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 Scambaiting: Ethical for a Christian?

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full auto
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2007 7:15 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Born protestant, studied protestant theology for a long time (Calvin, MacAurthur, Luther, etc). I personally thinks it falls under the catagory of punishing evil doers. As a Christian we are not to judge others until we can judge ourselves and find out that we're not guilty (not going to happen in my book). However, you'll notice areas of the Bible where it talks about people such as soldiers and LEO's carrying the sword with a set purpose in that they are God's instrument of wrath/punishment. Notice I said instrument and not judge (big distinction). While we aren't exactly those types of officials, we are helping in an area of law that is not enforced enough. So I kind of take to the side of being an instrument such as the LEO (who sometimes must deceive in his line of work). I'll have to pull out the Bible and give you some chapter and verses in a PM.

I'll tell you what torques me in a religious sense about this game, is how the lads will claim Christian for their own means. Throws mud on a religion I follow in my own ways.

@ Zorro: No soldiers are not commited to eternal hell. Take a look at many of the Old Testament warriors such as King David. God has his uses for pacifists and warriors in his kingdom. I don't have a Bible on me at the moment, but the New Testament does also talk about those enforcing the law as brandishing the sword as God's instrument of punishment. (Oh the times you wish you had a Bible for chapter and verse).

Edit: Romans 13:1-5 might be a good verse to look at. I would see soldiers as a civil servant talked about in this verse.


Last edited by full auto on Mon Jun 11, 2007 8:12 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2007 7:15 am Reply with quoteBack to top

@Jedi If you can抰 find the answer within yourself then you might want to get some additional advice from a church official. You might be surprised how opened or flexible some of them can be. Not to mention if your church tells you its okay then you will feel better. If not then as SF said, if you抮e not comfortable with it don抰 do it. There are plenty of ways to help without scam baiting. I do hope you keep up the good fight, though.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2007 7:18 am Reply with quoteBack to top

full auto wrote:
@ Zorro: No soldiers are not commited to eternal hell. Take a look at many of the Old Testament warriors such as King David. God has his uses for pacifists and warriors in his kingdom. I don't have a Bible on me at the moment, but the New Testament does also talk about those enforcing the law as brandishing the sword as God's instrument of punishment. (Oh the times you wish you had a Bible for chapter and verse).


You really are going to get me into a discourse on the religious legitimization of violence. . . .

Trying . . . to . . . avoid . . . pontificating. . . .

--J.D.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2007 7:59 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Well, if you must go into it please send me a PM. I'd very much like to hear your stance on it.

I won't deny that wars have been started in the name of religion. I'm mainly trying to state ethics on the issue from a Christian theological stand point in order to give my opinion on the original issue. Sorry if I have offended you in some way.

edit: I'll give my quick opinion on religious violence. The minute someone points a gun my directions and says "believe this or die" will be the minute I fight for my life or die trying. It's a weak religion that takes that stand point. Hope I didn't go to far in that but I'll let the mods decide.
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2007 8:05 am Reply with quoteBack to top

I consider scambaiting a neutral ground. Where ethical issues and religion are set aside. Baiters should not be judged by techniques they use to bait.
The forum is here to help potential victims.

I see no borders to baiting. Each baiter is his own judge.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2007 8:16 am Reply with quoteBack to top

full auto wrote:
Well, if you must go into it please send me a PM. I'd very much like to hear your stance on it.


It is a subject of which I have much interest and, therefore, I have the temptation to blather on and on. There are fora for such discussions--just as their are sports fora for arguing about OBP, ERA, and other arcane trivia.

Nevertheless, a very useful introductory article is Collins' Presidential Addresss to the Society of Biblical Literature:

Quote:
Collins JJ, "The Zeal of Phinehas: The Bible and the Legitimation of Violence," JBL 120 (2003): 3-21.


which you can download through the Linkypoo.

I am more than happy to discuss this in PMs or on another section. I just think it "unfair" to have it in the "MAIN SCAMBAITING FORUM."

Quote:
I'm mainly trying to state ethics on the issue from a Christian theological stand point in order to give my opinion on the original issue. Sorry if I have offended you in some way.


You have not. Not at all. Seriously. It is just a subject I love to discuss on other fora.

Quote:
edit: I'll give my quick opinion on religious violence. The minute someone points a gun my directions and says "believe this or die" will be the minute I fight for my life or die trying. It's a weak religion that takes that stand point. Hope I didn't go to far in that but I'll let the mods decide.


It does not bother me. My only concern is that posters probably come HERE to post about baits or--as I do--read about them. They did not come for political, sports, religious discussions. I am more concerned about myself offending people.

--J.D.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2007 8:17 am Reply with quoteBack to top

I've consulted Rabbi Krustovski (aka Google) and he said this:

Quote:
What does God expect us to do about lying?

1. Hate it.
"A righteous man hates lying . . ." Pro. 13:5.

2. Do not respect those who lie.
"Blessed is that man that makes the Lord his truth, and respects not the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies." Psa. 40:4.

3. Avoid the company of liars.
"He that works deceit shall not dwell within my house: he that tells lies shall not tarry in my sight." Psa. 101:7.

4. Repent of lying. Never lie again.
"Remove from me the way of lying: and grant me your law graciously. I have chosen the way of truth: your judgments have I laid before before me. . . . I will run the way of your commandments, when you shall enlarge my heart." Psa. 119:29-32.

5. Tell the truth, with love.
"Let not mercy and truth forsake you: bind them around your neck; write them upon your heart:" Pro. 3:3.
"A faithful witness will not lie, but a false witness will utter lies." Pro. 14:5.

6. Tell God the truth.
"Hear the right, O Lord, attend unto my cry, give ear unto my prayer, that goes not out of feigned lips." Psa. 17:1.
"Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man sows, that shall he also reap." Gal. 6:7.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2007 8:22 am Reply with quoteBack to top

"But is it not also written":

Quote:
Lev 27:29: "No one devoted who is to be utterly destroyed from among men shall be ransomed; he shall be put to death."


Baiters are not actually going so far.

Or . . . should they?

--J.D.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2007 8:25 am Reply with quoteBack to top

@Jedi_Night. Maybe you could devise your own brand of scambaiting that does not conflict with your faith.

We know that lads often display strong religious belief. You could build upon the technique you used when trying to appeal to that lad抯 conscience to steer him away from his chosen career.

If they have had a Christian upbringing, then holding a discourse with you on the morality of their actions would, at the very least, give the lad cause for some internal conflict. You抎 be revealing that you know it抯 a scam but the real challenge would be keeping the dialogue going.

I know that many of these lads are scum and beyond redemption and that this approach might appear unrealistically ambitious. But then again, I would never have believed it would be possible for those talented baiters to send them on safaris or get them to make carvings, let alone jumping off a roof or setting themselves alight, if I hadn抰 seen it here.

If you could pull off a bait that resulted in one scammer taking early retirement, then that really would be a worthy trophy.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2007 10:19 am Reply with quoteBack to top

The danger is that you get a one-sided view of things as here we deal mainly with the scammers, and many of them are as charming and amusing, as conmen the world over have found it is necessary to be, to become successful.

A visit to a site for aiding and comforting victims will give anyone who has doubts a more complete view.

Personally, if scammers come my way, they get what's coming, and I have no moral concern whatsoever, though I consider that I have very high personal moral standards.

At the moment I am being scammed by a cheque fraudster who wants me to collect money from donors to his charity, which is the fake of a real one, aiding the sick, poor and dying in Africa. I will be neither kind nor merciful, and I will feel blessed for being so.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2007 10:25 am Reply with quoteBack to top

^^^^Kudos.

--J.D.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2007 11:09 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Gomer wrote:
Quote:
At the moment I am being scammed by a cheque fraudster who wants me to collect money from donors to his charity, which is the fake of a real one, aiding the sick, poor and dying in Africa. I will be neither kind nor merciful, and I will feel blessed for being so.


My vote is with you Gomer. Twisted Evil


Isn't the best place for a debate on this subject, the General Forum ?
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2007 12:31 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

If I am not mistaken, there are instances in the Bible where people were awarded favour from God because of helping out his people, when the means used were not necessarily the most honest. I think a fine example might be Jonathan and David. I think you have to take a look at the motive behind things such as this.

Take a much more serious, extreme example- the Holocaust. Now, people were giving refuge to the Jewish, hiding them from the Nazis. Now, had they been asked if they were hiding anyone, would they have ethically been obligated to say yes? I think not. So, while technically they were telling a lie, you have to look at the whole picture. Are you doing it out of selfish motive or do you have a legit reason to do so, that does not serve selfish ambitions.

Now, by no means am I comparing the attemped genocide of a group of people to what we do, but I was using the situation for comparative, logical purposes and to illustrate a point. I hope I have done so.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2007 12:58 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Us atheists have an easy time of it, don't we?

Jedi, I would say what I always say in the ethics debate. Just do what you are comfortable with.
I've never had a religious thought in my life, so it's easy for me to say, but... What's the worst that could happen to you?

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2007 1:22 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Jedi_Night wrote:
... I scambaited a guy last year ...


Well, either repent and save your soul, or get on the crusade and do God's work. However, don't expect the scammers to take the missionary part too seriously.

Btw, I would like to mention that I'm very surprised that a good righteous Christian would be using such a appallingly heathen user name (the power be with you, bro), but that's beside the point. Wink
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2007 1:32 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Take a lad down, God will love you for it Wink

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2007 2:24 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Interesting thread.

For the record I am a believer and it's rare for me to miss church on Sunday. My closest friends are also Christian and have never had a problem with me scambaiting....one of them actually encourages me.

These days, I do mainly check baits, and fraud isn't being committed since I'm not cashing the checks. I'm not doing these types of baits because of ethical concerns, I'm doing them because these are the types of baits that fascinate me the most.

One way to look at this question is this: would it be OK for a Christian police officer to go online and pose as a 13 year old girl in order to smoke out sex predators? Now, we can argue that it's his job, and if he's serving his employer he's serving the Lord.....and none of us here are being paid to scambait, so we can't exactly use that excuse.

However, I look at what we do as volunteer work, and running interference to save victims from losing thousands of dollars. Somebody somewhere was saved some money because I wasted a scammer's time, time that that scammer didn't have available for a victim. Costs that I saved the victim are impossible to calculate for those non-check baits that I've done. At the same time, I am being educated, and I'm using that education to tell people exactly how the scammers operate and what kind of scams they are doing. Have I prevented a scammer from fleecing someone? I don't know, but I will still use what I learn to help others.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2007 3:50 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Since I'm Christian and have never been another religion, I'll confine my comments to that viewpoint.

I'll chime in. I'm Christian, (I'm the church pianist, a Sunday School teacher, the whole nine yards) and I don't have a problem scambaiting. I'm the suck at lying. Even polite lying. I don't even do "Why, yes, that really is a lovely hat you're wearing, of course I would love to have another piece of coconut pie"-grade lies very well.

I liken scambaiting to other safety-related situations where you have absolutely no ethical obligation to be truthful. Just as you wouldn't expect a kid answering the phone to admit (s)he's home alone for the next 20 minutes, or for a homeowner to advertise they're on vacation for a week, or a woman walking alone down a dark alley to shout out how much cash she has in her purse to the would-be mugger, I feel I have no ethical obligation to be honest about what I'm doing or who I am when a thief contacts me out of the blue with a rank lie in an attempt to steal from me. My preacher has also stated that he has no problem telling a "white lie" when he's confronted with a big, scary hitchhiker who just might be escaping from prison...

I largely got into scambaiting because I detest the way lads twist and use "religion" (I use the term only loosely with lads, since they only give the barest of lip service to the concept.) to manipulate others and "justify" what they do. Scammers regularly go into the church and give tithes and pray for "good magas". They use Jesus and God's name to back up and swear by when they pull their scams. They'll tell you the most incredibly obvious lies and swear in Jesus's name they're being honest.

They don't care if they're stealing your last dollar, or if they're lying through their teeth about their situation in order to convince a good, honest Christian to bankrupt themselves on a bunch of false promises. I regularly play a Christian victim. Think they ever "repent" and tell me the truth or decline to try to steal my money? Hasn't happened in all my months of scambaiting. Lads, from what I can tell, seem to think God's blessing them when they manage to steal successfully, that he's condoning their behavior. They selectively edit the Bible rather ruthlessly. They'll only "repent" if they think there's money in it, generally speaking.

You can probably tell them to turn to Jesus all you want, but you're largely wasting your breath. I bet a solid majority of the lads you bait are regular churchgoers already. They *think* they're already "good Christians". If the regular Sunday preaching isn't already covering "Thou shalt not steal" to their satisfaction, I doubt an email from a faceless stranger who represents nothing but profit is going to make much of an impact. Not making any money at trying to steal just might.

To sum up, if ever there were a group of people who needed to hear Harry Emerson Fosdick's admonition that "God is not a cosmic bellboy for whom we can press a button to get things.", it's lads. Love their neighbor as themselves, they do not. Besides scambaiting, I also volunteer in a victim support role for scam victims.

If baiting hadn't already convinced me, more than a year solid of corresponding with people who were manipulated and robbed of money they couldn't afford to lose would. Lads won't hesitate to be whatever religion you like when there's money involved. They'll convert at the drop of a hat if they think it will convince you to send money. I'm seeing more and more Muslim victims who send everything they can muster to a smooth-talking scammer largely because Muslims aren't supposed to be able to lie to other Muslims. They can't conceive of someone claiming to be a good Muslim deliberately lying to them to steal from them. Think the scammers care? Not a bit. Not even the ones who actually are Muslim.

Call me crazy, but I think when a person's self-initiated introduction to me involves breaking at least two of the Ten Commandments, (And I'm being generous at that. I should probably be counting three, minimum, as the lads covet any money that isn't in their pockets...) that releases me from the obligation to be honest, just as it would if some exceedingly creepy man out in the hall who had "nutcase murderer" written all over him asked me if I am staying at the hotel alone and which room I'm in.

I don't even seed guestbooks in order to attract lads. I only bait scammers who land in my inbox of their own volition. They choose to try to rob me or one of my alter egos.

However, as others said, that level discomfort with the idea indicates you're probably not ready to bait. But you can still assist by killing fake websites or even just posting formats you receive. There are plenty of ways to help the cause without doing anything you don't enjoy.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2007 4:22 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

If you don't feel comfortable with baiting, then as suggested go onto educating others or taking down banks etc. I have great respect for those like the quaker ambulance service in the first world war who would not fight but were in the frontline doing something just as useful.
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2007 4:53 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Go with the Old Testament, eye for an eye (lie for a lie) tooth for a tooth (bait for a scam)

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Location: The place i live in


PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2007 6:04 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Well i think it's perfectly possible to bait without even lying, but most baits will strand early. You can really send him a 10K if he produces a Wackabii Singularis for you, as he never can Smile It is merely a play with words, and if you're looking at words you can twist them as such that they fit your doings. If you look at intentions however, things become fishy, and i think you intend to deceive him, as he would do to you.

Explainable in many ways, as the bible tells me to wage war on our foes (especially First Testament), and turn the other cheek if you get hit (mostly Second part). In this case you would continue helping liars and false people by sending a second WU-transfer, as they have proven not to learn from it. You will have to make a decision, and if you can't justify your actions, just dont. In our war against these scammers we need people educated, on both sides of the front, because fighting will bring us only so far. My thoughts only, as a non-believer Wink

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jreh
Master Baiter


Joined: 30 Sep 2004
Posts: 197
Location: Iqaluit, Nunavut (F'king Cold Up Here!)


PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2007 6:16 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

I'd equate this whole lying thing to a person who is harbouring jews, but lies about it when the nazis come to their door and asks if there are any jews present. Did that person do anything wrong?

If I can annoy a scammer enough to go straight (even if it cost him $85 to courier me a fake cheque) and thus, save some innocent grandmother from sending them everything she has, did I do anything wrong?

I think that the intent of why the lie was told would be a factor.

JREH

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kleindoofy
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Joined: 24 Oct 2004
Posts: 6248
Location: Europe


PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2007 6:40 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Since this whole thing is getting philosophical re what constitutes lying, theoretically speaking, this avatar is a lie:

Image

It implies something that is not true.

Ok, it's a joke.

So that's ok? Really?

If so, then why is lying in a scambait a probem?

Every single statement made by a 419 scammer is a lie. A lie told with the purpose of stealing money.

Every answer from a scambaiter is an aswer to a lie. How can an answer to a lie be a lie? How would one answer a lie with a truth, except to say "you are a thief"?

So, we can view scambaiting as a joke, since it addresses something that doesn't exist, i.e. the millions.

Hence scambaiting is like the avatar quoted above. A joke and certainly not an ethical or religious issue.
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Slightlyoutofit
Baiting Guru


Joined: 13 Feb 2007
Posts: 14310
Location: Foraging for Nuts.


PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2007 6:48 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

I don't tell lies when I scambait. I tell fibs.

Lieing is perverting the truth. Fibbing is merely concealing it. Very Happy

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jojobean
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Joined: 01 Dec 2005
Posts: 7586
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2007 6:51 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

In case you are a mathminded person, or logical, I'll do this in mathematical proof form...

Let (+) be equal to the truth. Let (-) be equal to a lie. Always assume that everything that comes from a scammer is a lie.

Situation 1- A scammer tells a real victim a lie. The real victim responds with truth.

(-) * (+) = (-)

OUTCOME for Situation 1: Negative. When the scammer provides a lie to a real victim, then the victim repsonds with truth, the only product/outcome can only be a negative one.

Situation 2- A scammer tells a baiter a lie. The baiter responds with a lie.

(-) * (-) = (+)

OUTCOME for Situation 2: Positive. The only possible way to get anything positive from a scammer is to provide him with equivalent rubbish. The only way to provide a positive outcome to anything a scammer touches is by providing him with negative information.

So, I hope this makes sense. I have just shown using math and logic diagrams that this is the absolute only choice you have. The only other alternative is to do nothing, which would then give you a neutral result.

Laughing

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