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« There Is a Bright Side | Main | Silly Pluralism »

January 13, 2009

Comments

I thought of an interesting analogy to use against the accusation that we are bigots because we think Jews are going to hell. Of course like Greg said, we don't believe that all Jews are going to hell, just the ones who don't accept Christ. This alone proves that we aren't bigots against Jews but I'm sure anyone who is anti Christian will not be able to see that.
I immediately thought of this:
Let's say that you are a toll booth operator on a highway and a car comes to a stop next to you and as the guy is paying his fair he asks you for directions to a place up ahead.
You tell him that the place is definitely up ahead but at one point quite soon the road will fork. You also tell him that you have it on good authority that If he turns to the left he will run head on into a brick wall that is built across that road. But if he turns to the right, that road will sail on through and eventually take him to his destination.
He tells you that his friends had told him about the fork in the road before and they had always said to take the left fork and that the brick wall was built across the right.
All you can do is inform the guy that you have given him the best advice you know and that if he chooses the left path he's going to hit the wall. The choice is up to him.
So the point of this is that you have offered to help a person avoid what you truly believe to be certain death. If that person chooses to ignore your advice because he has a differing opinion then the result is not on you it is on him. How can you be considered guilty of anything when all you tried to do is save a man from making what you believe is the wrong choice.

"...we don't believe that all Jews are going to hell, just the ones who don't accept Christ."

If a Jew decides to "accept Christ," then he/she is longer a Jew anymore, but a Christian. So Hitchens' point stands.

Daniel, you're missing the point. Since we believe anyone who has committed crimes against God (i.e., everyone) and doesn't receive a pardon through Jesus is going to hell, why should Hitchens single out the Jews? Their situation is no different from anyone else's--we aren't singling them out for special condemnation or saying their ethnicity is sending them to hell.

But Hitchens does single them out in order to create an emotional reaction in his listeners. Christians think Jews are going to hell! He might as easily have singled out some other group and said, "Christians think deaf people without Jesus are going to hell--they hate people with disabilities!"

The requirement for salvation is not ethnicity or ability, but the pardon from Jesus, and that is given freely to anyone.

"But Hitchens does single them out in order to create an emotional reaction in his listeners. Christians think Jews are going to hell!"

Since the latter statement is true, I don't understand why Hitchens' motivation in "singling out" Jews is relevant. I can understand your concern about his motivation if he said that something that WASN'T true ("Rick Warren is a bigot because he believes that the only group of non-Christians that are going to Hell are Jews"), but that's not the case.

He might have easily have singled out some other group and said "Christians think deaf people without Jesus are going to hell--they hate people with disabilities!"

That analogy only works if you believe that being a Jew is equivalent to being disabled...which is rather icky (for lack of a better word) in its implications.

>>Since the latter statement is true, I don't understand why Hitchens' motivation in "singling out" Jews is relevant.

Because he's twisting what we believe in order to bring up an emotional reaction in those who are understandably sensitive to anti-Semitic statements. To say that we "believe Jews are going to hell" when they are only one subset of the whole group, is manipulative. And when that group going to hell is determined by whether or not they have received a pardon, and not by their religion or ethnicity, you can see that stating it in a way that makes it sound like a person goes to hell because he is Jewish is dishonest and misleading. Though his statement is technically true (because anyone who hasn't received a pardon goes to hell, and they happen to be among those who have not accepted the pardon), it's intellectually dishonest to state it that way.

>>That analogy only works if you believe that being a Jew is equivalent to being disabled

I'm sorry, I really don't understand what you're trying to say here. I was merely saying that being a Jew who has not accepted a pardon is equivalent to being a disabled person (or any other kind of person) who has not accepted a pardon when it comes to hell. This is because the relevant thing is the pardon, not ethnicity or ability. To single out a completely irrelevant characteristic (like being Jewish or disabled) is to misstate the Christian position in a way that will illegitimately cause an emotional reaction in his listeners.

So if he's going to state one irrelevant characteristic like ethnicity, any irrelevant characteristic (like ability) would be equally silly. But he doesn't use any other irrelevant characteristic, and this is because he's purposely manipulating people with the characteristic he knows will upset people.

"To single out a completely irrelevant characteristic (like being Jewish...").

Wow, just wow. Being Jewish isn't "irrelevant" to practicing Jews. In arguing against Hitchens' position, you're basically making his case. Keep digging.

Daniel, I know you can't be serious. I specifically said it's irrelevant "when it comes to hell." Work with me here. I'm sure you're a reasonable person.

Let me ask you a question that I think will make things clear. Suppose you fell in love with an Irish Catholic woman and said, "I refuse to marry anyone but her!" Would you have a problem with my announcing repeatedly to the world, "Daniel is a bigot! He says he will never marry a Jew"? It's technically correct to say you refuse to marry a Jew, right? Since your love isn't Jewish and no Jewish woman is your love? So what's the problem?

"It's technically correct to say you refuse to marry a Jew, right?"

No, since the "I refuse to marry anyone but her!" comment doesn't leave out the possibility of "her" converting from Catholicism to Judaism before the wedding occurs. Under the theological laws of Christianity, being Jewish DOES leave out the possibility of one gaining entrance to any other kind of afterlife but Hell. Pick a better analogy.

to avoid possible confusion, I should have written "..being Jewish at the time of one's death DOES..."

>>to avoid possible confusion, I should have written "..being Jewish at the time of one's death DOES..."

As does her being Catholic at the time of your wedding. No difference.

Daniel, it's a perfect analogy. You're not refusing to marry another woman because she's Jewish, you're refusing to marry her because she's not your love. The fact that she's Jewish is incidental. Therefore, for me to say you won't marry a Jewish woman is manipulative, though technically correct. In the same way, no person who hasn't received a pardon from Christ will go to heaven. The pardon is the important characteristic, not ethnicity.

>>since the "I refuse to marry anyone but her!" comment doesn't leave out the possibility of "her" converting from Catholicism to Judaism before the wedding occurs. Under the theological laws of Christianity, being Jewish DOES leave out the possibility of one gaining entrance to any other kind of afterlife but Hell.

Neither do we leave out the possibility of anyone receiving a pardon before his or her death occurs. What is the difference? God says, "I refuse to let anyone in but those who have received a pardon." That comment doesn't leave out the possibility of anyone from any group of people, including Jews, receiving a pardon before his or her death occurs.

You leave out the possibility of marrying a Jewish person if no Jewish person is your love at the time of your marriage, correct? You refuse to marry a Jew (as you do any other group of people except your love's group) unless your love happens to become a Jew or a Jew becomes your love. In the same way, Jews will not go to heaven (like any other group of people) unless they trust Christ and receive a pardon. But if they do receive a pardon before their death, of course they will go to heaven. This is because it's the pardon in God's case and the love in your case that are the important things, not whether or not they're Jewish. The same requirement applies to all--to every group of people, and it has nothing to do with ethnicity.

In both cases, if the person in question changes to fit the relevant requirement (a Jewish person becomes your new love or a Jewish person receives a pardon, of course they will then be married or be in heaven. But in both cases, to say that the condition for marriage or heaven has to do with ethnicity is wrong. **There's correlation, but not causation.** Do you see now? Therefore, for me to call you a bigot because you won't marry a Jew is manipulative and wrong, though technically correct.

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