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HolyGround >> A Biblical defense of self-defense


10/1/12 12:18 AM
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DiscipleDojo
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YoungGunABKJ - how does it not relate to this topic.

I was talking about ridge hand, not you. Sorry.

10/1/12 9:56 PM
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DiscipleDojo
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Nick Fury - I read once, that the turning the other cheek, may have been out of defiance, as to say, "here is my other cheek", and not necessarily out of passiveness. Any thoughts on it?

Yes, it's an attempt to shame what is normally a shameful act (an open hand strike across the cheek) through absorbing and refusing to retaliate in defense of individual honor.  In an honor-shame culture this would be a bold move indeed.

10/2/12 9:18 PM
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jrrrrr
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As part of what we are referring to is the concept of forgiveness. This prayer is stated before one goes to sleep. Supposedly an extension from The Torah prescribes that one should recite the Shema "when you lie down and when you rise up" (Deuteronomy 6:7, 11:9). I kinda wonder if this is one of the prayers that made jesus think about the importance of forgiveness...



THE BEDTIME SHEMA »
Master of the universe, I hereby forgive anyone who angered or antagonized me or who sinned against me -- whether against my body, my property, my honor or against anything of mine; whether he did so accidentally, willfully, carelessly, or purposely; whether through speech, deed, thought, or notion; whether in this transmigration or another transmigration -- I forgive every Jew. May no man be panished because of me. May it will be Your will, HASHEM, my God and the God of my forefathers, that I may sin no more. Whatever sins I have done before You, may You blot out in Your abundant mercies, but not through suffering or bad illnesses. May the expressions of my mouth and the thoughts of my heart find favor before You, HASHEM, my Rock and my Redeemer.
10/2/12 9:35 PM
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DiscipleDojo
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^ I believe that's a Kabbalistic prayer, is it not?  I don't think the concept of transmigration is one that any 2nd Temple Jew would've held (though I could be mistaken).

10/2/12 9:47 PM
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jrrrrr
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We need Phantom-Menace to come back...he would know...
10/7/12 9:26 AM
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770mdm
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Judaism stands alone as a world religion in its commandment to hate evil. Exhortations to hate all manner of evil abound in the Bible and God declares His detestation of those who visit cruelty on His children. Psalm 97 is emphatic: “You who love G-d must hate evil.” Proverbs 8 declares, “The fear of the Lord is to hate evil.” Amos 5 demands, “Hate the evil and love the good.” And Isaiah 5 warns, “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil.” And concerning the wicked King David declares unequivocally, “I have hated them with a perfect hatred. They are become enemies to me.” (Psalm 139) Hatred is a valid emotion, the appropriate moral response, to the human encounter with inhuman cruelty. Mass murderers most elicit our deepest hatred and contempt.

On the other hand, the Bible also says that we are not to celebrate our enemy’s demise. We do not dance over the body of a murderer like Osama bin Laden. Indeed, at the Passover Seder we Jews, upon mentioning the Ten Plagues, poor wine out of our glasses ten separate times to demonstrate that we will not raise a glass to the suffering of the Egyptians, even though they were engaged in genocide. Likewise, after the Red Sea split and drowned the Egyptians, Moses and the Jewish people sang ‘The Song of the Sea.’ Yet, the Talmud says that G-d himself rebuked the Israelites: ‘My creatures are drowning in the sea, yet you have now decided to sing about it?’

But for those who go further and quote to me Jesus’ injunction that we are to love our enemies, I respond that to love murderers is to practice contempt against their victims. Those who do not hate bin Laden have been morally compromised. A member of the Taliban who cuts off a woman’s nose and ears or an Al Qaida terrorist who flies a plane into a building has cast off the image of G-d from their countenance and is no longer our human brother. They deserve not amnesty but abhorrence, not clemency but contempt. And since humans cannot bestow life, neither can they act in the place of G-d and forgive those who take life.

I do not believe in revenge, something the Bible explicitly prohibits. The ancient Jewish understanding of the Biblical injunction of ‘an eye for an eye’ was always financial restitution for the lost productivity of an eye rather than the barbaric taking of an organ itself. But I do believe in justice, and forgiving murder or loving a terrorist makes a mockery of human love and a shambles of human justice. The human capacity for love is limited enough without us making the reprehensible mistake of directing even a sliver of our heart away from the victims and toward their culprits.

Ecclesiastes expressed it best. There is not just a time to love but also a time to hate. I hate Osama bin Laden but I will not rejoice in his death. It would have been better for the world had he never been born. But once he was, and once he directed his life to unspeakable cruelty, it was necessary for him to be stopped and killed. And for that I give thanks to G-d and the brave soldiers of the American military for making the world a safer, more just, and innocent place.

Christians choose to interpret Jesus’ words to “turn the other cheek”, and “love your enemies”, as a call for total pacifism.  No matter what occurs, they feel one should not fight back, and that “vengeance is mine sayeth the Lord.”  However it is clear from the bible itself that all the great heroes of the ancient Israelites who believed in and served the Lord God, personally led large armies.  They reluctantly engaged in combat so as to eradicate their tenacious enemies who sought conquest of evil over good.  At the same time, one of the greatest blessings that God promises in return for complete devotion to the path of righteousness is peace.  Throughout the bible, peace is the most sought after state of affairs, held up as the ideal way of life for the entire world.  Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook, the first chief rabbi of Israel, made an interesting observation in this regard.  He explained that when the ancient Israelites had their own land, and when one of their cities was attacked and captured—the women and children abused and sent into slavery—the Israelites would have to go to war.  This required them to invade, vanquish their enemies, lay waste to enemy strongholds, and do everything required to ensure they would never be attacked again.  This was the course that had to be taken to survive.  Yet it was so painful for a people whose religious upbringing, daily prayers, and holy books, consistently lauded the value of peace and love, predicting the day when all men would live side by side as brothers.  Rabbi Kook explained that when the Jewish people were exiled from the land, and became a persecuted minority living in the Diaspora, in some ways they felt relieved.  Although they would face untold hardships and suffering at the hands of their host nations, they now were free from any moral ambiguity.  From then on, they were clearly the innocent, oppressed victims, and their persecutors were unquestionably the villainous purveyors of tyranny.  Rabbi Kook believed that the objections to the idea of a modern Jewish state, coming from many of the Jewish people themselves, stemmed from a deeply unconscious fear that they would have to return to a way of life that could entail war and difficult decisions in the realm of morality.

Rabbi Boteach -

 

10/7/12 11:28 AM
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gord96
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Interesting write up 770. Thank you for sharing. :) Phone Post
10/7/12 2:46 PM
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DiscipleDojo
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Is that by Shmuley Boteach, or did you write it? Couldn't tell without quotes. Either way, there are some good points in it (though I disagree with loving murderes and terrorists necessarily entailing making a mockery of love).

10/8/12 3:03 PM
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paw
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for laters

10/10/12 1:00 AM
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reverend john
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Nick Fury - I read once, that the turning the other cheek, may have been out of defiance, as to say, "here is my other cheek", and not necessarily out of passiveness. Any thoughts on it?

the actual statement is if someone strike you on your right cheek turn to him your left. Now if you are facing someone, how do they strike you on you right cheek? Before you answer some ancient etiquette: you wiped your ass with your left hand. Because of this you did not use your left hand for even so much as a gesture. You may see statues of philosophers speaking with their left hands behind their backs. Now, how does someone strike you on your right cheek with their right hand?

back hand. Who do you back hand? your inferiors. This statement was about non violent resistance. You do not just allow someone to stomp all over you, though you do not resist violently, you confront the offender and say in essence, "I will not be violent, but you will treat me as your equal." In enforcing your own humanity, you seek to convert the oppressor and make them recognize their own sin. This may seem a bit of reading into a text, until you look at the next two examples, which are also about non violent resistance to oppression.

rev
10/10/12 8:27 AM
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770mdm
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Yes it was various articles from Shmuley Boteach. There were no quotes because, even though it was various quotes from a few different articles, the whole thing was from him.

12/15/12 9:56 AM
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reverend john
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so because David was a man after God's own heart its also okay to murder, commit adultery, not discipline ones kids ect. ?

yeah, that one doesn't work

rev
12/16/12 10:09 AM
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770mdm
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Yes, none of that was okay.  What made David special was that he repented.  Someone in his position usually doesn't.  There were prices to be paid and he paid them. 

4/22/13 9:51 PM
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HongKongaBong
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DiscipleDojo -
jrrrrr - Hi RJ,

I think that what was being said was that one should not look to do violence. One should not have hate in your heart. I don't think what was being said was that one should just allow violence to be done to you.


He said to them, "But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don't have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one. It is written: 'And he was numbered with the transgressors'; and I tell you that this must be fulfilled in me. Yes, what is written about me is reaching its fulfillment." The disciples said, "See, Lord, here are two swords." "That's enough!" he replied.

--Gospel of Luke 22:36-38, NIV

 NT scholar Ben Witherington has argued that the phrase above "That's enough!" should be translated "Enough of that!" (i.e. Jesus is rejecting the use of the sword and ending the discussion).  I think he makes an interesting argument, even though, as I said in my post, I can't fully embrace a total pacifist view for Biblical reasons.
I can't either. I can't reconcile that at all with the God portrayed in the OT. But then again I've been questioning my faith as of late. Phone Post 3.0
4/23/13 1:48 AM
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DiscipleDojo
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Yes, I think the OT (which was Jesus' Bible and the Bible of the earliest Christians) does seem to call for physical intervention at times in order to uphold or protect the weak or powerless. I think of Abraham's rescue of Lot, which led to his encounter with Melchizedek, for instance.

I believe there are times when the best or most godly course of action is to use force to restore shalom--though I believe it is much more rare than many Christians who embrace Just War and other forms of non-pacifist theologies recognize.

BTW, I think questioning one's faith can be a very good thing, so long as it's not done without the insight or friendship of those who've come through such seasons of doubt or a loving and accepting community of believers who encourage spiritual authenticity. If the ministry of Disciple Dojo (http://jmsmith.org) can ever be of any help in this regard, don't hesitate to let me know.

-JM


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