I received the following message — with the subject of “comment on responsibility and luck, praise and blame” — via email a bit ago. Thinking that it referred to my new book — Responsibility & Luck: A Defense of Praise and Blame — I tried to read it.
Honestly, I didn’t get very far. By all means, try for yourself… perhaps you’ll do better than me.
———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Jay Chawla
Date: Wed, Oct 30, 2013 at 8:20 PM
Subject: comment on responsibility and luck, praise and blame
whenever a person sins, god punishes them. intellectually, men tend to respond to prompt and clear punishments, and to severe punishments. sometimes, god punishes promptly and severely. that is up to god, not man. jesus said that the victims of the random tragedy/disaster were no worse than other men; but do not sin so that the same does not happen to you. the wages of sin is death, and life is purchased by jesus on the cross.
if a person shoplifts and is very careful and clever, then in most contexts the person will not be caught. but sometimes the person will be ‘unlucky’ and be caught, be reported, be prosecuted, and be punished under criminal law. that is bad luck. but just because it usually takes bad luck to suffer tragedy from shoplifting does not mean one should do it. god punishes all theft.
if you get really drunk and drive at twice the speed limit past intersections where cars might come out in front of you, then you have sinned. if you suffer the tragedy of killing someone, that is bad luck. but god punishes all sin; and sometimes he inflicts tragedy, even if not outwardly connected to any particular sin, as in the case of a collapse of a tower people happen to be in at the time. (but the engineers sinned!)
the hebrews do not assign themselves any responsibility towards gentiles except through false laws constantly rewritten and bypassed and ignored by themselves (and they selectively enforce those laws.) but god requires love of man from all those who he will not destroy in hell. and even the jews who do not constantly work to make their actions good for all men cannot be protected by law — they will go to hell. however, god generally does not inflict prompt tragedy on them, just as he does not inflict prompt tragedy on satan. but god does punish satan (cursing him to lick the dust, promising to cast him down to earth, into a pit, into hell, to make him beneath even those he abused) and god does punish the jews occasionally, even severely, and even the jews fear those mysterious forces that seem to be jealous of the lives of gentiles, those inexplicable forces, those forces which cannot be understood by reasonable jews.
god is no respecter of persons, and god gives heaven to those who bear fruit for him, who trade for his gain, who have oil for their lamp, who have faith to make his seed grow, who love him. and god punishes all, and god pays the price on the cross for those who take up their cross and follow him. jesus does not violate the law, the whole law, but he offends the jews.
the jews know that there are some things that must result in death. they include gathering firewood on saturday, usurping the priesthood, being a gentile, and worshipping any god other than the physical jewflesh (as jesus did). every man has an understanding of law, and only those who follow jesus understand the whole law, and they know that all praise is for jesus, that all things god does are just, that all harms that befall man are his own responsibility, and that there is no such thing as luck — only the will of god. the christian takes responsibility to bear his cross and do the will of god, and is given greater responsibility. all others take responsibility for themself, and they go down to hell. luck cannot deliver, nor can it deny.