Tag Archives: responsibility

God wouldn’t command us to do something we are unable to do

God would not command us to do what we cannot do.

Or ‘God would not command us to do what we cannot do.’ God gave the Law to Moses, The Ten Commandments, to reveal what man cannot do, not what he can do.

A. This premise is unscriptural. God gave the Law for two reasons: To expose sin and to increase it so man would have no excuse for declaring his own righteousness. Why? Because in the context, he does NO righteousness. As Martin Luther said to Erasmus, when you are finished with all your commands and exhortations from the Old Testament, I’ll write Ro.3:20 over the top of it all. Why use commands and exhortations from the O.T. to show free will when they were given to prove man’s sinfulness? They exist to show what we cannot do rather than what we can do. Yes, God gave commands to man which man cannot do. Therefore commandments and exhortations do not prove free will. Nowhere in scripture is there any hint that God gives commands to men to prove they are able to perform them.

B. This premise is irrational. There may be many reasons for commanding someone to do something, other than the assumption that the can do it. The purpose, as above, may be to show the person his inability to perform the command. Thus, NOTHING can be deduced about abilities from a mere command.

A. I would argue that the purpose of the law was and is to draw men closer to God through showing them clearly the level and standard of holiness required to enjoy His company. I would argue that Romans gives a descriptive statement of the way things are. It does not, however, provide a prescriptive statement of the way things must be. So I think the notion that the law was given and is inherently impossible to uphold is based on specious reasoning at the outset. Outside of a precomittment to a philosophical system wherein men are mere worms, what logical reason is there for us to believe that there is no possible way for men to uphold the law written in the OT? Just because men do not, in fact, uphold that law is in no way a comment about the possibility or legitimacy of such a command given to beings who posses limited agency.

B. If the intention of the command is not to cause the commanded to act on and accomplish that which is commanded, then we must call into question the nature of the commander because in that case we would have a clear division in their wills. The technical language here is the perlocution and illocution which deals with the commander’s desired effects vs. the content of the message. “Break a leg” is a common colloquy that illustrates this paradigm. However, as I and others have argued elsewhere. Drawing a difference between what God says and what he intends has the end result of deconstruction the text and devoiding it of meaning, So a Calvinist who wishes to go down that route is not functionally different than a deconstructionalist like Derrida who claims the text has no inherent meaning. In the end, the text has a hidden meaning that is epestemically unaccessible by us.

So yes, God would not command us to do what is impossible for us to do. As for being Holy as He is Holy. God has provided a way for us to become Holy through our acceptance of the Holy Spirit.

I find the argument that God didn’t mean what He said to be highly troubling. If we cannot know that God means what He says when giving rather straightforward commands like the law , it logically and necessarily follows that we cannot know what He means elsewhere.

So for the sake of protecting a man-made theological system which posits a pot hole in the road, I fear that many of my brothers of the reformed persuasion are too easily willing to drive their epestemic cart over a cliff.

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Contracting out parenting

Parenting is a time-intensive activity. And in today’s fast-paced world where we are always plugged-in and always on the go, many parents are tempted to abdicate their responsibility to train their children up properly to someone else.

Whether it is the school system, a group of peers, or a piece of technology like the TV or game console; Contracting out our parental responsibilities is wrong.

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Does responsibility presuppose freedom?

A friend of mine on Facebook posted the following video with the following claim:

No responsibility doesn’t presuppose freedom, but responsibility does presuppose authority.

Here is my initial response, along with the ensuing conversation’s highlights.

It presupposes both actually. Responsibility requires both someone to be held accountable and someone to be held accountable to. Both subsiquiently require a certain amount of freedom to choose. Both to set the standard of responsibility as well as whether to even attempt to live up to the standard set. To negate the freedom of either is to render them an object and not an agent. And objects cannot be responsible or authoritative. Humans aren’t objects, and neither is God.

Why do both [causal agents] require freedom?

They require freedom in order to be considered causal agents. I explained this in my previous note when I talked about how responsibility presupposes that both the one being held accountable and the one to whom we are accountable need to be agents and not objects.

You changed the question entirely to whether you were predestined to do one thing or it was entirely undetermined by any but yourself.1

No, I think your theological presuppositions are getting in the way of your understanding my question and its significance as to the present topic.

You asserted earlier that I am mistaken. Well that implies that I am responsible for presenting accurate information. So my question is whether my mistakenness is my own fault due to my own limited but free choices in what information to pursue and what propositional truth claims to maintain as true or whether I have no free will at all (not absolute freedom mind you, that is a straw man on your part) and thus have no alternative than to be mistaken about my assertions. In the former case responsibility and the subsequent admonition are warranted whereas in the second case responsibility is negated simply because there is nothing I could have done otherwise.

If our responsibility is founded on our freedom, how is it that Jesus Christ is held responsible for our sins instead of us when he did not perpetrate them?

Jesus was held responsible for our sins? That is news to me. I was under the impression that He willingly paid a debt He did not owe. However it is funny that you should bring this up as it lends itself further to the notion that men have limited freedom since their sins are just that, theirs, and not someone else’s. The very notion of sin, like responsibility, necessitate at least enough freedom on the part of the agent charged with sin to have possibly opted to not sin. Otherwise, if you negate any and all freedom whatsoever, or if you redefine will to mean something other than will, you are left with a logical contradiction (not just mystery) in that men sin by necessity and due to a causal determination outside of their own volition.

In the end, I think you understand the correct and logically cohesive argument since you state it quite plainly:
“If I am responsible, then I am free. I am free therefore I am responsible.
Then you give the further proof: If I am causally determined (by some thing other than myself) then I am not responsible, I am responsible therefore I am not causally determined (by some thing other than myself).”

Simply put, yes. This is correct since men are not robots but causal agents capable of making limited but truly free choices.

If responsibility is required then freedom to respond is available. Responsibility is required therefore freedom to respond is available.

Responsibility: definition

Responsible: definition

1 a : liable to be called on to answer b (1) : liable to be called to account as the primary cause, motive, or agent (2) : being the cause or explanation c : liable to legal review or in case of fault to penalties
2 a : able to answer for one’s conduct and obligations : trustworthy b : able to choose for oneself between right and wrong

So you see. The language of causal agency is etched into the very definition of the words used. So unless you want to take the route of being a pure deconstructionalist, wishing (freely) to remake the English language in your own image (by redefining words as you see fit) then I would consider this topic to be rather simple and resolved purely on account of the necessity of linguistic structures.

Responsibility requires the ability to respond by a causal agent. Causal agency entails some degree of freedom to choose. Or, in this case, “choose between right and wrong”.

To sum it all up. Those who disagree with the notion that responsibility presupposes the freedom to make real, morally significant moral choices are, themselves, mistaken. It is not God or any other outside agent or force that has caused them to be mistaken, their error is wholly their own.

Note, that if a person wants to deny the above paragraph they cannot simply say that I am mistaken since such a claim would, itself, necessitate the limited freedom to be 1. wrong and 2. responsible for correcting that wrong belief. The best someone who wants to deny true causal agency (aka limited free will) and who implicitly wants to affirm causal determinism can say is that I have been predestined according to forces wholly beyond my control (which goes without saying, but I feel the need to be overly specific and verbose here) to believe the way I do. They cannot, however, say that I am wrong in my beliefs. Because no matter how hard they try, they cannot get around the fact that to deny causal agency, which is the core of limited freedom, is to unhinge the whole notion of responsibility by destroying. And no amount of redefining words is enough to save such a wholly illogical and philosophically untenable position.

  1. After a previous response I received the objection that I was mistaken. The quoted comment, then, is in response to my question as to whom was mistaken, me or God. The purpose of this inquiry was to implicate the intuitive nature of limited freedom being asserted here. []
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Are women ever “asking” to be raped?

I recently ran across a poll on Facebook which posed the question, “Is a woman ever “asking” for rape?”

This question intrigued me so I thought about it and came up with the following in reply:

This is a misleading question meant to elicit an emotional response as opposed to a rational one. A woman is not guilty for rape, which is wholly the fault of the rapist, but her poor choices and irresponsibility can certainly put her in greater danger she wouldn’t have otherwise have faced.

Here is a study which shows that the assertion that rapes are under-reported is not only not true, but is categorically false. The truth is that they are not under-reported but over-reported primarily because many women do not want to face the responsibility of their actions. Studies also show that drug-facilitated rape is also largely a myth as most of these incidents are, again, women refusing to face the consequences of their own inebriated and wholly consensual decisions.

Sorry, but while I do believe there are legitimate cases of random acts of evil (rape), I do not think we pay enough attention to the individual responsibility of people not to place themselves in positions where they are at greater risk.

I liken this to a person who eats at McDonalds every day and doesn’t work out. The heart attack they will likely have eventually is not less tragic but is even more so precisely because it is easily preventable.

The same concept stands for most of these cases of “rape” like with the stripper who tried to claim she was raped by the Duke lacross team.

At this point, a friend of mine brought up the topic of suggestive clothing and whether we could really make a judgement on whether anyone’s clothing was really suggestive or whether it’s all in the viewer’s mind (leaving the woman blameless regardless of her clothing).

“Suggestive” implies intent. So if a woman wears clothing with the express intention of arousing sexual desire (something that’s admittedly not hard to do with most men) then yes, she is at fault for intentionally putting herself in harms way.

Especially if you couple that with intoxication and other reckless lifestyle and relational choices such as yielding responsibility for yourself to a stranger who is either just as inebriated as you are or, worse, has nefarious intentions.

Sorry, but this is one of the reasons we teach our daughter that she needs to have shorts on under her dress. Not because we think she is intentionally trying to invite abuse but because we know that it discourages others and is more responsible than dressing her up like a slut and “tempting fate” so to speak.

And it’s not just rape that reckless living invites. Reckless lifestyles and choices invite a whole host of problems that could otherwise be mitigated or avoided altogether.

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