Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Be The People, Chapter Two

Welcome to our discussion on Chapter Two! I am very excited to see what you have to say! I have gone to the authors website, and taken the discussion questions from her study guide section. I hope you will find these as interesting as I did! Please post your discussion answers in the comment below (refresh the page if the comments do not appear), or if you have written a blog post, please link it into the comment section below so that others can read it too!

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Discussion Questions
1. Swain argues that "Scripture indicates that G-d relates to humanity today as He has done in the past," noting that, "In Hebrews 13:8 the apostle Paul says that Jesus Christ is 'the same yesterday and today and forever."  Do you agree? Does G-d judge nations today the same way as He has in the past?

My Response:  Without question.  For anyone who has spent any amount of time studying the Scriptures it is very evident that G-d has a plan.  He uses other nations to bring judgement upon those that have turned their backs on Him.  One quote that I think is quite relevant for this answer is, "many times people mistake G-d's patience for His permission."  In other words...just because He does not judge on our time table does not mean judgement is not coming.

2. Natural law, the "law written on the heart" that distinguishes right from wrong, is a belief system that Christians and deists held in common.  Is this still true today for Christians and other nonbelievers of various faiths?  How can natural law provide a common moral ground today upon which we can set policy and restore our original vows?

My Response:  Our Rabbi put it very plainly that most everyone agrees with the Ten Commandments as being the highest form of moral law...this crosses culture, religion, and race barriers.  However, it is the other 603 commandments that most people have the issues with.  No country wants any laws of G-d in practice as they have come from Him, this is where moral relativity comes in, where the elite get to make the rules as to what is right and wrong and is why moral ethics no longer apply in the political arena.  Natural law may be applied within small groups of people, but will no longer be used as government law and most left leaning people will choose moral relativism over natural or G-d's law.

3.  The First Amendment (particularly the Establishment and Free Exercise clauses) was originally intended to prevent a national church, like that of England, and prevent the potentially harmful effects of religion.  Today, however, the First Amendment has been reinterpreted to support banning prayer in schools and public displays of the Ten Commandments.  Can this modern interpretation be reversed to reflect the framers' original intentions?  Is this feasible, given the current political climate?

My Response:  I do not see this as being feasible.  The First Amendment has no place in a Communist or Socialist society which is where the elite are taking America.  For anyone who questions this, I recommend two books. "Original Intent, The Courts, the Constitution, and Religion," and, "Separation of Church & State, What Our Founders Meant," by David Barton.

4.  Swain lists Manifest Destiny, the Louisiana Purchase, the territories gained through the Spanish-American War, and the mass displacement of Native Americans as potential abuses of America's covenant relationship with G-d.  One may also consider the purchases of Alaska and Hawaii, and the subsequent imposition of American governance on the natives in those territories.  Would you consider these to be abuses of the covenant?  In your opinion, were at least some of these matters ordained by G-d?

My Response:  Quite honestly, I believe that nothing happens without the knowledge of our Creator.  He gave us freewill to be caring towards others or blast them into oblivion.  I doubt that many of the American decisions made after President Lincoln died had anything to do with honoring America's covenant with G-d.  And in the last one hundred years or so, I think the elite have used prayer and swearing on a Bible just to pacify the little people, very few if any live as though they understand who G-d is.  So, no.  To put it bluntly, no, we have not honored our covenant and I do believe we have abused much.

5.  Swain contends that the capture and transport of Africans as slaves, something that is taught as a momentous mistake in American history, "carries all the hallmarks of divine providence."  Discuss why she believes this to be the case, including the parallels she sees "between the experiences of black descendants of slaves and the 400-year bondage and redemption of the Israelites in Egypt."  Are there any other such moments in history that, looking back, may be seen as providential?

My Response:  Carol Swain uses the story of Joseph (read Genesis Chapters 37-50).  She believes that if the black upper class would be like Joseph and help to save their people, that the time of slavery would not have been for naught.  I agree with her on this point, wholeheartedly.  This remains to be seen however as many are into both class and race warfare which is not helping anything or anyone.

6.  Swain notes Deuteronomy 28:15-22, explaining that is states: "A nation that rebels against G-d will absolutely not thrive."  She further asks the provocative question, "Has our behavior brought G-d's judgement upon America in the form of the curses spelled out in Deuteronomy 28:15-53?"  Do you believe that America's immoral behavior in recent decades has brought these disasters and worsening economic conditions as consequences of breaking our original vows?  American has suffered horrible disasters stretching back to our Independence, including numerous natural disasters, the burning of Washington, the Civil War, the Great Depression, the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, and the Bay of Pigs fiasco.  Can these also be considered to be ramifications of our rebellion against G-d, even during those times?  If not, how can we explain them?

My Response:  Every Christian loves Deuteronomy least the part about the blessings.  They do overlook the, "if you follow my commandments that I have given you this day," part.  Contrary to popular belief, there are 613 commandments that G-d has given to mankind.  Some say just for the Jewish people, but lets get real...we all came from Noah who was a descendant of Adam.  We all have the ability to follow His commands (which are really not that hard, many of them are just common sense).  So because as a nation we violate His law, then yes, I see no reason to think that we are not being punished as a result.  I see this as truth due to my belief in G-d which shapes my worldview.  However, I don't think the average Joe is going to "get it" or understand it, so I don't talk about it with the average Joe.

7.  How can we rebut those who dismiss religious reasoning?  Through what methods can we create spaces, in our local communities, where faith-based reasoning is considered an acceptable counter to secular arguments?

My Response:  I find this very difficult.  There are some things I will not talk about even with other people close to me as they have adopted paths of thinking that I cannot follow such as disarming G-d of His sovereignty and believing in the modern idea of evolution.  So really, I don't believe there is a "safe place" to discuss any form of faith based reasoning.  No matter where you go, you will find people who will think they are smarter than you and that their way of thinking is the only one that is right.  I wish I had a more optimistic answer for this question.