Thursday, October 05, 2006

'We must not think evil of this man'

CNN.com - Amish grandfather: 'We must not think evil of this man' - Oct 4, 2006

Food for thought and prayer, here, faire knights.

Sir Chuck

5 comments:

  1. I think that means think no more evil then is necessary to be consistent with scripture or the demonstrated facts. The Bible also says "woe to him that calls evil good".
    The fact is such an act is evil. Which does not necessarily mean that the perpetrator was mean to his dog, that he cheated at cards, or that he plotted to take over the world. It does however mean that at that place and time he did something evil.
    The quality of mercy becomes cheap if it does not recognize justice. I have no intention of accusing the Amish of being shallow-they traditionally live a more rigorous live then we do.
    C.S Lewis once pointed out in Reflexions on the Psalms that Jewish vindictiveness could be shocking(Greeks and Romans had nothing like "how blessed is he who dashes your little ones against the rocks")and by the way they still can be-reading them on the net can be grating. However he also pointed out that that was because they realized and still do realize that such things were an affront to God and to goodness which are ultimatly the same, and thus were more inclined to wax indignant. When other people became angry it seemed to him to sound suspiciously like sore-losering. This sounds like an approval of judgmentalism. But the fault of judgementalism comes when people are aware that there is something that needs to be judged and are tempted to take it on themselves. In my case I express judgementalism not by indignation as they did, but by contempt. That is when I think about terrorists, etc I don't usually think, "murderers, foes of God and man"-I usually simply think "miserable barbarians"-partly because it is more emotionally economical then indignation. Both forms of this attitude are judgement and are questionable. But both recognise that there is something to judge. You must reach a certain level to be tempted to be a pharisee-Seinfield would be immune to the teptation.
    Another point is that the injunction not to think evil can come from pardonable error. But it can also come from a desire to claim that one has a more sophisticated moral sense. I am not saying that is what that Amish pastor is doing(that would be presumption and would be exactly what Jesus warned against when he says "judge not".
    You cannot be merciful without being just. When there is no justice you are merely sentimental or at best amiable. True forgiveness requires that one be able to know oneself to have been wronged-and yet still forgive. That is the message that should have been preached. It would have been hard but it would have been a challenge. And it would manifestly have been better then saying that someone who wantonly shoots peaceful people to satisfy inner demons which can never be satisfied has not done something evil.

    Sir Jason

    Sir Jason

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  2. C.S Lewis also pointed out that rejecting the claims of justice for mercy can cause injustice. If the state says it hangs someone because he has shed unjust blood then it is limited in what it can do by it's own values. If the state claims it only has the right to "mercifully" judge what is best for the crimanal and expediently judge what is best for the community there is no limit. Remember the Russian "mental asylums". The only reason it can't happen here(abortion is an exception and only exists because people misguidedly attempt to counter justice with freedom) is that many people are still instinctivly better then their philosophy and would never really follow them to the reductio ad absurdum. Logic cannot cure false premise and sometimes it is best to retain the commonsence to say, "Ew, gross".
    In Hillsboro there is a pleasant neighborhood I like to visit on occasion. At the end of the neighborhood there is the county courthouse. Right across the street from it is a church. Justice and mercy have met and kissed.

    Sir Jason the pretentiously thoughtful

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  3. I interpreted the grandfather's comment a little differently, Sir Jason. I don't think he was trying to excuse the murderous act...

    A grieving grandfather told young relatives not to hate the gunman who killed five girls in an Amish schoolhouse massacre, a pastor said on Wednesday.

    It simply sounds to me as if he was giving the young men wise council not to react to evil with further evil, that is, hate for the murderer.

    What better way to demonstrate victory over an act of Satan?

    Sir Chuck

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  4. In Hillsboro there is a pleasant neighborhood I like to visit on occasion. At the end of the neighborhood there is the county courthouse. Right across the street from it is a church. Justice and mercy have met and kissed.


    Thanks for the "pretentious thought". I remember the place well, and used to love riding the train out there to walk around. Haven't thought of it since I left Oregon.

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  5. I interpreted the grandfather's comment a little differently, Sir Jason. I don't think he was trying to excuse the murderous act..

    You are probably right Sir Chuck. One of the disadvantages of being interested in thinking is an occasional danger of mistakeing mere incoherance for error. Not everyone is as pendantic as me.

    Sir Jason the Pendantic

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