JESUS NEVER GAVE THEM WHAT THEY WANTED — PART 1

peacecrossThe Presentation Of The Question

Background

Want to stir up some controversy? Bring up the subject of fools. Nobody wants to be judged. According to our own criteria, we want the right to judge others, and we do not want to be reminded that God will judge us. So it is that this post, WHY WOULD A MAN HANG HIMSELF? — PART 3C, stirred up some controversy.

john zande disagreed with the way I spotlighted one of his post in my blog. Therefore, he kept repeating a question.

john zande
February 18, 2015 at 5:00 am

Hi Tom, hope you’re well

I was deadly serious.

Can you name a single thing Jesus said which was genuinely new, original, or useful?

I look forward to hearing your answer.

Zande stated his conclusion as a question. Unless the answer was the one he wanted, he would not accept it. That’s why I replied with sarcasm of my own.

Citizen Tom
February 18, 2015 at 7:36 am

What a curious thing to say about the most influential man in history! Why do you think Jesus had so much effect on Western Civilization?

Was my answer correct? Well, my sarcasm did go over some people’s heads, but the same people also did not recognize Zande’s sarcasm.

Effectively, Zande had asked a loaded question, and I replied with what Zande no doubt considered a loaded question.

What made Zande’s question a loaded question? In his blog post (here), Zande provided his criteria for what he thinks would be genuinely new, original, or useful. Given his criteria — and his insistence that he would accept no other answer — the only answer that would have satisfied Zande was “NO.”

Since I refused to answer Zande question as he wished, he commenced to spam my blog with nonsense comments. So I kicked him off my blog (WHY I BANNED TWO TROLLS FROM CITIZEN TOM).

The Question Itself

There are two ways to consider Zande’s question.

  • The first way to look at Zande’s question is in the context he provided for it.
  • The second way to consider Zande’s question is consider the question apart from him.

When I first saw Zande’s post, I considered the question both ways.  The question itself is interesting. It is what Zande did to it that is an abomination. So let’s set Zande handiwork aside and look at the question itself.

Can you name a single thing Jesus said which was genuinely new, original, or useful?

This question actually deserves some thought. We have to consider.

  1. What did Jesus do.
  2. Why did He do it.
  3. What was the result.
  4. Why is that result important.

To Be Continued: Suggestions from readers are welcome.

Other Views

  • New, Original or Useful (level-head.livejournal.com) – In addition to taking issue with Zande’s intransigence,  Keith DeHavelle provides his own answer to the subject question of this post. Even though Keith is a non-Theist, his analysis is relatively sympathetic towards Christianity.
  • A Fair Question (amusingnonsense.wordpress.com) –  siriusbizinus, on the other hand, calls himself an Atheist. Yet unlike Zande, he conceded that Jesus accomplished something useful. In fact, I suspect he is the one who convinced Zande that he made a mistake. That is, Zande now thinks it a mistake that he included the word “useful” in his question (see Keith’s post).
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WHY I BANNED TWO TROLLS FROM CITIZEN TOM

trollIntroduction

Why write this? Some things we have to explain. If we don’t, others will infer explanations that bear no relation to the truth.

Nevertheless, I suppose some people will now get after me for calling john zande and Arkenaten trolls, but we call people who cheat on their spouses adulterers, people who commit fraud con men, people who steal thieves, people who kill in malice murderers, people who…….. If we do that then what is wrong with calling someone who harasses bloggers on the Internet a troll?

What is an Internet troll? Here is one definition.

An Internet troll is someone who posts offensive, controversial, or divisive material on an Internet community. Trolls are an unfortunately common occurrence on many communities across the Internet, and there are various steps which can be taken to combat them. If you are currently struggling with an Internet troll, the best thing to do is to walk away, since trolls feed on attention, and they will usually disappear if they are ignored.  (continued here)

Since I have been blogging for awhile, I had experienced a troll, just one. Since he was a nasty fellow, I wrote about the subject.

  • INFESTED WITH AN INTERNET TROLL? – When I wrote this the troll decided to contribute, of course. He was flattered.
  • TROLLING THE “TROLL” – Nevertheless, even though I had had that one infestation, I decided it best not to call too many people trolls.
  • GRACE, TRUTH, AND INTERNET TROLLS – This I wrote years latter when someone wrote asked me to link to their website. There was nothing special in the invitation, but I tried to make the reply worth posting.

So why, after all these years, have I decided to identify two more people as trolls. I do so because that is what the data indicates.

Arkenaten

For those whose sympathies are with the perpetrators, Arkenaten was my first victim. I have gotten 62 comments from this habitual scorner since January 5, 2015. Other than scorning Christians and calling Christians and Christianity fraudulent, what was Arkenaten’s most annoying habit? He would demand EVIDENCE!  Of course, he did not accept the validity of the evidence that anyone provided, and he felt no inclination to explain or defend his own beliefs. Instead of being responsive, obviously intending to be still more annoying, he feigned ignorance and questioned his questioner.

Since being obnoxious is not crime and and no one had to dialog with Arkenaten if they did not want to, I left well enough alone. I reasoned that even a bad example can serve a purpose.

Unfortunately, two comments (immediately deleted) went over the line.

  • Arkenaten referred to Jesus by the word we use for a child born out of wedlock.
  • Arkenaten called a book of the Bible vile twaddle.

Since no one’s blog should exist merely to serve as an object of amusement for someone of Arkenaten’s ilk, his comments now go into the spam queue. Thus, I wrote the following comment.

Citizen Tom
February 22, 2015 at 8:32 pm

@Arkenaten,
You are a time waster, pretending ignorance.

You are also rude, and you have no respect for the rights of others. If you want to insult the Bible and Jesus — if you want to make a general pest of yourself — I will treat you as a pest.

Further comments from you are going into the spam queue. No apologies. No regrets.

Anyway, if you insist upon judging for yourself just google the most recent blog posts.

Arkenaten site:citizentom.com

john zande

John Zande is a troll of a more deliberate and thoughtful nature.  Instead of being openly scornful, Zande is committed or steadfast. He carefully produces “evidence” and “facts” that he uses deceitfully to con the gullible.

I first ran into Zande at ColorStorm (great blog, btw) on a post called Count them! I replied to some of Zande’s malarkey. Complaining that ColorStorm was censoring him, Zande left the first of his 90 comments at this post, CONVENTION OF THE STATES SUFFERS A SETBACK IN VIRGINIA. Zande’s comment had nothing whatsoever to do with the post.

Eventually, I wrote a post that focused on Zande’s behavior, IF YOU GIVE A MAN ENOUGH ROPE, HE’LL HANG HIMSELF. As I expected, that did not especially bother Zande. He was happy to be the center of attention. What set Zande off is the fact I posted some of the material from his website in WHY WOULD A MAN HANG HIMSELF? — PART 3C. That he claimed gave him some kind of special right.

Consider this comment carefully.

john zande
February 21, 2015 at 10:07 pm

Hi Tom

You do confuse me… often.

My ego? May I remind you, you posted a hunk of my work, and when I challenged you on it, you started your evasive song and dance. After 82 comments, I think I’m well within my rights to say what I have just said:

82 comments I see, a great majority connected to me and my rather simple question, and not one of you have been able to name a single new or original or marginally useful thing said or done by Jesus.

Astonishing!

Please, I would suggest all people here calling themselves “Christians” meditate on this revelation you have inadvertently led yourselves to…

Now, by all means, if you finally want to actually confront the question, which is only presented here because you posted my work, then do so… I’d be tremendously interested to hear your answer.

Over to you… Or are we going to go for 100 comments?

Latter, Zande raised the ante to 200 comments.

What about Zande’s question? Multiple people answered it. Zande just refused to accept any answer except the one he wanted.

When somebody is playing fast and loose with facts and evidence, I have no obligation to let them post their claptrap on my blog. That is especially true when they have as much as told me they are spamming. Therefore, I left this note for Zande.

Citizen Tom
February 23, 2015 at 12:08 am

John

Since you are behaving like a troll, I have decided your comments should be directed to the spam queue.

1. If someone cares to read through your comments and find those that are pertinent, they will find you have threatened to plague this blog until I answer your ridiculous question. As many have already pointed out, your question assumes a false premise. Therefore, unless I choose to give you the stupid answer you demand, I cannot answer your question as you have demanded that I answer it.

2. Multiple commenters have established that you use “facts” deceitfully

3. You consider it cute not to reply to straight-forward questions from other commenters, and yet you harass others with your question.

Note that I never misrepresented anything Zande had written in his blog, and Zande never said that I did. When he posted his garbage on my website, I just used material from his own blog to discredit him.

Will everyone think my decision to keep these two people off my blog appropriate? No, but only a fool of yet another kind tries to please everyone.

Again, if you insist upon judging for yourself just google the most recent blog posts.

“john zande” site:citizentom.com

Frankly, if you insist upon understanding Zande’s character, I think it would be easier just to visit his website, not that I recommend it. Let’s make that perfectly clear.  I don’t suggest visiting Zande’s website. I think the time would be better spent in the Bible.

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WHAT CAN I DO?

United StatesI am just one guy. I am not very important. Yet when I look at the state of my country, I wonder what I can do.  Fortunately, I can look into the past — into the Bible — and see what wiser men have done before.

Joshua 24:14-15 New King James Version (NKJV)

14 “Now therefore, fear the Lord, serve Him in sincerity and in truth, and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the River and in Egypt. Serve the Lord! 15 And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

Joshua 24 is the last chapter in the Book of Joshua. The Book of Joshua tells us how Joshua led the Hebrews into the Promised Land and conquered. Now Joshua has grown old, but he has one thing left to do. He calls the People together. He reviews their history, and he asks them to reaffirm their loyalty to the Lord. And the people renew their covenant with the Lord. After that, the Bible tells us that Joshua and Eleazar (the priest) died.

Even though Joshua had served as their war leader, he knew from experience he could not make the people love God. At best, Joshua could only influence his own house. When I think about that, I am forced reconsider my own limitations. I have only a trifling ability to influence the world about me. Even on this small planet, a tiny part of creation, mine is a small influence. Yet the end of his life, Joshua, someone powerful enough to call together all the tribes of Israel, claimed no more influence than I might have.

But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

If we can set a good example for our spouse and teach our children to serve the Lord, we may not save the world, but we can help to save the souls of the people most important to us.

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ANSWERING FOLLY: WHO IS A FOOL? — PART 2

James 3-13This post is the second in a series. For a list of posts in this series, please visit ANSWERING FOLLY: INTRODUCING THE TOPIC — PART 1.

The Purpose Of This Post

What is the point of this post? Supposedly, we intend to use the Bible to identify who among us are fools. In fact, the Bible does have much to say about fools and foolishness. If we search the New King James Version of the Bible for “fool,” we will get 196 hits. Those hits will, of course, include variations of the word such as foolish and fools. However, the word “wise” and variations occurs 220 times, and the word “wisdom” occurs 231 times. That’s because the Bible exists to teach us about wisdom, not how to be fools.

What does it mean to be wise? Consider how Proverbs begins.

Proverbs 1:1-7 New King James Version (NKJV)

The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel:

To know wisdom and instruction,
To perceive the words of understanding,
To receive the instruction of wisdom,
Justice, judgment, and equity;
To give prudence to the simple,
To the young man knowledge and discretion—
A wise man will hear and increase learning,
And a man of understanding will attain wise counsel,
To understand a proverb and an enigma,
The words of the wise and their riddles.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,
But fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Note that ending. Fools despise wisdom and instruction. Foolishness is not due to ignorance; it rises out of the rejection of wisdom. To be wise must seek wisdom.

Consider how Ecclesiastes ends.

Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 New King James Version (NKJV)

13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter:

Fear God and keep His commandments,
For this is man’s all.
14 For God will bring every work into judgment,
Including every secret thing,
Whether good or evil.

The Bible calls King Solomon, the author of Ecclesiastes, the wisest man who ever lived. Ecclesiastes tells us tells of Solomon’s search for happiness of all the things he tried. As an old man, he wrote Ecclesiastes and concluded the matter. As wise as he was, Solomon did many foolish things — until he finally recognized the need to fear God and keep His commandments.

What Solomon’s experience suggests is that the Bible doesn’t necessarily exist to tell us who is a fool; it exists to help us avoid foolishness and being a fool. Thus, Solomon wrote Ecclesiastes. Instead of repeating his experiences, he wanted to encourage people to learn from his experiences.

Does that mean we should not identify and deal with fools? No.

Considering Other Views

Bob Deffinbaugh‘s View @ Bible.org

Matthew 5:22 cautions us against calling our brother a fool.

To call a brother a fool is to declare him to be worthless. If a man is but a fool, a blight on society, it would be better for all if he were dead. To conclude that one is worthless, then, is to come to the conclusion that the world would best be rid of him, which is but one short step from murder. Our Lord did not condemn the assessment of a person’s character, but the assassination of one’s character. (from here)

In his exposition of Proverbs 26:1-11 the author observes that:

  • TO ASSOCIATE WITH FOOLS IS BOTH UNWISE AND UNPLEASANT.
  • TO EMPLOY A FOOL IS A TRAGIC MISTAKE.
  • FOOLISHNESS IS INHERENT IN CHILDREN AND THEREFORE PARENTS MUST KNOW HOW TO DEAL WITH FOLLY WHEN IT OCCURS.
  • FOOLS MUST BE DEALT WITH DIFFERENTLY THAN THOSE WHO ARE WISE.

Here are the problems with a fool.

  • THE FOOL IS UNRIGHTEOUS.
  • THE FOOL IS UNWISE.
  • THE FOOL IS UNREALISTIC.
  • THE FOOL IS UNDISCIPLINED.
  • THE FOOL IS UNRELIABLE.
  • THE FOOL IS UNTEACHABLE.
  • THE FOOL IS UNPLEASANT, UNLIKED, AND UNDESIRABLE.

Quoting from multiple books in the Bible, but focusing on Proverbs, the author makes it clear that we must distinguish between the wise and the foolish.

How does the Bible describe a fool? @ GotQuestions.org

What is the ultimate fool?

The ultimate description of a fool is one who “says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ They are corrupt, and their ways are vile; there is no one who does good” (Psalm 14:1;53:1). Although fools can choose to become wise by heeding wise counsel and applying it (Proverbs 8:5;21:11), the Bible warns against associating with fools (Proverbs 14:7).Proverbs 13:20says, “Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.”(from here)

Nevertheless, we should not casually call someone a fool.

There is an important distinction between the biblical definition of a fool and the word Jesus used (raca) in Matthew 5:22when He forbade calling a Christian brother a “fool.” The term raca, spoken from a heart of contempt, implied utter worthlessness. Jesus was not saying that we cannot call the choices of another foolish. But to call someone “raca” was saying that this person was beyond the reach of God and therefore condemned forever. To say, “You fool!” to a brother or sister in that day was the equivalent of saying, “Damn you!” to someone today. We do not have the power or the right to condemn anyone to hell. (from here)

Can we call someone a fool or not? @ CARM.org

Instead of describing a fool, this article focuses on whether or not it is ever appropriate to call someone a fool.

When Jesus said in Matthew 5:22 that you should not call anyone a fool, contextually He was speaking of those who were unrighteously angry.  That is why Jesus mentions anger in this verse.  There is a righteous anger which is not sinful (Eph. 4:26 – “Be angry and do not sin . . .” ), as well as unrighteous anger that is sinful (James 1:20  – “for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God”).  When God is angry with someone, He is always righteous in His anger.  Jesus, being God in flesh (John 1:1,14; 20:28; Col. 2:9), can righteously be angry with people and pronounce upon them the foolishness of their deeds–which He did (Matt. 23:17).  Also, undoubtedly, Jesus knew Psalm 14:1 which says, “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God’ . . .” Jesus didn’t forget the well known verse, and God is not wrong for calling someone a fool, especially when it is true. (from here)

What are five types of fools?Institute in Basic Life Principles

This article references Bible verses to describe different types of fools.

  • The Simple Fool: The simple fool opens his mind to any passing thought and opens his arms to any passing stranger. In other words, he lacks discernment. He has an over-simplified view of life and fails to recognize the cause-and-effect sequences that affect every area of life. (See Proverbs 22:3.)
  • The Silly Fool: A silly fool believes that his own way of thinking is right (see Proverbs 12:15), so much so that he reacts to instruction when it is offered: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools [’eviyl] despise wisdom and instruction” (Proverbs 1:7; see also Proverbs 10:21).
  • The Sensual Fool: The sensual fool’s focus is on that which brings him immediate pleasure. He glories in that of which he should be ashamed.“It is as sport to a fool [kecîyl] to do mischief … ” (Proverbs 10:23; see also Proverbs 13:19–20).
  • The Scorning Fool: This type of fool not only has rejected truth; he also has embraced that which is abominable to God. Psalm 1:1 describes the progression of foolishness, referring to a man who first walks “in the counsel of the ungodly,” then stands “in the way of sinners,” and finally sits “in the seat of the scornful [lûwts].”
  • The Steadfast Fool: A steadfast fool totally rejects God and His ways. “The fool [nâbâl] hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good”(Psalm 14:1). This type of fool is self-confident and close-minded. He is his own god, freely gratifying his lower nature. It is his goal to draw as many others as possible into his evil ways.

The list of the different types of fools looks correct. However, there appears to be some disagreement (see here, here, and here). Since I cannot read the Bible in the languages in which it was originally written, that’s a technical dispute beyond my competence.

What Should We Conclude?

Of course we should believe in God. At least that is what God Himself indicated when he described Job to Satan with these words.

Job 1:8 New King James Version (NKJV)

Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?”

Nevertheless, it seems that by Biblical standards someone can disbelieve in God and still not be a fool. Consider what Psalm 14:1 says.

Psalm 14:1 New King James Version (NKJV)

There is no God.”
They are corrupt,
They have done abominable works,
There is none who does good.

In addition to disbelief in God, to be a fool a man must do what is wrong. Therefore, if an Atheist or an Agnostic is not committing abominable works, just because they say they don’t believe in God does not give us sufficient cause to berate them.  If they are willing to listen, we can speak of God to such people, but whether they listen or not there is still no point in treating who behave well as if they do not.

More On The Definition Of A Fool

Modern Examples Of Foolishness

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ANSWERING FOLLY: INTRODUCING THE TOPIC — PART 1

humor.pngIn the last series, WHY WOULD A MAN HANG HIMSELF?, we got into the subject what the Bible says about answering the folly of fools. However, that was not the subject of the post. In this series we will consider how the Bible describes fools and how we should answer them.

Why should we take up this topic? We have entered difficult times, times when the worst kind of foolishness is on the increase.

  • Privacy is becoming more and more difficult. Yet how this problem is growing is quite peculiar.  In the past, people spent their entire life in a small villages, and everyone knew everyone else’s business. Yet these people were family and friends. Now our records are online, and strangers can learn about our most personal concerns. With drones and cameras multiplying, at any moment someone will soon be able to learn of our whereabouts and what we are doing. And our government is one of the culprits.
  • Our world is growing more unstable. Large and powerful governments, powerful even relative to our own, are building up the military forces. Some, like Russia, have already attacked their smaller neighbors.
  • Special interest groups increasingly use our own government to stick their noses into other people’s business. These, supposedly in the public interest, bully and rob their fellow citizens.
  • And so forth.

To answer fools, people who will not live and let live, we need to understand just what makes one a fool.  Then, to avoid appearing foolish ourselves, we need to understand how we are suppose to answer and debate such people. If need be, we need to know when to fight a fool.

Future Topics

  • Answering Folly: Who Is A Fool?  – February 21, 2015
  • Answering Folly: When And How Do We Debate A Fool?
  • Answering Folly: Declining Moral Standards
  • Answering Folly: The Corporate Mass Media
  • Answering Folly: Public Education
  • Answering Folly: Socialism
  • Answering Folly: Illegal Immigration
  • Answering Folly: Global Warming
  • Answering Folly: Pacifism
  • Answering Folly: Bible Bashing

Author’s Note

I begin this series not claiming to have all the answers. Suggestions and comments are welcome. However, I believe the topic is important and people want to discuss it.

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