Your LEAST favorite Bible Story?

Author: ludofl3x ,

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  • ludofl3x
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    Any Christians in here have a passage in the bible that you HATE when skeptics or adherents of other religions bring up? One that really annoys you, because it is really a tricky subject to discuss? I know several in here get all up in arms about the Amlaekites or that guy who sicced a bear on some children because they called him bald, but I think the two that would make me most frustrated as a Christian are Jephtha and Abraham. 
  • Dr.Franklin
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    i dont have one
  • Tradesecret
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    --> @ludofl3x
    Hi Ludofl3x,

    I think that is a great question.  I think it depends upon why we read the bible in the first place.  

    I don't read the bible to find good bits or bad bits. I don't search the bible to find solutions to non-Christian's questions. 

    I read the Bible to help me love God better and so that I can love others better.  So when a non-Christian throws what they think is a nasty mean part of the Bible at me, it actually allows me to reflect upon that passage to learn more about God and his Holy Character. I ask myself in those parts - which typically are the most repulsive to our modernist culture, why God did something that seems harsh or difficult to understand from my cultural eyes. And if it is a story about how the characters in the bible did something that was awful it makes me reflect upon the sinfulness of man and then perhaps how God will deal with the sin later on. In either account, I know I will learn to love God better and it will also help me to love others better. The latter because probably I will see it as a warning not to the same thing. 

    The Bible is a book that reflects life in all of its glory.  It does not hide the messiness of life. It is a very real book and sometimes hard book. I think that adds to its character and integrity. 

    I cannot say I hate discussing any passage - because from my perspective all of it is relevant and useful.  I think every passage is somehow going to  direct us back to Jesus - and that I think is an opportunity to good to miss.  You see - I love talking to skeptics because very often they are the ones reading the bible - even though their motivations are to deride it and to destroy it. At least they will discuss it somewhat. Mind you, they come at it with their own perspective and agendas and that very often gets in the road of actually understanding the text and its purpose for inclusion in the text. 

    But great question. 
  • RoderickSpode
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    --> @ludofl3x
    If you're talking about least favorite verses in terms of interest, there may be some verses that would be less likely targeted reading, but that doesn't devalue any one scripture. The census taken in the Book of Numbers may not lift my spirits, it serves it's valuable purpose.

    But, I think what you're asking is are there scriptures that make us cringe when we read it, and try to avoid questions because we're sooooo embarrassed.

    If it's the latter, then there isn't any.
  • Castin
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    --> @ludofl3x
    If you begin from the position of God's infallibility and the Bible's inerrancy as the inspired word of God, then it seems to me that no story in the Bible can be wrong enough that it is acceptable to hate or dislike it. If it seems wrong to you or to others, you will believe you or they have misunderstood it, that there is some deeper meaning you or they do not yet understand, or even refuse to believe (in the case of atheists/skeptics) - and your faith will drive you to find a meaning that is compatible with your faith. That is just what it means to look at the Bible through the lens of inerrancy, and it seems rather to me that you are asking if there are any Christians who don't look at the Bible through that lens.


  • RoderickSpode
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    --> @Castin
    If you begin from the position of God's infallibility and the Bible's inerrancy as the inspired word of God, then it seems to me that no story in the Bible can be wrong enough that it is acceptable to hate or dislike it. If it seems wrong to you or to others, you will believe you or they have misunderstood it, that there is some deeper meaning you or they do not yet understand, or even refuse to believe (in the case of atheists/skeptics) - and your faith will drive you to find a meaning that is compatible with your faith. That is just what it means to look at the Bible through the lens of inerrancy, and it seems rather to me that you are asking if there are any Christians who don't look at the Bible through that lens.
    You're attempting to tap into one of the great mysteries of this forum. That is Ludo's insistence that there are verses in the bible that make us Christians uncomfortable even though every example he's given (that I know of) has been explained to him. Now it would be one thing if he gave counter responses to the explanations......but absolutely nothing (that I've ever seen). Basically, the discussion will end, and then a month later he comes up with the same accusations as if no explanation were given. I don't really think it's about inerrancy/infallibility, so much as the idea that the bible speaks of a mean spirited creator.

    To give you an idea of verses he's addressed before, look at his reference to Elisha and the bears.


    "I know several in here get all up in arms about the Amlaekites or that guy who sicced a bear on some children because they called him bald"


    We know Ludo's been told about Elisha and the bears because when a fairly detailed explanation is given, he over simplifies the texts as we see here where he allegedly forgot Elisha's name.


    So here we have a situation where when I first read the text, I'll be the first to admit, it looks like it reads exactly as Ludo stated it. But of course that's how it's going to look from a contemporary viewpoint. However, the  Hebrew word used for Elisha's mockers include a broad age range from children to young adults. The text explains that the group came out from the city to mock him. Scripture refers to the killing of prophets, this was in the Northern Kingdom where idol worship occurred, so prophets of Yahweh were not the most popular people. One of the statements amongst the youth was "go up!" Logic would assume this was meant as a mockery of Elijah when he was taken up. Was Elisha even offended? Probably not. For all we know, he may have shaved his head. We don't really know that, but even if he didn't, vanity was probably not any kind of a weakness for him.

    So given everything here, Ludo would suggest I'm making excuses to justify a verse he would claim I'm uncomfortable with (do I sound uncomfortable?). That somehow we should all ignore the fact that ancient near east languages are extremely difficult to understand.....Hebrew and Greek no exception, but he would assume we should read and understand the bible like we would watching an episode of Seinfeld.

    Not to put you on the spot, but do you see the problem with assuming a contemporary interpretation of the Elisha texts disallowing all other consideration?



    Another one is his reference to Abraham which I assume to refer to the incident with Isaac.

    A key factor in these texts is that Abraham believed his son would live. He hung onto a specific promise that would require his young son to remain alive, marry, and have children. This portion of scripture always seems suspiciously absent in his referencing.

    In addition, there's even a possibility that the instruction didn't even come directly from God, as the Hebrew word for God in this text includes people in authority. Human sacrifice was common practice back then, and the instruction may have come from an authoritarian taken as a word/command from God. This was before an Israelite nation, so God was not yet perceived as the God of the Jews. Truthfully, I don't know if the command came directly from God, or authoritarians (and I'm comfortable either way), but imagine all the wasted hoopla over this subject if the command in this text came from perceived oracle's of God?


  • Stephen
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    --> @Tradesecret
    The Bible to help me love God better .............................So when a non-Christian throws what they think is a nasty mean part of the Bible at me, it actually allows me to reflect upon that passage to learn more about God and his Holy Character. 

    That would be go into full denial mode. Yes I have watched many Christians paint themselves into very tight corners trying to defend the indefensible, when it comes to unjust and willful and wanton acts of torture & murder by the god they say they "love"..

    Why did god kill all the first born children of Egypt, including the first born of animals. What had those innocents done?


    The Bible is a book that reflects life in all of its glory. It does not hide the messiness of life

    It is a book of war and conflict from beginning to end, the killing simply does not stop!.  So stop trying to play down this very cold fact,  where a god forced his own dupes to do his dirty work for him most of the time. 



    It does not hide the messiness of life.

    It doesn't hide the meanness or the unbalanced mental state of your god either, does it. 



    It is a very real book and sometimes hard book.

    Yes indeed it is. And all the comes from your god.  And  for unprovoked reasons. What had Job - "gods most loyal servant " done to have all that pain and misery piled onto him ?

    Anyone who can support such a monster is a monster themselves. 



    I think that adds to its character and integrity. 

    Yes it shows   god  in his true colours and as the mean spirited, murdering jealous god of war that the bible and god himself admits him to being.


  • zedvictor4
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    --> @Stephen
    And all comes from your god.
    I'm assuming that was a tongue in cheek remark.

    We all know that the bible is a myth based hypothesis, compiled by a succession of blokes over a long period of time.
  • Tradesecret
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    --> @Stephen
    The Bible to help me love God better .............................So when a non-Christian throws what they think is a nasty mean part of the Bible at me, it actually allows me to reflect upon that passage to learn more about God and his Holy Character. 

    That would be go into full denial mode. Yes I have watched many Christians paint themselves into very tight corners trying to defend the indefensible, when it comes to unjust and willful and wanton acts of torture & murder by the god they say they "love"..

    Why did god kill all the first born of Egypt, including the first born animals. What had those innocents done?
    Denial mode? It is not me in denial.   So you have watched many Christians paint themselves into corners? Wow! I have seen you do it frequently.  The overwhelming picture of GOD in the Bible is one who continually forgives people even when they do everything they can to write him out of history.  God is very patient towards humans. Being patient does not mean however that he wont sentence and judge when necessary. I can be very patient with my children, but every now and then a time comes when punishment is warranted and carried out. If I just huffed and puffed all the time and never carried out my threats - then I would be a liar. 

    Why did God kill all the firstborn of Egypt? Because Pharaoh, the ruler of Egypt would not obey God and let God's people go. It was his choice to disobey and to expose his people and animals to God's wrath.   We have discussed the meaning of Pharaoh's heart being hardened by God and by himself. We disagree. Yet when I look at this story, I think to myself, why did God give Pharaoh so many opportunities to do the right thing? Why did he not just kill him in the first place? And the answer is because God is merciful.  Similarly I say why did he eventually destroy the first born and the animals?  Because he tells the truth and is not a liar.  Pharaoh made this decision on behalf of all Egypt and his livestock.  He knew the implications - he just refused to humble himself.  Likewise I see God's holiness - and his great act of grace and mercy on the Israelite nation. God will save his people. How can I not love God more for this? It makes me love God more and it makes me love his people more.  

    What is important as well to remember is that God did not destroy every person in the land of Egypt? Why did he spare anyone? And we learn the reason for it throughout many occasion in the Bible - because not only is God merciful, but he remembers those who help his people. And Egypt had helped God's people in the time of Joseph and for several hundred years thereafter until they they were made slaves.  

    The Bible is a book that reflects life in all of its glory. 

    It is a book of war an conflict from beginning to end, the killing simply does not stop!.  So stop trying to play down this very cold fact,  where a god forced his own dupes to do his dirty work for him most of the time. 
    Certainly the bible describes a spiritual battle from its beginning to its end.  This battle is often metaphorically pictured as war. It is also not surprising that the spiritual overlaps into the physical as well.  As such, there are killings. But they will stop one day. But while the battle between God and his enemies continue, the killing will continue - not just physical killing but spiritual death as well - which is much worse.  Why would you say that I or any other Christian would downplay this - the centre of our religion consists of Jesus crucified on a cross.  You mock us with your false sense of rhetoric. God has never had the need to dupe anyone to carry out his will.  That is just one more false assertion you throw out without a shred of evidence. 


    It does not hide the messiness of life.

    It doesn't hind the meanness of your god either, does it. 
    [email protected] Stephen.  The Lord God is not mean. He is just and holy. He is love.  He is also righteous and carries out his judgment. The Lord God is not mean with his love and his grace extends to generations. Consider Exodus 20: 5-6.  In that verse God punishes the children for the sins of their fathers to the third and fourth generation - but he shows mercy to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments.  Note the contrast. His punishment is to 3 or 4 generations v mercy to 1000s of generations.  I suppose you think this is mean? Imagine if he punished to 1000s of generations? No - you will simply spin this in another direction - not notice the difference of contrast but pick up on say " the sins of the father" and why does God punish the children - aren't they innocent? See how you pick and choose? 


    It is a very real book and sometimes hard book.

    Yes indeed it is. and all the comes from your god.  And  for unprovoked reads. What had Job - "gods most loyal servant "done to have all that pain and misery piled onto him ?

    Anyone who can support such a monster is a monster themselves. 

    Our God is the hero of the story.  This is the fact and that fact is not in dispute. Job's suffering did not arise because of God. It was Satan who saw Job and suggested to God that Job only loves you because you take care of him. Let him suffer and then he will curse you and no longer follow you. God knew Job's heart. And he also knew the hearts of people on this planet that believe Satan's lie. The lie that blessing is a reward from God and suffering is a curse from God.  Your comments above reflect that same thought which is why it is not incorrect to say that your heart is not far from Satan.  

    The lesson we learn from Job is that suffering does not reflect whether a person is righteous or not. We also learn that suffering may well arise from Satanic attacks.  We also learn that Job's heart was for God - whether he had wealth or not.  We also learn that God is wiser and more powerful than we could even possibly imagine. We also learn that Satan does not really understand the human heart. I love this story. Not because of the suffering - but because I learn that "why" is not the real question we ought to be asking in relation to "suffering".  It is ironic that despite your protests that you can read - you miss the fact that Satan came to God and criticized God and then criticized Job and but for his interference the story would never have been written.  Rather - you turn this attack by Satan into God is a monster story. You really are a charlatan.  Smoke and mirrors. The prince of deceit. 

    I think that adds to its character and integrity. 

    Yes it shows   god  in his true colours and as the mean spirited, murdering jealous god of war that the bible and god himself admits him to being.
    God is holy and just.  He is not a murderer. He is not mean spirited. Jealous. Yes and rightly so. A God of war. Yes. Indeed.  But not unjust. Never unjust. And this is your predicament isn't? You don't like this idea - you can't stand that idea. Because it reveals you to be a sinner in need of a savior.  And his name is Jesus. The second person of the Trinity. And it is only in his name that anyone can be saved. amen. 
  • Stephen
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    Why did God kill all the firstborn of Egypt? Because Pharaoh, the ruler of Egypt would not obey God and let God's people go. 

    I see. So god himself, who admits to "hardening Pharaohs heart" so he couldn't think any other way,  then takes Pharaohs refusal to "let the people go"  out on innocent first born.  What an absolute bastard! 


    Our God is the hero of the story. [of job]

    At the cost of pain, misery and loss to Job, What an absolute bastard! Job 1:13-19


      And all for a wager with Satan, who it was - by all accounts -  god had sentenced  to crawl on his belly eating dirt for the rest of his days for the crime of tempting Eve, Genesis 3:14 , but here he is , just  "roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it" at will.  Job 1:7. And able to converse with god  even with his mouth full of dirt.


    So you have watched many Christians paint themselves into corners? Wow! I have seen you do it frequently.

    No you haven't. You seem to forgetting that - through all of your own holier than thou haughtiness, that I have nothing to defend. I simply pose people like you questions about what it is you have faith in. I then sit back and watch you attempt to defend the indefensible actions of the god that you have faith in.  You also seem to forget that just because you have a strong faith in something, no matter how strong, doesn't make what you have faith in true.  I will be honest, I sometimes envy those who have a genuine faith in a god  and in particular an afterlife. But then I pull myself together.
  • Tradesecret
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    --> @Stephen
    Why did God kill all the firstborn of Egypt? Because Pharaoh, the ruler of Egypt would not obey God and let God's people go. 

    I see. So god himself, who admits to "hardening Pharaohs heart" so he couldn't think any other way,  then takes Pharaohs refusal to "let the people go"  out on innocent first born.  What an absolute bastard! 

    So you don't think any human has any personal responsibility for anything?  It is God's fault! Pharaoh hardened his own heart. I already explained my position which you rejected because it did not fit with your narrative.  The bible NEVER says that Pharaoh could not think any other way. You just inject things into the text. The first born of the Egyptians were not innocent. You keep spinning this line but it is not what the bible says. Firstly, the king of Pharaoh was guilty and everyone he represented was guilty because he was. You reject his guilt so logically you would extend that further. Secondly, they were enemies of God's people, even as children and infants who would have grown up to simply take the Jews as their slaves.  Thirdly, the bible tells us that all people are conceived into sin. There is no innocent people. We all live in this fallen world which is a prison for those who commit treason.  


    Our God is the hero of the story. [of job]

    At the cost of pain, misery and loss to Job, What an absolute bastard! Job 1:13-19


      And all for a wager with Satan, who it was - by all accounts -  god had sentenced  to crawl on his belly eating dirt for the rest of his days for the crime of tempting Eve, Genesis 3:14 , but here he is , just  "roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it" at will.  Job 1:7. And able to converse with god  even with his mouth full of dirt.

    A wager is hardly a fitting description of what is going on here.  The worst problem for you is that GOD has the prerogative of being GOD.  You think that GOD should conform to your standards.  You want a GOD made in your image, not one who rules the universe.    Why is so difficult for you to see Satan as the bad guy here? You mixing of symbolism and literalism is amusing, and somewhat comical.  You don't think Satan was a snake or a serpent anymore than you think Satan is real anyway, so for you to throw it out as though Christians might have see your perceived contradiction is precious.  I suspect you don't even see the strawman argument. 



    So you have watched many Christians paint themselves into corners? Wow! I have seen you do it frequently.

    No you haven't. You seem to forgetting that - through all of your own holier than thou haughtiness, that I have nothing to defend. I simply pose people like you questions about what it is you have faith in. I then sit back and watch you attempt to defend the indefensible actions of the god that you have faith in.  You also seem to forget that just because you have a strong faith in something, no matter how strong, doesn't make what you have faith in true.  I will be honest, I sometimes envy those who have a genuine faith in a god  and in particular an afterlife. But then I pull myself together.

    Oh more denials. Ok. You actually don't even realize what you think you are doing.  That is the joke.  You don't pose questions. LOL! You make assertions - none of which you can prove. I can back everything I say with evidence - I can also back up everything I say with the traditions of the church - their theologians and other academics. You just make everything up - and sit back and think "Gee I am good". Yet no one really agrees with you. Sorry - the Brother does. And surely his credentials speak for themselves. 

    I agree - just because I think I have faith in something - does not make that thing true.  I would never argue that it true based on my faith.  Yet you do.  Without faith you would have no reason to come to this site and post anything.  You have faith that you can change people by the power of your persuasion.  Why else would you bother? It is not as though you believe the truth or think that you believe the truth.  You trawl through other people's posts and pick over their bones.  I honestly feel sorry for you.  That someone could be so far up themselves is truly breathtaking.  But hey - we are all in this together.  Good for you. 


  • ludofl3x
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    --> @RoderickSpode
    So here we have a situation where when I first read the text, I'll be the first to admit, it looks like it reads exactly as Ludo stated it. But of course that's how it's going to look from a contemporary viewpoint. 
    So, the bible then has lessons in it that do NOT apply to all time? Plenty of CHristians claim to use the bible as a guide to every day life, today, in the modern age, is that not true? How do you pick which ones apply word-for-word today versus the ones that you don't think can be read from a contemporary perspective? Is it....the ones that make you uncomfortable? Look, I dn't care about Elisha and the bears who ate the children / teenagers, especially if you're just going to hand wave it and say "Inapplicable to today" so to why it doesn't make you wonder about what's going on in the book. I might ask "Why does the idea that god sent bears to eat young adults make this a more poignant verse, isn't there something else the god of all love and faith and kindliness could have done? Or maybe he could have informed Elisha "Sorry, I planned it this way, these young adults are only doing what I told them to do." But again, you just hand wave it, you don't explain WHY it's not as it says. 

    That somehow we should all ignore the fact that ancient near east languages are extremely difficult to understand.....Hebrew and Greek no exception, but he would assume we should read and understand the bible like we would watching an episode of Seinfeld.
    You have given me two different answers to this very same question, and I'll ask it again: does someone need to know ancient greek or hebrew in order to apply the bible to thheir lives here in the 21st century? if the answer is YES, then how does the bible apply to all people at all times, if the nuance of the original language is absolutely required in order to fully understand this most important (literally every soul on the planet risks eternal burning if they're wrong and the bible is right)? If the answer is NO, then why do you keep using that as an excuse for the bible? You either need to know the language if you really want to go to heaven, OR you have to accept the interpretation from some authority (which you'd never do, right? You learned the language and made this judgement for yourself, and I'm the one making the mistake for reading the words in my own language and not assuming they mean exactly what they say). And then you'd have to trust that person is right, and not the multiple people who claim the same expertise who read it totally differently. Some, for example, still say god hates homosexuals, based on the biblical verses, while others say "In ancient hebrew "lie with another man" means like literally lying down, so if they just kiss each other standing up but never touch each other's sceptres, then it's okay to be gay", and you don't see that because you don't know the language. 

    A key factor in these texts is that Abraham believed his son would live. He hung onto a specific promise that would require his young son to remain alive, marry, and have children. This portion of scripture always seems suspiciously absent in his referencing.

    Can you please explain the moral of the story of Abraham as you understand it? My understanding, and again I'm not some ancient greek linguistic expert as you seem to be, is that in order to prove his faith to god, god told Abraham to take his only son to the top of a mountain and kill him with a knife, as he would sacrifice a lamb (a practice I'm not quite clear on why god apparently loved so much, sacrifice, or apparently according to you, common human sacrifice). The idea, as I understood it, was to prove to god that he had the requisite amount of faith in god. DOES GOD NOT KNOW THIS ALREADY? If the answer is yes, then the story of Abraham is basically a tasteless and terrifying practical joke, on Abraham and Isaac (and probably led to some real awkward dinner convo). If the answer is no, then god is once again not all knowing. 

    Of course none of this means anything to you, you're just going to say "Well, you don't get it, you aren't fluent in Hebrew."

    And truthfully I'm just trying to liven up the place, it's the same two topics here for months and months until it devloves into Tradeecret and Stephen having one of their tiffs. 
  • ludofl3x
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    --> @Castin
    If you begin from the position of God's infallibility and the Bible's inerrancy as the inspired word of God, then it seems to me that no story in the Bible can be wrong enough that it is acceptable to hate or dislike it. If it seems wrong to you or to others, you will believe you or they have misunderstood it, that there is some deeper meaning you or they do not yet understand, or even refuse to believe (in the case of atheists/skeptics) - and your faith will drive you to find a meaning that is compatible with your faith. That is just what it means to look at the Bible through the lens of inerrancy, and it seems rather to me that you are asking if there are any Christians who don't look at the Bible through that lens.

    Sort of...it's not really a lens of inerrancy anymore, though, it's more like a 'filter of contemporary.' The words in the bible are the words in the bible, and if it's not meant to be read or understood in anything but its native language, it shouldn't be published in any other language, because that risk misinterpretation. If these words are difficult, as they really are, for Christians to square with a character (god / Jesus) who they've been taught is nothing but love and justice and all things good, then you're correct, their faith seems likely to drive them toward any explanation, no matter how flimsy (see: Rod's explanation of the bible's instructions on who's okay to own as a slave, i.e.). These post-hoc rationalizations would indicate really clearly that there's a level of discomfort between the book and contemporary values. I don't expect a Christian to say 'the bible is wrong.' I hope there are some who wonder why the god they're taught about as a naive child isn't the same god in the book they're told is a modern manual to daily life. 
  • Stephen
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    --> @Tradesecret
    So you don't think any human has any personal responsibility for anything?
     
    Of course I do you silly little man.

    But what you don't want to understand or accept is that I wouldn't butcher your  innocent children for something you may or may not have been responsible for.  You are also ignoring the fact that the bible is clear as to why Pharaoh acted the way he did. 


    A wager is hardly a fitting description of what is going on here.  

    It was nothing short of a bet. Stop trying to play down and  make this dreadful violent biblical episode anything less than what it was. It was sheer wanton violence for the sake of your gods ego and reputation.


     I can back everything I say with evidence.

    Not without  lies and reinterpretation  and putting words into the mouths of the authors and characters of the bible. You lot are all the fkn same. You like to talk and discuss what it is the bible never says. 


     I can back everything I say with evidence.

    lets see you evidence for the existence of god. Lets us see your evidence of how god is supposed to have created the whole world and universe and all that is in it in only six days. 

  • SupaDudz
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    --> @Castin
    Welcome back [mildly]
  • n8nrgmi
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    the apologist above is showing the hoops bible literalists are willing to jump through. he says when abraham was asked to sacrifice his son, he'd be happy if it was God's command. but he also says it's possible it wasn't God's command. i think what he's trying to do, is weasle his way out of the verse, at least it's implied in that he seems to rather prefer God not commanding it. but he's so malleable that he's sticking to the verse either way. i think it's implied he's uncomfortable with the verse, despite what he says. 
  • RoderickSpode
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    --> @ludofl3x
    And truthfully I'm just trying to liven up the place, it's the same two topics here for months and months until it devloves into Tradeecret and Stephen having one of their tiffs. 
    This is quite obvious.

    So now you can thank me for livening the place up because up until now the answers you were getting were simply "none".

    As far as your question about reading from a contemporary perspective, if you were to read an ancient Sumerian text, what would you do to best understand it?

    Do you think if you read an ancient Sumerian text, you're going to understand it after first reading?


    Why do you think that literature, particularly ancient is not worth reading if you can't readily understand it from a contemporary standpoint?

    I'll tell you what. Give me your honest interpretation of the Elisha and the bears incident, and then we can go from there.


    And in addition, when Jesus advised a person to cut their right hand off if it offends them, was that literal?

    What did Jesus mean by offend? Did Jesus mean if one's right hand verbally insults them (talk to the mouth?) they should cut it off? One translation says if it causes them to stumble. From a contemporary standpoint, is it if the right hand grabs the ankle causing the person fall?
  • RoderickSpode
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    --> @n8nrgmi
    Maybe you should try quoting that person so he will see it and respond?
  • ludofl3x
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    --> @RoderickSpode
    As far as your question about reading from a contemporary perspective, if you were to read an ancient Sumerian text, what would you do to best understand it? Do you think if you read an ancient Sumerian text, you're going to understand it after first reading?

    It depends on the text, why I was reading it, what I planned to do with it.  What sort of text is it? Why wouldn't I understand it after reading it the first time? I understand a lot of Roman and Greek mythology stories after reading them the first time, for example, and I don't speak either Greek or Latin, and they're older than Jesus. I understand Aesop's Fables, and I don't speak whatever language he spoke. 

    Why do you think that literature, particularly ancient is not worth reading if you can't readily understand it from a contemporary standpoint?
    I don't think this at all. 

    I'll tell you what. Give me your honest interpretation of the Elisha and the bears incident, and then we can go from there.


    And in addition, when Jesus advised a person to cut their right hand off if it offends them, was that literal?

    Elisha and the bears: a myth intended to strike some fear in the hearts of those who would mock people preaching a minority religious position in the ancient world, and an empty promise to said believers that their persecutors would suffer bodily harm as directed by the almighty himself. Nothing in it supports that it is a factual account. On thinking about it, however, the moral becomes incompatible with an all powerful all loving just god: there are significantly more humane and effective ways for such a being to handle these disputes, and if it were a real entity and chose bears mauling either children or adults, over, say, showing up and proving Elisha correct in his faith and killing no one, instead winning 40 something new converts...well choosing the bears technique seems not only stupidly ineffective, but immoral and cruel. I don't think what Jesus said was literal...I think it gives people permission to cut off their closes friends, or family, for not believing in the same magic they do, and to dedicate more resources to some idea rather than earthly concerns like "can my kids eat at night, because my wife keeps yelling at me to stop sacrificing perfectly good meat to Jesus when we can eat it right here."
  • n8nrgmi
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    --> @RoderickSpode

    this sounds like someone who doesn't like the idea of the command coming from God, even though he's willing to take it either way. 

    Another one is his reference to Abraham which I assume to refer to the incident with Isaac.

    A key factor in these texts is that Abraham believed his son would live. He hung onto a specific promise that would require his young son to remain alive, marry, and have children. This portion of scripture always seems suspiciously absent in his referencing.

    In addition, there's even a possibility that the instruction didn't even come directly from God, as the Hebrew word for God in this text includes people in authority. Human sacrifice was common practice back then, and the instruction may have come from an authoritarian taken as a word/command from God. This was before an Israelite nation, so God was not yet perceived as the God of the Jews. Truthfully, I don't know if the command came directly from God, or authoritarians (and I'm comfortable either way), but imagine all the wasted hoopla over this subject if the command in this text came from perceived oracle's of God?


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    --> @Stephen
    You keep saying that these were "innocent" people or "innocent" children. However, according to the Bible, no one is innocent. "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23) Furthermore, the Bible also says, "For the wages of sin is death." (Romans 6:23) If we put 2 and 2 together, this means that everyone deserves death because everyone is a sinner. So if the Bible is true, then God is justified when he kills people.
  • ludofl3x
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    --> @SirAnonymous
    Are you sure that's what it says if you read it in Hebrew, though/ 
  • SirAnonymous
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    --> @ludofl3x
    It's all Greek to me.
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    --> @ludofl3x
    It depends on the text, why I was reading it, what I planned to do with it.  What sort of text is it? Why wouldn't I understand it after reading it the first time? I understand a lot of Roman and Greek mythology stories after reading them the first time, for example, and I don't speak either Greek or Latin, and they're older than Jesus. I understand Aesop's Fables, and I don't speak whatever language he spoke. 
    You need a reason?

    One day you were flipping the channels, and you saw a documentary on ancient Sumerians, became captivated, and wanted to learn as much about them as you could.

    It doesn't surprise me that you understand Roman and Greek mythology stories, but only because they were translated so you could understand them. But if you study Greek mythology or history, what you don't understand requires you to do something so that you do understand. You're going to need some sort of additional commentary.

    Same with the Bible. There are numerous translations and study guides to help an individual understand what they don't understand immediately.

    I don't think this at all. 

    I think I may have been thinking of this comment.

    "So, the bible then has lessons in it that do NOT apply to all time? Plenty of CHristians claim to use the bible as a guide to every day life, today, in the modern age, is that not true? How do you pick which ones apply word-for-word today versus the ones that you don't think can be read from a contemporary perspective?"

    I'll (lol) just try to explain then.

    What I mean by not reading from a contemporary perspective goes something like this (pertaining to the Elisha incident).

    You read the text as referring to a 20 or 30 something American male obsessed with his looks. The image conscious male who's losing his hair, and totally lost it when some little kids teased him, causing him to curse them with a brutal bear mauling. This idea holds a huge problem by the way because Elisha did not have the power to conjure up a bear. He would have to rely on God holding the same offense. And God makes it clear throughout scripture that vanity is a no no (ay yi yi).

    Your idea would work if Elisha is an American male who watches every exercise infommercial. But if Elisha was a Tibetan or Thai Monk, he
    would laugh at them.

    If you're applying a storyline that doesn't exist, you're wasting your time.

    Another example. An American male movie star gets older, loses his looks, and decides he doesn't want to be seen on camera anymore. A fairly common theme. But if you assume this on a British male actor who's getting older and losing his looks, you may be shocked when the British actor who's getting older, losing his looks says "Excellent! Now maybe I can finally get a chance to play Merlin the Magician".


    Elisha and the bears: a myth intended to strike some fear in the hearts of those who would mock people preaching a minority religious position in the ancient world, and an empty promise to said believers that their persecutors would suffer bodily harm as directed by the almighty himself. Nothing in it supports that it is a factual account. On thinking about it, however, the moral becomes incompatible with an all powerful all loving just god: there are significantly more humane and effective ways for such a being to handle these disputes, and if it were a real entity and chose bears mauling either children or adults, over, say, showing up and proving Elisha correct in his faith and killing no one, instead winning 40 something new converts...well choosing the bears technique seems not only stupidly ineffective, but immoral and cruel. I don't think what Jesus said was literal...I think it gives people permission to cut off their closes friends, or family, for not believing in the same magic they do, and to dedicate more resources to some idea rather than earthly concerns like "can my kids eat at night, because my wife keeps yelling at me to stop sacrificing perfectly good meat to Jesus when we can eat it right here."
    Nothing in it that supports a factual account?

    Were there prophets in Israel and Judah?

    If so, were prophets killed in Israel?

    Do bears kill people?

    And on thinking about it


    On thinking about it, however, the moral becomes incompatible with an all powerful all loving just god: there are significantly more humane and effective ways for such a being to handle these disputes, and if it were a real entity and chose bears mauling either children or adults, over, say, showing up and proving Elisha correct in his faith and killing no one, instead winning 40 something new converts
    This is where every conversation with you ends up. It always ends up you getting to the root of your issue. It always goes back to how God should have handled any given situation. So explanations on specifics like the Elisha incident and biblical servitude usually ends up taking the back seat to your critique on how God should operate.

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    --> @n8nrgmi

    this sounds like someone who doesn't like the idea of the command coming from God, even though he's willing to take it either way. 
    I might be able to understand why it might seem that way, but it's not true. I'll place an imaginary asterisk there for now though.

    Even if the command came from a human authority figure, it's still God orchestrating the event. God simply would have allowed a man to become an instrument in testing Abraham's faith.

    As for the imaginary asterisk.

    Although ultimately it makes no difference to me, the irony of so many people complaining about God telling Abraham to sacrifice his son I might find amusing. But I would try not to get too amused.