Pastor Exhorts Montana Lawmakers to Obey God Rather Than Men

Helena Capitol buildingHELENA, Montana — A Wisconsin pastor presented a sermon before the Montana legislature this past weekend, teaching on what is known as the Doctrine of Lesser Magistrates, a historic and biblical doctrine that dates back to the times of Moses and Daniel.

Matt Trewhella, pastor of Mercy Seat Christian Church in Milwaukee, had been invited by the group Project Liberty Tree to present this year’s election sermon at the Montana state house in Helena following the release of his book “The Doctrine of Lesser Magistrates.” The book focuses on the refusal of civil magistrates to obey laws that are immoral or ungodly, believing that divine laws trump human commands.

With numerous social issues and court rulings in recent years that seek to force Christians to violate the law of God, Trewhella preached a message to those gathered entitled “The Duty of the Lesser Magistrate in the Face of Tyranny.”

“The cold-blooded murder of the preborn, the imposition of homosexual marriage upon our states, no-fault divorce, the decriminalization of adultery, the phalanx of laws created by the State to invade our domestic affairs, disarm the people, seize our property, and harass our persons—all point to the growing tyranny in America,” he declared.

Trewhella then pointed to numerous biblical examples of interposition where the people of God refused to commit evil and chose to obey God rather than men—from the midwives who refused to kill the firstborn male children in Egypt contrary to Pharaoh’s command to Daniel’s refusal to obey a decree issued by King Darius that prohibited him from praying to God.

“Understand, God is the ultimate authority. The Bible says plainly, ‘The Most High rules over the realm of mankind,'” Trewhella preached to the more than 30 lawmakers gathered. “He created us, and thus knows best how we are to be governed. God is the ultimate Law-Giver and Ruler.”

“As God’s minister’s you are to govern according to His rule,” he continued. “You are—as it says in [Romans 13]—to reward those who do good and punish those who do evil. You are not to make law or policy which contradicts His moral law or His word.”

  • Connect with Christian News

Trewhella said that the majority of the problems in America today stem from moral relativism out of its abandonment of God.

“God’s moral law as the ‘higher law’ provides an objective standard whereby one is able to discern right from wrong, or good from evil. The ‘higher law’ exists independent of the authority of any government, and all governments of men are accountable to it,” he explained. “It is the tyrant state that abhors an objective standard. It does not want to be accountable. It flourishes in a subjective environment. And that is why you are watching Western Civilization crumble before your eyes.”

“May God help you do right by Him,” the pastor and author exhorted.

Trewhella
Trewhella

Trewhella told Christian News Network this week that he believed his sermon was “vitally important” for current times, and noted that such invitations to pastors were commonplace in early America.

“People from the community and the legislators and magistrates would come to hear the word of God,” he explained. “So to see that it’s being revived and actually practiced again after over 100 years plus of it not being done, you see how important it is.”

Trewhella, who founded the organization Missionaries to the Preborn in 1990, said that he received a warm reception from lawmakers.

“I had many [legislators] come up to me and tell me, ‘This is something we need to look into more and learn more about,'” he explained. “When people are taught for the word of God regarding civil government, they are able to see the purpose, functions and limits of civil government,” he said, adding that when citizens remain ignorant of these matters “it makes it much easier for the state to do things beyond its biblical or constitutional limits or restraints.”

While some media outlets demonized Trewhella for the content of his speech and his stance on biblical morality, he states that God used the negative publicity for good.

“[The mainstream media is] at war with Christ. They promote everything evil and licentious, and they actually make evil look good and good look evil,” he stated. “So, I’m not surprised by them attacking what we’re doing. I pay very little attention to it.”

“I see the good that God brings even from that because while they mean their attacks for evil, again and again, I’ve seen God use it for good, arousing the hearts of the people and rallying them towards this effort to see the interposition of the lesser magistrates take place in our country,” Trewhella continued. “So many people have the teaching in their hands now who wouldn’t have heard it had it not been for what the press did.”

Following the presentation of the sermon on Sunday, Trewhella also taught at meetings throughout the week in various cities, including in Plains, Missoula, Butte and Bozeman. In addition to the attendance of local residents, several government officials were present at the meetings as well.

“It’s been really good what’s happened here,” Trewhella said.

Photo: Monty Johnson


A special message from the publisher...

Dear Reader, our hearts are deeply grieved by the ongoing devastation in Iraq, and through this we have been compelled to take a stand at the gates of hell against the enemy who came to kill and destroy. Bibles for Iraq is a project to put Arabic and Kurdish audio Bibles into the hands of Iraqi and Syrian refugees—many of whom are illiterate and who have never heard the gospel.Will you stand with us and make a donation today to this important effort? Please click here to send a Bible to a refugee >>

Print Friendly
  • Fundisi

    Excellent sermon, surely if embrace, good for that state and the nation, but I fear the spirit of atheism is now so strong in this land that this glorious message will fall on deaf ears.

  • James Grimes

    It looks like the Pastor gave some practical advice to lawmakers who want to do what is right. I was also piqued by the following statement, “some media outlets demonized Trewhella for the content of his speech and his stance on biblical morality…” We need to understand and always remember that the media are not our friends. They are enemies to every Bible-believing Christian and every ethical citizen that lives in this country. If the media says something, believe the opposite.

    • Mike

      We need to understand that christians are not our friends unless we aren’t women or gay. Christians are enemies to every woman who wants to control her own body and gay people who want equal rights.

      We need to understand that theocracy is the enemy of all freedom, which is why the framers of the constitution so clearly rejected it.

    • jthomas2

      Trewhella ought to be ashamed of his outright defiance of The US Constitution. There is no excuse for any citizen to misrepresent his or her religious beliefs as talking precedent over the explicit provisions of The Constitution.

      Americans will insure that no theocratic tendencies of any religion will violate The First Amendment or overturn our secular Constitution.

      It is time for Trewhella to understand the meaning of The Consitution and the protection it affords all religions to practice freely, and to protect our freedom from religion.

      Let him seek wisdom to repent and aplogize to ALL Americans for his theocratic rantings and learn what it means to be a responsible American citizen.

  • jcrosby35

    Fellow Christians. You either stand up for what you believe in and be the light of the world and the salt of the earth before the people around you, or any influnance you or your church had in the community will die. If salt loses is savior what good is it but to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men. You want to talk about morality? If Christian morality dies then sharia law steps in. The Constitution and Bill of Rights protect you in this country and God gave us the great commission Mt. 28 and Mk. 16. Repent, pray and take a stand for the Lord. Jn. 14:6

    • Mike

      What you seem to forget is that the Bill of Rights also protects people who aren’t Christians. You don’t get to impose your religion via the law. It’s just that simple.

      It is laughable to listen to christians whine about how their religion is moral when a simple survey of the bible shows that it isn’t. It is also funny how morality existed well before christianity yet those silly people claim that their religion is the source of it.

      Finally, the claim that if christian morality dies, we shall suddenly become subject to Sharia law. It is utter hogwash. It is simply false. The law in America is secular, it always has been and hopefully always will be. So, whether it is islamic extremists or christian extremists trying to get undue control, you may count on the real Americans, those of us who know what is at stake and real history, to fight for all of our benefits.

      • jcrosby35

        Yea, right. I would no more depend on you or your bunch to protect morality than I would depend on your father who is the father of all liars to protect morality.
        Jesus Christ is Lord.

        • Mike

          You are a willful, ignorant child. You are so spoiled and ignorant that you think morality comes from a book that advocates slavery, genocide, capital punishment for children and the murder of homosexuals. You have no morals and presume to petulantly whine to your betters about what a good boy you are. Grow up, you idiotic, entitles infant.

          • jcrosby35

            You have not the slightest idea of what you talk about. Do you have any idea of the difference between the Old Testaments and the New?
            Do you know anything about law and grace.
            You sure do not know Jesus Christ or the sacrifice He made and not the slightest thing about God’s plan for man kind.
            Before you start shouting platitudes or judging other people get and education, at least basic New Testament.
            Now crawl back into your hole, even a fool is considered wise if he remains quite.

      • jcrosby35

        Your Constitution rights end where my rights begin.
        Get over it.

        • Mike

          You are pathetically stupid, You do not understand what your rights are. You are opposed to the freedom and liberty America is founded on and instead want a theocracy. Why do you hate America?

          • jcrosby35

            Well Mike instead of shooting off your mouth I suggest you post your arguments and some sources to back them up.
            And as for a theocracy, that will come just as soon as this stinking mess you are feeding on is brought to and end.
            And as for the so called liberty and freedom you are yapping about. Where is it or is it just for the special elite few?

  • Gary

    The pastor is right. I agree with him. People defy God at their peril.

  • http://thebenevolentthou.com/ Max T. Furr

    Seems to me that many Christians have difficulty in distinguishing between a secular republic and a theocracy. Too, many have a misconception of the intent of the Establishment Clause as a governing principle for the Religious Freedom Clause (both made applicable to the States by the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment.
    Even some, if not most, conservative legislators have little understanding of the intent of these clauses.

    • Gary

      Nobody is advocating that the government make you attend church, or try to get you to believe anything other than you already do. But we would like for the laws to be moral.

      • dark477

        Say what you mean, you want laws that fit your definition of morality.

        • Fundisi

          Outside of God’s Word there is no morality, only relative morality and situational ethics that sway with the prevailing political wind.

          • dark477

            That’s all mortality is including your gods morality or have you forgotten the parts of the bible that justify slavery and rape?

          • Fundisi

            Your ignorance of God’s Word is no excuse.

          • dark477

            Go re-read your little book.

          • Fundisi

            Show me a passage in question! You will find much of your charges cannot be laid at God’s door.

          • dark477
          • Fundisi

            In Judges it was Israel disobeying God and trying to satisfy their own errant decision earlier that denied intermarriage with one tribe and wherein they created a situation that was not based on God’s Word to get around their earlier sin.

            In Exodus, (a) Slavery was common all over the world, in all societies. (b) In Israel, it was based on economic servitude to satisfy debts and even then after 7 years they were to be released.

            I notice your references is from an atheist site that calls the Bible evil.

          • dark477

            So you’re saying that something that use to be considered moral isn’t anymore? I don’t care about your worthless justifications. The fact is that bible justify theses things and those verses concerning slavery were used by anti-abolitionists.

          • Fundisi

            No you will not put words in my mouth.

            “The Bible does not specifically condemn the practice of slavery. It gives instructions on how slaves should be treated (Deuteronomy 15:12-15; Ephesians 6:9; Colossians 4:1),
            but does not outlaw slavery altogether. Many see this as the Bible
            condoning all forms of slavery. What many fail to understand is that
            slavery in biblical times was very different from the slavery that was
            practiced in the past few centuries in many parts of the world. The
            slavery in the Bible was not based exclusively on race. People were not
            enslaved because of their nationality or the color of their skin. In
            Bible times, slavery was based more on economics; it was a matter of
            social status. People sold themselves as slaves when they could not pay
            their debts or provide for their families. In New Testament times,
            sometimes doctors, lawyers, and even politicians were slaves of someone
            else. Some people actually chose to be slaves so as to have all their
            needs provided for by their masters.

            In addition, both the Old and New
            Testaments condemn the practice of “man-stealing,” which is what
            happened in Africa in the 19th century. Africans were rounded up by
            slave-hunters, who sold them to slave-traders, who brought them to the
            New World to work on plantations and farms. This practice is abhorrent
            to God. In fact, the penalty for such a crime in the Mosaic Law was
            death: “Anyone who kidnaps another and either sells him or still has him
            when he is caught must be put to death” (Exodus 21:16).
            Similarly, in the New Testament, slave-traders are listed among those
            who are “ungodly and sinful” and are in the same category as those who
            kill their fathers or mothers, murderers, adulterers and perverts, and
            liars and perjurers (1 Timothy 1:8–10).

            Another crucial point is that the purpose of the Bible is to point the
            way to salvation, not to reform society. The Bible often approaches
            issues from the inside out. If a person experiences the love, mercy, and
            grace of God by receiving His salvation, God will reform his soul,
            changing the way he thinks and acts. A person who has experienced God’s
            gift of salvation and freedom from the slavery of sin, as God reforms
            his soul, will realize that enslaving another human being is wrong. He
            will see, with Paul, that a slave can be “a brother in the Lord” (Philemon 1:16).
            A person who has truly experienced God’s grace will in turn be
            gracious towards others. That would be the Bible’s prescription for
            ending slavery.”

            Read more: http://www.gotquestions.org/Bible-slavery.html#ixzz3OTAB59zE

          • Gary

            I am not going to argue what morality is with someone like you. You have no basis for your version of “morality”. It is just your opinion, and it has no authority.

          • James Grimes

            You obviously don’t know the Bible.

          • dark477

            Better than you pig.

          • James Grimes

            Resorting to name calling? That’s very manly of you. You lose an argument and then lose control. As I said earlier, you have no credibility.

          • dark477

            Says the one who calls atheists useless. Don’t like getting the same treatment do you pig?

        • Gary

          Morality is defined in the Bible, not by me. If you want to change the definition of it you will have to take that up with God.

          • dark477

            I prefer to follow my own ideas about morality.

          • Gary

            Fine. But many of us accept God’s ideas about it.

      • http://thebenevolentthou.com/ Max T. Furr

        It is quite interesting that some of my replies are disappearing. It must have been a good one.

        To your odd point about going to church, nobody is advocating that the government should keep you from attending any house of faith you want. I really don’t know where you got the idea that the government wants to force me to go to church.

        As for what to believe, that is exactly what I’ve been saying. Glad you recognized it.

        As for morality, my definition is based on Reason and Empathy (all citizens are equal in matters concerning their views on religion under the constitution).

        And where their religious views conflict, the discord must be resolved with equality and empathy, and that means NO one religion may preach its views on government property (including public schools) or by any other means coerce others to abide by their beliefs, to include inculcating the children of non Christian faiths (and those of no faith), into Christianity through any government facility or by any government agent.

    • James Grimes

      Most people misinterpret the purpose of the “establishment clause.” It is not to suppress the practice of Christianity.

      • http://thebenevolentthou.com/ Max T. Furr

        Of course it does not suppress Christianity unless Christianity wants to push their beliefs on everyone else through law. It is the VERY same with all other religions. The intent of the Establishment Clause is to put the religious convictions of EVERYONE on the same footing.

        That is the very reason conservatives try to redefine the Establishment Clause. They want to be the OFFICIAL religion of the U.S.

        The constitution puts my views on religion are every bit as valid as yours. We all have the right to debate, but not the right to impose. So are the views of the Muslim, the Jew, the Hindu, the Baha’i, and the Zoroastrian by law, equal to the Christian..

      • Solomon Jewel

        Who in the world ever said that, or did you just make it up. It is though, to eliminate Christianity from governance.

    • Fundisi

      You cannot establish a religion unless the Congress should declare one to be the State religion by Law and demand its recognition as the state religion. Allowing people to honor God as they choose in their individual states or communities is not the establishment of an official state religion.

      • dark477

        It is if it’s on government property.

        • Fundisi

          Every time a Chaplain opens a session of Congress, every time they open a meeting and every time they quote the Bible on public buildings, it is on government property.

          • dark477

            Yes and that needs to stop.

          • James Grimes

            No it doesn’t. We’re not going to cater to the whims of The Useless.

          • dark477

            You’ll cater to constitution like every other American or leave.

          • James Grimes

            That’s not going to happen either.

          • dark477

            Typical christian, no respect for any law or authority other than their non-existent god. If a muslin talked like that you would be screaming for his head.

          • James Grimes

            Atheist, do you expect to receive any credibility here?

          • dark477

            Am I wrong?

          • Fundisi

            Yes you are!

          • dark477

            I’ve seen plenty of conservatives whining about how Muslims don’t respect the laws of the society they live in and that they want to make their religion the law of the land so how is that any different to you?

          • Fundisi

            Christians do obey and respect the laws of the land, unless they are against God’s Law.

          • dark477

            And how is that different to Muslims?

          • http://thebenevolentthou.com/ Max T. Furr

            Good questions. I notice there was no reply to that one. He knew he could not win a logical argument.

          • Fundisi

            It is your Leftists that do not support the Constitution.

          • dark477

            In what way?

          • Fundisi

            Read the Bill of Rights, you people have consistently denied freedom or religious expression, freedom of speech and freedom of assembly, among others.

          • dark477

            Got any examples?

          • Fundisi

            You already gave one, the outlawing of school prayer and a host of others since then.

          • dark477

            Compulsory school prayer. Individuals are free to pray on their own time provided they don’t make others to take part.

          • Fundisi

            No they are not free to pray out loud in school even on their own time, neither students or teachers, or even appear to pray and offend others by doing so.

          • Fundisi

            In the past half hour or so you have sent me many replies and I am tired of your atheism. Go away, I have already spent too much time entertaining a fool.

          • Fundisi

            Why, our Founding Fathers and the Supreme Court don’t object?

          • dark477

            Give it time, that court will come around eventually, they always do.

          • Fundisi

            I will never be surprised at the evil people will do, but it will not be in accord with the Constitution, they will have to create new law.

          • dark477

            The Supreme Court has ruled in the past compulsory pray in school and religious displays on public property are unconstitutional so I have no doubt that they’ll realize that those prayers are as well.

          • Fundisi

            That was a decision by the Liberal Warren Court in 1962, based on the lie of “Separation of Church and State, created out of whole cloth by that damnable lying Justice Hugo Black in 1947, when the court was likewise liberal. It was and is as wrong as when they approved a black person being 2/3 of a citizen and of slavery.

          • http://thebenevolentthou.com/ Max T. Furr

            I’m afraid you are a bit confused about history. Courts usually reference Jefferson and Madison’s view of Religious freedom when they are addressing cases having to do with religious freedom. Jefferson’s intent is found at http://founders.archives.gov/documents/Jefferson/01-02-02-0132-0004-0082. This is the document from which the Establishment Clause was crafted.

          • Fundisi

            A. That document is too long for me to invest time reading, if for no other reason, my focus is on salvation of souls and not trying to make remedies for the thoroughly wicked, already God cursed governments of this world.
            B. Jefferson and Madison were not the only authors of the Constitution and while I agree that the courts reference them most, it is to help them engage in their open warfare against Christ and the Church. I can offer a host of quotations from our many Founding Fathers that viewed the Constitution and the first clause of the 1st Amendment in two parts: 1. The state might not, in imitation of Europe, establish a national Church or religion. 2. That the Congress and thus our federal government were prohibited from passing any laws of kind that infringed in whole or in part on free religious expression.
            C. Jefferson only spoke once on the first half or the first clause of the 1st Amendment, a single line, from a single letter that was in fact his promise to the Danbury Baptists that, rumors to the contrary notwithstanding, he would not, if elected president establish such a national church. Further, in the Northwest Ordinace, which spells out the conditions of new territories becoming states, Jefferson encouraged such new states to include Bible study in their public schools to teach morals, which he said was the foundation of good government.
            D. If the Founding Father’s, except atheist Madison, were in agreement with you, why did none of them protest the KJV, Christian Bible being used in all public schools and universities of that time? Why did they appoint chaplains and only Christians chaplains to open every session of Congress, their congressional meetings and allow many bible verses on our national buildings and monuments? So, their actions and even inaction’s would support the idea they did not think allowing these things violated the 1st Amendment and makes nonsense of every claim to the contrary.

          • http://thebenevolentthou.com/ Max T. Furr

            A. I have to laugh at that. It is actually a very short read and by that statement you admit that you do not WANT to know the intent of the Establishment Clause. I sense your cognitive dissonance.

            B. From http://constitutioncenter.org/learn/educational-resources/constitution-faqs/

            “Because many of James Madison’s ideas made their way into the Constitution, he is often referred to as the “Father of the Constitution.” Indeed, he was a driving force of the convention throughout the summer of 1787, and his notes of the deliberations have provided valuable insights into the proceedings.”

            It also is known that Madison and Jefferson were of one mind on religious freedom–no one religion can dominate all others. In fact, it was Madison who shepherded Jefferson’s Bill for Establishing Religious Freedom thought the Virginia Legislature while Jefferson was in France.

            As for your comment on a national religion, you are correct, except that clause was made applicable to the States via the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause. .

      • http://thebenevolentthou.com/ Max T. Furr

        You missed my point. Read my last poet to Grimes. No one is even attempting do deny anyone the right to believe in god(s) or to worship whatever god you imagine to exist.
        All I am arguing is that laws based on religions scriptures/beliefs are religious laws and banned by the Constitution.
        Too, no elected official has the right to disobey federal law. If same-gender marriage is ruled constitutional (which it has been), then it is to be upheld by all magistrates at all levels. Otherwise, they should choose a new profession, such as preaching to think-alikes and/or making their arguments in public (not to a captive audience).

        • Fundisi

          No I did not miss your Christ hating point.

          Since we became a nation our laws have always, more or less, been based on the Christian faith, as we were until recently, mostly a Christian people and had a right to influence our laws to reflect our moral and spiritual values.

          States have the right to establish minimum requirements for all sorts of things and licenses and have a right to say what does and what does not constitute marriage, liberal, anti-Christ court decisions notwithstanding. Christians may not be forced, even by threat of their jobs to compromise their faith. They may be reassigned or in other ways removed from those positions, but they cannot be fired for standing on their Christian values.

          • http://thebenevolentthou.com/ Max T. Furr

            Your logic is amazing. How can I hate anything or anyone I do not know personally and whom or what didn’t exist as the stories portray?

            Of course your faith will influence your perspective on laws, but your you cannot produce laws based solely on your biblical beliefs where others do not share that belief. Your religion cannot run roughshod over all of American society, even though “religious freedom” to you seems to mean you can. In this case, you do NOT believe in religious freedom, but only “Christian freedom.”

            “Christians may not be forced, even by threat of their jobs to compromise their faith.”
            A magistrate is a PUBLIC SERVENT, who may indeed be fired for refusing to serve the PUBLIC, or PERHAPS transferred to a non decision making position. If fired, he isn’t fired for his Christian beliefs, he is to be fire for not doing the duty for which he was hired and agreed to fulfill.
            If every person is allowed to discriminate according to their religious beliefs, then we are taken back to the 1950s in matters of social discord. This is one of the main reasons I left Christianity behind many years ago.
            What makes the religious beliefs you likely were TAUGHT to believe from your diaper days, any more true than that of the any other person of any other religion, who were, themselves, TAUGHT to believe theirs. What is the difference?
            If you ever come to understand why you reject other faiths, then you will understand why they reject yours. You are mirror images of each other.

          • Fundisi

            It does not matter whether or not you believe He exists or if He exists they way the Bible speaks of Him; if you do not love Him, you hate Him. If you for whatever cause fight against His Church, His children you hate Him.

            A. I do not want to force anyone, I am defending the right of Christians to believe and practice their faith as they choose, under the protection of the 1st Amendment; and, their right to vote for only Christians in government and to influence our laws to reflect their Judeo-Christian social/moral values. I grant that other faiths may do the same and only pray they will not succeed.

            B. If fired for refusing to do something contrary to their faith, their employer, even if government, should be held financially liable for violating their rights of religious expression under the 1st Amendment. I do agree they could be transferred to another position that allows them to work and not face having to compromise their faith, just like a disabled person may be transferred to a position that they can better handle.

            C. Because Jesus lives in me and In know He is the only way unto salvation.

          • http://thebenevolentthou.com/ Max T. Furr

            “if you do not love Him, you hate Him.”

            First, I appreciate the civility. It isn’t often I am not met with quite vulgar language for my opinions.

            Look, logically, one cannot love or hate something that he does not believe exists. Do you believe in unicorns? Elves? If not, do you hate them or love them?

            Nor do I fight “against His church.” My entire motivation is quite simple: do unto others as you would have THEM do unto you. Your Bible says the same thing: “And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.” Luke 6:31, KJV.

            That is the ONLY doctrine I follow and it is the one I advocate everyone following. Most religions (and ancient sages) profess it, but then the religions create exclusive doctrines that override that tenet, making it null and void (one must believe OUR other doctrines in order to be “one of us–the saved.”). I think this is the major block to true peace, both existentially (from within the individual) and factual (objectively).
            A. Then you do not accept the intent of the Establishment Clause as strengthened by the Equal Protection Clause. You do not believe in equal protection for all.
            B. Please give the legal bases of your claim that the government cannot fire someone for refusing to carry out their duty to the public for reasons of religious belief. Please include your argument against the INTENT of the Establishment Clause.
            C. This is a subjective belief that comports with your religious belief, likely taught to you from childhood. It is not objective and those who hold (B.) cannot be allowed, to the detriment of any group of citizens, to impose those views on others–which you would be doing if you refused to serve all citizens as your position mandates by law.

    • LeRoy Whitman

      A secular republic is a mythical idea. See the book by Lesslie Newbigin, Foolishness to the Greeks, in which he explores this rather thoroughly. “There is no neutrality.” Everyone begins with some presuppositions; the question really is which ones are true and which of some degree of doubt are safe to venture on. Having multiple jurisdictions allows for the “holy experiment” that William Penn began.

      • http://thebenevolentthou.com/ Max T. Furr

        Interesting. I thought I had responded to this.

        In any case, you refer to the guy who said that “every human being is made to glorify God and enjoy him forever.” This premise is without foundation. It is a subjective conjecture and has no weight in objective logic.

        Here is a bit of objective logic:

        The religious beliefs of the individual is most often a function of what he was TAUGHT to believe from tothood. The vast majority of Christians were taught to be Christian. The vast majority of Muslims were taught to be Muslim. The vast majority of Hindu were taught to be Hindu.

        In other words, religious truth is entirely subjective and a function of happenstance of birth. Had you been born in any other culture to a family and society steeped in any other religion, you would believe in that one every bit as much as you now believe Christianity.

        So, the bottom line is, what makes your religion any more believable than all the others? Place yourself in the shoes of one taught to believe in some other religion. Would you not make virtually the same arguments in defense of that religion?

        • LeRoy Whitman

          Not sure who you’re responding to. You say, “In any case, you refer to the guy who said that ‘every human being is made to glorify God and enjoy him forever.’ ” I did not say that, nor do I hold to the theological underpinnings of the document that made that statement coin in theological discussions (even if there is truth in it).

          Regardless, in regard to your new question, yes, this is possible, and it often happens. It is not the case with me. I had a radical conversion, of my own choice, outside of my parents’ house, who were not Christians anyway; there was an array of other religious choices available to me. In fact, I was at the time pursuing drug experiences as a means of finding truth.

          You are also correct that people are innately subjective. As a philosophy major, I am also aware that this is to some degree a problem of the ages (consider Plato’s Cave), though it is very current now in consciousness (of course, as if it is something “new”!). The fact that people think their insight is superior is a curious presupposition (it is implicitly the idea that we know more than others of past ages). It is also, strictly speaking, ego-tistical, since it reason that my “knowing” this fact gives me the right to judge others who may not consciously account for it. However, if the fact of subjectivity is in fact true (which, under radical deconstruction, is meaningless), then what you are claiming as a touchstone of truth is also entirely subjective and may be wrong as well.

          So we are back to your question: Who is to say? This was Pilate’s very question, as Jesus stood before him, and he recongized that “I find no fault in this man” and yet had him crucified anyway, despite knowing that the popular religious crowd Jesus grew up among were crucifying Him because they were envious (envious that He, as He stated to Pilate, “came to bear witness to the truth”). PIlate’s question – the question of the ages, which you are now asking – was “What is Truth?”

          I submit that: 1) if there is any objective reality beyond our heads (and I think trees and rocks outside of ourselves prove this substantially enough); and 2) if we are all necessarily limited and subjective; then, the only one who can give an objective word we can trust is One who stands outside of creation. Jesus said, in John 3, that “no one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man” (with Son of Man being a fixed term to Jewish scholars like Nicodemus, with whom Jesus was talking; the Son of Man [meaning most-real-kind-of man, or ‘prototypical’ man

          in Hebrew idiom] is found in Daniel 7). We would have reason to wonder whether Jesus was only bearing witness to Himself, of course. But that is why the Gospels were written – to show the many other things He did; and if you want to be so skeptical as to dispute those historical acts, you cannot dispute the words, which _someone_ said, since they are written.

          Before Pilate, then, He bore witness. And after he had Him crucified, to keep his political position, Jesus then rose from the dead, bodily. This is objective proof. Finally, the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) stands there for you to read, and place against any other writings in history. Of course most people still don’t act like what He says there! That is why He came and died to bring the message. No one ever spoke like Him.

          • http://thebenevolentthou.com/ Max T. Furr

            Hmm, obviously I erred on to whom I was replying. In any case, I’m happy for your civil and learned response.

            “In fact, I was at the time pursuing drug experiences as a means of finding truth.”

            That is certainly a different testimony. Am I to infer that it was the a drug that triggered your radical conversion? That sounds like an interesting story in itself. In any case, I would conjecture that a “truth “revealed” in a drug induced, altered state of mind would not only be purely subjective but quite unreliable.

            I am in full agreement with Bertrand Russell’s comment on this very issue in his Essay, Mysticism:

            “From a scientific point of view, we can make no distinction between the man who eats little and sees heaven and the man who drinks much and sees snakes. Each is in an abnormal physical condition, and therefore has abnormal perceptions. Normal perceptions, since they have to be useful in the struggle for life, must have some correspondence with fact; but in abnormal perceptions there is no reason to expect such correspondence, and their testimony, therefore, cannot outweigh that of normal perception.”

            “. . . if the fact of subjectivity is in fact true (which, under radical deconstruction, is meaningless), then what you are claiming as a touchstone of truth is also entirely subjective and may be wrong as well.”

            I’m aware of the arguments concerning subjectivity and objectivity. True that every proposition is subject to personal interpretation. There, too, is what I call “collective subjectivity” where many people believe a proposition that is, in fact, independently unverifiable. I refer to the many stories/myths of the various religions as well as leprechauns and unicorns.

            However, I define objective truth as propositions that are testable/verifiable independent of any individual interpretation. It is the very essence of the scientific method, and the best method of discerning the best explanation for natural phenomena.

            I completely reject the notion that there is no objective reality beyond our heads. As well, I reject the argument of dreaming I exist. When a 18 wheeler is bearing down on you as you stroll down the center of the street, try convincing yourself that your situation isn’t objectively true.. In any case, the argument is mute.

            Now, concerning the Bible, all accounts of Jesus are “hearsay.” The Gospels themselves do not agree on significant details. Too, there are stories that tend to show Jesus was not omniscient. Indeed, according to Mark 11:12-13, he approached a fig tree intent on eating some figs. Yet, he was unaware that the tree had no figs because it was not the season for figs–a fact one would expect virtually every adult at the time, would know.

            But, I could go through many such unbelievable and unverifiable stories throughout the Bible and make similar points. No need.

            The believer will continue to believe and when confronted with cognitive dissonance, he will simply find some way to reinterpret the story or ignore it altogether.

            And, BTW, I had my own sudden conversion–in the opposite direction.

          • GibbyD
          • http://thebenevolentthou.com/ Max T. Furr

            I appreciate your desire to convince me, but I’ve been reading and researching Christian apologetics for years and even wrote and published a novel on the subject.

          • LeRoy Whitman

            Plato’s Cave. You don’t “know” what is definitive from mere observations. Your “science” is necessarily subjective.

            And if I’m not mistaken, that was your point in the first place. This is why a drug-induced experience could be more insightful; and, in fact, many cultures around the world pursue insight this way. I am not advocating it, you understand. But there is no epistemological principle itself that says my drug-induced experiences were less reliable. You do not know if there is another paradigm, some higher principle or unseen factor, that makes all observations better interpreted a different way. Welcome to the good admission of postmodernism.

  • http://thebenevolentthou.com/ Max T. Furr

    In my last post, I was stopped, for some reason, from finishing–a glitch I assume.

    To continue: In order to fully understand the INTENT of the Establishment Clause’s governing function for the Religious Freedom Clause, it would be best to understand the document from which it was derived; “A Bill for Establishing Religious Freedom”–written by Thomas Jefferson and shepherded through the Virginia Legislature by James Madison. See http://founders.archives.gov/documents/Jefferson/01-02-02-0132-0004-0082 (a quick read).
    In order to have a nation free of religious strife (well, as free as possible), the government (“We the People” and not “We the Christians,”) duly elected by the ALL voting citizens (including non Christians) must protect everyone’s right to believe as he chooses and practice his religion (or none at all) as he chooses.
    This is the ideal upon which this nation was founded and the first fundamental right of every citizen. Basically, it says that each person in the nation has the right to follow the dictates of his conscience TO THE EXTENT that his words and actions in no way presents an encumbrance on another person’s right to follow and practice the dictates of his own conscience, or to teach their children the same.
    Therefore, it is incumbent on us and especially on our elected officials, to ensure that non Christians have all the rights afforded to Christians. One does not need to be a constitutional scholar to figure out–after reading the intent of the Establishment Clause–what that means.
    One of the major consequences of the Establishment Clause is that no legislator can make laws based on religious doctrine where it has no SECULAR purpose (“secular,” meaning that it affords EVERONE the same rights and does not take any right away).
    For example, any law that denies the right of a citizen to marry the person whom he loves is by its nature a religious law and therefore it is unconstitutional, unfair, insensitive, and a blight on our founding principles. It is also un-American.
    The bottom line: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

    • James Grimes

      Your imagination is working overtime here. The founding fathers thought much differently than you would have us believe. Reading through many of their personal correspondence while in graduate school, I came to appreciate their affinity for a close relationship with the creator. Secularists would have that erased from the pages of history. This country was founded by Christian men, on Christian principles as a means for making this country fair to those who lived here.

      • http://thebenevolentthou.com/ Max T. Furr

        I doubt seriously the Founders thought much about homosexuality when drafting the Constitution. It is true that many early legislators and Founders wanted to inject religion into the body of the Constitution, but they did not because, thank Reason, the more influential Founders understood history and what harm a de facto theocracy would bring to the people (see James Madison’s statements below).

        Your comment “Secularists would have that erased from the pages of history” shows you have no idea what the intent of the Establishment Clause is about. It does not remove anyone’s right to believe or speak or write in matters of religious belief and free speech. It guarantees ALL citizens the right to believe and act as they choose in matters of religion.

        I’ve not met a secularist who didn’t exalt the right of EVERYONE to express his opinions on religion, and that certainly includes the right of the non religious to express theirs. No secularist would take that away from you or anyone else. But secularists do fight against any action by religious fundamentalists to remove, by law, a means of seeking happiness from others where the ends harm no one.

        You are quite wrong to imply that all the founders were Christians and that our constitution was founded on Christian principles. Nowhere in the Constitution is religion mentioned except for explicitly rejecting any religious test for public office.
        First, many, if not most of our laws and legal concepts have their roots deep in a blend Roman law and British Common Law (itself having it’s roots in Roman law).

        As for the Founders being Christian, most were, but the most rational and influential were not.

        James Madison:

        “It may not be easy, in every possible case, to trace the line of separation between the rights of religion and the Civil authority with such distinctness as to avoid collisions and doubts on unessential points. The tendency to unsurpastion on one side or the other, or to a corrupting coalition or alliance between them, will be best guarded agst. by an entire abstinence of the Gov’t from interfence in any way whatsoever, beyond the necessity of preserving public order, and protecting each sect agst. trespasses on its legal rights by others.”
        –“James Madison on Religious Liberty”, edited by Robert S. Alley, ISBN 0-8975-298-X. pp. 237-238.

        “What influence, in fact, have ecclesiastical establishments had on society? In some instances they have been seen to erect a spiritual tyranny on the ruins of the civil authority; on many instances they have been seen upholding the thrones of political tyranny; in no instance have they been the guardians of the liberties of the people. Rulers who wish to subvert the public liberty may have found an established clergy convenient auxiliaries. A just government, instituted to secure and perpetuate it, needs them not.”–James Madison, “A Memorial and Remonstrance–1785, Letter to F.A. Van der Kamp, Dec. 27, 1816

        John Adams:

        “I almost shudder at the thought of alluding to the most fatal example of the abuses of grief which the history of mankind has preserved– the Cross. Consider what calamities that engine of grief has produced!”–Letter to Thomas Jefferson

        Thomas Jefferson
        (This is only one of many anti-Christian comments):

        “The hocus-pocus phantasm of a God like another Cerberus, with one body and three heads, had its birth and growth in the blood of thousands and thousands of martyrs.” — Letter to James Smith, December 8, 1822

        George Washington
        (Never mentioned Jesus in any correspondence):

        “Religious controversies are always productive of more acrimony and irreconcilable hatreds than those which spring from any other cause. Of all the animosities which have existed among mankind, those which are caused by the difference of sentiments in religion appear to be the most inveterate and distressing, and ought most to be depreciated. I was in hopes that the enlightened and liberal policy, which has marked the present age, would at least have reconciled Christians of every denomination so far that we should never again see the religious disputes carried to such a pitch as to endanger the peace of society.”
        – letter to Edward Newenham, 1792

        Ben Franklin:

        “The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason.” –Poor Richard’s Almanac

        Thomas Paine:

        “Of all the tyrannies that affect mankind, tyranny in religion is the worst.”

        “Whenever we read the obscene stories, the voluptuous debaucheries, the cruel and torturous executions, the unrelenting vindictiveness, with which more than half of the Bible is filled, it would be more consistent that we call it the word of a demon than the word of God. It is a history of wickedness that has served to corrupt and brutalize mankind.”

        There is much more from other Founders. Read them at http://freethought.mbdojo.com/foundingfathers.html
        Bottom line: Believe what you will but do not impose those beliefs, by law, on others. You would not have them impose their beliefs on you, and to prevent people from imposing their views on others by law, government at all levels are forbidden to allow it by anyone.

        • Solomon Jewel

          Thank you Max for your tone and facts, which I know sometimes get in the way here. It is refreshing to not see name calling and inuendo. I understand secular christian to be one who has accepted Jesus Christ as their savior, and who agrees the Constitution demands no religion in government. We have swayed away from that. I do not understand why some insist on attempting to force their beliefs into governance, and call it being attacked. Freedom of religion does not require public facilities to provide venues for religious practice.

          • http://thebenevolentthou.com/ Max T. Furr

            Thank you Solomon. Your point is well taken. It isn’t “religion” in general that presents the irrational and often hypocritical view of the Establishment Clause, it is fundamentalist religion.

            It certainly is rational enough to suppose there is/was a creating power/force/intelligence, but quite another to build walls of exclusive dogma on that belief, and then insist all others abide by that dogma. And if denied the “right” to force others by law to follow, then they are being “persecuted.” If they only knew what real “persecution” was, especially by early Christianity.

            Never mind that others believe differently. Religious freedom to them simply means “freedom only for fundamentalist Christians to impose themselves on all of society.”

          • GibbyD

            ” real persecution” ? What do you call what is happening now at the hands of radical muslims ? There have been more Christians persecuted , tortured and murdered in the last 100 years than all the past centuries added up together . Bible believing Christians are not ” imposing ” their beliefs . Rather a few judges are imposing themselves by twisting of the law and constitution in order to force their political bent . They are usurping the desire and will of the vast majority of the people of The United States .

          • http://thebenevolentthou.com/ Max T. Furr

            I’m afraid you didn’t get my point. I was talking about Christians IN THE U.S. who claim the government is persecuting them when it disallows fundamentalists to make laws that force non Christians to abide by their religious beliefs–and/or government officials to propagate their religious beliefs on public property and at public meetings.

            “Bible believing Christians are not ” imposing ” their beliefs.”

            Really? Then what is the true reason for all these anti-marriage laws that, fortunately, are being shot down. And, in answering this, remember that the prohibition against bearing false witness (being deceitful) is one of the 10 Commandments.

            What is the root cause of laws that force the closing medical facilities that include abortion in their services? Sometimes abortions are necessary to save the mother’s life and/or serious damage to her body.

            What is behind erecting huge crosses on PUBLIC land and placing Judeo/Christian monuments on PUBLIC property such as town squares and courthouse lawns? How long do you think a statue or monument to Islam would last?

            What is the root cause of town councils, school boards, and county administrators having exclusive sectarian prayers to open PUBLIC meetings? Remember, the Bill of Rights was adopted to protect the MINORITY, not the majority.

            What is behind the push for sectarian prayer in PUBLIC schools and at public school functions? Do parents NOT have the right to teach their children the religion or philosophy of their choice? Is it a Christian right to indoctrinate or otherwise influence children of other beliefs?

            So, my point is that many Christians, when denied the above efforts to impose on the PUBLIC their religion, they scream “persecution.”

    • Gary

      Nonsense. Nobody has the right to marry the person they love, and the government does not concern itself with whether people wanting to marry “love” each other. Heterosexual only marriage is NOT unconstitutional. Never has been. If you want it to be unconstitutional, you will need to amend the constitution.

      • Oboehner

        Why is the government involved in marriage at all?

        • James Grimes

          One word – corruption. When the government avoids doing its job, then it has time to intimidate its citizens to do what a corrupt minority wants. An in – your – face government is good for nothing positive.

          • Oboehner

            If the government wasn’t involved, what sexual deviants want to do with each other becomes irrelevant – nobody needs to recognize it unless it victimizes another person.

          • Gary

            You might have a point.

          • http://thebenevolentthou.com/ Max T. Furr

            Yes, that works in both directions. If the government wasn’t involved, what hypocritical Americans believe becomes irrelevant.
            However, the government must be involved to some degree. The Constitution demands it. Married couples have specific rights not afforded to non-married folks. These include tax breaks, inheritance, and the right to visit your spouse in a hospital–among other perks. Because of the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause, the only way to ensure equal protection in the U.S. is through governmental guidance by law.

          • Gary

            The US Constitution does not mention marriage. The 14th Amendment requires that any law must apply to everyone equally. You might argue that there should be no tax breaks for married people, and you might have a point. But no part of the Constitution requires that the legal definition of marriage must be changed to accommodate sexual deviants.

          • http://thebenevolentthou.com/ Max T. Furr

            Hmm, your logic is interesting.

            “The US Constitution does not mention marriage.” True

            “. . . no part of the Constitution requires that the legal definition of marriage must be changed to accommodate sexual deviants.”
            I suppose you are referencing DOMA, passed by conservatives in a religious reaction to the first challenges to the social practice. Before that act was passed, there was NO federal “legal” definition of marriage relevant to gender.
            DOMA was mainly another means for conservative lawmakers to pander to their religious right base for votes, each not wanting to be painted in a primary as being un-godly by their opponents.
            Whether or not a conservative candidate is really religious cannot be known because many have no problem bearing false witness, but if they profess to be pious believers long and loud enough, they get the votes. That’s the power of the “Jesus shtick.”
            The SCOTOS overturned DOMA in 2013.
            So, now, precisely what is the LEGAL federal definition of marriage? States, of course, are allowed to show their bigotry by making such laws based on their “apparent” religious beliefs.

          • Gary

            There is no federal legal definition of marriage. The federal courts have tried to establish one, but they have no Constitutional reason for it. The federal government does not issue marriage licenses, at the present time. Licensing marriages has been left to the states. And until recent years, all of the states have required that legal marriages were the union of one man and one woman.

          • http://thebenevolentthou.com/ Max T. Furr

            Did you not read my last response to you. Apparently not.

            The federal government DOES extend privileges/rights to married couples that non married people do not have–such as tax breaks, survivors benefits through Social Security, military housing, etc.

            “And until recent years, all of the states have required that legal marriages were the union of one man and one woman.” and most states (if not all) had laws against interracial marriage. is such a marriage a “perversion” too?

          • GibbyD

            We are really not talking about ” love” , now are we ? Do you love your children , parents and siblings ?

          • http://thebenevolentthou.com/ Max T. Furr

            In case you haven’t looked, most Americans now favor same-gender marriage. See http://www.pewforum.org/2014/09/24/graphics-slideshow-changing-attitudes-on-gay-marriage/
            It seems that there are a lot of rational people in the good ol’ USA who have listened to the arguments and decided that they really had no good reason outside of their religious belief to be opposed. They have discarded that hypocrisy.
            Besides, your right to pursue happiness through marriage, and the right others to do the same, should never be denied.

          • Gary

            There are no valid arguments in favor of ssm. Only immoral people support such wickedness. You are evil. And you are a threat to society.

          • http://thebenevolentthou.com/ Max T. Furr

            Another brilliant response based on absolutely nothing but YOUR religious beliefs. It is the mindset that flies in the face of the Establishment Clause because it lead folks like you to push religious laws to validate your bigotry and insensitivity.

          • Gary

            You have no clue what the Establishment Clause means. I understand that God is real, which is a fact you keep trying to deny. Immoral laws, such as legal ssm, harm everyone by attempting to legitimize the illegitimate. You want to deny the truth, and substitute lies in its place. You are a menace to society.

          • http://thebenevolentthou.com/ Max T. Furr

            “You have no clue what the Establishment Clause means.”

            Have you read the intent of the Establishment Clause? Here is the document from which it was derived, and the document often referenced by the courts when making decisions in matters of separation: http://founders.archives.gov/documents/Jefferson/01-02-02-0132-0004-0082

          • GibbyD

            I posted this before . I still believe The establishment clause sets forth that congress shall not make any laws that create an official state church , THAT IS ALL !!! The Government will not have an official brand of religion that is it’s own and it will not prohibit others from acting freely according to their own conscience about their own brand , denomination and or kind of Religion. The context and reason for this clause , was in reaction to the abuse and Nicolaitanism they experienced at the hands of their former country by The Church Of England , which was the official brand of religion in that land at that time .

          • http://thebenevolentthou.com/ Max T. Furr

            And my reply was:

            When the courts take on a case of church-state separation, they look at the INTENT of the Establishment Clause which was made applicable to the States by the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment.

            You may disagree, but that is a fact, as it should be for the sake of everyone’s right to believe and practice his beliefs about religion according to the dictates of their own conscience. The only caveat is that one person’s exercise of religious freedom does not in any way diminish any other person’s right to do the same.

            To understand the INTENT of the Establishment Clause, one should read the short document from which it was derived, Jefferson’s “A bill for Establishing Religious Freedom.” It spells out the intent of the EC, and it does not specify any particular religion. You can read it here: http://founders.archives.gov/documents/Jefferson/01-02-02-0132-0004-0082

            I understand that many Christians do not want religious freedom in this country for the very same reason Islamic states do not want religious freedom in their country.

            As Islamic states want only Islamic domination, Christians want only Christian freedom in this country and the right to dominate all others and order society to their beliefs.

            I want, as Jefferson and Madison wanted, to have a nation where no one, especially government at any level, can set up his religion as the only true religion and propagate his beliefs under the mantle of government.

          • GibbyD

            The establishment clause sets forth that congress shall not make any laws that create an official state church , THAT IS ALL !!! The Government will not have an official brand of religion that is it’s own and it will not prohibit others from acting freely according to their own conscience about their own brand , denomination and or kind of Religion. The context and reason for this clause , was in reaction to the abuse and Nicolaitanism they experienced at the hands of their former country by The Church Of England , which was the official brand of religion in that land at that time .

          • http://thebenevolentthou.com/ Max T. Furr

            When the courts take on a case of church-state separation, they look at the INTENT of the Establishment Clause which was made applicable to the States by the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment.

            You may disagree, but that is a fact, as it should be for the sake of everyone’s right to believe and practice his beliefs about religion according to the dictates of their own conscience. The only caveat is that one person’s exercise of religious freedom does not in any way diminish any other person’s right to do the same.

            To understand the INTENT of the Establishment Clause, one should read the short document from which it was derived, Jefferson’s “A bill for Establishing Religious Freedom.” It spells out the intent of the EC, and it does not specify any particular religion. You can read it here: http://founders.archives.gov/documents/Jefferson/01-02-02-0132-0004-0082

            I understand that many Christians do not want religious freedom in this country for the very same reason Islamic states do not want religious freedom in their country.

            As Islamic states want only Islamic domination, Christians want only Christian freedom in this country and the right to dominate all others and order society to their beliefs.

            I want, as Jefferson and Madison wanted, to have a nation where no one, especially government at any level, can set up his religion as the only true religion and propagate his beliefs under the mantle of government.

          • GibbyD

            “We the General Assembly of Virginia do enact10 that no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer, on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities.

            And though we well know that this Assembly, elected by the people for the ordinary purposes of legislation only, have no power to restrain the acts of succeeding Assemblies, constituted with powers equal to our own, and that therefore to declare this act11 irrevocable would be of no effect in law; yet we are free to declare, and do declare, that the rights hereby asserted are of the naturalrights of mankind, and that if any act shall be hereafter passed to repeal the present or to narrow its operation, such act will be an infringement of natural right.”

            Before the establishment and equal protection clause , there was a reason why it was thought of and included . The reason was because of what they experienced in England with the oppression of the official exclusive state religion of England .Individuals or our Government recognizing any religion in our nation today , does not at all come close to establishing a particular specific exclusive official brand, denomination or flavor of religion that becomes the only one of the state .

          • http://thebenevolentthou.com/ Max T. Furr

            So, what is your point?

            That government officials can state their religious preferences and what they believe?

            Of course they can, but not in situations where such declarations and practices usurp the right of others to state theirs or where it usurps parents’ right to influence their children in matters of religion. This applies especially to a CAPTIVE audience (ala public school prayer).

            Prohibited as well is any government official who approves or erects a monument to HIS religion on public property (ala Judge Moore) because it is an imposition on those who believe otherwise but are forced by law to pay their taxes to support and propagate his religious belief while being denied the right to do the same with their views and beliefs about religion. All this applies not just to Christianity, but to ALL religions.

            Think about it. Would a Muslim community be allowed to erect a monument to Islam on the courthouse lawn or propagate their beliefs in public school classrooms? Would they be allowed, had they the elected officials, to make local laws that deny women the right to drive? Force women to wear Burqas as prescribed by Muslim “Decency laws?” Erect a 40 foot monument to Islam on a hill overlooking the community while disallowing all other religions to erect theirs?

            From “A Bill for Establishing Religious Freedom”:

            Well aware that the opinions and belief of men depend not on their own will, but follow involuntarily the evidence proposed to their minds; that Almighty God hath created the mind free, and manifested his supreme will that free it shall remain by making it altogether insusceptible of restraint; that all attempts to influence it by temporal punishments, or burthens, or by civil incapacitations, tend only to beget habits of hypocrisy and meanness, and are a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, who being lord both of body and mind, yet chose not to propagate it by coercions on either, as was in his Almighty power to do, but to extend it by its influence on reason alone;

            >>that the impious presumption of legislators and rulers, civil as well as ecclesiastical, who, being themselves but fallible and uninspired men, have assumed dominion over the faith of others, setting up THEIR OWN opinions and modes of thinking as the only true and infallible, and as such endeavoring to impose them on others, hath established and maintained false religions over the greatest part of the world and through all time: That to COMPEL a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors, is sinful and tyrannical . . .<< (all caps mine)

            So, tell me again what right a magistrate/lawmaker has to impose the laws of his religion (ala anti same-gender marriage/restrict one group of citizens from the right to open commerce/impose ANY burdens based on religion) on the citizens who support them by taxation?

          • GibbyD

            “Well aware that the opinions and belief of men depend not on their own will, but follow involuntarily the evidence proposed to their minds; that Almighty God h ath created the mind free, and manifested his supreme will that free it shall remain by making it altogether insusceptible of restraint; that all attempts to influence it by temporal punishments, or burthens, or by civil incapacitations, tend only to beget habits of hypocrisy and meanness, and are a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, who being lord both of body and mind, yet chose not to propagate it by coercions on either, as was in his Almighty power to do, but to extend it by its influence on reason alone;” — —Nope , man is a weak sinful creature and needs a little bit of fear sometime to move them to do what is right . Sometimes compassion does not work and they need to be reminded by threat of the consequences if love and “reason” does not work. “And of some have compassion, making a difference: 23And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.” ( Jude 22,23)KJB.

            A state teacher in the classroom is under contract to teach a subject . In the classroom he should teach THAT subject . If he does not then he should be fired . An elected representative is free to espouse his beliefs in any forum . He can propose laws . If you do not like his beliefs and or laws , they you vote him out and vote for one that you agree with . There is a distinction between a state teacher and an elected representative . Don’t mesh them , they are not the same . That teacher does have a captive underage audience and should stick to the subject he is under contract to teach . OUTSIDE the classroom he can proclaim what he wants . A Muslim, if elected, with the consent of the majority , can erect a monument to a person just as as an elected Christian with the consent of the majority can do the same . There are people , believe it or not , that worship Abraham Lincoln . Since that offends someone , should the Lincoln memorial be taken down? A Muslim or Christian can teach Islam and or Christianity in the classroom if that is what they are contracted in the classroom to do . If they are supposed to be teaching something else , then they more then likely should be fired . Students are not under contract or as restricted . Free time and when it does not disrupt class instruction are places where they should not be restricted . Giving a valedictorian speech at graduation , for instance , is just one example of a perfect place to fully express and use their 1st amendment right .

            “that the impious presumption of legislators and rulers, civil as well as ecclesiastical, who, being themselves but fallible and uninspired men, have assumed dominion over the faith of others, setting up THEIR OWN opinions and modes of thinking as the only true and infallible, and as such endeavoring to impose them on others, hath established and maintained false religions over the greatest part of the world and through all time: That to COMPEL a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors, is sinful and tyrannical . . .<< (all caps mine)" ——Those " opinions" of " fallible and uninspired men " that lead to choosing an exclusive , particular, official recognized brand of religion and or denomination , such as what the church of England was , is what he had in mind as being opposed to . Otherwise you could not even make laws against and or enforce restrictions on murder, stealing, rape and incest . These laws against such are based on moral beliefs that have their source from the Bible . Mr. Furr , your specific examples of some laws that you site as examples of what could happen , have to be taken individually . The so called laws that you say muslims would try to enact that would deny freedom , would be denied in most cases unless there is a very good compelling public or government interest for that law that is absolutely needed . The view and beliefs of the majority should not be usurped by one Judge based on his ideology rather than the constitution . Giving new definitions to institutions and relationships in order to propagate your political or sinful behavior , is Wrong . Marriage has only ever been a relationship between those of different genders . You can't change the rules in order to win the game . This is what liberal judges in this country are trying to do . They change the definition of marriage and then impose that on those who do not believe it . They force that then on others when they use the threat of force of law and penalties if you refuse to accept that new definition. You are denying our free exercise of religion by doing so .

            A Magistrate and or lawmaker has the right to legislate and enforce laws even if those laws have religious moral sources from where they came from . Many laws are passed and are current that have their basis and source from the Bible . Historically , all our laws and the foundation for which we have established them have had their origin from God and His Word,The Bible .

          • James Grimes

            Geez, Gary, you’re a Christian site commenting on issues of interest to Christians. It’s amazing that Atheists are so ready to pounce on you to tell you you’re wrong. It’s pretty arrogant, isn’t it?

          • http://thebenevolentthou.com/ Max T. Furr

            True, in your subjective opinion. Objectively, however, there are no valid arguments against it under our secular constitution.
            So, since I want everyone to have equal protection under the law, I am a “threat to society?” I am “evil.” And you believe imposing, by law, your religious belief on those who do not share them, moral? And you do not see the hypocrisy here?

          • James Grimes

            Five billion horseflies like to eat poop. Should you eat poop?

          • http://thebenevolentthou.com/ Max T. Furr

            Awwww, what an intellectual response. A few billion people love Christianity, . . .

          • James Grimes

            Awww, and you think I’m interested in your opinions. Silly man.

          • http://thebenevolentthou.com/ Max T. Furr

            I’m sure you are not interested in ANY opinions that challenge your cognitive dissonance with reason.

          • James Grimes

            Actually, I’m just not interested in any Atheists’ opinions. Engaging with you/them is a complete waste of my time.

          • http://thebenevolentthou.com/ Max T. Furr

            This is the difference between fundamentalist and all others. I will invite you to argue on my blog anytime. Why not give it a try by responding to my first post concerning “And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise” (Empathy: Bringing Down the Walls, One Brick at a Time) at thebenevolentthou.com

          • GibbyD

            ” cognitive dissonance ” . You have used that phrase several times now . You must like the way it sounds . ( 2 Timothy 1:7)KJB

          • http://thebenevolentthou.com/ Max T. Furr

            Very thinly veiled dodge. And I do like that term because it is spot on.

          • GibbyD

            No ,it’s a not so veiled insult . You are saying that if a person does not agree with you that they must have mental impairment . I think you just broke the Golden Rule .

          • http://thebenevolentthou.com/ Max T. Furr

            I am saying that when any person, including myself, comes across two propositions he holds to be true, but contradict each other, or is introduced to a logical truth that contradicts his strongly held opinion (cognitive dissonance), he will take one of three paths: 1) analyze both propositions with intellectual integrity and reject one of them, or 2) redefine the less logical position in an attempt to circumvent the contradiction, or 3) Equivocate and/or ignore the contradiction.

            Too, to say that someone has obviously dodged answering some question or argument in a DEBATE is not a breach of the golden rule, but simply that the question was not addressed. If you think I dodged an argument, then you should call my attention to it. I would, and you should, appreciate that.

          • GibbyD

            1. Our finite minds are insufficient to understand completely The mind and ways of The infinitely Omniscient God, other than what He chooses to reveal to us .

            2. No need to redefine what you think is less logical . No need to circumvent what it appears to you to be a contradiction. Consider that you are not God and again have limited wisdom and intelligence compared to God .

            3. No need to equivocate or ignore what you think is a contradiction . It may be something though to wonder , think, study and meditate upon. Some things take time , trust and patience to understand . There is nothing wrong with saying ,’ I don’t know’ ( I Corinthians 8:2)KJB . I am content that there may be some things I will not understand until I am with The LORD. God’s Word and The Holy Spirit often bring answers to some of the most difficult questions I use to have . “The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.” ( Deuteronomy 29:29)KJB

            “Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.” ( Jeremiah 33:3)KJB

            Mr. Furr , what do you do when you think you have broken the Golden Rule as you understand it ?

          • http://thebenevolentthou.com/ Max T. Furr

            1) This is the argument from ignorance (this is not condescending, but a formal logical fallacy (argumentum ad ignorantiam).

            Here, you are implying that Yahweh exists, and that since our limited minds (in comparison with the omniscient mind of Yahweh) cannot comprehend anything except that which “he” allows.”

            Let’s look at it in a syllogism:

            1. Yahweh exists;

            2. Yahweh is omniscient;

            3. Human minds are limited;

            –Therefore, humans know only what Yahweh allows them to know.

            Premise 1 is conjecture. There is no evidence that it is true, although the lack of such evidence does not say that Yahweh does not exist.

            Premise 2 is conjecture. There are logical arguments that render omniscience (at least in the case of the OT god, Yahweh) internally inconsistent.

            Premise 3 is by much evidence, true.

            The conclusion, then, is entirely based on conjecture and therefore is not factual.

            “Mr. Furr , what do you do when you think you have broken the Golden Rule as you understand it ?”

            Not sure what you mean by the question, but in civil debate, it is quite legitimate to call what you believe to be an equivocation.

            Please tell me where I have said something to you that I would not want you to say to me?

          • GibbyD

            Before I answer , let me say that I agree with the Bible concerning It’s literal definition of what it says God is . The Bible says that ” God is a Spirit ” ( John 4:24)KJB. Next it is revealed that ” … God is LOVE..” ( I John 4:7,8)KJB. Love is not just an emotion or some feeling of attachment we have toward someone or thing . “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. 8He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.” ( I John 4:7,8 )KJB. Love is not just a feeling as i said but rather HOLY LOVE is God . Holy Love has it’s own intellect , sensibility and free will . If you knew what Love was then you would and could understand What and Who God is . I need to go now to get some meds for a friend. I will be back soon to complete what I am trying to say .

          • http://thebenevolentthou.com/ Max T. Furr

            I once believed it as well, but then realized that good folks of other religions believed their scriptures just as much–especially what theirs say about what their god(s) are and what morality is and how one should conduct their lives.

            Nothing you say of the Bible and Yahweh will differ, basically” from what others say of their scriptures and their god(s). No amount of inspiration you get from your scriptures will differ from what others get from their scriptures.

            What I prefer, then, is to hold close all the propositions that make a positive difference across all faiths and none at all. I try to do unto others . . . ” That does not exclude debate because it is my desire to have everyone understand each other and respect the fact that no one has the ultimate “truth.”

            I do not consider myself an atheist. I consider myself a de facto atheist because, logically, one cannot claim with any amount of certitude that there is no god. Conversely, one cannot say with certitude that there any gods exist–even Yahweh. This is a point of logic.

            I, however, like to point to Dawkins’ seven point Spectrum of Theistic Probability, where 1 is a person who says that there is a 100% chance of God existing, 4 is completely impartial saying that the chances are 50-50, and 7 – there is 0% chance that God or gods exist.

            I am a “6” on that scale, as is Dawkins. I say that the existence of God or gods is so improbable–just short of 0–that I live my life with the assumption that “He,” “She,” “it,” “they,” do not exist, and I hope to die leaving at least a few people understanding that empathy/kindness is the greatest of virtues and the only inclusive code by which one should live.

          • GibbyD

            What is your point of having empathy/ kindness ? Why is that important to you as a “virtue” ? Everything is very vain/meaningless if your belief is that there is no rime , reason or purpose for this life and or nothing but “non-existence” to face thereafter . The fact of existence itself should be enough for any reasonable logical person to believe that there must be a God and that if you read it , that The God revealed in The Bible is the One Who made it all. Maybe it would have been better for you to have been raised in a different religion , nation and culture . Maybe that would have made it easier for you to have chosen to believe The Gospel if you would have been reared in an atheistic society or false religion . Do you even appreciate the freedoms and benefits of a people and land where Christianity is prevalent ? Even though much of Christiandom is full of fakes and wrongs , there is still enough of the authentic to be that salt and light that preserves and blesses a nation whose God is The LORD.

            As compared to other religions and that which proposes that it has “The Truth”, I would have to say the “the proof is in the pudding” . Compare

          • http://thebenevolentthou.com/ Max T. Furr

            Since I left dogmatic religion, I derive my ethics from reason and philosophy. No god is necessary to understand that it is in everyone’s best interest to do what one can for the good of society in general.

            Personally, I think that doing good so that I might be rewarded by going to a heaven is a very selfish thing to do.

            But, you are not addressing my direct arguments concerning religious beliefs, in the vast majority of cases, being a function of the family and society into which you were born and taught to believe.

            You are asking a lot of questions and making accusations that tend to show me you haven’t a basic idea of secular philosophy and you seem to believe that only Christians have real purpose in life. To you, all other religions are “false religions.” But you don’t address my point that says that is exactly what most people of other religions think of Christianity.

            If you were to truly understand why you reject all other religions, then and only then will you understand why they reject yours, and the same goes for them.

            Among the things that I cannot abide is intellectual dishonesty. Because of that trait, I moved away from fundamentalism for the reasons I’ve stated, and because after opening my mind I found that in order to keep on believing in Christianity, I would have to suspend much I’ve learned from objective science.

            Now, I have answered your questions with honesty. Either directly address my pointed questions or lets simply agree to disagree. And keep in mind that the argument, “I am right because I believe the Bible is the “word of God” and so it is true.”

          • GibbyD

            “Since I left dogmatic religion, I derive my ethics from reason and philosophy. No god is necessary to understand that it is in everyone’s best interest to do what one can for the good of society in general.”
            ———>>>I also derive my belief from reason and the love of wisdom ( philosophy). I am not interested in the world’s typical religion or it’s philosophy . I have read of and seen the end of most philosophies and philosophers . I was and am not impressed or persuaded by any of them . None satisfied me . Man’s typical religion including “Christianity” or rather what I call Christiandom , left me as cold because it seemed phony. Most of the religions of the world have emphasis in their individual or group’s efforts to try and bind themselves to a god or gods by their self effort or performance . This would include Christiandom because most of the denominations and sects of that religion teach that “salvation” and Heaven is gained by, as you said, “doing good” . My study of other religions started , as I am sure many others have , with the standard basic 1969 text by John B. Noss, ‘Man’s Religions’ . They probably still use it today in many universities . The last book I have read recently on comparative religions , is a small but concise book ,or actually booklet, called ‘Religions In A Nutshell ‘ by Ray Comfort. I thought It was a very creative and helpful effort to capsulize in few words each of the major world religions .

            “Personally, I think that doing good so that I might be rewarded by going to a heaven is a very selfish thing to do.”
            ———–>>>>> I agree but not only is it impossible to be good or do enough good to get to Heaven, The Bible does not teach that doing good earns us the right to Heaven . What flavor of Christiandom did you grow up in ? The Bible says in Ephesians 2:8,9 that , “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:Not of works, lest any man should boast.” This is one of the most essential truths about The Gospel . It is spoken of in several places in the New Testament . It is what separates true Biblical saving faith from all that other Christiandom that espouses a works, works plus faith , do good , do unto others , do the best that you can , your good outweighs your bad , God will understand , just keep the ten commandments , be baptized , etc. , etc, kind of “salvation ” or means to make to Heaven . You or I cannot and will not be rewarded with Heaven by doing good . Perfection all our lives and perfect righteousness is what would be needed and all of us fall short of that. ( Romans 3:20,24,27,28 ; I Cor. 1:29-31; 2 Tim. 1:9; Titus 3:5; Romans 4:2; Romans 9:11,16; Romans 11:6; John 4:10; Acts 15:11; Galatians )KJB

            “But, you are not addressing my direct arguments concerning religious beliefs, in the vast majority of cases, being a function of the family and society into which you were born and taught to believe.”

            ————–>>>Too many have rejected or simply ignore the beliefs of the religious ideology that they were brought up in . They may perform outwardly the pattern and rituals they have been taught but do not necessary believe or obey from the heart those teachings. It is more a family obligation, tradition or custom to them. When any in any of those religious systems hear The Gospel and believes it by obeying it from the heart , a change occurs . It becomes the power of God unto salvation . They become new creatures in Christ , old things pass away and all things become new. ( 2 Corinthians 5:17). When they become born again, they come out of any of those other religions including dead Christiandom and enter into new life in Christ . The way , the Truth and The Life in Christ , The Spirit of God, is so much better than dead orthodoxy and religiosity that has no meaning , hope or satisfying answers . The truth sets free anyone from any background and religious system no matter where in the world they live . Mr. Furr , you and I are examples that demonstrate that our backgrounds did not cause us to decide to hold to what we have been taught . There are millions of testimonies of those that have come out of different religions in the world when they have heard The Gospel. They did not follow another religion when they did , but rather followed Jesus because they gained a real and vital relationship with Him .

            “You are asking a lot of questions and making accusations that tend to show me you haven’t a basic idea of secular philosophy and you seem to believe that only Christians have real purpose in life. To you, all other religions are “false religions.” But you don’t address my point that says that is exactly what most people of other religions think of Christianity.”
            ————->>>>> What most people think of Christianity is probably not what The Bible teaches that it is, as I have already noted . If one hears unfettered , the simple Gospel message , presented and or preached , it will produce a change and eventually if not sooner , real fruit . “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” ( Galatians 5:22,23)KJB. I wish and pray that the world and all those who have yet to believe , will not be influenced by the fake Chrisiandom, it’s false gospel and all it’s dishonorable examples and testimonies of failure and fraud but instead will hear the pure Gospel and see genuine vessels of honor and lives that exemplify the character and love of The LORD Jesus. What is secular wisdom’s worth if it does not bring a man to The Truth? The real Life and Truth is hid with Christ in God . God is now revealing them to us with The Gift of His Son , Love incarnate. — “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. 10Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. 12No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us. 13Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit. 14And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.” ( I John 4:9-14)KJB

            “If you were to truly understand why you reject all other religions, then and only then will you understand why they reject yours, and the same goes for them.”

            ————>>>>I know why I accept and believe The LORD Jesus , The Bible and The Gospel . The reason why others have not is because they have not heard the Gospel but rather looked at Christiandom and think that is it . People around the world are actually very hungry , not just literally but also their hearts are spiritually hungry and thirsty for The Truth . Nothing satisfies the heart of man more then Jesus . I would say too that nothing satisfies and stimulates my mind as much as God’s Word . The LORD enriches my mind to think deeper thoughts and imagine greater possibilities . There is no limit and nothing is impossible with God . The best or most that secular philosophy can bring is only temporary ,and in the end, is literally , a dead end .

            “Among the things that I cannot abide is intellectual dishonesty. Because of that trait, I moved away from fundamentalism for the reasons I’ve stated, and because after opening my mind I found that in order to keep on believing in Christianity, I would have to suspend much I’ve learned from objective science.”
            ————>>>> Yes , you would have to ” suspend ” or at least be inclusive of some super-natural things other than what is seen and known in natural science in order to believe in The Resurrection of The LORD Jesus Christ and in other miracles spoken of in The Bible . I would consider all of existence to be a great miracle . Why is there not non-existence ? Have you ever meditated on non-existence ? It’s even less than nothing , you know . Where did the stuff come from that banged concerning The Big Bang theory ? I believe God created everything from nothing . The only reasonable answer that explains it all is God and The Holy Bible is the only book that gives many of the details , believe them or not .

            “Now, I have answered your questions with honesty. Either directly address my pointed questions or lets simply agree to disagree. And keep in mind that the argument, “I am right because I believe the Bible is the “word of God” and so it is true.”

            ————>>>> We may still disagree for now but I do not think that I know everything, for if I did, then I would not know anything as I ought to know ( I Corinthians 8:2) . And, “The meek will he guide in judgment: and the meek will he teach his way.” ( Psalm 25:9)KJB. ” But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.” ( James 4:6)KJB. ——And I only believe The Bible is true BECAUSE it is The Word of God . It has proven to be so . You have not mentioned yet one supposed error , contradiction or fault you think you see in The Bible that i have not heard before and have had resolved and or heard answered and explained very adequately. I believe I have also answered directly in this response above your pointed question .

          • GibbyD

            1. Love exists 2. Love is all powerful and is The God of all the Universe and the reason for life and all existence . 3. Man is weak , selfish , sinful and unable of himself to love perfectly . 4. Holy Almighty Love made a way. The Way , The Truth and The Life, The LORD Jesus Christ . LOVE Incarnate . He fulfills over 333 prophecies concerning Himself in case you doubt it . What are the odds of that ? What is the mathematical statistical probability of someone being able to fulfill all those prophecies? Some of them were written thousands of years before His birth.

      • http://thebenevolentthou.com/ Max T. Furr

        I didn’t expect the more hard-core believers to follow the link I gave, use logic, and admit that they are wrong.
        Note that fundamentalist Christians are trying by LAW to force all citizens to abide by their ancient, biblical views. To deny that is to bear false witness.
        Christian fundamentalists have the right to believe and act according to the dictates of their conscience, yet they are trying to deny other Americans the same right. And when a court denies Christians the right to micromanage the lives of others, fundamentalists scream, “persecution.”
        There is no “war on Christianity.” You are not being persecuted just because you insist that society follow your dictates.
        But, this is a question that remains unanswered by all far-right theocrats; Exactly how has same-gender marriage harmed you?

        • Gary

          I don’t care if your feelings are hurt, or if you consider your rights to be denied. There is no right to ssm. You can claim that right exist, but you cannot prove it. Same-sex marriage harms everyone by perverting society. I will not accept it as being valid in any way. And I will try to remove from office any politician that supports it.

          • James Grimes

            Gary, you are correct in your stance. The Liberals who troll this site are a nuisance, at best.

          • http://thebenevolentthou.com/ Max T. Furr

            Yes, public debate is always a nuisance to the fundamentalist.

          • GibbyD

            define ” fundamentalist” .

          • http://thebenevolentthou.com/ Max T. Furr

            The view that the Bible is the inerrant word of an inerrant god.

          • http://thebenevolentthou.com/ Max T. Furr

            @ GibbyD, I don’t understand why you, or this blog, blocked my response to another question you asked about our conversation not being about love. Then you asked about love for children and parents.

            Of course folks can marry for other reasons. Marriage was once a matter of convenience as Christian kings would marry their daughters off to another kingdom as a means to acquire land or alliance. Like in some sects of Islam, the daughters had no say.

            Do you consider love between two adults not related to be the same love one feels for his immediate family? What an irrelevant question.

          • GibbyD

            Acceptable but for the lower case G. Also not, ” an inerrant god” , but “The God “. I was wondering too if you knew the source of the term as it pertains to it’s origins in Christian writings . If you do not I will send you that information .” First published as a four volume set in 1909, ‘The Fundamentals’ . This defense and survey of classic Christian thought profoundly influenced Christian thinking in conservative circles for the whole of the twentieth century. This edition of Torrey’s work is the original, unabridged text, featuring 100 articles authored by leading scholars including B. B. Warfield, James Orr, G. Campbell Morgan, Charles Erdman, H. C. G. Moule, and Bishop Ryle.

          • http://thebenevolentthou.com/ Max T. Furr

            The phrase, “an inerrant god” is grammatically correct, where “an inerrant God,” is not grammatically correct. The indefinite article “an” indicates that the noun to which it refers is not the name of a particular person, place or thing.

            I understand that you believe in only one god. At least another billion people believe in many gods. If you would rather, I will say “Yahweh” in the place of “a god.”

            “Classical” Christian writings have little influence on me since I’ve researched a bit of it and found what I am convinced are purposeful mistranslations (“almah” to “parthenos” was a huge one, for example).

            In an effort to be honest with myself, I look for objections to extraordinary claims and use reason to determine the truth. This habit came to me many years ago when, quite suddenly, I realized that the real reason for my own religious beliefs was having been taught to believe it. I had been indoctrinated into Christianity.

            This is what impelled me to enroll in college and study philosophy (which included logic), paleoanthropology (evolution), and world religions (which includes many beliefs as taught to each succeeding generation of every culture).

            It is also clear to me that around the beginning of the 1st century many Jews were fervently searching for “the “anointed one” as foretold by the Danielic time prophesy.

            Too, there is much dispute among scholars as to the meaning of “End Times.” All this is a matter of interpretation and mistranslation. And besides even that, the four gospels do not agree on the facts in several places. All this is not to mention several archaeological facts that contradict biblical accounts of some “events.”

          • http://thebenevolentthou.com/ Max T. Furr

            Many states now have same-gender marriage. Can you be specific and tell me how the people in those states have been perverted? Have you contacted any heterosexuals in those states and told then that they’ve been perverted? Have YOU been perverted?

            You fail to prove ssm is not a right. Interracial marriage was once against the law in many states. Do you think mixed “race” couples should not be allowed to marry? Do you realize that conservatives were making the SAME arguments against mixed marriage? Has it destroyed America?

          • Mike

            You can keep saying that all you want but who should we listen to? Gary the deluded bigot or the courts of law in this great secular republic? I know who I will be going with.

            What are you going to do, Gary, when the courts have spoken and marriage equality is the undisputed law of the land?

        • BarkingDawg

          Max, Gary is a self-loathing, deeply closeted gay man who has wrapped himself so tightly in his bible that nothing resembling reality will ever sink in.

          arguing with him is futile.

          • http://thebenevolentthou.com/ Max T. Furr

            Yes, I am aware of that. However, I still argue with such blocks and stones–the senseless things–(for a while) using facts and Reason so that anyone following this thread, but is a fence sitter, just might have a sense of intellectual honesty and understand my point. And besides, I often use some of this material for my own blog. 😀

  • Linda

    God bless this man so much.

  • Paul Frazier

    I think that there is more to our Christian discipleship than this list of “shall nots”.
    Our Lord wants us to make sure that people are not hungry, that children are cared for, that the sick are tended, that people have shelter and clothing.
    The world should also see us for the good that we do, not merely the sins we avoid.

    • Fundisi

      That is very liberal of you and yes, I mean liberal.

      We Christians are to be light and salt in the world, to testify against its evil, to encourage people to repent and find Christ, to take the Gospel into all the world. Jesus first, if you recall when His disciples talked about feeding the poor and caring for their needs, He said we would always have the poor among us, but not Him and our first obligation to absolute surrender to Him, to pray for our family, our brothers and sisters in Christ and the world. To feed our brothers and sisters first and then the world.

      If you in the spirit of liberalism feed, clothe and shelter the poor and do not first bring them to Christ, then you have met temporal needs and left the greater needs undone. There is nothing wrong with feeding the poor, but feeding their souls is our first and greatest obligation, standing against sin and lifting up God and then we will do them some real good.

      • Paul Frazier

        James 2:14-17 14 What does it profit, my brethren, if a man says he has faith but has not works? Can his faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is ill-clad and in lack of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what does it profit? 17 So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.

        • Fundisi

          Picking out that single quotation from James and isolating it from the rest of God’s Word is dishonest and dangerous.

          Romans 4: “3 For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. 4 Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. 5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. 6 Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works,”

          Romans 9: “16It does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort, but on God’s mercy.”

          Romans 11: “6 And if by grace, then it cannot be based on works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.”

          Ephesians 2: “8 For it is by grace you have been saved,w through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—9 not by works, so that no one can boast.”

          I could go on, but you cannot have so many passages that deny salvation by Grace plus works of the flesh are at all compatible. So salvation is by Grace ONLY and not by any works of any kind, so that being Divine Truth, we must look for something else in Jame’s words. If you look at James carefully he has to be talking not about adding works to Grace, but that: (a) These works are the fruits of our salvation, because of the Spirit within us producing them. (2) That one not having these fruits of the Spirit being demonstrated in their lives, should seriously question if their faith was genuine and if perhaps they are not saved at all. (3) If we say we are saved but are not living in a way that the Spirit can make them manifest in our lives, that faith is dead in that it does not benefit the person or others.

          Now that is the Gospel and any Gospel that adds works as a means of securing or maintaining our salvation is “another Gospel” and the Holy Spirit said through Paul let any such person be accursed.

          • Paul Frazier

            The passage from James does not deny grace. It describes a reality, that if there really is faith, there will follow works of good. If there are no good works, then there is no evidence of faith. Jesus also gave signs of the Kingdom of God. Good works of healing, feeding, preaching. Jesus did not simply list a series of “No, don’t do this” kind of exhortations.
            Secondly, there is nothing wrong with being “liberal”. Was Jesus liberal when he fed people? Was Jesus liberal when he called for children’s rights? Was Jesus liberal when he healed people? I dismissed for being “liberal” and you think I am to be dismissed. There is nothing wrong with being liberal. Unless you want to identify yourself with a political stance, that is. You’ve obviously condemned me, dusted me from your stance, and you think you’ve proved me wrong. Nothing of the kind. You’ve proved yourself wrong, instead.

          • Fundisi

            I never said James denied grace, quite the opposite; but, I do deny that he adds any works of any kind to salvation by grace alone.

            Jesus fed those coming to Him, get it? That is why I said that feeding the poor without bringing them to Christ offers them nothing but temporary relief from hunger. Jesus healed people that came to Him for healing, He did not build hospitals. Jesus never called for children’s rights, nor of course did He speak against children’s rights, rather He spoke against anyone preventing children from coming to Him. In every case you cite, it is about FIRST bringing people to Jesus, not about meeting temporal needs.

            Jesus was not a liberal, He was not a Conservative or Republican or Democrat, He was/is above the politics of this fallen world. It is people like you that falsely try and make Jesus a liberal and/or a communist.

            How did I prove myself wrong? If you make a charge, back it up with facts. What I did was counter your false assertion that James was preaching salvation by works and your emphasizing works of the flesh over those of the Spirit.

    • pax2u

      thank you for your post, you are sharing the Message of Jesus Christ our Christian God and his Love and Mercy

    • James Grimes

      Keeping the article in mind as the focus here, the pastor is exhorting the legislature to do what is good, what is in the best interest of the people of Montana and not just for a select few. He wants them to act ethically.

      Let’s stay focused on the story.

    • LeRoy Whitman

      True. And only by keeping government within its bounds, so it does not shade the growth of abuses of power, and also to restrain it from stealing the People’s God-given power to create wealth, can we hope to see communities truly free to do those good works.

  • James Grimes

    There’s a difference between ethics and morality. Ethics come directly from God while morality is at the whim of corrupt and sinful people.

    • BarkingDawg

      That is a rather self-righteouos view.

      and 100% incorrect, as well.

      Ethics is a branch of philosophy that is long and rich and deals with many issues other than your narrow viewpoint.

      • James Grimes

        LOL. I’m not interested.

        • http://thebenevolentthou.com/ Max T. Furr

          Surprise, surprise. 😀

      • http://thebenevolentthou.com/ Max T. Furr

        Great response! And I love his reply, as it is so very true. They do no care about facts. Faith trumps logic and facts.
        I was beginning to think I was the only reasoning person here.

    • http://thebenevolentthou.com/ Max T. Furr

      Have you ever had a course in ethics as part of a philosophy program? Have you ever had a freshman informal logic course?
      So, you are saying that a moral person is, by definition, a corrupt and sinful person, but one that abides by biblical laws is an ethical person?
      Do you really want to get into this?

  • BarkingDawg

    “God told me to take the money from the bank tellers!”

  • LeRoy Whitman

    The pastor is spot on, and anyone who does not immediately know this needs to read the US Constitution and especially the Declaration of Independence. To set the language of these in historical context, see the 111 page book, The Doctrine of the Lesser Magistrates: A Proper Resistance to Tyranny and a Repudiation of Unlimited Obedience to Civil Government, by Matthew J. Trewhella. It was this understanding that resulted in the creation of the United States.

  • John Mark IB

    wow finally someone from way up yonder in cold Montana had the chutzpa and the decency to tell it like it aught to be told!! amen we need more but more like him in power to actually make the true change back to the moral compass and back on course,

    thanks for being bold and brave enough to stand!!

    http://faithsaves.net/

    http://www.pillarandground.org/home/?page_id=36

    http://kentbrandenburg.blogspot.com/

  • John Mark IB

    sorry I forgot to mention another Montana man,oh yes they do have some good ones up there one of our own from the Constitution Party who ran as my pick for President in 2008 for this USA of ours id the man Chuck Baldwin he was one of our Florida Pastors and would’ve been an excellent President but alas it was not to be, check out Chucky

    http://chuckbaldwinlive.com/

  • Clint Batterton

    I don’t know or care where this turkey thinks he’s getting “God’s law” from. We live in a secular nation in which we obey the rule of man’s law, including our Constitution,. We aren’t all “Christians” of his ilk – many mainstream Protestant churches are offering church weddings to gay couples. We also accommodate those who don’t subscribe to Christianity or to any religion. It’s called freedom of religion or freedom of conscience. If you want to impress us, just live a godly life, while “living and let live.” It’s called the Golden Rule. Try to follow it.

  • mikek44224

    Right, states can ignore federal rulings if they interfere with God’s law, and yet Sharia is still somehow unAmerican.

  • Mike

    One wonders how an adult can take seriously this whole “god’s law” being ethical idea. The Bible advocates murder, slavery and a whole host of other clearly immoral activities. Lot sent out his daughters to be raped to protect two Angels (who could surely have defended themselves if they choose, if they existed) and was praised as a godly man. Then there is the little matter of eternal damnation itself. What good, just being would inflict infinite punishment for a finite crime?

    I note that in spite of it never being mentioned, this man encourages anti-abortion legislation. How is it moral to tell a woman what she must do with her body? I know, a lot of idiots think a non-sentient embryo is a human being, but surely we can ignore those radicals and admit that women have rights too, can’t we? This man clearly thinks women don’t deserve equal rights. Why would anyone take him seriously once they know that about him?

    His deep ignorance of what America stands for is disturbing. Theocracy was absolutely rejected in the founding of this country. The framers knew, as do sensible people now, that theocracy is opposed to freedom and liberty. Why is this person allowed to advocate it in the public square (he can, of course, do so all he wants privately)? It is tantamount to treason.