music in the park san jose

In response to Kristine Dillon: In your letter to the editor on
Tuesday you accused James Fennel of acting as if he exists on a
higher moral ground than others of different world vision.

In response to Kristine Dillon: In your letter to the editor on Tuesday you accused James Fennel of acting as if he exists on a higher moral ground than others of different world vision. Then, you proceeded to condemn his belief in moral absolutes by butchering Bible passages to fit your beliefs. I don’t want this letter to be mistaken for some debate between two different branches of Christianity. Rather, I am writing this because Kristine Dillon claims that moral relativism is part of the Bible. This statement misrepresents Christianity as a whole, and as such I believe that it needs closer attention.

I believe that this problem comes from your misunderstanding of two important things: First, the definition of moral absolutism and moral relativism. Second, you are improperly interpreting the meaning of the scriptures that you quoted.

To begin with, let me define the terms we are using (these definitions come from a textbook by Summit Ministries). Moral absolutism: The belief that right and wrong are unchanging, not determined by the individual or the culture. And, moral relativism: The belief that right and wrong are arbitrary and transitory, determined by the individual or the culture. With these definitions in mind, let’s see what the Bible says.

The Bible in no way supports moral relativism, rather, the problem lies in the way that you interpreted Old Testament law. You quoted the Sixth Commandment to prove your point. The Sixth Commandment states, “You shall not murder.” However, by definition, the word murder means “the unlawful killing of one human being by another.” Take note of the use of the word unlawful. The statement then made in the Ten Commandments is that you shall not unlawfully kill anyone, so, if the law also indicates when it is lawful to take another life (in self defense, in war or the in commission of justice) then the law is NOT relative, but, in fact, absolute. Also, it is not proper to interpret scripture by taking one verse by itself, and not in the context of related verses. The Bible must be taken as a whole, not in pieces. You cannot take one verse, then take other verses that clarify that verse, and claim it is moral relativism.

Finally, you conclude your letter by saying, “When we, the people of America, are forced to believe only in the Christian Fundamental brand of faith, will be living no differently than the people of Afghanistan lived under the Taliban Fundamentalist rule.” Hmmm, that’s interesting. You say that when people are forced to believe in one belief, rather than their own individual beliefs they are being subjected to cruel tyranny. Strange that you should say that at the end of a letter that slams the beliefs of a Christian who simply wanted to make his viewpoint known, then try to force a different belief on him. You claim that you want tolerance for everyone, but then proceed to attack those that disagree with you. How tolerant of you.

Ben Whittaker, Gilroy

Submitted Wednesday, November 20 to [email protected]

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  1. To start off, I agree that his statement was and is flawed, but that being said, belief has no bearing on absolutism, but our actions do. Words can be thrown around as much as desired, but without actions to give them weight they are just an opinion. Humanities very nature all throughout history does not allow for absolutism; To act on something is to put it into practice and we as a species are all over the place.

    Most statements on laws and absolutism ignore the relativism in those nation’s take on these “laws”. There is no such thing as absolutism in the laws of the world’s nations, just take a look for yourself, you can’t call a law in one nation absolute and utterly disregard the rest of the world. All through history humanity has practiced relativism; every nation, empire and kingdom. To reference the bible angels practice absolutism, but humanity has Never successfully managed it. You claim laws are absolute but refuse to see that history shows humanity has as a whole never held themselves to those standards.

    At the end of the day everyone can throw around whatever “ism” they want, but humanity WILL never be able to hold itself to absolutism.


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