be the sort of person who not only follows God’s rules but tries (for the sake of pleasing God) to be the sort of person those rules define. Some groups such as humanists manage a lesser imitation by loving an abstract list of virtues.

    Sadly, the inverse also holds true. Some people find it easy to do wicked things because they don’t love God. The worst people believe in nothing, not even atheism, because it might get in the way of their own narcissism.

    • That’s right Matthew.

    • “Some groups such as humanists manage a lesser imitation by loving an abstract list of virtues.”

      How about loving people, instead of a list of rules or virtues? I thought that’s what Jesus did.

  • The closest thing I find in myself to “fear of God” is the fear of foolishly wasting this life as a human being by not seeking enlightenment. Not closing the gap between me and God.

    Every moment counts and here we are wasting millennia on wars and avarice. Killing the planet because we can’t think of anything better to do with it.

    Once one understands what is being squandered, something like “fear” or a sense of urgency is a natural response. Never mind about what the somnambulant and often thuggish brethren are up to.

    Honesty is the way we go about becoming real. Authenticity is a prerequisite for awakening.

    • “The closest thing I find in myself to “fear of God” is the fear of foolishly wasting this life as a human being by not seeking enlightenment. “

      Having said the above, a more honest reflection has indicate an addendum is needed.

  • If I act with honor (which I try to, though not always succeeding), would you say that I fear the Lord, even though I don’t think he’s likely to exist? I have seen people do the worst things, thinking that God approved and even told them to do it. They only fear God when it comes to other people’s sins. They’re only afraid to sin in different ways than they already do.
    Also, I think people are generally having less sex than most movies and tv shows would have you believe. I’m 24 and still a virgin, though I haven’t graduated college–I’m going back to school now.