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Old Testament Conversation

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    Originally posted by KingsGambit
    Maybe this can all be discussed in another thread.
    On the is in fact extremely relevant to this one.

    Even people skeptical of Christian pacifism have to acknowledge that such a reading lends itself to Jesus creating the appearance of an armed rebellion to facilitate his being "numbered with transgressors" (rebels).
    Roman soldiers were not "rebels", they were recognized authorities. He was "numbered with the transgressors" because the entire point of His Witness was that He would separate people from the groups and alliances that led them into sin, whether they were prostitutes(Mary Magdalene,) rebels and revolutionaries(Simon the Zealot) or tax collectors (Zacchaeus.) Rest assured that at the very least, Jesus's presence in Galilee meant throats not slit, livelihoods not lost, and families not broken! He was numbered with the sick because He had to go among them to be a doctor. But they followed Him, fleeing from the wrath to come, this was not and was never a case of Him entering the brothels, the inner circles of the tax collectors, or the councils of the revolutionaries as one on equal footing and purpose. When evil comes together, it is most assuredly time for the governing authorities to come in and destroy their councils, arrest their members, and execute their leaders.

    That Christ did not tell soldiers to abandon their profession may mean that He condoned their violence but it's at least equally likely that He either 1) accommodated them as He accommodated tax collectors or 2) condoned the general power of the State to police its citizens and occupied territories.
    1. Nope. Roman soldiers brought in from foreign nations to do peacekeeping work, unlike Jewish tax collectors hired from among their own communities as self-enriching middlemen, are leagues apart in everyday moral danger and what was necessary to get the job (the tax collectors hired from among the community were the worst, because they knew exactly how much they could extort from their own people, and were not interested in enforcing a uniform standard or keeping a uniform peace within the conquered territories, as foreign functionaries would.)
    2. What he condemned most publicly about those highest in authority was what John the Baptist condemned: the disgraceful sexual behavior of his own (Jewish) leaders, who were supposed to be moral exemplars for the rest of the community to follow.

    One group had more opportunities, history, and reputation for graft and corruption, one did not. The reputation and hearsay surrounding a profession or people group is most certainly not something that Jesus ignored, which would be derided as 'stereotyping' today.

    Originally posted by Sam
    The argument that one must fight evil with lethal force is valid (and espoused by the Christian realist Reinhold Neibuhr in the last century) but it necessitates an extra-biblical understanding of Christian doctrine that immediately chips away at the literalist foundation necessary to defend such behavior as not selling a wedding cake to a same-sex couple. Probably not the way y'all want to go.
    Christianity taken seriously does not replace a culture, it sanctifies it with the light of truth and enables it to reach its fullest and often the most unpredictable potential. The road to that cultural sanctification has never, ever, ever, EVER been traveled without at one point incorporating deadly force in the service of a commonly held law.

    Similarly, there is no evidence that any world-conquering and civilizing cultures have ever held homosexuality as a normative part of their national development. Even the Communists and Nazis found them useful only as destroyers of the civilizations they wanted to get out of the way, and sought to have them removed as soon as they had accomplished their purpose of organizing their own social outcasts and weakening the target body politic.

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