Paul Mitchellís Book of Religious Quotations,
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*RELATIVISM (SEE HUMANISM)
*REINCARNATION, EARLY CHRISTIAN STATEMENTS
*ROMANS, AS THEY SAW CHRISTIANITY
BENJAMIN FRANKLIN, 1789: "There is a great danger in the United Sates of America. That great danger is the Jew. Gentlemen, in whichever land the Jews have settled, they have depressed the moral level and lowered the degree of commercial honesty. They have created a State within a State, and when they are opposed, they attempted to strangle the nation financially, as in the case of Portugal and Spain.
For more than 1700 years they have lamented their sorrowful fate, namely, that they were driven out of the mother-land; but gentlemen, if the civilized world today should give them back Palestine as their property, they would immediately find pressing reasons for not returning there. Why? Because they are vampires and cannot live on other vampires. They cannot live on themselves. They must live among Christians and others who do not belong to their race. If they are not excluded from the United States by the Constitution, within less than a hundred years they will stream into the country in such numbers that they will rule and destroy us, and change our form of government for which American's have shed their blood and sacrificed life, property, and personal freedom. If the Jews are not excluded, within 200 years our children will be working the fields to feed the Jews, while they remain in the Counting House gleefully rubbing their hands. I warn you, gentlemen, if you do not exclude the Jew forever, your children and your children's children will curse you in your grave.
Their ideas are not those of Americans. The leopard cannot change his spots. The Jews are a danger to this land, and if they are allowed to enter, they will imperil its institutions. They should be excluded by the Constitution!" BENJAMIN FRANKLIN, from the diary of Mr. Charles Cotesworth Pinckney of South Carolina (1746-1825, one of the framers of the Constitution of the United States) "Chit, Chat Around the Table During Intermission"
THOMAS JEFFERSON, 1803: "Their [the Jews] Ethics were not only imperfect, but often irreconcilable
with the sound dictates of reason and morality, as they respect intercourse with those around us; and repulsive and anti-social, as respecting other nations. They needed reformation, therefore, in an eminent degree." (A Letter to Benjamin Rush in 1803, quoted by Michael Ledeen, "Should Jews Fear the Christian Right," Moment: The Magazine of Jewish Culture and Opinion, October 1994, p. 47)
ANDREW JACKSON, 1767-1845: "You Jews are a den of vipers and thieves. I have determined to rout you out, and by the Eternal God, I will rout you out." (Quoted by Charles E. Coughlin, "Money Questions and Answers" (Royal Oak, MI: The National Union for Social Justice, 1936) p.168)
(The Jewish religion is) "...a barbarous superstition..." (Cicero, Pro Flacco 28, cited by Wm Barclay, "The Mind of St. Paul," Harper Collins, 1986, p. 9)
(The Jews are) "...the vilest of people..." (Tacitus, Histories 5:8; cited by Wm Barclay, "The Mind of St. Paul," Harper Collins, 1986, p. 9)
(Ancient Jews said:) "The Gentiles were created by God to be fuel for the fires of hell." (No reference given, cited by Wm Barclay, "The Mind of St. Paul," Harper Collins, 1986, p. 10)
(Ancient Jews said:) "The best of the serpents crush; the best of the Gentiles kill." (No reference given, cited by Wm Barclay, "The Mind of St. Paul," Harper Collins, 1986, p. 10)
"It was even forbidden [for a Jew] to give a Gentile mother help in her hour of direst need, because to do so would only have been to bring another Gentile into the world." (Wm Barclay, "The Mind of St. Paul," Harper Collins, 1986, p. 10)
"The Gentiles were acutely conscious of this hatred. Tacitus believed that if a Gentile became a proselyte to Judaism, the first thing he was taught was to despise the gods, to repudiate his nationality, and to hold worthless his parents, children and friends." (Tacitus, Histories 5:5; referenced by Wm Barclay, "The Mind of St. Paul," Harper Collins, 1986, p. 10)
"Juvenal declared that if a Jew was asked the way to anywhere by anyone, he would refuse all information except to a fellow-Jew, and if anyone was looking for a well, he would refuse to direct him to it, unless he was circumcised." (Juvenal, Satires 14: 103, 104; referenced by Wm Barclay, "The Mind of St. Paul," Harper Collins, 1986, p. 10)
"In Alexandria the story was current that the Jews had taken a deliberate oath never to show kindness to any Gentile, and it was even said that the Jewish religious ceremonies began with the yearly sacrifice of a Gentile." (Josephus, Against Apion 2, 8, 10; referenced by Wm Barclay, "The Mind of St. Paul," Harper Collins, 1986, p. 10)
"The friends of Antiochus Sidetes urged him to exterminate the Jews because 'alone of all nations they refuse all fellowship and intercourse with other nations and suppose all men to be enemies.'" (Diodorus Siculus 31:1,1; cited by Wm Barclay, "The Mind of St. Paul," Harper Collins, 1986, p. 11)
"Josephus quotes the charge of a certain Lysimachus that Moses charged the Jews to show goodwill to no man, never to give good but always evil counsel to others, and to overturn and destroy whatever altars and temples of the gods they might encounter. Apion himself affirmed that the Jews swore by the God of heaven and earth and sea never to show good will to a man of another nation, and especially never to do so to the Greeks." (Josephus, Against Apion 1:34; 2:10; referenced by Wm Barclay, "The Mind of St. Paul," Harper Collins, 1986, p. 11)
"Because Apion [early first century AD] had some reputation as a Homer specialist, his attack was particularly influential though it popularized such absurdities as the charge that once a year Jews seized and sacrificed a non-Jew at a ceremony where they swore eternal hatred of all non-Jews, and the calumny that a gold-plated head of an ass was kept in the Holy of Holies in the Temple of Jerusalem, which implied that Jews worshipped the Egyptian evil god Seth...who was commonly presented wearing an ass's head." (Daniel Jeremy Silver, "Images of Moses," p.59-60, Basic Books, NY, 1982)
Alexandria was built with a population of imported Jewish labor under Ptolemaic rule, and only after it's commercial success did native Egyptians flock to it. It is estimated that 1 in 8 inhabitants were Jewish, with their Passover and Exodus story offending the natives, which led to constant sizeable riots. The anti-Jewish writers of the day had various alternate explanations of the Exodus, united in the theme that Pharaoh purged the land of lepers and troublemakers, who had invaded from Jerusalem and it's cult of Hebrews.
"The Jewish persecution is clearly the picture of man at his worst. The second century saw revolts of these people in Cyprus, Egypt, Babylon and Cyrene which were bitterly crushed. They were outlawed under penalty of death from Cyprus, and even shipwreck on the island was no excuse. Egypt ripped them apart so fiercely that some believe fewer escaped from the place with Moses than were slaughtered there (600,000 men).
The history of the Jew is persecution. But the fire poured on their heads was also, in some measure, caused by their own brutality. They helped the Persians capture Jerusalem (7th century) and massacred their Christian prisoners, as well as the Persian Christian captives. It was not much later that Peter the Hermit began the first Crusade - not in the Holy Land but in Germany where, to protect their "Christian" homeland, Gentiles furiously slaughtered all Jews in sight all along the route. No one learned anything from this because 50 years later the same craze swept through the Rhineland. Jews suffered in every popular uprising of that land.
Milman (History of the Jews) ...states that the Jews were blamed for the black plague....The Flagellants, plundered and massacred Jews of Frankfurt and elsewhere...These people were hated aliens in a sin-filled world...
...England was little better; robbed and hazed by commoner and noble, 500 to 1,500 Jews died in one incident in York. All their property was taken at the end of the 1200's, and they were brutally expelled from the kingdom and not readmitted until Charles II...
...Mobs in Paris rose against them in 1239 and acted very similarly to Germans. Between about 1400 and 1794, the Jews were outlawed from all of France.
Their story in Spain is even worse. (Evidence That Demands a Verdict, p.317-318, Josh McDowell, Vol.1, Thomas Nelson Pub., Nashville)
*REINCARNATION, EARLY CHRISTIAN STATEMENTS
189AD Irenaeus of Lyons: "We may undermine [the Hellenists'] doctrine as to transmigration from body to body by this fact--that souls remember nothing whatever of the events which took place in their previous states of existence. For if they were sent forth with this object, that they should have experience of every kind of action, they must of necessity retain a remembrance of those things which have been previously accomplished, that they might fill up those in which they were still deficient, and not by always hovering, without intermission, rough the same pursuits, spend their labor wretchedly in vain. . . . With reference to these objections, Plato . . . attempted no kind of proof, but simply replied dogmatically that when souls enter into this life they are caused to drink of oblivion by that demon who watches their entrance, before they effect an entrance into the bodies. It escaped him that he fell into another, greater perplexity. For if the cup of oblivion, after it has been drunk, can obliterate the memory of all the deeds that have been done, how, O Plato, do you obtain the knowledge of this fact . . . ?" (Against Heresies 2:33:1-2).
197 AD TERTULLIAN: "Come now, if some philosopher affirms, as Laberius holds, following an opinion of Pythagoras, that a man may have his origin from a mule, a serpent from a woman, and with skill of speech twists every argument to prove his view, will he not gain an acceptance for it [among the pagans], and work in some conviction that on account of this, they should abstain from eating animal food? May any one have the persuasion that he should abstain, lest, by chance, in his beef he eats some ancestor of his? But if a Christian promises the return of a man from a man, and the very actual Gaius [resurrected] from Gaius . . . they will not . . . grant him a hearing. If there is any ground for the moving to and fro of human souls into different bodies, why may they not return to the very matter they have left . . . ?" (Apology 48).
229 AD ORIGEN: "[Scripture says] 'And they asked him, "What then? Are you Elijah?" [John 1:21] and he said, "I am not."' No one can fail to remember in this connection what Jesus says of John: 'If you will receive it, this is Elijah, who is to come' [Matt. 11:14]. How then does John come to say to those who ask him, 'Are you Elijah?'--'I am not'? . . . one might say that John did not know that he was Elijah. This will be the explanation of those who find in our passage a support for their doctrine of reincarnation, as if the soul clothed itself in a fresh body and did not quite remember its former lives. . . . [H]owever, a churchman, who repudiates the doctrine of reincarnation as a false one and does not admit that the soul of John was ever Elijah, may appeal to the above-quoted words of the angel, and point out that it is not the soul of Elijah that is spoken of at John's birth, but the Spirit and power of Elijah" (Commentary on John 6:7).
229 AD ORIGEN: "As for the spirits of the prophets, these are given to them by God and are spoken of as being in a manner their property (slaves), as 'The spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets' [1 Cor. 14:32] and 'The Spirit of Elijah rested upon Elisha' [2 Kgs. 2:15]. Thus, it is said, there is nothing absurd in supposing that John, 'in the Spirit and power of Elijah,' turned the hearts of the fathers to the children and that it was on account of this Spirit that he was called 'Elijah who is to come'" (Commentary on John 6:7.).
229 AD ORIGEN: "If the doctrine [of reincarnation] was widely current, ought not John to have hesitated to pronounce upon it, lest his soul had actually been in Elijah? And here our churchman will appeal to history, and will bid his antagonists [to] ask experts in the . . . doctrines of the Hebrews if they do really entertain such a belief. For if it should appear that they do not, then the argument based on that supposition is shown to be quite baseless" (Commentary on John 6:7.).
229 AD ORIGEN: "Some might say, however, that Herod and some of those of the people held the false dogma of the transmigration of souls into bodies, in consequence of which they thought that the form John had appeared again by a fresh birth, and had come from the dead into life as Jesus. But the time between the birth of John and the birth of Jesus, which was not more than six months, does not permit this false opinion to be considered credible. And perhaps rather some such idea as this was in the mind of Herod, that the powers which worked in John had passed over to Jesus in consequence of which he was thought by the people to be John the Baptist. And one might use the following line of argument: Just as because the Spirit and the power of Elijah, and not because of his soul, it is said about John, "This is Elijah who is to come' [Matt. 11:14] . . . so Herod thought that the powers in John worked in his case works of baptism and teaching--for John did not do one miracle [John 10:41]--but in Jesus [they worked] miraculous portents" (Commentary on Matthew 10:20).
229 AD ORIGEN: "Now the Canaanitish woman, having come, worshipped Jesus as God, saying, 'Lord, help me,' but he answered and said, 'It is not possible to take the children's bread and cast it to the little dogs.' . . . Others, then, who are strangers to the doctrine of the Church, assume that souls pass from the bodies of men into the bodies of dogs, according to their varying degree of wickedness; but we . . . do not find this at all in the divine Scripture" (Commentary on Matthew 11:16).
229 AD ORIGEN: "In this place [when Jesus said Elijah was come and referred to John the Baptist] it does not appear to me that by Elijah the soul is spoken of, lest I fall into the doctrine of transmigration ,which is foreign to the Church of God, and not handed down by the apostles, nor anywhere set forth in the Scriptures" Ö "But if . . . the Greeks, who introduce the doctrine of transmigration, laying down things in harmony with it, do not acknowledge that the world is coming to corruption, it is fitting that when they have looked the Scriptures straight in the face which plainly declare that the world will perish, they should either disbelieve them or invent a series of arguments in regard to the interpretation of things concerning the consummation, which, even if they wish, they will not be able to do" (Commentary on Matthew 13:1).
305 AD AMOBIUS: "[M]an's real death [is] when souls which know not God shall be consumed in long-protracted torment with raging fire, into which certain fiercely cruel beings shall cast them . . . Wherefore, there is no reason that [one] should mislead us, should hold our vain hopes to us, which some men say is unheard of till now, and carried away by an extravagant opinion of themselves, that souls are immortal, next in point of rank to the God and ruler of the world, descended from that Parent and Sire . . . [And] while we are moving swiftly down toward our mortal bodies, causes pursue us from the world's circles, through the working of which we become bad--aye, most wicked . . . [and] that the souls of wicked men, on leaving their human bodies, pass into cattle and other creatures" (Against the Pagans 2:14-15).
317 AD Lactantius: "What of Pythagoras, who was first called a philosopher, who judged that souls were indeed immortal, but that they passed into other bodies, either of cattle or of birds or of beasts? Would it not have been better that they should be destroyed, together with their bodies, than thus to be condemned to pass into the bodies of other animals? Would it not be better not to exist at all than, after having had the form of a man, to live as a swine or a dog? And the foolish man, to gain credit for his saying, said that he himself had been Euphorbus in the Trojan war, and that when he had been slain he passed into other figures of animals, and at last became Pythagoras. O happy man!--to whom alone so great a memory was given! Or rather unhappy, who when changed into a sheep was not permitted to be ignorant of what he was! And [I] would to Heaven that he alone had been thus senseless!" (Epitome of the Divine Institutes 36).
379 AD Gregory of NyssA: "[I]f one should search carefully, he will find that their doctrine is of necessity brought down to this. They tell us that one of their sages said that he, being one and the same person, was born a man, and afterward assumed the form of a woman, and flew about with the birds, and grew as a bush, and obtained the life of an aquatic creature--and he who said these things of himself did not, so far as I can judge, go far from the truth, for such doctrines as this--of saying that one should passed through many changes--are really fitting for the chatter of frogs or jackdaws or the stupidity of fishes or the insensibility of trees" (The Making of Man 28:3).
380 AD Ambrose of Milan: "It is a cause for wonder that though they [the heathen] . . . say that souls pass and migrate into other bodies . . . But let those who have not been taught doubt [the resurrection]. For us who have read the Law, the Prophets, the Apostles, and the Gospel, it is not lawful to doubt" (Belief in the Resurrection 65-66).
380 AD Ambrose of Milan: "But is their opinion preferable who say that our souls, when they have passed out of these bodies, migrate into the bodies of beasts or of various other living creatures? . . . For what is so like a marvel as to believe that men could have been changed into the forms of beasts? How much greater a marvel, however, would it be that the soul which rules man should take on itself the nature of a beast so opposed to that of man, and being capable of reason should be able to pass over to an irrational animal, than that the form of the body should have been changed?" (Belief in the Resurrection, 127).
391 AD John Chrysostom: "As for doctrines on the soul, there is nothing excessively shameful that they [the disciples of Plato and Pythagoras] have left unsaid, asserting that the souls of men become flies and gnats and bushes and that God himself is a [similar] soul, with some other the like indecencies . . . At one time he says that the soul is of the substance of God; at another, after having exalted it thus immoderately and impiously, he exceeds again in a different way, and treats it with insult, making it pass into swine and asses and other animals of yet less esteem than these" (Homilies on John 2:3, 6).
393 AD Basil the Great: "[A]void the nonsense of those arrogant philosophers who do not blush to liken their soul to that of a dog, who say that they have been formerly themselves women, shrubs, or fish. Have they ever been fish? I do not know, but I do not fear to affirm that in their writings they show less sense than fish" (The Six Days Work 8:2).
Bad arguments kill themselves if you know how to reverse their direction. Turn the accusation of intolerance by asking questions:
* "Who said 'consent' makes something right? Is that just your opinion or did you get that from a higher source?"
* "Why should we tolerate everything? And if we should, why are you intolerant of my position?"
* "If we are not to judge, why are you judging me [for judging you on the issue/act] And if we can't judge, why are we even here tonight to debate this issue?"
The minute someone says THEIR ideas are better than yours or anyone else's, that person is comparing them to a standard independent of them both. This DEMANDS by inference a Moral Law!! Ask if their standard is merely their opinion, or is it based on something beyond themselves such as a Moral Law. Checkmate!
THE PROBLEM: It is said "Just because Christianity is true doesn't mean other religions are false." Polytheistic Pontius Pilate made this pluralistic argument when he answered Jesus by asking, "What is truth?" (Jn 18:33ff)
TRUTH WOULD BE MEANINGLESS: "If in the final analysis all beliefs, even those that are mutually contradictory, are true, it matters little whether one particular system can be shown to be true ...We usually hear of relativism within the context of morality. What you believe to be right and what I believe to be right can both be right. This is true even if our beliefs are contradictory, just as long as we are sincere about our personal standards. This is also the nature of relativism when it comes to knowledge. Two mutually opposed systems of beliefs may both be right. Thus the force of relativism lies in the fact that it attempts to rob all of our arguments for Christianity of any significance. If relativism is true, we are wasting our time with rational arguments. ...It leaves the word 'truth' vacuous and makes the defense of supposed truth meaningless." (Winfried Corduan, No Doubt About It, Broadman & Holman, 1997, p26-28)
FALSE HUMILITY: "Sometimes a false sense of humility can be an excuse not to live up to the implications of knowing a certain truth. Truth can imply responsibility. ...What if Louis Pasteur had said that the germ theory was true for him, but that it need not be true for everyone else? If Heimlich had been too humble to share his innovative technique with others, a lot more lives would have been lost. ...Sometimes apparent humility can become a cloak behind which people hide their apathy. Truth... demands commitment." (Winfried Corduan, No Doubt About It, Broadman & Holman, 1997, p35-36)
RELATIVISM NOT PRACTICAL: "Relativism cannot be lived out. ...An individual will live his or her life almost entirely on a nonrelativistic true-false basis. Either I missed the bus, or I didn't miss the bus. Either this is Friday, or it is not Friday. Either I have eaten lunch, or I have not eaten lunch.
This is the context of Eastern cultures as well. The Buddhist monk tells me that I may enter his temple. He does not say, 'You may both enter and non-enter the temple that is also a non-temple.' He forbids me to take a picture of an certain image or of himself. He does not say (or mean), 'You may not and may take a picture here.' He makes certain statements and expects me to respect their truth, and he does not intend for these statements to be both true and false; their truth excludes their falsehood. (As we saw above, this point is perfectly compatible with Buddhist logic.)
Relativism only seems to pop up at certain crucial moments, usually in the sphere of morality or religion. ...By and large one only hears relativistic statements when one talks about God, right and wrong, and salvation. One never hears the idea that mutually exclusive statements could be true when it comes to the stock market, the sports page, or the kitchen. The person may say that Christianity is true, but that a religion which is incompatible with Christianity is also true. That same person, however, will not invoke the same relativism when it comes to distinguishing between milk and cyanide." (Winfried Corduan, No Doubt About It, Broadman & Holman, 1997, p37-38)
PANTHEISTIC RELATIVISM: "Pantheists believe that all is God and God is all. Now it is crucial to realize that even though pantheism sounds like a theory about the cosmos, it is almost always intended to be about you, the individual human being. Since you are part of the universe that is God, you share the divine nature of the universe. You are God. This is the teaching of many Eastern religions, such as Hinduism... 'I am God' shouts Shirley MacLaine, standing on the beach with her hands raised in the air (Out on a Limb, Bantam Books, 1983).
On the surface pantheism appears to have a lot to offer. Rather than being burdened with looking for answers outside of ourselves, we are free to look within ourselves for all that we need. We are our own source of truth. ...Since we are God, sin or redemption are unnecessary.
In pantheism God is infinite. ...What is the world? The world is finite. It is temporal, limited, and changeable. Yet pantheism tells us that this description of reality as finite world and the description of reality as infinite God are both true. Can this be? Can something be both finite and infinite? The answer is clearly no.
...Let us consider Shirley MacLaine as she stands on the beach proclaiming, 'I am God!' We would like to know, specifically, who is God? It cannot be the Ms. MacLaine who is a part of the finite world of appearance, for we just learned that this Ms. MacLaine can only be an illusion. So it must be the infinite God who is now announcing to the world something she has just come to realize, namely that she is God. This is absurd. The infinite cannot forget something and then learn it. It must have always been God and always known it. In short, for the finite Shirley MacLaine to claim that she is God is impossible; for infinite God to become Shirley MacLaine and learn that she is God is incoherent. It just does not make sense." (Winfried Corduan, No Doubt About It, Broadman & Holman, 1997, p92-94)
(W. Corduan quotes Marcus Bach, "Had You Been Born in Another Faith," Prentice-Hall, 1961, ix): "I feel that the great religions should be viewed as different dialects by which man speaks to God -- and God to man."
GOD BEHIND ALL RELIGIONS IS ABSURD: "Imagine two men, Fred and Ricky, who are married to two women, Ethel and Lucy. Presumably Ethel functions in Fred's life roughly the way Lucy functions in Ricky's. Still that is no reason to think that Fred and Ricky are married to the same woman, and that 'Ethel' and 'Lucy' are simply two different names for one female reality. They only way it could be so is if they shared all of the same properties (including occupying the same space at the same time), but they clearly do not. In the same way, it does not follow that if all religions function in similar ways they refer to the same reality [God]. The assertion simply begs the question, for they surely do not have the same properties... Thus experience does not support inclusivism [all religions as true with one God behind them all--PM].
What then could count as evidence for inclusivism? Let us look a little closer at Bach's statement. He does not actually refer to ALL religions, just the 'great religions.' His statement is not totally inclusive for it leaves room to escape if the evidence makes it necessary. If I could show, for example, that a specific religion cannot be accommodated to this view, then Bach still would have the possibility of taking recourse to the idea that this religion must not be a 'great religion.' Thus evidence can ultimately be putty in his hands." (Winfried Corduan, No Doubt About It, Broadman & Holman, 1997, p256-259)
LEADS TO AUTHORITARIANISM: "...Our culture is on the verge of nihilism in regard to morality... We no longer have clear standards of right and wrong; but we feel that we no longer need them either. It just does not matter... A society cannot survive in complete moral chaos. To ensure that society will continue to function, sooner or later a moral code or policy must be found. If there is none, one will be imposed. We will wind up with a government-sponsored social morality. MORAL NIHILISM ALSO LEADS TO AUTHORITARIANISM." (Winfried Corduan, No Doubt About It, Broadman & Holman, 1997, p262-63)
PM: More succinctly, since Relativism (all religions are true) ultimately has a definition of "do what seems right to you, as it doesn't matter", this leads to nihilism (a doctrine holding that all values are baseless and that nothing can be known or communicated as truth), and this leads to moral decline and eventually authoritarianism.
THE BALONEY-METER: "If there really is no absolute truth, then the claim that 'there is no absolute truth' can't be absolutely true. ...Like absolute truth, absolute values are also undeniable. To see our point, imagine you are having an intense discussion with a friend of yours who disagrees with your position. Suppose your friend is arguing that there are no absolute moral values; that people have different values, so there is no way you can say that you are right and the other people are wrong. How do you think your friend would react if you said, 'Shutup! You have no right to express your opinion'? Of course your friend would vehemently object because you failed to respect what everyone knows to be the true --- the fact that she DOES have a right to express her opinion." (Geisler & Turik, "Legislating Morality," Bethany House Publ., Minn., MN, 55438, pg 46).(A relativistís innate "baloney-meter" will instantly fire off if you do this very thing; proving we DO know right from wrong naturally).
MORAL DILEMMA: "The late Allan Bloom, who was a professor at the University of Chicago, used to confront his relativistic students with an ethical dilemma. In India, the cultural custom was to burn the widow of an deceased husband at the husband's funeral. So Bloom, trying to get his students to admit that such a practice was ABSOLUTELY wrong, asked them this question: 'If you had been a British adminstrator in India, would you have let the natives under your governance burn the widow at the funeral of a man [her husband] who had died?'
Of course, it's obvious that burning living people with their deceased relatives is absolutely wrong, and it would be the duty of the British administrator to outlaw such a practice. However, this left Bloom's students in a dilemma. If they said they would NOT have stopped it, they would have been an accomplice to murder. But if they said that they WOULD have stopped it, then they would be admitting that relativism is false. What did Bloom's relativistic students do? Instead of dealing with the dilemma, they skirted the issue. The typical student response was a diversionary statement such as 'The British should not have been there to begin with,' or else stunned silence." (Geisler & Turik, "Legislating Morality," Bethany House Publ., Minn., MN, 55438, pg 47
BE UNFAIR! "...if you really want to get relativists to admit it, all you have to do is treat them unfairly. Their reactions will reveal the Moral Law written on their hearts and minds." (Geisler & Turik, "Legislating Morality," Bethany House Publ., Minn., MN, 55438, pg 48).
UNCHANGING REFERENCE POINTS: "Like motion, morality makes no sense if there isn't an unchanging reference point. ...But we know Hitler was wrong, as is racism and child abuse, because we have an absolute reference point called the Moral Law." (Geisler & Turik, "Legislating Morality," Bethany House Publ., Minn., MN, 55438, pg 49).
"This issue [moral relativism] really hinges on whether human beings DETERMINE right and wrong or DISCOVER right and wrong. If human beings determine right and wrong, then anyone would be 'right' in asserting any of the absurd conclusions we just listed above. But people don't CREATE truth, they FIND it. Newton didn't determine the law of gravity, he discovered it. Likewise, human beings haven't determined that murder is wrong. We've discovered it's wrong through our consciences, which reflect the Moral Law. ...this Moral Law must have a source higher than ourselves. For the moral prescription that is on the hearts of all people must have been put there by a Moral Prescriber." (Geisler & Turik, "Legislating Morality," Bethany House Publ., Minn., MN, 55438, pg 50).
C. S. LEWIS: "The moment you say that one set of moral ideas can be better than another, you are, in fact, measuring them both by a standard, saying that one of them conforms to that standard more nearly than the other. But the standard that measures two things is something different from either. You are, in fact, comparing them both with some Real Morality, admitting that there is such a thing as a real Right, independent of what people think, and that some people's ideas get nearer to that real Right than others. Or put it this way: If your moral ideas can be truer, and those of the Nazis less true, there must be something -- some Real Morality -- for them to be true about." (cited in (Geisler & Turik, "Legislating Morality," Bethany House Publ., Minn., MN, 55438, pg 118).
RELATIVIST ABSOLUTES: "The Left claims that there is a right to abortion, a right to health care, a right to paid leave, a right to welfare, a right to a certain wage, a right to arts funding, a right to same-sex marriage, and -- when it's all over -- even a right to die (and they claim they don't believe in absolutes... Who are they kidding?)." (Geisler & Turik, "Legislating Morality," Bethany House Publ., Minn., MN, 55438, pg 122).
ABSOLUTISTS MAKE BETTER LAW: "...Lawmakers who believe and live by the Moral Law themselves will be better legislators of it than those who do not. The Left would have us believe that character doesn't matter in government; that a politicians's private morals should not be used to judge how he or she will legislate. Why then did the Left attack former KKK member David Duke when he attempted to run for office in Louisiana? Because they rightly concluded that private beliefs CAN AND DO affect how someone will legislate. The truth is, those on the Left bring up character only when it suits their purpose. For example, they screamed that the character of Clarence Thomas -- who allegedly SAID SOMETHING INAPPROPRIATE -- would affect his performance on the Supreme Court. But when there was far more evidence that Bill Clinton actually DID SOMETHING ILLEGAL, those same people argued that character didn't matter for the president." (Geisler & Turik, "Legislating Morality," Bethany House Publ., Minn., MN, 55438, pg 123-124).
"The Jews went back into their own ancient stories and thence ritually reenacted those great inaugural acts of Exodus from bondage in Egypt and arrival in the Promised Land. So also, worlds away and centuries later, the Melanesian natives, seeking to emulate or manipulate the colonial Europeans whose cargo goods they coveted as signs and proofs of superior worth and dignity, proceeded, in the words of Peter Worsley, to "the cultivation of large gardens and the building of stores, sheds, jetties and landing-grounds for the reception of goods which [would] never come" and the preparation of "flagpoles, wirelesses, poles and ladders with which to get into touch with God and the ancestors; flash-lights to see Him with; and books, paper and the Bible as both symbols and means of acquiring the Secret of the Cargo." (The Historical Jesus, Dominic Crossan, Harper, San Francisco, p 159-160)
"How often has this exclamation, 'I am a Roman citizen,' brought aid and safety even among barbarians in the remotest parts of the earth!" (Cicero, cited by cited by Wm Barclay, "The Mind of St. Paul," Harper Collins, 1986, p. 26)
"It is a breach of the law for a Roman citizen to be bound; it is a crime for him to be beaten." (Cicero, cited by Wm Barclay, "The Mind of St. Paul," Harper Collins, 1986, p. 26)
"There were two kinds of Roman citizenship. There was that which conferred commercium, trading rights, and that which conferred not only commercium, but also connubium, marriage rights." (Wm Barclay, "The Mind of St. Paul," Harper Collins, 1986, p. 27)
Roman citizenship could be acquired in several ways. It could be purchased (Acts 22:28).
It could be granted to chosen people for distinguished services to the Roman state. It was given to soldiers when they had completed 24 years of service.
Sometimes as reward for fidelity (as in wars) it was bestowed to the whole population of a given area.
"Let every community have its own cults." (Cicero, 1st cen. BC; cited in "King Herod's Dream: Caesarea On the Sea," KG Holum, pg. 142)
"Let those who have refused to sacrifice to the gods and obey the commands of the emperors be beaten and led away to suffer the punishment of beheading, in accordance to the laws." --Mursurillo, Acts of the Christian Martyrs, Chp. 5; cited by Elaine Pagels, The Origin of Satan, Random House, NY, 1995, p.125.
"The first thing they [Christians] do when they get hold of people is to teach them to despise their gods, neglect their cities, and hate their families; everything that we know as piety they neglect."
--Tacitus, Annals; cited by Elaine Pagels, The Origin of Satan, Random House, NY, 1995, p.143
"The primary test of truth in [Roman] religious matters was custom and tradition, the practices of the ancients." --Robert Wilken, The Christians as the Romans Saw Them, Yale Univ Press, 1984, p.62.
"The appeal of a philosopher [by the 2nd century A.D] frequently had less to do with the teachings of his school than with how the philosopher dressed, what kind of success he could promise its adherents, and which philosophy was fashionable and highly regarded in influential circles... Joining a philosophical school often had little to do with rational argument or appeals to empirical evidence." --Robert Wilken, The Christians as the Romans Saw Them, Yale Univ Press, 1984, p. 76-77
"Caecilius asks what kind of god is he, weak or wicked? Also, why does he not help when Christians are persecuted and threatened with tortures? How is it that this god can bring the dead to life but cannot help those who live? The Romans have done much better without this god: they created an empire, they rule the whole world including the Christians."
--Stephen Benko, Pagan Rome and the Early Christians, BT Batsford Ltd, London, 1984, p 57.
"The real objection against Christianity for the pagans was...that they made doctrinal statements concerning divine matters. This is the point at which Caecilius really draws the line. He calls the claim of the Christians to exclusive possession of the truth 'arrogant and irresponsible' behavior. A contemporary of Fronto, and another famous critic of Christianity, Celsus raised the same criticism. In True Word he wrote: 'They regularly discuss fundamental principles and make arrogant pronouncements about matters of which they know nothing.'
...The Romans tolerated a remarkable degree of religious liberty, and they, therefore, found the Christians' exclusive claims to truth disconcerting. The statement by Caecilius, that no human being should claim to pass final judgment on divine matters, is quite consistent with the Roman mentality. The Romans believed that when Christians claimed exclusive possession of divine knowledge, they were capable of anything. This attitude encouraged the Romans to give credence to the most outrageous rumors about Christians. An irreconcilable difference existed between pagans and Christians on this issue. The pagan took the position that matters pertaining to the divine mystery were obscure and so should be left open to debate. The Christian, however, was convinced that he was in possession of the truth, because Jesus Christ embodied the ultimate revelation about God. The two great Christian thinkers of the second century, Irenaeus (died c. 190) and Tertullian (c. 150-220) eloquently pleaded for the superiority of Christianity precisely on this principle. Veritas meaning 'Truth,' is the word Tertullian used most frequently in his polemics with pagans and heretics, and he consider all his opponents victims of false belief."
----Stephen Benko, Pagan Rome and the Early Christians, BT Batsford Ltd, London, 1984, p 58.
"The [imperial cult] priesthoods, divided into four chief colleges, were public offices held by persons of high birth.
...That there were only sixty offices for two to four hundred eligible men made the honor particularly desirable. ...Because the Romans thought that the official cults were an integral part of the public life of the city, they took it for granted that the priesthoods should be offered to the most prominent social and political figures."
--Robert Wilken, The Christians as the Romans Saw Them, Yale Univ Press, 1984, p. 6.
*ROMANS, AS THEY SAW CHRISTIANITY
"The godless Galileans feed our poor in addition to their own."
--Emporer Julian, cited by Eberhard Arnold, "The Early Christians," Plough Publishing, 1997, p.14
"[Christiany is an] unlawful and desperate faction... which is leagued together by nightly meetings... a people skulking and shunning the light..." --Fronto in Octavius; cited by Stephen Benko, Pagan Rome and the Early Christians, BT Batsford Ltd, London, 1984, p 11.
"The venerated Twelve Tables, the very foundation of Roman law, forbade nightly meetings..."
--8.26, cited by Stephen Benko, Pagan Rome and the Early Christians, BT Batsford Ltd, London, 1984, p 11.
The government to the Roman public: "Of what sort, do you think, are first, gatherings held by night; second, meetings of men and women in common?" --cited by Stephen Benko, Pagan Rome and the Early Christians, BT Batsford Ltd, London, 1984, p 12
BENKO: "Tertullian realized the potential dangers that this [Roman laws forbidding night meetings] posed for Christians. In a treatise addressed to his wife, Tertullian described the difficulties a Christian woman could face who had to live with a pagan husband. He could hinder her in the meetings." [Where she would be suspected of all sorts of hideous cult blood ritual, of which Rome mistook the Lord's Supper for].
--Stephen Benko, Pagan Rome and the Early Christians, BT Batsford Ltd, London, 1984, p 126
ROME SAW CHRISTIANITY AS MAGIC AND EVIL DONE UNDER THE COVER OF NIGHT: "Wizards do not affect [visit] temples of the gods as their places of reunion; for such places are inimical to those who deal in magic, and they cloak their art under the cover of night and of every sort of darkness, so as to preclude their dupes from the use of their eyes and ears." --original speaker?, cited by Stephen Benko, Pagan Rome and the Early Christians, BT Batsford Ltd, London, 1984, p 124.
WHY ROME WAS SO SENSITIVE TO NIGHT MEETINGS: "You [insurrectionist Catalinarians] plot a night attack, you propose to give our houses and temples to the flames..." --Sat 8.231ff; cited by Stephen Benko, Pagan Rome and the Early Christians, BT Batsford Ltd, London, 1984, p26.
"[Magic is] as mysterious an art as it is loathly and horrible; it needs as a rule night watches and concealing darkness, solitude absolute and murmured incantations, to bear which few free mean are admitted..."
--original speaker?, cited by Stephen Benko, Pagan Rome and the Early Christians, BT Batsford Ltd, London, 1984, pp124
"We can well understand pagan sentiments on this issue today [conversion to Christianity], since we often hear about children who have been brainwashed by various religions and semi-religious groups. The sorrow visited upon parents by the spectacle of their children giving up education, family ties, friends, property, and jobs must have been just as deep and real in the time of Celsus as it is in ours."
--cited by Stephen Benko, Pagan Rome and the Early Christians, BT Batsford Ltd, London, 1984, p162.
"Who, having gathered together from the lowest dregs the more unskilled, and women, credulous and, by the facility of their sex, yielding, establish a herd of a profane conspiracy, which is leagued together by nightly meetings, and solemn fasts, and unhuman meats -- not by any sacred rite, but by that which requires expiation -- a people skulking and shunning the light, silent in public, but garrulous in corners. ...Everywhere also there is mingled among them a certain religion of lust, and they call one another promiscuously brothers and sister, that even a not unusal debauchery myt by the intervention of that sacred name beocme incestuous: it is thus that their vain and senseless superstition glories in crimes. ...Now the story about the initiation of young novices is as much to be detested as it is well know. An infant covered over with meal, that it may deceive the unwary, is placed before him who is to be stained with their rites; this infant is slain by the young pupil, who has been urged on as if to harmless blows on the surface of the meal, with dark and secret wounds. thirstily -- O horror! they lick up it's blood; eagerly they divide its limbs. ...On a solemmn day they assemble at the feast, with all their children, sisters, nothers, people of every sex and every age. there, after much feasting, when the fellowship has grown warm, and the fervor of incestuous lust has grown hot with drunkenness...and the light...extinguished in the shameless darkness, the connection of abominable lust involve them in the uncertainty of fate."
--Octavius 1-13, E.T., ANF 4.177; cited by Stephen Benko, Pagan Rome and the Early Christians, BT Batsford Ltd, London, 1984, p55
WILKEN: "In the cities of the ancient world, religion was inextricably intertwined with social and political life. One did not speak of 'believing in the gods' but of 'having gods,' just as a city might 'have laws or customs.' Piety toward the gods was thought to insure the well-being of the city, to promote a spirit of kinship and mutual responsibility, indeed to bind together the citizenry. 'In all probability,' wrote Cicero, 'disappearance of piety towards the gods will entail the disappearance of loyalty and social union among men as well, and of justice itself, the queen of all the virtues.'"
--Cicero, Nat. D. 1.4; Robert Wilken, The Christians as the Romans Saw Them, Yale Univ Press, 1984, p.58.
RAMSAY: "For most people, to have a good time with their friends involved some contact with a god who served as guest of honor, as master of ceremonies, or as host in the porticoes or flowering, shaded grounds of his own dwelling. For most people, meat was a thing never eaten and wine never drunk...[excessively]... save as some religious setting permitted. There existed -- it is no great exaggeration to say it of all but the fairly rich -- no formal social life in the world of the Apologists [second and third centuries] that was entirely secular. Small wonder, then, that Jews and Christians, holding themselves aloof from anything the gods touched, suffered under the reputation of misanthropy [one who hates or mistrusts mankind]!"
--MacMullen Ramsay, Paganism in the Roman Empire, New Haven, 1981, pg 40.
PAGELS: Jews identified their religion with the Jewish people as a whole, united by tradition, however dispersed throughtout the world; for pagans, pietas consisted precisely in respecting ancient customs and honoring traditional mores. The Christian movement, however, encouraged people to abandon ancestral customs and break the sacred bonds of family, society, and nation." --cited by Elaine Pagels, The Origin of Satan, Random House, NY, 1995, p. 114.
TERTULLIAN: ""The husband casts the wife out of this house; the father disinherits the son; the master, once gentle, now commands the slave out of his sight; it is a huge offense for anyone to be called by that detested name [Christian]." ----Apology, Chp 3; cited by Elaine Pagels, The Origin of Satan, Random House, NY, 1995, p. 150.
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