Thanks for the flexibility. I appreciate it. I picked just some of the topics that seemed to be “bigger,” though the post is still quite long. Maybe someday we can come back to the others.
Sounds good to me.
Very thought provoking questions. Some think that God uses “faulty” means for communicating with us, but He’s really using appropriate means. When you are discussing things with your son, does it help for you to use language that he can’t understand?
That depends. I think that it does my son a disservice to dumb things down too much. Kids are clever and are learning machines, or as I have heard before, "information sponges". They can soak up a lot of info, and understand it better than we often think. Therefore, while I discuss things in a matter that my son can understand, I also use some more mature language (not swear words, duh!) so that he has an opportunity to ask questions and gain some more knowledge. I explain things in a way that is meaningful and helps him to learn and discover more about the world. I'm honestly not sure how a book that insists that insects have 4 legs could add anything to the knowledge or understanding of the world.
That is, assuming he’s young, would you use the phrase “conjectural variations approach” to teach him how to handle his allowance? (I found that phrase online. )
That would be over the top, but that is not what I am asking of the Bible.
If a kid were bullying your son, would you run him down with your car just because you can? .
No, but if it was God, he would send bears after them to rip them apart. Like God does to children who "bully" Elisha. I'm afraid you will have to come up with a better analogy than that, considering that God probably WOULD run them down with a car.
If you can’t sincerely answer yes to those questions, then you have to re-evaluate the logic and legitimacy of your questions.
Here's another problem with this. I am not all powerful. I am not all seeing and all knowing. God should be able to do better than anything I could ever possibly conceive, yet he does not. God solves his problems by violence, murder and human sacrifice. I do not. I am better than God.
God uses appropriate language and means to communicate to us. God is like a father who lovingly guides his son to manhood, though the son may not always understand what the father is doing or why.
A loving father would never bear a son only to have him tortured and murdered, and would not ignore his pleas while this was occurring. The loving father analogy is really a pretty twisted thing to use here.
And we see that in the Bible. People have problems with the Bible because they make broad generalizations based on a narrow reading of certain parts of the Bible. If instead, they were to look at the whole Bible they would better see the movements of salvation history that culminate with Jesus Christ.
I think that it is only fair to say that "Believers have no problem with the Bible, because they make broad generalizations based o a narrow reading of certain parts of the Bible. If Believers were to look at the Bible as a whole, they would better see the movements of violence, death and slavery history that has all been done for the sake of the Savior, Jesus Christ". You are doing exactly this. You are portraying God as a loving father figure, while ignoring the violence and brutality which this loving father has to use in order to get his way.
Once we see that God was “guiding us to manhood” then the answer to your question is clear. The Jewish people grew from the pagan understanding of god as vengeful, mercurial and requiring child sacrifice to one who is a suffering servant and who is love. It could be that some of the Greek ideas were also necessary. One could easily guess that the Roman Empire was beneficial as well. It’s breadth, peace and longevity made it a good era for Christianity to spread.
The fact that Augustine saw the new belief system as an excellent way of exploiting people and ruling with an iron fist also helped a little. A system that demands servitude on the threat of eternal punishment is really good for doing that.
I’m glad that you see this. And a look back on the Bible as a whole shows this. The people had to grow, yes, but they don’t grow without something to grow to and without someone to guide them. God did that by a series of covenants with humanity that culminate in the covenant of Jesus Christ.
God's covenants are worthless. Just ask Job. Not content with honoring his side of the agreement (worship me and be prosperous) God is tempted with the possibility of undeserved praise and worship. God, being power hungry, accepts the dare, and allows Job's life to be ruined, in violation of the covenant. Then, when Job rightly asks why, God proceeds to tell him that he is not to question God, God can do whatever he wants, etc etc. What a loving father figure indeed.
It follows logically from the premises, starting with “God is love”
Do you have anything that supports this premise? Besides error laden documents of questionable origin written by multiple and often unknown authors over the span of thousands of years?
so that He made us out of love and wants only what’s best for us. Then from omniscience, omnipresence, etc. we know that what he wants, he can make happen.
But what he wants changes. In the OT, he wants people to serve him or die now. There is no talk of punishment after death. Then Jesus comes along, and now it's not good enough for people to suffer and die in this life, they have to do it for all eternity. Only by accepting torture and human sacrifice can we be saved from something that isn't even our fault. Again, not exactly my idea of a loving, wise father.
At the same time he respects our free will, which was part of what started this!
What free will? God has had our destinies set since before the Creation. No room for free will in a set destiny, especially when God hardens peoples hearts as he sees fit.
Yes, I do see that this is an issue for you. Your compassion is clear.
Considering that you think that God is loving, doesn't the fact that he can only get what he wants through threats and violence an issue for YOU!?!
Do you disagree that rape is a crime of violence?
I do not disagree, however no such thing is ever stated or even implied in the Bible. Thou shalt not kill does not mean though shalt not rape, or thou shalt not commit violence, or anything other than "Don't kill people". Note that throughout the next few books of the Bible, rape, violence, murder and death are the flavor of the day as the Israelites set out to fulfill their destiny. God approves of them killing and committing all manner of crimes of violence. In fact, he commands them to do so, on pain of death. To suggest that God does not approve of crimes of violence is to suggest that he doesn't approve of his own orders.
That’s good. I actually find very few people on this forum who can accurately describe Catholic teachings.
It only takes one word: Rubbish.
Good question. The answer is two-fold. First, He’s not an afterthought and, secondly, that way of reading fits with the Jewish way of reading the Bible. Let me explain.
In the book of Genesis we have the proto-evangelium, the early version of the gospels, when God said to the serpent, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; He will strike at your head, while you strike at his heel.” God developed the idea of a Savior for the Jewish people through the things that happened to them.
You can't honestly be serious here. There would have been no need for a savior if God hadn't done all of the things he did. You can't have an all powerful, all knowing, all seeing creator who has no idea what the hell is going on and doesn't have a part in it, and then eventually comes to realize that maybe he ought to do something. That's just silly. Also note that no Jewish people (at least, that I have ever heard of) consider Jesus to be their savior.
Each of the covenants brought them closer to this understanding.
How did God breaking his covenant with Job accomplish this?
So Jesus was not an afterthought and God’s plan for the Jewish people culminates in the person of Jesus Christ. It is critical to the understanding of God to understand Jesus and to know him as a person.
Hard to know a dude as a person when he's been dead for so long.
Secondly, when new things happened to them, the Jewish people would interpret those events in light of their scripture and would reinterpret their scripture in light of the new events. One example is when they were taken into exile in Babylon, they had to rethink their scripture and the promises of God in light of the fact that they didn’t have a land anymore! That rethinking took their understanding of the covenant of God to a new level.
In other words, they came to understand that God is a liar who can't be trusted. OH wait, that doesn't happen, because the primitive (even by the standards of the day) followers of God didn't even have enough sense to realize that God doesn't live up to his promises.