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comment by PTR
PTR  ·  449 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Why Evangelicals—Still!—Support Trump

Hey hey, that's no problem. Just wanted you to know a little about who you were talking to before you started jumping to conclusions about how much I've thought about this and what my understanding of the material might be.

The interpretation that Jesus' death rewrites the saving covenant is just that - an interpretation, curated, reinforced, and maintained by religious scholars and followers. There are many other opposing interpretations of that event, and each lays claim to "moral supremacy" (though I agree with KB, that is a detestable phrase). The Evangelical sect makes no argument for moral supremacy that these others do not. Historically, Protestantism is a centuries-long tradition of interpreting religious texts according to changing human preferences.

In fact, it sounds like you explain a familiar thought process. An old paradigm exists that conflicts with a set of mores. The OT "old" paradigm is distasteful for whatever reason - killing children being one of them, ostensibly and agreeably. So a part of the set of known mores is that we don't really want to murder our children for insolently drinking late at night and eating Burger King too often, and so a new interpretation is required to fit our stated cultural preference. A new interpretation is required to fit modernity, how humans now live.

"But PTR, if the text remains the same, how does the new interpretation come about?"

Someone just says it, 95 theses-style.

The Bible is clear, succinct, and to the point: kill insolent sons, deny women public voice, give away all possessions.

Human-interpreted theology is a convoluted maze of analysis, clarification, explanation, caveats, perception, perspective, and omission. "I'll take Cherry-picking for $500, Alex!"

Usher NT "new" paradigms - a la Jesus' Covenant of Salvation - which will soon be OT "old" paradigms in a few thousand years (i.e. now), and the OT "old, old" paradigms are detestably, can't-cop-to-it archaic.

NT "new" says you don't have to kill your children, "Praise God!" It says women are subservient, "Praise God!" It says give away everything you own, "Hell no!"

(note: would rather not get bogged down in passages, as that's a rabbit trail of several hundred pages and 66 books of "wisdom tradition, [...] poetry, myth, history, and correspondences")

And as people realize that they do want women's suffrage, and as people realize that they don't want to give away eeeeeverything, still yet even more interpretations occur. The ancients weren't prepared for modern philosophy, and so now the interpretation of God's omnipotence must also jive with free will. We have to figure out how God's omniscience and soul-saving grace can account for the lost indigenous souls, for babies, for dogs. People choose individually how these fit their morality - they interpret, you interpret, I interpret.

I morally interpret without all that because as long as I'm ethically "winging it", I'm starting from scratch. Explaining and justifying all this 4000 year old theology is not how I want to spend my "long life journey ahead". If it makes you better to choose from an old book, that's ok. I've read some of those too.

But you've got to realize that at the end of the day, everyone's just figuring out what to believe based on what they know and experience. It's a scramble; there's no supremacy to be had.

madmatt112  ·  449 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I'm pretty gassed for the day from all of this (in the middle of a workday), so I'm going to sign off for now with the admission that I sometimes struggle to determine what is human interpretation and what is divine revelation. Even still, at the bottom of all things, I do see an objective reality that is informed by the bible and God's guiding hand throughout history. Of course, we haven't even scratched the concept of individual revelation that does help us understand God's will when we read the bible, but that would be a whole can o' worms on this page I don't want to open. I could anticipate how you will all react to it anyways - :)

I don't think it's fair to project into the future and predict exactly what society and culture will think about today's religions and philosophies. But we can disagree on this.

"Explaining and justifying all this 4000 year old theology" I prefer to look at what I do as pursuing the truths in the 4000 year old theology, and refusing to throw the baby our with the bathwater just because modern times seems to believe they've discounted the entire body of thought with a couple hundred years of sometime sketchy philosophy.

"I morally interpret without all that" This is a whole other debate to be had, about the source of morality. Theists argue that morality is inherent in humans and therefore needs to come from somewhere objective. I wonder how you make moral judgments and interpretations? What is the moral ideal against which you measure ideas, claims, and actions? (honest inquiry, not a gotcha)

I appreciate you refraining from attacking my character throughout all of this, I really do. It's tiring to hear over and over that I'm intellectually bankrupt, that I'm disingenuous, that I'm a sheep, etc. etc. etc. every time I talk about my worldview online. I appreciated hearing well-crafted arguments against my positions instead.

PTR  ·  449 days ago  ·  link  ·  


    the middle of a workday [...] sign off

Agreed, I spent too much time on this today.


    I don't think it's fair to project into the future and predict exactly what society and culture will think about today's religions and philosophies. But we can disagree on this.

I don't need to predict. It's happening now, my dude.


    pursuing the truths in the 4000 year old theology [...] with a couple hundred years of sometime sketchy philosophy

Your basis is no better than mine. We all have the same pool of human knowledge. Apologists use the same sketchy philosophy as the rest of us.


    I wonder how you make moral judgments and interpretations?

I trust myself to act and think in the right way. I trust the people around me to let me know if I don't. Same as everyone else, you included. More on that if we ever talk again.


    I appreciate you refraining from attack

See #4.