MisterOJ

Christian Discussion II: We are an Advent people

158 posts in this topic

13 hours ago, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

You aren't the first I've seen holding forth that metaphor.  That "orginal sin" and man living by "the sweat of his labor" is a metaphor simplifying the time when our species shifted from hunter/gatherers to being farmers/herders.  It has great appeal.  

What that means for Mary in a theological sense... I'm not sure.  

I think the transition to an awakening of humanity's spiritual nature and the true purpose of its existence and the moral accountability that comes with it, probably happened while we were still hunter/gatherers. I kind of come to that conclusion based on the fact that there is evidence for a spiritual dimension to the rituals and practices of pre-historical hunter-gatherer cultures, and moral codes, and indeed in hunter-gather cultures that continued to exist up to and for a time after European colonisation (Australian Aboriginals for example).

Indeed, it is entirely possible that Homo sapiens isn't the only hominid species which was spiritually awakened. I think spiritual / religious history pre-dates recorded history.

22 hours ago, Dr. Pepper said:

I understand that these are the beliefs of believers.  However, with respect, that doesn't make it true.  Of course, like you say, it's on faith and so nothing has to be proven in any way if you just say you believe.  Still, it's not true.  Perhaps if there weren't such a power disparity, perhaps if there hadn't been multiple stories of that particular god being incredibly vengeful when people didn't do what it wanted, perhaps, perhaps, etc.  There's not enough information to conclude that there was meaningful consent given other than a line that Mary said yes to someone who by all accounts was too terrifying to deny.

There's another sexual harassment/assault thread happening and several similar situations are described where a person with a ton of power imposes themselves on one with less and it's generally agreed that meaningful consent could not be provided.  It's always been impossible for me to understand how someone could agree on that situation but deny it when it comes to a literary/mythological figure like Mary based on the idea of faith.  I grew up in a fundamentalist household and the way Mary is perceived is pretty much where the religion started to completely lose me (though to be fair, it probably always would have lost me simply due to the way my brain works). 

There is an anology where humanity is like a single person. individuals, nations and cultures are like cells, tissues and organs in the body. In this analogy God is a physician who monitors and tends to the health of the body. Where the body is diseased in any part the physician acts to treat and remove the disease. Sometimes the treatment for a disease is drastic and can be devastating. You have bone cancer, for instance, when you were diagnosed with bone cancer you felt normal, healthy, happy and life was good. You go on chemo to treat the bone cancer. You suffer enormously, you feel horrible for weeks or months, or years, your hair falls out (what did those innocent hair follicles do to deserve to be wiped out like that?), you vomit every morning, you have no energy to do anything. You can't hold down a job because you are too ill to go to work half the time and the other half of the time when you can go into work you can barely get anything done. But eventually the bone cancer is eliminated and you can start putting your life back together. Or you can just let the bone cancer do its thing. Or you can go to a quack and have him dangle crystals over you and chant some dumb shit.

Assuming God is real (which I do), and it did those vengeful things that the Bible says. To me that's the Divine physician diagnosing a disease in the body of human kind prescribing the best remedy for the disease. And sometimes the remedy is unpleasant and seems to those of us who are not competent to diagnose diseases and know the correct remedy to be unjust, and mean and evil. When you treat cancer far more healthy cells die than the cancer cells which are the target of the treatment.

Almost every child has felt the victim of injustice at the hands of their parents, no matter how loving those parents have been. Very few parents have seen their child through to adulthood without that child storming off to their room, slamming their door and yelling "I HATE YOU!!!!!!" at least once. But when that child is an adult and a parent themselves, they see how ignorant and unfair they were to be so hateful and hurtful towards their mother and father when they were young.

 

 

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I can accept that, but only if we put the Christian god on the level of the Greek, Roman, Egyptian, or Norse gods. Otherwise we've got a problem. To most Christians their god is omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient. It isn't a doctor held back by the limits of reality in what it can do, it controls reality. It needs not cause any suffering. So it doesn't get to use the excuse that what it's doing is necessary. Not that that would be a very good excuse. The ends do not always justify the means after all, and genocide isn't an acceptable solution.

Edited by TrueMetis

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16 minutes ago, Astromech said:

This article does a much a better job of reconciling God and evil and suffering than I could. It is a bit long, but insightful. A Catholic take on suffering and evil. http://www.calledtocommunion.com/2009/08/a-catholic-reflection-on-the-meaning-of-suffering/ 

All that tells me is that the author doesn't understand what "all powerful" means. Doesn't understand what an atheist is either for that matter.

Try again mate because "suffering is a result of sin" doesn't work when your god is 100% responsible for the existence of sin, neither does "suffering has a purpose" when an all powerful being is perfectly capable of getting that purpose without any suffering.

Your "better job" is the same tired old bullshit that people have been attempting to use since the problem of evil was originally conceived.

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The author actually does explain it, you simply don't like the explanation given.

Are you actually trying to understand what different faiths believe, or simply posting in this thread to deride those beliefs?

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8 hours ago, TrueMetis said:

All that tells me is that the author doesn't understand what "all powerful" means. Doesn't understand what an atheist is either for that matter.

Try again mate because "suffering is a result of sin" doesn't work when your god is 100% responsible for the existence of sin, neither does "suffering has a purpose" when an all powerful being is perfectly capable of getting that purpose without any suffering.

Your "better job" is the same tired old bullshit that people have been attempting to use since the problem of evil was originally conceived.

He can only do so without the existence of free will.

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25 minutes ago, King Ned Stark said:

He can only do so without the existence of free will.

How are you defining free will? Because by the definitions most often given in philosophy I don't accept free will exists. Not in a universe without god and in a universe with the Christian god the concept is laughable. Besides since when does the Christian god care about free will?

And by the definition of free will that I do accept, it only exists in a minor sense and still isn't compatible with the Christian god.

8 hours ago, Astromech said:

The author actually does explain it, you simply don't like the explanation given.

No dude I understand perfectly, It's just not a good explanation. All powerful being, therefore perfectly capable of teaching all the lessons about humility or to test us without any suffering at all. So the only explanation for suffering with an all powerful being is that it wants suffering, and that's fucking evil.

Quote

Are you actually trying to understand what different faiths believe, or simply posting in this thread to deride those beliefs?

Well this is hardly my first discussion of this type, so no I'm not trying to understand, I've got that on lock. What I'm trying to do is to see if people will be able to engage with their own beliefs logically and notice the problems. Past experience says they'll ignore the issues. And if that's deriding beliefs? So be it, some beliefs deserve it.

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TM,

If suffering and evil do not exist how can anyone understand what they possess to be a utopia?  All they will know, assuming they are limited beings as we are, is the existence that they have known.  

I don't hold to the idea of an "omnipotent" God allowing God to create a world that allows for logical contradictions. At least in the sense that for such a "perfect" universe to exist the beings that exist within it must be something very different from what we are to appreciate and understand that what they have is a paradise.  In other words Humans could not understand that what they have in such a world is a paradise because all they would know is the existence they have known.  We perceive the pleasure of our existence in comparison to periods of unpleasant existence.  To know pleasure we have to understand that it is the absence of pain which means we have to know what pain is to understand pleasure.   

From the film "Shadowlands" (this is why I believe all true endings are "bittersweet"):
 

Quote

Why love if losing hurts so much? I have no answers any more. Only the life I have lived. Twice in that life I’ve been given the choice: as a boy and as a man. The boy chose safety, the man chooses suffering. The pain now is part of the happiness then. That’s the deal.

Edited by Ser Scot A Ellison

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35 minutes ago, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

If suffering and evil do not exist how can anyone understand what they possess to be a utopia?

How is it a utopia if people have to suffer in order for me to appreciate it?  That is to say, what sort of a monster would you have to be in order enjoy a blissful, perfect, afterlife with full knowledge of all the misery endured by the innocent victims of this lesson in contrast?  That wouldn't sour it for you?  Just a bit?

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32 minutes ago, The Mance said:

How is it a utopia if people have to suffer in order for me to appreciate it?  That is to say, what sort of a monster would you have to be in order enjoy a blissful, perfect, afterlife with full knowledge of all the misery endured by the innocent victims of this lesson in contrast?  That wouldn't sour it for you?  Just a bit?

Mance, 

Then humans could never understand or appreciate Utopia.  Or the things that can understand and appreciate Utopia... are not human.  We are what we are.  We define pleasure and pain on a spectrum.  Take away the spectrum and have only pleasure and we have no idea that what we are feeling is pleasure.  That's how humans work.  So the alternative is have a spectrum or something that isn't human.  

Are you under the impression that God feels no pain or doesn't perceive the pain of God's creations?

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1 hour ago, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

TM,

If suffering and evil do not exist how can anyone understand what they possess to be a utopia?  All they will know, assuming they are limited beings as we are, is the existence that they have known. 

I don't hold to the idea of an "omnipotent" God allowing God to create a world that allows for logical contradictions. At least in the sense that for such a "perfect" universe to exist the beings that exist within it must be something very different from what we are to appreciate and understand that what they have is a paradise.  In other words Humans could not understand that what they have in such a world is a paradise because all they would know is the existence they have known.  We perceive the pleasure of our existence in comparison to periods of unpleasant existence.  To know pleasure we have to understand that it is the absence of pain which means we have to know what pain is to understand pleasure. 

Well for one I don't believe that good needs bad for us to understand when something is good. A good meal is not good because I've eaten bad ones, and even if it was we don't need that bad to be at the extreme it is. The holocaust wasn't necessary. But more than that again this god created everything, if we did need bad to understand good who's fault is that? You're not giving a solution to the problem here, you're adding more problems. "God allows suffering to teach us stuff" "well why does he do that when he could teach us without the suffering?" "Because humans need suffering to make us understand good." "Well why do we need suffering understand good?" "Because god made us that way." "Okay, why did god makes us that way?"

This isn't an answer, your just pushing the ultimate answer, which is god's a dick, back farther.

We need to be something very different from what we are to appreciate a world without suffering? Your god could have done that. If we assume the Christian god exists than suffering exists 100% because that god wants it to exist, and for no other reason.

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2 hours ago, TrueMetis said:

Well for one I don't believe that good needs bad for us to understand when something is good. A good meal is not good because I've eaten bad ones, and even if it was we don't need that bad to be at the extreme it is. The holocaust wasn't necessary. But more than that again this god created everything, if we did need bad to understand good who's fault is that? You're not giving a solution to the problem here, you're adding more problems. "God allows suffering to teach us stuff" "well why does he do that when he could teach us without the suffering?" "Because humans need suffering to make us understand good." "Well why do we need suffering understand good?" "Because god made us that way." "Okay, why did god makes us that way?"

This isn't an answer, your just pushing the ultimate answer, which is god's a dick, back farther.

We need to be something very different from what we are to appreciate a world without suffering? Your god could have done that. If we assume the Christian god exists than suffering exists 100% because that god wants it to exist, and for no other reason.

TM,

How would we know something is "good" if we have nothing to compare it to?

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2 hours ago, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

TM,

How would we know something is "good" if we have nothing to compare it to?

Same way I'd know that fire is hot even if I had never felt cold in my life. I could instead compare the good to the less good and the more good.

ETA: Not that it truly matter, this is the least important part of the discussion. Remember, even if it's true that we cannot recognize good without evil, that's true only because your god wills it to be that way.

 

Edited by TrueMetis

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4 hours ago, TrueMetis said:

 

No dude I understand perfectly, It's just not a good explanation. All powerful being, therefore perfectly capable of teaching all the lessons about humility or to test us without any suffering at all. So the only explanation for suffering with an all powerful being is that it wants suffering, and that's fucking evil.

Well this is hardly my first discussion of this type, so no I'm not trying to understand, I've got that on lock. What I'm trying to do is to see if people will be able to engage with their own beliefs logically and notice the problems. Past experience says they'll ignore the issues. And if that's deriding beliefs? So be it, some beliefs deserve it.

But you only allow for one of two possibilities here: If God is omnipotent, suffering shouldn't exist and since suffering exists, God can't be omnipotent or doesn't exist. A third possibility that doesn't fit with your argument is that God exists and is omnipotent, but allows suffering and evil to exist by design. It is that third possibility that we believe.

Now to that response you argue that makes God a dick if God exists, but as others have replied to you, we Christians believe that actually shows his love by allowing suffering and evil to exist. Free will can not exist without evil and suffering because in a perfect world, no choice is required. Everything is perfect. The existence of evil allows morality. How would we know what is right and wrong without the existence of evil? How do you choose or know good, if evil doesn't exist. Life is a trial. How do you respond to that trial, that suffering? Does it bring you closer to God or does it push you away? That is free will and God's trial for us? Do we accept God, or do we refuse God? This life, this world isn't perfect; the next life, the next world is.

I'll perfectly admit to seeming contradictions and inconsistencies in my religion and I won't defend certain stances which the Roman Catholic Church takes on certain issues. I often scratch my head and question some doctrines. However, and I'm sure you already know this, religion and beliefs aren't always logical. Some beliefs we take on faith alone. What is a belief or faith if it requires proof, hard evidence? It is difficult for others that don't believe what we believe to understand. What we ask is that you accept what we believe. You don't believe, I accept that. I do believe, please accept that.

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51 minutes ago, TrueMetis said:

Same way I'd know that fire is hot even if I had never felt cold in my life. I could instead compare the good to the less good and the more good.

ETA: Not that it truly matter, this is the least important part of the discussion. Remember, even if it's true that we cannot recognize good without evil, that's true only because you're god will it to be that way.

 

Because you presume that when I talk about "God" everything (even logical contradictions) are possible.  I don't presume that.

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1 hour ago, Astromech said:

But you only allow for one of two possibilities here: If God is omnipotent, suffering shouldn't exist and since suffering exists, God can't be omnipotent or doesn't exist. A third possibility that doesn't fit with your argument is that God exists and is omnipotent, but allows suffering and evil to exist by design. It is that third possibility that we believe.

No I don't, you don't understand the position I'm taking it seems. This is basic problem of evil, if god is omnipotent and omnibenevolent, as your link says he is, then that's a logical contradiction and not possible. So a omnipotent and omnibenevolent god does not exist. So there are three possibilities. God does not exist, god is omnibenevolent but not omnipotent, god is omnipotent but not omnibenevolent. You've apparently changed your mind to god being omnipotent but not omnibenevolent, and that's fine. Just know your god is fucking evil.

(This doesn't even get into the logical contradictions that being omnipotent comes with to begin with)

Quote

Now to that response you argue that makes God a dick if God exists, but as others have replied to you, we Christians believe that actually shows his love by allowing suffering and evil to exist. Free will can not exist without evil and suffering because in a perfect world, no choice is required. Everything is perfect. The existence of evil allows morality. How would we know what is right and wrong without the existence of evil? How do you choose or know good, if evil doesn't exist. Life is a trial. How do you respond to that trial, that suffering? Does it bring you closer to God or does it push you away? That is free will and God's trial for us? Do we accept God, or do we refuse God? This life, this world isn't perfect; the next life, the next world is.

You have a serious problem with what omnipotent means, if an omnipotent god cannot have free will without evil than that god isn't actually omnipotent. Not that I accept the existence of freewill god or not. But then no one seems to be willing to define that term anyway. Also according to what you just said he's going to take away free will in the next life anyway, so why exactly does this god care so much about free will suddenly? It didn't seem to give a shit in the old testament.

Quote

I'll perfectly admit to seeming contradictions and inconsistencies in my religion and I won't defend certain stances which the Roman Catholic Church takes on certain issues. I often scratch my head and question some doctrines. However, and I'm sure you already know this, religion and beliefs aren't always logical. Some beliefs we take on faith alone. What is a belief or faith if it requires proof, hard evidence? It is difficult for others that don't believe what we believe to understand. What we ask is that you accept what we believe. You don't believe, I accept that. I do believe, please accept that.

Tell you what, I'll accept it the day no one dies because of faith. The day no child dies of an easily cured illness because their parents decided to pray instead of going to the doctor. When no child is abused because their sexual orientation is an abomination in the eyes of the lord. Until then? Fuck acceptance.

43 minutes ago, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

Because you presume that when I talk about "God" everything (even logical contradictions) are possible.  I don't presume that.

Where's the logical contradiction in creating a being capable of understanding good without evil? At the very least the god you're talking about set up the rules to the universe, it should be able to manage this much. And if it can't? Than I don't know what god you're talking about but it's not the Christian one by any sect I'm aware of.

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TM,

Where's the logical contradiction in creating a being capable of understanding good without evil? At the very least the god you're talking about set up the rules to the universe, it should be able to manage this much. And if it can't? Than I don't know what god you're talking about but it's not the Christian one by any sect I'm aware of.

 

According to my Priest the Omnipotence of God is not such that it allows God to create a Rock too big for him to lift or a round object with corners that are 90 degrees.  That's what I mean by "logical Contradictions".  

With regard to Good or happiness.  If all you ever experience is "goodness" and "happiness" how can you distinguish it as anything significant?  If you are in this world with perfect happiness all the time how could you ever experience "hunger" such that you would be able to enjoy a meal in comparison to your normal status quo.  

For happiness to exist it must be contradicted by sadness.  For fulfillment to exist it must be contradicted by want.  A world where everything is always static, happy, and empty of any sense of pain would be one in which we could not experience happiness because we have no way to define it as being in any way different from everyday life.

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34 minutes ago, TrueMetis said:

Where's the logical contradiction in creating a being capable of understanding good without evil? At the very least the god you're talking about set up the rules to the universe, it should be able to manage this much. And if it can't? Than I don't know what god you're talking about but it's not the Christian one by any sect I'm aware of.

I don't know of any church hierarchy that's said God was not omnipotent, but there certainly are a bunch of Christian theologians doing what's called "process theology" who don't agree God is omnipotent,or who say the traditional understanding of "omnipotence" is flawed:

https://rachelheldevans.com/blog/is-god-omnipotent-process-theology

https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/process-theism/

A paragraph from the second link:

Griffin warns against what he calls “the omnipotence fallacy.” This is the fallacy of assuming that if a state of affairs is logically possible—that is, its description involves no contradiction—then an omnipotent being could single-handedly bring it about (Griffin 1976, 263f). Griffin represents all process theists in considering it a fallacy, for it is their contention that there are logically possible states of affairs that no being, including God, could bring about by itself. For example, a contractual agreement between two individuals or parties is impossible unless each agrees to keep the conditions of the contract. This is expressed colloquially in English by saying, “It takes two to tango.” The example of making contracts is especially relevant since it is a theme in Jewish Scripture that God enters into numerous covenants with the creatures. The emphasis is invariably on the divine initiative in making the covenants and on God's reliability in keeping a promise; nevertheless, when “covenant” is not simply shorthand for God's promises, the agreements are two-sided affairs, including God's blessings and demands and human obligations. Arguably, the logic of contracts, agreements, and covenants, does not change when one of the parties is divine. These examples are evidence that there are logically possible states of affairs that require something more than the decisions of God.

The theological and philosophical range of Christianity is very broad, and not everyone interprets concepts like "omnipotence" in the same way. 

Edited by Ormond

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3 hours ago, TrueMetis said:

No I don't, you don't understand the position I'm taking it seems. This is basic problem of evil, if god is omnipotent and omnibenevolent, as your link says he is, then that's a logical contradiction and not possible. So a omnipotent and omnibenevolent god does not exist. So there are three possibilities. God does not exist, god is omnibenevolent but not omnipotent, god is omnipotent but not omnibenevolent. You've apparently changed your mind to god being omnipotent but not omnibenevolent, and that's fine. Just know your god is fucking evil.

(This doesn't even get into the logical contradictions that being omnipotent comes with to begin with)

You have a serious problem with what omnipotent means, if an omnipotent god cannot have free will without evil than that god isn't actually omnipotent. Not that I accept the existence of freewill god or not. But then no one seems to be willing to define that term anyway. Also according to what you just said he's going to take away free will in the next life anyway, so why exactly does this god care so much about free will suddenly? It didn't seem to give a shit in the old testament.

Tell you what, I'll accept it the day no one dies because of faith. The day no child dies of an easily cured illness because their parents decided to pray instead of going to the doctor. When no child is abused because their sexual orientation is an abomination in the eyes of the lord. Until then? Fuck acceptance.

 

I know exactly what you are arguing. It is the standard problem of evil argument: "If God is omnipotent and omnibenevolent, how can there be suffering and evil in the world? Since suffering and evil exist, God isn't omnipotent and omnibenevolent, or doesn't exist. The existence of evil and suffering contradict omnibenevolence and omnipotence and thus God's existence." This argument doesn't hold up for us Christians because it only accepts an either or. For us being omnipotent and omnibenevolent doesn't preclude the existence of evil and suffering when God wills it. The world was made imperfect by design as part of God's plan for us: eternal life and salvation, if we accept God, his grace and guidance. It is that evil and suffering which tests us. Their existence in this world offer us the free will to ultimately accept or reject God. There is a greater good in God's design. Thus we do not see a contradiction of God's omnipotence and omnibenevolence with the existence of evil and suffering.

I have no problem with the meaning of omnipotent. "Free will cannot exist without suffering and evil because in a  perfect world, no choice is required" was a poorly phrased statement. Allow me to correct that. God gave us free will by choosing to include suffering and evil in the design of this world, creating a choice for us to make. This doesn't contradict God's omnipotence.

 

 

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9 hours ago, TrueMetis said:

Well for one I don't believe that good needs bad for us to understand when something is good. A good meal is not good because I've eaten bad ones, and even if it was we don't need that bad to be at the extreme it is. The holocaust wasn't necessary. But more than that again this god created everything, if we did need bad to understand good who's fault is that? You're not giving a solution to the problem here, you're adding more problems. "God allows suffering to teach us stuff" "well why does he do that when he could teach us without the suffering?" "Because humans need suffering to make us understand good." "Well why do we need suffering understand good?" "Because god made us that way." "Okay, why did god makes us that way?"

This isn't an answer, your just pushing the ultimate answer, which is god's a dick, back farther.

We need to be something very different from what we are to appreciate a world without suffering? Your god could have done that. If we assume the Christian god exists than suffering exists 100% because that god wants it to exist, and for no other reason.

God made Adam perfect. Adam also knew right from wrong. He knew eating from the tree in the middle of the garden was wrong. God allowed Adam everything except one thing to show obedience to God. Eternal life in paradise was what Adam had. He chose to reject it of his own free will. He was saying "God I don't need you. I can do what I want."  Satan rebelled against God. He wanted to be like God and tempted Eve with the very thing Satan wanted. We inherited sin from Adam. We were now imperfect. The angels in Heaven are looking at the situation and wondering if Satan is right. God 's authority was challenged. So God allowed Satan to influence angels and mankind.  God also said if Adam disobeyed he would die. Sin brings about death. It says in the Bible "the wages of sin are death."  

Satan is the one in control of this world now.  1John 5:19. The good news is that won't always be the case.

As far as the genocides in the old testament. God made a covenant with Israel to protect them. More importantly God promised Abraham that the means of salvation would go through his line. When anyone came against Israel God intervened to keep his promise. God's promise now is anyone exercising faith in Jesus will have everlasting life. 

The chief two commandments now are to love your God with your whole being and to love others as yourself. All the laws hang on those two commandments. So obviously killing of any kind is unjustified and anyone doing so is not doing God's will.

 

 

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