[lit-ideas] Re: Radical Islam and Radical Americanism

  • From: Donal McEvoy <donalmcevoyuk@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Wed, 3 Nov 2010 21:01:02 +0000 (GMT)

--- On Wed, 3/11/10, Lawrence Helm <lawrencehelm@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

>(Matthew 5:21-22, using the NIV):
"You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, 'Do not murder,' and 
anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.'  But I tell you that anyone 
who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment."
Much has been written about this principle.  The International Critical 
Commentary, Matthew, Volume I by Davies and Allison, page 509, for example: 
  "According to Moses, those who commit murder will suffer punishment.  
According to Jesus, those who direct anger towards a brother and speak 
insulting words should or will suffer punishment.  It is thereby stated that it 
is not sufficient for followers of Jesus to refrain from the act of murder.  
They must do more.  They must go to the source and root out all anger.  In this 
way will the violent impulse to murder not arise in the first place. . . .">

So far, so interesting; but as the parenthetical comment makes clear, the next 
part does not follow from the former.

>Furthermore, by making the punishment for anger the same as that for murder (a 
>clear hyperbole), anger and harsh words are made out to be not two human 
>shortcomings among others but grievous sins to be exorcised at all costs.  
>(See also 1 Jn 3:15: "Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer")>

To say both x and y will be judged surely does not imply the judgment, or the 
punishment, will therefore be "the same". This levelling of sins surely goes 
against much other Christian teaching, both OT and NT. 

There is something I was taught as 'catechism' to the effect that sin is a 
slippery slope and great sins begin from lesser sins; but this was to inculcate 
vigilance against even venial sins - there was no implication that venial were 
on a par with mortal, of course, and would suffer the same judgment and 

Is Jn 3:15 properly translated above; and, if so, must it not be taken as 
hyperbole? Proportionality or a sense of proportion is surely a key to 
Christian ethics.



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