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Interfaith Dialogue
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Servetus
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Quote Servetus Replybullet Posted: 13 March 2009 at 9:23am

Hi Ron,

 

I wrote:   “Can you or anyone (especially among Christians) write a statement, or law, which solves the apparent conflict between Moses and Jesus and reconciles their common truths, thus forming a new proposition?”

 

You wrote:  “Well, I suppose one could argue that Moses did not mean that the victim should retaliate in kind, but that society (i.e., the law) should retaliate on his behalf.  In other words, if someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also -- then call the police and they will punish the aggressor as Moses prescribes.”

 

Brilliant!  I had a hunch that you could meet the requirements.  To my view, this, in theory, perfectly meets the definition of synthesis.

 

Thesis (Moses)

“If anyone injures his neighbor, whatever he has done must be done to him: fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth.”

 

Antithesis (Jesus)

“You have heard that it was said [by Moses], ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person.  If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.”

 

Synthesis (Ron)

“{I}f someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also -- then call the police and they will punish the aggressor as Moses prescribes.”

 

A problem I see in practice, however, is that if one were to follow your synthesis to its logical end, the Mosaic law (thesis) of exact and equal retribution would be in any case enacted, whether the victim himself or the police sought justice, and the perpetrator of the crime would be finally minus an eye or tooth.  And thus, it seems, would be negated Jesus’ concept (antithesis), expressed elsewhere and throughout the New Testament, of “overcoming evil with good,” of giving a cloak in addition to a coat, and of pacifism in the face of aggression.

 

If you don’t mind, then, please allow me to narrow the requirements for the synthesis.  Can anyone create a synthesis, or statement of law, which solves the apparent conflict between Moses and Jesus and reconciles their common truths, thus forming a new proposition, without, in the end, negating or subsuming either the thesis or antithesis?  (The reason why I keep specifying especially those within the Christian tradition will, I hope, be made clear enough at some point as we continue.  Be assured that it is not, by any means, an attempt on my part to exclude Muslims.)   

  
Serv

Edited by Servetus - 13 March 2009 at 9:27am
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Servetus
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Quote Servetus Replybullet Posted: 13 March 2009 at 1:28pm

That is an interesting (opening) post, Apollos,

 

You wrote:  “One distinction in this succession is that Jesus recognized the burden of proof that was required to justify the new “truths” He was revealing. Others have simply claimed that they had a new revelation without accepting the burden of proof.”

 

Are you including Muhammad among these others?  If so, I disagree with his being included.  He (the Quran) often appeals to proofs.  Here is a single, though probably too controversial example:

 

“If thou wert in doubt as to what We have revealed unto thee, then ask those who have been reading the Book from before thee: the Truth hath indeed come to thee from thy Lord: so be in no wise of those in doubt.  Nor be of those who reject the signs of Allah, or thou shalt be of those who perish.  Those against whom the word of thy Lord hath been verified would not believe –even if every Sign was brought unto them- until they see (for themselves) the penalty grievous.”  (Quran 10:94-97)

 

For my purposes thus far, it doesn’t matter how those who had been reading the Book from before him responded, the fact is, an appeal to them was here made, or recommended.

 

You wrote:  “Another distinction with Jesus is that He did not challenge what the Bible said. He claimed to fulfill it in fact and said that God’s Word (the Tanach or Old Testament) would not pass away until all be fulfilled. He only had two areas where His teaching actually differed …”

 

I hope you don’t mind my abbreviating your statements.  This one impresses me as understated.  Whether one calls it “abolished,” “fulfilled,” or paradoxically abolished by way of fulfillment, the fact remains that, according to the writer of Acts (St. Luke), one of the so-called “false” witnesses who testified before the Sanhedrin claimed that both St. Stephen and Jesus himself had spoken against the temple and against the law.  “For we have heard him [St. Stephen] say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place [temple] and change the customs Moses handed down to us.” (Acts 6:12-14)

 

Quite apart from the rather tricky issue of whether this witness was true or false, a question to my mind arises: did Jesus in fact change the customs that Moses handed down to them?   I think he did.  I think one of the best proofs of that is New Testament Christianity itself (in contradistinction to Judaism, which for the most part disregards Jesus).  Consider, among other things, dietary laws, though you have already adequately explained why you think Jesus had the authority to change them.

 

You wrote:  “He only had two areas where His teaching actually differed from what the average Jew believed at that time and He told His disciples to listen to what the Priests and Scribes said – but not follow their hypocritical practices.”

 

He is also said to have interrupted the madding throng from enacting the very penalty prescribed by God and Moses in the case of the woman taken in adultery and, in the process, further paved the way toward his own martyrdom (John 8:7).  I would consider this more than a slight disagreement with Moses and his designates.  Wouldn’t you?

 

To keep things manageably brief, I will close for now.  (Were there some specific questions you wanted me to answer?  If so, please rephrase and present them.  Except, in this case, at the beginning, I haven’t known quite where to start.)

 

Best regards,

 

Serv


Edited by Servetus - 13 March 2009 at 1:35pm
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Ron Webb
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Quote Ron Webb Replybullet Posted: 13 March 2009 at 9:42pm

Originally posted by Servetus

A problem I see in practice, however, is that if one were to follow your synthesis to its logical end, the Mosaic law (thesis) of exact and equal retribution would be in any case enacted, whether the victim himself or the police sought justice, and the perpetrator of the crime would be finally minus an eye or tooth.  And thus, it seems, would be negated Jesus’ concept (antithesis), expressed elsewhere and throughout the New Testament, of “overcoming evil with good,” of giving a cloak in addition to a coat, and of pacifism in the face of aggression.

You're assuming that the "eye for an eye" thing cannot be considered good.  I happen to agree that it isn't good, but I'm not sure that Jesus would.  He didn't come to abolish the law, after all, so he must have considered it to be good.

Quite apart from the rather tricky issue of whether this witness was true or false, a question to my mind arises: did Jesus in fact change the customs that Moses handed down to them?   I think he did.

Abolished, changed, fulfilled, whatever -- I think this is just semantics.  I think what Jesus was really trying to say in Matthew 5:17-18 was that the Mosaic law wasn't wrong (or bad), merely that it was over, and that it was time for a new law.

Addeenul ‘Aql – Religion is intellect.
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Quote Apollos Replybullet Posted: 14 March 2009 at 8:09am

I have tried to address a specific topic in this post. I realize some tangents will arise but it seems that every post ends up with people wanting to attack the Bible being God’s Word. I and other Christians are trying not to show our frustration and offense in having the Scripture we believe in being condemned this way – but it is hard to do so when people deliberately change the topic back to this again and again. If Muslims do not accept the burden of proof in showing that Islam is true, please just say so and we will move on to another topic. If there is an answer from Muslims on the burden of proof, please present it.

 

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Quote Shasta'sAunt Replybullet Posted: 14 March 2009 at 7:47pm

"If you don’t mind, then, please allow me to narrow the requirements for the synthesis.  Can anyone create a synthesis, or statement of law, which solves the apparent conflict between Moses and Jesus and reconciles their common truths, thus forming a new proposition, without, in the end, negating or subsuming either the thesis or antithesis?  (The reason why I keep specifying especially those within the Christian tradition will, I hope, be made clear enough at some point as we continue.  Be assured that it is not, by any means, an attempt on my part to exclude Muslims.)"

 
An interesting exercise, but if I may, as a Muslim, voice my own humble opinion?  It really doesn't matter how many theories are produced regarding synthesis of the two quite different approaches taken between Moses and Jesus. Biblically speaking, in the end God reverts back to His Mosaic Law pronouncing attributes and reigns down death and destruction upon mankind. A most heinous death and destruction after which numerous hapless souls will be cast into an eternal torturous abyss.
 
Perhaps it might be a better exercise to put forth a synthesis which resolves the conflict of Jesus/God the Prince of Peace and champion of love and anti-violence who turned the other cheek and judged no man, and the God of Abraham, Moses, and Noah who destroyed an entire generation in a flood and will in the future bring forth the Apocalypse and annhilation of mankind, then judge most harshly with no respite those who have apparently not believed in Jesus.


Edited by Shasta'sAunt - 14 March 2009 at 7:49pm
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Quote Ron Webb Replybullet Posted: 15 March 2009 at 10:05am

Originally posted by Apollos

I have tried to address a specific topic in this post. I realize some tangents will arise but it seems that every post ends up with people wanting to attack the Bible being God’s Word. I and other Christians are trying not to show our frustration and offense in having the Scripture we believe in being condemned this way – but it is hard to do so when people deliberately change the topic back to this again and again. If Muslims do not accept the burden of proof in showing that Islam is true, please just say so and we will move on to another topic. If there is an answer from Muslims on the burden of proof, please present it.

I don't understand, Apollos.  It seems to me that anyone making magical claims ought to be prepared to prove them.  Why do you feel that Muslims have a burden of proof, but not Christians?

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Quote Ron Webb Replybullet Posted: 15 March 2009 at 12:05pm
Originally posted by Shasta'sAunt

Perhaps it might be a better exercise to put forth a synthesis which resolves the conflict of Jesus/God the Prince of Peace and champion of love and anti-violence who turned the other cheek and judged no man, and the God of Abraham, Moses, and Noah who destroyed an entire generation in a flood and will in the future bring forth the Apocalypse and annhilation of mankind, then judge most harshly with no respite those who have apparently not believed in Jesus.

It's simple: Jesus became a man in order to teach us how we should behave as men (and women).  God Himself (i.e., God the Father) behaves quite differently.
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Quote Nur_Ilahi Replybullet Posted: 15 March 2009 at 10:14pm
Originally posted by Ron Webb

 
It's simple: Jesus became a man in order to teach us how we should behave as men (and women).  God Himself (i.e., God the Father) behaves quite differently.
 
He was definitely not perfect. He was not a husband, a father or a grandfather nor a warrior.
 
He did not show any example of just a few of the characters that Muhammad showed during his lifetime.


Edited by Nur_Ilahi - 15 March 2009 at 10:14pm
Ilahi Anta Maksudi, Wa Redhaka Mathlubi - Oh Allah, You are my destination, Your Pleasure is my Intention.
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