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I feel obliged to point out that at this point, Israel still wanders in the wilderness, and haven't settled into the north or south yet.

I have no idea what you are talking about.  But no need to elaborate.  I gather this is not a main point of discussion.

I see "Elohim" meaning "Mighty One" and "Yahweh" meaning "I AM" or "I will become" as being names of the same God.

Sure you do.  That is a very common misconception that has been propagated for about 2500 years.  But don't feel bad about it.  You are hardly to blame.  Let me help correct you. 

Elohim means "the lords", not "mighty one".[1]  In fact, it is the exact opposite of "one".  It is plural of El.  El was the chief god and father - think of Zeus or Odin - of a whole pantheon of canaanite gods.  Not coincidentally, that pantheon was called elohim. 

Guess who else was in the pantheon.  All our old friends from the OT!  Baal was there, Yam, Shalem (after whom Jerusalem is named), yhwh, and his wife, Asherah.  Yep.  Asherah was Mrs yhwh.  They believed in these gods but each group only prayed to their own particular god.  Thus the commandment (which implies polytheism), "you shall have no other gods before me."  That did not mean "false" gods.  That meant actual gods.[2][3]

The hebrews did not become monotheistic until their shattering defeat and destruction of the temple at the hands of the Babylonians.  It was a face saving idea for them.  The idea that Marduk was superior to their puny little yhwh was too much for them to face.  Their denial manifested in the concept that Marduk was just a tool of yhwh and they were being punished for infidelity.  In fact, yhwh was soooo much bigger than Marduk, Marduk wasn't even real.  In fact, no gods are real except yhwh.  Yeah, that's the ticket.[4] 

I've picked up from other forum posts that there is some theorizing that there were distinctive identities worshiped in the north and south,

Yes.  Only, "theorizing" is not the correct word.  The correct word is "archaeology".  The discovery at Ugarit was very useful in that regard.[5]  It confirmed early hebrew henotheism and fleshed out the pantheon.  It helped understand the OT in other important ways.  Several psalms were directly copied.

I don't buy into the idea that there were different Gods, I only believe in one. 

Is that what a Man of Reason does?  Not buy into ideas that don't match what he already believes?  I did not realize that was how one reasoned.  Here I thought that was apologetics all this time. 

What you believe has no bearing on what they actually believed.  The evidence says God (capital G) evolved from an amalgam of at least two gods in a polytheistic culture.   


Pretty much, yeah.

 I don't understand.  Are you agreeing yhwh is a dick?   
..it kind of reminds me of the attitude when people on welfare are angrily demanding that others work to support them. 

Sorry for the digression, but this is a peeve of mine.  Do you actually know anyone on welfare?  Have you actually observed anyone on welfare "angrily demanding that others work to support them"?  I ask because I grew up in a very poor, rural area where some people didn't even have indoor plumbing.  Probably half the families in the area were on welfare.  Most of the kids I went to school with got free breakfast and lunch at school and for some, it was all they had to eat that day.  I knew no one who wanted to continue to live that way.  I have certainly never seen any poor people there or anywhere else demand other people to work to support them, angrily or otherwise.  I find this is just another myth about the poor that is an absolute lie.   

It's arrogant to assume it's all going to happen exactly as they think it should,

?  I think you are making assumptions.  You have no idea how they thought it should have happened since it isn't written in the bible.  I think it is fair to assume they didn't want to die of thirst or starvation in the desert.  I think it is fair to assume they didn't want their children to die that way either.  I don't find that to be particularly arrogant.

and question God's resolve and/or presence in the face of difficulty. 

?  In their position, one of utter insecurity, questioning yhwh's resolve seems eminently reasonable.  Particularly when he put them in that position to begin with and then didn't do squat for them until they begged for it.  Yhwh and Moses asked the hebrews to trust them without any good reason to do so.  I have no problem with them asking for evidence.  Blind faith is... foolish.

Well, since I believe in the Old Testament, I also look at the reasons Yahweh gave for sending in outside influences to conquer and/or nearly exterminate the Israelites.  A lot of them have to do with the fact that Israel didn't stick with Him.

Tit-for-tat?  Does that not seem beneath the omnipotent creator of all being?  Or is this extortion?


So in exodus 4:1-9 yhwh was just showing Moses how to do stage magic?  And in exodus 7:9-13, the staves didn't really turn into snakes and the pharaoh's wizards' staves didn't get eaten?  In other words, the plain, literal reading of the bible is wrong.  I am confused.  I thought you were a literalist? 

The point of origin of my perspective is Christian.  That's the only view I give miraculous credibility. 

That does not say anything and, frankly, evades the point.  You are trying to zoom out to a 30,000 ft view of it, which only serves to obscure the details.  As a Man of Reason the most important question is How Do I Know?  You are glossing right over that. 

Is it preposterous that I'm naturally going to reject other outside claims of miracles? 

I think it is preposterous to believe in miracles in the first place.  But if you are going to believe in them, then yes, drawing arbitrary lines is preposterous as well.

If I were to examine or reason out other miracles it would go something like this:  Did Vespasien have a message from God?

Do you even know?  No, you don't.  Because you didn't even bother to consider it. You only consider things that fit the beliefs you already have.  Isn't that the reason xians use to justify jeus H as messiah?  They say, he did not fit the jews expectations.  If you believe in magic, why must you try to put it inside a box?

So is the question why do I still believe it's a miracle that happened, and of a type that doesn't occur anymore?

No.  It's more of a point.  You said miracles happened for specific reasons.  Elijah's doesn't fit.  And yhwh had no prerformance anxiety for that one.  There was another one, where Elijah said something like, "If Ba'al doesn't like people desecrating his altar, he can come and do something about it."  There are several meanings to take away from that, but all of them are along the lines of, gods who don't show up can be ignored.
And again, according to the OT, it was YHWH who sent Marduk's followers to kick YHWH's peoples' butts up between their ears and lead them into captivity.

I've dealt with that above.  And really, why believe the PR of yhwh's reps? I don't think they are any more believeable than Marduk's, and they have good reason to spin things their way.  It was a way to turn crushing humiliation into victory.

 1. http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H430&t=KJV
 2. I don't normally reference answers.com, but this piece actually references great material - the Mark Smith book.  http://wiki.answers.com/Q/When_did_Judaism_become_monotheistic
 3. here's one from U of Idaho http://www.webpages.uidaho.edu/ngier/henotheism.htm
 4. do a search on "Jon Lovitz Tommy Flannagan"
 5. http://www.theology.edu/ugarbib.htm
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ugarit#Ugaritic_religion Ba'al was replaced by yhwh in that story.
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