published Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

'Do we really want to obey biblical law?' and more Letters to the Editors

Do we really want to obey biblical law?

Recently someone correctly wrote to the Times Free Press that the Bible (Leviticus 18:22) describes homosexuality as an abomination. Certainly this person and other like-minded fold would not want to accept any violation of biblical law. Guess we should shun those who eat shellfish, as that, too, is an abomination (Leviticus 11:10).

Other biblical laws we should obey are permitting the sale of your daughter into slavery (Exodus 21:7), to put to death your neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath (Exodus 35:2), and to own slaves if they are from neighboring nations (Leviticus 25:44).

I'm assuming that the person writing the previous letter would not think that a logical or devout person could decide to follow just the biblical law they agreed with. Can you imagine this person being the one to throw the first stone at a homosexual working at a seafood restaurant on the Sabbath? But stoning would be out if this person was one of their own Canadian or Mexican slaves.

TOM ROGERS

Hixson


Realize the need to vote Democratic

The conditions of this republic will never be perfect. It is for sure our elected leaders will never be "perfect" for pleasing everybody.

The need is very important for the voters to be aware that the 2012 elections can be the time for the masses of the voters to send their message in determining whether they want to continue getting the proper "balance" of this republic back "for the people and by the people."

If the voters stick to the facts instead of being "overwhelmed" by the lies and misleading misinformation put out by the opponents of President Obama, there is not any doubt they will realize their need to vote for the Democratic candidates on Nov. 6.

CARL BRACKIN

Georgetown, Tenn.


Instant responses doomed writing

The art of writing is gone. Communication has hit its high with instant responses from Twitter, texts and cell phones. That luxury is cool and far removed from the time when we would use our regular home lines to return calls after work, and let our parents know where we were.

As we grow more into this technological world, we lose sight of how people used to sit down and write a letter and how it was often more appreciated when received through the mail. The wait and response was not instant, but the pen on paper, the stamp, the fact that the person sat down and took time to express thoughts, and that they wanted to write rather than text "I heart u" on their cell, counted more.

Kids are completely unaware of how much of life they are missing, because they are in such a constant dialogue with gossip and texting "what is up" that nothing else is up!

We have lost reason in thinking phones are the sole method of contact. Thank-you cards, wedding announcements and "break ups" are often sent online now or through Facebook. Some of this technology is brilliant, but it's costing us to lose a vital piece of communication.

CHRISTINE DIWAN


Moment of silence is the best choice

In response to the front-page story (May 23): "Commission asked to stop praying."

One of the many things I have appreciated about Chattanooga since moving here four years ago is the growing diversity -- national, cultural and religious -- of our city and county. I strongly believe that any public religious ceremony should unite our community and not divide it. If our county commissioners or any other groups of elected leaders want to begin their meetings with a religious observance, I suggest that they offer a moment of respectful silence so that any who wish can offer a personal prayer in their own tradition or, if any wish, no prayer at all.

THE REV. DR. DAVID C. BROWN,

Pastor at Pilgrim Congregational United Church of Christ


America is still a criminal haven

Is anyone surprised the Rutgers student found guilty of filming his gay roommate for the Internet was sentenced to only a month in jail? America continues to be a criminal haven, as consequences for breaking the law are often laughable. From texting while driving, to DUI, to theft, to assault and murder, there's a good chance the guilty will be back on the streets before the change of season, at most.

Law-enforcement officers have their hands tied. They do their jobs, but the rest of the system is why America is the favorite of lawbreakers. At least we're fighting unemployment with the lawyers, judges and the like who help thugs get back on their feet again. And guess who pays for their services?

I've seen America drastically change its character. Nowdays, it's common to hear stories of cheating on tests and taxes, driving scofflaws, frivolous lawsuits, disrespect and excuses for every problem we encounter, and bullies continue to control others at school with impunity. It almost makes one want to return to the '60s or '70s, before computers became the national sport and people actually talked to each other. One thing's for sure: we can't count on politicians to get us off the "slippery slope." Any suggestions?

TOM BAKER

Hixson

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Comments do not represent the opinions of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, nor does it review every comment. Profanities, slurs and libelous remarks are prohibited. For more information you can view our Terms & Conditions and/or Ethics policy.

CHRISTINE DIWAN, I actually saw on PBS how some cultures reacted to the printed word as being less refined and more vulgar than elegant calligraphy. They did not prosper.

TOM BAKER, don't forget when the police avoid doing their jobs, for various reasons.

May 29, 2012 at 12:14 a.m.
Easy123 said...

Great letters by letters by everyone today! Very thoughtful and interesting across the board.

May 29, 2012 at 12:34 a.m.
Lr103 said...

Interesting how we pick and choose our sins from the Bible to support our argument, but leave out some vital parts.

Romans Chapter 1 verse 29 also say: Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornications, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,

30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents.

That chapter covers a helluva lot more sins than one to support a targeted argument. Many we all break every hour on most any given day.

I've been puzzled to know if there remain in some old dusty file room at some old dusty courthouse laws that once made it illegal for a black and white to be in a relationship where offspring might be produced or marry? In some states, mostly southern, such laws were still on the books as late as the 1960s and '70s. Some laws written specifically stated it was considered a form of bestiality for a black and white to marry. That offspring of such a union would have animal/human physical qualities. Religion was used to support that belief too.

May 29, 2012 at 8:21 a.m.
Easy123 said...

Why would Scripture be "time sensitive"? Couldn't God give rules that would be transcendent?

That's an interesting way to reconcile not obeying the laws of the Old Testament. I would bet that you hold the 10 Commandments in high regard; they are in the Old Testament. Jesus probably followed the laws of the Old Testament considering he was a Jew. But I guess you are incapable of thinking that hard.

Why do Christians think they can pick and choose parts of the Bible to claim or live by? This is also in your New Testament.

1 Timothy 6:1 (Ephesians 6:5) All those who are under the yoke of slavery must have utmost regard for their master. Obey your earthly masters with respect, fear, and sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ.

Titus 2:9 Slaves are to be obedient to their masters in all matters, and do what is wanted without argument.

1 Corinthians 14:34-35 Women should be silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak. If there is something they wish to know, they should ask their husbands at home, because it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in church.

1 Timothy 2:11-12 A woman should learn in silence and full submission. I permit no woman to teach or to have authority over a man. She must keep silent.

1 Thessalonians 2:14-15 The Jews killed both the Lord Jesus and the prophets. They are displeasing to God and hostile to all men.

What about those verses?

May 29, 2012 at 8:29 a.m.
moon4kat said...

Thank you, Rev. Brown, for a sensible suggestion. Is the County Commission wise enough to adopt it? We'll see.

May 29, 2012 at 8:31 a.m.
Easy123 said...

Ken Orr,

You are a liar. Those verses are taken directly from the Bible and say precisely what they appear to say. The verses are not false or erroneous. How do you know Jesus hates slavery? His book is full of support for it.

As for your erroneous verse, other translations use "slave traders" instead of man stealer. This would make sense because the Bible says to obey your earthly master. I'm sure trading slaves was looked down upon. Just keep the ones you have! And by the way, those aren't the words of Jesus. 1 Timothy was Paul's first epistle to Timothy. Jesus didn't write or say anything in it.

May 29, 2012 at 9:15 a.m.

Scripture time-sensitive? Then why do the people proclaiming adherence to it declare that we must obey the words in a thousands year old book that isn't even being presented in its original language, but distorted through the lens of multiple translations?

I don't think your story is consistent with the advocacy of others.

May 29, 2012 at 10:59 a.m.
Easy123 said...

The verses you mentioned are erroneously and falsely interpreted and have nothing to do with God or truth.

May 29, 2012 at 12:21 p.m.
dao1980 said...

Intellectual dishonesty and emotional/spiritual laziness?? Not Ken.. surely not Ken Orr.

May 29, 2012 at 12:55 p.m.
Rickaroo said...

I have said it before and I will say it again: the more a person quotes from the Bible to make a point in what is supposed to be a rational discussion, the more out of touch with reality (a nice way of saying "looney") that person is. Ken Orr, you can quote Bible verses all day long and you still won't prove a thing, except how far gone you are. Heaven is obviously not some future state for you - you're already there...if having one's head in the clouds is any indication.

May 29, 2012 at 1 p.m.
Livn4life said...

For all who spout about biblical law and what Christians are to do, please understand a distinction. The Old Testament is the Jewish law and code. The New Testament, by which Christians find their guidance does not throw out the Jewish law but offers a further revelation of grace through Jesus Christ. By the way, the Jewish world rejects Jesus as Messiah. So no Christians do not kill rebellious children, sell daughters into slavery, nor have multiple wives at the same time. The principles throughout the Bible remain the same. Revelation does not change because of cultural shifts and acceptance of certain behaviors. And finally, there are absolute truths. Anyone who claims there are no absolutes proves the point. For all you who disbelieve, I respect your position and your right to speech. It is a poor reflection on you, especially if you claim to be open when you run down others who choose to believe and live differently from you. Calling them irrational and other negative names is not helpful. But it is your right as an American.

May 29, 2012 at 1:45 p.m.
Easy123 said...

Then why is the Old Testament in the Bible?

I'm sure you believe in the 10 Commandments, they are in the OLD TESTAMENT!

The Jewish world rejects Jesus but still reads the Torah, also know as the 1st 5 books of the Christian Bible.

The principles do not remain the same throughout the Bible. God even changes.

If there are absolute truths, then why has the Church had to change its position on so many things?

Finally, calling them irrational is being honest.

May 29, 2012 at 2:09 p.m.
kkemerait said...

Old Testament or New, the point is that the same God acted and gave commands.

Wrap it up anyway that you like. Genocide is not moral, neither is ordering someone to kill innocent children neither is rape, yet God (the same one, since there is only one) ordered all of those acts.... covenants and theology aside, it is immoral and psychotic.

Ken Orr isn't the loony one, his God is.

May 29, 2012 at 6:44 p.m.
Lr103 said...

Either the Bible was written by several different people over a period of time to reflect the nature of humans at that time, or by one person who had a multiple personality disorder. Whichever, we've all been looking at a picture of Caesare Borgia for the past six or seven hundred years and calling him Jesus. Cesare Borgia, the illegitimate offspring of Italian Pope Alexander VI and his mistress Vannozza dei Cattanei.

There are good points in the Bible to live by. Then again, there are other points we'd be best to ignore. There are valuable lessons, and stories of inspiration and tolerance in the Bible. Lessons and inspirational stories we can find in our everyday life to live by or just sitting down reading a good John Grisham novel. If you're going to read the Bible read it with an open mind and like any book of good and bad literature. But not to take everything in the Bible literally. Even if there is a real God, you have to remember that religion was created by man in an effort to control man.

May 29, 2012 at 9:12 p.m.

Livn4life, if you note, the original to which Tom Rogers was replying was citing Leviticus.

Obviously, somebody did not get your message.

But do try better rhetoric than the one about absolutes. What people tend to say is that knowing absolutes is beyond humanity, at least with certainty.

But no, it's not live and let live. That's the whole point, the Christian Right is disrespecting others and seeking to control them.

See the filings in the Murfresboro mosque affair. Quite explicit there.

May 29, 2012 at 11:55 p.m.
kkemerait said...

I'd like to pose a question to those out there who argue in favor of moral absolutes, particularly those found in the Bible.

If the word "absolute" is taken to mean "without exception", which seems to be an appropriate definition, given the topic. Then God's moral values would allow of no exceptions.

For example, I tell my girlfriend she looks good in her new dress in order to spare her feelings (because I think it makes her look fat)...this is a sin?

Maybe a more serious example, I intentionally shoot and kill a man because I believe he is about to harm a group of innocent children...was that murder a sin?

If, in fact, there are moral absolutes then it stands to reason that they cannot allow for exceptions, but if on the other hand, it is permissible to make a "judgement call", and lie or kill if it serves what we perceive as the "greater good", then have "absolutes" vanished..isn't everything relative to one extent or another?

A second point, the Bible doesn't hedge on God's laws or moral values, there are no commandments which say "Thou shalt not xyz, unless of course...blah blah blah". So if Christians DO allow for making moral judgement calls, on what basis do they justify it?

Just some thoughts

May 31, 2012 at 1:12 p.m.
hotdiggity said...

Jahchild- "Only Those Scriptures

Repeated [Backed Up and Confirmed] by New Testament Scriptures Are

the Prevailing Rules of Today."

Says who? A large percentage of "Christians" believe the whole Bible is the unerring word of God. Since none of the New Testament writers were witness to anything Jesus did they either wrote based on oral history, made it up as they went along, or were "divinely inspired". They claim things that Jesus said or did that they were not even witness to.

"Do not think that I [Jesus] have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke or a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. (Matthew 5:17-18)"

You appear to opine that an omnipotent God changed his mind when he sent Jesus to promote a "New Covenant". Basically you are saying we should disregard the God of the Old Testament and his promotion of rape, murder, enslavement, stonings, etc. and just embrace the God of the New Testament.

Talk about your twisted logic.

"Take from the church the miraculous, the supernatural, the incomprehensible, the unreasonable, the impossible, the unknowable, the absurd, and nothing but a vacuum remains." -Robert G. Ingersoll

May 31, 2012 at 8:32 p.m.
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