Four articles are on this page:

1   The Bible and Politicians: Examples of Dangerous Biblical Ideas
2   Everyone Needs Biblical Guidance
3   Biblical Guidance
Final Reply
4   Everyone Needs Biblical Guidance
Part 2



The Bible and Politicians:
Examples of Dangerous Biblical Ideas

Kirk Straughen

(Investigator 148, 2013 January)


In Investigator No 147, page 52 Anonymous suggests Australian politicians need Biblical guidance. However, there are ideas in the Bible that most people wouldn't want our elected representatives to embrace regardless of their political persuasion.
"If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall be put to death, their blood is upon them." (Lev. 20: 13).

Penny Wong is the first Asian-born federal minister, as well as the first openly lesbian member of the Australian cabinet, so I don't think the above advice would go down too well, do you?

Deuteronomy 13:12 describes how people are to be treated for worshipping other gods: "you shall surely put the inhabitants of that city to the sword, destroying it utterly, all who are in it and its cattle, with the edge of the sword."

Between 2001 and 2011, the number of people reporting a non-Christian faith increased considerably, from around 0.9 million to 1.5 million, accounting for 7.2% of the total population in 2011 (up from 4.9% in 2001). The most common non-Christian religions in 2011 were Buddhism (accounting for 2.5% of the population), Islam (2.2%) and Hinduism (1.3%). Of these, Hinduism had experienced the fastest growth since 2001, increasing by 189% to 275,500, followed by Islam (increased by 69% to 476,300) and Buddhism (increased by 48% to 529,000 people).1

Now, false gods are obviously any god that isn't the God of the Bible, so as you can see from the above statistics a considerable portion of the Australian population would be put to death if politicians were to embrace this scriptural injunction. Is that a good idea? I hardly think so.

1 Timothy 2: 11-12 says "Let a woman learn in silence with all submissiveness. I permit no woman to teach or have authority over men; she is to keep silent."

No female prime minister permitted, no female theologians or teachers permitted and so on. Does that sound like a good idea to you?
What I think is a good idea is to keep religion out of politics. The Bible is the product of an age noted for its lack of human rights and generally barbarous attitudes. We have moved on since these primitive times towards a brighter more humane future. Let's keep it that way.


1 www.abs.gov.auJausstats/abs@.nsfILookup/2071.0main+features902012¬2013







EVERYONE NEEDS BIBLICAL GUIDANCE

Anonymous

(Investigator 149, 2013 March)


PREVIOUSLY

In #147 I gave practical examples showing how heeding the Bible would make politicians more objective and law-abiding. To advocate lawful conduct is not "involvement in politics".

Mr Straughen (#148) responded: "Deuteronomy 13:15 describes how people are to be treated for worshipping other gods: 'you shall surely put the inhabitants of that city to the sword, destroying it utterly, all who are in it and its cattle, with the edge of the sword.'"


CONTEXT

To ignore context, or assume every law is forever, or fail to distinguish war from peace, judiciary from non-judiciary, or history from law — leads to silly conclusions. Consider:
Q. How can I encourage my daughter to find work?

A. "Every person not disabled, aged or sick, found loitering or wandering, and not seeking work, or leaving it when engaged, shall be a vagabond; and … shall be marked, by means of a red hot iron, with the letter 'V'…" (English law enacted in 1558)

Q. My husband plays the pokies, what should I do?

A. "James Blackburn, caught gambling in April 1822, was sentenced to twenty-five lashes every morning until he gave the names of his fellow gamblers..." (Abbott 1993)

Q. According to atheism, how should non-atheists be treated?

A. "Millions of people were murdered, imprisoned or dragged off to GULAG. Eastern Europe was plundered, and its civilization set back a thousand years." (Tolstoy 1982)

Deuteronomy 13:12-18 was a command to Israelites to destroy Israelite towns that turned to idol-worship during the wars with Canaanites. With God considered head of state, idolatry was treachery against God as well as collusion with enemies seeking Israel's annihilation. Foreigners living peacefully in Israel, however, had religious freedom and the command to "love your neighbour" included foreigners.


When ancient Israel and Judea ceased, any commands of Moses on how to run Israel no longer applied. If someone nowadays set up Canaanite idols in church the idolaters would be removed by lawful methods.

Mr Straughen cites: "If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall be put to death, their blood is upon them." (Leviticus 20:13).

This command applied in Israel and enforcement was up to the authorities of that time. We see the benefit when we consider that ancient people had no antibiotics, and sexually transmitted infections still kill millions every year. The New Testament counterpart of Leviticus 20:13 would be excommunication.


The Law of Moses regulated national and religious life in Israel (Psalms 147:20) and was abrogated with Christianity. (Hebrews 8:13)

This, however, does not make it useless. The Law was intended as the best of all law codes: "And what other great nation has statutes and ordinances as just as this entire law…?" (Deuteronomy 4:8)

Today officials in one country may study the laws or policies of other countries to determine whether to adopt them. We can study Moses similarly and, after identifying the reason behind specific commands, investigate whether they or their underlying principles could improve life today.



THE BIBLE ESSENTIAL

The Bible is also relevant on broader issues of government. Christians, for example, on the basis of "thou shalt not kill" and the Bible's concern for the innocent, opposed Nazi efforts to exterminate the disabled, and Nazi law was amended. (Lifton 1986)

Mannix (1970) writes:
The Christian Church not only abolished the [Roman] games; it also condemned the use of torture in law courts. St. Augustine thought the idea of obtaining a true confession from a felon by torture was "absurd." In 384, a synod in Rome denounced the use of torture in civil courts. In the 6th century, Pope Gregory I ordered judges not to accept any statement made under torture. As a result, torture as a legal device to obtain information or a confession virtually disappeared in Europe for nearly a thousand years…

It is one of the bitter ironies of history that the Church, which had abolished torture as a legal device, was the institution to revive it. (p. 34)
The Law of Moses determined guilt by "witnesses" not torture, and the New Testament foretells the time when all pain will cease. (Revelation 21:4) Today we have world-wide efforts to abolish torture — but the Bible was there first.

In other articles I've mentioned the Bible's influence against infanticide, Roman amphitheatres, mutilating of children, human sacrifice, idolatry, and religious prostitution. Today pensions and medical-care programs in many countries reflect biblical concern for health and life. 

Such improvements partly fulfil the "blessing" of Abraham to "all the nations of the earth". (Genesis 18:18) But achieving higher living standards is taking centuries longer than necessary because most people reject biblical guidance.


THE BIBLE ON WOMEN

Staughen refers to alleged prejudice against women e.g. their "silence" in church.

Genesis 2:18 indicates the original status of women — "It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper as his partner." The Hebrew here for helper and help is "gehzer". The word implies nothing demeaning since God himself is called "helper" and said to give "help". (Psalm 33:20; 70:5; 121:1-2; 124:8)

Women's original status was disrupted by sin with the consequence: "your desire shall be for your husband and he shall rule over you." (Genesis 3:16) In many cultures women's status became barely better than a goat's. Improvement came with Moses — the command to "Love your neighbour as yourself" included and benefited women as did the Ten Commandments.

Jesus came "to destroy the works of the Devil". (I John 3:8) He acknowledged the helper/partner relationship by giving women roles in his ministry. Further progress came with Paul: "There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male or female; for all of you are one in Christ." (Galatians 3:28)

The word "helper" sets no restriction on the range of helps or occupations.

What about "I permit no woman to teach"? (I Timothy 2:12) Paul refers to himself, "I", because the instruction is his, not God's, similar to 1st Corinthians 7:12 where he writes, on another matter, "I and not the Lord…" The instruction against women teaching in church seems a response to local circumstances. Paul writes that Eve, not Adam, was "deceived" — so possibly the problem was the virtual absence of women's education.


THE FOUNDATION

Worldwide the Bible and Christ is the foundation of millions of ministries by one or a few people. In Adelaide I've noticed a "bread run" to collect leftover bread from a bakery and distribute it free. Another ministry restores old bicycles to donate to people lacking transport.

Larger ministries also exist. The website http://relzim.org/social-ministry/children lists 30 ministries in Zimbabwe directed at orphans and street kids to house, feed and educate them.

Christians Against Poverty founded by John Kirkby in 1996 works with people to make them debt-free and is active in many countries.

The Royal Flying Doctor Service has saved thousands of lives. It began when Reverend John Flynn took the Gospel to Australia's "Outback", promoted pedal-powered two-way radio-communication, and introduced airplanes to transport the sick.

Dr Mangalwadi, in The Book That Made Your World (2011), shows that the Bible inspired the beginning of universities and modern science, and "created the soul of western civilization".

Atheists, however, want to overturn the foundation. Roman amphitheatres, Nazism, Fascism, Communism, Maoism, Islamism, North Korea, torture, and crime statistics demonstrate what would happen. Everyone needs biblical guidance!



REFERENCES:

Abbott, G. 1993 A History of Torture, Brockhampton Press

Lifton, R.J. 1986 The Nazi Doctors, MacMIllan

Mannix, D.P. 1970 The History of Torture, NEL Edition

Tolstoy, N. 1982 Stalin's Secret War, Pan Books

www.unicef.org/evaldatabase/files/ZIM_01-805.pdf







Biblical Guidance - A Final Reply

Kirk Straughen

(Investigator 151, 2013 July)


I've read Anonymous'  Everyone Needs Biblical Guidance (No 149, pg 45) and can see that in a way he is agreeing with my comments in my initial reply to his original article.

For example, nowhere is he endorsing the death penalty for homosexual acts nor the suppression of woman's rights in contemporary society — a sharp contradiction to the Bible — for he argues that these attitudes were only appropriate for the age that spawned them.

This demonstrates that we need something higher than Biblical guidance — in this case the application of reason in deciding which moral codes to adhere to and which to reject on the basis that they represent the prejudices of the unenlightened past. The Bible might say "X", but it is human reason which must decide if "X" is right.

Anonymous tends to make sweeping claims when attempting to promote the Bible, and while there is much good in scripture, so too, is there much that isn't. My comments intended to show that his sweeping claims are unwarranted by highlighting aspects of the past that are not applicable to the modern age. Be this as it may Anonymous nonetheless attempts to justify the unjustifiable, and I shall now briefly comment on his defence of questionable conduct.

That the Bible describes the slaughter of entire populations is simply wrong by any standards and any age, especially the killing of children, and no amount of obfuscation by Anonymous can hide this fact. I think I need say no more.

His attempts to justify the death penalty for consensual sex between men are unconvincing to say the least as there are non-lethal alternatives to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases which he alludes to by reference to excommunication.

Finally, his attempt to defend the prevention of women from holding positions of authority or teaching on the basis of lack of education has serious flaws. Wisdom and education are not necessarily linked — I think most of us know someone who, though well educated, has made foolish decisions. Therefore, just because a woman is poorly educated doesn't mean that she is incapable of deep insight and should remain silent.

At the end of his reply Anonymous suggests atheists want to overturn the foundations of civilization. Well, I think he may have gotten a bit carried away with apologetic zeal in this instance.

Naturally, I can only speak for myself when I say I want to humanise religion rather than destroy it, and by humanise I mean keeping the fanatics in check by reasoned argument that will expose their dangerous views as being both harmful and unfounded.

For example, the Reconstructionist Movement, a right wing Christian group, would be a threat to democracy and human rights if they came to power:
"Various social customs would change under the appropriated Law of the ancient Israelites. Strict patriarchy would return to the family, and the practice of indentured servitude would turn prisons into temporary holding places, end unemployment and keep problem teenagers busy. Following Old Testament law, the criminal-justice system would get tougher on homosexuals, blasphemers, career criminals, Sabbath-breakers, adulterers, incorrigibly misbehaving older children and nonbelievers ...

Mainline Christians who follow the movement are no less disturbed. Not only would Reconstructionists roll back painfully won civil and political reforms, but religious liberty itself would be at risk. Rushdoony [an influential figure in the movement], for example, sees no place in a Reconstructed society for the panoply of Jews, Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus, Baha'is, humanists, atheists and non-Reconstructionist Christians that make up American religious pluralism. Were it to be otherwise, he maintains, "in the name of toleration, the believer is asked to associate on a common level of total acceptance with the atheist, the pervert, the criminal and the adherents of other religions." The Reconstructionist call is not for a republic neutral toward religion. The First Amendment's establishment clause would be an early casualty." (1)

Our elected representatives are there to govern for all, regardless of race or religion and this is why politics must remain religiously neutral, and the only way it can remain neutral is to keep religion out of it.

Notes:

(1)    www://religion-online.org/showarticle.asp?title=234







 

EVERYONE NEEDS BIBLICAL GUIDANCE   Part II

Anonymous

(Investigator 152, 2013 September)



ENGLISH LAW

Alfred the Great (849-899) defeated the Danes, became "father of the English navy" and, arguably, founder of the English nation.

A nation requires a law code and Alfred began with the Ten Commandments. Twenty percent of Alfred's law code came from the Bible and developed into England's common law.

King Henry VIII (1491-1547) had books published to give Christian guidance to England. His son Edward VI (1537-1553) introduced the Book of Common Prayer (1549) which promoted The Ten Commandments and had a huge positive impact. In 1558 Queen Elizabeth ordered that every church have the Ten Commandments prominently displayed.

John White (1606-1648), Rector at Dorchester, founded a Puritan regime, based on the Ten Commandments and other laws in Exodus and the New Testament. Puritan law provided education, assisted the poor and widows, fined drunkenness and immorality, and in many ways heralded the social benefits enjoyed today. The Puritan "experiment", however, became too strict for many people and ended in 1660.

The King James Bible (1611) influenced education, law-makers, and democracy in England and America for centuries. (See #139)

Statutes and principles of English law that trace back to the Bible in turn benefited the world. Windschuttle (2011) writes:
"British imperial rule in many parts of Asia, Africa and the Americas was not representative or democratic, but it was nonetheless orderly, largely benign, and usually fair. Thanks to English law, most British colonial officials delivered good government…

Britain brought the modern systems of finance, transportation and manufacturing that emerged at home to much of the undeveloped world. Far from a form of plunder that depleted the economies that came under its influence, British imperialism brought many of the institutions of modernisation to its territories."

In India English law together with Christianity opposed widow burning, killing of lepers, religious prostitution, and the caste system besides introducing scientific medicine. (See # 115; #122)



BYZANTIUM LAW

Berman (1974) points out: "the law of the Roman Empire prohibited Christian worship. The church was illegal… Thus the first principle of Christian jurisprudence, established by historical experience, was the principle of civil disobedience: laws that conflict with Christian faith are not binding in conscience."

Later the Church expanded and became part of the political establishment:
"Christian emperors of Byzantium considered it their Christian responsibility to revise the laws, as they put it, "in the direction of greater humanity." Under the influence of Christianity, the Roman law of the postclassical period reformed family law, giving the wife a position of greater equality before the law, requiring the mutual consent of both spouses for the validity of a marriage, making divorce more difficult (which at that time was a step toward women's liberation!), and abolishing the father's power of life or death over his children; reformed the law of slavery, giving a slave the right to appeal to a magistrate if his master abused his powers and even, in some cases, the right to freedom if the master exercised cruelty, multiplying modes of manumission of slaves, and permitting slaves to acquire rights by kinship with freemen; and introduced a concept of equity into legal rights and duties generally, thereby tempering the strictness of general prescriptions… Like civil disobedience, law reform remains a basic principle of Christian jurisprudence from the early experience of the church."  


MODERN LAW

The Bible influences modern legislation too. The USA has a nationwide holiday in January honouring Martin Luther King (1929-1968:
A Baptist minister who advocated the use of non violent means to end racial segregation… He founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in 1957 and…was instrumental in the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which outlawed discrimination in public accommodations, facilities, and employment… (Encyclopaedia Britannica)
Discrimination based on "race" is unbiblical because: "God treats everyone on the same basis…no matter what race he belongs to." (Acts 10:34-35)

Murphy (2013) reported: "A Norwegian woman has…been sentenced to 16 months' jail in … Dubai for having sex outside marriage after she reported being raped… Earlier this year Australian Alicia Gali, 27, said she was thrown in a Dubai jail for eight months after she reported a rape."

Many Islamic countries punish rape victims. The perpetrators go free but the woman, having admitted to unmarried sex, is punished. The Bible in contrast teaches: "One who justifies the wicked and one who condemns the righteous are both alike an abomination to the Lord." (Proverbs 17:15)

Muslims need biblical guidance.


DEBT

In #133 I wrote about "The Bible Against Debt".

Many governments create debt they can't repay and face crisis after crisis. For example: "Greece was thrown into crisis last week when the Greek premier ordered the shutdown of Greek Radio and Television…and the immediate ouster — without compensation — of its 2700 employees." (The Weekend Australian, June 22-23, 2013, p. 10)

If nations can't pay their way now when enjoying the most benign climate in history, what will happen when climate-change really kicks in?

Governments with all their consultants often don't know right from wrong and need Biblical guidance.


BLESSING ALL NATIONS

Genesis foretold "blessing to all the nations of the earth" through the descendents of Abraham. (Genesis 18:18)

"Blessing" refers to everything that commonly promotes happiness including prosperity, fair laws, health, security, and people renouncing "their wicked ways". (Acts 3:25-26)

"Blessing" is promoted when charities teach, heal and meet human needs; when individuals live Christian lives, setting a good example; and when organized effort changes evil laws and hurtful social structures.

I've previously mentioned Christian/Biblical opposition to infanticide, slaughter in Roman amphitheatres, religious prostitution, slavery, mutilation of children to enhance their effectiveness as beggars, widow-burning, torture, killing of the sick, racism, etc. I also showed Christian input in the origin of universities, modern science, and many social benefits including pensions for the aged.

The New Testament:
The doctrine that all are sinners makes the best type government one with inbuilt rules for peacefully removing evil men from power. Democracy beats dictatorship, dynastic succession, revolution, coups and civil war.

Biblical values of dignity, mercy, fairness, generosity, accountability and freedom gradually flowed into modern legal and social systems.

In the US Salmon P Chase (1808-1873), Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Ohio, examined the Bible as he would a court case, concluding it is a supernatural book "from God." (#146) Its influence is probably why he promoted equal rights for Blacks.

In Australia most of the prime ministers had a Christian background. Roy Williams in In God They Trust (2013) points out that Australians are "uniquely blessed in human history" and "For this state of affairs our Prime Ministers surely deserve some credit — perhaps a great deal…"

Ian Clarkson (2013) observes:
"No other religion or ideology has presented a worldview through which nations have been formed with such freedom and order. Name a country with a majority of either Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims or atheists which has out if its own culture developed a stable, open, free, humane peaceful and economically progressive democracy? They don't exist. But where the Bible has been preached and its message believed by the population, civilisation is established."


CONSEQUENCES

Atheists, humanists, communists, criminals, dictators, Islamists, and many others seek to destroy the Bible's influence. They imagine they can discard the foundation of modern prosperity and freedom but retain the benefits.

Ancient Israel thought that way too, and the Old Testament records Israel's terrible fate. We also have modern examples:-
 
The cover title of Time July 6, 1987 reads "When China Went Mad". Page 1 explains: "In 1966 Mao Tse-tung plunged China into a decade of madness during which millions were tortured or killed on ideological grounds."

Another madness was "Mao's Great Famine", which Dikötter (2010) says killed 45 million from 1958 to 1962. Other millions died in nationwide violence when atheists took control in 1949.

In 1982 America's President Carter asked Deng Xiao Ping (1904-1997) (effectively China's ruler from 1978-1992), "Can the Chinese people have their own Bible?" Deng answered "Yes". Printing reached 100 million in 2012 and China is no longer "mad".

Germany in the 1930s followed a man who wanted to destroy Christianity. In 1945 five million Germans had died in war; invading armies raped on average 20,000 women per day; and 25% of Germany's area was confiscated. Post-war population-transfers and other retribution killed another 2 million Germans. Germany had rejected the Bible and almost perished.



GUIDANCE NEEDED

The Sunday Mail reported "Carbon Tax Scrapped". (July 14, 2013) Reams of legislation get discarded after every change of government in almost every country. Such ongoing revision proves that governments and law-makers often don't know right from wrong.

A South Australian royal commission into the rape of a girl at school: "implicates Premier Jay Weatherill's closest aides in a cover-up that has revealed a deeply flawed culture at the highest levels of government." (The Weekend Australian, July 13-14, 2013, p. 18) "Cover ups" occur across all nations because officials often don't know right from wrong and need to hide what they did.

The Bible in contrast is simple:
Under biblical guidance cover-up of rape in schools is disallowed because the Bible condemns immorality besides stipulating, "Speak the truth."



CONCLUSION

Wilson (2011) writes:
"A literal biblical perspective of humans as God's creature, made in his own image, has influenced human notions of dignity, liberty, rights, political systems and many other areas of culture and society. In contrast, a humanist view … implies that there is no dignity, liberty or right to exist for humans beyond that which humans themselves determine."
Everyone needs biblical guidance.



REFERENCES:

Berman, H.H. 1974 The Interaction Of Law And Religion, SCM, pp 52-53

Clarkson, I. Path to Prosperity, ACCatalyst, July 2013, p. 7

Dikötter, F. 2010 Mao's Great Famine, Bloomsbury

Murphy, B. Rape victim fights jailing, Sunday Mail, 21 July, 2013, p.30

Wilson, D.A Nation of Creationists, Australasian Science, April 2011, p. 14

Windschuttle, K. The Civilising Power of English Law, Quadrant, March 2011, pp 41-44




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