Civil Discourse Now

Where the far left and far right overlap for fun and enlightenment

Evangelicals: do they have the capacity to be moral?

There is a difference between an individual relying on a particular belief as a basis for her or his morality, and believers of a particular sect of a religion imposing their religion on others in the form of a theocracy. In the latter instance, advocates must prove their deity’s existence.

For example: a person has the right to believe in Zeus and the other Greek gods. Few people today believe those deities exist or existed. If someone seeks to dictate to us based on tenets of a particular strain of Christianity, they should prove Christ existed.

First, there are many Christians who oppose far-right evangelicals. Religion is personal. Oxford Languages defines “faith” as “strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof.” Today’s blog is not directed to those many.

Second, some would say faith is willful ignorance and not a good basis for government, as we in the USA learned during the four years that preceded January 20, 2021. Evangelicals will have a tough time if they have to prove the existence of Jesus Christ as an historical person.

There are few contemporaneous mentions of Jesus Christ. Four gospels purport to tell the story of parts of Jesus’s life, but biblical scholars generally agree none was either contemporaneous or a first-person account. The oldest was Mark, from approximately 66-69 C.E.

Romans kept records of a lot of things. Jerusalem, contrary to “Jesus Christ Superstar,” was not a strange land in a backward time. Jerusalem, in the middle of major trade routes, had been sought by armies for centuries. The Romans made a lot of money there.

There is mention of a tax collection effort by Herrod (a “census”), but no one describes a person who years later is welcomed by multitudes as he enters Jerusalem. Philo of Alexander wrote a great deal of events around the time in question. He makes no mention of Jesus.

Evangelicals should explain how they have a capacity to be moral. Belief founded on an act of suicide, forgives adherents for serial wrongs, and practices symbolic cannibalism (eat the body & /drink the blood) is not inherently “good..” They cannot be allowed to take over.

On abortion the bible is as silent as evangelicals should be. E.g., if a pregnant woman miscarries as the result of two men fighting, there should be a fine. If the woman dies, punishment is death. Exodus, 21: 22-25. (That means the unborn fetus is not a person but the woman is.)

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Comment by pogden297 on May 5, 2021 at 12:19pm

Or it means that the pregnant woman's life has more worth than the unborn baby.  The fact that there is a fine for causing a woman to miscarry disproves your claim that the fetus is a nothing burger until he/she emerges from the uterus after 9 months.

In this country, most states criminalize feticide which is inconsistent with then allowing a doctor to achieve the same result through a medical procedure.

You mention an "unborn fetus."  Isn't that redundant?  A fetus that is born is called a baby.

Comment by rodney d johnson on May 4, 2021 at 7:31pm

as to the historical existence of JC, Josephus references JC twice, and the 2nd mention is probably unadulterated. Suetonius writing around 121 AD quotes Tiberius as making a joke about JC's death. Herod hung out with Tiberius before returning to Palestine to be king, and it is likely they corresponded. Suetonius had access to many roman documents, possibly including Claudius's history of the times. The simplest explanation is that there was a historical preacher who the roman's crucified. Based on the similarity of certain passages, some scholars theorize there was an earlier gospel "Q" upon which the other 4 books took much of the story and quotes. As an Occam approach, the most simple explanation is that there was a preacher named something we now call Jesus.

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