What Would Jackasses Do?


I’m a bit bemused by the recent attempts by admitted atheists and a rather blatant heretic to lecture me on the tenets of my religious beliefs. I’m a Christian, and those critics seem to think that they can hold me to a non-Biblical standard of their imagined Jesus.

Let’s get one thing clear up front. Jesus is not a wuss. That bit about turning the other cheek is often taken out of context by people who rather not remember that Jesus took a whip to the money changers in the Temple. Twice. (John 2:17 and Matthew 21:12) Jesus is one of the Persons of the Trinity. He is God, the source of Truth and Justice.

Gentle Reader, do you believe that it is just to let someone cyberbully a grieving family that has just lost a child? Do believe that it just to allow a convicted violent felon to stalk a family? Or is it just to oppose those sorts of actions?

Jesus told a parable about a crime victim. A bunch of goody-two-shoes types looked the other way, but one guy helped the victim. Do you remember who in the story Jesus praised?

UPDATE—I seem to have stirred up a bit of a tempest in one tiny portion of teh Twitterz with this post. The Gentle Reader should note that I have not identified anyone by name. However, the following observations by Jesus and Paul may be useful in sorting out who’s who.

First, Jesus, from the Sermon on the Mount:

By their fruits you will know them. Do you gather grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree produces good fruit; but the corrupt tree produces evil fruit. A good tree can’t produce evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree produce good fruit. Every tree that doesn’t grow good fruit is cut down, and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them.

Second, Paul, from his Epistle to the Galatians:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ have crucified the flesh with its passions and lusts. If we live by the Spirit, let’s also walk by the Spirit. Let’s not become conceited, provoking one another, and envying one another.

… Don’t be deceived. God is not mocked, for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption. But he who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. Let us not be weary in doing good, for we will reap in due season, if we don’t give up.

Of course, Christians are not perfect. We are still works in process. If God were finished with us at this point, he would not have taught us to pray “… and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.”

UPDATE 2— Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self-control …@PatO201405031924Z

On Justice


“No fair!”

Every one of us has said it beginning from the time we were small children. Human beings seem to be wired with a predisposition to fairness. Indeed, evolutionary psychologists like Jonathan Haidt believe that the moral sense of fairness is a universal human trait. Outrage is a normal, heathy response to unfair treatment. We want the world to be set to rights. We want justice in what seems to be an unjust world.

As a Christian, I believe that the source of justice is God. It says in Genesis that we were created in His image, so it makes sense to me that more we allow ourselves to be led by the Holy Spirit to be what God intends for us to be, the more we would desire justice. Sometimes Christians are called to deal with the grander problems of the world—think of William Wilberforce, Desmond Tutu, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and Martin Luther King, Jr.—but, most of the the time, most of us deal with the seemingly smaller injustices of the world. Sometimes a Christian is called to stand up to a bully.

Bill Schmalfeldt is a such a bully. For years, he has harassed others on the Internet, and no one was able to bring him to justice. That task seems to have fallen to me.

Schmalfeldt’s surprised reaction has been to whine, “No fair! You hit me back.” However, even that’s not strictly true. I haven’t taken personal revenge on him. I’ve reported him to the proper authorities and left any action taken to them.

The real question I face is not what Jesus thinks of my allegedly sadistic treatment of Bill Schmalfeldt. That question is based in the false premise that I am the sadist in the interactions between us. No, the real question is what Jesus would think of my failure to stand up a thug like Schmalffeldt who is bullying others.

Has my response to Schmalfeldt been perfect? Probably not. But my conscience is clear. It would not be if I had failed to step in between him and some of his victims.

Matt Osborne Gets Religion?


Matt Osborne attempted to comment here at Hogewash!:MO201404271221ZI did and found these questions which I present with my answers.OsborneEmailWhy do I get the feeling that this is not a benign inquiry?

UPDATE—MO201404271300ZSome questions are so nonsensical that they do not deserve an answer, but I’ll make an exception for this one.

What Matt Osborne is lamely trying to do is appeal to everyone’s inherent sense of justice. Human beings are wired to favor fairness, and, of course, it would be unfair for me to engage in sadistic harassment. One of the problems with the question is its being based on the false premise that I am the harasser in the Hoge/Schmalfeldt interaction.

There is an important theological problem with Osborne’s question as well, and I intend to deal with it in a longer post later today.

Stay tuned.

Quote of the Day


Χριστὸς ἀνέστη ἐκ νεκρῶν,
θανάτῳ θάνατον πατήσας,
καὶ τοῖς ἐν τοῖς μνήμασι,
ζωὴν χαρισάμενος
Christ is risen from the dead,
Trampling down death by death,
And upon those in the tombs
Bestowing life!

—Paschal Troparion