There are no absolute rules of conduct, either in peace or war. Everything depends on the circumstances ~ Leon Trotsky
When a heart is cold as ice
You can’t melt it with advice
No one wants to listen to
A list of things they shouldn’t do
So I build a city on a hill
And I light a candle on the sill
Knowing you’ll be always knocking at the door
Oh God I just want to love on everyone
All I have is yours to give so let the people come ~ Learning to Be the Light by Neworldson
I am currently on a quest to read the entire Bible in 1 year. I’ve started this journey a few other times. Hopefully I will complete the trip this time. I am, however, currently in the book of Leviticus.
Oh my. I think this is where I stopped before. Not only because of all the minute details of each rule, but also because they are repetitive. My attentional deficits make it difficult for me to hear or read the same thing over and over again.
But, I shall prevail because there is a reason God wanted us to know about these times and these rules.
The two quotes above provide very disparate views of “rules.” One decides that there are no absolute rules. The other acknowledges that there ARE absolutes, however, just giving people a “list” to follow doesn’t really make an impact. LIVING one’s life according to the Word of God is to create a “light” to which people will naturally be drawn.
Recently Dr. Benjamin Carson spoke Truth in the context of Christian love by suggesting what our country’s leaders might do to improve our situation. Many applauded his words. Others condemned his speech as “rude” and “inappropriate to the setting.”
This inappropriate to the setting reminded me of a speech that Barack Obama gave in 2006. I guess the critics of Dr. Carson probably think this was OK.
On June 26, 2006 Barack Obama gave a Keynote Address at a gathering in Washington, D.C. (A Call to Renewal.) The entire address is worth reading, however, in the age of shortened attention spans there is only one segment that got plucked out and paraded in front of many Christians by many Progressives. The portion is as follows:
“And even if we did have only Christians within our borders, who’s Christianity would we teach in the schools? James Dobson’s, or Al Sharpton’s? Which passages of Scripture should guide our public policy? Should we go with Levitacus (sic), which suggests slavery is ok and that eating shellfish is abomination? How about Deuteronomy, which suggests stoning your child if he strays from the faith? Or should we just stick to the Sermon on the Mount – a passage so radical that it’s doubtful that our Defense Department would survive its application?
In my view, this shows a basic lack of understanding of the entire story shared in the Bible. It is interesting that the text shared at the link does not include at least one of his comments. The next comment after…”survive its application” was, “Some folks have not been reading their Bibles.” I think he might be one of those people. It is also noteworthy that the paragraph above was delivered in that deriding tone he uses so often.
Here is a video of that portion:
Obama goes on to say:
“This brings me to my second point. Democracy demands that the religiously motivated translate their concerns into universal, rather than religion-specific, values. It requires that their proposals be subject to argument, and amenable to reason. I may be opposed to abortion for religious reasons, but if I seek to pass a law banning the practice, I cannot simply point to the teachings of my church or evoke God’s will. I have to explain why abortion violates some principle that is accessible to people of all faiths, including those with no faith at all.
This may be difficult for those who believe in the inerrancy of the Bible, as many evangelicals do. But in a pluralistic democracy, we have no choice. Politics depends on our ability to persuade each other of common aims based on a common reality. It involves the compromise, the art of the possible. At some fundamental level, religion does not allow for compromise. It insists on the impossible. If God has spoken, then followers are expected to live up to God’s edicts, regardless of the consequences. To base one’s life on such uncompromising commitments may be sublime; to base our policy making on such commitments would be a dangerous thing.”
Religion does not allow for compromise? This brings to mind the fact that Marx believed that the abolition of religion, or the opiate of the masses, needed to be completed in order to bring about their “true happiness.” Which means the development of that Utopia Progressives believe can be achieved here on Earth. In other words, faith has to be destroyed if we are to ever get there.
Someone hasn’t been reading their Bible. For sure.
Obama also shared a letter from a supporter which reads in part:
“I sense that you have a strong sense of justice…and I also sense that you are a fair minded person with a high regard for reason…Whatever your convictions, if you truly believe that those who oppose abortion are all ideologues driven by perverse desires to inflict suffering on women, then you, in my judgment, are not fair-minded….You know that we enter times that are fraught with possibilities for good and for harm, times when we are struggling to make sense of a common polity in the context of plurality, when we are unsure of what grounds we have for making any claims that involve others…I do not ask at this point that you oppose abortion, only that you speak about this issue in fair-minded words.”
“I wrote back to the doctor and thanked him for his advice. The next day, I circulated the email to my staff and changed the language on my website to state in clear but simple terms my pro-choice position. And that night, before I went to bed, I said a prayer of my own – a prayer that I might extend the same presumption of good faith to others that the doctor had extended to me.
It is a prayer I still say for America today – a hope that we can live with one another in a way that reconciles the beliefs of each with the good of all. It’s a prayer worth praying, and a conversation worth having in this country in the months and years to come. Thank you.”
This sounds great. It sounds reasonable, however, we really need to consider the behavior of our President and his Administration. Fair-minded words are scarce. Fair-minded depictions of those who disagree with the Progressive world view are even more scarce.
Again, one MUST consider the influences in Obama’s life and attempt to understand his world view in order to put is words into context. As an Alinsky follower Obama subscribes to Alinsky’s views which includes:
“Truth was not only relative to Alinsky, it was irrelevant. Alinsky wrote, “An organizer working in and for an open society is in an ideological dilemma to begin with, he does not have a fixed truth – truth to him is relative and changing; everything to him is relative and changing. … To the extent that he is free from the shackles of dogma, he can respond to the realities of the widely different situations.”
The key words here are: “truth is relative and changing.”
There are beliefs and values God would have us not compromise. Truth is not relative nor is it changing.
Which brings me back to Leviticus. It is suggested that the “rules” God outlines for the people were rules that kept them safe from harm in a time when the more sophisticated methods of food storage were not yet developed. The rules about health issues were provided in a time when the practice of medicine was likewise not as developed. And, to understand how misleading it is to dismiss Christian beliefs based on taking the rules outlined in Leviticus out of context one only has to read “the rest of the story”–the New Testament.
God wants us to be happy and to live full and complete lives. He offers the basic 10 rules (Commandments) in order to guide us to that end. There is no compromise for these rules, because to compromise is to prevent us from living the lives God wants for us and ends up harming us all. In the reverse, to live as the “light” referred to in the song quoted above helps us all.
Laws established in our Constitutional Republic are ostensibly created because We the People believe that certain behaviors hurt us all. We want everyone to “play by the same rules.” This is something both Barack Obama and Michelle Obama have frequently stated, yet their behavior belies their words. That could be a result of the fact that in their world view the only absolute rule is that there are no absolute rules.
So what can we agree on? Stealing is fairly easy to understand as something harmful. Don’t steal and don’t covet are things most of us can agree upon (our current tax system notwithstanding….that’s another post.) However, the socialist/Marxist view that most Progressives subscribe to calls for the elimination of the concept of private property. If you eliminate the concept of private property how do you determine whether or not you are “stealing?”
The sanctity of life is something that most religions acknowledge. When we start to compromise on that concept we begin to slowly let go of that guiding rule and we slide into dark territory. I believe the destruction of the belief in the sanctity of human life leads our entire society into trouble. It’s not about denying someone a “choice.” It’s about respecting life.
Are there “easy” answers to the very complex situations this creates? No, but Christ did not tell us it would be “easy” to follow Him. He only promises that if we do we will be eternally happy that we did.