Subject: Re: Walking, Talking Bible Thumpers In article <email@example.com.PITTSBURGH.EDU> ge
From: oleg@gryphon.COM (Oleg Kiselev)
Subject: Re: Walking, Talking Bible Thumpers
In article <firstname.lastname@example.org.PITTSBURGH.EDU>
email@example.com (Gordon E. Banks) writes:
>In a few words, Jesus makes everyone realize that justice untempered
>with mercy is not righteousness and forced them to look into their own
>souls to see how they would weigh in such an uncompromising light. He
>made them realize they were human too.
That definitely is what you would like to believe. However, I do not read
the same passage the same way. I do not see a call for mercy at all. After
all, Jesus did not say "She may have be guilty in your eyes, but in the eyes
of God she is forgiven. So can't you find mercy in *your* hearts as God
found in his?" or something to that effect.
What Jesus *did* say was definitely not a call for mercy or compassion, but
rather an effective way of shaming the persecutors and, in effect,
cahllenging them to dare to call themselves "sinless". Given the "All have
sinned" quote to appear later in history of Christianity (?) and the concept
of the Original Sin fueling the whole religion, I am sure the idea of
inevitable fallibility and apriory sinfulness of any mortal was well known to
the zealots and the rock-throwing mobs alike.
>The "mote in the other's eye", incidentally, comes from
>one of Jesus's parables.
And is no more "mercy" oriented than what we are discussing. What Jesus is
saying is that people must not judge until they themselves have been judged
and found blameless. However, it does not take a saint to tell in most cases
what is right and what is wrong.
>Certainly, but I credit Jesus more for taking a stand that went against the
>prevailing morality of his time than I credit you for agreeing with the
>prevailing 20th century notions.
But what I am trying to convey is that in my reading Jesus did *not* take a
stand. He merely side-stepped the issue and unleashed an _ad hominem_ attack
on the would-be executioners. Jesus, without saying it, had accepted the
guilt of the woman and had agreed to the appropriateness of the punishment.
>She was being treated as a human being
>exactly within the context of her culture.
Then why wasn't the man she was being "adulterous" with being stoned along
with her? Women were treated as women -- and that was a far cry from being
treated as a "human being".
>Jesus was a lot smarter
>than some of his latter-day critics. Rather than just create a riot,
>he "convicted" the self-righteous "in their hearts", and that day may have
>changed the way some of them saw themselves and their relationships with other
That's what you wish to see it as. We obviously are looking at it from
disparagingly different philosophical positions and just as I do not see any
mercy or profoundness in any of the actuons attributed to Jesus and do not
understand how anyone *can*, you do not seem to be able to understand how I
*don't* see it. I think we are at a dead end.
>That is why Jesus was profound and people will know who he was
>long after no one remembers Oleg or Gordon.
Yes, but people will also quote Buddha, Mohammed, Mao, Marx, Hitler and
Reagan long after everyone forgot about us. And who knows, maybe in 600-700
years Mao will replace Jesus as the "source of wisdom" after enough
generations forget about Mao-the-man and enough re-writing of history and
editing of the reality to create Mao-the-prophet. It's being done even now
with V.I.Lenin in USSR, it's being done with "The Founding Fathers" in USA.
"No regrets, no apologies." -- Ronald Reagan
Oleg Kiselev ARPA: firstname.lastname@example.org, oleg@gryphon.COM
E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank