Good Morning kaziglu bey,
Good cold morning that is. We had spring like weather through the new year. Now it’s making up for it!
It has been a crazy winter here too. Normally, we would be buried under snow right now, but it was like 50 degrees today. Booo. I like my seasons to occur when they are supposed to dammit!
That certainly could be true. It could also be true that these are the ways people understood God. It makes sense that if a people anthropomorphized (wow, that is a word!) God, who they believed was not human and did not have a body, then they would also anthropomorphize his behavior. They might see something that was planned by God and interpret that as reactionary. People do that to each other. Why not to God?
If they did, then God wanted it to be in the Bible that way. But why would he do that? Why would he want to give an impression that he is something he isn’t? Well, if we allow the Christian paradigm, then every impression that we have about God is not what he is. He is something outside of our universe, our existence. We can’t understand what it means to be omniscient, omnipotent, eternal, etc. Even to say those words is inadequate because, as we’ve discussed, our understanding of those words is necessarily incomplete.
If we are not even able to understand such qualities, how are we able to assign them to anything? How an we recognize these as characteristics of God, if we are so hopelessly incapable of even understanding what they mean?
Also, I disagree. Words exist because people make and use them to describe things, places, events, etc. Our understanding of those words is complete, because we made the words up.
I have a pretty good idea what all powerful is. It's really not that ambiguous. And if such language is not adequate to represent or understand God, why did God choose it as the primary means of communicating his message?
This goes back to my original point. Why would God have planned that so badly? Of course, you will likely say that god planned it perfectly, and that I, being imperfect, am not able to comprehend his perfection in doing so (even though it obviously didn't work well, or there wouldn't be so many different versions of the Bible, not all saying the same thing) or some other fiddle faddle. Fine, then how do you KNOW that God's plans, though apparently at times flawed, are in fact perfect? You are saying that humans anthropomorphize characteristics onto God (we agree on something!) but aren't we supposed to be created in his image? Wouldn't any characteristics that we then possess also be possessed by the God who created us in his image? Shouldn't we hold God to a slightly higher standard?
But why those impressions and those images? If we look at the Bible as a whole, we see that those images are scattered mostly through the Old Testament and the first parts of the Old Testament. Those are the images because that’s how the people thought. That is the world they lived in.
A better question in my opinion would be "Why is an all powerful entity limited to the pathetic means of some tribal herdsmen in the Bronze Age?" Sure it was the world they lived in. But God would obviously not be bound by any limits as to how he could operate. I've said before, why didn't God send Stealth Bombers to take out pharaoh and his chariots? There are so many other ways God could deal with situations, but he chooses to deal with them on the barbaric, inhumane, blood thirsty, and primitive level as his followers. Which leads me to believe that God is an INVENTION of his alleged followers, as a means for the tribal elders to maintain control and power.
It makes sense that God would use what he had to teach the people,
Come on, for an all powerful dude, given his behavior as described in his book, he doesn't try very hard. He teaches the people vengeance, genocide, misogyny and division.
and that he would relate to them on their level. God’s been doing that all along. The greatest example is when Jesus was made flesh and God became man.
But why did he wait SO long? Aften Adam and Eve, and Abraham and Isaac, and Moses, Joshua, Aaron, etc etc, how many thousands of years did it take God to come up with a fairly mundane way of "saving" mankind from God? Did a light bulb suddenly go off in God's head, and say 'Aha! that's it! I can make myself in human form and offer myself as a sacrifice (to myself, to appease my own anger, wrath and vengeance all because two people ate off of a tree that they weren't supposed to, even though I, in my perfect wisdom, lied to them about it). How original and inspired. No God had ever done such a thing before Jesus became flesh. Oh wait.... divine birth, death, resurrection and redemption have been religious themes like, since the beginning of religion. It's not even something that it unique to Yahweh.
There are also places in that part of the Bible where God is understood as eternal and unchanging. There are more as time in the Bible goes on, indicating a maturity of thinking.
But if God was inspiring the bible writers, why did it have to wait for a maturity of thinking? Was God's thinking immature? Or was he not able to over-ride the ignorance of the writers? Can you see where I am having issues here? I just don't get how something would be God inspired, and yet increasing in maturity, if God is unchanging. If God's influence moved the pens of the writers, he could have assured that his unchanging wisdom were present from the beginning, rather than coming around later as an afterthought. God's word should start with the same perspective as it ends, if the ultimate author is unchanging.
Some of those examples seem to have been teaching moments. When God told Abraham what he was planning with Sodom, Abraham bargained with God for the lives of the people in Sodom. Did God change his mind along the way? No. Rather he was teaching Abraham the value of life and the magnitude of sin.
SO God is like a mafia boss, showing a new recruit what happens to those who cross his path. Death, destruction, punishment. Always punishment, always something bad has to happen to make God happy. The only way for God to combat evil is by committing greater evil. Again, don't you see why this is an issue for me?
Please explain how the verse does not give that interpretation.
Not being angry with someone does NOT mean "don't rape them". Rape is an important issue. Yet Jesus does not say "Thou shalt not rape". He doesn't even condemn slavery. He doesn't say that Moses et al were wrong for the mass rape of the Midianite females. Also, suppose you are right, and it prohibits any form of anger, violence, etc against anyone (again, I don't agree with this position, just for example sake). Why does God exhibit these behaviors and characteristics in abundance? God is Jealous, god is angry, god is wrathful, god commits violence and murder and genocide and orders rape and enslavement. It's all there in the Bible. No person has ever murdered the entire population of the Earth (except one family). Only God is that evil.
“Argument from Amazing Familiarity”? I have to learn these names. They seem like fun.
Indeed, they are. Here are a few links for your consideration. http://www.don-lindsay-archive.org/skeptic/arguments.html
Amazing familiarity is when the person is arguing something from a position that they can't possibly know. Anything outside of "this existence" is outside of your existence, meaning that it is entirely unknown to you. You can't even know THAT it exists or not, let alone that it exists "outside of" this existence.
Your logic about them going to hell seems sound, the early Church Fathers even wrestled with this topic. But, as they found, it’s not sound when you look at the big picture. Jesus taught the great mercy and love of God. In fact, God is love. That’s his very nature. Starting from there, it’s logical that he would have accounted for the good people who went before him. I haven’t read these parts of the Church Fathers recently, but it’s there if you’d like to.
But no where does it say that all people who lived before Jesus DIDN'T go to hell. There's no reason to believe they didn't. Honestly, if they didn't, what would be the point of Jesus coming, if not to provide a means to prevent that? Even if those in Hell who were worthy ascended with Jesus, they still had to suffer a lot more than your average Christian, and they DIDN'T HAVE A CHOICE. They couldn't believe in a savior Jesus that wasn't yet known. They couldn't even reject him. And if it's logical to believe that God would have accounted for the good people who came before Jesus (in other words, judge them for their being good rather than having faith) then it is also logical that God could just continue that arrangement since it already rewards the just and punishes the evil, no blind subservience or human sacrifice required. Yet AGAIN we see a case where God had to come up with a cruel way involving suffering bloodshed and death, instead of doing something that would be more just. Because now, even if you are a good person, if you don't believe in Jesus, you go to hell. 3,000 years ago you would have got a get out of jail free card. So much for your "unchanging" god.
I guess we’ll find out at the end, won’t we.
I can't accept that at all. If believer's can't even come to a consensus about their own stuff, why should I buy into it? Especially since, so far, the only reason believers in any region come to a consensus is bloodshed and eliminating the opposition. Even though, it develops into a denomination, and is not united with the rest of their sheep brethren.
Why bother spreading Christianity? Because knowing God and loving God is so much better than ignorance of him.
Really? How could we demonstrate that statement in the real world? Are staving children with HIV in primitive regions of Africa "better off" if they are aware of Jesus? A lot of the current problems in Africa are BECAUSE Christianity came there and claimed it as its own? Are they better off than they would have been if Christian nations hadn't colonize and subjected them?
The logic in that paragraph is like saying that it’s better to not love at all, than to love and have your heart broken. I don’t believe that. It seems that those who do have closed their heart to other people.
If God is love, why does he kill SO MANY PEOPLE!?!?! God is not necessary for love. Are you saying that those who are not Christians have never experienced love? I really hope not, that would just be lunacy.
Sure. Sorry about that. (Actually, I had to go back and read the last few posts because I had forgotten where I was going! You gotta love it.) We’re talking about Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden and punishment or consequences. I wanted to show the logic within the Catholic framework of what I’m saying. However, you have to be able to assume the Catholic framework. I know you don’t and I’m not asking you to believe it or agree with it or even to assume it for very long. I’ll go ahead, though.
Actually having been raised Catholic I can "assume" the Catholic Framework. It's not foreign to me, I just don't agree with it. But if you wish to argue from that perspective, I would be familiar.
Our ancestors were going along, evolving quietly in their natural earthly life, when God picks two proto-humans and gives them souls, i.e. makes them in his image and likeness. They now have not only their natural life that they already had, but also have a supernatural life of divine presence and grace. Amazing thing. They “walk with God” and he is very close to them. These two then have their obedience tested and, unfortunately, they fail the test. Because they failed, i.e. disobeyed God, God removes himself from them, or removes them from himself, same thing. Now they don’t have the divine presence or the original grace that they once enjoyed. They are returned to their previous state, almost. They still have their immortal souls and are still elevated above the animals.
I don't remember the Catholic church I went to ever teaching that there were a bunch of people, and that God just gave Adam and Eve a part of himself, making them special. It was always my understanding that having created the heavens and earth and all that jazz, God wanted something representative of himself on earth, and made man from the dust, and woman from his rib. They were the pride of his creation. I don't remember anything about "our ancestors" walking around with Adam and Eve before God gave them some upgrades. Furthermore, God says that because of this, all will be cursed with original sin (again, this is all according to what I was taught in church, and yes, I payed attention!). It's not until Jesus' time that God chills out and decides to give us an escape clause. Also, if Adam and Eve failed, and God created them, doesn't that mean that God himself failed? If I design a car, and it doesn't work, do I blame the car, or myself for not designing it properly?
You could call it punishment. I see that.
Yes I do, especially when all of the rest of the people have to experience the consequence of the failures of two people. God could have given any one of your proto humans a chance to see if they could get it right. He could have judged each individual based on their own merits.
I also see it as a consequence of failing the test of character.
A test that only two people failed. Again, why not give the rest of us a chance? Let me guess, you will say that with Jesus, we all have a chance.
They lost part of what they had gained. Have you heard of the parenting theory of “natural and logical consequences”? You probably have. That’s how I think of it. It’s like if I give my son a new iPhone and tell him that he can keep it as long as he takes care of it. But then he doesn’t take care of it and so I take it away. I understand calling it punishment. That’s just not the way I think of it.
But responsible behavior is something learned from experience. I hardly consider one chance as qualifying for experience. Your son also has a reasonable expectation that he might one day, whether through good behavior or by becoming old enough, acquire another iPhone. Adam and Eve didn't get that chance, did they?
Two things. First, it’s a clear distinction between what we can do on our own, what we can do when commanded by God, and what God can do. The three are not the same.
SO what is "right" depends on whether or not God is having a tantrum today? Again, I need to know then, how do we discern the difference between who is being commanded by God to do evil, who is doing evil of their own accord, and what evil is wrought directly by God?
Second, and I think this is one of the biggest things that posters in this forum miss, Jesus, as the Son of God, is the fullest revelation of the Father. All of God’s revelation is to be read in the light of Christ.
Ok then, mass rape, slavery and murder is read... how?
We start then with Jesus and his message of repentance, forgiveness, love, mercy, and his actions of, for example, allowing himself to be crucified for our sake. Given that, we look back at the Old Testament and ask if our reading of the OT coincides with our understanding of the Father as revealed to us by Jesus. Where it doesn’t, we then ask how our reading of the OT is incorrect, and we try to gain a deeper understanding of what the OT reveals to us. (We discuss this again below.)
Again, in what way does being crucified for our sake bring any understanding to the motives of a violent murderer? We miss that on this forum because it doesn't make sense. Jesus talks about love and forgiveness and repentance. Is this God's repentance for the evil he has committed? Why did God not show forgiveness when he killed every living thing on earth (except the alleged contents of the ark)? Why does God have such high expectations of us, but he can't meet them himself? When does God turn the other cheek? He pursues his enemies with blood lust. What kind of example is he setting? The do as I say, not as I do, kind.
You guys keep bringing up these parts of the OT that are troublesome, and I agree that they are when you do not look at them through the revelation of Christ.
Please then explain to us how mass rape, genocide and slavery are not troublesome with the revelation of Christ.
That’s why your complaints don’t bother me. On the other hand, if the way you read the OT (without Jesus) were the right way to read the OT, then I’d be on your side, but it’s not and it never has been.
But the participants in the OT did not have Jesus, why shouldn't we read it without Jesus? Why is Jesus an afterthought? Did God say "Oh gee, I've been a dick, maybe I should try to do something about it so I can play the victim?" It sure seems like it.
The freethoughtpedia article you gave got its information from “Denise Golumbaski, Research Analyst, Federal Bureau of Prisons, compiled from up-to-the-day figures on March 5th, 1997.” I can find lots of pages that cite her, but not anything that actually shows the original study. Being a statistician I want to see the methods, variables, raw data, etc. I also went to the Bureau of Justice Statistics and tried to find statistics and couldn’t. I find it very interesting how much discussion there is on the topic, but very little actual data out there.
Assuming that Denise Golumbaski’s data is real and correct, I will gladly concede the point to you. Thank you for sharing the information.
I will have to see if I can find anything else.
I sincerely apologize. You made your conclusion based on the best data we have. I should not have jumped to my own conclusion.
Hey, we all make mistakes.
Hmm, let’s be accurate. The text (Numbers 31) does not say there was a mass rape of their young women/girls.
Oh sure, it doesn't explicitly say there was. Just says that the men were to take the virgins for themselves as spoils of war. That really doesn't imply good intentions, if you ask me.
To be honest, I don’t know the answer.
Then how can you tell us our interpretation is wrong? If by accepting Jesus and all that, you are still no nearer an answer to as painful of a question as this, what better off are you than a non-believer, who doesn't even think it likely that such events actually happened as depicted?
As far as I know, no one does.
Doesn't that bother you at all? If NO ONE knows, in spite of all of the billions of people who have Christ in their corner, then what difference does it make?
That doesn’t mean there isn’t an answer; we just don’t understand it yet.
You're sounding like a scientist here. The problem for me is that the method you have proposed to understanding such texts (interpreting them in the light of Jesus) fails, by your own admission, to explain such texts.
To read the text from our perspective it is very difficult to reconcile. But we have to take a few things into account. You’ve likely heard these before, but let me list the ones I know of here.
We have to understand that the Bible books are a history, but not the kind of history we understand today. The actual events that, for example, established Israel on the soil of Palestine were much more complex than we read in the Bible. John Bright’s book, “A History of Israel” is a fascinating coverage of the many schools of thought on this topic.
Another thing for us to understand is the character, behavior and standards of the people in the Ancient Near East, particularly with regards to war and conquest, rules and laws. We have to look at the Israelite behavior with respect to the context of the times. What looks barbarous to us may have been a moral improvement. When God reveals himself to humans, he is understood in the terms of the times. To Bronze Age people he will likely be understood in Bronze Age terms. For example, herem – the ancient Semitic practice of slaying everybody and everything in a village may be seen as, ironically, a pious act (“See Lord! I’m keeping nothing for myself!” or “I’m keeping our faith and our culture pure.”) Horrible in our time, but not then.
I'm seriously laughing out loud. Please explain to me how the situation in the Current Near East is any different than the situation in the Ancient Near East, except with Grenade Launchers and AK-47's instead of Iron chariots and spears. Also, this contradicts your unchanging God hypothesis, as God apparently changes to fit whatever standard exists at the time. Convenient. Isn't it more likely that people created God, and that his morals have instead evolved along with our own?
With our children, we choose to reveal certain things about life to them a little at a time. As they grow older and learn more, then we reveal more. I don’t teach my 3 year old how to run a household, but my 17 year old knows more. I don’t teach calculus or Shakespeare to a second grader. In the same way God has revealed more and more of himself over time. Back then it was one thing, later on it was more, and so on.
Why would God wait? why reveal himself simply in the context of the times, even if it was primitive and barbaric, when he instead could have taught the primitive and barbaric people how to NOT be primitive and barbaric?