Reply to Cary Grant


Steve Hays 

"And if I were a lowly Best Buy employee (who probably isn't allowed by my employer to carry a gun on the job anyway), you would advise me to pull out my gun and start shooting against a sophisticated criminal syndicate that had already amassed a record of destroying 'business after business?' I should kill a human being created in the Image of God as probably my last act on earth in order to save some TV's?"  
i) That doesn't begin to address my actual argument. Is Kevin just willful obtuse?  
The question at issue isn't whether an isolated employee of a franchise should shoot a looter who steals a TV. Kevin likes to dodge the real issue.  
The question at issue is whether a community should allow the criminal element to make conditions uninhabitable by cleaning out supermarkets, &c., so that there's no available food (except for the looters, who hoard it all). Likewise, allowing thieves to pillage farms and ranches. Take over gas stations. Vandalize power stations. Strip hospitals. Empty pharmacies. And so on and so forth. I've answered this argument. I've outlined how a Christian/pacifist/FreeMarket society can incentivize criminals to make restitution. That pages links to Biblical promises that larcenous hearts will outwardly conform to Christian ethics in a Christian society that does not depend on systematic violence to achieve its goals. "When a man's ways please the LORD, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him" (Proverbs 16:7). Your scenario comes out of Hollywood, not the real world that God created and that Christ saves.
This isn't about shoplifting a Bloomingdales or Tiffany's. This is about the availability of essential goods and services.  
ii) Likewise, take an Asian mom-and-pop food mart. This isn't about "employees," but the owners. A family business.  
This is their livelihood. How they put food on the table and a roof over their heads.  
Yes, they have a right to defend their business by force. Where does the Bible say I have a right to put my stuff ahead of the life of another human being?

Suppose you're the father of the thief. The Asian pop calls you on the phone and says "Your son is demanding my stuff." The Asian pop explains that he's trying to reason ("witness") with your son, but your son won't listen to the Gospel. Mr. Asian says that he has the MaulPanata2000 cross-bow aimed at your son, with remote control in hand, and is going to shish-ka-bob your son. Would you be willing to indemnify your son by promising to compensate Mr. Asian for whatever your son takes from Mr. Asian if Mr. Asian won't skewer your son? Wouldn't that be the Christian thing to do instead of killing a human being -- in this case your own son -- to protect some merchandise?

When you say "Yes, they have a right to defend their business by force," you're saying stuff is more important than someone's son.

"I'm really supposed to take that advice as serious Christian ethical analysis?"  
Who made Kevin Craig the arbiter of Christian ethics? No one mailed me that ballot.  
"From a guy who thinks he James Bond."  
I don't know what's worse: Kevin's pacifism or mistaking Cary Grant for Sean Connery. You're right, I don't watch movies, and I'm no more a friend of homosexual Hollywood than I am of mass-murdering Washington D.C. I'd rather read articles -- like those at -- on how human beings can form harmonious societies without mass murder and systematic extortion.
"I think I'll go mow the lawn and think about whether I want to continue this conversation."  
He won't have a lawn to mow if thieves steal his lawnmower or squatters invade his home. I'm not going to kill someone created in the Image of God because he threatens to take my lawn mower.

A few more responses to the previous post:

Steve Hays  
"So you seriously believe that a Christian should KILL someone who wants to steal a TV?"  
The hypothetical involved looters who clean out entire stores. Destroy business after business. And if I were a lowly Best Buy employee (who probably isn't allowed by my employer to carry a gun on the job anyway), you would advise me to pull out my gun and start shooting against a sophisticated criminal syndicate that had already amassed a record of destroying "business after business?" I should kill a human being created in the Image of God as probably my last act on earth in order to save some TV's?

I'm really supposed to take that advice as serious Christian ethical analysis?

From a guy who thinks he James Bond.


I think I'll go mow the lawn and think about whether I want to continue this conversation.

"I did not 'conveniently ignore' the reference to 'nighttime...'"  
Sure you did. You cherry-picked your OT prooftext, even to the point of suppressing counterevidence in the very same passage. And this is not an isolated case. You have a devious habit of selectively quoting the OT. I made a reference to the part I ellipsed by quoting Romans 13. Nothing was "suppressed."
"in the New Covenant we are no longer in the dark of night but in the bright day of the Sun of Righteousness (Malachi 4:2),"  
Now he resorts to flights of allegory. It's the Bible's allegory, not mine.
"Genesis 9 (commanding the shedding of blood) is part of the 'ceremonial law,' and after the shedding of Christ's blood, must not be literally applied."  
According to your idiosyncratic interpretation, which:  
i) Fails to distinguish between punitive bloodshed and redemptive bloodshed. Where does the Bible make this distinction? Is the shedding of blood in Deuteronomy 21:1-9 "punitive" or "redemptive?" How about Numbers 35:33?
ii) Disregards the fact that the command is grounded in the imago Dei rather than "ceremonial" considerations. I didn't "disregard" that fact. You are the one disregarding the function of blood. Why does God command the shedding of blood in cases of unsolved homicide under the oversight of the priests? Why does God also command the shedding of blood (under the oversight of the priets) in cases where the homicide is solved? Where does the Bible draw the distinction between these acts of shedding blood
"Hard to continue taking you seriously."  
i) I'm responding to you on your own grounds. If you can't take that seriously, then you can't take your own argument seriously. That's something we can both agree on.  
ii) BTW, the only one who takes Kevin Craig seriously is his reflection in the bathroom mirror.  
iii) I can't continue to take him seriously inasmuch as I never took him seriously in the first place. He's just target practice (pardon the pun).  
"You cannot love your enemy if you kill him."  
Evidently, Kevin's too simpleminded to grasp a three-party transaction: A protecting B from C. Are you saying Jesus commands me to love MY enemy but I'm not commanded to love my neighbor's enemy? Seriously?

So I'm commanded to love my enemy, but not forbidden to hire a paid killer, who is under no obligation to love my enemy?

"It's part of the mentality that transformed America into the most evil and dangerous entity on the planet."  
Kevin keeps backpedaling from his original claim. The mentality that killed British tax collectors over a tax rate 1/20 the rate we pay today transformed America from a "City upon a Hill" to the enemy of humanity. That's not "backpedaling."
"If it is wrong for you to engage in the violent overthrow of a government (and it is wrong), why is it OK for you to 'vote' for someone to destabilize a government by funding terrorists, or by directly staging a violent coup?"  
For the obvious reason that citizens of one state aren't subject to another state. Moreover, national defense may require destabilizing a hostile state. I think I've already explained why the Bible prohibits "national defense." Or at least I've linked to an explanation. I doubt you're reading my links.
"Is circumcision (as given to Abraham) not part of 'the Old Covenant?'"  
It's a carryover from the Abrahamic covenant. So why isn't anything in the Noahic covenant part of "the Old Covenant?"
"Acts 19:31 is not necessarily about "municipal magistrates." The Liddell-Scott-Jones Lexicon defines the word as 'priest of the Imperial cult in the province of Asia.'"  
So Kevin relies on a dated lexicon of Classical Greek, even though the NT was written in Koine Greek. If he bothered to keep up with the best exegetical literature, he'd be aware of inscriptional evidence (from Ephesus and elsewhere) that the term was used in this period to designate municipal magistrates. Oh yeah, I forgot that New Testament writers never used any words from "classical" Greek.

Go ahead a link to some evidence. I think you'll find that there's a thin line between "priests" and "magistrates."

"John the Baptist prohibited soldiers from committing violence.
'And the soldiers likewise demanded of him, saying, And what shall we do? And he said unto them, Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages.'" (Luke 3:14).
Once again, Kevin relies on antiquated lexical resources to make his case: in this instance, the KJV of Lk 3:14.
That, however, is inaccurate. Fitzmyer renders it "Avoid extortion and blackmail," while Bock and Johnson call it a "shakedown." Other commentators take the same approach (e.g. Edwards, Evans, Marshall, Nolland, Stein). Not "violence" in general.
Why did Italy invade Israel before the birth of Christ? Why did Rome send centurions? To bring Toys for Tots? No, to engage in systematic "extortion,"  also known as "tribute."

If John the Baptist tells the Imperial Tax Farming Enforcers not to engage in a "shakedown," what are the soldiers going to do? 

"The Communists in the Roosevelt White House were using U.S. GI's to support Communism in Eastern Europe and in China. The U.S. was on the side of Mao."  
You mean pinko military advisors like Eisenhower and George Marshall? Looks like you've been channeling McCarthy's queer sidekick, Roy Cohn. "Queer"
When you haven't got the facts, resort to ad hominem.
Read The Politician or M. Stanton Evans' writings.
"If you believe someone is going to kill someone, then just like the owner of an ox that has shown a tendency to gore people, you have a responsibility (Exodus 21:29) to keep him under surveillance, or hire a security corporation to keep tabs on him, or something like that. You don't have the right to put a gun to my head and take my money to pay for your fence or security measures, but you do have the responsibility to prevent him from raping or killing if you believe that will happen."  
So Kevin thinks prospective murder victims (and rape victims) should hire a private security firm to tail their killer (or rapist). Aside from the prohibitive expense, how do prospective murder victims predict that they will be the killer's next victim? Nope. You didn't read the conversation carefully. I didn't talk about "prospective" murder victims. I talked about someone (call him Smith) who believes someone (call him Jones) might possibly murder someone in the future, based on Jones' past conduct. Smith has a responsibility to others, but has no right to kill Jones.
That's the reductio ad absurdum of pacifism.  
"I have repeatedly said we have a duty to protect people."  
Pacifists think we have a duty to engage in ineffectual gestures.  
"I've met a lot of anti-pacifists like you."  
That puts them in very good company. Thanks for the compliment!  
"You have no right to INTENTIONALLY KILL anyone. Even if they don't have a life preserver. Good grief."  
The poor sop can't follow his own argument. He originally said: "I don't have the right to decide who will live and who will die."  
When I cited a counterexample, he changes the subject.  
"You're saying it's not a sin to murder someone if you can't think of any other way to protect someone from him."  
Once again, the poor sop keeps imputing his own assumptions to his opponent.  
The "antipacifist" isn't saying it's not a sin to murder someone under those circumstances. Rather, he's saying it's not murder to kill someone under those circumstances. Duh. So where's the Biblical argument that killing someone to protect your TV is not murder? Where is the Biblical argument that you have a right to kill someone in order to save your own life? Because if you don't have a Biblical argument, then such killing is murder.
Kevin lacks the critical detachment to accurately state the opposing view.  
"I've met a lot of anti-pacifists like you."  
Then you've been blessed to find yourself in such creditable company.  
"If you can think of some creative way to kill someone without a weapon manufactured for that purpose, why can't you think of some creative way to prevent him from killing that doesn't involve you killing him?"  
We're talking about something that happens on the spur of the moment. This isn't something you prepared for. You reach for whatever's available, which may or may not be adequate to the purpose. But why reach for something with the intent to KILL instead of reaching for something that will gently put the assailant to sleep? Why are you so gung-ho to defend KILLING?
Remember, Kevin says the future is unpredictable. You don't know if, when, or where, how, by whom, or to whom, an attack will take place.  
"Locking one's door is 'self-defense.'"  
And what's the fallback when the assailant breaks a window to get inside, or kicks the door down? Offer him a plate of brownies? Lots of sarcastic, ad hominem questions, but never actually listening to the answers: I would rather be killed than kill. I would rather witness than kill. I would rather follow in the steps of Jesus, who did not kill to defend Himself against those whom He knew were going to kill Him. He said "put away your sword." He said "love your enemies." Maybe brownies would be a part of that.

I used to insult pacifists just like you do, Steve. I changed my mind based on what the Bible says. Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe I'm misinterpreting those verses. But everybody knows what verses pacifists are misinterpreting. What are YOUR verses? Where are the verses that say it's better to kill than be killed? Where are the verses which say "Kill another human being rather than allow the highest material standard of living in human history which you enjoy to be diminished?" You'll say, perhaps, the verses on "capital punishment," or the verses on "holy war." I've dealt with those. So you're not doing a very effective job of persuading me I have a Biblical duty to kill rather than be killed.

"No pacifist anywhere, ever, says to allow violence to 'unchecked.' But there are ways to 'check' evil-doers other than intentionally killing them. They do not require violence, they do not require 'the State.'"  
One the one hand you have armed evildoers. On the other hand you have pacifists with foam baseball bats. More empty invective, more evidence you aren't intelligently engaging my arguments.