The Antitheses of the Sermon on the Mount and moral relativism

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The Antitheses of the Sermon on the Mount and moral relativism

Post  Clint on Mon May 24, 2010 2:31 pm

Hey everybody,
I'm a regular listener, first time poster. I haven't played around on forums of any kind for a while, but I guess I'll just jump in on the deep end here and not bore you with introduction. You can see my question right in the title, and while I can find nowhere this particular criticism is voiced by a quick Google search, I think I may have something here. How are the Antitheses ("You have heard that it was said, 'Do not commit adultery.' But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart." and all the rest) not an example of moral relativism in Christian teaching? Jesus is clearly talking about the inability of man to keep the law here but he's also saying that the mere consideration of a bad action is equivalent to its commission; we hear a great deal (and justifiably) from Hitchens and others describing this as the mindset behind thoughtcrime, but it's also getting perilously close to my own definition for moral relativism. Am I wrong? I ask because it just seems too easy, which is why I worry that I'm seeing something that isn't there.

Clint

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Depends on who you ask, I guess

Post  PenitenziAgite on Mon Sep 27, 2010 7:55 pm

I can't speak to all interpretations of this, but I think what a Catholic priest would tell you is that Christ said it this way in order to make the point that one hears a lot in AA, which is that you can act yourself into right thinking.
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Re: The Antitheses of the Sermon on the Mount and moral relativism

Post  2buckchuck on Tue Sep 28, 2010 5:58 am

Christianity based on the New Testament is laced with moral relativism. So long as you're doing god's work, you're pretty much free to rape, burn, pillage, enslave ... whatever. But don't kill, don't covet your neighbor's wife, etc. Too many theists seem to think the bible mandates an absolute morality, but that's turning a blind eye to what the bible actually says.
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There's another kind?

Post  PenitenziAgite on Tue Sep 28, 2010 8:31 pm

2buckchuck wrote:Christianity based on the New Testament is laced with moral relativism. So long as you're doing god's work, you're pretty much free to rape, burn, pillage, enslave ... whatever. But don't kill, don't covet your neighbor's wife, etc. Too many theists seem to think the bible mandates an absolute morality, but that's turning a blind eye to what the bible actually says.

Saying "Christianity based on the New Testament" is like saying "Islam based on the Quran". There isn't another kind.

Also, the examples you cite are not from the New Testament, so not really adding much to the discussion here.

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Re: The Antitheses of the Sermon on the Mount and moral relativism

Post  2buckchuck on Wed Sep 29, 2010 8:39 am

PenitenziAgite wrote:
Saying "Christianity based on the New Testament" is like saying "Islam based on the Quran". There isn't another kind.

OK ... thanks for your nitpicking correction.

PenitenziAgite wrote:Also, the examples you cite are not from the New Testament, so not really adding much to the discussion here.

If you read the new testament, christ re-affirms all the moral content from the old testament. So you're really not adding much to the discussion with this post, except to be pointlessly insulting.
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Re: The Antitheses of the Sermon on the Mount and moral relativism

Post  Lausten on Tue Oct 05, 2010 3:46 pm

2buckchuck wrote:
PenitenziAgite wrote:
Saying "Christianity based on the New Testament" is like saying "Islam based on the Quran". There isn't another kind.

OK ... thanks for your nitpicking correction.

PenitenziAgite wrote:Also, the examples you cite are not from the New Testament, so not really adding much to the discussion here.

If you read the new testament, christ re-affirms all the moral content from the old testament. So you're really not adding much to the discussion with this post, except to be pointlessly insulting.
Christ does reaffirm the old testament at least once, but he also rewrites it and overrides it a couple times. Not sure where you are coming from with the "if you read the new testament" language. Hope that adds something.

which is why I worry that I'm seeing something that isn't there
I worry a lot about that too, especially since I got bifocals and smaller glasses came into fashion. I liked the big aviator style from the 70's where you never saw the frames out of the corner of your eye.

Anyway, I guess I'm not understanding your definition of moral relativism, because I don't see it in the passage you supplied. There are other parts of the sermon that seem a bit self-contradictory, so I could see if you were talking about letting your light be a beacon unto others in some cases and not showing it off in other cases, but the statement you used seems to be pretty solid on "don't even think about another woman, ever."

Or are you saying that since Jesus is adding to an OT law, that he is changing a standard based on his time and culture? That would be true if you saw Jesus as a mortal prophet, born into a culture and interpreting its scripture and commenting on it, or if you look at the Bible as a book written written by men. And everything in the Bible would be morally relative if you looked at it that way. But if you are talking to someone who believes this is God talking, in the form of a man, then his word is the law and his reasons for saying one thing to Moses and something else in Jerusalem are beyond your comprehension. Or something like that.
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