Do we have a right to die?

Brittany Maynard has renewed the discussion on the ethics of assisted suicide and assisted death after she wrote an op-ed piece for CNN sharing her story about her decision to take her life early next month.  Assisted suicide and assisted death are different, and I think the distinction is important, and in my opinion, shapes the morality of them both.  Generally speaking assisted suicide would be the aiding of a person to take their own life.  Usually, this person is in some sort of severe pain for which medication does not mitigate, but they are not necessarily dying from the condition.  Assisted death, or euthanasia, is the aiding of a person to take their own life who may or may not be in severe pain but are nonetheless dying from a terminal illness.

(CNN) — On New Year’s Day, after months of suffering from debilitating headaches, I learned that I had brain cancer.

I was 29 years old. I’d been married for just over a year. My husband and I were trying for a family.

Our lives devolved into hospital stays, doctor consultations and medical research. Nine days after my initial diagnoses, I had a partial craniotomy and a partial resection of my temporal lobe. Both surgeries were an effort to stop the growth of my tumor.

In April, I learned that not only had my tumor come back, but it was more aggressive. Doctors gave me a prognosis of six months to live.

Because my tumor is so large, doctors prescribed full brain radiation. I read about the side effects: The hair on my scalp would have been singed off. My scalp would be left covered with first-degree burns. My quality of life, as I knew it, would be gone.

After months of research, my family and I reached a heartbreaking conclusion: There is no treatment that would save my life, and the recommended treatments would have destroyed the time I had left.

[…]

Because the rest of my body is young and healthy, I am likely to physically hang on for a long time even though cancer is eating my mind. I probably would have suffered in hospice care for weeks or even months. And my family would have had to watch that.

I did not want this nightmare scenario for my family, so I started researching death with dignity. It is an end-of-life option for mentally competent, terminally ill patients with a prognosis of six months or less to live. It would enable me to use the medical practice of aid in dying: I could request and receive a prescription from a physician for medication that I could self-ingest to end my dying process if it becomes unbearable.

I quickly decided that death with dignity was the best option for me and my family.

maynardSometimes it’s not easy to differentiate between declaring something that is morally good or benign and something that is immoral but should be legally permissible.  Many actions, while morally wrong, should not be criminalized; and legalization of an act is not a moral endorsement.  However, it would seem that legalizing a certain act or behavior does tend to shape public opinion.  Of course, correlation isn’t always causation, but support for both same-sex marriage and abortion began to noticeably increase as laws began to permit them.

My first impression is to criminalize both.  There is just something wrong with helping a person take their own life.  On the Christian view — my view,  man is made in the image of God and therefore, his life is valuable and should be protected and encouraged.  Taking one’s own life runs contrary to its purpose, and in some fashion takes for themself the role of the One who gives life and takes it.

On the other hand, it’s difficult to not have sympathy for someone who is suffering from a terminal illness who has endured as much pain and suffering as they believe they can.  And in so much as one’s liberty does not infringe on another’s, a person’s autonomy should be respected.

I suppose there is a case that can be made to legally protect assisted death, which I’m more inclined to be sympathetic to, but not necessarily assisted suicide.  Certain requirements could be made before allowing such a decision to be actualized.  Safe guards such as mental and emotional competency evaluations as well as medical diagnosis by more than one physician.  It would be essential to have assurance that the patient is of sound mind and not simply depressed due to their situation, free from coercion, and certain of their prognosis.

Many are calling Maynard courageous and brave.  I’m not so sure.  As far as it goes, courage is facing adversity and pushing though it.  This isn’t what she’s doing.  And while I think that I can be persuaded in either direction as far as the law is concerned, I don’t think we should hold people up who make these decisions as brave and courageous.  Broadly speaking, I lean towards legal protection for liberty’s sake, but prohibition for the sake of morality.  This is one of those issues that I could be persuaded on.

Comments

  1. As a Christian, John, what do you think happens to those who commit suicide when they go before your Christian God?

    • Z

      Are you asking if, say, a Christian commits suicide, is that a sin that would cause them to “lose” salvation? If so, I don’t think so and the bible doesn’t indicate that.

      Otherwise I don’t think that suicide is a game changer for anyone, as far as that’s concerned.

      Can you elaborate a little?

      • I was just curious about your opinion on the matter, that’s all.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_views_on_suicide

        I would think since Christianity asserts that we go on existing for eternity somewhere that there would be a clear outcome for that action. It just seems to be yet another cloudy issue that’s not addressed in your holy texts. It’s a shame it’s still left to so much speculation.

        • But it is addressed indirectly. The bible says the only unforgivable sin is blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. Even blasphemy of the Father or Son can be forgiven. It therefore stands to reason that if one is saved, ie, a Believer, suicide if a sin, would already be forgiven.

          Theologically speaking, we don’t need extra forgiveness every time we sin — its not a continual thing. It was a one time deal so to speak. So IF you are a believer, then your sins are paid for past, present and future: 1 Peter 3:18, Hebrews 7:26-27.

          It’s only cloudy and speculative if you’re unfamiliar with what you’re critiquing.

          • It’s only cloudy and speculative if you’re unfamiliar with what you’re critiquing.

            Ignoring your insulting remark, we can conclude from what you just wrote that once you’re forgiven, you’re forgiven forever, based on scripture.

            It seems that your behavior after forgiveness is totally and utterly irrelevant, whether you commit suicide, homicide or any other action that you might find morally objectionable. It would appear that morality has absolutely no bearing on whether one goes to heaven or not. After all, (as Bubba affirms below) “the Bible is clear that we’re saved by faith and not works.”

            • I didn’t mean it as an insult, Z, but rather an observation as you aren’t familiar with the immediacy and persistence of forgiveness as well as the verses I cited. The doctrine of salvation, as Bubba iterates, is based on what you believe and not what you do. Not only that, as I mentioned above, the covering of sin is not a continual process, but a one time instance.

              However, when a person is saved, they don’t procede to live it up with sex, drugs, and rock & roll (or murder). When a person is saved, their behavior and desire to live a more sanctified life manifests itself — they don’t want to murder, or live in a morally objectionable life. That someone professes to be a believer (and saved) and doesn’t have this change and sensitivity to sin, is evidence that they might not actually be a bona fide believer.

              • When a person is saved, their behavior and desire to live a more sanctified life manifests itself…

                That’s laughable, John – it really is. I guess you don’t realize how stupid that sounds.

                You’re implying that anyone who still decides to knowingly sin after professing their faith is evidence that they’re not really a true believer?

                I suppose the vast majority of Christians in the world aren’t really Christians then?

                Amazing.

              • What’s laughable is that these “witty” comments of yours keep demonstrating that you’re unfamiliar with what it is you’re critiquing.

  2. paynehollow says:

    John…

    Many actions, while morally wrong, should not be criminalized; and legalization of an act is not a moral endorsement.

    May I ask, John, on what basis do you think we should draw that line? Is there any consistent criteria you have for when something should be considered immoral, but not criminalized?

    John…

    On the Christian view — my view, man is made in the image of God and therefore, his life is valuable and should be protected and encouraged. Taking one’s own life runs contrary to its purpose

    Is this just an opinion, not necessarily God’s Word, to you?

    That is, do you think God has condemned killing one’s self, even in the instance of a situation such as the one you’ve cited? Or is this just your own opinion, and you’re not speaking for God?

    I approve of people having the legal right – probably with some caveats – to choose how and when to die.

    ~Dan

  3. paynehollow says:

    John…

    As far as it goes, courage is facing adversity and pushing though it. This isn’t what she’s doing.

    ? She’s embracing and pushing through DEATH. And doing so for the noble purpose of sparing her family some suffering. That seems quite courageous to me.

    As far as adversity goes, I am not sure that there is much more adverse than death.

    ~Dan

    • As far as adversity goes, I am not sure that there is much more adverse than death.

      I suppose that depends on your definition of adversity. My dad(who died at thirty-six) said on a number of occasions there are worse things than death, having watched his own father drift farther and farther into dementia.

  4. As far as it goes, courage is facing adversity and pushing though it. This isn’t what she’s doing.

    Apparently, given her situation, there is nothing to push through. She is going to die. I’m not certain it should be labeled either bravery/courage nor cowardice. It just is. Life is messy. It is hard. People’s decisions should not always be second-guessed and questioned.

    I do think that assisted suicide/death should be available with quite a few caveats – the main one being mentally capable of making such a decision. It is not up to anyone but the person suffering when enough is enough. Unless you’ve experienced someone elses’ pain I don’t think you’re(you in the broad sense, not personally) in a position to judge the merits of their decision.

    I’m an atheist and do not believe in a personal God, but even when I did I felt this way. If there is a God it should be between the person and their God.

    • Ruth

      Glad you weighed in. I think you’re right about one person not being able to judge another person as to whether they have endured to an “acceptable” threshold to warrant a “justified” suicide. We could always speculate that they could have made more of an effort or tried one more outlet.

      I do, however, think that many people in different kinds of medical situations are influenced in ways that aren’t always intentional. Hypothetically for example, most people hold the view you just expressed: that people’s decisions shouldn’t always be judged. Often times we hold back certain concerns or objections, or suggestions from people because we dont want to feel like we’re “pushing” our opinions on them. But in these kinds of cases, maybe the person contemplating the assisted suicide/death havent considered the full impact, or options, or family’s concerns. Maybe they aren’t making a fully formed decision because people are holding back a little. I don’t know.

      I know some of us say we’d rather be dead than… but when push comes to shove, would we be? Maybe it’s because I have never been in a situation so bad, with an outlook so dismal that I’ve always thought, even in pain or facing death, isn’t being alive better than being dead (theological intricacies aside)? There’s no coming back from dead.

      • Well, no, there’s no coming back from dead. Having said that, I don’t think I’d hold back even a little if a loved one of mine was considering this. I’d want to make sure they’d weighed all their options. It is certainly not a decision to be taken lightly and I don’t think that people who make this decision are taking it lightly.

        I watched my grandmother, who did not want to undergo chemo for an inoperable chest cavity tumor, undergo that very treatment at the admonition of my aunt. “If it will extend your life even a little”, she said. So my grandmother relented. It did extend her life about six months. Six months of which she spent not being able to taste her food, throwing up whatever she ate, so weak she couldn’t even get out of bed. What life? She spent about sixteen hours a day sleeping.

        My grandfather devolved first into mindless fence mending into the air, not knowing who any of us were, and then finally into being confined to a bed with my grandmother changing his diapers and being fed through a feeding tube.

        My grandad, when he was still coherent but felt himself slipping, walked down the dirt road, sat down next to a tree, and stuck a shotgun in his mouth. My grandmother, noticing he was gone, went to look for him. I’m glad he didn’t have the guts to pull the trigger because I wouldn’t have wanted my grandmother’s last memory of him to be that. I wouldn’t have wanted him to botch it and be maimed instead. Both of which were his fears and why he ultimately did not do it. Had this option, though, of a humane, painless, way to go out on his own terms been available I don’t think he would have been wrong or unjustified to pursue it.

        Are there things worse than death? I think so.

        • Ruth, like I said, how can we (collectively) or I (personally) really know what a person is willing to, or should endure? I don’t know, which is why I have a difficult time with this issue.

          While I’ve never experienced a loved one with dementia, severe or otherwise, My grandfather was diagnosed with lung and liver cancer and did forgo chemo after he didn’t care to be ragingly ill for his last months, weeks, and days.

          Did your grandmother regret the last 6 months? Did she ever express that she should never have gone through the chemo and died half a year earlier? Or is it that your experience with her was the feeling that it wasn’t worth it?

          I tend to think that we, who aren’t in the pain and disorder, look on it and ask ‘what life is that?’ and ‘is it worth it?’.

          • Did your grandmother regret the last 6 months? Did she ever express that she should never have gone through the chemo and died half a year earlier? Or is it that your experience with her was the feeling that it wasn’t worth it?

            She expressed a number of times to me that she wished she’d stuck by her decision not to undergo that chemo. She definitely expressed regret. It was horrible. In retrospect my aunt regretted that decision as well. Watching the whole thing unfold helped me to better understand those who go through this and also helped me to develop a living will and a plan for the future for myself should I face a similar situation.

            It isn’t as if anyone would or should be forced into assisted death. I think that decision is best left to the person dealing with the illness and their family and physicians.

            • That really is too bad. I think it’s made worse by the fact that her decision was so final and irreversible.

              • Well, I guess death is like that. Whether quick and easy or prolonged and painful gone is gone. There is no way to wind back the clock and get back what’s been lost. I think the main regret was that instead of spending the majority of the time she had left feeling well enough to enjoy it with her family she spent it sick. In fact by the end of it all she technically didn’t die from cancer. She died from complications from the chemo – pneumonia.

              • I’m really sorry to hear that.

                I always resented the doctors’ orders to both my grandfathers. They both had heart attacks relatively close to one another. They both lived through them. They were both told to change their diets and live healthy. One followed orders. He loved bacon and eggs, ham, steak, , salt, butter and all kinds of foods. He gave them all up cold turkey to eat plain chicken, turkey, and fish for the rest of his life. He hated it.

                The other just ate as he always did, fried food, butter, tons of salt, and big portions.

                They both died about 10 years later both in the same year 6 months apart, one from brain cancer, and the other (the one who listened to the Dr’s advice) of lung and liver cancer.

              • Thank you for sharing such personal family experiences, by the way.

  5. Dan, about the question you ask John, it’s probably very difficult to draw a line between immoral acts that ought to be criminalized and those that ought to remain legal — a good line, one that’s not only consistent in theory, but also reasonable in practice. It’s one reason why Burkeans and other political conservatives support incremental changes at the local level, because comprehensive solutions usually have far too many unintended consequences.

    Are you suggesting that, because the line is hard to draw, there should be no line?

    It’s the statist and the totalitarian of all stripes — the radicals and the traditionalists — who think all immorality should be criminalized. Immodesty and gluttony really are sins, but it’s tyrannical for the state to try to require women to wear burkas or to restrict the size of the soda you can buy at the 7/11.

    “Assisted” suicide is a whole ‘nother matter, particularly when doctors take an oath to do no harm but face rationing of care through a top-down system, but I can see at least one problem with criminalizing suicide: it’s not enforceable. A government could (but almost certainly shouldn’t) enforce laws against attempted suicide, but if the attempt is successful, how does the state prosecute and punish the offender?

    I’m less interested in the legality of suicide than in its morality.

    Dan, do you believe suicide is morally prohibited? If not, why not?

    After all, you not only believe it’s (otherwise) wrong for humans to take a human life, and it’s even wrong for GOD to take a human life, why would it possibly be moral for a human to take his own life?

    If it’s wrong for Sam to kill Gary, and it’s wrong for God to kill Gary, why can Gary kill Gary?

  6. Z:

    I would think since Christianity asserts that we go on existing for eternity somewhere that there would be a clear outcome for that action. It just seems to be yet another cloudy issue that’s not addressed in your holy texts. It’s a shame it’s still left to so much speculation.” [emphasis mine]

    Since the Bible is clear that we’re saved by faith and not by works, I’m not sure why Scripture would need to elaborate on whether suicide is a deal-breaker for entry into Paradise.

    Some believe that suicide is an act that demonstrates a lack of saving faith — and I think that may SOMETIMES be true, but not always — but salvation still hinges on the presence or absence of faith, not on the actions that result.

    I do believe suicide is a sin, since the Bible teaches that it’s God’s prerogative when a person’s life ends; and while I believe purgatory is extra- and even anti-biblical, I do believe God holds us accountable for our actions, and that may mean even in the afterlife.

    But it doesn’t bother me that the Bible isn’t detailed on the subject of how God addresses suicide. The book wasn’t intended to present a comprehensive and systematic theology, but rather to encourage trusting faith in God through Christ.

    • The book wasn’t intended to present a comprehensive and systematic theology, but rather to encourage trusting faith in God through Christ.

      No facts, just faith… and faith that you’re interpreting the text correctly. It goes to show you that as long as you believe your interpreting the text correctly you’re good to go.

      Again, it’s just a shame there is so much debate on who exactly is interpreting it correctly. I suppose all the other Christians are just unfamiliar with that they’re actually reading and how they’re supposed to read it.

      • Z, would you say you only have mere faith that you’reinterpreting Bubba’s comments correctly? Or would you say that you’re using known information of how English spelling, grammar, definitions, word usages, and an overall familiarity with communication to give you the confidence and ability to know that the text it is you’re reading you’re correctly understanding? Same with the Bible, despite what Dan says.

        • I suppose if I misinterpret Bubba’s words, he’ll be there to better explain them.
          It’s a pity that can’t be said for your collection of stories that you call the bible.

  7. What has morality got to do with any of this?

  8. paynehollow says:

    Bubba…

    it’s probably very difficult to draw a line between immoral acts that ought to be criminalized and those that ought to remain legal — a good line, one that’s not only consistent in theory, but also reasonable in practice.

    I don’t think it’s that hard, at least not in theory. I think the line, generally speaking, needs to be harm to others. IF you are wanting to do whatever action, as long as it’s not harming anyone else, there should not be a law against it.

    Now, having said that, I recognize that there are gradations of harm… does one person driving a car responsibly harm others? No, probably not. But a billion people driving cars DOES cause harm to others, in the aggregate, in air, land and water pollution, as well as increased chances of “accidents…” So, it’s not an entirely simple line to draw, but harm is, I think, the general line to draw.

    Do you think that drinking alcohol, smoking pot, smoking cigarettes is morally wrong? Then don’t engage in it, but we won’t criminalize it.

    Do you think it’s okay to drive while impaired? Well, now we’ve moved to harm to others (or reasonably potential harm to others) and THAT we can regulate/criminalize.

    So, I don’t find the notion of where to draw a line on criminalization too difficult: Harm.

    I don’t care what your particular faith tradition (or non-faith tradition) thinks is immoral or that “god” disapproves of, if it’s not causing harm to others, I don’t think that reasoning has a place in creating laws.

    One man’s opinion.

    ~Dan

  9. I share John’s struggles with this issue. But suicide is the same as homicide. What makes the latter immoral is intent. Why did one kill another? There is justifiable homicide, and unjustified. There is also negligent. I see no reason why these classification can’t work for the killing of one’s self. Legally, motivation matters as to whether or not one is convicted of murder, which is unjustified homicide.

    Justifiable cases usually suggest one is preventing harm to another meant by a third. If Bob shoots Hank because Hank was about to shoot Wally who merely beat out Hank for a promotion at work, Bob’s killing of Hank was justified. Can one kill one’s self so that one doesn’t kill one’s self?

    From a religious perspective, being saved can cover future sins, but I think only because we can be remorseful and penitent, seeking God’s forgiveness. We can make up for the sin as well. This would include any kind of sin, including murder. But how do we express remorse when the person we kill is ourselves? Preemptively? I suppose that’s possible, but I’d hate to be in that position, as I’m sure most others would as well.

    To sin is to put our will above God’s, serving another master over Him. But extreme suffering is a harsh test to undergo, even given that serving Him often requires extreme suffering. We see that in martyrs that refuse to recant their faith and trust in the Lord. But if we have some who think that its too much suffering to maintain a vow one took to live with and love one person forever…because it was a mistake, boo-hoo…really extreme suffering, as what Ruth described should be a no-brainer (that means Arkie should understand it). Immoral? It is still putting our will above God’s who said not to murder, and we aren’t saving life when we take it. This is true even in the face of emotional pleas regarding quality of life.

    Now here’s a twist: Is the suffering fatal? As extreme as it is, will it kill? If the answer is no, then immorality of the act is more certain. Yet if the answer is yes, then shouldn’t we just let it run its course until its goal is reached? There are ways to mitigate pain, even if we can’t totally eliminate it. And to mitigate the pain from whatever fatal condition is causing it should likely be the focus anyway, given the certainty of death.

    My father-in-law died of ALS. He lingered for quite some time, longer than is typical. He had the scratch to pay for massive medical costs for most of that time, but all he was doing was delaying the inevitable and eventually, he felt it would be nice if their was money left over for the wife after he passes, so, he ceased all medical care that prolonged his life. He let death come. I think, if I was in a situation where it was inevitable, I would do likewise. But that isn’t suicide. That’s accepting death which has come a-callin’. I would not do what Ruth’s grandmother didn’t want to do. They say “it ain’t death, it’s dyin'” and Ruth’s granny ended up making dyin’ worse than it likely would have been if indeed it was inevitable.

    On a side note, I do not like the idea that one can prolong life. Even in my inlaw’s situation, he was kept alive with all the machines, but to think that chemo, radiation and more surgeries prolong anything is not truly honest. One can’t compare one path with another unless one can go down both. That’s not possible with chemo or not-to-chemo. And to say “you only have X days left” is not something doctor’s should offer, since they have no freakin’ idea. One caveat being that with standard chemo, radiation and surgery treatments, the survival rate is so astoundingly poor that it is more likely that they know how long those treatments take to finish someone off. Typically when you hear that someone’s cancer came back worse than before, it is likely the result of the original treatments.

  10. paynehollow says:

    Bubba…

    Are you suggesting that, because the line is hard to draw, there should be no line?

    Nope, not in the least. I explained with previous comment, I don’t think the principle of when to legislate is that hard to draw. But then, I’m not trying to legislate religious beliefs, just regulate/criminalize harm to others.

    Bubba…

    Dan, do you believe suicide is morally prohibited? If not, why not?

    Nope.

    “Morally prohibited” by whom? On what basis? Why would I?

    Bubba…

    After all, you not only believe it’s (otherwise) wrong for humans to take a human life, and it’s even wrong for GOD to take a human life, why would it possibly be moral for a human to take his own life?

    If it’s wrong for Sam to kill Gary, and it’s wrong for God to kill Gary, why can Gary kill Gary?

    I think it is a rational point of view that we ought not harm others. If you concede, as I do, that we have a right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, then it is not within someone else’s rights to take that away from someone.

    Thus, a person deciding to get a tattoo, to smoke a cigarette, to drink alcohol, etc… OR to end their life… they need to decide if that’s right/healthy/wise for them, but I don’t think talking about these behaviors in terms of “immoral” is the best approach. I think the better approach is, “Is this wise? Does it help me and/or others? Does it cause harm to me? What are the consequences of this action?”

    The woman John cites is making a reasoned course of action, one that seems compassionate (to herself and to her family) and wise to her. I have NO reason to think she’s doing something immoral and even less reason to tell her as much.

    If you were her friend, would you try to talk her out of it? Would you support her? Would you tell her God doesn’t approve of her decision…?

    Bubba, do you think God doesn’t want people to end their lives prematurely, even in an instance like this woman John has cited? If so, why do you think that? If so, are you offering that as a mere human opinion or do you think you speak for God on that point? If the latter, on what basis?

    ~Dan

  11. paynehollow says:

    Marshall…

    From a religious perspective, being saved can cover future sins, but I think only because we can be remorseful and penitent, seeking God’s forgiveness. We can make up for the sin as well. This would include any kind of sin, including murder. But how do we express remorse when the person we kill is ourselves? Preemptively?

    Do you think we must express remorse in order to be forgiven? What of “sins” or wrongs that we did not know were sin or wrong? This would presume a perfection of knowledge that humans do not hold, would it not?

    Marshall, you appear to think that suicide is definitely a sin, am I right? If so, on what basis do you reach that conclusion? I mean, I see your reasoning, you appear to think that if we decide to end our life prematurely, we are making our will more important than God’s, or something like that.

    So, I guess I’m asking, are you offering this interpretation as a mere human opinion, or do you think you speak for God on this point? Could you be mistaken?

    ~Dan

    • I believe I was rather clear, Dan. Intention is very important in law, and it is important in determining if one’s actions serve one’s self versus serving God. One could argue that doing the former might also satisfy that latter, but then, we could rationalize anything in that manner and often without too much effort. Scripture is quite clear on the subject of taking life without justification. The question is, do we ever have justification to take our own? On whose authority do you insist you can determine what constitutes justification? Sure, go ahead and make your best guess when your back’s up against the wall, but I don’t believe God’s will on the issue is all that foggy. He says, thou shalt not murder, which is the unjustified taking of a life.

      But for one who feels a change of heart regarding one’s vow to another can be written off easily as a “mistake” justifies breaking that vow, I have no doubt you would find pain and suffering justification for taking a life. I don’t know that you have any Biblical evidence to support that position.

      Paul speaks warmly of the suffering he endured as a way to allow God to work through him. He was grateful for the opportunity to show just how much he relies upon God. In “boasting” of his sufferings, he concludes in 2 Cor 12:7-10

      “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

      So my position is not “mere human opinion”, and as always, I only “speak for God” by simply restating what He has directly revealed to us in Scripture. Suicide IS taking God’s authority and replacing it with our own.

      But it is clear to me that there is no level of suffering, be it as the example that provoked this post, down to the abject horror of making good on one’s vows, from which you would flee and then rationalize the flight. Would you speak for God and insist that there is no good reason He might have for allowing you or another to suffer? Would you demand that He must show good cause of such, cause that you must be able to clearly understand? Well, we already know that answer to that question. God’s actions must pass muster with Dan.

      Paul suffered and didn’t lose heart. Job suffered and didn’t lose heart. The apostles suffered and didn’t lose heart, as was true of many martyrs of the early church. Christ suffered and didn’t lose heart. You pretend to laud His example, but not here. Here you seem unwilling to encourage a suffering person to follow the example of the Lord whose teachings you claim to follow.

      Would such a person be condemned for deciding to kill themselves? Despite the charges by too many, I do not speak for God or assume authority to condemn. By the very same token, I cannot either assume authority to suggest that such a person would not be held to account for taking life that is not his/hers to take. I can’t think of any Biblical examples of someone taking their own life to end their own suffering. But there is plenty that speaks against the notion, including “thou shalt not murder”.

      Does that answer your question?

      • I believe I was rather clear, Dan. Intention is very important in law, and it is important in determining if one’s actions serve one’s self versus serving God

        Which god? You have yet to put forward a single shred of evidence for this claim so why the hell (sic) should anyone take a blind bit of notice of what you preach, marshal?

  12. Quick but obvious follow-up question: since you think suicide is NOT morally prohibited, do you think the same about assisted suicide?

    I’ll get to your comments momentarily.

  13. paynehollow says:

    No. Again, prohibited by whom? On what basis?

    I do see the argument about medical professionals who are sworn to uphold life/do no harm, but this, to me, is a no-brainer: Allowing someone/assisting someone in THEIR decision to die at the time of their choosing – at least for reasons like this woman’s situation – IS upholding life, in the more noble and essential sense of the meaning.

    Having said that, I think some obvious caveats and protections need to be in place to protect those with disabling mental conditions/capacities. That is a different situation. So, I’m not saying we shouldn’t be cautious about this, I just don’t think dealing with end of life questions like this with the weight of law is right, nor do I think it’s a moral question, necessarily.

    ~Dan

    • Dan,

      As to the “do no harm” criteria for all things moral or immoral, you said this:

      “But then, I’m not trying to legislate religious beliefs, just regulate/criminalize harm to others.”

      Based on the ills of society directly attributable to that which is contrary to the teachings of most religions and specifically Christianity, it seems crystal that legislating religious beliefs would go a long way toward regulating harm to others AND ourselves. Thus the insanity of the fashionable “separation of church and state” nonsense which fouls public debate.

      • Legislating (for) religious beliefs! Are you fucking serious?
        Do you have any idea what it would be like living in a theocracy?
        Why don’t you eff off and go and live in one? There are several in the middle east.
        And which form of Christianity would be the one we should legislate for? Yours! Th gods save us . FTS. We would have internecine war in a heartbeat, you arsehole!

        What a moron you are.

  14. Thank you, Dan. My thoughts coming shortly, but this seems to summarize your position accurately:

    1) Is it morally permissible for Sam to kill Gary? No, killing is wrong.

    2) Is it morally permissible for God to kill Gary? No, killing is wrong, and the very notion is monstrous.

    3) Is it morally permissible for Gary to kill Gary? Sure, why not?

    4) Is it morally permissible for God to ask Sam to kill Gary? No, killing is wrong, and the very notion is monstrous.

    5) Is it morally permissible for Gary to ask Sam to kill Gary? Sure, why not?

    (It seems no one has realized why Sam would want to kill Gary: their petty rivalry. And why would Gary want to kill himself? Ask Harry the Hat.)

    Please DO let me know if I misunderstood your position on any of these questions, but if you really do think that killing is wrong in all circumstances, your answers to #3 and #5 are pretty inexplicable.

    Your answers don’t point to a blanket prohibition of taking human life: instead, they point to the principle that “Gary owns Gary,” in which case someone DOES have the moral right to choose to take Gary’s life, namely Gary himself.

    Would you affirm that principle? If not, what other principle would you give that explains ALL of your positions to the questions given above?

    • paynehollow says:

      You’re mistaken (sort of) about 2. God is God and God can do what God wants. I do not hold the opinion that God wants to kill people, though. Regardless, I don’t know that we can assign morality to God (ie, hold God accountable to morality… or if we do, what that means since a God would presumably be GOD, and above our opinions).

      Is it morally permissible for God to kill Gary? I don’t know the answer to that, as I would think a God is above our human morality. I just don’t think the God as described in the Bible is in the habit of whacking people.

      Otherwise, you have understood my opinion on the other 4 points aright.

      I don’t know that I would say “Gary OWNS Gary…” I would say that Gary is a self-determining individual free to do the right as he understands it. I don’t think we “own” ourselves. In some senses, we are interconnected, one with another. But I do believe in the notion that our right to life and liberty are innate, and that the notion is self-evident.

      ~Dan

      • “I just don’t think the God as described in the Bible is in the habit of whacking people.”

        Setting aside the phrase “whacking people,” I don’t see how a statement like this can be stated honestly, when God’s judgment is one of the book’s most dominant themes, from the exile from Eden and the flood and the exodus, to Luke 13:5 and Revelation.

        The central event of Judaism is commemorating God’s rescuing His chosen people by slaying the firstborn of Egypt; the Bible’s commands to celebrate the Passover is proof enough that the Bible describes God as quite willing to end human life.

        Only by concluding that God didn’t really say and do nearly any of the things ascribed to Him in the Bible could one deny this, and once you do that, your picture of God doesn’t really match what’s described in the text.

  15. And…

    “Allowing someone/assisting someone in THEIR decision to die at the time of their choosing – at least for reasons like this woman’s situation – IS upholding life, in the more noble and essential sense of the meaning.”

    On what possible basis? What’s the thought process that leads a person to conclude that killing an admittedly miserable life actually upholds life, or at least in the word’s “more noble and essential sense”? What’s noble and essential about the idea that only an enjoyable life is a real life?

    Lebensunwertes leben: is there something I’m missing that’s lost in translation?

  16. paynehollow says:

    Bubba…

    On what possible basis? What’s the thought process that leads a person to conclude that killing an admittedly miserable life actually upholds life, or at least in the word’s “more noble and essential sense”? What’s noble and essential about the idea that only an enjoyable life is a real life?

    Life and death go hand in hand. Death is a part of life, natural and even beautiful.

    Death itself is not the enemy. It IS part of Life.

    As the wise man has said, “Oh death

    Thus, if one is dying a miserable death in six months and one has embraced death already, then ending the pain at two months is not, in any way that I can see, an affront on Life.

    One man’s opinion.

    ~Dan

    Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.

    For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality.

    But when this perishable will have put on [v]the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, “Death is swallowed up in victory.”

    O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”

    St Paul

  17. paynehollow says:

    (Sorry about the unfinished sentence…!)

    dt

  18. paynehollow says:

    Bubba…

    I don’t see how a statement like this can be stated honestly, when God’s judgment is one of the book’s most dominant themes

    Perhaps. IF one takes the Bible – especially the OT – as a literal history full o’ fun facts about Jehovah God that happened in the real world! But not everyone takes the Bible that way, Bubba.

    I can, as a matter of real world fact, say that I don’t think God, as God and God’s Way are talked about in the Bible, is or was ever in the habit of killing people who displeased an angry god. I think that is a mischaracterization of God based on bad hermeneutics and unhealthy cultural traditions.

    And whereas you seem to think that “judgment is one of the book’s most dominant themes,” I think that this, too, is based upon a poor approach to this wonderful book of books. I think that Grace is THE predominant theme of this collection of books and that to find judgment in it, you have to ignore the better part of the wisdom of the Bible.

    But that is just one man’s opinion.

    How about you, Bubba? Is is just your opinion that you don’t see how I can say what I said honestly, or do you speak for God on that point?

    Thanks,

    ~Dan

  19. paynehollow says:

    And, as to this…

    Lebensunwertes leben

    Are you comparing my statement and the choices of this woman you don’t know to the Nazis?

    And this, only 40 comments in? Jumped straight from God’s Law to Godwin’s Law, eh?

    ~Dan

    • If the jackboot fits…

      Look, Dan, you claim that assisting suicide is “upholding life, in the more noble and essential sense of the meaning.” You’re saying that deliberately ending life is somehow life-affirming.

      That manure is a literally Orwellian way to argue for the idea that some lives are no longer worth living.

      That’s dark, as in keep-staring-at-the-abyss-and-it-stares-back-at-you dark, and I’m not going to apologize for calling out the obvious, Godwin’s Law be damned. Comparisons to Nazism are indeed too frequently made on the Internet, but that doesn’t mean that the comparison is never, ever apt.

    • Actually, after a bit of research, it appears that Bubba was equating your position on this issue with a policy of euthanasia which appears to be similar to a policy adopted by the Nazi’s. So, in reality, what Bubba was doing was comparing the position you have taken with a position others have taken and comparing the two. It seems reasonable that one could compare two philosophies without necessarily casting aspersions on the holders of said philosophy.

      What was it the kids in the 60’s said? “Killing for life, is like *$#@ing for virginity” or words to that effect.

  20. paynehollow says:

    Wow.

    No. Bubba. That is specifically, literally NOT what I’m saying.

    Want to try again?

    You lose, big time.

    Seriously, you should spend some time learning to interpret people from your own century before you try to take stabs at ancient holy texts.

    But thanks for the laughs. Seriously.

    Nazi. Jackboots.

    pfff

    ~Dan

    • Dan, for someone who expresses a hyper skepticism about interpretation, I’m surprised to see you take such an absolutist stand on asserting Bubba has interpreted anything incorrectly.

      • paynehollow says:

        I don’t think you’re that obtuse, John. We’re talking about MY opinions and of all things, I’m competent to say if he has misunderstood MY opinion.

        Ya know who twisted people’s words and demonized them the way you and Bubba do, don’t you?

        The NAZIS!

        AAAAAGAGGGGGGHHHHHHH!!!!!!

        pfff. You guys so silly.

    • “Allowing someone/assisting someone in THEIR decision to die at the time of their choosing – at least for reasons like this woman’s situation – IS upholding life, in the more noble and essential sense of the meaning.”

      You’re “specifically, literally” NOT saying that ending life is somehow life-affirming?

      You’re welcome then to explain what you mean rather than pawn off your inability to communicate clearly by blaming others for not interpreting you correctly.

      It seems that I understand your position, just that I find it reprehensible. Funny, I thought we were supposed to be charitable enough to allow others to disagree in good faith, but once again you seem convinced that people would prostrate themselves before your moral clarity. If. Only. They. Could. Understand!

  21. Dan, your stated principle of harm is a good starting point for writing law in theory — never mind your belief that the traditional definition of marriage is harmful while abortion is just a medical procedure — but in practice it’s inadequate for a functioning society. Some acts are immoral but not obviously harmful, and yet the state at the local level can and sometimes should prohibit those acts; hence, laws prohibiting indecency and selling alcohol on Sundays. I generally don’t support those kind of laws as strongly as other conservatives, but as a federalist I support the idea that local communities ought to be free to craft their laws to reflect their mores, which can be as different as San Francisco and Amish country.

    But, as I say, my interest is in the question of the morality of suicide rather than its legality.

    I ask whether you think suicide is morally prohibited, and you ask, by whom?

    I don’t know if you’ve ever noticed, but a full half of the Ten Commandments aren’t concerned with your standard of harm. Make an idol, work on Sunday, even covet everything your neighbor has, and you’ve caused no one any measurable harm.

    Even disobeying Christ’s two great commandments don’t hinge on harm, as you don’t cause God or your neighbor harm simply by refusing to love them.

    It’s almost as if God’s standard for morality isn’t limited to your standard of harm: as with everything else that is or would be morally prohibited, if suicide is prohibited, it would be because God prohibits it.

    You ask, “do you think God doesn’t want people to end their lives prematurely,” even in extreme circumstances? I do: God made us and even made us in His image, He sustains us, and it’s His prerogative when to end our lives. To take our own lives without His say-so is as immoral as taking another’s life without His say-so, because that life ultimately belongs to Him.

    You hesitate to say that Gary owns himself, even though property is essential to liberty, but you write, “I would say that Gary is a self-determining individual free to do the right as he understands it.” But is Gary not under God’s law? Is God not sovereign?

    You write that you wouldn’t say whether morality applies to God, but the Bible does claim that God is not only almighty but also perfectly righteous and holy. It seems that God’s law is a concept you’re not comfortable with, either in God acting consistently with His own law or in God holding us accountable for not submitting to it.

    But writing all that you do, I still don’t understand why you oppose the notion that God does take human life.

    You write, “Death is a part of life, natural and even beautiful.”

    If that’s so, why do you not think that God participates in this natural and beautiful thing?

    About that quote from the Apostle Paul — an Apostle with authority, and not just a saint like every other Christian, or so Paul claims in Galatians and Peter affirms in his own epistle — I’ve never found you to be a remarkably astute reader, but I’m still shocked how badly you mangle I Corinthians to say the exact opposite of its clear meaning.

    Paul writes that death will one day be ended and defeated, and you take that as an affirmation of death as part of the circle of life!

    The Bible’s authors had the good sense to recognize the horror of death and to tremble because God was sovereign even over death: you think death is beautiful but God won’t touch it.

    Your view is in many ways not just drifting from the Bible’s clear teachings: it’s nothing less than an frontal assault on it.

    • “but I’m still shocked how badly you mangle I Corinthians to say the exact opposite of its clear meaning.”

      That has to be sarcasm, right? I mean, who are you talking about?

  22. …and Dan, I would certainly agree that grace is THE dominant theme of the Bible, but it’s clear that the message is grace in the context of judgment.

    Grace!–

    “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned…

    –AND judgment.

    “…but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.”

    If there were no judgment, there would be nothing about which God would need to be gracious.

    But is this just my opinion?

    No. On at least some subjects the Bible is clear enough that a good-faith disagreement simply isn’t the least bit plausible.

    The Bible does teach about God’s judgment.

    The Bible teaches that death is a terrible thing, the consequence of sin, but something that God will ultimately defeat and destroy.

    The Bible clearly teaches that God exists, and it clearly teaches the historicity of Jesus.

    The Bible clearly teaches the saving power of Jesus’ death and the absolute necessity of the Resurrection.

    The Bible teaches that harm is not the be-all and end-all of morality, that the moral law does extend more generally to our obedience to God’s will, whether or not it affects other people in the slightest.

    And the Bible precludes any androgynous conception of marriage, too.

    At a certain point, your gainsaying can only be seen as a riff of that old question, Did God really say that?

    He did.

  23. At a certain point, your gainsaying can only be seen as a riff of that old question, Did God really say that?

    He did.

    Really? And you have evidence, Bubba, do you? Please show us, then.

  24. paynehollow says:

    Bubba, I answered your questions. You said you’d answer mine. I hope you live up to your own word.

    But then, someone who finds Nazis hiding in those who dare to disagree with him in a matter as innocuous as individual liberty, well, that person doesn’t have much grounds in reality or integrity that I really expect a direct answer.

    None of you all answer direct questions directly. Why is that? Has god told you to do that? If you think that, on what basis do you think it?

    Crazytown..

    ~Dan

  25. paynehollow says:

    Marshall, adding his own brand of crazy to Bubba’s “Nazi” nuttiness…

    Based on the ills of society directly attributable to that which is contrary to the teachings of most religions and specifically Christianity, it seems crystal that legislating religious beliefs would go a long way toward regulating harm to others AND ourselves. Thus the insanity of the fashionable “separation of church and state” nonsense which fouls public debate.

    I would just thank God (ironically?) for Thomas Jefferson and those wonderfully wise early Baptists who disagree with people like Marshall…

    Our sentiments are uniformly on the side of religious liberty: that Religion is at all times and places a matter between God and individuals, that no man ought to suffer in name, person, or effects on account of his religious opinions, [and] that the legitimate power of civil government extends no further than to punish the man who works ill to his neighbor [laws based on NOT doing harm… hmmm, sounds familiar… dt].

    But sir, our constitution of government is not specific. Our ancient charter, together with the laws made coincident therewith, were adapted as the basis of our government at the time of our revolution. And such has been our laws and usages, and such still are, [so] that Religion is considered as the first object of Legislation, and therefore what religious privileges we enjoy (as a minor part of the State) we enjoy as favors granted, and not as inalienable rights. And these favors we receive at the expense of such degrading acknowledgments, as are inconsistent with the rights of freemen. It is not to be wondered at therefore, if those who seek after power and gain, under the pretense of government and Religion, should reproach their fellow men, [or] should reproach their Chief Magistrate, as an enemy of religion, law, and good order, because he will not, dares not, assume the prerogative of Jehovah and make laws to govern the Kingdom of Christ.

    The Danbury Baptists, in a letter to Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson responds…

    Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature would “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between Church and State.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baptists_in_the_history_of_separation_of_church_and_state

    Can I get an Amen for the wisdom of our founders (some of them, anyway) and early American Baptists?

    ~Dan

    • Dan, in the words of comedian Lewis Black, people like marshal are ”stone cold fuck nuts”,

      • paynehollow says:

        Best line: “These people are watching the Flintsones as if it were a documentary…”

        • An astute observation from Black, that is for sure.
          These folk on this blog will, Never give a straight answer to a question as this will invalidate faith, the foundation upon which all religion is built.
          Far be it for me to tell you how to comment,but the longer the question/reply the easier it is for them to deflect and evade.
          Bubba has no evidence for his god claims.
          Push him for his authoriuty and see what he says.

          • I give nothing BUT straight answers, Arkie. The question isn’t whether or not one has evidence for God, but whether or not it is worth the time providing it for someone who has, in so many words, confirmed he will not accept or consider any of it. For my part, and I’m sure this is true for John, Bubba and Craig, I’m still trying to figure out just what constitutes acceptable evidence for someone like you so given over to your particular level of moral corruption and dishonesty.

            In the meantime, I’m also trying to figure out how someone who doesn’t need God to tell him how to behave justifies calling “people like me” “”stone cold fuck nuts”. I would have to guess that the whole concept of morality is totally rejected by you, or it is simply what you want and need it to be when convenient. What a sorry god you worship!

            • @ Marshalart
              Hey, Dickhead!
              Happy Sunday.

              Evidence? Let’s try to keep it as simple as possible – I know you revel in simple, marshal.
              So, that which can readily be accepted by any ordinary person as being considered truthful.

              Now, all you have to do is present the evidence that the biblical character, Jesus of Nazareth is the god you claim. Evidence that would satisfy people from Neil De Grasse Tyson, Rabbi David Wolpe, An Australian Aborigine , a Somali tribal elder, and any two currently deconverted evangelical christians of your choice. I think this is diverse enough a sampling to say the test would be fair?
              THAT is the type of evidence I want to see.
              Obviously you have this, as you were convinced enough on evidence to become a Christian.

              You have continually rejected or avoided the notion that you are / were indoctrinated and so naturally only an utter ignoramus would fall for that crap right?

              So, let’s see you once and for all, ”man – up” and demonstrate the veracity of your god claims for Jesus and prove that you are not a compete dickhead.
              No jive-assing, just deliver the evidence.
              Over to you marshal.

              • When Neil De Grasse Tyson, Rabbi David Wolpe, An Australian Aborigine , a Somali tribal elder, and any two currently deconverted evangelical Christians of my choice (assuming it could be confirmed they were ever truly believers in the first place as opposed to merely insisting they were) come asking for evidence that Jesus is Lord, I’ll consider obliging them.

                In the meantime, there is only you and other atheist visitors to this blog that have done little to convince me they are honest enough to truly consider actual evidence that supports the premise. Thus far, especially in your case, there has been every effort to draw as narrow a criteria as necessary to prevent such a conclusion. Truly, that indicates an incredible lack of honesty and integrity, and certainly no true desire to face truth. Thus, why should I waste my time? For the exercise?

                Let me put it another way, so there is clarity:

                What few attempts of yours to present “proof” that the Bible is false, that there is no God, or any story of your choosing has been “proven” false or not likely to have happened has been merely assertion based on lack of evidence found by your preferred experts. This is solid proof to one so desperate as you to believe that God does not exist. In the meantime, you’ve put forth more effort in naming sources you won’t accept based on the flimsiest of reasons, such as belief in “Divine Command Theory”. Hardly a basis for disqualification as it plays no role in determining the merit of evidence or argument put forth by one with such a belief.

                No. You have stacked the deck in your favor to such a point that it is clear that you will accept nothing, consider nothing, offer counter evidence or argument for anything. In short, you have postured yourself as any of the many epithets you’ve thrown my way, projecting as those of your ilk are wont to do.

                It’ll be a long time before I could be persuaded that you’re a person of character with a serious desire to engage in mature debate.

              • I am not talking about a creator deity,
                I am talking about the Christian claims that the biblical character, Jesus of Nazareth is the creator deity you claim.
                This is the evidence I wish to see presented.
                You claim you are not indoctrinated,that what convinced you is valid.
                So why don’t you put your prejudice in your back pocket for five minutes and present the evidence that convinced you and then we can discuss it.

        • Best line: “These people are watching the Flintsones as if it were a documentary…”

          Another example of that Christian grace upon which Dan selectively insists.

          • You actually watched it! Sweet!

            • Yeah, I like a good laugh. This guy normally brings it. But good humor is based on truth. That which is not does not compel laughter on my part. Thus, this clip was 5+ minutes I’ll never get back. Note how this authority states that some people believe God created all in seven days. Who says this but someone who has no clue about Scripture? It’s good enough for you, though, simply because it mocks the same people you mock, for whom you aren’t worthy to carry their jockstraps.

    • No, Dan. No “Amen”, because you miss the point. You speak of harm in determining legislation, as opposed to legislating religious beliefs. I merely pointed out how ignoring certain religious beliefs, such as those regulating sexual behavior, has led to all sorts of harm in our society, which filters into other areas, such as the economy and health care. In other words, harm is a consequence of ignoring Christian teaching. Thus, you speak out both sides of your mouth. Arkie speaks from another place altogether.

      What you, and most certainly Arkie, fail to understand about the founders is that their notion of our form of government relied on a level of morality that, while not manifested perfectly in their own time, was necessary for the success of the experiment. At this stage of the game, we’re barely hanging on due to a clear degeneration in moral behaviors and attitudes.

      What’s more, legislating religious beliefs as pertains to behavior does NOT entail establishing a religion everyone must follow. But all civil law is a forcing upon the people a morality for which they are punished for ignoring.

  26. paynehollow says:

    Bubba…

    your gainsaying can only be seen as a riff of that old question, Did God really say that?

    He did.

    When people say “God wants YOU to…” and then proceed to say nutty stuff, Bubba, it is a good thing to say, “Did God really say that?” as well as to demand some authentication of the claim. ON WHAT BASIS do you presume to speak for God?

    Do you understand that when we question BUBBA making a claim, it is NOT evidence of us questioning God, but of questioning Bubba?

    DO you understand the difference between Bubba’s word and God’s word and/or facts?

    And it is further good and reasonable idea to expect that people actually answer these sorts of questions and write them off as delusional, divisive, arrogant and irrelevant to the point of simply ignoring their insanity and arrogance if they don’t answer.

    So, in ALL your opinions and interpretations, you DO speak for God, and not only offer your opinions? Or which ones are which? Please clarify, so as we can more easily see when you are delusional and when not.

    ~Dan

    • DO you understand the difference between Bubba’s word and God’s word and/or facts?</blockquote

      This is a rhetorical question, yes?
      They wouldn't acknowledge a fact if it bit them on the arse!

      • “They wouldn’t acknowledge a fact if it bit them on the arse!”

        Got evidence for this, Arkie? You haven’t provided any that I’ve seen anyone NOT acknowledge. More often, I’ve seen you put forth that which you insist is fact for which you’ve provided only your opinion. For example, your position on the Flood. We acknowledge that no one has found conclusive proof for it. We DON’T acknowledge that it means anything more than that.

        “DO you understand the difference between Bubba’s word and God’s word and/or facts?”</i?

        What is clearly understood is that the continual asking of this question is a diversionary tactic meant to deflect the responsibility of supporting a claim in question. If Bubba, or anyone else, claims Scripture says X, provides the verse or verses that make the claim, provide the arguments for why the verse(s) has/have been properly interpreted to justify that the claim is true, the proper response from someone who does not accept the claim is true is to provide counter evidence, not to whine about whether or not Bubba is speaking for God or conflating his opinion with the clearly revealed word of God in Scripture.

        Indeed, I regard every asking of this question as validation that my/our understanding of Scripture is either correct or more likely.

        • Lol.What a crock! You have NO proper understanding of the religious texts. Nada,Sweet Fanny Adams.
          You can’t even be honest when is comes to something straightforward as the King Ahaz prophecy

          Honest? Look it up, marshal. Learn a new word.

        • paynehollow says:

          re: “diversionary tactic…”

          But, in reality, it’s not. You all…

          1. appear to think that YOU (but not the buddhists, the muslims, pagans or even many other Christians) are able to understand scripture in a way that none of these other people do…

          2. appear to think that, at least in some instances, you all perfectly understand these ancient texts, to a point that at least some of you, some of the time make the claim that you can not be mistaken! and not only that, but that no one ELSE could honestly be mistaken, that we all “really” think it means what you all think it means and that we’re lying when we say otherwise…

          This appears, to an objective observe, to suggest that you all are conflating your opinions with God’s Word and/or fact, as if you personally can NOT be mistaken. It is a way of claiming omniscience, all the while denying you are claiming it. So, to make things clear, it is reasonable – not diversionary – to ask, “DO you understand the difference between your opinion and God’s Word or, at least in this circumstance, are they one in the same…?”

          You all never directly answer it because to answer it how you appear to think honestly about it demonstrates a godless arrogance in one’s own human opinion, which conflicts even with your all’s positions that humans are fallible.

          It is a reasonable question, Marshall, whether you recognize it as such or not.

          And when you all mock others by referring to Satan and saying, “you all are just asking that old question, ‘did god REALLY say…’,” it is reasonable for us to point out that we are not doubting God (some because they don’t believe in a god, others because we think you personally are mistaken in some of your claims), but YOU, and it sounds like you are conflating your opinion with fact and/or God’s Word.

          Reasonable questions all around. What is lacking are reasonable, direct answers.

          ~Dan

  27. paynehollow says:

    Craig…

    What was it the kids in the 60’s said? “Killing for life, is like *$#@ing for virginity” or words to that effect.

    You all come here and make ridiculous wholly unsupported claims that you have facts or “speak for God” or “can’t be mistaken…” and at the same time compare people who think people have a right to self-determination to jack-booted nazis… and do you not wonder why people write you off as irrelevant, irrational and immoral, not to mention arrogant as hell and quite possibly blasphemous?

    Of course, anyone can read, Craig, and see that I have not one time suggested that “killing” is a good thing. Your twisted words are hard to take as simply ignorant misunderstandings, but I’ll try to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you are ignorant and not deliberately a lying asshole.

    “nazis” “killing.”

    pfff. you all truly have reduced yourselves to sad little caricatures of what it means to be a serious adult, much less a serious follower of Jesus.

    You make me laugh, I’ll give you that. But it’s a sad laugh. I’m sorry for you all and the bitterness you appear to hold in your hearts. You must lead miserable, mean-spirited lives.

    ~Dan

  28. Dan,

    Your assertion that we claim to have “the facts ” “can’t be mistaken” and “speak for God” is a wholly unsupported and false claim. The fact that you seem to think that your false claim somehow helps your cause is strange at best.

    I’m surprised that you think that pointing out the similarity between your position and the nazi position is “blasphemous”. You are the one supporting suicide in all it’s various forms. It seems that you would like to support suicide without supporting killing. I’m not sure how one rationally seperates one from the other but you seem to want to.

    So feel free to tell lies, call names, and disparage. It’s about all you have left.

    Just to be clear, NO ONE has called you a nazi and for you to insist otherwise is just not supported by reality.

  29. “irrelevant” “irrational” “immoral” “arrogant as hell” and “quite possibly blasphemous” “ignorant” “lying asshole.”

    I’m am blow away by the tone of love grace and tolerance you exhibit. Truly Christlike in all possible ways.

    “Allowing someone/assisting someone in THEIR decision to die at the time of their choosing – at least for reasons like this woman’s situation – IS upholding life, in the more noble and essential sense of the meaning.”

    So you are quite clearly saying that killing (either ones self or to assist in said killing) is “upholding life, in the more noble and essential sense of the meaning”, I’m sorry for thinking that when you said “upholding life” is a good thing.

    Personally, I’d approach it from the standpoint that God is God and He can do anything He wants, including curing “incurable” cancer and for me to fail to trust Him seems like surrendering. I’m not saying I’d force anyone else to make that choice, it just seems to me that as a believer that it’s inappropriate to give up on God.

  30. paynehollow says:

    re: “lying asshole…” I quite specifically said that I did NOT think you were being a deliberately lying asshole, that you made your comments in extreme ignorance and NOT that you were a lying asshole. See the difference? I gave you the benefit of the doubt.

    On the other hand, you all do not seem able to understand some fundamental differences:

    I support the right of people to self determine THEIR OWN lives, including their deaths. I think if one is suffering as this lady is/will be, and will die anyway in a few months, to decide to end it after 2 months instead of waiting 6 months is no great crime IF that is what one is choosing for themselves.

    The jackbooted nazis, on the other hand, went out and TOOK the lives of millions of people, quite contrary to their own choices, and quite horribly, oftentimes.

    Now, you may disagree with this lady’s opinion, with my opinion about SELF-determination, but do you REALLY not see the difference between supporting self-determination and the slaughter of millions of people? REALLY?

    Then, again, you show a tremendous ignorance on your part and it is insulting to the millions of people who were slaughtered and who had their liberty taken from them that you compare that sort of behavior to this lady’s behavior. If you are truly that ignorant, then you are truly pitiable and I’m sorry for you, but all the same I have to say Shame on that sort of willful ignorance. It is quite disgusting.

    ~Dan

    • Let the record show that NO ONE has compared the behavior of either Dan or the woman in the post to the Nazi’s. Simply repeating this does not make it so. It is perfectly valid to compare Dan’s position as he’s expressed it to the positions of others, no matter who the others might be.

  31. paynehollow says:

    Craig…

    Just to be clear, NO ONE has called you a nazi and for you to insist otherwise is just not supported by reality.

    Just to be clear, I did not say anyone had called me a Nazi. Before continuing, DO YOU UNDERSTAND THAT MUCH, CRAIG? Because you all have this habit of throwing shit at the fan and dodging when someone points out that the shit is yours, not theirs.

    But while no one called me a Nazi (and I never said anyone did) as a point of fact, Bubba is in fact comparing my comments to nazism. Here’s what was literally said…

    Dan (speaking to Bubba): Are you comparing my statement and the choices of this woman you don’t know to the Nazis?

    And this, only 40 comments in? Jumped straight from God’s Law to Godwin’s Law, eh?

    Bubba says…

    If the jackboot fits…

    That’s dark, as in keep-staring-at-the-abyss-and-it-stares-back-at-you dark, and I’m not going to apologize for calling out the obvious, Godwin’s Law be damned. Comparisons to Nazism are indeed too frequently made on the Internet, but that doesn’t mean that the comparison is never, ever apt.

    Of course, you all being, you all, NEVER directly answer a simple question, but yes, IN BUBBA’s words, he IS comparing my comments/opinion to the Nazis.

    Dan: Are you comparing my statement and this woman’s to the Nazis?

    Bubba: If the jackboot fits… YES.

    Dan: Points to Godwin’s law about how losers will inevitably drop back to comparing their internet “enemy” to Nazis.

    Bubba: Yes, people DO too often compare others to Nazis, but sometimes (as in YOUR CASE, RIGHT NOW), it is apt.

    Do you understand, now, Craig? Can you all ever own up to your simple, factual mistakes?

    It would appear a sort of cultural arrogance precludes you all from ever admitting you were mistaken, and that only undermines your credibility as rational adults.

    And for this arrogance and irrationality, you all are written off as irrelevant and worthy of being ignored and your thoughts consigned to the trash bin of history.

    Sorry.

    ~Dan

    • OK, so no one called you a Nazi directly, my bad. However, you seem to be suggesting that no matter how much your positions might seem comparable to this particular position, that is is completely out of bounds to compare them. OK, distinction noted, I’m sorry.

      “It would appear a sort of cultural arrogance precludes you all from ever admitting you were mistaken, and that only undermines your credibility as rational adults.”

      Despite the fact that I (and others) have previously admitted where we’ve been wrong, you don’t seem to have a problem throwing out the blanket and false generalization.

      • paynehollow says:

        I repeat:

        Just to be clear, I did not say anyone had called me a Nazi. Before continuing, DO YOU UNDERSTAND THAT MUCH, CRAIG?

        Admitting that much would help shore up your claim that you all can and do acknowledge when you’ve misstated something.

        ~Dan

        • paynehollow says:

          Sorry, I misread your comment. You DO acknowledge that your claim was mistaken. Good for you. Now if only Bubba would do so, or if you would call Bubba and your comrades out as regularly for outrageous statements like comparisons to Nazis rather than attacking those who point out the outrageousness of the failing claims, you’d be even more credible.

          ~Dan

          • Or you could provide proof of your outrageous and false claims, rather than hector me about trying to impose your standards (which you yourself don’t even attempt to follow) on others. It’s not my job, no matter how often you try to make it.

            If you beat this dead horse enough maybe you can avoid providing proof of your false claims.

          • Oh, you mean like the outrageous claims, unsupported by evidence that you make? Are those the claims you’re so concerned about. If you weren’t so profligate with your false, outrageous, unsupported claims I might be inclined to take you seriously. Unfortunately, you seem to be more interested in chastising others for failing to adhere to the standards that you wish to impose, all the while refusing to hold yourself to the same standards.

            • paynehollow says:

              Craig, I have to say that I don’t know what in the name of all that is holy you are talking about.

              As to the claim that Glenn has said he can not be mistaken, are you doubting that claim? It’s easily verifiable, ask Glenn he’ll confirm it for you.

              Otherwise, I don’t know what you are talking about, so, good luck with those vague charges, see if they help your comrades continue to dodge more important questions.

              I don’t think they need the help, though.

              ~Dan

        • Since I already acknowledged this, what purpose is served by continuing to harp on this? Unless you are simply demonstrating more of the grace you always readily extend to others.

  32. paynehollow says:

    Craig…

    Your assertion that we claim to have “the facts ” “can’t be mistaken” and “speak for God” is a wholly unsupported and false claim. The fact that you seem to think that your false claim somehow helps your cause is strange at best.

    1. Some here have as a point of fact made claims that “on this topic, I can NOT be mistaken.” Glenn, for instance, has said those exact words. It is a factually supportable claim. Thus, your claim is demonstrated to be false, at least on that point.

    2. I have made tremendous efforts to get clarifications from you all here. I’ve asked John and Bubba in this thread “Are you speaking for God on this point, or is this simply your opinion?” And they have responded indirectly with words that hint at that they think they are speaking for God. But indeed, IF you all would answer questions directly, you could certainly clear things up.

    3. BUT, you can’t BOTH write cryptic remarks that make it sound like you think you can’t be mistaken because you are speaking for God AND refuse to answer clarifying questions and then be put off if people say, “It seems he thinks he is speaking for God…”

    You can’t have it both ways.

    Not and be in a serious adult conversation.

    I gladly support you all collectively beginning to respond to direct questions, directly and thereby end any possible confusion.

    Here, I’ll give you the same question I asked John, who said that taking one’s life runs contrary to God’s purpose…

    Do you, Craig, think that taking one’s own life runs contrary to God’s purpose?

    Is this just an opinion, not necessarily God’s Word, to you?

    That is, do you think God has condemned killing one’s self, even in the instance of a situation such as the one you’ve cited? Or is this just your own opinion, and you’re not speaking for God?

    If the former, on what basis do you make this claim?

    By all means, clarify.

    ~Dan

    • 1. in the absence of actual proof, this statement remains unsupported. I suspect if you had proof, you’d provide it, but feel free to do so now and I’ll gladly modify my statement.

      2. This is not proof of your statement. You clearly represented that people had actually used the words you quotes, again provide proof, and I will happily modify my assertion.
      3. Since your assertion that anyone claims to be “speaking for God” is as yet unproven, then any leaps of logic you make based on this assertion are pointless. If you can provide a quote where anyone is actually saying “I speak for God.”, then I’ll happily modify my position.

      “:Do you, Craig, think that taking one’s own life runs contrary to God’s purpose?”
      I already answered this in an earlier comment, if you have questions feel free to read the comment and ask for clarifications.

      “Is this just an opinion, not necessarily God’s Word, to you?”

      Again I already addressed this in my previous comment. BUT I will clarify here. It is my opinion, based on several scriptural principles, that killing ones self is contrary to God’s purpose. Ultimately, I believe that it boils to down a human attempt to usurp God’s sovereignty. I would also suggest that it violates the “Thou shalt not murder commandment”. Again, does the Bible say “Suicide is always wrong.”, no, are there principles that would suggest that suicide is not a choice that honors God. The bigger question is, where does the Bible support suicide? What Biblical principle would one cite that killing ones self or someone else is something that is within God’s purpose. I also have some non Biblical reasons why I would not support suicide, but that’s beside the point.

      “That is, do you think God has condemned killing one’s self, even in the instance of a situation such as the one you’ve cited?”
      I think I answered this, already.

      “Or is this just your own opinion, and you’re not speaking for God?”

      Since I’ve never claimed to speak for God, why would I start now?

      “If the former, on what basis do you make this claim?”

      Again, I think I answered this.

  33. Dan, I didn’t intend to spend any significant amount of time in this thread on Friday, but I am still getting to your question in the Discussion thread, on how and why I study the Bible. As I said then, I’ll get to it Tuesday, with any luck.

    If there is some other question I have not addressed, you’re welcome to point it out, just as you’re welcome to explain how I misunderstand your position rather than just claim that I do.

    As it is, I have proven time and again that I’m willing to answer your questions at great length, so it’s simply not honest to say that I don’t ever answer your questions.

    And, you accuse me of being “someone who finds Nazis hiding in those who dare to disagree with him in a matter as innocuous as individual liberty,” but that is a gross distortion of the argument.

    The comparison came up, NOT merely because you believe that suicide and assisted suicide ought to be legal and are even morally permissible, but because you described the taking of one’s own life as “upholding life, in the more noble and essential sense of the meaning.”

    THAT claim is both Orwellian in its means and nihilistic in its ends, and so I think it is appropriate to note that THAT claim isn’t a million miles from the philosophy of Germany’s National Socialists.

    Certainly, there’s a huge difference between a person choosing to kill himself and the Nazis killing undesirables in concentration camps.

    But YOUR DEFENSE of the former evokes the idea that some lives aren’t worth living, and it engages in a grotesque and brazen lie that the act upholds the “more noble and essential” aspect of life. THAT is what echoes Naziism.

    • …and, Dan, if you think the comparison is outrageous, you’re welcome to point out where exactly you apologized for accusing me of a “digital lynching” for criticizing Jeremiah Wright, or where you apologized for accusing Bush’s supporters of killing God and worshipping a bloodthirsty idol, or where you apologized for repeatedly accusing inerrantists of bibliolatry.

  34. paynehollow says:

    Bubba…

    But YOUR DEFENSE of the former evokes the idea that some lives aren’t worth living,

    That you have misunderstood and twisted my position into something that “evokes the idea that some lives aren’t worth living…” is not to say that this is my position. I am a HUGE supporter of life – including the lives of our enemies and people nearby our enemies that you find acceptable to kill as collateral damage. I LOVE life, the early days of messy childhood to the sometimes bitter and slow days of old age and illness and every day in between. So certainly, beyond all doubt, it is NOT my position that some lives are not worth living.

    My ACTUAL point – the one that you appear to miss and instead find comparable TO THE NAZIS!!!!! and probably the Blue Meanies, as well – is that death is not something to fear, that it is not this horrible thing, in and of itself. My point is that death is a natural part of life and, just as the passing seasons are each beautiful and mysterious and wonderful in their own way – including the “dying season” of winter – so, too, can we choose to look upon death as simply a beautiful, if sad or melancholy, part of natural life.

    It is a FAR and ugly cry to compare my actual point to Nazi and, even if you made the point in complete ignorance of my actual position, it is shameful that you would try. OF COURSE people who believe as I do that death is a natural part of life and ALL of life is beautiful are not in any way at all comparable to Nazis and it is an epic fail on your part to try to make a comparison where there is no comparison.

    Shame on you.

    ~Dan

  35. paynehollow says:

    Bubba…

    I didn’t intend to spend any significant amount of time in this thread on Friday, but I am still getting to your question…

    This, I’m sure is interesting. And I have no doubt you’ll throw many words down on the page. What will be interesting is what exactly it is you need to write to what seems like a pretty straightforward questions. You just threw down 300+ words to say that you’ll be answering my questions (and to further dig your little Nazi hole you’ve placed yourself in) to what seems like a maybe 20 word answer.

    Just as a reminder, some of the outstanding (and, it seems to me, simple to answer) questions…

    If you were her friend, would you try to talk her out of it? Would you support her? Would you tell her God doesn’t approve of her decision…?

    Bubba, do you think God doesn’t want people to end their lives prematurely, even in an instance like this woman John has cited?

    If so, why do you think that?

    If so, are you offering that as a mere human opinion or do you think you speak for God on that point? If the latter, on what basis?

    Also, Ark asked you a fairly straightforward question:

    This is about assisted suicide – the choice made by the individual who wishes to die. It is not about murder. I reiterate, what has this got to do with morality?

    The answers to these questions seem pretty simple, in brief: Yes, these are my opinions. No, I do not speak for God.

    I’m not sure what it’s going to require beyond that, but I’m guessing you’ll have many words in response to some question or making some point. It will be interesting to see just which questions you answer and what points you make. Or not.

    ~Dan

  36. Dan, death isn’t a part of life, it’s the end of life, and if you go through this sort of mental gymnastics to turn antonyms into near synonyms, you shouldn’t really be surprised that people have trouble following your logic.

    The second question you list, I’ve already explicitly answered, on October 10, 2014 at 10:18 PM.

    “You ask, ‘do you think God doesn’t want people to end their lives prematurely,’ even in extreme circumstances? I do: God made us and even made us in His image, He sustains us, and it’s His prerogative when to end our lives. To take our own lives without His say-so is as immoral as taking another’s life without His say-so, because that life ultimately belongs to Him.”

    Ark’s question about morality was implicitly answered in the same comment.

    “I ask whether you think suicide is morally prohibited, and you ask, by whom?

    “I don’t know if you’ve ever noticed, but a full half of the Ten Commandments aren’t concerned with your standard of harm. Make an idol, work on Sunday, even covet everything your neighbor has, and you’ve caused no one any measurable harm.

    “Even disobeying Christ’s two great commandments don’t hinge on harm, as you don’t cause God or your neighbor harm simply by refusing to love them.

    It’s almost as if God’s standard for morality isn’t limited to your standard of harm: as with everything else that is or would be morally prohibited, if suicide is prohibited, it would be because God prohibits it.”

    If you can’t be bothered to notice when I HAVE answered these questions, I don’t see why I should waste my time answering any other questions.

  37. paynehollow says:

    To Ark’s question:

    This is about assisted suicide – the choice made by the individual who wishes to die. It is not about murder. I reiterate, what has this got to do with morality?

    A more progressive, religious-liberty type might answer thusly:

    Indeed, it is not about murder. People are born with an innate right to self-determination, as long as their self-determination does not interfere with another’s self-determination. We can, I think, be rightly concerned about people with depression and other similar mental health challenges… that they would not harm themselves in a pique of depression. But generally speaking, in the case of the severely ill/already dying who are opting to end life on their own terms, from a place of full awareness and rationality, we owe them only support in whatever end of life decisions they make. It is not our place to judge others in these cases… on what bases would we do so?

    However, a more conservative/fundamentalist type might be tempted to answer with responses that immediately prompt more questions that they can’t answer. Perhaps like this:

    It’s Wrong! God does NOT want them to end their lives early, that is them placing themselves in God’s position and is thus, a form of blasphemy – perhaps, the greatest of evils!

    To which, a reasonable person might ask:

    On what basis do you think God does not want them to end their lives early? What proof do you have that there is a god and that this god thinks as you do?

    To which the more fundamentalist might respond:

    It’s wrong! The Bible says it’s wrong.

    To which, we might ask:

    Where?

    And on and on it would go, with them continuing to offer THEIR opinion under the guise of the authority of God without ever proving the claim in any way.

    Which is perhaps why you all tend to opt not answer the questions at all.

    But you tell me.

    ~Dan

  38. paynehollow says:

    Bubba…

    death isn’t a part of life, it’s the end of life

    Is this your opinion or do you speak for God on this? Or do you simply declare it as a fact?

    I think it is reasonably stated that birth is the beginning of LIFE, death is the end of LIFE and that both events are a natural part of the life cycle. Not only a natural part, but a vital part. IF there is no death in our world, then there is only constant growth… that this is the philosophy of the cancer cell and the view itself leads to death. It is an unhealthy view, from a world point of view.

    In the forest, if there were no death – no leaves falling at the end of the season and drying to dust to become part of the soil – there would be no life, as the death is a vital and wondrous part of this great life cycle that you and I believe God created.

    One man’s opinion, but based in reality.

    Bubba…

    and if you go through this sort of mental gymnastics to turn antonyms into near synonyms, you shouldn’t really be surprised that people have trouble following your logic.

    Things are born/come into being. They live. They die, nurturing the ground and the world for new turns of life. It is all part of a beautiful and amazing life cycle. Are you actually having trouble following that logic?

    Then, like the engineer says, “I can explain it to you, but I can’t understand it for you…”

    Bubba…

    The second question you list, I’ve already explicitly answered, on October 10, 2014 at 10:18 PM.

    Sorry, I guess I missed that…

    “You ask, ‘do you think God doesn’t want people to end their lives prematurely,’ even in extreme circumstances? I do: God made us and even made us in His image, He sustains us, and it’s His prerogative when to end our lives.

    Is it also God’s prerogative to heal us or not? If so, by YOUR logic, is it not against God’s will to take medicine? Does God tell you that God does not want you to end your life early and God does not want you to take medicine?

    If God has not told you either of these, why do you say it is God’s prerogative, God’s will, to do a certain thing? On what basis do you speak for God?

    Bubba…

    To take our own lives without His say-so is as immoral as taking another’s life without His say-so, because that life ultimately belongs to Him.

    On what basis do you make this claim? Has God told you this? When and where?

    Bubba…

    Ark’s question about morality was implicitly answered in the same comment.

    “I ask whether you think suicide is morally prohibited, and you ask, by whom?

    “I don’t know if you’ve ever noticed, but a full half of the Ten Commandments aren’t concerned with your standard of harm. Make an idol, work on Sunday, even covet everything your neighbor has, and you’ve caused no one any measurable harm.

    “Even disobeying Christ’s two great commandments don’t hinge on harm, as you don’t cause God or your neighbor harm simply by refusing to love them.

    “It’s almost as if God’s standard for morality isn’t limited to your standard of harm: as with everything else that is or would be morally prohibited, if suicide is prohibited, it would be because God prohibits it.”

    ? I’m sorry, would you make it easy for me, as I do not see an answer to the question asked.

    By whom is suicide prohibited? Where? When?

    Is it only your opinion that it seems TO YOU that God would oppose suicide or are you authoritatively speaking for God on that point?

    Why is this a question of morality?

    I’m not seeing an answer to that line of questions/those questions.

    You appear to be saying that we think some things are immoral even though they don’t cause harm and on which you and I may or may not agree, but I don’t see an answer to the questions that were asked.

    Thanks.

    ~Dan

  39. Dan, I didn’t realize cancer cells had a philosophy, and if you have no problem comparing my position to cancer, I don’t see how you can object to others noting the overlap your position has with the philosophical underpinnings of national socialism.

    This is a funny, transparent line:

    “One man’s opinion, but based in reality.”

    Here you try to have your cake and eat it: you’re so very humble, holding only to your opinion and not declaring it to be fact, but at the same time you insinuate that yours is the position ground in reality, so that disagreeing with you is tantamount to being denial of what’s real.

    “Is it only your opinion that it seems TO YOU that God would oppose suicide or are you authoritatively speaking for God on that point?”

    That’s a false dilemma, as one can discern what God has clearly revealed through Scripture without presuming to speak for Him, much less presuming to have the authority to do so.

  40. paynehollow says:

    Bubba…

    Dan, I didn’t realize cancer cells had a philosophy…

    I’m speaking figuratively, not literally.

    Bubba…

    and if you have no problem comparing my position to cancer

    I have not compared your position to cancer. Not in my words. Not unless you’re advocating that it would be a good thing for nothing to ever die, but I don’t think you’re that delusional. But you tell me. IF it is your position: “I, Bubba, think it would be good if nothing and no one in this world ever died, that all people and things went on living forever…” then, Yes, I guess I have compared your position to cancer, but I don’t think you are stating that.

    Are you?

    Bubba…

    This is a funny, transparent line:

    “One man’s opinion, but based in reality.”

    Here you try to have your cake and eat it: you’re so very humble, holding only to your opinion and not declaring it to be fact, but at the same time you insinuate that yours is the position ground in reality

    It is reality that everything can not keep growing and never die, or that WOULD lead to widespread death.

    If right now, today, people stopped dying, then in a few years, we’d double our population, then quadruple it and the earth simply would not be able to support that growth and we’d start dying en masse.

    If a forest had no trees, leaves and organic matter dying and going into the ground, that forest would begin to die off due to lack of nutriets.

    This is reality.

    Do you disagree with that reality?

    Bubba…

    so that disagreeing with you is tantamount to being denial of what’s real.

    I’m stating a fact. Do you disagree with reality?

    Bubba…

    “Is it only your opinion that it seems TO YOU that God would oppose suicide or are you authoritatively speaking for God on that point?”

    That’s a false dilemma, as one can discern what God has clearly revealed through Scripture without presuming to speak for Him, much less presuming to have the authority to do so.

    So… your answer is that you, Bubba CAN know authoritatively what God wants us to do about suicide because the Bible is clear on that point, is that what you’re saying?

    Looking back at most of your responses to my points, I think one very large problem is that you simply do not comprehend facts and what I’ve actually said. Perhaps just a simple failure to understand the written word is at the heart of your misunderstanding of what I’ve said?

    Just asking, not stating.

    ~Dan

    • Perhaps the problem IS that we simply fail to understand what you write, not because we generally have problem with the written word, but because WHAT YOU WRITE is incoherent.

      You don’t think my position is like cancer, but you keep refuting a position that you believe no one holds, and you do so with bizarre claims about the lethal threat of immortality, how, if nobody died, everybody would die!

      And you continue to berate others for their supposed arrogance in presuming to speak for God, all while you insinuate that your position is synonymous with reality:

      “Do you disagree with reality?”

      What the hell kind of question is that?

  41. paynehollow says:

    I think it is an abundantly clear question, Bubba.

    It IS reality that our earth can not sustain life with no death, that forests can not sustain life with no death.

    Do you disagree with that reality?

    What are you failing to understand? In what way am I not being clear?

    ~Dan

  42. paynehollow says:

    And I ask the question NOT because you are advocating life without death, but because you took exception to my suggestion that death is a natural and beautiful part of life, part of the life cycle, if you don’t like me using “part of life…” I ask the question because I suspect that you agree with me, and thus, your complaints against my position are irrational since you most likely do agree with me.

    Do you understand now?

    ~Dan

  43. Dan, in general the question “Do you disagree with reality?” *IS* a bizarre question from someone who pretends only to be peddling his own opinions while denouncing others for their arrogance — and yet it’s a question you seem eager to ask, over and over again.

    About this specific topic, you’re arguing about a very peculiar and arguably contradictory HYPOTHETICAL SCENARIO, where living things couldn’t die but would face death as a result, and you insist that everyone really agrees with you about this scenario and are only pretending to disagree out of irrationality.

    The one thing you do get right is my taking exception to your “suggestion” that death is a “natural and beautiful part of life” — a suggestion(!) that you think I really agree with and that I MUST agree with or risk disagreeing with reality.

    Death isn’t a part of life: it’s the end of life.

    There’s nothing beautiful about death: it is ugly.

    Inevitable as death is in this fallen world, it’s still not God’s ultimate plan for man. Jesus came to secure eternal life for man.

    In this fallen universe, the decay that results from death is used by silverfish and worms and fungus, and the carbon and other elements from the corpse is used by subsequent generations, but it does not follow that life could not exist without this process, much less that it could not exist in that redeemed state for which (the “wise man” Paul says) the universe groans in anticipation.

    Death is sometimes a necessary thing, in wars and in capital punishment for murder, where the latter affirms the value of the victim’s life by having his murderer forfeit his own life. It’s sometimes necessary, but it is always ugly.

    Death isn’t beautiful, and your insisting that it is, is twisted.

  44. paynehollow says:

    Wow.

    Well, you are certainly welcome to your opinions.

    As to any other claims about what might be, do you have any data to support your claims or are they simply stuff you are hypothesizing? Do you speak for God that Death is ugly or is that merely your opinion?

    Do you fear death, Bubba? Do you despise it? It sounds as if you do and you are certainly welcome to that opinion however fear-based it sounds to me, but disagreeing with you on that point is not the same as disagreeing with God or Truth. I hope you can realize this.

    As a related aside, did you see that research in the news lately that spoke about how there is some data to support the notion that conservatives are people who are biologically wired to find things to fear, that fear is their primary motivator. Does that ring true to you? Because it certainly sounds that way to this outsider and it would explain a lot.

    Consider this from Psychology Today…

    Most societies are divided into a party that wants change (the more liberal party) and one that is afraid of change (the conservatives). The liberal party is generally more intellectual and the conservative party is more anti-intellectual.

    The conservative party is big on national defense and magnifies our perception of threat, whether of foreign aggressors, immigrants, terrorists, or invading ideologies like Communism. To a conservative, the world really is a frightening place.

    Given that their brains are so different, it is hardly surprising that liberals and conservatives should spend so much time talking across each other and never achieving real dialog or consensus.

    http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-human-beast/201104/conservatives-big-fear-brain-study-finds

    Hmmm…

    ~Dan

  45. Hmmm, indeed! After going apeshit over my pointing out the Orwellian and nihilistic slant of one your comments, you’re not really taking the high road by insinuating that conservatives are paranoid and anti-intellectual, and by acting as if a three-year old blog post is recent news to make your disparaging “related” aside.

    No, Dan, I don’t fear death, as I know that my Redeemer lives, but I do recognize it as the ugly thing that it is — and I notice that, in your call for “data” to support my position, you don’t present data to support your position that death is beautiful.

    “Do you speak for God that Death is ugly or is that merely your opinion?”

    Once again, this is a false dilemma, excluding the possibility that one can see God’s clear revelation on a matter without having to presume to speak for Him.

    I know that God sent His Son to die in order to secure eternal life for those who believe in Him. Jesus Christ’s Apostle taught authoritatively that all creation groans to be freed from sin and death, and when faced with the death of a close friend, Jesus didn’t try to console Himself or others with nonsense about how death is beautiful. Instead, Jesus wept.

    I know all this, not because I presume to speak for God, but because I believe that God has spoken clearly enough for Himself, through Scripture.

  46. @Bubba

    Would you tell her God doesn’t approve of her decision…?

    How the Frakk do you know that your god does not approve of her decision you sanctimonious little tit!

  47. paynehollow says:

    Well, it’s NOT because Bubba speaks for God, but because he is uniquely qualified to interpret Scripture where God speaks for God’s Self, presumably.

    Of course, that leads to the question, “And on what basis are YOUR UNIQUE interpretations THE RIGHT ones and all others are wrong?” Which is another way of asking, “on what basis do you presume to speak for God?” But then, he disapproves of the very question and won’t answer it, so…

    pfff.

    ~Dan

    • That’s because the question isn’t honest. The text isn’t hard to understand on the issues we seem most to discuss. What’s more, you offer no alternative that you care to defend with evidence or authority of your own. You bore with “my opinion” as if that isn’t understood and never get to the reasons why. We at least support our understanding.

  48. paynehollow says:

    Bubba…

    by acting as if a three-year old blog post is recent news to make your disparaging “related” aside.

    I’m citing scientific research – including a new report that was just recently in the news – about what some researchers have said about what explains some conservative behavior. When pressed as to why I said something, I can say, “Well, there are these reports like this one…”

    http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=9292100

    and cite the research.

    On the other hand, when we ask you on what basis you can state authoritatively that “god” disapproves of this woman killing herself, you object to the question, obfuscate and then offer some opinions you have as if your opinions are the source of all objective knowledge.

    See the difference?

    ~Dan

    • One doesn’t need to be uniquely qualified to interpret the bible. You just needn’t be uniquely hyperskeptical to the point where you can justify it meaning the opposite of what the words actually say.

      • So Bubba is interpreting what some person wrote down who claimed he was inspired by a god he called Yahweh from English texts translated from Hebrew/Greek nearly three thousand years ago.Trustworthy? lol..

      • One doesn’t need to be uniquely qualified to interpret the bible.

        And you are living proof of that aren’t you , John? :)

      • Hey, Johnny, where’s this evidence post you keep promising? Not backing out are you?

        • I told you it was conditional on how you responded to the ontological argument post. You blew it off and scorned instead of responding with any semblance of intellectual discourse.

          I told you I don’t like to waste my time. You repeatedly demonstrate that all you’ll respond with is ridicule, scorn, and out of hand dismissal.

          I suggest holding your breath.

          • Oooh… sorry, I didn’t realise the Ontological post was like ‘homework’.

            I already mentioned more than once that I wasn’t interested in piss-willy philosophical arguments but verifiable evidence. Or second best the evidence that convinced you.
            Did you not pick up on that? I think I must have made mention of it at least twenty-five times.
            I guess you are just too chickenshit scared of being called out to even attempt to put any evidence on the table?
            I wonder why this is John?
            So much for your ‘truth’.
            Honestly, you are a sham.

          • I’m not done with it. I’ve got many posts written and ready to go

            Just to refresh your memory, hotshot.

            Or are you telling ‘porky pies’? Isn’t that a sin?

            • Haven’t you figured it out yet, Ark – he doesn’t have any actual evidence.

              He’s convinced the bible is correct and historically accurate and no amount of evidence to the contrary will convince him or any of these other Christians here otherwise.

              He then points the finger at anyone who doesn’t accept the bible and any of its faith-based claims as hyper-skeptical. He scoffs at anyone who doesn’t accept his supernatural claims, but continues to avoid me when asked what other supernatural claims outside the bible he accepts as true as well.

              He claims his interpretation of the bible is the correct one and anyone who interprets it differently is just plain wrong. And if you’re a non-believer, then forget about it – you have no idea what you’re talking about.

              These folks have their fingers in their ears…. La-la-la-la-la-la-la!

              I too would LOVE to discover what finally convinced him that all of this bullS#&t is true, but I don’t expect to hear John’s real conversion story anytime soon.

              • He won’t reveal it because it will mean admitting it is all based on faith, and ( in all likelihood )there were some sort of emotional issues – there usually is – the old sex drugs and rock n; roll syndrome, or similar.

                It is the indoctrination that declares the human is not worthy.

              • Actually, Z. Not everyone who accept the bible is hyperskeptical. I don’t think you are, or even Ark. Dan is a textbook hyperskeptic. Who’s to say, on what authority, that’s just your opinion, yadda, yadda.

                I’ll post it, eventually. I’m not going to be goaded by someone who doesn’t even try to be civil.

            • I’ve got it ready, I’ve decided to be difficult about it. You see ark, you don’t add much to the discussion here. You don’t engage in substantive discussion. Ridicule and name calling isn’t an argument, is it dickhead. So you don’t really command much clout.

              • You have to offer a substantive claim, so what on earth is there for me to argue against?
                Everything you post is based on rank apologetics.
                You hand wave such things as the Exodus and post not a single refutation to the likes of Devers or Finkelstein.
                You cherry pick your way through biblical text without ever once answering honestly questions pertaining to such things as the Virgin Birth etc and all you come across as is a whining fundamentalist without anything to suggest you have any integrity let alone evidence for a single claim you make.

                And now you act lie a petulant 12 year old and say “I;ve decided to be difficult about it,” RFLMAO. You think this makes you look any less idiotic than you already do, John?
                You think this raises your intellectual esteem?
                Do you truly think I care whether you decide to ” be difficult.”?

                Good grief, when my child was five years old she had more self respect and basic savvy than you are demonstrating here. Maybe you are suffering a bit of senility?

                I say you have no evidence and that you are a damn liar.
                I say that everything you believe is based on faith and through inculcation.
                And you are patently ignorant of the history of your religion and the compilation of its text.

  49. Dan:

    Well, it’s NOT because Bubba speaks for God, but because he is uniquely qualified to interpret Scripture where God speaks for God’s Self, presumably.

    On more than one occasion, you’ve insisted that others not put words in your mouth. At some point, you ought to try to live up to the standards that you seek to impose on others.

    I do not believe I’m “uniquely qualified” to interpret Scripture; I simply believe that the text itself is quite clear on a number of points, including the existence of God, the historicity of Jesus, and (most relevant to this conversation) the doctrine that death is a terrible thing, the consequence of sin, but something that God will ultimately defeat and destroy — all hardly “nutty stuff” that is believed only by a tiny fringe of Christians.

    • @Bubba

      I simply believe itself is quite clear on a number of points, …

      Such as the Zombie Apocalypse for instance?
      Or the talking donkey?
      How about slavery?
      Or the Virgin Birth?

      You are nothing but a sanctimonious hypocrite. Worse, in fact. You are Ignorant as well.

  50. paynehollow says:

    Okay, fair enough. Then clarify for us, please so I do not put the wrong words in your mouth. YOU hold the power to making yourself understood, all you have to do is clarify.

    SO, you are not uniquely qualified. I am not uniquely qualified. Ark is not uniquely qualified. We are all three EQUALLY qualified, is that fair?

    If so, then each of us look at the text. With me so far?

    Now, you read and you find in the text that God, what, hints at? Says clearly? … that suicide is wrong.

    I read the text and do not find that. Not at all.

    Ark reads the text and not only doesn’t find that, but also finds no reason to presume there is a god.

    On what basis is your interpretation the right one?

    THAT is the question that remains ever-unanswered.

    ~Dan

    • Dan, I spent more than a month attempting to answer that supposedly “ever-unanswered” question, by stating and restating my position that sometimes a text is so clear that good-faith disagreement is not possible.

      There, we didn’t focus on the morality of suicide — which, you might notice, I DID NOT CLAIM WAS BEYOND GOOD-FAITH DISPUTE — we looked at the question of whether the Bible clearly teaches that Yahweh exists. Even on that question, the sneering skeptic Arkenaten seems to agree: he accpets that, yes, that’s what the Bible teaches, while he doesn’t accept that the teaching is true.

      As I said, in short:

      – The Bible teaches that God exists.

      – If a person says he studied the Bible in good faith and he thinks that the Bible does NOT teach that God exists, he’s obviously lying.

      This isn’t a remotely controversial position. In the general case I do not believe that a claim must be prove-able to be know-able, but in this particular case, the Bible really does speak for itself. Its contents are more than clear enough.

      That you find this position questionable and even objectionable is astonishing: it’s your problem, not mine, and I’ve wasted enough time trying to explain the obvious to the obtuse.

    • It would be worth paying money to read an honest answer from any of them to that question.
      Are you a betting man, Dan?

      • paynehollow says:

        Not for that bet, it’s been too many years and too many dodges to take that bet. But sometimes, I think, just maybe, if I keep asking the same basic question, that one day, they may try to answer it. To that end, Bubba, one more time:

        Then clarify for us, please so I do not put the wrong words in your mouth. YOU hold the power to making yourself understood, all you have to do is clarify.

        SO, you are not uniquely qualified. I am not uniquely qualified. Ark is not uniquely qualified. We are all three EQUALLY qualified, is that fair?

        If so, then each of us look at the text. With me so far?

        Now, you read and you find in the text that God, what, hints at? Says clearly? … that suicide is wrong.

        I read the text and do not find that. Not at all.

        Ark reads the text and not only doesn’t find that, but also finds no reason to presume there is a god.

        On what basis is your interpretation the right one?

        ~Dan

        • One more time:

          Dan, I spent more than a month attempting to answer that supposedly “ever-unanswered” question, by stating and restating my position that sometimes a text is so clear that good-faith disagreement is not possible.

          There, we didn’t focus on the morality of suicide — which, you might notice, I DID NOT CLAIM WAS BEYOND GOOD-FAITH DISPUTE — we looked at the question of whether the Bible clearly teaches that Yahweh exists. Even on that question, the sneering skeptic Arkenaten seems to agree: he accpets that, yes, that’s what the Bible teaches, while he doesn’t accept that the teaching is true.

          As I said, in short:

          – The Bible teaches that God exists.

          – If a person says he studied the Bible in good faith and he thinks that the Bible does NOT teach that God exists, he’s obviously lying.

          This isn’t a remotely controversial position. In the general case I do not believe that a claim must be prove-able to be know-able, but in this particular case, the Bible really does speak for itself. Its contents are more than clear enough.

          That you find this position questionable and even objectionable is astonishing: it’s your problem, not mine, and I’ve wasted enough time trying to explain the obvious to the obtuse.

          If you’re going to copy and paste a question as if I haven’t answered it, I’m going to copy and paste my response.

          • paynehollow says:

            You are not answering the questions asked.

            Get serious.

            dt

            • I did answer the question: “on what basis” do I believe that the Bible teaches that God exists? I believe that, in that particular case and at least a few others, “the Bible really does speak for itself.”

              • paynehollow says:

                That is not the question being asked here. I’m not sure how it helps that you have answered another question on another topic elsewhere to the questions being asked here?

                Here are some of the questions being asked here:

                SO, you are not uniquely qualified. I am not uniquely qualified. Ark is not uniquely qualified. We are all three EQUALLY qualified, is that fair?

                If so, then each of us look at the text. With me so far?

                Now, you read and you find in the text that God, what, hints at? Says clearly? … that suicide is wrong.

                I read the text and do not find that. Not at all.

                Ark reads the text and not only doesn’t find that, but also finds no reason to presume there is a god.

                On what basis is your interpretation the right one?

                ~Dan

              • Where have I said that my belief that suicide is immoral is beyond all possible good-faith disagreement?

                If I haven’t said this, I don’t know why I should be expected to answer questions as if that’s my position — and since this particular question has only recently been asked, I think it’s grossly unfair of you to describe it as “ever-unanswered.”

                Since you act as if you’re asking a question that you’ve asked over and over again, I thought it appropriate to answer the question that you HAVE asked over and over again.

  51. paynehollow says:

    Bubba…

    the doctrine that death is a terrible thing, the consequence of sin, but something that God will ultimately defeat and destroy

    So, God has not told you, nor has the Bible directly taught, but you hold the opinion that, given various verses in the Bible, YOU THINK that God thinks of death as a bad thing… Is that correct?

    Is it the case that you know objectively that this is a fact, or is it your opinion based on your interpretation of these texts, taken in the way that you personally read it?

    IF, as seems obvious, it is your opinion – NOT something that God has said and NOT a fact – that God thinks of death as a bad thing, FROM THAT OPINION OF YOURS, you further deduce that, IF God thinks (in your opinion) death is innately “terrible,” and you also hold the opinion that killing is wrong (in your opinion – not as a matter of demonstrable fact and not because God has told you so) NOT because it takes a life, but because the life “belongs” to this god (in YOUR opinion), and given the “terrible” nature of death (in your opinion, not a fact or according to a god, but in your opinion) and given that killing – even ourselves – is wrong because that life belongs to god… given all that, you further extrapolate out the notion that, IN YOUR OPINION (ie, not as a demonstrable fact and not because a god has said), you can’t imagine how suicide could be anything but morally wrong… is that an accurate summation of your collection of opinions?

    And that all of these are NOT demonstrable facts, nor something God demonstrably said, but are simply your interpretations of these ancient texts, given the way that you personally choose to interpret them, is that not fair and accurate?

    ~Dan

  52. paynehollow says:

    John…

    Not everyone who accept the bible is hyperskeptical. I don’t think you are, or even Ark. Dan is a textbook hyperskeptic. Who’s to say, on what authority, that’s just your opinion, yadda, yadda.

    I’m hyperskeptical? On what do you base that? That I don’t interpret the Bible in the same way as you do? How is that skeptical? (Definition: Not easily convinced; having doubts about something). Do you mean that I’m skeptical of JOHN’S opinions? Well, no more so than anyone else. But neither do I accept John’s opinions just because John says so.

    But, by that measure, you are hyperskeptical, because you don’t accept my opinions.

    I’m not sure you’re using that word in a meaningful way.

    ~Dan

  53. Dan,

    “So, God has not told you, nor has the Bible directly taught, but you hold the opinion that, given various verses in the Bible, YOU THINK that God thinks of death as a bad thing… Is that correct?”

    What I wrote is that “I simply believe that the text itself is quite clear” in teaching that death is a terrible thing, the consequence of sin, but something that God will ultimately defeat and destroy.

    Your “so” doesn’t follow from that and is instead an obvious and ham-fisted attempt to shove into my mouth words and ideas that are not mine. You’re not trying to understand my position, you’re trying to distort it into something that you can easily dismiss.

    Since it apparently doesn’t matter what I write, I don’t see the point in continuing to try to communicate to you.

  54. paynehollow says:

    Okay, Bubba, I GET that you think, in your opinion, that the “text is clear.”

    SO DO I. SO DOES ARK. We, too, believe the text is clear.

    And we reach different conclusions from each other.

    Do you understand that much?

    GIVEN, then, that we all agree the “text is clear,” on what basis do we give priority to your claim that

    1. there is a god;
    2. this god thinks that death is “terrible”;
    3. this god thinks that ending one’s own life is wrong because it takes from your god what is his; and
    4. therefore, suicide is morally wrong

    On what basis does your opinion matter most?

    Is your opinion “fact,” (in your opinion)?
    Is your opinion the same as God’s opinion?

    Or, on what basis is your opinion superior/preferable to ours/right when ours is not right?

    OR, is it simply your opinion?

    THOSE are the questions being asked. Those are the questions being ignored.

    Clearly, to all objective observers, your opinion on this matter IS YOUR OPINION. You do not hold any authority whatsoever to speak for a god. You do not hold any authority whatsoever to pronounce what is good and evil for anyone else.

    Are you an objective observer, Bubba? Do you see this?

    I think that those research efforts that show a fear-based/anti-intellectualism bias in at least some conservatives is right. We simply can’t even hold a conversation because you don’t answer the questions put to you, reasonable questions that need to be answered for you to make your point.

    ~Dan

    • “Clearly, to all objective observers, your opinion on this matter IS YOUR OPINION. You do not hold any authority whatsoever to speak for a god. You do not hold any authority whatsoever to pronounce what is good and evil for anyone else.” [emphasis mine]

      Funny how you apparently believe you have the authority to speak for “all objective observers.” If you really had a problem with presumption, you would never make such sweeping statements about reality, what’s factual, and what all objective observers would say, but you do so ALL THE TIME.

      You think it’s quite “clearly” obvious what “all objective observers” would believe, but I cannot dare hold the position that all good-faith readers of the Bible would conclude that the Bible teaches theism.

      What manure, and what hypocrisy.

      I haven’t ignored your questions, Dan, Clearly, all objective observers would agree that I’ve addressed your questions at length.

      You say that you, Ark, and I all agree that the “the text is clear,” but we reach different conclusions from each other.

      Do we? Do we really reach different conclusions about what the Bible teaches?

      I believe the Bible clearly teaches that Yahweh exists. Ark doesn’t agree with that teaching, but does he really believe that the Bible doesn’t teach it? Do you?

      In that month-long conversation, you seemed to agree that the Bible teaches that God exists, you just thought that it goes too far to conclude that it teaches theism beyond any possible good-faith disagreement. Have you changed your mind, and do you now believe that the Bible does NOT teach theism?

      That we hold different personal beliefs does not imply that we disagree that the Bible clearly teaches theism. And that we disagree about whether the Bible teaches OTHER things, it doesn’t imply that the Bible isn’t clear about THIS thing, the claim that God exists.

      • @Bubba

        Yes, the bible clearly suggests that Yahweh exists.
        Although this simply means that those who wrote the text state that Yahweh exists.
        But let us be very clear There are no witness claims.
        That the bible claims the character Moses was said to have directly communed with Yahweh is fallacious. This character is, as are many others, mythological.
        The claim of divine inspiration is also just that – a claim.
        There is no evidence to back this up.
        In fact, based on the number of glaring factual errors throughout the bible there is very little if anything to inspire trust in the text and certainly nothing that would lead one to consider it were divinely inspired at all.
        Slavery is one such example.
        It fails on almost every level, other than perhaps the consideration of poetic literature for something like the Song of Solomon, and let’s face it, only a rank idiot or someone of diminished mental capacity would take the bible literally.

        So what does that leave?

  55. paynehollow says:

    But what about the questions you were asked HERE, Bubba? Will you just ignore them?

    You say that you’ve answered, but I don’t see it. So here, PROVE your point… Here is a group of related questions asked of you:

    Is your opinion about what god thinks about suicide a “fact,” (in your opinion)?

    Is your opinion about what God thinks about suicide the same as God’s opinion?

    Or, on what basis is your opinion superior/preferable to ours/right when ours is not right?

    OR, is it simply your opinion?

    If you answered these questions, you should be able to copy and paste that answer right here, right now. Please proceed and demonstrate that you answered, don’t just say, “I answered…”

    And note: “I don’t like that question” (phrased however you may phrase it) is not an answer to the question.

  56. paynehollow says:

    Marshall…

    That’s because the question isn’t honest. The text isn’t hard to understand on the issues we seem most to discuss.

    HOW exactly is a question “not honest,” Marshall? A question is a question. I’m honestly wondering… “on what basis are YOUR UNIQUE interpretations THE RIGHT ones and all others are wrong?” I don’t see how he (you, anyone) could make a case that their opinions about unprovable matters are “right” and that others are “wrong…” and so, it is honestly a good question to ask.

    HOW is a question not honest?

    You continue with the “text isn’t hard to understand…” and I don’t think so, either, and yet you and I honestly reach different opinions. On what basis SHOULD anyone claim that their opinion is the “right one…”? To what authority are you appealing?

    It is a reasonable question and it doesn’t how much you don’t like it, it is an honest and reasonable question.

    ~Dan

  57. Dan, as with much written communication, the text speaks for itself. “On what basis” do I believe that the Bible teaches anything in particular? The basis of the text itself.

    If you have a plausible argument that the Bible teaches that death is a beautiful thing, you should present it.

    If you have a plausible argument that the Bible teaches that God endorses suicide, you should present it.

    If you don’t, you shouldn’t waste everybody’s time with your selective gainsaying. Here, I disagree with John that you’re hyper-skeptical: you’re hyper-partisan, willing to preach to others about reality and what all objective observers would say, and only indulging in the skepticism of the willfully obtuse when you want to.

  58. paynehollow says:

    On what basis do I need to present a biblical argument that death is a natural part of the life cycle? I think it is self-evident. Why do I NEED to provide a biblical argument for it?

    I think that’s what you’re missing. Not everyone uses the bible as a prooftext machine or holy magic 8 ball in the manner that you do. I think the death is just a beautiful nature part of the life cycle because I think it is self-evident. You are free to disagree. Do I have ANY desire or reason to shake the Bible and say “OH holy eight ball, is suicide good or bad?”

    On what basis should I present that sort of support?

    As to your claim about “the text itself…” I DO look at the text itself and I do no find what you claim to find. So, AGAIN, on what basis is what you find more reliable than what I find?

    Or any of the other questions. I noticed that I offered you an opportunity to prove that you have answered by simply copying and pasting your answers. You did not, precisely because you can not, having never answered the questions directly.

    ~Dan
    ~Dan

  59. Dan, I don’t use the Bible as a “prooftext machine or holy magic 8 ball,” and I resent the hell out of your switching from one ad hominem to another to smear people who consider the Bible to be God’s authoritative revelation to man. We’re not bibliolators, we’re not Pharisees, and we’re not prooftexters.

    I think I’ve answered your questions more than adequately: you evidently disagree, but on what basis should I trust your evaluation of this or any other subject over mine? Funny enough, you don’t say.

  60. paynehollow says:

    If you don’t use it as a holy magic 8 ball, then on what basis do you demand that I pull up a text to proof my position?

    Another question that goes unanswered.

    Again, IF you had answered those questions, all you’d have to do is copy and paste them here to demonstrate the answer has been provided. You don’t because you can’t because you have not answered them.

    On what evidence should you trust my evaluation? Based on the ENTIRE ABSENCE of evidence that you answered the question.

    This isn’t brain surgery, Bubba. We’re talking about a thread that is RIGHT HERE. Anyone can look and see that those questions went unanswered. It’s just a matter of fact, as opposed to the many whimsical and fairy-based opinions you offer with NO support.

    Don’t keep embarrassing yourself and your church.

    ~Dan

  61. “If you don’t use it as a holy magic 8 ball, then on what basis do you demand that I pull up a text to proof my position?

    “Another question that goes unanswered.”

    …and now you’re not even waiting to post a question before presuming that it goes unanswered. Nice.

    In the discussion thread, I’ve just posted at length my answer to your question about how I approach Scripture. To address the particular question of the beauty of death, it’s not actually obvious that death is beautiful, or that God intended it to be the inevitable conclusion to each human’s life: I believe that the Bible quite clearly teaches just the opposite, but if you disagree ABOUT WHAT THE BIBLE TEACHES — and that did seem to be your point — then you ought to present your argument from the text.

    If you just think that death is beautiful, to hell with what those backwards Jews wrote, well, fine, but you should stop pretending that we’re arguing over the Bible’s clear teachings.

    “On what evidence should you trust my evaluation? Based on the ENTIRE ABSENCE of evidence that you answered the question.”

    I’ve noted the ENTIRE ABSENCE of any sort of argument that the Bible teaches anything other than theism and the historicity of Jesus, but apparently that wasn’t enough to preclude a good-faith disagreement that the Bible teaches these things.

    “This isn’t brain surgery, Bubba. We’re talking about a thread that is RIGHT HERE. Anyone can look and see that those questions went unanswered.”

    And anyone can open a Bible. For many people, the book is RIGHT THERE, or at least at their nearest church, bookstore, library, and hotel nightstand, and online free in dozens of translations.

    Anyone can look and see whether the Bible treats death as a beautiful thing to be embraced, or as an ugly enemy that Christ has defeated and will one day destroy.

    The text speaks for itself, but if we can draw no conclusions about the Bible’s teachings from its text, I don’t see how we can draw any conclusions about this conversation from its text.

    Let me stipulate, I didn’t go down the line and answer your every question in this thread, one-by-one, lining up my every answer with your every question. I think I’ve nonetheless answered the gist of your objections quite thoroughly and more than adequately and certainly to my own satisfaction.

    You disagree, but I think the text of our conversation speaks for itself — and so, evidently, do you.

    At the same time, I believe that the Bible is clear that death is a terrible thing, the consequence of sin, but something that God will ultimately defeat and destroy.

    You disagree, but I alone think that the text of Scripture speaks for itself.

    It seems as if you invoke the question of “says who?” or “on what basis?” only when it comes to this particular text. I’ve speculated about your reason why, that maybe you think God mumbles, but the reason why doesn’t matter nearly as much as the simple fact of your hypocrisy.

    I appreciate your proving this point for me.

  62. paynehollow says:

    Bubba…

    At the same time, I believe that the Bible is clear that death is a terrible thing, the consequence of sin, but something that God will ultimately defeat and destroy…

    If you just think that death is beautiful, to hell with what those backwards Jews wrote, well, fine, but you should stop pretending that we’re arguing over the Bible’s clear teachings.

    Bubba, I’ll remind you once again of the latest series of questions (one of them, anyway)…

    Is your opinion about what god thinks about suicide a “fact,” (in your opinion)?

    Is your opinion about what God thinks about suicide the same as God’s opinion?

    Or, on what basis is your opinion superior/preferable to ours/right when ours is not right?

    OR, is it simply your opinion?

    If you look, you will note that nowhere in those questions did I ask you what your personal human opinion was about what the Bible did or did not say about suicide (it says nothing, by the way, other than mentioning a few). I asked you (I’ll just limit it to two, here…)

    IS YOUR OPINION ABOUT WHAT GOD THINKS ABOUT SUICIDE A FACT?

    IS YOUR OPINION ABOUT WHAT GOD THINKS ABOUT SUICIDE THE SAME AS GOD’S OPINION?

    IF SO, ON WHAT BASIS DO YOU CLAIM IS IT A FACT? ON WHAT BASIS DO YOU CLAIM YOUR OPINION ALIGNED WITH GOD’S OPINION?

    Do you have an answer to THESE questions? Don’t tell me your answer to other questions, I’m asking about THESE questions.

    Since you’re addressing a whole heap of other points about which I have not offered an opinion, I’m not sure what to do with the rest of your commentary, as it seems off topic here and has nothing to do with the questions I and others have asked you.

    Is it possibly the case that you’re not understanding my questions? If so, just say so and I’ll ask them in yet another way, but they seem pretty clear to me.

    ~Dan

    • I think the biggest difference between us (the Christians who comment here) and Dan is we seek to interpret the bible, and Dan seeks to decipher it.

      • N, the biggest difference is that Dan is incredibly liberal in his use of ALL CAPS and BOLD typeface, because it seems he feels the need to yell a lot. I think yours is the second biggest difference.

        • Dan

          Do words have meanings that are knowable, or are even definitions of words just matters of opinion?

          It stands to reason that if words have knowable definitions, and we can know those definitions, then interpreting passages really aren’t as unknowably opinioned as you’re suggesting.

          • paynehollow says:

            Of course words have meanings and definitions of words are known. That is not the question.

            The question is, What did these writers MEAN by their words – do we know exactly, or are we employing our best guesses as to whether these authors were even serious, if they meant their words to be taken figuratively, literally, other… and beyond that, do these authors speak with an authority that applies to all people in all times?

            So, yes, Paul is recorded as having written, “I don’t let women teach men in our assemblies…” The TEXT is there, that is not in doubt.

            What is questionable and a matter of opinion is, “Is Paul offering here a universal teaching for all people and times? Based on what authority would we make that claim? Was Paul speaking of only these particular churches at this particular time? On what basis would we make that claim? Is the book where this found intended to be a collection of rules for all people? On what authority?”

            These are reasonable questions that we simply don’t have factual answers to. We have OPINIONS that are unprovable.

            Do you disagree with that reality?

            ~Dan

            • Since we know what those words mean, and he says he bases that on the created order, ie, because Adam was created first, then he says that he is writing that so peiple would k ow how to conduct themselves in the household of God, ie, church, then it’s not really that unclear is it. Because he didn’t base it on the culture, but the created order it’s not cultural but a universal instruction. And because he specifically says it is within the context of the church, then we k ow where he is talking about.

              Why is that unclear to you?

        • paynehollow says:

          The all caps is simply a means to emphasize a word without the extra work of putting in the italics html. Lazy, to be sure, but there is nothing grammatically incorrect about the emphasis. In writing, Craig, sometimes people emphasize points.

          Will you nitpick that?

          And will you do it on the liberals but give a pass to the conservatives?

          But we know the answer to that.

          If it troubles you greatly, Craig, I will do the extra work to put in italics.

          ~Dan

  63. paynehollow says:

    So, John, in your attempts to interpret the Bible, have you reached a perfect understanding of God’s Will on suicide? That is to say, is your opinion about what God thinks about suicide a fact? Is your opinion about what God thinks about suicide perfectly understood and you can not be mistaken?

    If so, on what basis do you make such a claim?

    Or, as it would appear, is it merely your opinion, not a fact or “god’s word…”?

    ~Dan

    • I don’t think it’s all that difficult to deduce. The bible clearly speaks of life as a good thing. The bible clearly speaks of doing harm, even to oneself as a bad thing, as well as common sense that harming oneself is not good. The bible clearly speaks of God being the giver and taker of life.

      It’s not that hard of an issue. Frankly, I don’t see why you have such an issue with it.

      • John,
        I would suggest that a case could be made based on the “Thou shall not murder” commandment. If murder is the killing of an innocent, then it wouldn’t matter what the context of the killing was. Homicide, suicide, or assisted suicide, all kill an innocent person.

        • John.
          I don’t know if you’ve seen the Facebook post going around with the letter from a mom to the baby she plans to abort,(like much on Facebook, I don’t know it it’s really true or not) but the language she uses is a little too similar to what Dan is using for my taste.

          • paynehollow says:

            Nazis, again?

          • Craig, Dan is very proabortion. He masks it in ambiguous terms though (go figure). He simply defines it as a medical procedure then says women should be in charge of all their own medical procedures. Then insists he’s not proabortion.

            • paynehollow says:

              Words have meanings, John. I am not “pro-abortion,” meaning I do not think that people should just go out and get abortions.

              I am

              1. Anti-big gov’t making personal medical decisions for people and
              2. Pro-self-determination

              the religious liberty notion that people have the responsibility and right to choose for themselves what is best and right, so long as they aren’t harming others.

              Beyond that, I also support families making personal medical decisions for their loved ones over the gov’t, especially when that family member can not speak for themselves.

              In places of doubt, I defer to the family.

              None of which makes me “pro-abortion,” nor am I “anti-abortion…” just pro-self-determination.

              Just to clarify my position for myself, rather than have you fellas presume to speak for me.

              ~Dan

              • See, Craig? Just like I said.

              • On the one hand, being pro-self-determination would point to opposition to abortion, since the victim’s right to self-determination is completely obliterated, along with his life.

                On the other hand, it’s not clear why Dan stops at supporting the legalization of abortion for families “making personal medical decisions for their loved ones over the gov’t, especially when that family member can not speak for themselves.”

                Infants can’t speak for themselves, so shouldn’t families be able to make, ahem, “end of life decisions” for their children even after they’re out of the womb? Couch the act in medical terms — it’s not decapitation, it’s a cranialectomy! — and blammo, the legalization of infanticide, couched no doubt as upholding life “in the more noble and essential sense of the meaning.”

                Make explicit the Molech worship, and one could even couch it in religious terms.

              • Dying is a beautiful thing, Bubba.

              • So, what is it called when someone pretends like they’ve been compared to nazis when they haven’t?

                Obviously it is out of bounds to compare what Dan says to anyone else, no matter how similar they might be.

              • When God commands the killing of infants it’s an atrocity, when it’s done in a clinic it’s just a medical procedure.

                Death, beautiful death.

            • Oh, I’m aware of Dan’s stance on abortion.

  64. paynehollow says:

    So, is it your opinion that suicide is immoral or is it a fact?

    Is your opinion about what God thinks not possibly mistaken, or could you, as a mere human, be mistaken in your understanding?

    Why do you all do this dance? It appears you are saying that this is not your opinion, that it is a fact that suicide is immoral. You appear to be saying that you perfectly understand God on this point and that you could not be mistaken. IF that is what you believe, why don’t you step out there and say it and answer the question that is being asked of you?

    Do you lack the strength of your convictions, in that you don’t really believe what you’re saying and you just can’t bring yourselves to state it flatly, recognizing that saying it straight out, that it sounds so wrong? Or do you NOT believe it to be a fact, in which case, why would you not say so?

    Your collective reluctance to answer questions directly astounds me.

    ~Dan

  65. paynehollow says:

    But okay, working with your vague answer, it appears to be the case that

    1. You think, IN YOUR HUMAN OPINION, that the Bible “is clear” that suicide is wrong.

    [You DO acknowledge, though, that the Bible NOT ONE TIME condemns suicide as an immoral act, right?]

    2. You think, IN YOUR HUMAN OPINION, that, given what the Bible says and your HUMAN OPINION about what it means, that, God holds the opinion that suicide is wrong.

    Is that correct?

    Okay, then, given that other humans have read the Bible and have NOT reached a human opinion that God has ever condemned suicide as immoral, on what basis would we go with your human opinion over another’s?

    ~Dan

    • Dan,

      Don’t you get it by now?

      Their interpretation (opinion) is right and your lack of faith in that interpretation is wrong.
      I’m curious, Dan – you seem to be extremely flexible when it comes to reading what you want to read in the bible. You’re at odds with almost every fundamentalist who visits this site, but I wonder why you still treat the bible as such an authoritative work even with all that skepticism.

      Anyone who truly takes an objective look at the bible will see that it is certainly not without its errors. Is who you are too wrapped up in the book that you could never see yourself as one who lives without it?

  66. paynehollow says:

    Z, thanks for the questions, glad to address them…

    you seem to be extremely flexible when it comes to reading what you want to read in the bible.

    I would suggest it has nothing to do with “reading what I want to read in the Bible…” Rather, I would suggest I’m just taking the Bible for what it’s worth, treating it as an ancient book of collected wisdom with some great beauty and some horrible descriptions of how humanity acts and, rightly considered, loaded with wisdom.

    Thus, I’m just trying to take the Bible on its own terms, like I would with any book.

    Z…

    You’re at odds with almost every fundamentalist who visits this site, but I wonder why you still treat the bible as such an authoritative work even with all that skepticism.

    I don’t know that I have any more skepticism about the Bible than I do any other written work. I just don’t want to treat it like a magic book. As noted, I’m just trying to take it on its own terms and not make it into something it’s not.

    What the Bible IS, as a matter of historical record:

    1. A human collection of books, written by humans. God did not hand us “the 66” and say, “HERE, this is my revelation to you, take it literally…” God did NOT “give” us the 66 books of the Bible at all, not literally. This is just a fact. Fellow, fallible human beings many centuries ago said, “We believe in the notion of Scripture – sacred text inspired by God – and WE PROTESTANT HUMANS think these 66 books are AS Scripture to us.”

    So, it is a matter of human tradition, not “God’s Word” that we treat these books as Scripture. Just as a point of historical fact. The Bible has made NO claims that “these 66 are special…” that is a human tradition. Can’t emphasize that enough.

    2. Having said that, it IS part of my human tradition to treat these 66 as our sacred text. But from that point, what does that mean? Does that mean that these 66 have the “authority” or the SOLE authority to tell us how to live? No, I don’t think that. Why would I? The texts don’t tell us that. Some humans do, but I disagree with that part of the human tradition.

    And why do I disagree with that part of the human tradition? Because it is not biblical, nor is it rational and ultimately, I have no reason to think it, so why would I? And this, too, I can’t emphasize enough. Just because some believers in the past have treated the Bible in a manner that I find to be unbiblical and irrational, and sometimes even immoral, does not mean that ALL who love the Bible’s writings treat it that way.

    So, DO I treat the Bible as an “authoritative work…”? Well, depending on what you mean by that, No, I don’t. Why would I? If the Bible has not told me to do this, if reason does not support it, then on what rational basis would I treat it as “authoritative…”?

    3. On the other hand, within the pages of the bible, we find the teaching that “all scripture is inspired and good for training, teaching, correction…” I treat the Bible – as part of my human tradition – in THAT regard, just as that line describes. I think looking at these OT stories are very telling about the human tradition – it does not matter if the stories are literal history told in a modern style or not, the stories themselves DO bear witness to the possibilities and quirks – good and bad – of human nature. In that sense, these OT stories are useful for teaching and training us, helping us learn from the mistakes of our ancestors.

    I think that listening to the beauty and power of the moral and human lessons taught in the Bible – throughout its pages – can help guide us in wisdom and right living.

    Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

    How beautiful! How wise!

    Is this not the fast which I choose, to loosen the bonds of wickedness, to undo the bands of the yoke, and to let the oppressed go free, and break every yoke? Is it not to divide your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into the house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?

    How powerful!

    I love the Bible and strive to treat it on its own terms, NOT as a rule book where I ask the question, “Does God oppose suicide? Well, let’s see what the bible says…” but as a book of wisdom about the Way of Grace. Taken that way, it is a powerful, challenging and wonderful book.

    Z…

    Anyone who truly takes an objective look at the bible will see that it is certainly not without its errors.

    All books are, what of it? Does it make any claims to be without error? Factually, no.

    This is only a problem if you make something of the Bible that it is not. If you start claiming, “This is a Book WRITTEN BY GOD! Wholly perfect and without error…” then you have made the 66 something the collection itself does not claim about itself. Why would we treat it like that?

    On what basis?

    Z…

    Is who you are too wrapped up in the book that you could never see yourself as one who lives without it?

    I love the Bible, but could I live without it? Sure, people did for millenia. But it’s there, so I have no real reason to live without it, I just try to take it for what it’s worth – which I happen to think is a great deal, as long as you take it on its own terms and not make it into some sort of magic book, but I have no reason to do that, so why would I?

    Thanks for asking.

    ~Dan

  67. paynehollow says:

    John…

    Why is that unclear to you?

    It’s not unclear to me. Do you understand that, John? I think the text here is clear.

    Paul was living in a patriarchal world where women did not have equal rights to men. Paul was offering the opinion – his opinion – that in that context, women shouldn’t teach men.

    He was clearly not offering a universal rule for all times and places, why would he do that?

    And EVEN IF Paul was saying from his perspective as a human in the first century that “clearly” women should never be allowed to teach men in all time, that is not the same as saying it IS a rule for all time.

    I’m sure that, from the perspective of OT people in the Middle East, clearly there was no problem with selling your daughters into slavery, clearly there was no problem with polygamy, clearly there was no problem with stoning to death people who worked on Saturdays. We can see all this in the text of the Bible.

    Does that mean that these texts offer universal rules?

    Heaven forbid.

    So, clearly, I think these texts are easily enough understood. The problem is NOT in understanding what the text might have meant to these people, the problem is you want to lift a verse here or there and offer it as a proof that, “Therefore, God is opposed to behavior X and therefore, it is immoral…”

    You treat the Bible like a specialized rule book in that sense (in a way that you don’t treat other ancient texts or sacred texts) while others don’t approach the Bible that way.

    Why is that unclear to you, or is it?

    ~Dan

  68. But that’s just it Dan, you have a somewhat unique view of what the bible is.

    The vast majority of adherents place so much value in the bible, that they are (1) unwilling to consider it could possibly be wrong, (2) unwilling to accept any science since it was written that has been proven true and (3) willing to impose their beliefs on to others because of what they think the bible says.

    It’s easy to conclude that while we may cherry-pick some of the inspirational and feel-good stories out of the bible, it has clearly stunted the growth of human development.

  69. paynehollow says:

    Oh, I beg to differ.

    “Stunted the growth…”?

    Have the hospitals, homeless shelters, global clean water initiatives, peace work, charitable work, justice work done by those in the church stunted the growth of human development?

    Did Dorothy Day, Martin Luther King, Jr, Oscar Romero, St Francis of Assisi, the many Baptists and others who worked on the new idea of religious liberty… have these and countless other faith-inspired workers and works stunted the growth of humanity?

    I do not think so.

    Have their been those in all religions – and those without religion – done horrible things in human history? Absolutely. But we don’t write off atheism because of Stalin, we don’t write off Islam because of some few terrorists and we don’t write off all of Christianity because some have done bad in its name. We learn, we improve ourselves, we move on, we progress.

    That’s one of the beautiful things about the Bible – we can learn from the horrific mistakes done in stories we hear about in its pages.

    As to my take on the Bible being unique, no. I’m not alone in my views. You may not hear as much or as loudly from more progressive (or traditional, but not fundamentalist) types, but we’re out here in droves. Perhaps we have done a poor job, in the past, of not making our voices heard over the more fundamentalist types, but we’re trying to improve on that. Here I am, after all.

    Thanks for the thoughts.

    ~Dan

    • Dan, I just explained why it’s clear he wasn’t speaking through culture. He didn’t base it in the culture. He based it on the created order.

    • Rose colored glasses you wear, dear Dan.

      Good deeds may be done by those inspired by the bible, but the church itself and religious circles in general are slow to recognize what should be plain to see as right and wrong.

      These religious folks you list were all considered “activist” for making their voices heard against the oppressive attitudes towards women and minorities that we find rooted in the bible.

  70. This was a well written piece, John. Nice job.

  71. paynehollow says:

    Z, ALL people and organizations have a tendency to be slow to recognize what should be seen as right and wrong. It wasn’t churches only that failed to see the great moral wrong of slavery and, indeed, churches and church members played leading roles in ending slavery.

    And all progressive types fighting for positive change – whether in a religious group or outside it – are considered activist, rabble rousers and trouble makers by those in the status quo. This is not a uniquely religious problem, it seems to me. It is a human problem, one that we hear taught about in the pages of the Bible, ironically.

    Jesus, after all, was harassed, oppressed and eventually killed by a group effort between the religious powers-that-be and non-religious governmental types.

    The “oppressive attitudes” found in the bible are a reflection of the time period talked of in the Bible, and yet, at the same time, we find stories and teachings of relief against and push for change against those very oppressive attitudes that are described in the Bible.

    Do you know where Gandhi got his inspiration from for his model of non-violence (at least in part)? Jesus and his teachings. Same for King and others in non-violent fights against oppression.

    Do you have any evidence that the church – made up, after all, of mere fallible humans – is in any way worse in its mistakes than any other body of people? I rather doubt it.

    Now, given Jesus’ life and teaching, should we who follow him be better than any other body of people? One might be tempted to hope so, but I find that people are people, no matter their faith or lack thereof, complete with the features, flaws and failings common to humanity.

    I would hope that you could extend to Christians the same grace at least some of us can extend to those who are not believers in the same sense as we are.

    ~Dan

  72. paynehollow says:

    John…

    I just explained why it’s clear he wasn’t speaking through culture. He didn’t base it in the culture. He based it on the created order.

    The “created order” as a fact? As God told him? OR, the created order as he understood it, that’s it, correct? And are you arguing that Paul was not a product of his culture and times?

    If so, on what basis would you make such a claim?

    Again, clearly, plainly, to me, I believe I understand what is being written here and I don’t think you have it right because of some presumptions you take into the text that are not there in the text, but are a product (I would guess) of modernist, cultural chauvinism, presuming Paul would think like you do on this topic.

    But by all means, answer the question: On what basis would you make that claim (if you do)?

    ~Dan

    • More later — including the most explicit answer possible to your series of loaded questions about my opinion — but briefly, I wonder:

      Dan, how do you know that Paul’s patriarchal views are just his being “a product of his culture and times”? And how do you know that those are culturally conditioned but NOT his theism?

      It’s awfully convenient that the wisdom you say you find in the Bible lines up with your political disposition.

  73. paynehollow says:

    I said…

    ALL people and organizations have a tendency to be slow to recognize what should be seen as right and wrong.

    In defense of conservatism, let me note the following:

    Sometimes, being slow to “progress” is a good thing. We have rapidly embraced an automobile-dependency that, given damage to the environment, given the millions of deaths and many millions more of lives harmed by pollution, may or may not have been wise. It is entirely possible that we have been ultimately unwise in our embrace of industrialization and modernization… at least to some degree.

    The Amish model, I think, is a wise one. It is not one of a simple rejection of all things new. It is one of slow, deliberate consideration of change, realizing that rushes to change may not always lead to the good benefits we hoped for or that the change may have negative unintended consequences. So, at least to some degree, some amount of dispassionate, reasoned conservatism is, or can be, wise.

    It can be difficult for mere humans to balance the need to change and progress with the problems of irrational, unconsidered change. Always, in hindsight, it is easier to see the missteps, but not always so much right at the time.

    Just for what it’s worth.

    ~Dan

    • When I consider no-fault divorce, I think to myself, it’s had a dramatic effect on society, but not nearly as much as the Honda Civic: absentee fathers, unwed mothers in poverty and in a cycle of dependency on the government, and the most statistically significant predictor of a child growing up in a life of crime and poverty, none of these things compare to smog, rush hour, and being able to live in the suburbs.

      It’s why we should be slow to adapt new technologies but quick, as a matter of Social Justice, to declare that marriage is and ought to be an androgynous institution, and that we should treat people according to the gender that they declare themselves to be, no matter the clear-cut indicators of their chromosomes and genitals.

      Obviously the ideal society is one of rutting Luddites.

  74. paynehollow says:

    You left off the Nazis and Molechites, Bubba. Obviously, progressive types want rutting Nazis to eat their babies over a natural grill, not using an oven. Isn’t that what you’re saying?

    Who takes shit like that seriously? You are either just insane or plain evil, it appears.

    ~Dan

  75. Shame on your god
    Your arm-breaker
    Your life-taker
    Your freemarket witch
    Your sonofabitch
    god
    Damn your god!
    Who preaches war
    That corporate whore
    That distorts scripture
    So the rich can get richer
    On the backs of the poor
    Taking more and more and more…

    Shame on your god
    Your upside down
    Vulgar, hideous clown
    Your backwards, inside-out
    Bloodthirsty boyscout
    god
    And shame on you

    We had a perfectly good God
    Prince of Peace
    Making a feast
    For ALL God’s children
    Black, white, straight, gay
    Preparing the Way
    Good God! We had a Good God

    And you killed him

    You religious,
    You white washed tombs,
    You serpents,
    You blind guides,
    You gnat-straining, camel-swallowing, hellspawn-making
    Blind Fools

    Shame on you
    And shame on your god.

    — Paragon of goodness, sanity, and moderation Dan Trabue, writing a poem originally directed to “W and his spawn,” a poem he though was so nice, he posted it twice.

  76. paynehollow says:

    And comparing a compassionate support for self-determination to
    Nazism
    Molech child slaughter
    and hedonism

    is grace-full, got it.

    The difference here is, I was complaining about Bush KILLING OTHERS, against their will, innocent bystanders and citizens uninvolved with harming the US – killing tens of thousands of them against their will, violently, horrendously. Men, women and children.

    I, on the other hand, am talking about an individual who is dying having the right to choose when and how they die without interference from Big Brother.

    THAT is comparable to Nazism, Molech worship and hedonism, but Bush’s actually killing of others is cool with you.

    You may as well give up trying to demonize me with your silly comparisons, the facts are not on your side on this point.

    Let me know if and when you answer some of the questions pointing to the holes in your arguments.

    ~Dan

    • Do you really find overreacting to be an effective strategy?

    • It’s a good thing that there’s no possible way that a person could argue that, in supporting the legalization of abortion and euthanasia, Dan is cool with people’s “actually killing of others.”

      And it’s a good thing that abortion doesn’t obliterate a human being’s opportunities at self-determination before he even leaves the womb.

      Otherwise, we’d have to wonder about Dan’s reasoning skills and/or moral compass.

  77. paynehollow says:

    Ha! You so funny.

    ~Dan

  78. I apologize if this has already been mentioned, but I’m not going to wade through 200 comments.

    Abortion & Euthanasia (by this I mean Assisted Suicide & Assisted Death) are not comparable issues in either a legal or moral sense. When a terminally ill or suffering patient asks to die, death is a treatment of sorts. All medical and scientific means to reverse the disease or stop the suffering has failed, so to prevent additional suffering, the patient is allowed to die.

    Abortion, on the other hand, is ONLY a treatment if the pregnancy puts the life of the mother in immediate danger. Otherwise, it’s merely a matter of convenience for the mother and father. It is done for selfish reasons, certainly not out of empathy.

    Euthanasia is of course incompatible with Biblical morality. But so is being drunk. Are we going to criminalize that as well?

    Criminalizing abortion is not an example of legislating morality. Criminalizing euthanasia would be, in my view.

    • Have to disagree, Terrance. All law is legislating morality. The question is how much of it to legislate. Allowing one to die who is beyond saving, even if it is one’s self, is a far cry from actually putting another to death, even one’s own self in that same situation. I think the best move would be to outlaw it with minimal enforcement, just to maintain the immorality of the act. I wouldn’t want to personally be in a position of telling someone enduring extreme suffering how to proceed, but I wouldn’t want to give the impression that offing one’s self is ever moral or morally benign.

      • Marshall,

        I don’t think so. I hardly see the morality in prohibiting children from operating a lemonade stand without a permit. So, no, I don’t think “all law” is legislating morality.

        And I’ll tell ya, I hate the idea of legislating morality, too. Because, honestly, whose morality are we legislating? How about the morality of liberals who stupidly think that “No Guns Allowed” signs actually save lives? Or, the morality of anti-lifers who claim that laws prohibiting abortion are immoral because they “burden the advancement of women.” Etc.

        I also think laws that attempt to legislate morality, even laws we might agree with, fall short. We have, it occurs to me, more laws in the United States now than ever before. But I wouldn’t consider the U.S. or its citizenry to be models of moral decency. People need to change the way they think. People need to raise their children better. People need to take responsibility for their own actions. People need to get back in touch with God. What law would help? None. Our laws aren’t the problem; people are the problem.

        Now, regarding Assisted Suicide and Assisted Death. I guess my question is: How are we defining Assisted Death? Are we talking about pulling the plug on those in a coma? Or, are we talking about a doctor injecting a solution into a conscious, willing patient who is unable to do it himself? I may have written my previous comment a bit too hastily. I was fixating on the abortion issue more than anything. As you know, when the issue of abortion is discussed, I see red.

        So, let me clarify: I don’t like Assisted Suicide but I wouldn’t prohibit it. And if Assisted Death means pulling the plug on those in a coma, or killing those who are disabled simply because they’re disabled, then I reject Assisted Death.

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