Showing posts with label Elisha. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Elisha. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Punishment and Deterrence

One of those infamous recent “studies” found that 88% of America’s leading criminologists do not believe the death penalty is an effective deterrent to crime.

I use scare quotes because virtually all such “studies” are commissioned by one side or another of a major public policy divide. The questions asked are rarely framed in neutral language. The expertise of those consulted frequently turns out to be unrelated to the area of study about which the inquiries are made. Such data as may result is rarely presented scientifically and impartially.

I take them all with a truckload of salt. Most “studies” are simply propaganda exercises.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Semi-Random Musings (19)

“[T]he one who escapes from the sword of Hazael shall Jehu put to death, and the one who escapes from the sword of Jehu shall Elisha put to death.”

Tough times, when prophets are anointed in blood.

Not literally, of course; let’s not be grotesque. But the Bible’s first mention of Elijah’s successor tells us he would cause death, and he needed no sword to do it.

Monday, July 16, 2018

An Unguarded Minute

Many years ago, a man who served the Lord in a local church I visited regularly (and whose lunchtime hospitality I had enjoyed at least once) suddenly and dramatically left his wife for a younger woman. He was sixty-something at the time, if I remember correctly, which struck me as a strange age for a man to succumb to a sexual sin of which there was no previous evidence in his life.

I puzzled that one over for a while. While it’s not impossible that the fellow’s heart and mind were full of secret lusts and unrequited fantasies going back years, I think it rather unlikely. Rather, it seems quite possible to me that he got blindsided by a temptation out of left field in an area in which he had little experience. Or, as Hall and Oates put it, “An unguarded minute has an accident in it.”

It seems to me we have biblical precedent for that.

Thursday, March 02, 2017

The Divine Veto

Lately I’ve been wondering how much latitude God gives his servants in choosing how they go about doing his work. If you read either Testament carefully, it seems like it could be an awful lot.

Now, bear in mind that from John Calvin’s perspective, it is really God doing everything that is done in the universe. I don’t think he ever used the word “pawn” (which might have been the most honest way to describe how he thought God treats his creatures), but in effect he taught that sentient beings, good or bad, cannot really act contrary to the will of God. God’s determinate counsel initiates and controls every transaction in the universe — “all events whatsoever”, as Calvin put it.

I’m not operating on that wavelength at all, so disciples of Mr. Calvin may want to take a pass on the following musings.

Saturday, April 02, 2016

Punishment and Deterrence

 The most recent version of this post is available here.