Monday, August 15, 2011

On Collective Salvation, and the Bible

Kinda looks to me like there's this meme going around on the Collective Salvation (Left) side of the street that uses a couple of Bible verses to back it up. 

Morgan had been commenting on a thread over at Mallard Fillmore's Bathtub (for the life of me I don't understand why he wastes his time there, except that he got me to literally waste my time there this morning).   A commenter named Jim posted:
“Yet in Matthew 25, Jesus clearly teaches that NATIONS (the Greek is ethnos which is faithfully rendered as “nations” or “societies”) are saved or damned on the basis of what they did and didn’t do vis a vis the poor and marginalized. ”
First of all, just because there is verbiage in the Bible, the Bible doesn't necessarily "teach" that.  But in this case, the relevant passages can be taken as a teaching.  But they "teach" nothing of the sort.  This post is based (and includes most of) the comment I left over there, but it never got published. It was "awaiting moderation". Never got approval. I wonder why not?

Never mind the clever red herring on the fact that he appears to know the original Greek and that it translates to "Nations".   It's irrelavent.  Let's dive in.

According to Jim, if you follow his logic,  Nations will go to heaven or hell, not people.

OR … everyone in a “good” nation will go to heaven because that nation is “good” … so would that include Timothy McVeigh, or Charles Manson?

And what about “undocumented workers”? Are they in, or out?

Or suppose you believe America is “bad”.

Is Martin Luther King, Jr going to hell? Seriously?

Complete and utter nonsense.  The assertion collapses under its own weight, above.  But perhaps Jim is just posing as a believer (which is actually more likely) and he's just playing a game of "literal gotcha".

Mind you, I haven’t read much of this stuff in 35 years, but I know bullshit when I see it. So I went out and checked Matthew 25. Relevant passages appear to be:
” 32And all nations shall be gathered together before him, and he shall separate them one from another, as the shepherd separateth the sheep from the goats:
33And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on his left.”
"Clearly", he says. It says all of the nations will be gathered before him, true. But it is far from clear that what he is separating is nations. It just means “everyone’s gonna be there”. The separating is much more likely, in light of lots of other Biblical passages, of the individual people.  If Christ came here to instruct Nations on salvation, why the hell didn't he just hang out with Kings and Ceasars?  Jesus didn't seem to have much use for nations except to say to pay to Ceasar what is Ceasar's and to God what is God's.  And he said things like that to throngs of regular folks like us.   He was pretty standoffish with the state.  To Pilate, he said hey, you're the boss down here.  Do whatcha gotta do.

(one might note, as an aside, on which side the sheep are put, and which side the goats are put.  But I mirthily digress).

Now about what St. Paul said …

“[6] And hath raised us up together, and hath made us sit together in the heavenly places, through Christ Jesus. [7] That he might shew in the ages to come the abundant riches of his grace, in his bounty towards us in Christ Jesus. [8] For by grace you are saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, for it is the gift of God; [9] Not of works, that no man may glory. [10] For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus in good works, which God hath prepared that we should walk in them. ”
I don’t see anything in there that talks about collective salvation. It basically says your good works must come from the grace, the goodness in your heart — not from a desire to do them just to boast of them.

Other passages on the subject:

Saved by grace

(Ephesians 2:8-9) – “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast.”
(Rom. 3:20, 28) – “because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin…For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law.”
(Galatians 2:16) – “nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we may be justified by faith in Christ, and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law shall no flesh be justified.”
Saved by works

(James 2:24) – “You see that a man is justified by works, and not by faith alone.”

 (Matthew 19:16-17) – “And behold, one came to Him and said, “Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may obtain eternal life?” 17 And He said to him, “Why are you asking Me about what is good? There is only One who is good; but if you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.”
A lot of talk of individual salvation in there.  Nothin about collective salvation.

See, what we're looking at here is another of those Alinsky rules.  "Whenever possible, go outside of the expertise of your opponent."   This is how they get away with this shit.  If you don't know and your ethics don't allow you to just make shit up on the spot or not speak without being exactly sure of your sources, people just assume that the person speaking confidently, throwing around things like "the original greek" and thinks that make it sound like you know what you're talking about -- like they do on the Jefferson only wanted freedom for white people meme... you're at a disadvantage.  And they know it.  But if you are familiar with the material, you're much more likely to be able to call their bullshit.

And then they got nuthin' but ... "RAAAAAAAAAAACIST!!!!"


Whitehawk said...

I no longer take what some of these libs/progressives say as fact. I started when I read your "stop an echo" post.

Be as well read as you can and stop the lies in there tracks. No exceptions.

Zero tollerance for BS.

Cylar said...

Not bad for a guy who doesn't rate himself as a Bible-believing Christian. At least you can read words as they actually appear in black and white.

Sadly, even many professing believers seem incapable of doing that. Like the left-wing nitwit my cousin married, who thinks the Biblical mandate on compassion for the poor includes government-run healthcare. Sigh...where does one start?