Court of Public Opinion
May 11, 2023
Lately, I have had discussions with another Medium.com member regarding God, Jesus, and the Bible. He has brought to my attention his conclusion that “God is a mass murderer.” Another person claims that “Jesus is going to Hell.” I find the second statement silly on its face and have chosen not to bother with it. The first one, however, has been an education… perhaps not how you might think…
It all started with a discussion over whether God is good as the Bible claims. It then became a question of how I defined “good.” So, I copied the MerriamWebster.com definition which had a long list of all the connotations based on its contextual use. Also, I replied with Bible examples illustrating the concept. That wasn’t good enough for him, and that is about the time the “mass murderer” label came to the fore. So, I quoted the story of the idolaters in the land of Canaannwho burned children as sacrifices to their made up “gods,” trying to indicate that erasing them from the face of the Earth was justified. He didn’t buy it and continued along the lines of “mass murderer.” I suppose that he likens God as morally equal with Hitler.
I asked him several times for his definition of “good” but am still waiting. He told me, citing his rule that illustrations were not a definition. (Perhaps I should ask him for his definition of “definition.”) My response was that illustrations are a literary style of conveying an idea — which he ignored — and demanded again for my definition. At this point, I didn’t know which way to turn, because my attempts to communicate through our discussion kept on being driven right back into the ditch. Round and round; back and forth… But then I realized something…
He wasn’t interested in learning anything from someone with an opposing view, at least from someone like me, an inferior intellect, a gullible Bible Believer who says, “God is good.”
Well, it’s not so much that I am a gullible person but, admittedly, one who is quite slow on the uptake.
Then, I began to wonder why he could use illustrations from the Bible to define good (and bad), but I could not…
Slowly, I am beginning to understand. He is like a Prosecuting Attorney who cleverly has that same kind of approach -”anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.” His Courtroom is the Court of Public Opinion, and his Jury is made up with Nonbelievers, Unbelievers, and Cynics. (So, as a novice Defense Attorney, I don’t have much of a chance of winning the case.)
(And many accuse Christians of being judgmental! Wow!)
The realization came to me when he rudely took one sentence out of an explanation I had sent him — without my permission and very much out of its context. I said it and he used it against me. So, I am realizing this had left the stage of civil discussion and discovery and had become a maze of accusatory, inculpatory evidence.
Live and learn.
Something more helpful and edifying then came to mind: Perspective, a person’s point of view — it changes everything.
In the Bible, people who say God is good are testifying about their experiences. He has delivered them from trials and tribulations, from oppression and oppressors, from famine and floods, from injustice, persecution, and imprisonment, from deep hurts and pain, from mental anguish, from lack of insight and wisdom, from hunger and thirst, and other benefits from a personal relationship with God… From those people’s perspective, God is very, very good.
God has also been very, very good to me, so kind and patient. So I also insist, “God is good.”
However, from the latter Pharaoh of Egypt’s perspective, the one who suffered under the hand of God — all those ten plagues — because, unlike previous Pharaohs, he had placed the Hebrews in captivity and harsh slavery… Well, from that Pharaoh’s perspective God was not in any way good.
So, it is all a matter of perspective, and if we don’t approach discussions as matters of opinion, respecting the fact that others just might have a different point of view, discussions become futile arguments, judgments without the possibility of parole.
It has become apparent to me that Jesus’ trial before the Romans 2000 years ago has never ended. God, Jesus, and the Bible are still waiting for the final verdict… your verdict.
“Members of the jury, how say you? Guilty or not guilty?”