Should this lynching victim be blamed?

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ultimate777
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Should this lynching victim be blamed?

#1

Post by ultimate777 » Fri Jun 21, 2013 11:00 pm

This really happened. In 1957 a black teenager came from Chicago to Mississippi to spend the summer. He was quite extroardinary in some ways. He bragged to the black aquaintences he made (I would hesitate to call them friends) about all the romantic adventures he supposedly had with white females in Chicago. His "friends" were dubious so they took him to the outside of a convenience store and dared him to get a date with the attractive 21 year old white female clerk who was the only one in there. He went in there, took her by the hand, tried to get a date with her while bragging about his Chicago episodes. The woman managed to get ahold of a pistol and persuaded him to leave.

But she did not leave it at that. She told her husband. That night he and a friend went and got the black guy. The beat him unmercifully about the face and head and then chastised him. He was defiant, scornful, ........and unrepentent.
The beat him some more the same way and then chastised him again. He was again defiant, scornful, ........and unrepentent.

Finally they killed him.

To what extent, if any, do you think this unrepentent black teenager was responsible for what happened to him?

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Re: Should this lynching victim be blamed?

#2

Post by PeteSinCA » Sat Jun 22, 2013 7:57 am

None at all. He was murdered, and his words don't mitigate that fact. Was he unwise? Duh! But his lack of wisdom doesn't attach any blame to him, as far as I'm concerned.

I was not quite 3YO when this happened. What is the purpose in bringing this up 5 1/2 decades after the fact?
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Why should I fret?
'Cause I've got a Mansion Builder
Who ain't through with me yet" - 2nd Chapter of Acts

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Re: Should this lynching victim be blamed?

#3

Post by ultimate777 » Sat Jun 22, 2013 6:19 pm

PeteSinCA wrote:None at all. He was murdered, and his words don't mitigate that fact. Was he unwise? Duh! But his lack of wisdom doesn't attach any blame to him, as far as I'm concerned.

I was not quite 3YO when this happened. What is the purpose in bringing this up 5 1/2 decades after the fact?

I hadn't found out the details until just now.

It was called something like the Emmett Till Case. The aftermath got most of the news, but you must get that on your own.

I'm making this sort of an allegory, if that's the right word. Have him stand for all of us. Have his bragging and pestering the lady stand for sin. Have the torture and chastisment stand for warning that we shouldn't sin. Have his defiant refusal to repent stand for rejection of salvation. Have his murder stand for condemnation to Hell.

Does it really matter who does the punishing how and for what?

Does God do good because it is good, or does something God does become good because God does it, when it might be evil if he was not for it?

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Re: Should this lynching victim be blamed?

#4

Post by Icthus » Sat Jun 22, 2013 7:50 pm

ultimate777 wrote: I hadn't found out the details until just now.

It was called something like the Emmett Till Case. The aftermath got most of the news, but you must get that on your own.

I'm making this sort of an allegory, if that's the right word. Have him stand for all of us. Have his bragging and pestering the lady stand for sin. Have the torture and chastisment stand for warning that we shouldn't sin. Have his defiant refusal to repent stand for rejection of salvation. Have his murder stand for condemnation to Hell.

Does it really matter who does the punishing how and for what?

Does God do good because it is good, or does something God does become good because God does it, when it might be evil if he was not for it?
I thought everyone knew about Emmett Till. It was a ridiculously influential case, and a lot of famous writer's published works about it, including one of my favorites, Gwendolyn Brooks' "A Bronzeville Mother Loiters in Mississippi. Meanwhile, A Mississippi Mother Burns Bacon."

And no, Till was not at all to blame for what happened to him. As has been noted before, he did not act very wisely (many 14 year olds don't), but he shouldn't be faulted. The blame lies squarely with Bryant and Milam.

As for your questions, of course it matters who "punishes" others, how it is done, and for what. God does what is good because he IS good. Goodness is intrinsic to his nature. He does not decide what is good and what is evil because good (not speaking with a great deal of theological precision here) is an essential part of him, and since he does not change his own nature, he does not decide good any more than he decides upon his own power or knowledge. He may at times impose restrictions or give commands such as those he gave to Israel concerning matters such as ritual purity which those they are given to are obliged to obey, but he does not arbitrarily decide on morals.
“The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried.” -G.K. Chesterton

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Re: Should this lynching victim be blamed?

#5

Post by ultimate777 » Sun Jun 23, 2013 5:00 pm

Icthus wrote:
ultimate777 wrote: I hadn't found out the details until just now.

It was called something like the Emmett Till Case. The aftermath got most of the news, but you must get that on your own.

I'm making this sort of an allegory, if that's the right word. Have him stand for all of us. Have his bragging and pestering the lady stand for sin. Have the torture and chastisment stand for warning that we shouldn't sin. Have his defiant refusal to repent stand for rejection of salvation. Have his murder stand for condemnation to Hell.

Does it really matter who does the punishing how and for what?

Does God do good because it is good, or does something God does become good because God does it, when it might be evil if he was not for it?
I thought everyone knew about Emmett Till. It was a ridiculously influential case, and a lot of famous writer's published works about it, including one of my favorites, Gwendolyn Brooks' "A Bronzeville Mother Loiters in Mississippi. Meanwhile, A Mississippi Mother Burns Bacon."

And no, Till was not at all to blame for what happened to him. As has been noted before, he did not act very wisely (many 14 year olds don't), but he shouldn't be faulted. The blame lies squarely with Bryant and Milam.

As for your questions, of course it matters who "punishes" others, how it is done, and for what. God does what is good because he IS good. Goodness is intrinsic to his nature. He does not decide what is good and what is evil because good (not speaking with a great deal of theological precision here) is an essential part of him, and since he does not change his own nature, he does not decide good any more than he decides upon his own power or knowledge. He may at times impose restrictions or give commands such as those he gave to Israel concerning matters such as ritual purity which those they are given to are obliged to obey, but he does not arbitrarily decide on morals.
Bryant and Milam tortured and killed one. According to the Bible God has killed thousands. Some for less reason than Till was killed.

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Re: Should this lynching victim be blamed?

#6

Post by Icthus » Sun Jun 23, 2013 8:27 pm

ultimate777 wrote:Bryant and Milam tortured and killed one. According to the Bible God has killed thousands. Some for less reason than Till was killed.
Although quite a few would, I'm sure, have something to say about the idea that God has ever killed anyone for less than Till was murdered for (something likely to do, perhaps, with the infinite offense of our moral imperfection), for the purpose of this answer, I'm going to let us assume that God has killed with relatively little provocation before. There are still very distinct differences. For instance, God has authority that Bryant and Milam did not. The two murderers had, by law, no right to exact vengeance of any kind on the boy let alone murder him for his offense to their own backward values. God occupies a unique position as creator of the universe, and many theologians would argue that he has no moral obligations, although he is perfectly good. On the subject of killing there isn't necessarily anything morally wrong about the act of killing something in and of itself. A wolf that kills and devours a sheep is not guilty of murdering because the wolf is incapable of malicious intention or moral understanding. With God it is a bit different (and understand that once again I am not, for lack both of time and ability, speaking with theological precision here) because God is the sole reason for our existence. The Creator was in no way obligated to create us, and therefore, though some might be rather opposed to putting it this way, we have no right to have been created nor do we that have been created have a right to continued existence. I've seen no convincing philosophical argument to the effect that if God is to create sentient beings that he is obligated to perpetuate their existence lest he be found guilty of wrongdoing. We all die physical deaths after all. Compounded with our sinful and rebellious tendencies, I don't see how any of us could reasonably claim the right to another second of existence from God.

Now, it isn't necessarily a pleasant line of thought to pursue (and I'm quite ready to receive correction or advice from the more theologically or philosophically adept members), but I would say that, even given the rather dubious claim that God does not have much reason to kill someone, his unique position forbids us from simply naming him a murderer. However, I think the analogy (aside from all of this) is flawed from the beginning because I fail to see the relation between the case of Emmett Till and the sinner who rejects salvation. I assume from your initial post that the supposed connection should look something like this:

1.) Emmett Till/the sinner engages in behavior that Bryant and Milam/God find/finds repulsive
2.) Bryant and Milam/God give/gives (in vastly different ways) Till/the sinner the opportunity to repent of this behavior
3.) Till/the sinner refuses to do so
4.) Bryant and Milam/God kill/kills Till/the sinner

Now, I think there are several flaws with this comparison, provided it is the same or similar to the one you aimed to make, but I shall for the present focus only on items 3 and 4. With item 3, there is a considerable difference between Till's refusal to recant on what he said and the sinner's refusal of forgiveness--namely that Till can plausibly (and we would say, easily) refute the claim that he has done something worthy of severe punishment. Foregoing for now the content of his words to the white woman, we can likely all agree that his primary offense in the eyes of the murderers (that he, an African American, had the audacity to approach a white woman in pursuit of some sort of romantic entanglement) is an offense he could reasonably argue isn't an offense at all but is something that any young white man could do without fear of retribution other than, perhaps, a slap on the face or a stern rebuke. The sinner's case is much different. How can the sinner deny any wrongdoing on their part? Unless he/she is willing to claim absolute moral perfection, he/she cannot plausibly claim that he/she is innocent of any offense. Unlike Till, there is no way outside of massive arrogance for the sinner to deny being guilty, leaving them in need of the salvation that is offered.

As for item 4, the difference between the two is tremendous. Bryant and Milam act outside of their own authority to exact wildly disproportionate revenge and in doing so commit an offense far greater than that which they claim to be punishing. Their victim, unlike the sinner, is not guilty of the offense for which he is killed, or rather, there is no offense in the first place as he has merely violated their own subjective standards of behavior. In the case of the sinner, he or she (as stated before) is not only guilty of real sin and unable to plausibly deny that guilt but in rejecting salvation has openly rejected the perfect goodness of God preferring to have his or her own way, which God will allow (and will allow the consequences of) come Judgment. I see little relation between the harmless but unwise (given that wisdom aims for the preservation of life) Till and the arrogant sinner. However, I am open to the possibility that I have misrepresented your initial analogy.

Unfortunately, this is likely my last post for a while as I am about to become infernally busy (Confounded universities!).

Cheers?
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Re: Should this lynching victim be blamed?

#7

Post by PeteSinCA » Sun Jun 23, 2013 8:32 pm

It's justice, u777. As the Creator, God knows what is right and wrong, what is just, for the universe, world, humans he created.
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So I'll stand // With arms high and heart abandoned
In awe of the One Who gave it all - The Stand, Hillsong United

"To a world that was lost, He gave all He could give.
To show us the reason to live."
"We Are the Reason" by David Meece

"So why should I worry?
Why should I fret?
'Cause I've got a Mansion Builder
Who ain't through with me yet" - 2nd Chapter of Acts

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Re: Should this lynching victim be blamed?

#8

Post by ClassicalTeacher » Sun Jun 23, 2013 9:46 pm

ultimate777 wrote:
Icthus wrote:
ultimate777 wrote: I hadn't found out the details until just now.

It was called something like the Emmett Till Case. The aftermath got most of the news, but you must get that on your own.

I'm making this sort of an allegory, if that's the right word. Have him stand for all of us. Have his bragging and pestering the lady stand for sin. Have the torture and chastisment stand for warning that we shouldn't sin. Have his defiant refusal to repent stand for rejection of salvation. Have his murder stand for condemnation to Hell.

Does it really matter who does the punishing how and for what?

Does God do good because it is good, or does something God does become good because God does it, when it might be evil if he was not for it?
I thought everyone knew about Emmett Till. It was a ridiculously influential case, and a lot of famous writer's published works about it, including one of my favorites, Gwendolyn Brooks' "A Bronzeville Mother Loiters in Mississippi. Meanwhile, A Mississippi Mother Burns Bacon."

And no, Till was not at all to blame for what happened to him. As has been noted before, he did not act very wisely (many 14 year olds don't), but he shouldn't be faulted. The blame lies squarely with Bryant and Milam.

As for your questions, of course it matters who "punishes" others, how it is done, and for what. God does what is good because he IS good. Goodness is intrinsic to his nature. He does not decide what is good and what is evil because good (not speaking with a great deal of theological precision here) is an essential part of him, and since he does not change his own nature, he does not decide good any more than he decides upon his own power or knowledge. He may at times impose restrictions or give commands such as those he gave to Israel concerning matters such as ritual purity which those they are given to are obliged to obey, but he does not arbitrarily decide on morals.
Bryant and Milam tortured and killed one. According to the Bible God has killed thousands. Some for less reason than Till was killed.
Maybe I'm just thick, but I don't get the point you're trying to make. Are you saying that God is being unjust by punishing sinners? Or are you saying that no one has the right to punish except God?

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Re: Should this lynching victim be blamed?

#9

Post by PaulSacramento » Mon Jun 24, 2013 5:40 am

OK, here is the thing:
IF ( and we have to start of with IF all the time) the God of the OT is GOD and all that is written in the OT is exactly how it happened then what do we have?
We have a creator being that created ALL that there is/was AND we also have the fact ( according to the same bible that we are saying is 100% correct) we have mortal bodies yes, but when we die our spirit returns to God, who was the One the GAVE it to us in the first place.
So, we have a situation where the GIVER of life and ALL we have, takes that away from some because they have abused it and in doing so, "terminates" their EARTHLY state, their material bodies ONLY.
So, what did God do when he "killed" all those people?
He rightly took away one form of existence that they had abused.

Here is the thing, IF God is GOD, then now only does He have the right, He has the obligation and IF God is GOD then He CAN'T do anything wrong or injustice and IF God is GOD then even ALL those that perished, their spirits are with HIM, the creator that created them.

To use the bible to show how "horrible" God is because He kills people misses the point that IF we use the bible to show how "bad" God is, we must allow that the very same book shows that is NOT the case.

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Re: Should this lynching victim be blamed?

#10

Post by PeteSinCA » Mon Jun 24, 2013 6:05 am

Argggghhhh! Why do I come into such discussions just before leaving for work?! I'll try to make this brief ...

As Creator, God designed us, according to His purpose. He knows that purpose. He knows our "design specifications". So God has the power/authority to do what he does. He also has complete knowledge, which we do not. So God is not doing what He does capriciously, or for trivial reasons. Take, for example, the oft cited destruction of the Canaanites (though the destructions of Israel and Judah could be cited as well, since they were of the same kind). It's easy to miss, but God did not do this suddenly or on a whim - Genesis 15:16, Leviticus 18:24-28. It was for their gross systemic sin over multiple centuries. The same is true, BTW, of Israel and Judah, and the cited Leviticus passage points toward this. Like I said, it's justice, and (which I did not say until now) not without substantial patience.
Soapy Pete's Box

So I'll stand // With arms high and heart abandoned
In awe of the One Who gave it all - The Stand, Hillsong United

"To a world that was lost, He gave all He could give.
To show us the reason to live."
"We Are the Reason" by David Meece

"So why should I worry?
Why should I fret?
'Cause I've got a Mansion Builder
Who ain't through with me yet" - 2nd Chapter of Acts

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