At the request of a few people I have started this blog to chronicle the process of fostering, foster-to-adopt and working with children in "the system". I am sure that at some point I will go off on some theological-biblical-philosophical rant about something not entirely related to adoption, but this is needed at times. For those of you that know us personally please DO NOT use our foster child's name or post pictures of them or offer any identifying information, this is illegal.
I am taking a class in American History up to 1877 and the professor asked this question:
Was Pres. Andrew Jackson good, evil, or both?
Should we judge him by the standards of today?
Well, I figured I would answer and this was my response and thought y'all would enjoy it. I hope I don't fail.
The question of good and evil is not necessarily a question
for historical narrative. However, when
you have a man like Jackson that was considered one of the country’s greatest
leaders since the founding fathers, who
was also responsible for despicable actions; it is a question worth
investigating. More so to determine if
they (we) love the expansion of our country more than the human beings that
were displaced, hurt and killed. The
question of good and evil is in fact a spiritual question and one that cannot
find its answer solely in the minds of men.
To answer a question of such gravity we must look to something that is transcendent
, otherworldly and outside our limited epistemological base. Sure, if we
compared Jackson to someone like Mother Theresa he is evil. But if we compared Jackson to Stalin or
Hitler he is good; so then, the question that must first be answered is:
compared to who? We cannot judge the
actions of Jackson, or any person, by those of other people because we can
always find someone “better” and someone “more evil.” Now we must answer the question of standards,
if we are to unpack Jackson as good or evil.
It is important to clarify that the kind of standard that is related to
good and evil is different than other standards. For example, is my Toyota Corolla fast? Compared to a go cart, yes it is, but compared
to an Indy Car, no and this kind of standard is not how we would judge good and
evil. If evil were judged with a sliding
scale then we could all have our own scale by which we would judge and that would
be a problem. If on my scale I said
slavery was wrong and on Jackson’s scale he said it was good, then the question
is who is right? Logically either we are
both wrong, or one of us is right, no other tenable view is possible. To
suggest that we are both right is self-refuting because saying we are both
right, is to say that it would be wrong to say we are both wrong or that only
one of us is right. The conclusion is
that either way only one view is indeed right.
The question about Jackson being good, evil or both is best answered
when compared to a standard that does not change. Think of it this way: if you have 10 pianos
are they tuned to each other, or a single tuning fork? Naturally you would tune all 10 pianos to the
same standard, the same tuning fork.
Pianos don’t stay in tune by being tuned to another piano because pianos
do in fact go out of tune. Now the
question is who or what do we compare Jackson to? I would suggest that a
transcendent moral objective must necessarily exist in order to answer the questions
you asked. In fact the founding fathers
thought there were certain inalienable rights that were bestowed upon all man
by a creator. If I were stand with the
framers I could confidently say that the standard is that of God, as revealed
in the Bible and the person of Jesus of Nazareth. The progress of revelation throughout our
nation’s history has been fraught with man’s self-serving interests for power,
money, land and prestige. Jackson was no
different. Just because slavery was in
fact legal doesn’t mean it was right and just because it was illegal to speak
out against your country doesn’t mean it was wrong. Therefore my answer would be that Jackson,
like all of us (I reject the “tabula rasa” idea) are evil at heart. All of us are evil when compared to the immutable standard of a Holy God, so I do not
think, in relation to good and evil, that there is a different standard today
than there was in Jackson’s day. Because
if there was that would mean that slavery and stealing land were really right
at the time, and I doubt anyone who is intellectually honest would go there.
Richard Wurmbrand, who suffered for the faith in Romania during the last half of the 20th century, describes his farewell to children in the church before he left his troubled homeland:
I remember my last Sunday School class before I left Romania. I took a group of ten to fifteen boys and girls on a Sunday morning, not to a church, but to the zoo. Before the cage of lions I told them, "Your forefathers in faith were thrown before such wild beasts for their faith. Know that you also will have to suffer. You will not be thrown before lions, but you will have to suffer at the hands of men who would be much worse than lions. Decide here and now if you wish to pledge allegiance to Christ." They had tears in their eyes when they said, "Yes."
In this hour of all-but-universal darkness one cheering gleam appears: within the fold of conservative Christianity there are to be found increasing numbers of persons whose religious lives are marked by a growing hunger after God Himself. They are eager for spiritual realities and will not be put off with words, nor will they be content with correct “interpretations” of truth.
They are athirstfor God, and they will not be satisfied till they have drunk deep at the Fountain of Living Water. This is the only real harbinger of revival which I have been able to detect anywhere on the religious horizon. It may be the cloud the size of a man’s hand for which a few saints here and there have been looking. It can result in a resurrection of life for many souls and a recapture of that radiant wonder which should accompany faith in Christ, that wonder which has all but fled the Church of God in our day.
But this hunger must be recognized by our religious leaders. Current evangelicalism has (to change the figure) laid the altar and divided the sacrifice into parts, but now seems satisfied to count the stones and rearrange the pieces with never a care that there is not a sign of fire upon the top of lofty Carmel. But God be thanked that there are a few who care. They are those who, while they love the altar and delight in the sacrifice, are yet unable to reconcile themselves to the continued absence of fire. They desire God above all. They are athirst to taste for themselves the “piercing sweetness” of the love of Christ about Whom all the holy prophets did write and the psalmists did sing.
There is today no lack of Bible teachers to set forth correctly the principles of the doctrines of Christ, but too many of these seem satisfied to teach the fundamentals of the faith year after year, strangely unaware that there is in their ministry no manifest Presence, nor anything unusual in their personal lives. They minister constantly to believers who feel within their breasts a longing which their teaching simply does not satisfy.
I trust I speak in charity, but the lack in our pulpits is real. Milton’s terrible sentence applies to our day as accurately as it did to his: “The hungry sheep look up, and are not fed.” It is a solemn thing, and no small scandal in the Kingdom, to see God’s children starving while actually seated at the Father’s table. The truth of Wesley’s words is established before our eyes: “Orthodoxy, or right opinion, is, at best, a very slender part of religion. Though right tempers cannot subsist without right opinions, yet right opinions may subsist without right tempers. There may be a right opinion of God without either love or one right temper toward Him. Satan is proof of this."
From The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer
The quoted is from the preface, imagine how good the book is, you need to read it.
Deep down, well maybe not even that deep, we all want justice for those responsible for the Boston bombings. Some might call it revenge, but nobody wants to see the guilty party go free. We are mad, sad, angry and violated.
I want you to stop for a moment and think about your transgression of God's law, and then tell me if you think He wants justice. Well does He? Does He demand justice for your lies, your stealing, your blasphemy, your idolatry?
If you say "no" He does not want justice then what kind of God is He? That He would give a law and allow you to break it with no penalty? What kind of God is that, who demands obedience to His law, but doesn't care enough to punish the law breakers? that would be an unjust God, so ignore him
If you say "yes", then how can you satisfy His righteous demand for justice? He is not easily placated, His wrath is not finite. So then, if His wrath towards transgressors is infinite, then how can we, finite creatures satisfy that wrath?
Before any concrete evidence is in the public has been stroked to believe the horrible bombings in Boston was right wingers: see the headline: Expert blames right-wing terrorists
What if the headline read: Experts blame Muslim Extremists OH MY what a stir that would cause . . imagine what would be said about making judgments without the facts, the charges of racism, bigotry, intolerance and so on, would be in every major paper.
made all things and is worthy of praise and worship; He has the rightful rule
over His creation. He is the king but man rebelled against Him and followed his
own desires. God does not tolerate this
rebellion and consequently upon death the rebels are rightly judged for their
rebellion in conscious torment forever without end. Not a fire that annihilates, but an
emotional, physical and spiritual torment that can never be softened, shortened
or stopped. But God, because of His
love, sent His Son into the world: the man Jesus Christ. Jesus always lived
under God’s rule. Yet by dying in our place He took our punishment and brought
forgiveness to all who would repent and believe. Then God raised Jesus to life
again as the ruler of the world. Jesus has conquered death, now gives new life
and will return to judge. Where does all this leave you? It leaves you with a choice of only two ways
to live, your way or God’s way; it’s a choice we all face.
Dear Google, I see that on the day that Christians celebrate the fact that Christ rose from the dead, you celebrate the birthday of Cesar Chavez. You don't have any cool "google graphic" where the "o" could be an empty tomb, on no, but hey some dead guy turned 86 today!
I feel a sense of loss because so many "Christians" miss so much of God because they live a defeated life, hanging their head low and asking “where are you God?” When all the while God is saying . . . “right there in that Bible”