Archives for: June 2012, 25
In response to Burr Deming's Choosing to Worship God, Not Scripture
Paul responded directly to a similar view regarding spiritual law. Old Testament law was not at all abolished or replaced. At the conclusion of this section, Paul summarizes his view of ancient law. "Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law." Paul's "by no means" is often translated as "God forbid." He is emphatic in his rejection of T. Paine's formulation.
I will leave the problem of whether or not a Christian should care about "the old rules" to you and T. Paine.
However, I would like you to address the apparent arbitrariness of those rules. Is there a good reason that we should care about shellfish consumption, homosexuality, the proper way to prepare sacrifices, sacrifices in the first place, and so on? Or perhaps I should ask: Why does God care?
If you can identify a good reason (e.g. back then, the forbidden behavior would have spread disease), would it not be fair to say that it is not the behavior itself that is wrong, but the harm that results from it? And if that is the case, would it not be fair to say that the behavior ceases to be wrong when we can control its effects?
Alternatively, you could say that the reason is unknown or even unknowable. But I can't imagine being satisfied with a deity who declines to justify its rules. I certainly can't imagine wholeheartedly condemning a "sin" without knowing why it deserves condemnation. If the rules are not arbitrary, why does God not explain them to its most favored, rational creatures? After all, a good justification would even motivate non-Christians to follow Biblical law...
When not questioning pointless religious dogma, Ryan writes for his own site, where motivation is backed by the rational.
Please visit Secular Ethics.