Proposed: Jesus was tempted by Satan but three times, yet there are so many sins. There are three sins into which all others are encompassed.
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Proposed: Jesus was tempted by Satan but three times, yet there are so many sins. In this debate, I propose to demonstrate that there are three categories of sins into which all other sins are encompassed, and this explains why Satan limited his temptations to these three. Master these three pitfalls, and all sins are less likely to plague the repentant soul and set that soul on the road to achieving perfection. The three basic sins encompassing all others, and why all sins relate to them, will be revealed in the first round and will consist of my total BoP. It will be Con's BoP to prove these three sins do not encompass all others.
Introduction: Setting the stage
1 The text I will use in this debate to introduce my argument is the Holy Bible, Matthew, Chapter 4, verses 1 – 11. This us not to say that it will be my only reference; certainly not. There is much to bring to the table and I will do so. I merely offer the assumption, and advise that my argument centers on the proposition that all sins relate to one of three sins by which Satan tempted Christ immediately following the baptism of Christ at the hands of John the Baptist.
2 I will further offer my belief that as real personages, Christ and Satan are brothers; sons of God in the spirit, as are we all. Therefore, these combatants are our brothers, as well, as we are all spirit sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father. Here again, it is not the purpose of this debate to prove or disprove these matters of family relationships. I mention it merely to offer background understanding of our purpose in this exercise to be the recipients and targets of Satan’s tempting power, and of Christ’s redemptive power. If you have the ability of suspension of disbelief, if that is your current belief, and can take the forthcoming arguments in that light, all the better for you to understand my argument, and that of my opponent.
3 Following his baptism, Jesus immediately retires to the wilderness. I like to think it was southward, bordering in the mountains above the Dead Sea, considering that further up river, the Jordan River which empties into that wasteland, Jesus was baptized. It is poetic to consider that Jesus considered the waters of his cleansing – not that it was needed in his case, but, as he told John, “…to fulfill all righteousness.”– would be followed by his footsteps to such a wasteland. Not as a disappointment, but rather, as an opportunity to represent to us that all things of Satan can be overcome by our righteous obedience. Jesus, himself, would be typecast in the role as exemplar.
4 However, in Satan’s role, we find a clever aside, an attempt even before offering his three elemental temptations would be presented, to attempt to plant doubt in Christ’s mind. And mind you, this encounter occurs only after Christ has already spent forty days and nights in this desolation in fasting and prayer. What follows is indication that these two are already acquainted. Said the Temptor, first, “If thou be the Son of God…” Satan knows very well who Christ is, and who he, Satan, is, that they are brothers, but that God, the Father, their father, and ours, chose Christ’s plan for the rest of God’s children, us, rather than Satan’s plan, because the former, although issuing commandments for us to follow in righteousness, for our good, for our eventual redemption, on the condition of our obedience, would offer to redeem us by his personal sacrifice. Whereas Satan, in personal pride, would force our way back to heaven by denial of our free agency to choose our way, and would not, in the end, redeem us from anything that may befall us in our mortal experience. God’s place for us, in effect, is Eden, the Perfect Garden. Satan’s place for us, by contrast, is the desolation of the Dead Sea. He is already home.
5 Satan, in his greed to have more, attempts to plant doubt in Christ’s mind that he may not be the Son of God in the flesh. If he is not, Satan calculates - though he knows full well that Christ is exactly that, and yet will combat him to the ends of the earth – the fact is, Christ will not be the successful Son of God if it is his choice to deny that role for himself, even now. Therefore, the following three temptations carry all that weight on Satan’s shoulders to convince, and, thereby, spoil God’s plan for us: “If thou be the Son of God…”and remember that Christ is now forty days hungry…
I Argument: “…command that these stones be made bread.”
I.a Thus, the first temptation is placed. It is: Pride.Not hunger? No, Christ is already hungry; he does not need to be tempted to be so. And it is no sin to be hungry. No, hunger is not Satan’s trap. It is pride, because it is couched in Satan’s clever offer of doubt that Christ is notthe Son of God. When challenged thus, as we often do [and is that a subtle tug at our shoulder that perhaps we are not sons and daughters of God, either?] Satan calculates that Christ, in pride, will prove his Sonship, his unique, direct ancestry of divinity in the flesh by demonstration of that obvious source of strength. Satan even offers a suggestion. “You’re hungry,” he prods, as if it were necessary, “here are stones. You can make bread of them.” Does not God, and, therefore, his Son, have the ability to transmute anything into anything else, merely by manipulation of atomic structure? It’s just science, in the hands of a renowned expert. It’s child’s play. A Holy Child, in any event.
I.b Is that not something of which to be proud? And if Satan can be so bold as to tempt Christ, are we not all, therefore, under that temptation as well, in every day of our lives? And under the which umbrella hides a multitude of kindred sins? Pride goeth before the fall, it is said. Actually, the full quote is, “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before the fall.”
I.b.1 Consider Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, in which friend Brutus calculates, “That lowliness is ambition’s ladder, whereto the climber upward turns his face. But when he once attains the upmost round, he then unto the ladder turns his back, looks in the clouds, scorning the base degrees by which he did ascend. So Caesar may. Then, lest he may, prevent. And since the quarrel will bear no color for the thing he is, fashion it thus: that what he is, augmented, would run to these and these extremities.” That speech is all about pride, and what follows in its wake.
I.b.2 The sin of pride is the mastermind of so many base sins, which, by degree, descend the soul into deeper and deeper extremes. Pride is the harbinger of a list of sins identified by the sixth century Pope Gregory I as “deadly:” pride, envy, wrath, gluttony, lust, sloth, and greed. Note that each are conditions of deeply personal involvement, and each has a direct link to the first: pride.
II Argument: “…cast thyself down…”
II.a Thus the second temptation is laid: Power. Note, once again, that Satan uses doubt to introduce this elemental sin for the desire of power. It is a double-edged sword. If Christ is the Son of God, he has the right to call down the blessings of Heaven to protect him from harm so that his mission in life can be accomplished. If he is not the Son of God, he will need power to create the illusion that he is the Son of God, who would be endowed with power from Heaven.
II.b Having power is not necessarily a sin in itself, but the use of that power for incorrect purposes can be sinful. Satan’s temptation is an invitation for Christ to use the power he suggests for personal gain, whereas the service of Christ, by God’s plan, was for Christ to be in the service of others. And what is the result of service to others? A great prophet noted when that power is used in the service of others, “…I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that… when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.”
II.b.1 Elsewhere we read, “Though talk of power can make some people uncomfortable, it is vitally important in organizational contexts: you need power to be able to influence others, perform your job to the maximum and attain all your goals. But this doesn’t mean nice guys finish last, in fact one of the key components to successfully maintaining power is using it for a greater good. Drawing upon extensive research from the field of organizational behavior and psychology, Prof. Sebastien Brion identifies six steps to gain and maintain power at work (power meaning here control over some valued resource upon which others depend.) 1. Control valued resources. 2. Develop social skills. 3. Internalize power. 4.Keep tabs on your behavior and environment. 5. Use your power to serve others. 6. Nurture alliances.Use power wisely – first and foremost, for the benefit of the people around you and the organization you serve. ”
II.b.2 This kind of use of power is that by which Christ conducted his life, refuting Satan’s claim that power was useful in self-serving activities. No, self-purpose must by modified by turning outward to serve others, and, thereby, the self is augmented as it should be. Power that is not used in the pride of self-service, but in humility by service to others defeats both self-pride and power in service to others, and thus defeats Satan in his self-serving effort.
III Argument: “All these things will I give thee…”
III.a Thus is laid the third elemental sin: Possession.However, for this last, Satan abandons the hook of placing doubt. His “if, then” challenge is an outright demonstration that it is Satan, not God, to whom allegiance must be given. Shown all the wealth of the world, Christ is challenged to possessit, “…if thou wilt fall down and worship me.”There is no pretense of subtlety here. Satan has blatantly withdrawn doubt, but he has also withdrawn both pride and power; all the world’s wealth will be given to Christ if only he will bow down to Satan and worship him as the source of pride and power, by the offering of wealth untold.
III.b Possession is a curious thing. It is, in and of itself by casual observation, representative of both pride and power. Those who possess wealth are viewed as both prideful and powerful, against which others are victims of that pride and power, and possession, as if all three are denied to them. Their envy is not personally seen as nearly as sinful as the sin of these three elementals.
IV Argument: Elemental sins are the root, trunk and branches of an evil tree
IV.a These three elemental sins, pride, power, and possession, are the root, trunk and branches of an evil tree whose fruit, like the biblical tree in Eden that God warned Adam and Eve to avoid partaking, would corrupt and bring death. It is like the Supreme Court’s principle, established by precedent, in the case, Nardone v. United States : called the Fruit of the Poisonous Tree,which excluded evidence in a court trial that was obtained by illegal law enforcement activity. The Eden tree was called “the tree of knowledge of good and evil,”and its fruit would bring death. It is likened to the “fruit of the poisonous tree”in that it’s fruit, obtained illegally, would kill the case, and all other evidence obtained in it, even if that remaining evidence were obtained properly. Just so, the elemental sins of pride, power and possession derive all other sins man can commit. All are poisonous to the soul; all are evil in their results, and all can be eliminated even after commission, by a recognition that Christ is the source of forgiveness of sin, and all because he refused to succumb to the temptations of Satan in the wilderness.
I yield to my opponent.
- That the resolution is what is being debated in a debate and is thus the most important and overruling statement in a debate; a description is secondary. When my opponent says “encompass” in the resolution and “relate” in his description, we should defer to what the resolution states.
- My opponent says both “relate” and “encompass” in his debate description. On the other hand, my opponent only uses the word “encompass” in his resolution, so we should give precedence to the resolution because it gives us more clarity.
Relate - “to have some relation (often followed by to)”
Relation - “an existing connection; a significant association between or among things”
Sin - “transgression of divine law” (In this case we’re talking about Christian law)
- The Seven Deadly sins hardly constitute all Sins as a whole. Biblical sins like the worship of idols (aka. Having a non-Abrahamic religion) have nothing to do with pride, envy, wrath, gluttony, lust, sloth, and greed.
- Pro does nothing to support the claim that Pride is a harbinger or an encompass-er of these other sins.
I offered background to introduce the three elemental sins, and I even offered evidence of Pride via Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar through Brutus. I did say I would use other sources, didn’t I? That’s one source for one elemental sin, besides offering a biblical source, Proverbs, for the same elemental sin. Are Shakespeare, and the Holy Bible banned as sources? Not by me, as I noted in my r1, Introduction 1, I would have sources. Therefore, my opponent’s charge of lack of evidence is false. Con’s rebuttal fails.
V.a.1 Satan, knowing who God is [his Father] and who Jesus is [his brother, and the Son of God in the flesh], sets himself to be worshipped, but, as Jesus replies, only “the Lord thy God”is to be worshipped, and He, alone is to be served. Satan attempts to declare himself a rightful idol to be worshipped. As this incident occurs as the third of the elemental sins, idolatry is, therefore, part of the sin of Possession.
VII.b Con has, not by intent, I am sure, demonstrated my point in II.a, above; but he has. He has identified a sin, working on the sabbath, that is encompassed by all three elementals: Pride, Power, and Possession. Well done. However, it does fly in the face of his claim that my BoP is all-inclusive, while declaring that his is not necessarily so hard.
I Argument: Pride, Power, and Possession, made simple
I.a Pride: If every sin can be attributed to causing offense or injury [in both, by either physical, mental, and/or spiritual harm] to God, to other people, or to ourselves, as demonstrated in my r2, argument VIII.de and VIII.d.1, then Pride is the elemental sin encompassing any other sin by which we replace proper allegiance and gratitude of accomplishment in God and in other people by placement of these attitudes in ourselves, alone.
I.a We should be mindful of our own contribution to any accomplishment, and we would certainly deserve praise by our singular accomplishment, but that praise should come from God and other people, and not exclusively from ourselves. It is self-directed praise that is prideful.
I.bPower: By the same argument as noted in I.a, above, Power is the elemental sin encompassing every other sin by which we usurp the rightful use of power by God, or by other people, by taking that power unto ourselves to use, denying its proper use by those others.
I.b.1 This is not to say that Power is to be avoided, for we each have claim to use of power, but it is properly used only when authorized to do so, and should never be used solely for personal gain at the expense of others, or avoided use to be of service both to God, and to other people. Recall the prophetic declaration from r2, argument II.b: “…when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God,” and the more modern version of it, in the same argument: “…5. Use your power to serve others… Use power wisely – first and foremost, for the benefit of the people around you and the organization you serve.” It is self-serving benefit that is the misuse of power.
I.c Possession: By the same arguments as noted in I.a and I.b, above, Possession is the elemental sin encompassing every other sin by which we purloin the rightful possessions of God, or of other people, by taking that possession unto ourselves to have and use, denying its proper possession and use by those others.
I.c.1 By “possessions,” as described in my r2, rebuttals VI and VII, this is not only physical possessions not of our ownership, but that we may be inclined to take by greed, but also by taking possession of authority to act, which is not rightfully our possession of authority to use, or by denial of attitude to express to others rightfully expecting it from us, such as refusal to be grateful for the efforts of others in and on our behalf.
I.c.2 “If greed and self-interest were the same thing, then the miser and the saint would be greedy because they both seek to satisfy their preferences. For that reason greed has no meaning in economics.” Motivations, emotions and moral decisions cannot be party to economic systems because these factors can strangle even the most altruistic self-interests, and, therefore, have no part in economic systems. Greed is, therefore, exclusively a matter of illicit acquisition of possessions. This is why Pro’s argument in his r1 that possession and greed are synonymous is false because greed is tied only to physical items of ownership.
I.c.3 Often, biblical theorists, and ordinary Christians will take the story of Jesus and the young rich man as a principle that should be followed by all, concluding that acquisition of wealth is evil. The story is told in Matthew 19: A wealthy young man approaches Jesus to ask how he “may have eternal life.” Jesus replies, “…keep the commandments.” This the young man does, he said. Jesus relates commandments familiar to most, as from Moses, and finishes with, “…love thy neighbor as thyself”– similar to what we encounter in Matthew 22 [see my r2, VIII.c]. Confused, the young man replies, “All these things I have kept from my youth…” Finally, Jesus said, “If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor…” “But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.” The young man’s greed was his nemesis, not that all who have “great possessions” are; some with wealth are still very generous to the poor and needy. But not this young man. This was instruction to him, specifically, because Jesus sensed his greed, his sin of possession. Not all who have wealth commit this sin, and, therefore, need not temper their actions to give it all away,
II Rebuttal: The conditional nature of sin
II.a In his r1, my opponent challenged that my BoP could be met only by listing all sins mentioned in the Bible. I explained in my r2 rebuttal VIII, which my opponent now challenges in his r2 because he does not understand it. Not understanding is not a rebuttal; it is not even a supportable argument. However, let’s provide understanding.
II.b The root of Con’s misunderstanding is in his expectation that all languages have consistency, one to another. In every language, so it is supposed, one word in one has its equivalent in another. This is fallacious. Language is driven by culture. As cultures have great diversity, so do their languages and each linguistic lexicon. The effort of translation from one language to another as practiced by even ‘expert’ linguisticians is typically by dictionary-to-dictionary comparison. Fine; let’s compare “love” in English to that same word in Greek. Oh, an interrupt: Greek does not have one word that is the equivalent of English “love.” There are, in Greek, a total of seven words: eros, philia, storge, agape, ludus, pragma, and philautia. In English, these variations of “love” must be enhanced by associated adjectives, such as for agape, we substitute “universal love,” or “charitable love” to distinguish the sense of agape in English.
II.b.1Con’s interrupt is that when he speaks of the scriptures lending to his confused state, he offers the Biblical Leviticus 20: 13, “…If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination…” Although “love,” neither in Greek, nor English, is a word used here, the intent is clear that we are talking about sexual, physical love [eros] and not charitable love, [agape], of which Jesus speaks in Matthew 19: 19, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” Thus Con’s confusion when he claims “Jesus was wrong here.”
II.b.1.A Con’s interrupt is simply explained with a bit of knowledgeable history. In the first century C.E., Israelites, what is left of them after the Babylonian invasion and occupation 600 years previous, did not ever fully recover in the region as an autonomous nation until 20 centuries later. The common man in the streets of Jerusalem in the first century C.E. did not have a working knowledge of Hebrew. He spoke Aramaic. Neither, surprisingly, did the scholar working in the synagogue, or the lawyer in his practice [these both were Pharisees]. His working language was Greek. Further, the texts commonly used in the first century C.E. were not the Hebrew Torah, but rather, the Greek Septuagint, in use since at least the third century B.C.E. As a result, we should understand clearly the distinction of use of eros vs. agape, and not accuse Jesus of getting it wrong. He knew exactly what he was talking about, and so do we, and thus, Con’s argument fails.
II.c The reason why a list of sins is immaterial, contrary to my opponent’s continued insistence, thus maintaining his invasion of my garden rather than tending to his own, is that all sins are conditional by their nature. Simply put, it is expected that all laws of God are to be obeyed. Period. When they are not, this constitutes sin. Sin is merely a counterfeit of obedience. It is practiced, it is rationalized [justified?] as a type of obedience when, in fact, it is passing a counterfeit $20 bill, so to speak. Further, my opponent supposes that once a sin, always a sin. No, as I argued in r2, VIII.b, for example, while the Pharisees believed that any work performed on the sabbath was a sin, Jesus taught that charitable work performed on the sabbath, work performed for the benefit of others, was not sinful. Nor is it sinful to work on the sabbath if one's employer demands that schedule while, if, in the person's heart, that person would otherwise be in an attitude of worship of God. What list will quantify and qualify that? Moreover, if, while working, that person maintains a prayer to God in his heart, a cheerful, helpful attitude to others, and a readiness to perform as expected in his labors, how is that not worship as intended by God?
II.c.1 Suppose I purchase a car from a private owner, a junker truck for which I pay an agreed-upon $500. I give him cash; he gives me the truck, the keys, and the pink slip. I now possess the truck; he owns my $500. It’s a deal; we both get out of it what was expected. The only problem is that my $500 payment was made in counterfeit $20 bills, 25 of them. I have a commodity of value, but my seller has nothing of value. Now suppose that I was unaware of the counterfeit nature of my money, but find out later when my seller accuses me of fraud. Did I sin? In law, ignorance is no defense. It is called ignorantia juris non exccusat [ignorance of the law excuses not]. There are, indeed, exceptions, such as found in SCOTUS case Lambert v. California . However, United States v. Freed  found otherwise when the defendant should be reasonably expected to know his actions were regulated, and that case is now precedent. Yes, I committed a sin, both statutorily, and morally.
II.d Relative to my r2 rebuttal of Con’s argument that idolatry, atheism, and working on the Sabbath are not sins encompassed by pride, power, and possession, please review my commentary in r2, V, VI, & VII, inclusively, when taken in light of my rebuttal above, II.a – II.c.1, inclusive.
I await my opponent’s r3.
“Not understanding is not a rebuttal; it is not even a supportable argument.”
Hopefully, the voters have a better understanding of fauxlaw’s arguments than I did; if they too find them sometimes hard to make sense of and often irrelevant, my responses will probably seem valid.
(addressing arguments II.B, II.b.1, II.b.1.A) First, I gave three examples of things that violated the idea that all laws were based on the love of thy neighbor; my opponent is only addressing one. I also gave the examples of sinning against yourself and getting tattoos - my opponent drops these counterexamples.
Second, my opponent is addressing a strawman of my argument rather than my actual argument here. Don’t get me wrong, there is some truth to the idea that if Jesus really loved his neighbor, he’d be fine with them having the freedom to have sex with each other, but that’s not my whole point here.
My point here is as follows: my opponent says that all laws of the Bible are based on Love of thy Neighbor( the Second Commandment), and thus being kind can’t be a sin. When I gave those three counterexamples, my point wasn’t just that those examples ran contrary to the Second Commandment, but that they weren’t really motivated by the Second Commandment. My opponent isn’t addressing this.
My opponent’s point here might be that since Jesus said “all laws hang on Love of thy Neighbor” that any sin that involves an act of kindness cannot be a sin, this time the emphasis being on the conclusion of that statement rather than the justification. I think he’s trying to address my arguments regarding Athiesm and Working on the Sabbath not necessarily being a sin here.
A reminder of what Jesus said directly before the “all laws hang on Love of thy Neighbor” claim:
“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment”
Clearly, Atheism violates the First Great Commandment, and so obviously Atheism is a sin under all parameters. Therefore, even if an Athiest skips Church to help others, he is a sinner by virtue of being an Athiest and not loving the Lord. (I’ll defend my Working on the Sabbath counterexample later in this)
My opponent also assumes that Jesus performed miracles because he thought that the law didn’t apply to acts of kindness and not because, say, he didn’t think to performing miracles was a violation of the Sabbath.
Therefore, Atheism is always a Biblical sin but does not necessarily involve Possession (as I’ve proven in R3 and R2), making it possible to commit the sin of Atheism without Pride, Power, or Possession. This wins the debate by itself.
I quote what I said last round: