Second Reply to Patrick Chan


Patrick Chan   
"It has to do with Romans 13, which has been raised frequently in this thread. God 'ordains' violence but commands us to be pacifists."  
1. Even on its own, how is God ordaining the Assyrians against Israel an argument for pacifism? It is an argument against the Romans 13 argument against pacifism.

The pacifist says "Do no violence." The anti-pacifist says "But Romans 13 says God ordains violence." My reply is that God still punishes those who do the violence which God "ordained." That's because violence is a violation of God's Commandments. More.

2. You *say* Isa. 10 relates to Rom. 13, but you don't *show* how Isa. 10 relates to Rom. 13. Both are examples of how God “ordains” violence, but violence is still a violation of God's Law.
3. I could just as well say something absurd like Peter attempting to walk on water but sinking is proof positive God ordains swimming but commands us not to be swimmers.  
"I'd like to think that nobody enlisted in the Assyrian army, and that all Assyrian soldiers were involuntarily conscripted. Alas, I suspect many enlisted. It doesn't matter, however, because we understand these concepts today, and I think they reflect God's judgment on the matter."  
All I got from this portion of our exchange is that you seem to pull a lot of "facts" out of a hat. Sorry. It took me a while to become a pacifist too.
"A Christian should not enlist in a violent pagan war machine."  
That may or may not be, but you certainly don't argue for it. You just issue your little dictums as if everyone should simply accept what you say. Despite the fact that you've said a lot of mistaken things, had to backpeddle on previous statements, etc.  
"I don't see the distinction. I say we should separate 'state' functions from 'market' functions based on my exegesis of the Bible."  
Where's your exegesis? I don't see it. God says "Thou shalt no steal," but the State would not exist without violating this commandment ("taxation"). God says "Thou shalt not kill," but the State was created for the purpose of killing people to protect our stuff. The Bible is a record of sinful man creating "states," and God sending prophets to denounce them.
"You're welcome to question it. I think it makes sense."  
You were the one who asserted it. It's up to you to argue for your point if you want to use it as an argument. We won't just accept whatever you say just because you say it. I've never asked anyone to do this. I provide lots of links to support my claims.
"In our day, we should not voluntarily enlist in an effort to overthrow a pro-western government, kill, cripple, or make homeless hundreds of thousands of Christians, and replace that government with an Islamic Theocracy under Shariah Law."  
You're engaging in a lot of caricatures here. What is inaccurate in that statement? Isn't that exactly what the U.S. did in Iraq?
Besides, I never argued for any of these things.  
"Are you reading my links??"  
Yes, but it doesn't change the fact that it's still an assertion without an argument. I do the best I can.
"Under the Old Covenant, you would not be executed for killing a thief at night, but you would be executed if you killed a thief when the Sun had come. The Sun has come (Malachi 4:2, Romans 13:12-13), therefore it is always murder to take the life of a thief in exchange for a TV."  
Sorry, but this is poor exegesis. In fact, it's so bad it's funny!  
1. For one thing, the different judgments in Ex. 22:2-3 about killing a thief at night vs. day were likely meant as legal safeguards. To prevent people from abusing or misusing the legal system. To prevent an unscrupulous person from using the law against an innocent party. More specifically, it's arguable the different judgments between killing a thief in the day vs. night were meant to prevent someone from murdering another person and then retroactively claiming the victim was a thief. (There may be better explanations, but this is already enough to show your "exegesis" is deficient.) I think God was being merciful to people in darkness. Enlightened people are held to a higher standard.

The verse says:

“If a thief is killed while breaking into a house at night, the one who killed him is not guilty of murder. But if this happens during the day, he is guilty of murder.
Exodus 22:3

I'll read a link to any page that endorses your explanation and rules mine out entirely.

2. What's ironic with you as a pacifist bringing up Ex. 22:2-3 is the passage demonstrates it's acceptable to kill a thief in certain situations. That's a point decidedly against pacifism. I'm asserting that that "certain situation"  no longer exists. The Sun is up.
3. As such, you'd have to at least agree pacifism wasn't the Bible's position until the New Covenant. If so, then would the New Covenant so radically change that which was once a moral/civil command is now an immoral/non-civil command? At a minimum, you have a very weighty burden of proof to bear. No, that's like saying exclusive and permanent monogamy wasn't the standard until the New Covenant. Jesus said it was that way "from the beginning." But because of the hardness of hearts under the Old Covenant, God instituted "Plan B."
4. Not to mention if it's possible for this moral/civil command to become an immoral/non-civil command because of the New Covenant, then it's possible for other moral/civil commands to become immoral/non-civil commands because of the New Covenant. Why stop with this command? How do you decide which moral/civil commands have changed, and which ones haven't? The New Covenant tells us which Old Covenant laws have died and been resurrected in a new form.
5. Let's move onto Mal. 4:2.  
It's important to point out the immediate context. The immediate context is many people of Malachi's day complained that the wicked prospered, while the faithful served God for nothing: "It is vain to serve God. What is the profit of our keeping his charge or of walking as in mourning before the Lord of hosts? And now we call the arrogant blessed. Evildoers not only prosper but they put God to the test and they escape" (Mal. 3:14-15).  
That's when Malachi says the wicked will get what they deserve in due time. God will judge and punish them.  
At the same time, Malachi goes on to say the faithful will receive their reward: "But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings. You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall. And you shall tread down the wicked, for they will be ashes under the soles of your feet, on the day when I act, says the Lord of hosts" (Mal. 4:2-3).  
If I can put it concisely, God is promising those who remain faithful to him that a day is dawning when all will be put right again.  
The Bible often plays with imagery between light and dark, day and night, used to indicate good and evil, the righteous and the wicked (cf. Isa. 60:1-3).  
In any case, the immediate reference isn't Christ. Rather, the immediate reference is to the faithful of Malachi's day in contrast to the wicked of his day. True, just as "the immediate reference" in Isaiah 7:14 was not Christ. But the Bible clearly says Isaiah 7:14 was about Jesus. I think the New Testament gives us clues that Jesus is the Sun of Righteousness.
This isn't to say it doesn't have any reference to Christ whatsoever. But that's at best oblique.  
6. But you make the oblique reference to Christ as if it's Malachi's main point. You can't just leap to this conclusion willy nilly like you've done. I don't think I lept "willy nilly." All the verses I've cited are pretty compelling, I think, whereas you've cited nary a single verse.
7. By the way, if it's true Mal. 4:2 refers to Christ, then it would seem Mal. 4:3 refers to eschatological judgment. Yet Mal. 4:3 also explicitly describes the righteous "tread[ing] down the wicked, for they will be ashes under the soles of your feet, on the day when I act."  
a. For one thing, if this hasn't happened yet, is Mal. 4:2 referring to the first or second coming of Christ? Both? What makes you think so?

Both, if you count Christ's coming in AD70 as His "second" coming.

b. For another, this shows the righteous enacting force if not violence against the wicked. This occurs in the future. So has the (New) Covenant changed again to allow some of the righteous to use force or violence against the wicked? Or is something else entirely different going on here? I don't take verses like Romans 16:20 ("And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly") literally as to bruises or feet. I also don't take verses like Isaiah 45:14 literally as to chains, but I believe these prophecies have a real social fulfillment through the Church and the spread of the Gospel.
8. Now, even if this were referring to Christ, how has Christ's arrival so changed the Old Covenant that certain moral/civil laws (e.g. Ex. 22:2-3) no longer apply? It may have, but you don't say how. How does Christ's coming and establishing the New Covenant mean it's now wrong to kill a thief? You can't merely rely on oblique metaphors. You need to spell out your argument in specific detail. The law of Exodus 22, which says someone who kills someone who tries to steal his TV is guilty of murder, still applies, though I don't believe the killer's blood should be shed. But now it is also true that killing an intruder "at night" is also considered murder, because Jesus said "love your enemy" and it's better to be killed than to kill, and better to witness than to kill.
"Jesus says 'give to him who asks.'"  
Ok, I ask you to give me all your money in your bank account, the title to your house, and any and all other possessions you own. You can start by transferring everything you have into a Bitcoin account I will establish. And what is Jesus your judge going to say about your demand?

If you need help, I'll try to help you. But I suspect this is just another insincere anti-pacifist argument.

"Is it 'uncharitable' of me to point out that that argument cannot be taken seriously?"  
Not sure if you're outright lying, or perhaps you're misrepresenting the situation for other reasons. But you didn't say an "argument cannot be taken seriously." You said a person (i.e. Steve) cannot be taken seriously (i.e. you said "Hard to continue taking you seriously"). Yes, most of what Steve says is intended to be humorous rather than philosophical (from the Greek, "love of wisdom")
"The enemy of my friend is my enemy."  
No, not always. Sometimes they're just strangers.  
But regardless you're just being evasive.    
"I said that America's revolutionaries killed tax collectors over taxes which were 1/20th what they are today. I think America is a violent place in part because of our violent origins."  
I remain unconvinced by your post. But even if so, it's peripheral to the debate. I can't win. I'm either "peripheral" or "backpedaling."
"British and European historians use the term 'the Seven Years' War,' rather than 'French and Indian War,' as do English speaking Canadians. French Canadians call it La guerre de la Conquête (War of Conquest), or the Fourth Intercontinental War."  
Good thing I'm not a British or European historian, or Canadian!  
Also, this is (as usual with you) completely besides the point. You sure do go off on a lot of tangents.  
"It had more to do with France and Britain than merely the unaided Indians, who were simply allies with the various European colonists." The Americans weren't just fighting Indians, they were fighting European powers who were hiring the Indians. This is different (I hope) from stealing land that belonged to Indians, which was more typical of secular Americans in the 19th century than in the 17th-18th century.
That's again not the issue, now is it? The issue is Colonials battled Indians, if you look at what was originally said in the back-and-forth. The fact that this occurred and is well established history overturns your point. My point is that to whatever degree America was "a Christian nation" and a "City upon a Hill," it is no longer so because America has abandoned any pretense of following Christ, and has adopted wholesale Imperial violence and mass murder. It starts with killing tax collectors over a few pence, and the flawed theory of "self-defense."
"My point is that Christians don't commit genocide against Indians, secularists do."  
My point in bringing it up was because you evidently didn't know the history in your previous comment, so I had to correct you with an obvious counterexample. You have an example of someone you consider to be following Christ in the act of committing genocide against Indians?
Also, this is another tangent from you, because this was never even at issue.  
  You said, "As far as I can see, no one agreed it's always "wrong for you to engage in the violent overthrow of a government." That's just another one of your assertions sans argumentation."

I replied by saying:

"I'm not saying everyone agrees with me against violent overthrow of governments, just like I'm not saying everyone agrees with me against the violent response to someone taxing your TV. (Excuse me, I meant 'taking your TV' [although there is no moral distinction].)"  
Welp! That's great to know. But as is unfortunately usual with you it doesn't advance the debate. Just trying to reply to you.
"Romans 13 says we are not to engage in the violent overthrow of the government."  
Even if I were to agree, you can't just take that for granted in a debate over pacifism. You have to understand what the passage means in its original context first, then see if and how or to what extent it applies to us today. It seems obvious to me that Romans 13 prohibits the violent overthrow of the government. How do you harmonize violent revolution with "be subject?"
What makes you think the US is analogous to the Roman Empire? Is our form of government analogous to how the Roman Empire of Paul's day was governed? Do we worship the President like the Romans did the Emperor? Is our electorate akin to the Roman electorate? Well, let's see, the Roman Empire had a "senate."
Does anybody worship Obama? Try this.
Is the United States like the Roman Empire? Try this.
The United States is more evil and more dangerous than the Roman Empire. The U.S. is the enemy of humanity.
The immediate audience for Rom. 13 was the people of Rome Paul wrote to, which of course was the capital of the Roman Empire. Lots of Roman officials doubtless inhabited the city. More risk of a letter being read by Roman authorities. Given this, it's possible Paul had to be circumspect in what he had to say to them. He may not have said all he had in his mind to say. He said enough to make clear that Christians should not engage in the violent overthrow of the government.
"That is not a refutation of my facts or arguments, it's just a mild form of personal slander."  
What if your material actually does owe a lot to the Lee Rockwell school of thought here? That's something someone can easily compare if they want to read your material and also Lee Rockwell's. Never heard of "Lee Rockwell." I try to fill all my webpages are filled with links and footnotes to the sources I rely on. I may be a plagiarist, but I'm not an original thinker. So what? Deal with the message, not the messenger.
"I think my posts are filled with facts, exegesis and probative arguments."  
As I've said, you can say this all you want, but you have to actually show it. I do my best.
By my lights, your posts are filled with various logical fallacies, not being able to follow your own arguments, assertions without supporting arguments, various tangents, some evasiveness, some caricatures, very poor exegesis, etc. People can see, for example, your "exegesis" in comparison to mine. Or better yet, check out a decent commentary on the Bible and compare it to how you do "exegesis." Here are some recommendations for commentaries: Can you point me to a commentary which says Romans 13 permits the violent overthrow of the government?
Can you point me to a commentary which says that Malachi 4:2 has nothing to do with Jesus?
Can you point me to a commentary which says Exodus 22 does not say that someone who kills a thief during the day is guilty of murder?

Or more specifically, can you point me to a commentary which says my position on those verses is beyond the pale of logic and sensible exegesis, and no commentary which advances my arguments is reliable?

My library has over 10,000 volumes. I'm sure I have an average of ten commentaries on every book of the Bible.

"Some people are raising the old canard about 'Thou shalt not kill' meaning ONLY 'Thou shalt not murder.'"  
You apparently missed my response to this. See my previous post. Your response was,

Both sides could agree (to varying degrees). But so what? It doesn't prove pacifism is the morally correct choice while non-pacifism is immoral.

It wasn't intended as iron-clad "proof," but merely to clarify one premise. That premise being that God says "Thou shalt not kill," and "kill" is broader than "murder."

"Not arguing in good faith?? Why would I spend so much time arguing against so much violence if I were not sincerely concerned about it?"  
That's not what it means to "not argue in good faith."  
Also, time spent arguing about something doesn't preclude the fact that you could still not be arguing in good faith. So what is the definition of a "good faith" argument? How do my efforts not qualify as "good faith" efforts to persuade someone to become a pacifist?