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Bart Ehrman's New Book *Did Jesus Exist: The Historical Argument for Jesus of Nazareth*


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In reply to an earlier post on Jun 19, 2012 9:30:25 PM PDT
S. Kessler says:
BAD: Chimps do not care about whether they are 'doing good'. That doesn't mean they disregard all social cues, but their actions don't reflect 'moral choices'.

SK: How would you know how being attacked by a group of chimps feels to the one getting attacked? You are making assumptions about chimps understanding of their own beha ior that you have no capacity to make.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 19, 2012 9:33:18 PM PDT
S. Kessler says:
BAD, you are twisting the word "evolution" into a pretzel. There is no such thing as a description that is more or less "evolved"? Do you understand your own writing?

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 19, 2012 9:35:55 PM PDT
S. Kessler says:
And how's lack of self-respect "evil"? It is not a good thing, but it is not "evil"? My definition of evil is someone who causes intentional harm to another.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 19, 2012 9:38:52 PM PDT
S. Kessler says:
BAD: I don't agree with this on two fronts: 1.) I don't believe it is not yet determined, as the case is being made that it IS determined - - by the society. 2.) Indeterminate means it fails to have a determinable quality. Unless you want to 'determine' the edges of neutrality, I think indeterminate qualifies as neutral.

SK: No, indeterminate means we can decide one way or the other what it is and we can't assign a value to it. neutral means it has neither a positive nor negative effect on something, I.e. behavior. Two very different concepts.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 20, 2012 5:01:47 AM PDT
Irish Lace says:
"My definition of evil is someone who causes intentional harm to another. "

Now THAT makes much more sense.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 20, 2012 10:18:24 AM PDT
Dr H says:

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Joseph L. Shumpert sez:
Grow up.
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Y'know, Joe, it doesn't look to me like you really want to have a conversation here.
So I'm going to bow out, and leave you with your cut-n-pastes. I'm sure you'll be
very happy together.

You know, I would like to have a conversation with you, if you had anything thta shows that you right, Like example.........30A.D something till somethings, You know. Like I should you this. Earliest Manuscript of the New Testament Discovered?

10 February 2012

Daniel B. Wallace

On 1 February 2012, I debated Bart Ehrman at UNC Chapel Hill on whether we have the wording of the original New Testament today. This was our third such debate, and it was before a crowd of more than 1000 people. I mentioned that seven New Testament papyri had recently been discovered-six of them probably from the second century and one of them probably from the first. These fragments will be published in about a year.

These manuscripts now increase our holdings as follows: we have as many as eighteen New Testament manuscripts (all fragmentary, more or less) from the second century and one from the first. Altogether, more than 40% of all New Testament verses are found in these manuscripts. But the most interesting thing is the first-century fragment.

It was dated by one of the world's leading paleographers. He said he was `certain' that it was from the first century. If this is true, it would be the oldest fragment of the New Testament known to exist. Up until now, no one has discovered any first-century manuscripts of the New Testament. The oldest manuscript of the New Testament has been P52, a small fragment from John's Gospel, dated to the first half of the second century. It was discovered in 1934.

Not only this, but the first-century fragment is from Mark's Gospel. Before the discovery of this fragment, the oldest manuscript that had Mark in it was P45, from the early third century (c. 200-250 CE). This new fragment would predate that by 100 to 150 years.

How do these manuscripts change what we believe the original New Testament to say? We will have to wait until they are published next year, but for now we can most likely say this: As with all the previously published New Testament papyri (127 of them, published in the last 116 years), not a single new reading has commended itself as authentic. Instead, the papyri function to confirm what New Testament scholars have already thought was the original wording or, in some cases, to confirm an alternate reading-but one that is already found in the manuscripts. As an illustration: Suppose a papyrus had the word "the Lord" in one verse while all other manuscripts had the word "Jesus." New Testament scholars would not adopt, and have not adopted, such a reading as authentic, precisely because we have such abundant evidence for the original wording in other manuscripts. But if an early papyrus had in another place "Simon" instead of "Peter," and "Simon" was also found in other early and reliable manuscripts, it might persuade scholars that "Simon" is the authentic reading. In other words, the papyri have confirmed various readings as authentic in the past 116 years, but have not introduced new authentic readings. The original New Testament text is found somewhere in the manuscripts that have been known for quite some time.

These new papyri will no doubt continue that trend. But, if this Mark fragment is confirmed as from the first century, what a thrill it will be to have a manuscript that is dated within the lifetime of many of the original followers of Jesus! Not only this, but this manuscript would have been written before the New Testament was completed.
Early Writings

Dr. John A. T. Robinson, lecturer at Trinity College, Cambridge, and one of England's most distinguished scholars, originally accepted 'late dating' of New Testament books. After investigating, however, he concluded that the New Testament is the work of the apostles themselves or of those who directly worked with them (such as Luke). He dates every book of the New Testament before 70 A.D., even including John's gospel which was previously considered by many scholars to be the latest.

At one time, John's Gospel was said by scholars to have been written no earlier than 150 years or so after Jesus' lifetime. But then a fragment of papyrus was discovered in Egypt and acquired by the John Rylands Library in England. It was discovered that Fragment 52 of the John Rylands papyrus, dated to 135 A.D. or earlier, contained portions of John 18. In other words, what is thought to be the latest New Testament book can now be conclusively dated to within at least fifty years of John's estimated lifetime, if not sooner.

William F. Albright, one of the world's foremost biblical archaeologists, wrote:
" We can already say emphatically that there is no longer any solid basis for dating any book of the New Testament after about A.D. 80. "
Albright, William F., Recent Discoveries in Biblical Lands, New York, New York: Funk and Wagnalls 1955, p. 136
In summary, the most current discoveries and research indicate that all the books of the New Testament were written within fifty years after the events they report, which would have been during the lifetimes of eyewitnesses, as the Bible internally claims.
So, YOU make the claim that they wasn't wrote by the apostle, Right! But you show no proof. Like I have said, it is over with done, We have a copy of Mark, Which I believe is the easliest gospel. Now I am going back to the books you suggest that I read, About legends and I am going to e-mail them my evdience for the creed and see if they agree with what I wrote, and if they do, I am going to cut-n-paste you till your are blue in the face, Where don't you go take a long look in the mirror.

Posted on Jun 20, 2012 10:23:14 AM PDT
Whoever it was who taught Shumpert how to cut and paste has a lot to answer for.

Posted on Jun 20, 2012 10:30:08 AM PDT
Rachel Rebecca Riordan says

Whoever it was who taught Shumpert how to cut and paste has a lot to answer for. I'm sorry, I Didn't know you Name was God, becasue when this worlds goes away, I answer to him and him only.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 20, 2012 11:02:40 AM PDT
Dr H says:
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B. A. Daley sez:
The point is: morality doesn't attach itself to the ACTIONS, but to the society PERCEIVING the actions.
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My point is, if you are going to talk about morality then you can't separate them. Morality is neither inherent in the action, nor in the society. It's an interpretation we apply to the interrelationship of the two.

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What is the difference between acting morally, and getting away with an 'immoral' act?
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Acting morally is to act according to a collective societal ethic _regardless_ of whether one believes one is being actively scrutinized by that society or not. "Society" isn't entirely external; to some extent we carry our society with us, even when we walk alone.

"Getting away with an immoral act" depends on how you define "getting away with". One way would be to deliberately act in a way you know to be inconflict with a particular collective social ethic, and to be unobserved by the society in question. This assumes, of course, that you feel no guilt in having performed that particular action. If you do feel guilt (from that part of society that you carry around internally), it could be argued that you haven't really "gotten away with" anything. Self punishment can often be as bad (or worse) than social punishment.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 20, 2012 11:11:33 AM PDT
Irish Lace says:
I took Shumpert off ignore just to see what he was up to. I read this:

"You know, I would like to have a conversation with you, if you had anything thta shows that you right, Like example.........30A.D something till somethings, You know. Like I should you this. Earliest Manuscript of the New Testament Discovered?"

I put him back on ignore.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 20, 2012 11:12:09 AM PDT
Irish Lace says:
Whoever it was who taught Shumpert how to write English has a lot to answer for.

Posted on Jun 20, 2012 11:13:35 AM PDT
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In reply to an earlier post on Jun 20, 2012 11:16:39 AM PDT
Dr H says:
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Irish Lace sez:
Excellent plan! Put him on ignore. You won't miss him.
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I don't use 'ignore'. But I don't see any reason to keep beating my head against a wall with someone who only has insults and vast pastes of other people's words to offer. If he just wants to preach there are better sopaboxes to do it from.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 20, 2012 11:18:26 AM PDT
Irish Lace says:

[You are ignoring this customer's posts. Hide post again. (Show all ignored posts)]

I took Shumpert off ignore just to see what he was up to. I read this:

"You know, I would like to have a conversation with you, if you had anything thta shows that you right, Like example.........30A.D something till somethings, You know. Like I should you this. Earliest Manuscript of the New Testament Discovered?"

I put him back on ignore. What Cat has your tongue? Ignore me and be a bully all your want, that doesn't chanced what I have asked. "One of the common tactics skeptics use to deny the physical resurrection of Jesus Christ is to say that "since none of us were there, no one can really say what happened 2000 years ago". While there is some truth to that statement, it is an illogical argument against something having been documented in history. Here's why. None of us were also around when George Washington was President, so technically, we can't "prove" he was President, however, if there is enough historical documentation attesting to his Presidency and corroborated historically by enough eyewitnesses, combined with absolutely no documented claims denying these facts, logic demands we accept his Presidency as historically true. To deny this would be illogical and unscientific.

The same holds true for the resurrection of Jesus. Skeptics, of course, have a tendency to discount the Biblical accounts because the Bible is "just a religious book", but that is not true. In addition to the Word of God, the Bible also happens to be a book of history, documenting by eyewitnesses the actual events of that time in history. History records from eyewitnesses that Jesus Christ actually died and then 3 days later rose from the dead and was seen by 500 men over a span of 40 days. But, skeptics will still refuse to accept this by coming up with hypothetical theories to explain away the resurrection.

One of the most common is to claim the disciples merely stole the body of Jesus and hid it, then lied to people telling them he really rose from the dead. So let's examine this one particular theory and see if it stands the test of scrutiny and logic by asking a few simple questions.
*If Jesus did not actually rise from the dead, why did the disciples go from frightened, timid followers of Jesus before his death, to bold evangelists willing to die preaching his resurrection if they just really made the whole thing up and he was still dead? Remember, before Jesus was crucified, the disciples were, for the most part, cowards. Peter denied even knowing Jesus 3 times before the crucifixion. What event changed them from cowards to courageous? Answer: They must have actually seen the risen Jesus.
*Why were the disciples willing to be tortured and killed for a known lie? You don't need a degree in human psychology to know that people do not die for a cause they know to be false. People do certainly die for false beliefs all the time, but they think they are dying for the truth. If the disciples faked the resurrection, they would know Christianity is a lie. History records they were tortured and killed for their faith, and not one of them said, under torture "okay, okay, we made the whole thing up"? Why is that? Answer: They must have actually seen the risen Jesus.
*Why would they make up the resurrection story if Jesus turned out to be a fraud? Remember, Jesus told them he would rise after 3 days. If he was still dead on day four, that means he wasn't who he claimed he was, he wasn't the Messiah and certainly wasn't God after all, so why would the disciples worship a dead guy who lied to them and was exposed as a fraud? Answer: They must have actually seen the risen Jesus.
*What was their motive? Lies or deceptions are typically done for some selfish motive. Preaching the resurrection of Jesus would not bring them wealth, fame, status or popularity. It would only cause them to be hated, scorned, persecuted, excommunicated, imprisoned, exiled, beheaded, tortured and crucified, as history records, so again, what could possibly be their motive? Just to save face? That's certainly not logical. No one is going to go through what the disciples went through just because they're too embarrassed to say "I guess we were wrong", so what was their motive? Answer: It was the TRUTH. They must have actually seen the risen Jesus.
*How do the disciples, 12 ordinary people pull off such a hoax? Remember, this "hoax" would trigger thousands of skeptics per day to convert to following their scam as well as redirect the entire world to even eventually change their calendars and establish their hoax character, Jesus as the best known religious figure in all of humanity. How could they pull something like this off without ever getting exposed, offering a death bed confession or even admitting it was a hoax under torture? Answer: It must not be a hoax. They must have actually seen the risen Jesus.
*Why would thousands of people immediately convert if Jesus didn't actually rise from the dead? Think about it. History records that thousands upon thousands were instantly and immediately mass converting to be followers of Jesus, as many as 3000 in a day. It is recorded that after the crucifixion, Jesus appeared alive over a span of 40 days and to "500 brethren". (Back then, only men were counted in crowd totals, so factoring in women and children, Jesus most likely appeared to safely 1500 to 2000 people over 40 days). If that many people saw Jesus alive, it would explain how so many were converting because even the most hardened skeptics would have crowds and crowds of former skeptics saying "yes, it's true, we all have seen him too", but if no one saw him alive and the crowds had only the words of the disciples to go by, why would thousands convert? Remember, the disciples were preaching to many who didn't want to believe Jesus was the Messiah, so what words could they speak to hostile crowds to convince them Jesus really did rise from the dead? "Trust us"? That might convince some of the disciple's closest friends, but not thousands upon thousands of skeptics. So why did thousands convert? Answer: Crowds must have actually seen the risen Jesus.
*Why did the disciples make themselves look bad in the Gospels? Think about it, if you were going to make up a story, wouldn't you present yourself in somewhat of a positive light? The disciples painted themselves as sniveling cowards lacking in faith. Why? Answer: They must have been telling the truth.
*How did Saul of Tarsus, the chief persecutor of Christians convert to become the Apostle Paul, the chief follower of Jesus if he didn't really have an encounter with a risen Jesus? Logically, if Jesus didn't really rise from the dead, Saul would just gloat in his victory, exposing Jesus as a fraud who couldn't conquer death after all, so what event could have caused him to convert? Answer: He must have actually encountered the risen Jesus as recorded.
*How could the disciples even steal the body in the first place? The body was encased in a tomb with a 24 hour watch by Roman guards trained to kill. The punishment for breaking a Roman grave seal, or attempting to steal a body or overpowering a Roman soldier was death, so how did timid, cowardly disciples muster up the courage to try this? And as stated before, for what motive? That's a big risk for absolutely no payoff. Some will say "maybe the guard was asleep". First, dereliction of duty brought death to a Roman soldier, so I doubt they would "fall asleep" and secondly, the stone covering the tomb weighed 2 tons and was rolled into a stone groove which would have been flush against the stone opening of the grave. Think about how loud a 2 ton stone scraping against stone would be as several disciples tried to move it. I don't think Rip Van Winkle could sleep through that, so, how could the disciples have stolen the body? Answer, they didn't. Jesus actually rose from the dead.

What are the facts? The religious leaders, the Pharisees and Sadducees, who had campaigned and conspired to have Christ arrested and executed on trumped up charges, had a compelling interest in disproving any claims of the Resurrection. They had presumed that the execution of Jesus would eliminate this threat to their religious power base and silence His supporters. These Jewish religious leaders had great concerns about the corpse of Jesus and they approached the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate, for a military detachment to secure the tomb (Matthew 28:62-64).

The Roman governor's priority in the volatile province of Palestine was to preserve peace and stability. He recognised the political problems that would ensue if anything happened to this religious Teacher whom he had three times declared innocent, and ultimately washed his hands in front of the crowd declaring, "I'm innocent of this Man's blood" (Matthew 27:24). His wife had warned him: "Don't have anything to do with that innocent man, for I have suffered a great deal today in a dream because of Him." (Matthew 27:19)

Pilate was only too aware that a travesty of justice had taken place, and the last thing he needed was a review of his shameful conduct and dereliction of duty in this case. Ensuring that the victim's corpse remained buried was definitely in Pilate's political interests as well. "`Take a guard', Pilate answered. `Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how'. So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard." Matthew 27:65 "

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 20, 2012 11:26:42 AM PDT
Dr H says:

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Irish Lace sez:
Excellent plan! Put him on ignore. You won't miss him.
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I don't use 'ignore'. But I don't see any reason to keep beating my head against a wall with someone who only has insults and vast pastes of other people's words to offer. If he just wants to preach there are better sopaboxes to do it from........Lol, Judge Randolph: *Consider yourself in Contempt!*
Kaffee: *Colonel Jessep, did you order the Code Red?*
Judge Randolph: You *don't* have to answer that question!
Col. Jessep: I'll answer the question!
[to Kaffee]
Col. Jessep: You want answers?
Kaffee: I think I'm entitled to.
Col. Jessep: *You want answers?*
Kaffee: *I want the truth!*
Col. Jessep: *You can't handle the truth!* A Few Good Men

Keep beating you head against anything for all I care becasued got some more.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 20, 2012 11:26:49 AM PDT
Dr H says:
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Irish Lace sez:
There is a guy in my office who is a pig. He is surly, lazy, incompetent and a mysogynist. How evil is my lack of respect for him?
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I see BAD's point about 'respect' as broader than that. I don't see that evil is /solely/ lack of respect, but respect is certainly bound up in the process. You may not respect this guy for having any of the traits you list. You on some level you do acknowledge that, as repulsive as you find him, he still has basic human rights which you -do- respect. You haven't killed him; you don't kick him in the groin every time you see him; you heven't advocated that he be burned out of his home and run out of town on a rail; you don't pee in his coffee. (Well OK, I'm guessing about that last one, but I'm sure you see my point.)

"Evil" is a pretty complex and slippery concept, which I don't think can be broken down to a single, simple explanation like "lack of respect." OTOH, it is hard for me to believe that it would be possible to be truly evil to someone for who I had any sort of respect at all. To do real evil requires dehumanizing the target of that evil to a mere object.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 20, 2012 11:40:22 AM PDT
Irish Lace says:
"I see BAD's point about 'respect' as broader than that. I don't see that evil is /solely/ lack of respect, but respect is certainly bound up in the process. You may not respect this guy for having any of the traits you list. You on some level you do acknowledge that, as repulsive as you find him, he still has basic human rights which you -do- respect. You haven't killed him; you don't kick him in the groin every time you see him; you heven't advocated that he be burned out of his home and run out of town on a rail; you don't pee in his coffee. (Well OK, I'm guessing about that last one, but I'm sure you see my point.)"

I see your point but will correct you on one thing. I don't do anything like the actions you describe because I respect the rule of law. Pencildix' "basic human rghts" are secondary considerations as I don't consider him fully human. But that's not relevant to what Daley is proposing. BAD's point was that respect _defines_ "evil". I find that preposterous. I offered those examples in an attempt to show how preposterous it is.

""Evil" is a pretty complex and slippery concept, which I don't think can be broken down to a single, simple explanation like "lack of respect." OTOH, it is hard for me to believe that it would be possible to be truly evil to someone for who I had any sort of respect at all. To do real evil requires dehumanizing the target of that evil to a mere object. "

I don't disagree. "Evil" is and continues to be a subjective concept, best described and discussed in context.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 20, 2012 11:53:41 AM PDT
Irish Lace says:
Shumpert, you are under the mistaken impression that I care about Jesus' mythical death and resurrection and thus wasted 1500 words.

As far as I can determine, Jesus was an illiterate Jewish preacher around whom a cult developed in the 1st century, following his death. Thereafter, the opportunistic activities of Saul of Tarsus raised his memory to legendary status in some areas of the Roman Empire, and then Constantine drank the kool-aid and the rest is history. That an entire religion developed around this silly myth is merely symptomatic of the inherent goofiness of humans and their god-bothering. Mohamed followed this playbook in the 6th century and Joseph Smith raised it to an art form in the 19th.

It's all nonsense.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 20, 2012 12:31:53 PM PDT
Dr H says:
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Rachel Rebecca Riordan sez:
Whoever it was who taught Shumpert how to cut and paste has a lot to answer for.
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And increasing daily.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 20, 2012 12:36:00 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 20, 2012 12:36:19 PM PDT
Sarah says:
"My definition of evil is someone who causes intentional harm to another. "

IL Now THAT makes much more sense.

S So when Christians coerce or torture someone in order to fulfill benign intentions to get them into heaven by changing their unbelief... then...

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 20, 2012 1:00:11 PM PDT
B. A. Daley says:
BAD: "Evil always starts with an imbalance of respect. When someone feels they deserve - but needn't give - respect, this fertilizes the seeds of evil. Taking it further, it is a quest for power. This shows itself as a need for control, since POWER OVER goes hand in hand with CONTROL OF."

Dr H says: "Of course, by this definition, religion is evil."

BAD: "Certainly some religions, but surely not all."

Irish Lace says: "I don't think I've ever come across one that, by your definition, didn't qualify."

BAD: I'd love an elaboration on this one, Lace.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 20, 2012 1:02:50 PM PDT
Dr H says:
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Joseph L. Shumpert sez:
One of the common tactics skeptics use to deny the physical resurrection of Jesus Christ is to say that "since none of us were there, no one can really say what happened 2000 years ago".
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One of the common tactics believers use is to craft an argument which the skeptic never made, and then to dismantle the argument, pretending that they have refuted the skeptic in the process.

This is called "the straw man fallacy".

Posted on Jun 20, 2012 1:06:38 PM PDT
Dr H says:

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Rachel Rebecca Riordan sez:
Whoever it was who taught Shumpert how to cut and paste has a lot to answer for.
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And increasing daily..........I just love it always about me............Mr Shumpert, You don't know anything about dude, Becasued I minor in Church-Related-Vocational in College, so That is how to write a report in COLLEGE, If you can't understand why I am doing this, And since You want to hold me accourtable for copy-and paste.......HOW does that justify Slander, How since I can show Jesus Die, JUSTFIY Murder! Which ones is bigger, Copy and Paste or murder?

Posted on Jun 20, 2012 1:10:53 PM PDT
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In reply to an earlier post on Jun 20, 2012 1:14:11 PM PDT
Dr H says:
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Irish Lace sez:
I don't do anything like the actions you describe because I respect the rule of law. Pencildix' "basic human rghts" are secondary considerations as I don't consider him fully human.
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Still, it's an act of respect in that you respect the law, and you allow that the law applies to your "friend". But it is, as I said, a complex situation, and I understand the distance you want to create between yourself and the subject in question.

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I don't disagree. "Evil" is and continues to be a subjective concept, best described and discussed in context.
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Oh, certainly. All moral definitions are context dependent -- that's the point I've been trying to make as regards "actions" interrelated with "society." Even if that concept is likely to give Lee conniptions.
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Initial post:  Apr 10, 2012
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