Does faith in the personal God of Scripture make sense if we acknowledge that we do not have free will? This blog presupposes that we don’t have free will, but argues that far from being a source of anxiety or even a death sentence for faith, our lack of free will may actually be the central point of Scripture and essential to our inherent human dignity.
June 13, 2016 - Hate
said to his disciples:
“You have heard that it was said,
‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth’.
But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil.
When someone strikes you on your right cheek,
turn the other one to him as well.
theme that emerges time and time again throughout the Old Testament and the New
Testament is that the divine message will be rejected. We like
to think we are not susceptible to that impulse - that rejection of the divine
message is a thing of the past, or that it is a failing of the other side of
the political spectrum. Many have left
faith because they think it has nothing further to teach them.
passage is a rare moment where Jesus is not describing God’s morality, but is genuinely
giving us moral guidance. He is not
suggesting that we should allow violence to go unchecked. Rather, he is telling us to always stay strategic.
As we restrain the violent person, we shouldn’t
descend into hate. We should do what we
have to do to stop the violence, but not to retaliate or seek retribution. We should not demand an eye for an eye. We should always act with as much mercy and understanding
media now explodes in self-righteous rage with regularity. Nothing is left of political discourse except
divisiveness. We have elegant,
sophisticated rationales for our own positions, but make no attempt to understand
the positions of those with whom we disagree nor do we credit them with the slightest
intelligence or good will. Justice is totally
divorced from mercy. We descend into
hate with no self-consciousness at all – all while claiming to occupy the moral
high ground and insisting that others are just hypocrites.