Saturday, April 19, 2008

Separation Of Church And State Supported In The BIBLE???

So I stumbled across this book-on-CD at The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County called The Hebrew Bible by Professor Lawrence H. Schiffman of New York University. I've been listening to it for the last several days and it has been relatively interesting, although it has been something of a review for me as I scrutinized Judaism pretty heavily for the six years immediately following the Great Blue Ash Tornado of 1999. What I was finding most fascinating is Professor Schiffman's unwillingness to draw conclusions about a great many topics. For instance, although conceding that there is none of the archealogical evidence one would expect associated with the Exodus, it also doesn't make a lick of sense that a group of people would BRAG about having been slaves to make themselves look better. In other words we've still got a mystery on our hands.

However, the real mind-blower came almost at the end. Professor Schiffman was talking in some detail about how the Bible contributed to Western culture, and specifically to the thinking of the Framers of the Declaration and the Constitution. Professor Schiffman seemed to be saying that you couldn't form the notion of inalienable rights without your having picked up the notion from Genesis of God creating man with individual dignity.

But then he let loose with a HUGE thought that I don't think I've ever heard expressed before - "Anyone who observes our civilization can see that even the division of church and state is itself a reflection of the significance of biblical tradition in our society."

Professor Schiffman goes on to say that this concept follows from the Biblical idea of the dignity of the individual and the right of free choice.


That's heavy.

Can anyone point me in the direction of any other thought along these lines?

Is it possible one could actually confront a Thumper with chapter and verse from the BIBLE supporting the separation of church and state???

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At April 19, 2008 at 7:01 PM, Blogger Mark Miller said...

Nothing comes immediately to mind from ancient scriptures, but the Christian New Testament Gospels hold one possibility:

[Excerpted from Wikipedia] "Hostile questioners tried to trap Jesus into taking an explicit and dangerous stand on whether Jews should or should not pay taxes to the Roman occupation. They anticipated that Jesus would oppose the tax, for Luke's Gospels explains their purpose was "to hand him over to the power and authority of the governor." The governor was Pilate, and he was the man responsible for the collecting of Rome's taxes in Judea. At first the questioners flattered Jesus by praising his integrity, impartiality and devotion to truth. Then they asked him whether or not it is right for Jews to pay the taxes demanded by Caesar. Jesus first called them hypocrites, and then asked one of them to produce a Roman coin that would be suitable for paying Caesar's tax. One of them showed him a Roman coin, and he asked them whose name and inscription were on it. They answered, "Caesar’s," and he responded “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and give to God what is God’s.” His interrogators were flummoxed by this authoritative, yet ambiguous, answer and left disappointed. This phrase has become a succint summary of the relationship between Christianity and secular authority. The original message, as is probably the intention, gives rise to multiple possible interpretations about whether it is desirable for the Christian to submit to earthly authority. Interpretations include the belief that it is good and appropriate to submit to the State when asked; that spiritual demands supersede earthly demands but do not abolish them; or that the demands of the state are non-negotiable."

Another area you might try is Freemasonry. Many of our founding fathers were Masons. An essential precept of the fraternity is that the relationship between any individual and his creator is sacrosanct, and separate from his relationship with the state. An attitude of tolerance, and the notion that liberties are inextricably linked with responsibilities, are also Masonic principles that the founders tried to inculcate into their legal structures.

Good luck in your quest!

At April 20, 2008 at 2:20 AM, Blogger Axinar said...

I'm pretty sure Professor Schiffman had something in mind from the Old Testament - actually from very early in Genesis.

In fact, earlier in that lecture he says, "In fact, the whole idea fo the human being as endowed with inalienable rights can only be interpretted as the result of the biblical story of creation. All humanity has one ancestor in Adam, and the human was created in teh image of God and endowed with free will."

Now, if I can only figure out chapter and verse enough to put these ideas together, I may be able to give the Thumpers a run for their money ... :)

At April 25, 2008 at 4:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Paul M. (Bible Thumper) says: Mark should have gone on to say that when the disciples were told by the Jewish leaders not to teach in this man`s (Christ`s) name any more, they answered with: "Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard," Acts 4:19,20. The next time the disciples were arrested, and brought before the council, and told not to teach in this man`s name (Christ), Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men," Acts 5:27-29. So, when the laws of the land are in direct opposition to the laws of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and the laws of God in the Old Testament, God`s people are not supposed to obey the arbitrary and changing laws of the State. God never forces the will of anyone, angel or humankind, and said through Jeremiah, "...their force is not right," Jeremiah 23:10. God has allowed mankind to do whatever he wants to do, while sending his judgments to remind humanity that they crossed the line of his forbearance and longsuffering, such as in the Flood of Noah, and destruction of Sodom and her daughter cities and towns, along with the destruction and captivity of the Jews of Jerusalem,in BC 586, and again in AD 70. At the end of time, God will send the majority of the world and Christians strong delusion, to believe a lie and be damned, and Church and State will unite with the antichrist pope of Rome to enforce the false Sunday sabbath in America-Sunday is already enforced in the EU. Glitteringspear.


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