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Is war biblical? Is it ever moral? Is it OK for Christian to bear arms, or even kill? Let's talk.

Re: Just war theory isn't biblical

Postby Angel » Sun Mar 18, 2018 5:03 pm

> Matthew 5.20: "For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven." Then Jesus launches into a series of 5 examples of what he means by that. "You've heard it said...but I say to you."

What's the meaning of "personal righteousness "? Please provide references from the Bible if possible for what jesus meant by personal righteousness.

> murder, referencing Ex. 20.13 where the Hebrew word תִרְצָח meaning "murder." So also Mt. 19.18; Rom. 13.9; James 2.11.

Provide source that states the manuscript using "תִרְצָח" is the original text, or evidence that "תִרְצָח" was used in the original text", because I found this:

"The Hebrew verb רצח‬ (r-ṣ-ḥ, also transliterated retzach, ratzákh, ratsakh etc.) is the word in the original text that is translated as "murder" or "kill", but it has a wider range of meanings, generally describing destructive activity, including meanings "to break, to dash to pieces" as well as "to slay, kill, murder"."
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Re: Just war theory isn't biblical

Postby jimwalton » Sun Mar 18, 2018 5:03 pm

> What's the meaning of "personal righteousness "? Please provide references from the Bible if possible for what jesus meant by personal righteousness.

Sure. The phrase I used ("personal righteousness") is what Jesus means by "the righteousness of the Pharisees" (Mt. 5.20).

- His 5 illustrations subsequent to this statement (Mt. 5.21-47) explain what he means by the phrase: letter of the law rather than the spirit of the law, outward actions devoid of meaning it in your heart, and twisting laws to one's advantage rather than what they were intended to address.
- Seeking personal gain and status by religious activity (Mt. 6.1-4)
- Religious hypocrisy (Mt. 6.5-14, 6.16-18; 23.2-36)
- Seeking earthly wealth (Mt. 6.19-24)
- Judgmentalism (Mt. 7.1-6)
- False prophecy (Mt. 7.15-23)
- Thinking oneself righteous and God a liar (Mt. 9.4-6; 12.24-37)
- Rejecting clear evidences of religious truth in favor of one's own opinions (Mt. 12.38-45; 16.1-4)

> Provide source that states the manuscript using "תִרְצָח" is the original text, or evidence that "תִרְצָח" was used in the original text",

This is the reading of the Masoretic text for Ex. 20.13. I'm not aware of a variant reading of the text. If you question it, you'll need to produce a different original text. I can't argue from silence; as far as I know there is not other text than the original text.

> "The Hebrew verb רצח‬ (r-ṣ-ḥ, also transliterated retzach, ratzákh, ratsakh etc.) is the word in the original text that is translated as "murder" or "kill", but it has a wider range of meanings, generally describing destructive activity, including meanings "to break, to dash to pieces" as well as "to slay, kill, murder"."

Yep. The word means slay, kill, murder, blood-vengeance killing, assassination, the violent killing of a personal enemy, illegal killing, to kill out of hostility, deceit, or hatred. It's an act of lethal violence motivated by hatred or malice. We know lexically it can include premeditated murder, assassination, manslaughter (Num. 35) and even an animal killing a man (Prov. 22.13). It is therefore somewhat broader than "murder", but not as broad as "kill". The closest we have in English is "homicide".
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Re: Just war theory isn't biblical

Postby Angel » Sun Mar 18, 2018 9:43 pm

> Sure. The phrase I used ("personal righteousness") is what Jesus means by "the righteousness of the Pharisees" (Mt. 5.20)

If righteousness applies to the five examples that proceeded the statement of righteousness, and not mentioned in any of the individual proceeding examples, how do you know righteousness apples to each of the five examples?

> We know lexically it can include premeditated murder, assassination, manslaughter (Num. 35) and even an animal killing a man (Prov. 22.13). It is therefore somewhat broader than "murder", but not as broad as "kill". The closest we have in English is "homicide".

You've stated again that it means both murder and kill, you haven't provided evidence that phoneuó means kill and not murder in the statement "thou shall not phoneuó". poneuó means "num. 35 and even an animal killing a man", how do you know how do you know what context is used in "thou shall not kill"?
Angel
 

Re: Just war theory isn't biblical

Postby jimwalton » Sun Mar 18, 2018 9:43 pm

It seems to me that you're working so hard to make minuscule objections that you're missing the whole flow of what I'm saying and the point of the texts.

> If righteousness applies to the five examples that proceeded the statement of righteousness, and not mentioned in any of the individual proceeding examples, how do you know righteousness apples to each of the five examples?

Because of what Jesus says in Matthew 5.20: "For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven." He then proceeds to interpret the moral law in contrast with the false interpretations of the Pharisees, who are concerned with mere external acts. All in all it's a continuation of the theme he started in v. 3, that being a new understanding of God's kingdom not as legalism or externals, but as spiritual issues and heart issues. Motives are as important as actions. The heart matters as much as the behavior.

> You've stated again that it means both murder and kill, you haven't provided evidence that phoneuó means kill and not murder in the statement "thou shall not phoneuó".

Sure I did. "Murder" is what the word means. I can't say it any more clearly. Commandments 6, 7, & 8 pertain to the dignity of life. He's not talking about general killing but the kind of killing that is an offense to the image of God and the dignity of humanity (Gn. 9.6). The law certainly distinguished between planned and accidental or unpremeditated killings (Ex. 21.12-14). Assuredly this command was never seen as ruling out the death penalty (Ex. 21.15), and therefore it can't refer to all killing. The term used for capital punishment, for instance, was usually "put to death."

The prohibition of Ex. 20.13 is not against all king, but only unauthorized killing, viz., murder (Gn. 9.6; 1 Sam. 15.3; Lev. 20.10).
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Re: Just war theory isn't biblical

Postby Angel » Mon Mar 19, 2018 1:07 pm

> Because of what Jesus says in Matthew 5.20: "For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven." He then proceeds to interpret the moral law in contrast with the false interpretations of the Pharisees, who are concerned with mere external acts.

It seems that may be a possible interpretation. But if jesus does not specifically state that each of these laws are directly related to the righteousness mentioned previously in Jesus' discourse, then the interpretation will only be a matter of opinion. If the nature of the god you believe in is perfection, and If in the first part of the sermon on the mount, jesus was perfect enough to specifically use the word blessed for each and every example that is blessed, then if he meant that each example pertains specifically to righteousness, he would have said so. Without that level of specificity that jesus had a few lines back, the righteousness interpretation will continue to be a matter of opinion.

> Sure I did. "Murder" is what the word means. I can't say it any more clearly. Commandments 6, 7, & 8 pertain to the dignity of life. He's not talking about general killing but the kind of killing that is an offense to the image of God and the dignity of humanity (Gn. 9.6). The law certainly distinguished between planned and accidental or unpremeditated killings (Ex. 21.12-14). Assuredly this command was never seen as ruling out the death penalty (Ex. 21.15), and therefore it can't refer to all killing. The term used for capital punishment, for instance, was usually "put to death." The prohibition of Ex. 20.13 is not against all king, but only unauthorized killing, viz., murder (Gn. 9.6; 1 Sam. 15.3; Lev. 20.10).

The problem with deciphering language is that we are stuck with the words that are originally used. There are characteristics that you've mentioned above that may go along with "murder" as the meaning or the word phoneuó, instead of kill. But if the author does not use a word that only means "murder", we are stuck making educated guess of what the interpretation of the word is. An interpretation is not a certainty. But if the nature of the god you believe in is perfection, then as specific as it was to use blessed in every item that was blessed, in the sermon on the mount, then if god meant murder as opposed to kill, it would have found a way to say specifically that, and if your god meant murder and kill, then both meaning always apply in every context, regardless of interpretation and educated guesses.
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Re: Just war theory isn't biblical

Postby jimwalton » Mon Mar 19, 2018 1:32 pm

> If the nature of the god you believe in is perfection, and If in the first part of the sermon on the mount, jesus was perfect enough to specifically use the word blessed for each and every example that is blessed, then if he meant that each example pertains specifically to righteousness, he would have said so. Without that level of specificity that jesus had a few lines back, the righteousness interpretation will continue to be a matter of opinion.

First, Jesus spoke in Aramaic; Matthew is written in Greek. At best we have a translation. Second, Matthew has likely not stuck with chronology (as few, if any, of the Gospel writers did), but has assembled Jesus's sayings to make a point. Therefore, our task is to discern what Matthew is telling us about what Jesus was telling us.

Certainly you realize that all communication, even perfect communication, is subject to interpretation once it leaves the mouth or pen of its origin. We are meant to interpret, which doesn't reduce us to mere opinion. There are rules of grammar and interpretation to bring us to reasonable conclusions. We do the same thing when we read Shakespeare or Les Miserables. We are not free to read it as we wish, though there are variables of interpretation within a proper reading of it.

> Without that level of specificity that jesus had a few lines back, the righteousness interpretation will continue to be a matter of opinion.

Even legal documents with three pages of specific explanation and proprietary terminology is subject to interpretation.

> The problem with deciphering language is that we are stuck with the words that are originally used.

Actually, finding out how the words were originally used is one of our best tools to understand them properly.

> if god meant murder as opposed to kill, it would have found a way to say specifically that, and if your god meant murder and kill, then both meaning always apply in every context, regardless of interpretation and educated guesses.

He did. He used the words רצח and phoneuó, but you continue to reject the translation and interpretation of the word and its context. There's no more I can say than "murder" means "murder".
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Re: Just war theory isn't biblical

Postby Angel » Wed Mar 21, 2018 3:26 pm

Please clarify
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Re: Just war theory isn't biblical

Postby jimwalton » Wed Mar 21, 2018 3:29 pm

I already have.

- Phoneuo means murder, not just kill, when it is used in the Bible. I gave you many references. You were unable to produce a single reference to the contrary.
- רצח means murder, not just kill, when it is used in the Bible. I gave you references. You were unable to produce a single reference to the contrary.

There's consistency and plenty of attestation. It's what the words consistently mean in their many references. We've covered this ground.
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Re: Just war theory isn't biblical

Postby Angel » Thu Mar 22, 2018 1:11 pm

If the god you believe in can literally state and be specific enough to detail who are blessed in the beatitudes, then By you applying what he states elsewhere to interpret a word with two meaning, when clearly your god knows how to be specific, is it minutely possible you are specifying a word that could have been meant to be both meanings when it was stated, thou shall not phoneuó (kill and murder)?
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Re: Just war theory isn't biblical

Postby jimwalton » Thu Mar 22, 2018 1:11 pm

You misunderstand the concept of omnipotence. It certainly doesn't mean that God can do anything, but only that God can do anything that are proper objects of his power. He cannot do things that are contradictory (make a square circle), and he cannot make communication that doesn't need to be interpreted. Interpretation is a necessary component of communication. Almost all words have more than one meaning, and even when they don't, context can change how they were intended.

So, no, it is not minutely possible that I am specifying a word that could have been meant to be both meanings when it was stated, in this particular case.
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