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November 8, 2010 Tags: Christian Unity

Today's entry was written by Mark Sprinkle. You can read more about what we believe here.

Come and See

The 10th Chapter of Acts recounts the events surrounding the conversion of the first gentile Christians—those in the household of the Roman Centurian Cornelius. As an artist and a naturalist, I have always been delighted by Peter’s vision of the sheet with commingled clean and unclean animals. But my reaction to the story as a follower of Christ is somewhat more complex: it has by turns thrilled, comforted and convicted me, for at various times in my life I have been on both sides of what was actually a double-conversion—of Cornelius the pagan turning to Jesus, and of Peter the Jewish Christian also turning towards Jesus, but away from his surety in who was “in” and who was “out” of the Kingdom of God. In the context of the BioLogos project, the image of Peter being led reluctantly along the Lord’s path offers a corrective to the way many—particularly Dr. Al Mohler—have joined the debate over the compatibility of science and faith.

The visions Peter saw of the sheet were, prior to any revelation that he was being sent to a gentile household, offensive to his sense of purity as a devout Jew who respected and loved the Law. Add to this that Cornelius was not just a gentile, but a military commander in the hated occupying forces of Imperial Rome. Though Peter came to understand that the vision meant he was to make no a priori judgments about who could and could not be saved by the grace of Jesus, the command from the Lord to “Get up, Peter. Kill, and eat” was an affront to his identity and was in direct contradiction to what he believed set him and the other Christians apart from the rest of humanity in addition to their confession of Jesus as Lord.

He clearly didn’t like it and proceeded with some reservations, but he was at least open to the leading of the Spirit, and was prepared to set his own prejudices aside to see what God was up to. Soon enough, Peter recognized that God was again upending his understanding of reality as much as of the Scriptures, just as He had with the irrational-seeming idea of a Messiah who died, and then the even more outrageous fact of a resurrected Jesus. In the end, the Lord did more than instruct Peter to share the Gospel of Jesus with Cornelius’s household, He demonstrated that repentance and belief in the Gospel of Jesus were, alone, the prerequisites for belonging to the family of God by pouring out the Holy Spirit upon the men and women gathered under that Roman roof.

As Peter discovered, our theology is descriptive, not prescriptive; it is our collective and halting attempt to describe in coherent terms what we know of God by what we have seen of His acts and what we have read in His Word—and, above all else, by what we have seen in the acts of the Word, Jesus. And though it morphs into rules we try to impose on the divine and our neighbors, it does not in any way constrain the Lord who is constantly calling us in new ways, through new means, and telling new stories with the most unlikely characters. On the contrary, theology is put to the test not just by our logic, but by the witness of what God is doing in our lives and in the lives of others around the world. Evidence of the Spirit at work is the only true measure we have of our theology; all other measures, including whether it fits our carefully-reasoned arguments of who is in and who is out, are vanity.

But, in very public fora of late, Dr. Al Mohler of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary has been making it known that he regards those associated with the BioLogos project to be, at best “confused Christians,” with the implication being that we may be worse than unbelievers, dangerously leading the gullible to destruction. Despite his focus on the “logic” of our position vis-à-vis the Bible and his very specific definitions of both theology and evolutionary theory, the heart of Mohler’s claim that one cannot be a fully-functioning, authentic Christian and hold that God created using the process of evolution, is not, finally, about the compatibility of science and scripture, but about the power of the Holy Spirit. It is about the limits that Dr. Mohler has put on God’s ability to redeem and transform whomever He so pleases, in whatever manner He so pleases.

It is the same issue Peter faced when confronted with the vision of the sheet lowered out of heaven, which prepared him to meet Cornelius where he (and his family) were. Having seen the Holy Spirit poured out on these gentiles and former servants of Caesar, he had to ask, “Is there any reason why these should not be baptized?” In short, it is not a matter of whether Dr. Mohler (or Ken Ham, or Jerry Coyne, for that matter) find it reasonable or logically consistent or even in conformation with their readings of scripture, it is a matter of whether God has and is doing His redemptive work in the hearts, minds and lives of men and women who understand evolution to be a true material account of God’s creative work that does not in any way constrain God’s agency and sovereignty. And that is not an academic issue, but a very concrete and intensely personal one about the lives of those who hold views Dr. Mohler places outside the realm of truly following Christ.

Particularly coming from the head of the largest Southern Baptist seminary, Dr. Mohler’s repeated implications and suggestions, if not outright pronouncements, that I and anyone else who does not reject evolutionary processes are, therefore, not Christian in any but a nominal or diminished way, not authentic followers of Jesus no matter what we say and despite the evidence of the Holy Spirit both in us and working through us, seems to me to fly directly in the face of one of the central facets of Baptist tradition—that my salvation and relationship with the Father is not a matter for rulers or authorities or institutions to decide. Is there not a danger that 21st century ecclesiastical rulers and authorities might unwittingly oppose the Spirit through their all-too-human decrees, though their intention be to defend doctrines that are good and true and right?

We in the BioLogos community have on more than one occasion failed in our love precisely as Dr. Mohler and writers on all sides of this debate have. Nevertheless, our President, Darrel Falk, has repeatedly called (and been ridiculed from both left and right) for seeking unity among believers. I do not naively believe that we will miraculously come to a common understanding about the means God used in His creation, or how to read (or even translate) every passage in the Bible, or how best to organize our lives as believers together as Baptists, or Presbyterians, or Nazarenes, or Catholics, etc. Though such divisions, such divorces within the church are the surely result of the hardness of our hearts , our different theological and ecclesiastical traditions may also reflect God’s will and his desire to inhabit and work through all the myriad cultural environments in which we live, revealing and highlighting different aspects of His character in each. To the extent that we wrestle with each other over these issues with compassion and love, we demonstrate that even our conflicts may be redeemed by the Lord.

It is no small miracle that the Spirit is uniting a broken, diverse, and far-flung people into one Body, often—if not always—in spite of us, its members. In seeking unity we will see that the diversity within the Body formed by our common claim of being saved by the free, costly gift of God’s grace directs us towards a fuller understanding of the glory of God Himself and a greater humility before our brothers and sisters in Christ. Therefore, while it is problematic that Dr. Mohler so warmly agrees with Jerry Coyne regarding the ‘logical compatibility’ of evolution and religious belief, more hurtful for the Church is Dr. Coyne’s nearly gleeful account of the lack of charity within the Christian community. Dr. Mohler’s attitude and tone provide what Coyne and others take as another proof that our faith is a foolish and destructive lie.

So, recalling Peter’s conversion along with that of Cornelius, I invite Dr. Mohler to refrain from condemning (even by faint praise) those whom the Spirit has sanctified and is sanctifying, and through whom He is calling more of the lost to Himself. More, I invite him to join me at the table as a brother and to put off the too-common practice of acting as if we know everything we need to know about those on the other sides of these issues from what we read on-line.

As Cornelius asked Peter “to stay with them for a few days” to see what the Lord would be teaching them together, I invite Dr. Mohler to come and see what I see in the hearts and lives of people in the BioLogos community. Come and see what I see in the hearts and lives of specific, real live Christians in my adopted home town of Richmond, Virginia. Come and see what I have seen for years in the hearts and lives of men and women of faith directed towards the Lord by their studies of evolutionary biology, and who see the glory of God in the very process you find ugly and abominable. Come see the Spirit at work in hearts and lives focused and unconfused in their pursuit of Jesus and of His Kingdom.


Mark Sprinkle is an artist and cultural historian, and was formerly Senior Web Editor and Senior Fellow of Arts and Humanities for The BioLogos Foundation. A phi beta kappa graduate of Georgetown University, he received his M.A. and Ph.D. in American Studies from the College of William and Mary, where he studied how artworks embody complex relationships in different cultural contexts. Since 1996 he has been an independent artist and frame-maker, also regularly writing and speaking on the role of creative practices in cultural mediation and renewal, especially in the area of science and Christian faith. Mark and his wife Beth home-schooled their three boys, and are active in the local home-school community in Richmond, Virginia.


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Papalinton - #39749

November 13th 2010

@ Merv [cont]

You say,  ” I know you and Steve want desperately to see nothing but injustice and caprice in Biblical accounts, but I just don’t see the inconsistencies you try to manufacture.”
No we don’t.  We want you to quit cherry picking the bible.  It is tiresome babble.  We are not discriminatory in pointing out the innumerable examples of injustice and caprice laced throughout the bible, especially those perpetrated by JHWH.  There is so much cognitive dissonance as to beggar belief.

Over 80% of the world continues to live on pretty much as it would with or without your god and bible. There is no need for him and there is no wish for him because he is non-existent.  Indeed they couldn’t give a rat’s #### about jesus, and the Jews rejected him from the go-get as the messiah.  Just because you believe, doesn’t make it right except in your Trekky world.

I am reminded of Jomo Kenyatta [first prime minister and president of Kenya],  “When the missionaries arrived, the Africans had the land and the missionaries had the bible.  They taught us how to pray with our eyes closed.  When we opened them, they had the land and we had the bible.” 

Sheer humbuggery, Merv


Martin Rizley - #39753

November 13th 2010

Papalinton,  Hitler was about as Christian as Osama Bin Laden is Jewish.  Many German churches at the time of Hitler’s rise to power were strongly influenced by German higher criticism, which held to an ‘evolutionary’ of Israel’s religion that held the Old Testament in very low esteem.  Hitler himself was strongly influenced by the philosophy of Nietzche, who was virulently anti-Christian and saw Christianity as a malignant cancer in Western civilzation that had weakened the proud and fearless paganism of the Teutonic tribes with its emphasis on self-sacrifice, self-denial, and compassion toward the weak.  Neitzche (and Hitler) saw this as contrary to the survival of the fittest, which is the law of progress.  In their view, the strong ought to dominate the weak and free themselves from the plebian morality of the masses.  The will to power in truly extaordinary human beings should be given free reign, that society may be led by a race of ‘supermen’—which Hitler envisioned was the destiny of the German people.  There is no question what the roots of Nazi anti-semitism were—and they were not at all related to biblical Christianity.


Martin Rizley - #39757

November 14th 2010

Papalinton,
I freely admit that there has been a bad track record in Christian history of bad treatment of the Jews by people who claimed to be Christians.  There is no excuse for this, nor could anyone justify anti-semitism biblically, since Paul refers to the Jewish people as “beloved for the sake of the fathers.”  Paul himself prayed for his Jewish kinsmen and felt a longing for their salvation, so how anyone could justify mistreating Jews in the name of Christ is beyond me.  There may have been a strain of centuries old anti-semitic sentiment in the German culture that made it easier for Hitler’s views to catch on with the German masses.  Having said that, however, a person would have to be blind to think that Hitler’s own worldview was in any way influenced by the teaching of the Bible.


Papalinton - #39768

November 14th 2010

@ Martin

““The overwhelming majority of Germans remained baptized, tax-paying members of the official Christian Churches throughout the 12 years of nazi rule. In hindsight, it may seem impossible to reconcile the vicious hatreds of nazism with Christianity’s injunction to ‘turn the other cheek’ or to square the circle of nazi antisemitism with Christianity’s obvious origins in Judaism. But the vast majority of Germans — over 95 % by the last count in 1939 —EVIDENTLY HAD NO PROBLEM DOING SO. The Nazis could never have overrun Germany except by appealing to interests, beliefs, hopes and fears of Germans who viewed themselves as GOOD Christians. The Nazis did not come to power thanks to some imagined ideological void following the acceptance of “God is dead”. They came to power on the shoulders of German Christianity.

German christians praying to a christian god for a successful war against Great Britain. British catholics/protestants praying fervently to that exact same god for a successful war over the German catholics/protestants. German army padres, British army padres, all praying to the same Jesus Christ with deep felt religious conviction. 

Facts are facts, Martin, with film footage to prove it.


Papalinton - #39769

November 14th 2010

Hi Martin

You say, “There may have been a strain of centuries old anti-semitic sentiment in the German culture that made it easier for Hitler’s views to catch on with the German masses.”

Absolutely correct.  It is called CHRISTIANITY.  Even Martin Luther knew that and Calvin.  Read their work and there is no doubt where the seed of anti-semitism was amply watered and nurtured.  This was in large part one of the criticisms of the catholic church who Luther and Calvin believed had gone soft on the jewish christ-killers.  The catholic church for its part was virulently anti-semite for TWO THOUSAND years, until the 20thC.  It changed not because it rethought the rightness or wrongness of the position, rather such a position no longer was considered useful in moving the church forward.  Such pathetic hypocrisy dressed up as morality. 

It’s all there to read in the history books and the personal testaments of these fine upstanding christian scholars, together with the popes.  And you own them all Martin.  Whether you realise it or not, or wish to believe it or not, Martin,  you carry forward the toxic seeds of that tradition through Apologetics.

Sheesh.


Martin Rizley - #39772

November 14th 2010

Papallinton,  Your analysis of two thousand years of Christian history is grossly distorted, to say the least.  Sure, there have been grotesque deviations from biblical truth carried on in the name of Christ, but this was foretold by Jesus Christ in the New Testament.  Are you somehow suggesting that the fulfillment of Jesus’ prophecy proves that He was wrong?  Keep in mind that the definition of a Christian is someone who trusts in Jesus—not someone who trusts in the church.  “Christendom” has been a mixed bag for two thousand years.  So?  What does that prove?  You don’t think that dragging up the dirty laundry of atrocities committed in the name of Christ presents a complete picture of things, do you?  That would be to overlook all countless acts of kindness that have been performed in the name of Christ, while at the same time, atrocities were being committed by Satan under the Christian banner.  If someone forged a check by putting your name on it, would it make sense for me to say,  “See what a bad person you are, since someone has used your name to break the law!” No; you had nothing to do with that offense; and neither did Christ have anything to do with offenses committed in His name.


Papalinton - #39780

November 14th 2010

Hi Martin
Cut the ‘foretold’ rubbish as it simply has no meaningful sway unless you’re a fortune teller, or a sooth-sayer, or a preacher, or an astrologist.  Sheesh.  Please.  Reading biblical tea leaves gets to be a bit tedious after a while.

All those countless acts of kindness can and are being done by countless people without resorting to a religious framework, even as we speak. because they are good people.  The greatest philanthropists and carers of humanity today both happen to be atheists, Bill gates and Warren Buffett.  They do good for goodness sake solely. And you won’t hear about them because they would never trumpet their own cause. 

For crying out loud, there is no christ there is no satan, these are simply euphemisms for good and bad.  And everybody is capable of good and bad in varying degrees.  The character that distinguishes a good person from the bad person is the level of empathy, and the degree of personal discipline that each one of us exercises to do no harm to others; you know, the universal ‘golden rule’ that was even written down in the Code of Hammurabi, ever so long before christians commandeered it for itself, even before jesus was a twinkle in Mary’s eye.

Rocks in the head, Martin.


nedbrek - #39823

November 14th 2010

Papalinton, no one is saying atheists can’t be “good” (in the Christian sense).  And no one is saying Christians are any better (just forgiven).

The real question is, what is “good” without an absolute standard of right and wrong?  If Hitler or Stalin had conquered the world, do you really think they would be reviled so much?  If culture sets the standard, and they dominate the culture, wouldn’t it change to match their demands?


pds - #39824

November 14th 2010

Darrel,

So you can’t be any more specific than that about how Behe is “incompetent”?  Your explanation is a classic case of Bulverism, by the way.

Is it only his “idea” that makes him incompetent?  Is he competent except for his idea of irreducible complexity?


Martin Rizley - #39843

November 14th 2010

Paplinton,  The virulence of your animosity tone all religious beliefs and the insulting tone of your diatribe—telling me I have ‘rocks in the head,’ for example—makes it very difficult to have a civil conversation with you.  If you want to engage in intelligent conversation, I would urge you to refrain from such a verbally abusive way of addressing those you disagree with, or you will succeed in driving them away.  I have refrained from using insulting language toward you, and I expect you to return the courtesy.  Of course, I would not insult you, because I regard you as someone made in the image of God, deserving of respect, no matter how vehemently I disagree with you.  I can understand why it would be hard for an atheist to view people in the same way—for if God doesn’t exist, people are not made in His divine image, and are therefore no more entitled to respect than a hubcap.  Or am I wrong?  Do atheists believe that all people are entitled to respect; does the concept of human ‘sanctity’ have any meaning at all for an atheist?  Does the category of the sacred exist?  I don’t see how it could, since the category of the sacred generally implies the acknowledgement of a spiritual dimension to life.


Papalinton - #39844

November 14th 2010

Hi Martin

All I asked in the previous comment was that any reference to prophecy be deferred as it leads nowhere.
I followed with a comment about good people without theistic overlay.
And I made a comment, drawn from historical records, about the golden rule of love your neighbour as yourself, about good and bad.
And finally, to suggest that what I write is not true or contra to common sense is simply ‘rocks in the head’.
This is not about you, Martin.  It’s about the silly notion in your head.

You ask, “Do atheists believe that all people are entitled to respect?”
I say:  Yes, the utmost of respect.

You ask, “does the concept of human ‘sanctity’ have any meaning at all for an atheist? “
I respond:  If by ‘sanctity’ you mean, holiness, godliness, blessedness, saintliness, spirituality, piety, piousness, devoutness, righteousness, goodness, virtue, purity; formal sanctitude;  then, no, as this concept is purely theological that has no relevance outside that frame.

If you mean ‘sanctity’ as inviolability; importance, paramountcy, then my answer is yes, unequivocally.

You see Martin, I have no need, nor do I wish, to abuse you personally, only those arcane musings of yours.

Cheers


Steve Ruble - #39860

November 14th 2010

@Martin.

Why should live according to your idea of what is moral?  Why should I care what your God thinks about what I do? Don’t bother writing a million lines about how awesome and powerful your God is; why should I care?

I’m glad you do believe in God, since you seem to think that in the absence of that belief you would be a sociopath. I don’t think that’s true, but I can’t really contradict you.  Nevertheless, just because your conscience takes the form of a God looking over your shoulder doesn’t mean mine must. If you find it mysterious that people can have something that acts as a conscience without naming it and worshiping it, that’s simply a failure of imagination on your part. 

The problem that I have with your moral standard is that you have, built into your moral system, a way to make yourself feel OK about anything you want to do. You can either convince yourself that God approves of if, or you can convince yourself that you will/have been forgiven for doing it.  Given that you also think God has sanctioned genocide (and sundry lesser crimes), and will forgive any crime, I think it should be obvious why your moral system makes me a little uncomfortable.


Steve Ruble - #39863

November 14th 2010

@Martin,

Note that I don’t actually think it’s likely that you’ll take advantage of the loopholes in your moral system in order to do anything especially terrible.  But, sadly, you are not the only person who derives their morality from their ideas about their Gods, rather than reflecting on their common humanity, and many of your co-religionists have distinguished themselves in the modern world by their singular lack of care for human wellbeing.  In fact, since the fall of the USSR, the only people who seem to be actively working against the improvement of the human condition are people motivated by moral systems which are rationalized in exactly the same way as yours.

I also wanted to clarify for you why your umbrage about insults is absurd.  You think that Papalinton and I deserve to be tortured forever, and that we are so depraved and arrogant that we willfully close our eyes to the chance of salvation.  In the face of such colossal disrespect for our humanity and reason, I think the fact that we even try to talk to you counts as almost inhuman tolerance.

To be honest, some of your beliefs make me sick. I hope that someday you will realize how fundamentally appalling they are.


Martin Rizley - #39868

November 14th 2010

Steve and Papalinton, 
We have pretty well hashed through the arguments for and against belief in God.  I find your arguments for atheism unconvincing, as you find my arguments for belief in the God of Scripture.  It is evident that we have different presuppositional commitments.  Whereas the two of you are committed to the supremacy of human reason as the supreme arbiter of truth (an assumption that eliminates God’s existence in an ‘a priori’ manner), I am committed to God’s supremacy as the supreme Arbiter of truth; that is why I am willing to submit the fallible judgments of my mind to the infallible, overruling judgments of His Word, when these appear to be in conflict.  Both of our worldviews rest on faith—since you cannot demonstrate God’s non-existence, anymore than I can demonstrate EMPIRICALLY His existence.  The difference, as I see it, is that my presuppositions enable me to live a consistent life—that is, a life in which my actions agree with the first principles of my belief system.  (continued)


Martin Rizley - #39869

November 14th 2010

On the other hand, your presupposition of God’s non-existence leads you into a hopelessly contradictory way of living; for you want to believe that people are inherently ‘important,’ even ‘sacred,’ in a sense, possessing an inviolable dignity and value that simply MUST be respected, but you confess that the origin of all things is mindless, meaningless matter that cares nothing for us, since it doesn’t even know we are here.  If our cosmic ‘mother’ is thus blind and mindless and cares nothing for us, there is no logical reason why it is IMPERATIVE for us to care for each other.  Of course, we do care, but in my view, that only testifies to the fact that all people are made in God’s image and recognize intuitively that there is a value in human existence that is rooted in a transcendent reality beyond the material world.  Persons are important because the ultimate reality,  from which we came and to which we are accountable (God) is personal and meaningful, not impersonal and meaningless.  I cannot convince you of absurdity of atheism—only God, in His mercy, can do that—and I hope and pray He will, some day.  But I see no point in prolonging the discussion for now.  So ‘cheers’ to you both!


Papalinton - #39886

November 15th 2010

The man who is always worrying about whether or not his soul would be damned generally has a soul that isn’t worth a damn.

On the whole I am on the side of the unregenerate who affirm the worth of life as an end in itself, as against the saints who deny it.


Martin Rizley - #39936

November 15th 2010

Papalinton,  It may surprise you to know that believers in God regard worship as an “end in itself,” not as a mercenary means of getting something from God.  They don’t base their praise on the servile fear that this is the only way to avoid damnation.  Their worship does not spring from self-centered motives as an attempt to ‘appease’ God with sacrifices of praise,.  Rather, their hearts are moved to praise God because of His inherent loveliness and praiseworthiness. Of course, every believer desires the good of his own soul, and He seeks God for that reason, as well, because He knows that his true good is to be found in God alone; but at the same time, he knows that God is to be trusted because of who He is in himself, not because of what He does for us personally.  When Job was in doubt about his own relationship to God, he confessed “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.”  Job knew that God was worthy of trust because of who He is in Himself;  even if God judged him to be a hypocrite and condemned him, Job would trust and praise God anyway, since he knew that God is inherently righteous and can do no wrong.


Jeff Martin - #39937

November 15th 2010

Mark,

I enjoyed your post greatly. It reminds me of some books I have been reading on the theological interpretation of Scripture. Though this kind of post could of used a bit of refinement.  For instance, when you said,

“Evidence of the Spirit at work is the only true measure we have of our theology; all other measures, including whether it fits our carefully-reasoned arguments of who is in and who is out, are vanity.”

I believe the word “only” is too strong. After all, if it was not for the actual historical event of Jesus’ death and resurrection nothing else would have mattered. I might have used the word “best” instead of “only”.  Paul states this in so many words when he says that love, a fruit of the Spirit, is the most important attribute, otherwise one is just a clanging cymbal, even if its the right cymbal.

To add to this I would like to add something from Donald Juel -  “Living with the Scriptures is more like sailing than building a cathedral, you don’t have control over the elements,  but just enough to navigate in rough waters” ….BUT again I think this could still be more precise, SO I would add this - You are always navigating with Christ as true north.


Alex - #39966

November 15th 2010

@ Papalinton - #39738

You write: “You must remember Martin…. Jeffrey Dahmer did all those things on your god’s watch.  This didn’t happen in an atheist state.  Where the freaking hell was He, Martin?”

You seem to be both convinced that God doesn’t exist, and very mad at Him for not existing.

Please forgive me and my brothers and sisters.  We are lazy, stupid, ignorant, fallible, and quite morally atrocious children of our Father.  But He loves us anyway.  I’m not sure why—we certainly don’t deserve it.  But He calls us His family.

Forgive us for not reflecting Christ’s love to you.  Forgive us for failing for much of human history.  But then, we’re not Christ—we’re the body of Christ, that is the Church.  And if you read Hosea, then you’ll know the Biblical definition of the Church: a whore, who fails again and again to be faithful to her husband, but who is loved and forgiven, simply because her Husband wants her back.

I don’t think any scientific or philosophical argument has a shot in hell at persuading you until you see that you’re not angry at God—you’re angry that His children have failed to reflect Him.


Steve Ruble - #39993

November 15th 2010

@Martin,

I guess we’ve reached the standard endpoint for presups - the point where you assert that we’re all operating on faith, but yours is better.  Typically arrogant, supercilious, and unimaginative.

So why do you think that your assumptions are so special, Martin?  You assume that there is a God, and declare that his assumed existence (somehow) imbues his human creations with an attribute that other humans ought to respect. You have a chain of assumptions and assertions that you claim consistently leads to the position that humans ought to be respected by other humans (if not by their God).

I, on the other hand, merely assume that other people generally ought to be respected.  I can point to any number of positive outcomes which result from making that assumption, but, basically, I just assume it.  So there’s my chain of assumptions and assertions (one link long) that I claim leads consistently to the position that humans ought to be respected.

Please explain what is inconsistent within my rationale for respecting people, and why your assumptions have more inherent merit than mine.  These are assumptions, remember. That’s your argument.


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