Saturday, November 12, 2005

You can talk all you want, but I want to see what you do.

Well, it's Saturday night and here I sit at the computer once again. Listening to Steve Earle's Live From Austin (aka Austin City Limits from September 12, 1986), Soft to the Touch, Charlie Robison's Good Times, and a little Keb' Mo'. And I've been sitting here thinking, and not just about baseball, football, hockey or even that song I've got floating in my head to the tune of "Red Moon" about Lonesome Dove's Jake Spoon. So what the heck is going on my noodle, well multiple things, but one thought surfaces above all the others, moral consistency.

It would seem to me that I'm seeing a large amount of moral inconsistency lately. This week, Texas passed Prop. 2 that defines marriage as between one man and one woman and bans any acceptance of anything similar or identical (the little lawyer voice in me laughs at this..cause if something is identical it's the did Texan just ban all marriages? reading the amendment, a valid argument can be made). The problem I have with this amendment is it's moral inconsistency. Let me get this straight, the "holier than thou" nutjobs have become so scared that the government's possible recognition of gay marriages, and all the rights and privileges that go with it, will affect the beliefs of their church membership that they've strong armed politicians to bend to their "mighty will." Poppycock! Churches are not going to be forced to perform such services, but that should not preclude the government from doing so. It's a simple legal arrangement, not one being forced onto any church. If a gay couple wants to be married and have that marriage be recognized by the state, that is their right. Instead of loving thy neighbor, the religious right has alienated their neighbor. That sound you hear, is one armed men clapping for the religious nutcases. The problem is, I don't see anyone pushing amendments to outlaw divorce or any other problem facing the institute of marriage today. Moral inconsistency.

How about those folks who favor the death penalty and seek to end abortion? Murder is murder, whether it's in the womb or at the hands of the state. I point example "A" out as myself. Though lately, I am taking a long hard look at this idea. Moral inconsistency.

Random thought...Steve Earle covering Springsteen's "State Trooper" not too shabby.

Back to my point....

Another example I'm seeing out there comes from those who I think would be better at realizing their inconsistency before it begins. Those who would stand in front people and express their ideas and convictions and yet not hold true to them when challenged. What they say means nothing to me if their actions will not back it up, whether they are right or wrong, I can respect a person who is firm in their convictions and won't try to hide smoke and mirrors if they're challenged. Moral inconsistency.

Interjection: Charlie Robison's "Photograph" is brutally honest songwriting.

I will get along better with someone I disagree with who I know where they stand than I will someone who is in the shifting sands. A man isn't measured by his words but by his actions. We can't read minds or hearts, so it's all we got to go on.

This all might not even make sense, but I needed to write and get this out of the system.

And FYI...G-DAY is coming November 25th.


Andy said...

Two very good thoughts I completely agree with. I loved your point about fighting divorce, rather than homosexual "marriage." In this country, they have rights just as you or I. It is truly a shame.

Thanks for the enjoyable rant.

Andy said...

I also hate it when you tell someone something and explain what you mean, and then they denounce you for it by defining it differently from what you said it meant.

It's the whole, "But you said!" game.
An Example Conversation:

Person A: "It's a shame you believe ____. I really wonder about you."

Person B: "I know I said that, but remember it means _____ when I say it."

Person A: "Right, but you said it--still, I just can't see how that is really what you mean, as it seems inconsistent/false. I've read others on this topic and it is obvious that it really means ____."

Person B: "But I nor those other guys mean that. Those others aside, I am telling you, I don't mean what you think I do."

Person A: "But you said..."
And so the cycle ensues with nobody getting anywhere. It really boils down to the fact that Person A does not trust or listen to Person B.

Ed said...

Everynow and then my rantings and ravings make some sense.

rich said...

Actually, Ed, God repeatedly deals with nations as nations, for either abandoning God's law or turning to it. So if we go against God's law (which requires the death penalty, and certainly does not allow homosexual marriages), we are against God. We are not the moral arbiters. If the death penalty is wrong, then you are charging God with sin, since he instituted it. See Gen. 9:6, and Rom. 13:4, and elsewhere. God's law is clear, and God will judge our country according to it. When we say that God's law doesn't matter, we are instituting ourselves above God. This is sin.

Andy said...

Actually, Rich, God also repeatedly deals with people as individuals, for either abandoning God's law or turning to it. So if we go against God's law (which requires the death penalty, and certainly does not allow any form of adultery (i.e., lusting), we are against God. We are not the moral arbiters. So not only those who are in homosexual unions much die, but also most every person in the US should too. If the death penalty is right, then we must live in a Christian theonomy. See Gen. 9:6, and Rom. 13:4, and elsewhere. God's law is clear, and God will judge our country according to it, but God will also judge us individually to see if we had compassion on the adulterer and called him/her to repentence. When we say that God's law doesn't matter, we are instituting ourselves above God. This is sin. However, when we are quick to have stones thrown at adulterers, we are not following Christ's example of loving our neighbor as ourselves. This is also sin.

rich said...

You're right. According to God's Word, we must live in a Christian theonomy. God's law must prevail (theonomy means the law of God). If we don't follow the law of God, then we are following our imaginations, which we know are evil.

Absolutely, "God repeatedly deals with people as individuals also." However, we are not talking about debate over how individuals should respond to sin on an individual level. We are debating about what our country should do, as a country. I do not have the authority (as the stonethrowers did not) to execute people. God does, and he has delegated that authority to governments. God is not bloodthirsty in doing so. God is righteous, and gracious in doing so. The death penalty is ordained by God for the purpose of controlling people bent on sin, even murder. People say that the death penalty encourages murder, but when they say that, they impugn the wisdom of the God who ordained it (and kept it in place) for the opposite purpose. Are you wiser than God?

rich said...

It also sounds like you don't understand God's institution of the death penalty if you think that the death penalty should be given to most people in the U.S.

Ed said...

Well...let me throw out another hand grenade and see what comes up, if we are to cast the first stone let's bring back some of the really good stuff:

I want to sell my brother into slavery, mechanical engineer, builds submarines, speaks some Spanish and always is good with a joke...what's a good price?

My intern wants to work on Christ said this is ok but only if you must save your ass, soif he works, and is not saving his ass, he must be put to death, should I do it myself, or call the cops or a minister to do it?

We're men, we like football, but can we truly touch the skin of a dead pig?

If the farmer down the road plants two kinds of crops side by side...who gets to stone him?

And if my mother wears clothes of two different threads to the family Christmas, can I burn her myself or do I have to invite the neighborhood first? And what do I do if a burn ban in in effect? And will it ruin the sweet potatos if she is in there with them?

Seriously, yes God instituted the death penalty, but Christ also stated to let he who is without sin cast the first stone. Stoning being the Jewish form of the death penalty (remember death on the cross was a Roman convention). So pretty much what we get from Christ is that let the person who without sin carry out the execution.

rich said...

You actually have two arguments:

First, God is too confusing and doesn't make any sense, therefore, we shouldn't follow his laws.

Second, (according to you) God says that only the righteous should put the righteous to death.

I will deal with the second argument since that is the one with real force among Christians. The Jews did not then have the authority to give the death penalty, as they were not the government. Secondly, if only the righteous are to give the death penalty, and we know that there are none righteous, then why did Paul affirm the governments God-given authority to carry it out (Rom. 13:4)?

rich said...

That should have said "Second, (according to you) God says that only the righteous should put the condemned to death."

Ed said...

Actually, I was using those questions to be tongue in cheek, not even part of the argument.

In ancient Israel and Rome, what was the purpose of the death penalty? It was to protect the "innocent" from the "wicked". If this can be done without putting the offender to death, should we not show compassion and love towards the life of the guilty party? I'm not opposing the death penalty, just the matter in which it is used given the current criminal system that is in place.

rich said...

I disagree with you, as this is not just a government mandate, but more foundational than that. The Genesis 9:6 verse is setting a pattern for the world to follow. Similarly, other moral laws are not just matters of convenience, but are done in subjection to Him.

However, this last opinion that you gave is at least stomachable by a believer of God and his Word, and I am glad to hear you say it.

Ed said...

Stuff the believer must wrestle with Rich to come to greater understanding.

If I never ask myself the tough questions, how can I grow if I don't seek out the answers?