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Christians and the use of sarcasm

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  • #61
    One of the things I liked most about Walter Martin was his sarcasm. He never held back and could be quite insulting to fellow Christians if he felt they were wrong. But that was his game; no holds-barred debates.

    Comment


    • #62
      Originally posted by Rushing Jaws View Post
      I noticed that problem before posting. I have no problem with thinking that St Matthew - unlike some other NT writers - may simply have been unaware of the idea that Jesus was sinless. Or he may have known and rejected it. The New Testament books, are, after all, entirely human productions, even though they are in some God-breathed. I know of no reason to insist, as a truth beyond all doubt, that the New Testament writers shared exactly the same views on all the same parts of the early Christian tradition; and the NT itself shows that there were differences between them. The sinlessness of Jesus is hardly a leading New Testament doctrine. it enjoys nothing like the prominence accorded to the kingship of Christ, which occurs in the book after book of the New Testament.

      The Kingship/Reign/Kingly Rule of Christ is intimately bound up with the content of the preaching of the good news; It is about as central a New Testament doctrine as one can have. The sinlessness of Christ is at best a side-effect of that. and even if it were a lot more theologically central to the identity of Christ as Messiah, king, and son of a man, it would not follow that all the evangelists, for all the new Testament writers, would be aware of it, or would all think that it was true or important. to be king and Messiah and son of man, Jesus has to be chosen by God. He does not have to be sinless, any more than He has to be all-knowing or infallible. In order to fulfil the offices he was chosen to discharge, he needs certain qualities; he needs to be a profit like Moses, He needs to be a Priestly character, needs to be a teacher, He needs to be a lawgiver, He needs to be a Shepherd. If He is to be the Passover Lamb, he needs to have qualities associated with the Passover Lamb: But that is no proof that he has to be free of all sin. In some ways, indeed, it would be more appropriate to dysfunction as saviour if he were a sinner: because that would underline how completely He is identified with sinners.

      The most natural reading of certain NT passages is, that Jesus had attitudes that are (what would in a Christian be called) sinful. If questions are not to speak to their fellow creatures as Jesus addressed the scribes and Pharisees in Saint Matthew chapter 23, it makes no sense whatever that Jesus, who is held up as the example to mere mortals, should exhibit some of the very faults that Christians are forbidden to entertain. if he is totally free of all sin whatsoever - why does he behave in a way, which in a mere human being would be regarded as a grave transgression ? If He is our model, one not unnaturally expects a far higher standard of behaviour from Him. But in that chapter, as well as in several other passages in Saint Matthew, that is not what we get. He appears to be no more holy, divine, or transcendently virtuous, than any great (though imperfect) human being. One expects better of him than the kind of language that one finds in some passages of Calvin on a bad day. Calvin was a fallible, frail mortal, so his lack of perfect sanctity is entirely understandable. Some of him may be regrettable, and even unedifying, but since he was a man and not God, such shortcomings are entirely understandable. But Jesus Christ has no such excuse. He is supposed to be God incarnate. But in those passages, he behaves as though he were something far short of that. Such passages are part of the Bible, therefore, they cannot simply be passed over or ignored, as though they do not exist. They should be taken in their natural & proper and exegetically accurate sense (whatever that may be) - not allegorised away into nothingness.

      If one must either sacrifice a doctrine, or, abide by the true sense of the Bible, I would prefer to sacrifice doctrine every time. It's not possible to have doctrine based on Scripture, if one does not know what scripture means in a particular passage. And if the meaning of scripture undermines a favoured doctrine, then so be it; the doctrine can go. Otherwise, the tradition which upholds a doctrine despite its poor basis in scripture is, in effect, replacing what scripture says with what tradition says.

      And that is something Jesus told people not to do.


      A lot of Christian ethics is based not upon the gospels directly, but on the teaching of Saint Paul and the other letter-writers. It is the teaching of Saint Paul and those other writers that requires certain attitudes of Christians that are not in very good agreement with the teaching Jesus gave to his Palestinian Jewish hearers or with the behaviour of Jesus. If there is a tension between what Jesus taught, and what those other writers taught, it is in the texts and in the early Christian tradition. So what are Christians, reading their bibles, to do about this tension ? Your quarrel is not with me, but with those other NT authors, and with the NT tradition within which they worked.

      it could of course be argued that it is perfectly legitimate for Jesus to be insulting towards others, and that it is entirely illegitimate for Christiand to be insulting towards others; but if that is the tack one takes, how can a Jesus whose morality is so different from ours be regarded as a good model for us ? it implies that Jesus holds others to a much higher ethical standard than he was able to satisfy himself. How is that not hypocrisy - the very vice which he abominated so strongly in his theological opponents ? Should not a Jesus who comes as our teacher set a higher moral standard to us that he is able to satisfy perfectly, even if we are not ?

      If it is wrong for us to be insulting, it cannot be okay for Jesus to be insulting. There cannot be a double standard. There can certainly not be a standard according to which Jesus tells his disciples to "love one another", & "love [their] enemies", while Himself engaging in behaviour which is "insulting". For that too would convict Jesus of being a hypocrite.
      I'm in agreement with the final passage I highlighted. My intent, regardless of how well I succeed, is to prioritize Biblical Theology above Systematic Theology, and far above creeds, confessions, and other traditions.

      However, I'm concerned about the first several bits I highlighted. You seem to solidly affirm Jesus as Messiah, king, son of (a) man, profit (sic), priest, lawgiver, teacher, Shepherd, but you refer to Him as "supposedly" God incarnate. Do you deny the deity of Christ? Or do you, as I do, regard Him as both son of God and I AM incarnate, yet while on earth exercising no divine powers or prerogatives except when directed by the Father and enabled by the Spirit? Or do you view all of that as some sort of "secondary" doctrine?
      Geislerminian Antinomian Kenotic Charispneumaticostal Gender Mutualist-Egalitarian.

      Beige Federalist.

      "Everybody is somebody's heretic."

      Social Justice is usually the opposite of actual justice.

      Let's go, Brandon

      Comment


      • #63
        If we are to jettison doctrine that is in conflict with scripture, a process that I agree with, the concept that Christ was without sin cannot be discarded. Hebrews 4:15, 2Cor 5:21.
        By contrast, the concept that Logos remained God when he became a human is eminently discard-able.
        1Cor 15:34 εκνηψατε δικαιως και μη αμαρτανετε αγνωσιαν γαρ θεου τινες εχουσιν προς εντροπην υμιν λεγω

        Comment


        • #64
          Originally posted by Rushing Jaws View Post
          I noticed that problem before posting. I have no problem with thinking that St Matthew - unlike some other NT writers - may simply have been unaware of the idea that Jesus was sinless. Or he may have known and rejected it. The New Testament books, are, after all, entirely human productions, even though they are in some God-breathed. I know of no reason to insist, as a truth beyond all doubt, that the New Testament writers shared exactly the same views on all the same parts of the early Christian tradition; and the NT itself shows that there were differences between them. The sinlessness of Jesus is hardly a leading New Testament doctrine. it enjoys nothing like the prominence accorded to the kingship of Christ, which occurs in the book after book of the New Testament.
          You're just compounding the problem. Either Jesus didn't those things, or He did. If He didn't then all four Gospel writers lied about Him doing those things since all four Gospels have Jesus insulting people. Given that fact they are all untrustworthy about their accounts. If we can't trust them on smaller stuff, why trust them on larger more complex issues?

          If He did do those things, then under your interpretation He doesn't qualify to be a proper sacrifice for the atonement of the sins of mankind. Jesus said anyone who sins is a slave to sin. If He was in bondage to sin, then He certainly couldn't free us from it. The Gospel writers would have understood this, especially since they had Him as their teacher.

          The Kingship/Reign/Kingly Rule of Christ is intimately bound up with the content of the preaching of the good news; It is about as central a New Testament doctrine as one can have. The sinlessness of Christ is at best a side-effect of that. and even if it were a lot more theologically central to the identity of Christ as Messiah, king, and son of a man, it would not follow that all the evangelists, for all the new Testament writers, would be aware of it, or would all think that it was true or important. to be king and Messiah and son of man, Jesus has to be chosen by God. He does not have to be sinless, any more than He has to be all-knowing or infallible. In order to fulfil the offices he was chosen to discharge, he needs certain qualities; he needs to be a profit like Moses, He needs to be a Priestly character, needs to be a teacher, He needs to be a lawgiver, He needs to be a Shepherd. If He is to be the Passover Lamb, he needs to have qualities associated with the Passover Lamb: But that is no proof that he has to be free of all sin. In some ways, indeed, it would be more appropriate to dysfunction as saviour if he were a sinner: because that would underline how completely He is identified with sinners.
          Um, that's not how it works. Christ had to incarnate because it was impossible for mankind to satisfy the requirements of a perfect sacrifice to atone for sin once and for all. If he as fallible and sinned, then He would be no more powerful than the Greek demigods, and of equal use to salvation.

          The most natural reading of certain NT passages is, that Jesus had attitudes that are (what would in a Christian be called) sinful. If questions are not to speak to their fellow creatures as Jesus addressed the scribes and Pharisees in Saint Matthew chapter 23, it makes no sense whatever that Jesus, who is held up as the example to mere mortals, should exhibit some of the very faults that Christians are forbidden to entertain. if he is totally free of all sin whatsoever - why does he behave in a way, which in a mere human being would be regarded as a grave transgression ? If He is our model, one not unnaturally expects a far higher standard of behaviour from Him. But in that chapter, as well as in several other passages in Saint Matthew, that is not what we get. He appears to be no more holy, divine, or transcendently virtuous, than any great (though imperfect) human being. One expects better of him than the kind of language that one finds in some passages of Calvin on a bad day. Calvin was a fallible, frail mortal, so his lack of perfect sanctity is entirely understandable. Some of him may be regrettable, and even unedifying, but since he was a man and not God, such shortcomings are entirely understandable. But Jesus Christ has no such excuse. He is supposed to be God incarnate. But in those passages, he behaves as though he were something far short of that. Such passages are part of the Bible, therefore, they cannot simply be passed over or ignored, as though they do not exist. They should be taken in their natural & proper and exegetically accurate sense (whatever that may be) - not allegorised away into nothingness.

          If one must either sacrifice a doctrine, or, abide by the true sense of the Bible, I would prefer to sacrifice doctrine every time. It's not possible to have doctrine based on Scripture, if one does not know what scripture means in a particular passage. And if the meaning of scripture undermines a favoured doctrine, then so be it; the doctrine can go. Otherwise, the tradition which upholds a doctrine despite its poor basis in scripture is, in effect, replacing what scripture says with what tradition says.

          And that is something Jesus told people not to do.
          Or your reading on what Jesus said not to do is wrong. The alternatives you give to that option are far worse, and have God Himself sinning as He uses insults numerous times throughout the Bible. In fact, some of the passages that are God speaking directly sound like they could have come from Calvin or Martin Luther. Malachi 2:3 and Jeremiah 5:7 are some particularly harsh examples.

          You are also doing exactly what you claim to be against in this very paragraph. It has become "tradition" to remove all harshness from the words of God, Jesus, and the rest of the Bible. Putting that obsession with "niceness" above the actual words and actions of God, Jesus, and the apostles has led to many problems in our world. Modern cancel culture stems from people trying to avoid offense at all costs, and putting "niceness" on a pedestal.

          A lot of Christian ethics is based not upon the gospels directly, but on the teaching of Saint Paul and the other letter-writers. It is the teaching of Saint Paul and those other writers that requires certain attitudes of Christians that are not in very good agreement with the teaching Jesus gave to his Palestinian Jewish hearers or with the behaviour of Jesus. If there is a tension between what Jesus taught, and what those other writers taught, it is in the texts and in the early Christian tradition. So what are Christians, reading their bibles, to do about this tension ? Your quarrel is not with me, but with those other NT authors, and with the NT tradition within which they worked.

          it could of course be argued that it is perfectly legitimate for Jesus to be insulting towards others, and that it is entirely illegitimate for Christiand to be insulting towards others; but if that is the tack one takes, how can a Jesus whose morality is so different from ours be regarded as a good model for us ? it implies that Jesus holds others to a much higher ethical standard than he was able to satisfy himself. How is that not hypocrisy - the very vice which he abominated so strongly in his theological opponents ? Should not a Jesus who comes as our teacher set a higher moral standard to us that he is able to satisfy perfectly, even if we are not ?

          If it is wrong for us to be insulting, it cannot be okay for Jesus to be insulting. There cannot be a double standard. There can certainly not be a standard according to which Jesus tells his disciples to "love one another", & "love [their] enemies", while Himself engaging in behaviour which is "insulting". For that too would convict Jesus of being a hypocrite.
          Your final paragraph shows some semblance of understanding of the issue. There is only one real option that doesn't mangle the entirety of scripture and turn God and Jesus into hypocrites and sinners, and that is that this passage you cite has been misunderstood as disallowing insult/sarcasm entirely. Thus it is allowable for God and man to use sarcasm and insults, but they need to be used for the right reasons, and for the right audience.

          The opposite path leads to the problems I mention above. It turns the writers of much of the Bible into liars, and makes them untrustworthy.

          Some other examples of sarcasm from God Himself. Judges 10:14 A huge portion of Jeremiah for multiple chapters God outright mocks and insults the people of Judah, and in Nahum there is a lot of mockery of Ninevah and compares the people there to locusts.

          Comment


          • #65
            Originally posted by tabibito View Post
            If we are to jettison doctrine that is in conflict with scripture, a process that I agree with, the concept that Christ was without sin cannot be discarded. Hebrews 4:15, 2Cor 5:21.
            By contrast, the concept that Logos remained God when he became a human is eminently discard-able.
            Collosians 2:8See to it that there is no one who takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception in accordance with human tradition, in accordance with the elementary principles of the world, [i]rather than in accordance with Christ. 9 For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form

            Goes against your statement.

            Comment


            • #66
              Originally posted by Cerebrum123 View Post

              Collosians 2:9 disagrees with you.
              That one refers to Christ at the time of writing, not during the time after conception and prior to resurrection.
              Sections referring to that time period say things like - he was "a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him." (Acts 2:22)
              Last edited by tabibito; 10-06-2021, 11:30 AM.
              1Cor 15:34 εκνηψατε δικαιως και μη αμαρτανετε αγνωσιαν γαρ θεου τινες εχουσιν προς εντροπην υμιν λεγω

              Comment


              • #67
                Originally posted by tabibito View Post

                That one refers to Christ at the time of writing, not during the time after conception and prior to resurrection.
                Sections referring to that time period say things like - he was "a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him." (Acts 2:22)
                If you believe Jesus was no longer God when he was human that is unorthodox and you need to change your faith designation. The doctrine that Jesus was both fully man and fully God the Son (the hypostatic union) is one of the core doctrines of orthodox Christianity.

                Comment


                • #68
                  Originally posted by tabibito View Post

                  That one refers to Christ at the time of writing, not during the time after conception and prior to resurrection.
                  Sections referring to that time period say things like - he was "a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him." (Acts 2:22)
                  Yet during the same time He was referred to as "I AM", and was shown to do things that were only suitable for God. Such as forgiving sins, and accepting worship.

                  John 1:23, Matthew 9:2, and many others.

                  Comment


                  • #69
                    Originally posted by Cerebrum123 View Post

                    Yet during the same time He was referred to as "I AM", and was shown to do things that were only suitable for God. Such as forgiving sins, and accepting worship.

                    John 1:23, Matthew 9:2, and many others.
                    The argument that "I am" (ego eimi) is a claim to deity has long since been demolished. In the Koine Greek, when God said to Moses, "Tell them that I am has sent you," the identification was o ων (pron: ho own) - "the being," or, "the living one:" "Tell them ho own has sent you." The standard translation of the Hebrew "anaki" ("I":it doesn't come with "am") is ego eimi "I am a slave" Hebrew: anaki a slave, Koine Greek (when translating Hebrew): ego eimi a slave. The man born blind whom Jesus healed, when questions were being asked whether he was in fact the one who had been born blind said, "ego eimi." It is certain that he was not claiming to be God.

                    The argument that the authority to forgive sins demonstrates deity has been around since the fourth century, perhaps earlier. Jesus bestowed the authority to forgive sins on his disciples. Coupled with that argument in the same time period, by the same authors, is the argument that Jesus performed miracles that went beyond anything that a man was authorised to do. One example was that of walking on water - Peter walked on water for a few steps, and he wasn't told that he failed because he was human, he was told that the failure was due to lack of faith.

                    To the best of my knowledge, Jesus accepted worship only after the resurrection. That might be a good avenue for you to pursue as counter argument - can you find a place where it says that Jesus accepted worship prior to his crucifixion?
                    Last edited by tabibito; 10-06-2021, 12:15 PM.
                    1Cor 15:34 εκνηψατε δικαιως και μη αμαρτανετε αγνωσιαν γαρ θεου τινες εχουσιν προς εντροπην υμιν λεγω

                    Comment


                    • #70
                      Originally posted by tabibito View Post

                      The argument that "I am" (ego eimi) is a claim to deity has long since been demolished. In the Koine Greek, when God said to Moses, "Tell them that I am has sent you," the identification was o ων (pron: ho own) - "the being," or, "the living one:" "Tell them ho own has sent you." The standard translation of the Hebrew "anaki" ("I":it doesn't come with "am") is ego eimi "I am a slave" Hebrew: anaki a slave, Koine Greek (when translating Hebrew): ego eimi a slave. The man born blind whom Jesus healed, when questions were being asked whether he was in fact the one who had been born blind said, "ego eimi." It is certain that he was not claiming to be God.

                      The argument that the authority to forgive sins demonstrates deity has been around since the fourth century, perhaps earlier. Jesus bestowed the authority to forgive sins on his disciples. Coupled with that argument in the same time period, by the same authors, is the argument that Jesus performed miracles that went beyond anything that a man was authorised to do. One example was that of walking on water - Peter walked on water for a few steps, and he wasn't told that he failed because he was human, he was told that the failure was due to lack of faith.

                      To the best of my knowledge, Jesus accepted worship only after the resurrection. That might be a good avenue for you to pursue as counter argument - can you find a place where it says that Jesus accepted worship prior to his crucifixion?


                      Please discuss this elsewhere. This thread is about the Christian use of sarcasm.
                      That's what
                      - She

                      Without a clear-cut definition of sin, morality becomes a mere argument over the best way to train animals
                      - Manya the Holy Szin (The Quintara Marathon)

                      I may not be as old as dirt, but me and dirt are starting to have an awful lot in common
                      Stephen R. Donaldson

                      Comment


                      • #71
                        Originally posted by Bill the Cat View Post



                        Please discuss this elsewhere. This thread is about the Christian use of sarcasm.
                        Apologies.
                        1Cor 15:34 εκνηψατε δικαιως και μη αμαρτανετε αγνωσιαν γαρ θεου τινες εχουσιν προς εντροπην υμιν λεγω

                        Comment


                        • #72
                          Originally posted by Cerebrum123 View Post

                          You are also doing exactly what you claim to be against in this very paragraph. It has become "tradition" to remove all harshness from the words of God, Jesus, and the rest of the Bible. Putting that obsession with "niceness" above the actual words and actions of God, Jesus, and the apostles has led to many problems in our world. Modern cancel culture stems from people trying to avoid offense at all costs, and putting "niceness" on a pedestal.
                          Quick question - did Jesus reserve his sarcasm and insults for people "who should have known better"? Other than the Syro-Phoenician Woman (and there was a clear breach of etiquette on her part), I can't think of any occasion when Jesus was impolite to people who weren't religious leaders or his own disciples.
                          1Cor 15:34 εκνηψατε δικαιως και μη αμαρτανετε αγνωσιαν γαρ θεου τινες εχουσιν προς εντροπην υμιν λεγω

                          Comment


                          • #73
                            Originally posted by tabibito View Post
                            Quick question - did Jesus reserve his sarcasm and insults for people "who should have known better"? Other than the Syro-Phoenician Woman (and there was a clear breach of etiquette on her part), I can't think of any occasion when Jesus was impolite to people who weren't religious leaders or his own disciples.
                            I can't immediately think of any examples where he, as they might say, punched down.

                            I'm always still in trouble again

                            "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
                            "Overall I would rate the withdrawal from Afghanistan as by far the best thing Biden's done" --Starlight
                            "Of course, human life begins at fertilization that’s not the argument." --Tassman

                            Comment


                            • #74
                              Originally posted by tabibito View Post

                              Quick question - did Jesus reserve his sarcasm and insults for people "who should have known better"? Other than the Syro-Phoenician Woman (and there was a clear breach of etiquette on her part), I can't think of any occasion when Jesus was impolite to people who weren't religious leaders or his own disciples.
                              For Jesus, not any that I can think off of hand other than the one you mention. However, God does in Jeremiah I think. He talks about how he went to the poor and couldn't find any who knew of Him, but they were poor, so maybe they didn't know any better. Jeremiah 5 is full of insults and sarcasm.

                              Just for clarification, I don't think insults and sarcasm are fit for all occasions. It is a very context sensitive rhetorical tool.

                              Comment


                              • #75
                                Originally posted by Cerebrum123 View Post

                                For Jesus, not any that I can think off of hand other than the one you mention. However, God does in Jeremiah I think. He talks about how he went to the poor and couldn't find any who knew of Him, but they were poor, so maybe they didn't know any better. Jeremiah 5 is full of insults and sarcasm.

                                Just for clarification, I don't think insults and sarcasm are fit for all occasions. It is a very context sensitive rhetorical tool.
                                An interesting chapter indeed.
                                1Cor 15:34 εκνηψατε δικαιως και μη αμαρτανετε αγνωσιαν γαρ θεου τινες εχουσιν προς εντροπην υμιν λεγω

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