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dmitchell
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 4:58 am    Post subject: On loving your enemies Reply with quote

It's long but it doesn't read long.

MLK, Jr wrote:
Let us be practical and ask the question. How do we love our enemies?

First, we must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. It is impossible even to begin the act of loving one's enemies without the prior acceptance of the necessity, over and over again, of forgiving those who inflict evil and injury upon us. It is also necessary to realize that the forgiving act must always be initiated by the person who has been wronged, the victim of some great hurt, the recipient of some tortuous injustice, the absorber of some terrible act of oppression. The wrongdoer may request forgiveness. He may come to himself, and, like the prodigal son, move up some dusty road, his heart palpitating with the desire for forgiveness. But only the injured neighbor, the loving father back home, can really pour out the warm waters of forgiveness.

Forgiveness does not mean ignoring what has been done or putting a false label on an evil act. It means, rather, that the evil act no longer remains as a barrier to the relationship. Forgiveness is a catalyst creating the atmosphere necessary for a fresh start and a new beginning. It is the lifting of a burden or the canceling of a debt. The words "I will forgive you, but I'll never forget what you've done" never explain the real nature of forgiveness. Certainly one can never forget, if that means erasing it totally from his mind. But when we forgive, we forget in the sense that the evil deed is no longer a mental block impeding a new relationship. Likewise, we can never say, "I will forgive you, but I won't have anything further to do with you." Forgiveness means reconciliation, a coming together again.

Without this, no man can love his enemies. The degree to which we are able to forgive determines the degree to which we are able to love our enemies.

Second, we must recognize that the evil deed of the enemy-neighbor, the thing that hurts, never quite expresses all that he is. An element of goodness may be found even in our worst enemy. Each of us has something of a schizophrenic personality, tragically divided against ourselves. A persistent civil war rages within all of our lives. Something within us causes us to lament with Ovid, the Latin poet, "I see and approve the better things, but follow worse," or to agree with Plato that human personality is like a charioteer having two headstrong horses, each wanting to go in a different direction, or to repeat with the Apostle Paul, "The good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do."

This simply means that there is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies. When we look beneath the surface, beneath. the impulsive evil deed, we see within our enemy-neighbor a measure of goodness and know that the viciousness and evilness of his acts are not quite representative of all that he is. We see him in a new light. We recognize that his hate grows out of fear, pride, ignorance, prejudice, and misunderstanding, but in spite of this, we know God's image is ineffably etched in being. Then we love our enemies by realizing that they are not totally bad and that they are not beyond the reach of God's redemptive love.

Third, we must not seek to defeat or humiliate the enemy but to win his friendship and understanding. At times we are able to humiliate our worst enemy. Inevitably, his weak moments come and we are able to thrust in his side the spear of defeat. But this we must not do. Every word and deed must contribute to an understanding with the enemy and release those vast reservoirs of goodwill which have been blocked by impenetrable walls of hate.

Let us move now from the practical how to the theoretical why: Why should we love our enemies? The first reason is fairly obvious. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multi# plies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction.

So when Jesus says "Love your enemies," he is setting forth a profound and ultimately inescapable admonition. Have we not come to such an impasse in the modern world that we must love our enemies-or else? The chain reaction of evil-hate begetting hate, wars producing more wars-must be broken, or we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation.

Another reason why we must love our enemies is that hate scars the soul and distorts the personality. Mindful that hate is an evil and dangerous force, we too often think of what it does to the person hated. This is understandable, for hate brings irreparable damage to its victims. We have seen its ugly consequences in the ignominious deaths brought to six million Jews by hate-obsessed madman named Hitler, in the unspeakable violence inflicted upon Negroes by bloodthirsty mobs, in the dark horrors of war, and in the terrible indignities and injustices perpetrated against millions of God's children by unconscionable oppressors.

But there is another side which we must never overlook. Hate is just as injurious to the person who hates. Like an unchecked cancer, hate corrodes the personality and eats away its vital unity. Hate destroys a man's sense of values and his objectivity. It causes him to describe the beautiful as ugly and the ugly as beautiful, and to confuse the true with the false and the false with the true.

A third reason why we should love our enemies is that love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend. We never get rid of an enemy by meeting hate with hate; we get rid of an enemy by getting rid of enmity. By its very nature, hate destroys and tears down; by its very nature, love creates and builds up. Love transforms with redemptive power.

The relevance of what I have said to the crisis in race relations should be readily apparent. There will be no permanent solution to the, race problem until oppressed men develop the capacity to love their enemies. The darkness of racial injustice will be dispelled only by the light of forgiving love. For more than three centuries American Negroes have been battered by the iron rod of oppression, frustrated by day and bewildered by night by unbearable injustice and burdened with the ugly weight of discrimination. Forced to live with these shameful conditions, we are tempted to become bitter and to retaliate with a corresponding hate. But if this happens, the new order we seek will be little more than a duplicate of the old order. We must in strength and humility meet hate with love.

My friends, we have followed the so-called practical way for too long a time now, and it has led inexorably to deeper confusion and chaos. Time is cluttered with the wreckage of communities which surrendered to hatred and violence. For the salvation of our nation and the salvation of mankind, we must follow another way.

While abhorring segregation, we shall love the segregationist. This is the only way to create the beloved community.

To our most bitter opponents we say: "We shall match your capacity to inflict suffering by our capacity to endure suffering. We shall meet your physical force with soul force. Do to us what you will, and we shall continue to love you. We cannot in all good conscience obey your unjust laws because noncooperation with evil is as much a moral obligation as is cooperation with good. Throw us in jail and we shall still love you. Bomb our homes and threaten our children, and we shall still love you. Send your hooded perpetrators of violence into our community at the midnight hour and beat us and leave us half dead, and we shall still love you. But be ye assured that we will wear you down by our capacity to suffer. One day we shall win freedom but not only for ourselves. We shall so appeal to your heart and conscience that we shall win you in the process and our victory will be a double victory."

So beautiful it almost makes you want to be a Christian.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 6:10 am    Post subject: Re: On loving your enemies Reply with quote

dmitchell wrote:
So beautiful it almost makes you want to be a Christian.


++

Moral clarity is, indeed, a beautiful thing.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 8:40 am    Post subject: Re: On loving your enemies Reply with quote

dmitchell wrote:
So beautiful it almost makes you want to be a Christian.


I liked Conan version of it more. :lol:
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2013 4:24 am    Post subject: Re: On loving your enemies Reply with quote

Muso wrote:
dmitchell wrote:
So beautiful it almost makes you want to be a Christian.


++

Moral clarity is, indeed, a beautiful thing.
I don't know if it is beautiful or not, but I know it doesn't make me any more interested in joining a cult.
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2013 5:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You don't need to be a Christian. Much of strength comes from arguments that are true regardless of what any religion says.
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 31, 2013 11:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't really agree with "loving your enemy" (I reserve the word "love" for a small group of people). But the forgiveness part is powerful.
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2013 12:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's pretty fucked up for a vegetable person. Love is what it's all about, dude.
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2013 12:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

BoneKracker wrote:
That's pretty fucked up for a vegetable person. Love is what it's all about, dude.


simply put, not kill != love. Otherwise, isn't the world in trouble?
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2013 3:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

juniper wrote:
BoneKracker wrote:
That's pretty fucked up for a vegetable person. Love is what it's all about, dude.


simply put, not kill != love. Otherwise, isn't the world in trouble?

Being a vegetable person isn't about !(kill), there is an intent underlying that behavior. Every time you eat a carrot you're killing. What are you, some kind of a failed Hindu who doesn't really believe, but still lives by the habits your parents forced on you, or do you just do it because you misguidedly believe it to be healthy? :P
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2013 3:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

BoneKracker wrote:
juniper wrote:
BoneKracker wrote:
That's pretty fucked up for a vegetable person. Love is what it's all about, dude.


simply put, not kill != love. Otherwise, isn't the world in trouble?

Being a vegetable person isn't about !(kill), there is an intent underlying that behavior. Every time you eat a carrot you're killing. What are you, some kind of a failed Hindu who doesn't really believe, but still lives by the habits your parents forced on you, or do you just do it because you misguidedly believe it to be healthy? :P


habit is one factor. As to your last point, vegetarians cut heart risk by 32%. of course, that isn't the claim that a vegetarian diet is healthier, but that vegetarians are healthier.
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2013 4:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

juniper wrote:
BoneKracker wrote:
juniper wrote:
BoneKracker wrote:
That's pretty fucked up for a vegetable person. Love is what it's all about, dude.


simply put, not kill != love. Otherwise, isn't the world in trouble?

Being a vegetable person isn't about !(kill), there is an intent underlying that behavior. Every time you eat a carrot you're killing. What are you, some kind of a failed Hindu who doesn't really believe, but still lives by the habits your parents forced on you, or do you just do it because you misguidedly believe it to be healthy? :P


habit is one factor. As to your last point, vegetarians cut heart risk by 32%. of course, that isn't the claim that a vegetarian diet is healthier, but that vegetarians are healthier.

It's a claim that vegetarians have lower heart risk. You forgot to talk about killing and love.
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2013 5:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Second, we must recognize that the evil deed of the enemy-neighbor, the thing that hurts, never quite expresses all that he is. An element of goodness may be found even in our worst enemy. Each of us has something of a schizophrenic personality, tragically divided against ourselves. A persistent civil war rages within all of our lives. Something within us causes us to lament with Ovid, the Latin poet, "I see and approve the better things, but follow worse," or to agree with Plato that human personality is like a charioteer having two headstrong horses, each wanting to go in a different direction, or to repeat with the Apostle Paul, "The good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do."



There is some good also in vegetarians, they kill carrots sprouts and other vegetables, but only to survive .... they don't kill animals, but most of them accept that animals are enslaved to produce eggs and milk, and killed once they reach menopause, what happens to males is unknown but if they are killed as foetuses is probably ok ...

Quote:
This simply means that there is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies. When we look beneath the surface, beneath. the impulsive evil deed, we see within our enemy-neighbor a measure of goodness and know that the viciousness and evilness of his acts are not quite representative of all that he is. We see him in a new light. We recognize that his hate grows out of fear, pride, ignorance, prejudice, and misunderstanding, but in spite of this, we know God's image is ineffably etched in being. Then we love our enemies by realizing that they are not totally bad and that they are not beyond the reach of God's redemptive love.


They can be redempted ....
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2013 7:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Religion, and this "brotherly love" collectivist kind of thinking right along with it, is the opiate of the masses. "Turn the other cheek" is a good way for the helpless to experience a degree of peace of mind, and it helps prevent the very common phenomenon of cyclically escalating ill will and/or violence.

However, the pragmatic reality is that most people are not running around constantly in a brotherly love frame of mind, and it's almost always better for you prevent your face being slapped. Unless it's a person who is never going to interact with you again, and especially if it's not the first time this person has tried to slap you or others, then it's probably not a bad idea to proactively prevent future slapping as well, and such behavioral modification is most effective when it includes both positive and negative reinforcement.

Collectivists like to pat themselves on the back for having a philosophy they like to pretend is rooted in brotherly love, tolerance, and forgiveness. In reality, they are the most violent people on Earth. Not only will their authoritarianism render you helpless to prevent your face being slapped, but they'll tell you it's good for you. Then, if anybody slaps back, they'll harangue them as a mob, label them, forcibly subject them to verbal, economic, and psychological abuse, socially ostracize them, and effectively suffocate them with a Kafkaesque pillow that on a surface level doesn't violate their warped, collectivist morality.

It's pretty easy for collectivists to twist love into something that's got nothing to do with it. Peace and love, Brothers.
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 02, 2013 10:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

BoneKracker wrote:
Religion, and this "brotherly love" collectivist kind of thinking right along with it, is the opiate of the masses. "Turn the other cheek" is a good way for the helpless to experience a degree of peace of mind, and it helps prevent the very common phenomenon of cyclically escalating ill will and/or violence.


Actually "Turn the other cheek", allegedly, has/had a different meaning: it is commonly misinterpreted by the masses, but priests correctly explains it more or less this way:
http://www.holytextures.com/turn-the-other-cheek-nonviolent-resistance-to-violence.html

Quote:
Slapping the right cheek.

This was done by Masters to their servants and slaves. It was always done by hitting with the back of the right hand across the right cheek. The blow was about asserting status and power over the other. This is not about random violence or fighting among friends or enemies. It is about rank, privilege and power.

And to preserve one's honour - one's public standing - it is crucial everything must be done according to the socially accepted protocols. The slave must obediently stand facing you without external coercion. You must strike only the right cheek; and only with the back of the right hand. Any variation on this would demonstrate that you were not in control; would be a public loss of face.

Now imagine your overlord has just slapped you on your right cheek, and without saying a word you silently turn your head to expose your left cheek. It appears that you are becoming doubly subservient; doubly accepting your master's authority over you. But you are actually rendering your master powerless!

Turning your head hides your right cheek and presents your left cheek. But the angle of your head will be such that the master can see, but cannot strike your left cheek with the back of his right hand. Try this with a friend and you'll see what happens.

Doing this would publicly expose the master to shame and ridicule. You would appear to be meek and servile; obediently waiting for a second blow. But the Master would be totally helpless. His only options would be to hit you with the palm of his right hand, or use his left hand, or walk away. All three would cause him to lose face.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 02, 2013 2:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

BoneKracker wrote:

However, the pragmatic reality is that most people are not running around constantly in a brotherly love frame of mind, and it's almost always better for you prevent your face being slapped. Unless it's a person who is never going to interact with you again, and especially if it's not the first time this person has tried to slap you or others, then it's probably not a bad idea to proactively prevent future slapping as well, and such behavioral modification is most effective when it includes both positive and negative reinforcement.


I oddly instinctively agree with your pro violent diatribe. But I can't help to think about Gandhi and MLK and people of their ilk. perhaps you need the right enemy for it to work, but what they did worked pretty well.
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 02, 2013 4:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

erm67 wrote:
BoneKracker wrote:
Religion, and this "brotherly love" collectivist kind of thinking right along with it, is the opiate of the masses. "Turn the other cheek" is a good way for the helpless to experience a degree of peace of mind, and it helps prevent the very common phenomenon of cyclically escalating ill will and/or violence.


Actually "Turn the other cheek", allegedly, has/had a different meaning: it is commonly misinterpreted by the masses, but priests correctly explains it more or less this way:
http://www.holytextures.com/turn-the-other-cheek-nonviolent-resistance-to-violence.html

Quote:
Slapping the right cheek.

This was done by Masters to their servants and slaves. It was always done by hitting with the back of the right hand across the right cheek. The blow was about asserting status and power over the other. This is not about random violence or fighting among friends or enemies. It is about rank, privilege and power.

And to preserve one's honour - one's public standing - it is crucial everything must be done according to the socially accepted protocols. The slave must obediently stand facing you without external coercion. You must strike only the right cheek; and only with the back of the right hand. Any variation on this would demonstrate that you were not in control; would be a public loss of face.

Now imagine your overlord has just slapped you on your right cheek, and without saying a word you silently turn your head to expose your left cheek. It appears that you are becoming doubly subservient; doubly accepting your master's authority over you. But you are actually rendering your master powerless!

Turning your head hides your right cheek and presents your left cheek. But the angle of your head will be such that the master can see, but cannot strike your left cheek with the back of his right hand. Try this with a friend and you'll see what happens.

Doing this would publicly expose the master to shame and ridicule. You would appear to be meek and servile; obediently waiting for a second blow. But the Master would be totally helpless. His only options would be to hit you with the palm of his right hand, or use his left hand, or walk away. All three would cause him to lose face.

Interesting theory, but it sounds like bullshit to me.

The meaning of the original quote, in context, is pretty unequivocal:
Quote:
You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.' But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also; and if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well; and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 02, 2013 4:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

juniper wrote:
BoneKracker wrote:

However, the pragmatic reality is that most people are not running around constantly in a brotherly love frame of mind, and it's almost always better for you prevent your face being slapped. Unless it's a person who is never going to interact with you again, and especially if it's not the first time this person has tried to slap you or others, then it's probably not a bad idea to proactively prevent future slapping as well, and such behavioral modification is most effective when it includes both positive and negative reinforcement.


I oddly instinctively agree with your pro violent diatribe. But I can't help to think about Gandhi and MLK and people of their ilk. perhaps you need the right enemy for it to work, but what they did worked pretty well.

I think that there are situations where non-violent but effectively obstructive behavior is the right solution, but that's in keeping with what I said. One does not necessarily need to be violent to prevent one's face being slapped or to compel someone to stop doing it. But, just sitting there taking it, taking comfort in the fact that you are forgiving the perpetrator, is not what Gandhi did.
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 02, 2013 9:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

BoneKracker wrote:


The meaning of the original quote, in context, is pretty unequivocal:
Quote:
You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.' But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also; and if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well; and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile.


That is the problem:

Quote:
First of all, the translation, "Do not resist an evildoer" fails to convey the full meaning of the underlying Greek. It would be better translated as, "Do not violently resist an evildoer." Thus the teaching is primarily about non-violence. It is not about acquiescing to evil.


It more or less what priests say, in Italy at least.
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 02, 2013 10:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I had no idea Jesus was Greek.

So his point was that if somebody wants to sue me for my coat, I should not kick his ass?
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 02, 2013 10:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

BoneKracker wrote:
I had no idea Jesus was Greek.

Jesus did not wrote the Gospels, and the Gospel of Matthew was written originally in Greek. It is always better to read the Gospels cum grano salis.
BoneKracker wrote:

So his point was that if somebody wants to sue me and take my coat, I should not kick their ass?

Not violently :-)
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 02, 2013 10:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What he said is "the original", and he wasn't speaking Greek. Neither was Matthew. It's as likely it got mistranslated INTO Greek as out of it.

I know this alternative interpretation is popular, but I think this is a rationalization made by later people who don't really want to live as Jesus was telling them to. Remember that Jesus did not try to get out of being crucified; not at all.
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 03, 2013 2:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

BoneKracker wrote:
However, the pragmatic reality is that most people are not running around constantly in a brotherly love frame of mind, and it's almost always better for you prevent your face being slapped.

Better in what sense? While I don't know it for sure, but I have a feeling that this is an example of a tragedy of the commons - every time an individual is about to be slapped, it is in their self interest to prevent being slapped, but the net consequence of everyone acting in their own self interest is a more violent and barbaric society that is not to their benefit.

Of course, if that whole heaven thing turns out to be true, then acting in the self-interest of your earthly embodiment may not be the best move anyway.
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 03, 2013 8:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

BoneKracker wrote:
What he said is "the original", and he wasn't speaking Greek. Neither was Matthew. It's as likely it got mistranslated INTO Greek as out of it.

So it was mistranslated into greek and than translated back correctly in english? It is the Greek-English translation that differs, don't forget.
BoneKracker wrote:

I know this alternative interpretation is popular, but I think this is a rationalization made by later people who don't really want to live as Jesus was telling them to. Remember that Jesus did not try to get out of being crucified; not at all.


Well Matthew wrote it in 3rd person? Matthew went .... Matthew did ..... It is called the Gospel of Matthew because he is mentioned so often.
It was written also written at least 80 years after the facts for an audience that spoke greek and latin (lingua franca) ..... it is very likely that the greek copy we still have is the original.
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 03, 2013 12:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's probably all bullshit. Fables for life 2000 years ago. Thankfully everyone has moved on since then, so everything is peachy.
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Bones McCracker
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Location: U.S.A.

PostPosted: Sun Feb 03, 2013 1:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

richk449 wrote:
BoneKracker wrote:
However, the pragmatic reality is that most people are not running around constantly in a brotherly love frame of mind, and it's almost always better for you prevent your face being slapped.

Better in what sense? While I don't know it for sure, but I have a feeling that this is an example of a tragedy of the commons - every time an individual is about to be slapped, it is in their self interest to prevent being slapped, but the net consequence of everyone acting in their own self interest is a more violent and barbaric society that is not to their benefit.

Thus spake the latte-drinkin', $900 bicycle-riding, Che T-shirt-wearing, San Francisco townhome-living, Menshevik. :P
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