Monthly Archives: September 2004

Contrarian, Again

Christians believe in right and wrong, and that God determines which is which. If you are at variance with what God says, you are wrong. I have no problem with this thinking. Murder? Wrong. (Exodus 20:13) Stealing? Wrong. (Exodus 20:15) Lusting? Wrong. (Matthew 5:27-28

In an attempt to try find the right and wrong in situations where that the Bible does not specifically address, some Christians have suggested we try to clarify the matter by asking WWJD? — What Would Jesus Do? I respect this attempt at finding an answer. If the Bible doesn’t directly address a situation, then let’s try to imagine what Jesus might have done in this situation. This question is worth while in as far as it gets us thinking about what God might want us to do.

The problem, of course, is that we may come up with as many different ideas for what Jesus might have done as we have people trying to imagine them. Further, a better phrasing of the question might be WWJWMTD: What Would Jesus Want Me To Do? If I saw a fire in my kitchen I might grab a fire extinguisher and fight, but that is not what I’d want my daughter to do. If my expectation is different for myself and my child then I can easily imagine a difference in expectation between what God Almight might do in a situation vs. what He’d expect from me. (I’ve also seen WTFWJD — by far the funniest collision of pop culture from within and without the church that I’ve seen in a while.)

In cases where there is no clear teaching on what God says about an issue — that is, where variance from God’s will is impossible to determine — then variance from the opinions of others in the church seems to take its place as the test for right and wrong. That is, when Christians start asking the question “What would Jesus do,” they seem to start looking for an answer in what other Christians are doing. The positions of Christian church people on many political and moral issues are very cohesive. This is why the news media can report the “fundamentalist Christian reaction” to stories about same-sex marriage or taking the words “under God” out of the Pledge of Allegiance. Whole wings of the Christian church resonate together, claiming the rightness of a particular side of each issue.

For example, many Christians support the death penalty. That is, many Christians support the use of the death penalty in the criminal justice system because the Bible gives authority of life and death to human governments which, ultimately, have been established by God. However, I think the test of whether a Christian can support a death penalty is not whether or not the state kills someone, but what the stated motives are. While God gives the power of life and death to the state, He also reserves vengence for Himself. If the only motive behind the state’s death penalty is to disuade murderous crime then it does not conflict with God’s command. However, if any of the support behind the death penalty is there to satisfy a need for vengence on the part of the victim’s family or the public in general, then the death penalty law is in conflict with God’s command.

That’s kind of abstact so let’s personalize it. If you support the death penalty because you want to see the criminal get what’s coming to him then you are not reserving vengence for God alone. Dare I say, you are not doing what Jesus would do.

There is perhaps more love in the acts of a woman who can’t stand to think of her child growing up in deprivation and so remorsefully terminates her pregnancy than in a Christian who looks at the difficult situation of this woman and responds only with loud protesting instead of compassion for her.

I’m No Longer Binge Drinking

According to this page, binge drinking is defined as an episode of heavy drinking in which young people consume five or more alcoholic beverages in a row.

So see? I’m not a binge drinker! Thirty years old can hardly be considered young!

Jason the Angry Barfly!

I’ve been a fan of the comic strip Bob the Angry Flower for several years now. The strip incorporates theoretical science, philosophical conundrum, and outrageous personalities in a way that just does it for a guy with a background in math and philosophy. (That’s me!)

The Time Looker-Forward Tube is a good example of a philosophical conundrum, but don’t read it if coarse language makes you break out in hives.

Another of my favorites (because of my interest in both beer and quantum physics) is Schrödinger’s Fridge.

Well, my wife managed to get a gift for my 30th birthday that not only provided me with something neat but also shows that she knows something neat about me. She managed to have BTAF creator Stephen Notley draw me into a BTAF cartoon, and the cartoon deals with beer and quantum physics!

Before I give you a link to my cartoon, let me send you to one more BTAF cartoon that will provide a little more background: Or Anything.

Okay, now you have enough experience in Bob-world to maybe get what this cartoon is talking about. You can follow the adventures of Jason the Angry Barfly in the cartoon Overhearing.