The conversation from Reb Herschel Maryles' blog on morality, good, sin, etc. I tried to edit it to make it smoother, but the Disqus format is inherently confusing. So much so that I missed several comments to which I should have responded. The original conversation in its entirety is at
is an elusive concept. I am not sure what is the Hebrew
equivalent of the English term. We need to agree on a Hebrew term
to compare and contrast "Torah morality" to "secular
great contribution to the world is the concept of טוב
The Torah itself tells us, it is not enough to observe My laws.
You must be good. And if I don't state explicitly what is good,
you figure it out, ועשית
love for you to provide sources indicating the sense and pursuit
of Tov prior to the Torah - if you can.
if Western society can be seen as moral - whatever that means -
it is not intrinsically good. Capitalism is not a system based on
the pursuit of good. It is much more based on greed. If Western
society is lacking in morality, I would venture that the
shortcoming emanates from the self-centered greediness that
underlies our system. Our Judeo-Christian mores are the major
mitigating forces. As they erode, consequences follow...
"...a Hebrew term to compare and contrast "Torah
morality" to "secular morality."
Suggestions?" how about the word found in the torah
"Mussar"? 2. I think it is highly unfair to say
that capitalism is based on greed. It's like saying my desire to
perform a professional service to another human is based on my
love of money or based on greed. Neither is necessarily true.
Capitalism is an economic system for the proper functioning of
society. It is a tool. That a hammer (also a tool) can be used
for murder does not make it an instrument based on evil. Same
with Capitalism. Western society is not moral or immoral.
Some of its adherents are among the most moral people in the
world. It can be intrinsically good, based on the behavior of
the people involved with it. some religions, otoh, are
more than one way to ascertain whether a given action is moral.
The least complicated is to evaluate whether said action
violates "don't do to others what you wouldn't want them to
do to you." Now I'd like to hear your definition exclusive
of the torah.
of judaisms core morality is either self-evident -supported by
their presence in nearly every society prior to the torah- or is
copied from pre-existing law codes I'm sure you're aware of.
The torah itself acknowledges that there is morality which
has nothing to do with its teachings. Many were punished for
'bad' long before the torah was given. So how to be 'good' is
not something the torah can take cr for having originated. Do
you not think that there were plenty of good people who helped
their friends, relatives, the sick, elderly and offered guests
food and shelter prior to the torah? I don't want to get
sidetracked with capitalism though i have much to say on it. But
to continue a discussion of morality you must define it.
threw the ball into your court and you just threw it back...
means of evaluating "morality" (which we still have
not defined) is glib. It can preclude abortion (don't abort
others because you wouldn't want to be aborted [harmed]
yourself) on the one hand, yet allow for unfettered caveat
emptor (don't restrain other people's shady busines,v because
you wouldn't want to be restrained yourself).
the other comment you make: We only know they were punished for
not being good from the Torah itself...
abortion, somethings rights are being abridged. A fetus can't
live on its own therefore its rights are secondary to the
mother it requires for life. Furthermore, we can't know what
the fetus 'desires' since its brain is not developed enough
and even if it were, it might not want to be born. We DO know
that we would not want to be forced to carry another potential
being in our bodies against our will and ergo its immoral to
force a woman to carry a potential baby against her will.
i and you wouldn't want to be cheated its immoral to cheat
others. Nothing complicated here.
only know they were punished for not being good from the Torah
this proves that the torah and its author had a definition of
morality which didnt come from the torah.
who oppose abortion are mostly just religiously deluded.
They have never been able to develop their moral compass. As
a jew i know you're in favor of abortion as halacha
requires, so you should be pro-choice. The repub. party
platform is against abortion EVEN when moms life is in
danger . That is an immoral position.
I am the only one responsible for my actions. And therefore
I am the one who must be responsible for my judgement. I
cannot kick the can down the road, or resort to the notion
that an ancient text or a political or religious leader
said that what I did was ok to justify it.
have to be the authority for the morality of my actions
because anything else is to abdicate responsibility to
someone or something else. And the only means I have for
making that judgement is what I can learn, and what I can
you must respect every one else's own taking of their
responsibility. And if they feel an ancient text is
authentic, who are you to take issue? If anything, people
who make themselves their own authorities are far more
prone to poor judgment...
lack of respect for others and their conclusions is very
far from moral, in any sense of the term.
is not a matter of respecting someone's taking of
responsibility. Everyone is responsible for their actions
(even if they choose to allow someone else to determine
right and wrong for them).
put it in blunt terms, someone who straps a bomb onto their
chest and goes and kills civilians in a suicide attack has
clearly taken responsibility for their actions. That does
not mean I am somehow compelled to honor their actions, or
to consider that they were moral.
I said before, I am not a moral relativist, no matter how
much you seem to want to try to make me one.
don't know, actually. If Mother Teresa believed that it was
immoral to terminate a pregnancy even at the cost of the
mother's life, then I believe that she held an immoral
belief. I don't know if she agreed with that particular
teaching or not.
holding an immoral belief or taking an immoral action is
all that it takes to declare that someone is an immoral
person, then we can wrap up now, because everyone is
Theresa was an incredibly immoral person on many levels.
The mythological hagiography surrounding her is worse than
what I've read about some g'dolim on artscroll. And that's
saying something. She loved suffering as it brings people
closer to jesus so she wanted those under her care to
suffer as much as possible. She diverted many millions
given for the care of these unfortunate and decided instead
to give it to the church to build more nunneries. She was
question is based on a mistaken premise. While ואהבת
לרעך כמוך ומה דעלך סני may
entail inclusions and exclusions, morality - if we define
it as mussar - has no exclusions. There is no one who is
beyond the mission of Mussar - to attempt לתקן
עולם במלכות שדי.
He did not mean to define "morality." He meant to
define the baseline that the Torah demands.
demands a . It would be convenient if you were able to
dismiss Hillel's words as just defining the baseline. That
way you can reject his words as being a proper definition
of moral without saying he was wrong. Unfortunately that's
not possible. There are many cases where halacha defies his
words completely. It isn't that halacha used them as a
baseline and built up from there. It's that halacha rejects
this maxim completely and says the polar opposite. Killing
someone who violates shabbos when you wouldn't want to be
killed for violating someone else's shabbos. Owning a
slave when you would never want to be one yourself. And on
and on. So Hillel had a decent concept of morality innately
which then got ignored. So Hillel was wrong about
torah. And the torah deviates often from Hillels stated
reflects his attempt to summarize what its all about. It's
probably what he would have LIKED to be true since it is a
real decent yet brief way to get to morality. But it just
isn't the basis for much of halacha. Even BALC. The first
moral departure is that jews are treated differently than
non-jews. that violates Hillels principle.
don't direct people to books to find my answers. They're in
my head and I use my own words. If you'd like to copy and
paste a few relevant lines , thats one thing, but why not
just explain in your own words.? In my experience any
response that requires pages and pages of pre-ambles and
framing is a result of weakness of argument, not strength.
the Old Testament attitude toward slavery, it's harder to
take the line most Christians want to take. After all, the
Torah does institute the practice of slavery. It tells
Israel to take slaves of certain peoples conquered in war,
which is actually merciful given what it says to do to the
natives of the land. That means someone who truly believes
the Torah came from God should admit that it's ok to
institute a practice of slavery. At the same time, the
context of the Torah limits this slavery from being
anything like what we would think of as paradigm cases of
bad slavery. The seven-year maximum alone (and some cases
would be much less, if they began closer to the seventh
year) shows a huge difference. The fact that many slaves
voluntarily stayed with their masters, as a provision in
the law allows, shows that it wasn't an oppressive
practice. That it was voluntary and perhaps the best way at
the time to deal with excessive debt shows that it's a
mercy for Israelites who would become slaves. That the 49th
or 50th year (depending on how you take certain passages)
would return property to its rightful owner (not that
Israel ever followed this law, but God had commanded it)
also helps a great deal.
in the end I don't see how the slavery imposed by the Torah
of God is anything like what people usually complain about
when they say slavery is inherently wicked. I think I've
given enough reason for Christians to think of slavery in
very different terms from how it's usually thought of in
the American orthodoxy of moral thought. It's not slavery
itself that's wrong in principle. It's various other
features that happen to go along with slavery enough in
recent memory and at certain important times in the past.
We associate those things with slavery, but slavery itself
is in principle something that can be very good. At least
that's what Christians should say, given what the Bible
you are incorrect. If you treat your slaves appropriately,
and the alternative is to release them to a life of misery
and affliction, then it is good and moral to retain your
you can purchase a slave from a foul master and treat him
well so long as he is your household, and you do not have
the wherewithal to make him free with dignity and security,
that too is good and moral.
it is necessary to inflict punishment on someone who
imperils society, that too is good and moral.
the betterment of society trumps the right of an individual
to be irresponsible and wanton, that too is good and moral.
all these scenarios meet and manifest Hillel's principle.
some reason, which I can conjecture, you position your
thoughts on such matters as a priori superior to anyone
else's thoughts. Most unfortunate.
stick to eved cnaani. From where did they come? Many
presumably were forcibly removed from their
homes/tribes/families/culture only to be bought and sold
along the path to the residence of a jew who now owns him
and his children, who are then passed down to the jews own
children as property. And now you want to claim that since
releasing him would leave him in poverty and misery that
its GOOD and MORAL to continue enslaving him??!! And
ignoring the fact that every slave purchased increases the
demand for slaves thereby contributing to the enslavement
of more humans?
you further posit that since the jewish home is better than
the 'foul' master alternative its actually an altruistic
endeavor to own this slave??
If slavery was such a
good option for slaves, why not free them and hire them for
their work just as was done for non-slaves? Will you next
suggest that YOU know better what's good for these people
and you're helping them by removing their freedom? Please.
These answers will only work on the hopelessly gullible and
on those who really really want to believe them without the
slightest desire to subject them to critical thought.
defenses of torah-permitted slavery might be why as you
said, "For some reason, which I can conjecture, you
position your thoughts on such matters as a priori superior
to anyone else's thoughts."
just one correction. My positions aren't by definition
superior a priori in my mind, but having evaluated the
available responses similar to what you offered above, I
have the greatest confidence that my thoughts on this
matter are in fact superior . There's only one honest
answer for someone who accepts the divinity of the torah
: "Yes, the torah contains many immoral and bad
things. However, we must still follow it since god
commanded us to."
therefore god is not omnibenevolent, and Hillel's words are
simply incompatible with torash teachings.
us indeed stick to eved kena'ani. They did not come from
the inhabitants of the land, as these were not intended as
slaves, the term notwithstanding. They either, as Halacha
provides, sold themselves into slavery, or were purchased
from a non-Jewish master who was not divinely commanded to
treat them with dignity.
slave trade prior to the African-American experience was
generally in the spoils of war. If these people were not
bought, they would undoubtedly be killed by their captors,
not left in some romantic Rousseau-like noble savage state.
vociferous character of your tirade does not make it
correct or true, On the contrary, איסתרא
בלגינא קיש קיש קריא.
The post-bellum sufferings of African-Americans - the
effects of which linger beyond the sesquicentennial of
their emancipation - demonstrate that it is a glib,
simplistic and unsubstantiated assertion that you make
about freeing slaves and paying them wages.
have cited thinkers - both Jewish and Christian - who give
reasonable and reasoned explanations as to why slavery was
considered moral throughout history. I know you well RT,
and I have no hope of convincing you on anything. But to
not even concede that there are thoughtful and thought-out
perspectives that differ from yours, and to then state that
you respectfully disagree - that is unbecoming.
And thus immoral. That christian and jewish 'thinkers' may
try to explain WHY it was CONSIDERED moral is not the same
as explaining whether it WAS moral. Again, YOU would not
have wanted to be a slave and jews at that time didn't want
to be slaves. The torahs lack of condemnation and lack of a
ban is telling. In response to the last paragraph, there
are many issues related to politics, economics, global
warming, obamacare etc. in which I have my opinion but I
understand and respect the other side to the point where i
can't say with certainty that I'm right. This is not one of
them. I know I'm right. And if you think you're having a
hard time convincing me that slavery is moral, try to
explain how killing a homosexual is moral and good. And
tell me why its the epitome of goodness to put those who
don't your particular beliefs to death. And perhaps you'll
convince me that its the height of morality to kill the
animals of a people you've defeated. After all, those
animals : a) deserved it? b) would prefer to be
killed ? c) are going to a better afterlife?
assume you would be equally dismissive and unconvincable
(?) if someone was trying to tell you that the 9/11
hijackers were quite moral.
wasn't sticking to eved c'naani as the sole example of
immorality. I said that WHEN we're discussing the
immorality of slavery we should stick to the eved cnaani
form since it better reflects the problem. i hope you're
not avoiding the other examples i raised for lack of a
think we've exhausted the slavery issue. Let's try the
killing of homosexuals who engage in gay sex after being
properly warned even if the opportunity to do so only
presented itself once every seven or seventy years. Explain
how that is the height of morality and goodness.
understanding is that it doesn't have to be a public act,
just that witnesses are able to see it. Please confirm. In
any case, single heterosexuals are not subject to death for
the same act and their sex is not called a "toeva"
two witnesses could be looking through an open window of a
private house. Further, what is the moral basis for
homo to be any different than hetero ?
most importantly, the frequency of which the punishment can
be carried out by man is a side issue to the morality of
the law. The torah says they should be put to death for
having gay sex. That death sentence is immoral. The gay sex
is not. Though you can't really respond since you won't
define the word.
two guys know the two witnesses are watching them. So what
if it's through the window?
are both immoral. Because a normal society does not want
people engaging in sexual activities in public.
homosexuality is also a sin. We haven't spoken about the
concept of sin apart from "morality" here. The
Torah tells us that certain behaviors are sinful. Even
among consenting adults. You don't like the concept of sin.
That's why most people who opt out of Shemiras Torah
u'Mitzvos opt out.
death sentence is not immoral. That's absurd. People of
good will can argue if the death sentence is effective, if
it is abused, etc. But it is not immoral.
men have every right to do whatever they please in their
bedroom or anywhere else in a private residence. To suggest
that because they have a window and are warned THEY are
immoral is again preposterous, though you can't judge its
morality. You can only judge its torah-lity.
is another topic. Since you still refuse to define morality
separate from torah and god, i can only assume you agree
when I say certain parts of the torah are immoral since
I've provided a method of evaluation which is currently the
only one on the table. And by that definition it is
options are to either dispute that killing gays fails the
'don't do unto others' test. or to offer another definition
by which killing someone for gay sex would pass the test.
don't like the concept of sin"
isn't that i don't like it , it's that it doesn't exist.
That's why most people who opt out of Shemiras Torah
u'Mitzvos opt out."
which supports this? In my case and those I know that
didn't even make the list.
death sentence is not immoral. That's absurd."
never said it was. My words were "The torah says they
should be put to death for having gay sex. That
death sentence is immoral.
it is. Killing someone because they want to act on their
attraction which happens to differ from yours is sick,
cruel,immoral, barbaric, vile and brought to us by the
torah. It's interesting that god d much of the same moral
thinking as the men of the bronze age.
more thing before we leave the slavery issue. A society in
which CEOs making $1million a year can fire at will lower
level employees making under $50k a year is a far more
immoral society than one that allows for humane "slavery."
you assert. I strongly disagree. Proof I'm right is that i
bet you couldn't find even a single fired low-paid worker
of a $1M CEO who would choose to be a slave rather than a
fired worker. That doesn't make it the ideal situation but
with economic systems there's only fair analysis relative
to the alternatives. It's fair to say that capitalism is
the least moral and ethical of all economic
systems.......EXCEPT for everything else.
Johnson, a 79 year old ex-slave from Columbia, South
Carolina, stated in his narrative that he “[felt] and
[knew] dat de years after de war was worser than befo’”.
The Emancipation Proclamation and the Union’s victory in
the war secured the freedom of slaves, but with a society
plagued by Jim Crow Laws and segregation, ex-slaves were
far from liberated. Slaves paid the price for their freedom
as emancipation introduced new hardships, insecurities, and
the post Civil War and Reconstruction Era, a slave’s
fight for freedom turned into a mere fight for survival.
The majority of slaves were released from their previous
plantations penniless. Wages for African Americans also
fluctuated in response to the perceived worth of that
person and manual labor was considered easily replaceable
during the post Civil War time period. With income being an
issue, few ex-slaves had the ability to own land. According
to the 1880 Census, one-fifith of African Americans owned
at least some of the land they farmed. However, these
holdings were usually beset with debt, crippling African
American owners in the long run. Johnson declared that,
“Befo’ de war, niggers did have a place to lie down at
night and somewhere to eat, when they got hungry in slavery
you ever been fired/fired someone? Is that immoral?"
may have missed some of your posts, but IIRC, you defined
morality as don't do to others what you wouldn't want done
to you. Most people don't like being fired; thus, it
follows that firing someone is immoral behavior.
a fair question. An employment agreement is a contract
between 2 people in which the employee agrees to do "x"
under "y" set of rules established by the
employer , knowing that under this agreement the employer
"R" may fire the employee "E" if such
conditions aren't met and even if only because he thinks
doing so will save him money, since thats the ultimate goal
of a business. In exchange R agrees to pay E an agreed sum.
The one doing the action in a firing is the employer.
Would that employer want all parties to a contract to be
able to enforce that contract? i would think so. Would the
employee want to be in a contract whose terms can't be
enforced? No. Therefore from either perspective taking
an action permissible under the terms of a mutually agreed
contract is moral and ethical, even though the employee may
not be happy about it when the agreed terms lead to his
firing.. OTOH if the terms said that E is entitled to 3
weeks vacation and R refuses to allow it under threat of
termination, THAT would be immoral and the law would
consider it a breach of contract and he could be civilly
just pushes the problem off from 'moral' to 'good' and will
again require a definition of 'good' beyond the torah. IOW
that's a cop-out. Please define whatever your definition
leads to up to a point where that definition is Objective
and not subjective. Especially not subjective to a torah
def. since thats still nothing but a tautology.
is no definition of "good" unless there is a
"god" (god/good). As a bona fide atheist, you can
have no concept of good. From your perspective, an
egotistical, apathetic, utterly neutral person is moral.
There is nothing "better" or "greater."
is no definition of "good" unless there is a
Why is that? And before you answer please consider whether
your answer claim and answer would also apply to the
statement , There is no definition of "stinky"
unless there is a "god" (god/stinky) ..no
a bona fide atheist, you can have no concept of good
As someone who has been able to spend years working on both
defining and applying morality , honesty and goodness to
life situations I think i have quite a good concept.
people who accept that the morality of a book they believe
written by god contains the final word on morality and
goodness would have no reason to exercise their moral
faculties and powers of reason. All they need do is study
that book really hard. You aren't permitted to truly
question and evaluate the torahs morality. And you def
can't act on any disagreements you might have in a way that
feel bad for those who can never experience the freedom to
really think in moral terms.
your perspective, an egotistical, apathetic, utterly
neutral person is moral. There is nothing "better"
good thing is that since my thoughts and judgments don't
derive from any known book, you CAN"T possibly know
what I think. This statement proves it. The person you
described is at best neutral. You didn't list any specific
good qualities . But since I know where you get your
morals, I can say confidently that you would deem a jew who
is a sabbath violating homosexual as being immoral.
most religious segments of the American polity are exactly the
groups most heavily supporting those elected officials
advocating for unfettered capitalism; so that would tend to
undercut your thesis.
people are not necessarily good people. Rav Wolbe makes this
point eloquently in his harsh disparagement of "Frumkeit"
in Alei Shur vol. 2. Often a non-religious person reflects
Judeo-Christian values more than a religious person. This is
because the religious person suffers from "Frumkeit."
(See also the Meshech Chochmo's introduction to Vayikra.)
are talking past each other since we have not defined
morality. I specifically referred to goodness on that
admit that I erred using the term "truly religious."
I knew I was being inaccurate when I was using it, but
thought it was inconsequential. The actual connotation of
"truly religious" is negative. I should have
written "True Torah."
are coming from a Christian definition of the sin/sinner
connection. In Judaism, people who sin are not necessarily
sinners. A "choteh" in Yahadus is a perennial
sinner. And it does not apply to all "sins"
either. One who perennially misses davening is not
categorized as a "choteh."
I am responding to your challenge of the presence of the
"No True Scotsman" fallacy on your own terms. In
actuality, you are misapplying it here.
I will demonstrate. A Tzaddik in Our Time is a depiction
and account of a Torah True Person (TTP). That is an
objective standard against which to measure other people.
To the extent that someone resembles or emulates Rabbi
Aryeh Levin, he is a TTP. He may be further along the
continuum or further back. Although human behavior is not
subject to precise measurement, were it so, we might be
able to describe a point on the continuum that is not on
the level attained by RAL and say that is suffices as a
threshold to be regarded as a TTP.
as long as you have defined TTP as being such a level at
which there may only be a handful of such people on the
planet, you can feel comfortable saying that all religious
people are moral. In that case, the vast majority of frum
jews who do not measure up to RAL are not necessarily
moral. What does that say about the system of laws they're
following and whether those laws lead to morality? ANd that
standard is FAR from objective. IF so, can you list for me
who is currently worthy of being called TTP or like RAL?
you perceive it so (correctly) shows that your position is
untenable. You're in effect claiming that there are NO
people you would call religious since thats the only way
you can maintain your claim that a 'religious' person is
'transcendent' and 'epitomizes goodness'. thus your claim
why don't we call it "Judeo-Christian-Islamic"
values, since as near as I can tell, the only commandment
the Muslims don't have involves a day of rest, and that is
one point where the "Judeo" and the "Christian"
don't agree either.
us or we'll kill you all" is at best blackmail with
the real threat of Genocide.
that's assuming that you think the Rambam's view is
anything other than revisionism to meet with either the
mores of his time (after all, he would have been familiar
with Dhimmihood) or sheer self-interest (since Jews were a
powerless group at the time, and had a very strong interest
in arguing against conquerors wiping out the conquered).
- and this is an important point - you have just made it
impossible to discuss any issue with you. If there is any
evidence that I might cite in a discussion that you would
like to dismiss, you will dismiss it by branding it
"revisionism" or "self-interest."
that's part of the whole issue under discussion here.
Harry's thesis was that Orthodox Judaism represents an
absolute morality, as differentiated from those that are
controlled by the zeitgeist of the cultures that contain
Rambam's take on Amalek (and my understanding that the
requirement was, "Follow the Noachide Laws, and pay a
tax, or we will have to kill you") is distinctly a
change in Jewish thought.
I think it far more likely that he was trying to deal with
the conflict between a commandment to Genocide and the the
social mores of his time than it is that it was a matter of
self-interest, but that is also a possibility. Part of the
reason I think it more likely a conflict resolution is that
his solution (again, as I understand it) is very much in
line with the culture in which he lived.
that's part of my point; regardless of a claimed "absolute
morality", all religions have their views of right and
wrong altered by their own cultures over time. That's why
we can see Christian Churches having bankers accepted as
members in good standing (despite 1500 or so years of
teaching against usury by the Christian community). That's
why we can see Orthodox Judaism overturn the Shulchan Aruch
(and the Rambam) on Conversions in the past century. That's
why we can see Chareidi Judaism overturn the Ketubah in the
last half century. That's why we can see the Baptists
demand that teachers at Baptist schools swear to follow a
religions exist as part of cultures, and when the cultural
pressure conflicts with religious doctrine, the doctrine
changes. Just as it does in the secular world.
speaking, I have no problem with the "JCI"
terminology. The "JC" terminology is traditional
in the US because it is upon this basis that American
values were forged - Islam enters the equation much later.
do, however, agree with the critique of Islam expressed by
Emeritus Pope Benedict in the Regensburg lecture.
Declaration is a non-legal and non-binding document. The
constitution not only makes no mention of god but wants the
govt. to be separated completely from ones belief or lack
thereof. See the "Treaty of Tripoli" for
example..."As the Government of the United States of
America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian
very act of rebelling against an ordained King (especially
over taxes) was far more in keeping with the ideals of
government only with the consent of the governed coming out
of the Enlightenment than it was with anything rooted in
I said in the first post on this thread, America is in a
constant tension between religious extremism (after all,
the Puritans got thrown out of England for being too
uptight) and Enlightenment ideals, with the balance
shifting back and forth over the years.
the foundational document of the United States is far more
a creation of the Enlightenment than anything else, and the
author of the Declaration of Independence could not in any
meaningful sense be considered a believing Christian (nor
was he treated that way by his contemporaries).
Eisenhower looked to the Founding Fathers of 1776 to
say: "all men are endowed by their Creator."
In other words, our form of government has no sense unless
it is founded in a deeply felt religious faith, and I don't
care what it is. With us of course it is the
Judeo-Christian concept, but it must be a religion with all
men created equal. ^ Patrick Henry, "'And I
Don't Care What It Is': The Tradition-History of a Civil
Religion Proof-Text," Journal of the American Academy
of Religion, March 1981, Vol. 49 Issue 1, pp 35-47 in JSTOR
is no question that the majority of the American rebels
question is whether their actions could accurately be
termed as "Christian values". I submit that there
is no way a tax rebellion against a King can be squared
with the Christian injunction to pay taxes.
On the basis of this comment thread, I now better understand the comments from people left intellectually unsatisfied by discussion of these philosophic topics with RW Rabbis. Wavings one's hands to redefine problems so that they fall within the comfort zone of RW Orthodoxy and can thereby be “answered” is transparent and self defeating. Just saying…