Author Topic: I think the question has been answered in scripture  (Read 4060 times)

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Offline Andy S.

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Re: I think the question has been answered in scripture
« Reply #29 on: February 23, 2013, 03:45:00 PM »
Hello everybody.  This is my first post and I am glad I found this forum. 

This passage in Lev. 21 was one of many passages I had a problem with when I was a Christian.  I found it hard to believe that YHWH would create people with a physical defect and then create an environment that oppresses, isolates and/or degrades these certain individuals.  I wondered why this loving God wouldn't want to include these individuals in this priestly service and maybe create an eleventh commandment that says to not look down on anybody with a physical defect.

When I was still a Christian I actually asked GotQuestions.org to explain Lev. 21 to me as I was wondering why YHWH is so intolerant towards individuals with defects. 

I was blown away by the answer.  The answer from GotQuestions.org was that the Hebrew word for blemish applies to both physical defects and/or moral stains.  He said, "this passage indicates a spiritual or moral blemish and not a physical blemish".  He said that God's primary concern has always been the heart of man so this must be interpreted as priests with moral or spiritual blemishes are not allowed to offer the food/sacrifice to YHWH.  I couldn't believe that this guy  spiritualized this passage because He couldn't think of His loving God as being intolerant with people with defects.

I turned to my handy "Ungers Bible Handbook" and couldn't believe that this commentary actually agreed with the gentleman from GotQuestions.org. 

The commentary states:  "Disabilities, such as lameness (defective walk), blindness (defective sight) and arrested growth (immaturity), barred one from priestly function.  These illustrated defects in a believer's life do not abrogate his position "in Christ" or his reception of grace, but they curtail his usefulness in ministry."

I love it how Christian apologists read the Bible literally when the text fits the God they want to worship but then they spiritualize passages such as Lev. 21 because they can't think of their God being intolerant of people with defects.

I would also like to know how crushed testicles could be interpreted figuratively into a moral or spiritual blemish.   
"The most detestable wickedness, the most horrid cruelties, and the greatest miseries, that have afflicted the human race, have had their origin in this thing called revelation, or revealed religion."
~Thomas Paine (The Age of Reason)

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Re: I think the question has been answered in scripture
« Reply #30 on: February 23, 2013, 04:29:28 PM »
Welcome Andy S.

I'm not a bible person, but I keep seeing examples like the ones you provided and yep, it all sounds strange to me too. If you stick around (and I hope you do) you will see that we encounter all sorts of christians, who have all sorts of interpretations for the bible. Well, they have one interpretation at a time. There are just a lot of them. Interpretations, I mean.

Makes for great fun.

If god is real, he is a dick. So I'm not going to worship him anyway. Can't. I've got this defect that keeps worshipping anyone.
Not everyone is entitled to their own opinion. They're all entitled to mine though.

Offline Nick

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Re: I think the question has been answered in scripture
« Reply #31 on: February 23, 2013, 04:46:06 PM »
Welcome Andy, I don't know the answer about crushed testicles but just saying those words makes me cringe.  I think that would be more than a blemish.  My screaming would be heard in the next county. :o
Yo, put that in your pipe and smoke it.  Quit ragging on my Lord.

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Offline Schizoid

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Re: I think the question has been answered in scripture
« Reply #32 on: February 23, 2013, 09:35:16 PM »
As an atheist at age 60 I am now absolutely sure there is no god which is interesting because for many years as a committed believer there was always a doubt in my mind about whether god existed, but I just suppressed those thoughts.  I studied the Bible in the original languages to really come to the core of what it actually said which is not a good thing to do if you want to remain a Christian.  Thinking and having an open mind are not good things either in order to stay a Christian.

The big thing I have learned about Christianity (that is the major religious force here in the U.S. and the one that has the most impact upon people's lives) and Christian apologists and unquestioning supporters is that you need to become very, very good at explaining things away in order to hold it all together, making it come out, and making sure that every situation is a heads, god wins, tails, god wins situation.

If you have faith and believe, then god will answer your prayers (except when he doesn't), but then the common response when a prayer isn't answered is that the answer was "no", or that you didn't have enough faith.  God knows best, but the game is rigged so god always wins.

Scripture is to be taken literally except when it doesn't work out well or fit with other scripture or that it doesn't work out well for god so he always is perfect, then it is to be taken spiritually, or metaphorically, or is a parable.  The duty of  a good Christian is to be able to explain away anything that does not fit in order to attempt to keep the Bible and god perfect.  It really is a tasking job if one is sincere about searching for the truth because it is a relentless assault upon logic and common sense.

Being a Christian puts me to mind of the opening lyrics of "D.W. Suite" by Lindsey Buckingham:

"If we go, go insane
We can all go together
In this wild, wanton world
We can all break down forever.."

(It's a great song, first heard it at the end of a Northern Exposure episode many years ago, it's just those opening lines reminds me so much of drinking the Christian Kool-Aide.)

Offline Andy S.

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Re: I think the question has been answered in scripture
« Reply #33 on: February 23, 2013, 09:48:22 PM »
Welcome Andy, I don't know the answer about crushed testicles but just saying those words makes me cringe.  I think that would be more than a blemish.  My screaming would be heard in the next county. :o

Nick, I couldn't agree with you more.  Crushed testicles is one "defect" that I would not like to have.  This "defect" seems a little superfluous in this passage because I don't think I could even walk, let alone carry the food to offer to YHWH if I had crushed testicles.  This forum should be called "Why won't God heal crushed testicles"!
"The most detestable wickedness, the most horrid cruelties, and the greatest miseries, that have afflicted the human race, have had their origin in this thing called revelation, or revealed religion."
~Thomas Paine (The Age of Reason)

Offline The Gawd

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Re: I think the question has been answered in scripture
« Reply #34 on: February 24, 2013, 01:01:54 PM »
It mustve been fairly common to have crushed testicles in that era for them to specifically name it out of all the possible defects. But if you think about whats currently happening in the church it all makes sense now.

Offline Schizoid

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Re: I think the question has been answered in scripture
« Reply #35 on: February 24, 2013, 03:55:37 PM »
It mustve been fairly common to have crushed testicles in that era for them to specifically name it out of all the possible defects. But if you think about whats currently happening in the church it all makes sense now.

pdf file, page 17 of 34

http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=5&ved=0CFoQFjAE&url=http%3A%2F%2Fdissertations.ub.rug.nl%2FFILES%2Ffaculties%2Ftheology%2F2007%2Fj.h.w.dorman%2Fc1.pdf&ei=mGYqUeavAonG2wXX-4HYBA&usg=AFQjCNGLE2Nx8znyQ5v0cwfh6NbjcZNL-A&sig2=5jC8YTJ2Che0nVbVgisn6A&bvm=bv.42768644,d.b2I

The last blemish in the list relates to a priest’s genitals:     
literally means, “one whose testicles are rubbed, crushed.”56 Although    
is a hapax, its meaning can be inferred from the Akkadian išku and the
Ugaritic ušk, meaning, “testicle.”57 It is interesting why Leviticus chose the
term      , and not, for example, for 
", “bruised and crushed
(testicles)” (Deut 23:2). The LXX translates     as 
, “having a
single testicle,” while it renders 
" in Deut 23:2 as  
,“eunuch.”
The interpretation by the LXX indicates, that it is very likely that there was
an important difference between these two forms of damaged testicles.
However, it is hard to determine the exact condition of testicles that are
“crushed.” Once could also ask, whether     must be understood as a
visible deformity or not.58

An explanation of a bodily deformity that can be interpreted as
crushed testicles is an ailment called testicular torsion.59 This is a very
painful affliction occurring mostly in males younger than 30 years old. In
testicular torsion the spermatic cord is twisted, obstructing the blood supply
to the testicle. Besides intense pain, it causes an enlargement of the testicle
and causes the scrotum to swell. If not cured within six to eight hours (which
was not yet possible in biblical times) the testicular torsion could lead to loss
of the affected testicle. In adolescent males, testicular torsion is the most
frequent cause of testicle loss.

The visibility of the loss of one testicle is not as obvious as the other
deformities listed here. Unless the priest who suffered from this deformity
was naked, the lack of one testicle would not be evident. Apparently, the
power of procreation was very important for Leviticus and men who did not
have unblemished sexual organs, were not considered holy enough to bring
offerings.

Offline Andy S.

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Re: I think the question has been answered in scripture
« Reply #36 on: February 24, 2013, 08:53:50 PM »
Schizoid you said, "Apparently, the power of procreation was very important for Leviticus and men who did not
have unblemished sexual organs, were not considered holy enough to bring
offerings."


This doesn't answer the most important question.  YHWH is obviously the judge of what is holy.  SO WHY IS IT THAT MEN WHO DID NOT HAVE UNBLEMISHED SEXUAL ORGANS NOT CONSIDERED HOLY ENOUGH TO BRING OFFERINGS? 

Lucky for me I got the answer from BibleQ.net today.  Here was there response to my question:

Question: Why are people with defects not allowed to offer sacrifices (Lev. 16-24)?

Answer:  One of the things that the Law taught was that God’s people should be holy because their God is holy (Lev. 11:44-45; 19:2; 20:26). As one commentator writes, ‘Be holy, for I am holy’ ‘could be termed the motto of Leviticus’.1 In truth, God wants his people to be morally holy: Peter explains God’s call to holiness like this: ‘…as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct’ (1 Peter 1:15). The Law taught this through very visual methods, one of which was by requiring the people who worked in the Tabernacle (and, later, the Temple) to be physically perfect (Lev. 21:16-2). The physical perfection represented (it was only a “shadow” of [cf. Heb. 10:1]) the moral perfection that should be in service to God.

Of course, God loves all people, regardless of their level of their physical “perfection” (thankfully! John 3:16; Mat. 21:14). But the lesson is still true: we should worship God in perfection.

Thankfully, God forgives people who repent (1 John 1:9). So, if we fail to be morally perfect, we can ask God to forgive us and he will. This is the only way that any human can really be perfect.



What a surprise!  Another ridiculous interpretation!  So I'm supposed to believe that crushed testicles are "only a 'shadow' of the moral perfection that should be in service to God (Heb. 10:1)".  These people had the honor to have crushed testicles in the Old Testament to pave the way and be a type or shadow of moral perfection that Christians are supposed to have today.  That makes complete sense!

Schizoid, you said it best:  "Scripture is to be taken literally except when it doesn't work out well or fit with other scripture or that it doesn't work out well for god so he always is perfect, then it is to be taken spiritually, or metaphorically, or is a parable.  The duty of  a good Christian is to be able to explain away anything that does not fit in order to attempt to keep the Bible and god perfect.  It really is a tasking job if one is sincere about searching for the truth because it is a relentless assault upon logic and common sense."

Actually I still think the most important question is "WHY WON'T GOD HEAL CRUSHED TESTICLES"?     
« Last Edit: February 24, 2013, 09:09:34 PM by Andy S. »
"The most detestable wickedness, the most horrid cruelties, and the greatest miseries, that have afflicted the human race, have had their origin in this thing called revelation, or revealed religion."
~Thomas Paine (The Age of Reason)

Offline Schizoid

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Re: I think the question has been answered in scripture
« Reply #37 on: February 24, 2013, 11:05:42 PM »
Schizoid you said, "Apparently, the power of procreation was very important for Leviticus and men who did not
have unblemished sexual organs, were not considered holy enough to bring
offerings."

To be clear, "I" didn't say that, I was just quoting.  It seemed a bit more scholarly explanation of the passage and the actual Hebrew did not c & p (not that most of us here could read it).

I  work for a religious organization that specializes is providing for the homeless (the red kettle one) and there are a couple of real life amputees who volunteer there so I've been able to pose the actual question about why won't god heal amputees.  Again, lots of explaining away and no satisfactory answer.  Mostly there's always the old tried and trite fall-back explanation:  "it's a mystery".