If I’m not with you, am I against you? Yes and no.

April 21, 2008 | By | 2 Replies More

What’s it mean to be neutral?  Is it possible to be neutral?  I referred to the trusty Bible for guidance:

Matthew 12:30: “He that is not with me is against me.”

Mark 9:40: “For he that is not against us is on our part.”

OK . . .

BTW, there are numerous other contradictions in the Good Book.  For instance, you are commanded to both love and disrespect your parents.   Here are dozens of other pointed contradictions to consider (gathered by the Skeptics Annotated Bible).

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About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

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  1. Monica says:

    Erich, thank you for pointing this out. I'm not so sure this is a contradiction. I believe that these two passages are talking about two very different situations, and as far as it applies to your question of whether neutrality is possible, I believe the Bible would say it is not. If I am not on God's side, then I am his enemy; or conversely, if I am on God's side, then I am not his enemy. Below is some context and commentary.

    Mark 9

    38 "Teacher," said John, "we saw a man driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us." 39 "Do not stop him," Jesus said. "No one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me, 40 for whoever is not against us is for us.

    Matthew 12

    24 But when the Pharisees heard this, they said, "It is only by Beelzebub, the prince of demons, that this fellow drives out demons." 25 Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, "Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand. 26 If Satan drives out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then can his kingdom stand? 27 And if I drive out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your people drive them out? So then, they will be your judges. 28 But if I drive out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. 29 "Or again, how can anyone enter a strong man's house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man? Then he can rob his house. 30 "He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters.

    Matthew Henry Complete Commentary on the Whole Bible

    Matthew 12:30

    It is here intimated, that this holy war, which Christ was carrying on with vigour against the devil and his kingdom, was such as would not admit of a neutrality (v. 30), He that is not with me is against me. In the little differences that may arise between the disciples of Christ among themselves, we are taught to lessen the matters in variance, and to seek peace, by accounting those who are not against us, to be with us (Lu. 9:50); but in the great quarrel between Christ and the devil, no peace is to be sought, nor any such favourable construction to be made of any indifference in the matter; he that is not hearty for Christ, will be reckoned with as really against him: he that is cold in the cause, is looked upon as an enemy.

  2. Erich Vieth says:

    Monica: Thanks for the elaboration.

    This idea of whoever is not for me is against me does seem incredibly arrogant. That is why I raised it. Why make enemies out of the uncommitted. It suggests that those who are not convinced must act as though they are convinced or they will suffer the consequences.

    That's strategy of writing off people who are not "for" you seems utterly uncivilized to me. I have tremendous respect for those who aren't willing to commit to a position because they honestly don't know. http://dangerousintersection.org/2007/09/05/i-don… I think that the world would be better with a lot more agnostics (not just religious agnostics). When the "I don't know" position is nurtured, it can sprout into a sense of wonderment. This is not true for those who assume unwarranted positions of certitude.

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