The root of the problem in Western Christianity (I suspect)

I’m still developing my theory on this but in the meantime I’d like to plant a seed in your mind. Let’s explore it as an exercise in the five common attitudes between the church and the world, as described by Niebuhr. In the story where Jesus pardons the adulteress, let’s imagine the Pharisees had instead brought the woman before you, a judge in a hypothetical Christian nation where the law clearly prescribes death by stoning. What would you do, and why?

3 As he was speaking, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. They put her in front of the crowd.

4 “Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?”

6 They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. 7 They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” 8 Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust.

9 When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. 10 Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”

11 “No, Lord,” she said.

And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”

Although you will probably have a strong opinion about which formulation of “Christ X Culture” is correct, I’d recommend doing the exercise from all five points of view. This as a fun intellectual exercise, if only to force contradictions within the formulations you disagree with, and you will have mastered the essential differences by the end. This is a very good discernment test as well.

About Aeoli Pera

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16 Responses to The root of the problem in Western Christianity (I suspect)

  1. Mycroft Jones says:

    The calendrical evidence verifies that this troublesome story was added to the New Testament long after the fact. All the mind bending in the world will find only a partially satisfactory solution to it, since it isn’t Scripture. Scholars figured out that the Pericope of the Woman Caught in Adultery doesn’t belong in the Bible long before I deduced the calendrical argument against it. It throws the timeline out.

    By their fruit you shall know them. I have only ever seen this Pericope used to justify turning a blind eye to sin. And so it has always been.

  2. aiaslives says:

    Stone the dude who seduced her?

  3. Mycroft Jones says:

    This Pericope, added to the Bible more than 200 years after Christ, is definitely part of the rot at the root of Nicene Christianity. When a Catholic matron who has never drank wine or cursed in her life says things like “who am I to judge, we are all sinners” and turns a blind eye to the child molesters around her, she becomes complicit (according to the Old Testament). When you warn someone about a ravening wolf in the flock, and they turn to you and say “oh, I must repent I had a bad thought about that person”, this Pericope is at the root of it.

  4. fuzziewuzziebear says:

    While I have to agree with Mycroft’s observation that this has only been used to excuse bad behavior, someone more perceptive than I noticed that the male involved in the adultery was not present. Under the Code of Moses, both are equally culpable. What the Pharisees had done was to present the town bicycle for judgement. That is why Christ’s last word to her was to sin no more.

  5. Mycroft Jones says:

    @fuzziewuzziebear If the Pericope was actually part of the Bible, that explanation is the best one out of the ones I’ve seen presented. But that leaves the whole “let he who is without sin cast the first stone”. That isn’t Biblical. All have sinned. But some sins are worthy of stoning.

    1 Corinthians 6
    9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
    10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

  6. Pingback: The Problem With Transitional Whiteness | ‘Reality’ Doug

  7. SirHamster says:

    > @fuzziewuzziebear If the Pericope was actually part of the Bible, that explanation is the best one out of the ones I’ve seen presented. But that leaves the whole “let he who is without sin cast the first stone”. That isn’t Biblical. All have sinned. But some sins are worthy of stoning.

    The Pharisees asked Jesus for his judgement. They are teachers of the law, they know perfectly well what they should do. They are asking Jesus to entrap him, hoping he will give an answer that will displease the Jews or the Romans.

    Jesus gives them an answer that satisfies their request, but disqualifies all of them from enacting judgement. When they leave, Jesus then claims that authority to stone her but extends mercy and commands her to repent. This is entirely consistent with Jesus’s ministry of mercy instead of judgement, as well as his claim of all authority and power.

    But when Jesus returns, the one without sin will cast the first stones of judgement.

    The story is fine. It does not abolish the justice system. The answer is specific to a case where sins were selectively condemned for political gain. That is a corruption of justice by the very people who should be teaching and practicing justice. God commands us to act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with him. This story does not contradict that Biblical command.

  8. Mycroft Jones says:

    The Hamster does err, not knowing the Law.

  9. Mycroft Jones says:

    If you were talking to me, sure, I’d be ok with doing a deep Sperg via Skype or Discord. Hamster gives a standard explanation of the Pericope, which is ok as far as it goes, but he doesn’t address the elephant in the room: “let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” Was Jesus really saying that all of those present were adulterers?

  10. SirHamster says:

    Hamster gives a standard explanation of the Pericope, which is ok as far as it goes, but he doesn’t address the elephant in the room: “let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” Was Jesus really saying that all of those present were adulterers?

    Is that where you think I erred? I think it is a moral duty when it comes to Christian correction on Biblical matters to include a description of the error, so that a listening ear can apply correction.

    No, Jesus was saying all of those present were sinners, affirmed when each left in silence. Adultery is not the only sin***.

    This is also consistent with Jesus’s own teaching:

    “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?”

    *** One could make a case that all sins involve adulterating right practice, making all sinners adulterers, but I don’t think you are making that case.

  11. Mycroft Jones says:

    Let he who is without sin cast the first stone is not consistent with Jesus teaching, it is a subtle twisting and perversion of it. 1 Corinthians 3:6 Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?

    Jesus said that you will be judged according to the way that you judge. If you are a murderer, don’t go around calling other people thieves. But for a thief, who can make restitution by paying back what he stole, to stone a murderer, who is subject to the death penalty, is appropriate.

    The key problem with the Pericope is it makes all sin equal. So you get Catholic mothers turning a blind eye to pedophile wolves because “I once had a bad thought about someone, so I’m a sinner too”. All through scripture, sins are not considered equal.

  12. SirHamster says:

    @Mycroft

    > The Hamster does err, not knowing the Law.

    When you make an accusation that I do not know the Law and have made an error, it would be appropriate to back it up. It’s actually a serious accusation.

    I have asked politely and you have not answered.

    Please state where I made an error, and provide the reasoning how that particular error demonstrates I do not know the Law.

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