This is sort of a reblog. ColorStorm has a somewhat lighthearted post, Thought for the day, that raised a topic I thought worthy further exploration.
This cracks me up. Really busts my buttons.
People who do not believe one word of scripture, who pretend to lecture they who believe every word of it, as if the unbelievers are PhD’s in telling believers they are doing Christianity all wrong. Yikes.
They who know nothing of God’s laws, statutes, ordinances, covenants, precepts, edicts, judgments, commands, and most importantly grace………..sit in judgment of believers as if we are some type of monkey who does not know how to turn a leaf on a book. Strange I tell ya.
And I got news for you. The so-called doctors of the law……..to whom, and through whom the law was given, were a few doughnuts short in the box of understanding WHY the law was given in the first place.
Imagine a young punk who just learned the alphabet………now lecturing an English professor on the improper use of ending a sentence in a preposition. Ouch kid. You may want to put a few years of learning and context in your life before you strut your foolishness. (continued here)
In response to someone who does not believe in Christianity, I commented on the post. That commenter dragged “tolerance” into the discussion.
Here is the bulk of my comment.
Toleration is not the subject of this post. Before I quit my apostate ways and decided I had made a dumb mistake, I became a Conservative. When I took the time to listen to the Democrat Liberal news media, I often found myself torn between grimacing in disgust and laughter. For some reason the talking heads always felt more qualified than Conservatives to tell Conservatives what to do. If only Conservatives would do such and such they would be much better Conservatives. It’s silly! Any Conservative dumb enough to go to Democrat Liberals for advice is not a Conservative; he or she is a Democrat Liberal (or a RINO).
Similarly, no Christian in his right mind is going to go to an unbeliever WHO HAS REJECTED Christianity for advice on how to be a Christian. Because that person is not a Christian, he or she will not be filled with the Holy Spirit. That person has rejected Jesus and the Holy Spirit. So what would be the point? Without God’s help, we cannot understand. Until we ask for understanding in Jesus’ name, we cannot understand. We cannot be wise in the way that the Bible speaks of wisdom.
Are there people who have not heard of Jesus or read the Bible who are wise? Yes. Are some Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, and so forth wise? Are they capable of giving good advice? Yes and Yes. Will Jesus save some people who are not Christians? I think so. Jesus is God. People can know God without being Christians. Still, if one wants to be a Christian, it is best to go to someone who is a devout Christian with the gift of teaching. (from here)
When I was much younger, I earned a reputation as something of a know-it-all. If I had been a real know-it-all, I suppose I would have known better and kept my mouth shut, but I was full of myself and quite ready to give advice. After being ridiculed sufficiently, I reconsidered the matter. I decided to blog anonymously on the Internet. I also observed that the people that other people go to for advice wait to be asked.
The respect that comes with expertise requires study and patience. If we yearn to teach, we have to build the expertise. If we yearn to teach, we have to wait for people to recognize our expertise and ask to partake of it.
All will not recognize our expertise. All will not ask. If you wanted to be a Buddhist, would you go to a Catholic priest for instruction? If you wanted to be a physical therapist, would you go to a school that teaches people how to be a chiropractor. For better or worse, we seek the gifts we value from the people we respect.
Toleration is just learning to accept the fact that others have the right to make their own choices. We accept what is a lesser evil than tyranny. What is tyranny? We tyrannize our fellows when we arrogantly force them to accept our choices.
Today Empress Hillary Clinton issued an executive order directing her State Department to deny Christians entry into the dominions of the New World Empire. Sources say the application of a religious provocateur widely known as Apostle Paul for a visa to enter her domain prompted her to issue her executive order. The State Department cited the apostle’s writings as grounds for the denial. The apostle is a high-ranking leader of a radical atheist cult that denounces the worship of the gods, discriminates against gays, denies women equal rights, and opposes infanticide for birth control.
The Apostle Paul, previously known as Saul of Tarsus, is a follower of the founder of Christianity, Jesus of Nazareth. Pontius Pilate, Prefect of the Roman province of Judaea ordered Jesus crucified on March 29, 1991. Christians claimed that Jesus rose from the dead on March 31, 1991. Christians cite his supposed resurrection as proof Jesus was the Jewish Messiah. Sensibly calling that claim blasphemy Paul joined with those Jews that both Jewish and Roman authorities directed to stamp out the seditious cult.
After relentlessly prosecuting Christians for several years, Paul claims he experienced a vision while traveling to Damascus, Syria. Incredibly, Paul says he saw Jesus in this vision. Immediately afterwards Paul says he spent three years in the Arabian desert. What he did there is unknown, but he apparently spent that time undergoing indoctrination in the Christian ideology.
Since his desert experience Paul has preached the seditious teachings of Jesus throughout southern Europe. Paul has mislead thousands of previously loyal citizens to adopt his atheistic Christian beliefs.
Because rumors abound that Christians drink human blood and eat human flesh, authorities have repeatedly investigated Christian churches for engaging unauthorized human sacrifices. Thus far authorities have not confirmed any of these rumors. Nevertheless, Christians make no secret of their refusal to worship the empress and the Roman gods, their opposition to the gay lifestyle and pederasty, and their insistence all women should dress and behave modestly, including those engaged in temple worship. Because of its implications for population control, the empress is especially concerned by their opposition to infanticide for birth control. She considers this a direct threat to the stability of the empire. Therefore, the empress issued her executive order.
Piper always seems to have this idea that our authority and leadership must always be worthy, qualified, above us, and to some extent that is true, but consider marriage for example. One could simple declare one’s spouse unworthy and unqualified, but that kind of denies the hidden truth that you chose them. It takes some humility to see it, but who really is the one with poor judgment here? And if your own judgment is so flawed, should you really be pointing fingers at someone else? As the saying goes, “don’t be too critical of your husband or wife’s choices, you were one of them.” (from here)
Since quite ably attacks the faith-based matters in her post, I decided I would consider a more practical problem here. What is a qualified president?
What drives the qualifications we expect from our elected officials? If you were hiring an employee, how would you decide what qualifications that employee needs? Would you come up with a job description? Would you not your list the qualifications of your new employee based upon what you expect that employee to do?
So how should we come up with a job description for our president? Well, don’t we have this thing we call our constitution, The United States Constitution? Doesn’t that document describe the functions of our president?
Article II describes how we select our president and our president’s primary powers and responsibilities. Of course, whatever the president does generally requires money. Since Congress controls spending, that makes Congress the most powerful branch of government. That makes Article I, Section 8 important to the president’s job description. Article I, Section 8 lists the things that Congress has the power to make laws about, and as the head of the executive branch, the president is obligated to enforce those laws.
Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation:—”I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” (from Article 11, Section 1)
Effectively, the president of the United States should be someone we trust to take that oath and fulfill it. The man must be worthy of our trust and competent to execute the duties assigned to him by the Constitution. Is Donald Trump such a man? If not, why not? Before we select an employee, perhaps we need to qualify ourselves to select that employee.
Because we need them to be trustworthy, we require the president and all the officials of our government to take an oath. Are we trustworthy? Is it reasonable to expect people who are not trustworthy to select trustworthy people to lead them?
Because we need them to know what they are doing, we want the president and all the officials of our government to be competent people. Do we know what we are doing? Do we understand what our government is supposed to do? Is it reasonable to expect the incompetent to select competent people to lead them?
When we started this post we said we would focus on the practical problem of selecting a president. Nevertheless, because the Bible provides practical wisdom, here is a quote from it.
7 “Judge not, that you be not judged.2 For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.3 And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye?4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye?5 Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
6 “Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.
We get the leadership we deserve. So long as we do not ask our Lord to help us remove the planks in our own eyes we will not do a good job of judging the qualifications of the people we elect.
We will find the promises of candidates for public office more important than their character.
Instead of the law of the land, we will give preference to our egos and our pocketbooks.
If we let ourselves become foolish enough, we will become the dogs and the swine who trample the pearls of God’s wisdom and tear His people to pieces.
Should we be able to select the one true religion? I think so, but I don’t think it is just a matter of faith. I do, however, think making the choice requires reasoning we find difficult.
We must admit we need God, not an idol of our own making, but our Creator. That requires humility.
We must believe our reasoning is sufficient to know God and that God wants us to know Him. We need that belief to give us hope.
We must have the courage live by our choice. That’s why faith is required. To exercise the courage to live by the choice our reasoning dictates, we must have faith in God.
Most of all we must believe God loves us, and we can love Him.
Still, we make such a large variety of religious choices that that quote above from Heinlein seems to prove something, but what? I expect it shows how much we need God. Without our Creator’s help, we do not make good choices. We do not make good choices about much of anything.
That’s what makes America so remarkable. Ours has for the most part been a happy, productive, and prosperous land because for the most part Americans have made good choices, far from perfect, but generally good.
Why good choices? Consider that the Bible contains wisdom revealed by our Creator. Until we choose to read the Bible and strive to understand it, we cannot know how much our Maker loves us.
Americans once cherished the Bible. They actually read it.
Why did Americans care about the Bible. America is a product of the Protestant Reformation, the lessons from bloody wars in Europe, and the English Enlightenment. Our notions about classical liberalism and freedom of religion in particular come from those experiences.
The Protestant Reformation cracked the intercessory control of the Roman Catholic Church between man and God. Prior to the Reformation, most of Europe accepted the Catholic clergy’s claim to speak for God. Subsequent to the Reformation, many Protestants believed they need no intercessor except Jesus.
The Protestant Reformation resulted in the multiplication of Christian sects and violent disputes over articles of faith. Therefore, in addition to the usual excesses that set off European wars, men fought and persecuted each other over their religious differences
The Protestant Reformation also resulted in the opportunity for people to study the Bible in their own languages. In fact, we can attribute both the Protestant Reformation and the Enlightenment in particular to the invention of the printing press. When people studied the Bible, the Word of God, for themselves, they could not find a command from Christ Jesus to spread the Gospel by force. Instead, many agreed that Jesus commanded His disciples to forgo violence and love their enemies.
Who settled America? Some came to America for riches and glory, but more came just for the hope they could live as they chose. Pilgrims, Puritans, Catholics, Quakers and others came so they could practice their religious beliefs in peace. Others came to just avoid debtors prisons. Still, those who came were generally Christians, just different kinds of Christians. In the vast land of America, these different kinds Christians separated themselves into different communities, focused on their local governments, and experimented in new ways of governing.
Eventually, the American colonists tired of the rule of a faraway tyrannical king. Eventually, the American colonists decided that self-defense and the regulation of commerce required a federal government, but what kind of government? What would be the proper goals of an American government? To answer those questions, the American colonials considered the fruit of their experiments and turned to a political ideology we now call Classical Liberalism.
Classical liberalism is a political ideology that values the freedom of individuals — including the freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly, and markets — as well as limited government. (continued here)
Why a limited government that values individual freedom? Because they had diverse societies, the American colonials did not share exactly the same beliefs or worldview. That is, they had limited set of shared values. Therefore, particularly with respect to the Federal Government, the colonials thought it best to limited the scope of government powers. Even then, because they feared Federal powers would be abused, the colonials insisted upon a Bill of Rights.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Because we are are Christian nation, we have some shared values, but we also have huge differences. What is Christianity? Some people — not all — say Christianity is what the Bible says it is. However, the Bible is a large work. So even Christians who uphold the Bible as the inerrant Word of God emphasize different parts. Therefore, we have a problem we don’t know how to solve. Who has the wisdom to decide for everyone else what God would have us do? Hence, the First Amendment says religion is a matter the Federal Government should leave to the states and the people.
Because of the First Amendment, we now have something that prior to the rise of the United States as a world power was almost unheard of, a secular state. Unlike the rest of the world, Americans did not want the government to establish a religion or to interfere in the free exercise of religion (see Establishment of Religion and Free Exercise of Religion at heritage.org).
Unfortunately, the freedom of religion clause in the Constitution no longer works quite the way the framers of the Constitution intended. That’s because:
We no longer have a limited government. When the government has so much power, power mad politicians and the religious sects they represent find it tempting to impose their own beliefs. Currently, various manifestations of Human Secularism have combined to pose the greatest threat to religious freedom. Thus, the budget for health, education, and welfare programs has exploded, and Christians, even though the Bible says no such thing, are suppose to support health, education, and welfare programs because its what Jesus would do.
The 14th Amendment requires the application of the Bill of Rights to state governments. As originally envisioned, all the Bill of Rights did was keep the Federal Government from sticking its nose where it did not belong. The 14th Amendment, however, allows the Federal Government to impose “religious freedom” upon the states. That added complexity has made it possible for Human Secularists to twist the law. So now many insist we equate the free exercise of religion with freedom of worship. That is, to keep the freedom from religion people happy, we are supposed keep our religion to ourselves and let the state indoctrinate our children in various “isms” including Human Secularism. Then we are supposed to loudly proclaim we still live in the land of the free.
There is an old bit of wisdom any good doctor knows.
Do no harm. — (contracted form of the Hippocratic oath, from here)
When we try to engineer our society to “fix” it, we are effectively trying to heal other people (if our motives are good). The problem is that the operation of a society is quite complex, and we are not qualified to play God. Hence, we must respect the right of our fellow citizens to make decisions that more appropriately belong to them. That’s why for any people who want to remain free limited government is not optional.