What To Make Of The Old Testament

Discussion in 'Abrahamic Religions' started by Lux, Nov 27, 2014.

  1. Lux

    Lux Active Member

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    I'm a former disbeliever. I've realized my problem was not really with God, but with religionists. I didn't like what fundamentalists are saying (their anti-scientific notions and some moral issues), so I went against them and decided there was no God. Pretty simple-minded, I admit. I realized my knowledge of religions was superficial therefore judged them unfairly. Now I'm beginning to open my mind to the idea of God and desire to learn about it.

    But I grapple with what I should believe. I don't wish to offend the people of Abrahamic religions, but I'll tell you frankly that I do not, can not believe many things that are said in the old testament as God's words. e.g. Deuteronomy 13:7-16 & 22:20-21, Leviticus 20:13, 2 Chronicles 15:12-13 ... (just a few among many)

    ... Please tell me God didn't say these. These laws were constructed by men and not by God. That's why they reflect such oppressive tribal mentality of the time. By the way, I'm not blaming the ancient Israelis, it was the way of the world almost everywhere back then, I suppose.

    My perception of the old testament, at this point, is that it's a compilation of legendary stories embellished by ancient mostly unidentified authors. I accept some historical events may be true. I'm open to the idea that some prophets have received God's wisdom. I see the scriptures as true, divinely inspired theology mixed with foreign elements that are purely the work of men. As such, we need to separate the kernel of the inspired divine messages from the husk that contains it.

    My knowledge of Judeo-Christianity is fairy elementary. I'd appreciate it if someone could educate me as to what to make of these parts of the old testament.

    I'd like to hear from the people truly believing in the God of Abraham. Because I already know how disbelievers see the bible - just as I did before - "Fictional stories all fabricated by humans." - Now I'm willing to explore deeper than that.
     
  2. wil

    wil UNeyeR1 Moderator

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    good for you! In my perspective, if I can't replace the word G!d with the word "love" then G!d didn't do that, G!d didn't say that... and then I look at the story allegorically, metaphorically or metaphysically. But yes....sometimes it is MAN using G!d's name to fight their enemies...telling people that it is G!d's will to kill this person or that, or this group of people or that....and it is still going on today.

    Yes, I agree we can't allow literal and fundamentalist interpretations of the bible steal the bible away from us or religions to cause us to turn away from spirit.

    I find the Metaphysical Bible Dictionary helps me greatly when interpreting these questionable passages. Metaphysical Bible Dictionary | TruthUnity

    Good luck on your search!
     
  3. A Cup Of Tea

    A Cup Of Tea Well-Known Member

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    I'm not a believer so I can't help you out, but if I would try and understand a text I would choose a tradition and then try and understand the texts from that tradition. Not everyone would go about it this way but it's what would feel natural for me. On this site we have a Catholic, Thomas, who is very knowledgeable. We have a few Jews and Muslims who move in and out as well but I don't have a feel of how well read they are since a lot of discussions here fall on ideals rather then theology.

    So the advice, pick perspective, understand through perspective.
     
  4. Hermes

    Hermes Zos Kia Cultus

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    I like Nick's "perspective"....as he I am not a believer either.....my advice is this forget the tradition...seek the universal truth, not only the Judeo/Christian truth, the truth is universal.
    The old testament (for me) is only allegorical. It helps for me to think of g-d as not an anthropomorphic being but a truly transcendental, infinite concept that we cannot understand. Believing in something like this is easier for me. Not believing in the Biblical God is easy. It is man made, created fantasy. It helps to some to understand a god with human characteristic but at the same time it will lack in intellectual congruence.

     
  5. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    Hi Lux – welcome to IO

    It's funny that you should post this time of year. The salmon are swimming upstream now, and I reckon, if you persevere, your journey will have a lot in common with theirs. You're swimming against the tide of culture, fashion and opinion, so be prepared for a battering, but keep going.

    I have a reputation here for being a bit of Jack Russell terrier when I get my teeth into religionists. I think I'm a bit too Gaelic for most people's comfort. But then, they do so much damage! And not only the conservative 'every word is the absolute God's honest truth' extremists, there is their counterpoint, the liberal extreme, that explains God in terms of an interior dialogue with oneself. This view tends to be more acceptable, but really, when it comes to reason and objectivity, it's just as bad.

    Well that's the road to enlightenment.

    Love that struggle! As soon as you 'settle', you've stopped moving. That's the way it seems to me, anyway. Sometimes I feel like I'm walking the wire ...

    There is a saying: "A little knowledge is a dangerous thing," it's a misquotation from a poem by Alexander Pope:
    "A little learning is a dangerous thing;
    drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring:
    there shallow draughts intoxicate the brain,
    and drinking largely sobers us again."
    (An Essay on Criticism, 1709. The Pierian spring refers to the home of the nine muses, the Greek goddesses who inspire literature, science and the arts.)

    In 1601 Francis Bacon said:
    "A little philosophy inclineth man’s mind to atheism; but depth in philosophy bringeth men’s minds about to religion."
    (The Essays: Of Atheism)

    Mind you, centuries before both of them, St. John Chrysostom said:
    "A little learning is a dangerous thing, because it makes those who have it unwilling to learn more. The unlearned are more open to conviction, because they are not so foolish as to think that they are wise."

    OK. But pause for a moment, and keep that open mind. Remember that Jews find those many things as troubling as you do. They're not all into dashing out the brains of their enemy's children. Yet they find their way through ... usually be recourse to informed, insightful and inspired commentary.

    If the Bible is anything, it's a spiritually-inspired book, and should be read according to the spirit, not the letter, as its critics tend to do.

    And don't loose sight of the 'big picture', the Bible is not one book, it's a collection of books written over thousands of years. There's more to it than history, mythological or otherwise.

    No, He didn't.

    I tend to see it as a journey, from the old tribal ways into a new understanding of God. From polytheism, animism to a philosophically profound monotheism. (The Greeks were gobsmacked when they read Moses, and insisted he must have read Plato!)

    There are many who assume that because some of it is myth, all of it is. This tends to be asserted by religionists at the liberal end of the spectrum. It fails to discern between the different genres of text in the Book. It was popular towards the end of the last century, but is out of date now.

    That's how I read it. That's how Catholicism reads it. It seems reasonable and rational to me. It's the 'Middle Way'.

    But we are flanked by a vociferous chorus, and the more extreme, the more insistent and assertive –

    On my right, the conservative, for whom every word is literally true. Creationists. Hellfire and brimstone preachers. Bible-thumpers ...

    On my left, the liberal, for whom none of it is true, all of it taken with a pinch of salt, indeed most of it is written off as fabrication.

    Huge question.

    One of the first things to see is that the OT is not just a collection of books, it's a collection of genres, and the rules of criticism change according to genre. We don't judge poetry by the same rules we judge history, for example.

    Now you'll find the horizon, not set at a fixed distance by human credulity, opens up to all manner of possibility.

    The Bigger Picture:
    History:
    More than half the content of the book. The most common claim is that the Bible is unhistorical. What people mean is that those writing thousands of years ago do not write according to the same 'rules' as we write history today. Therefore it's not history, and therefore we are safe to assume it's all made up. Wrong. Not safe at all. This is where scholars step away and say 'You might very well think that; I couldn't possibly comment' (a quote from the original UK 'House of Cards'), in short, good scholarship shies away from sweeping generalisations such as that. Too often what we're told couldn't be, turns up in archaeological evidence.

    It's a subjective narrative, not a forensic one, but that does not necessarily mean it's not true. Doesn't mean it's all true, either ... simply that there is truth mixed in there somewhere.

    But the Bible is also:
    Law codes: Lists of instructions, precepts, etc. Eg Leviticus and Deuteronomy.

    Collections of Wisdom: Prof. Huston Smith said 'the sacred texts of the world 'are the winnowed wisdom of the human race' – so we have Proverbs and Ecclesiastes. The Book of Job is an extended contemplation on the nature of suffering.

    Prayer and Poetry: Psalms, Song of Solomon, Lamentations.

    Prophecy: The usual suspects!

    Apocalyptica: Daniel, etc.

    You have to read each in its own context. I've not broached the New Testament, which introduces new genres.

    The way I read it:
    Take Abram's readiness to sacrifice his own son, Isaac.

    I read it as Abram drawn away from the 'old gods'. He's at odds so much with the ways of the gods that he ups sticks and sets off for pastures new. Human sacrifice was all part of the 'old ways' and, God bless him, as much as he's looking for something else, he's inculcated in the old ways. Old habits. The whole Abram Isaac thing is not a 'test' by God – I believe God to be more intelligent and insightful than that – nor does God say sacrifice your son to me one minute, then changes His mind the next ...

    But supposing Abram grew up in a world where human sacrifice is the done thing. And supposing he's coming to the idea that maybe God doesn't insist on human sacrifice?

    I don't read Abram, or Abraham as he was later known, as having a fully-realised understanding of the God of the Jews. The God that we read into the Bible. He's feeling his way forward in the darkness, towards a different sort of covenant between gods and peoples. It took thousands of years for the Jews to work it out. Moses was not a fait accompli, but the result of a long process, a lot of mistakes, a lot of backsliding ... but a sure belief, not in man, but in God, as not some fickle and capricious creature as the gods of the ancient world tended to be.

    So they tended to view good things happening as a reward from God, and bad things happening as a punishment. As I said, old habits die hard. And don't we do that today? Don't we sometimes say, when the doodoo hits the fan, "This was bound to happen. I should have known better"? Same thing.

    Read what Noah did after the flood subsided. Read what happens in the Epic of Gilgamesh after the flood subsided. Compare the two. the Epic is barbaric. Noah is, by comparison, positively enlightened! Yes, they're myths, but they are myths that encompass an outlook, and the difference between the two outlooks, its 'same world, different planet'.

    A note on the presentation of God as 'jealous', 'wrathful', etc. many religionists reject this notion, based on the most superficial understandings.

    I'm told, for example, that most of us believe in God as a white-bearded old man sitting on a throne up in the clouds.

    I don't bother taxing such people with how symbolically apposite that image is. Symbolism is my favourite language, but no-one here understands it today in any real depth, nor would they consider it if I explained it, so I tend to keep my theology to myself – it's a bit too 'out there' for most Catholics!

    Nor does it cross their mind that it might well be what the Buddhists call an upaya – a Sanskrit term meaning 'expedient means' or 'teaching' along the paths to liberation. Instead the critic clings on to it in the negative sense and actually prevent the process of their own illumination!

    Lastly, of course, it never occurs to them that their own intellectual abstractions about the nature of the Divine are usually no less naive, albeit couched in sophisticated language.

    There are, and have been for centuries, luminous commentaries on how we should read and understand the Divine Names, and how we should understand the qualities predicated of God.

    The Bible talks of God's right hand, or foot, or eye, but the Traditions insist that God is not a man, nor made in man's image. Therefore we have to understand how to read the language of the Bible ... and not assume that because we can read, we understand what we read.

    (Again, one idea is that because we are 'modern' we see through the silliness and ignorance of the 'ancients', that we have 'progressed' since their times, and we should 'de-construct' their writings to get to that which even they didn't realise they were writing about ... the opposite and equally fallacious notion is that we are so far removed, we cannot possibly hope to know what they were trying to say – and yet those who declare this do not desists from saying with total certainty what they definitely did not mean ... )

    Lastly – and this is 'my theology', I read the Bible holistically, I see it as the union of soul and body, not a textbook for the soul embodied in a physical environment. The Abrahamic Tradition is an holistic one, not a dualist one.

    When he was at Oxford, C.S. Lewis used to argue that the New Testament is largely a mythology. Wonderful and inspiring, but mythology. And then one day some of his friends, J.R.R. Tolkein among them, said, "But what if its not? What if it happened actually?" That question 'opened his mind' to the possibility of God being something more than an extension of our own utopian ideals.

    By which I mean, for example, that I appreciate the 'spiritual sense' of Scripture, but do not discount therefore the 'literal sense'.

    The right says "No, it's literal all the way!" and the left says, "Really? How silly. It's obviously metaphorical!"

    I don't see it as either/or, I see it as both in one. A larger and all inclusive natura, as my favourite heretic teaches ;) (Johannes Scottus Eriugena, a 9th century monk.)

    Take the miracles recorded in the NT. If God is God, as the Bible would have us believe in God, why can He only act 'analogically' or 'metaphorically'? Why cannot He realise His will actually? If He's God, what's stopping Him?

    (Bear in mind that in the New Testament, the scribe is quite clear on when he's telling us a parable, and when it's an actuality.)

    So I read and I wonder:
    What if Abram was about to sacrifice his son as was the custom of his day, and then he had a breakthrough, as we like to say in modern psychological terms. A flash of inspiration. A realisation. A revelation. Is that so improbable? Is it impossible? And when his followers asked him why he didn't go through with it, he said something like, "I had the knife, I was just about to do it, and then it was as if I heard the voice of the Lord, and I looked up ... "

    So it end up in the Bible as God talking to Abram. But then, He did, didn't He? Abram held his hand.

    What if Christ can heal the sight of the man born blind? Not analogically or metaphorically (the actual text makes no sense if it's a metaphor, as the blind man is no more knowledgeable after the even than before it) ...

    ... but if Jesus can do these things metaphorically, why not actually as well?

    People might say, 'He doesn't need to, the metaphor is the point', but it's not. Not at all. Because that renders the two worlds, spirit and body, God and man, as separate and distinct. It all happens 'there', nothing changes 'here'.

    The ancient wisdom says 'as above, so below', not 'as above, so below, metaphorically speaking'.

    If Jesus can bring about not merely a moment of inspiration, or a psychological insight, but actual physical change, then He is so much more than the liberal wing of Christianity supposes Him to be, and there's more to this world than they can imagine or will allow ...
     
  6. Devils' Advocate

    Devils' Advocate Well-Known Member

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    After that awesome thoughtful response by Thomas, my two cents is going to pale by comparison. So for what it is worth. I am one of those on Thomas' left as he mentioned above.

    Not that I believe that because some of the Bible is not actual history, all of it is not actual history. There are kernels of truth in all the world's mythologies (or substitute the word religions if you choose).

    What is troubling you is at the heart of what troubles me about religion today, particularly the Abrahamic religions. That is this trend to want to decide that if there are parts of the Bible people don't approve of, they want to write it off as metaphor. They only want to accept as The Word of God those portions they approve of.

    This strikes me as self serving at the very least. Self delusion at the worst. If mortals get to choose what is sacred and what is profane in the Bible it is no longer the Word of God. It becomes the Word of the Politically Correct.

    I do not know what the answer to your conundrum is. I have not heard an answer that is satisfactory to me either.
     
  7. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    Hi Devils' Advocate —
    That's my point. Once you get out into the 'far left' of the liberal wing, you have Spong stating that Biblical theism is dead. In his 'Twelve Points for Reform' in his A New Christianity for a New World, his main critique seems to assume the Bible is basically 'bad science'.

    Quite.

    That's the problem, and it's worse for you guys on the US side of the pond. Ever since America enshrined freedom of religion, we have seen the emergence of denominations that are commercially oriented – how many 'Bible Tract Societies' sprang up over there!?! And now TV evangelism! Religion is big business.

    And a trend to interpret religious ideas to correspond to the 'political correctness' of the day. The PC of the right in Creationism, Intelligent Design, and so on ... the PC of the left in the presentations of Jesus that reflect the social mores of the day.

    Of course the liberal Christ appeals, it's the Jesus of our own invention. Strip away all that dogmatic stuff overlaid on Him, and Jesus is a thoroughly cool guy, 'He ain't heavy, he's my brother'; he's hip, he tuned in, turned on, dropped out, and the man killed him. Look at the far left, in the likes of John Selby Spong, when he's finished demolishing the Jesus of Scripture, what remains is the Jesus who, surprise surprise, is the exemplar Western liberal values (for someone of Spong's generation).

    What the Orthodox theologian David Bentley Hart calls 'Boutique Religion' – come and find one that suits your look, kinda thing.

    The Liberal Christian Churches in America thrived in the optimism of the 60s and the hedonism of the 70s. Around 2000 Spong published "Why Christianity Must Change or Die" As a consequence, his church has been chasing change ever since. Eschewing dogma, it embraces liberalism in almost every form, blends in with other faiths ... and it's dying on its feet.

    In the last decade, average Sunday attendance dropped 23 percent. Not a single Episcopal diocese saw an increase.

    All Christian churches are suffering, but the liberal wing suffers the worst.

    In times of wealth, anything goes. The babyboomers were a spoilt generation. But now things are getting harder, people want certainty. Stability. If the Episcopal church cannot make its mind up about what it is, why should anyone follow it, when it seems bent on ingratiating itself with the whims and fancies of the current moment?

    But we must proceed carefully here.

    Neither Judaism nor Christianity ever said the Bible is inerrant, which right wing Protestant fundamentalism does today.

    They do however assert that the text needs to be explained (cf Acts 8:27-39). It's not always and immediately 'self-evident' in its meaning.

    In short, it's neither literal, nor spiritual, but both.

    I think there is a tendency to think the Hebrew Scriptures gave rise to the Jews, and the New Testament produced Christianity. In fact it's the other way round – the Tradition produces its Scripture, and so if you want to understand the Scripture, you really have to go to the Tradition that produced it.

    The first Christians had no Scripture of their own. All they had was their 'mysteries', the highest of which is the Liturgy of the Eucharist. The New Testament grew out of the Liturgies.

    Oh, that's a shame. They are out there. I mean, if you accept the idea of God, and a God that chooses to make Himself known – and they are pretty big things to accept, I admit – then I find the Catholic interpretation of the Bible eminently reasonable, rational, logical, etc.

    To me sound Catholic doctrine steers the Middle Way between the extremes of left and right.

    I could, for example, discuss how we regard the text philosophically, if you will allow – not accept, just allow that we accept – the idea of Divine Revelation, and I think you'd be surprised at how reasonable, and rational, it is.

    Having said that, I think if you went to an orthodox Jewish rabbi to discuss the Hebrew Scriptures, you'd find the same thing.

    It's the noisy, popular voices, chasing a place on the NY Times bestseller list, they're the ones to avoid, or at least take with a huge pinch of salt.
     
  8. wil

    wil UNeyeR1 Moderator

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    Oh my, there is now no way I can respond.

    TV evangelism commercialized religion? While I agree that it is commercial, but that is nothing new.
     
  9. greentwiga

    greentwiga New Member

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    I didn't see you respond to anything yet. Are you still here? I am both a Christian and a scientist. For years, I avoided the books of Moses because of the interpretations that so conflicted with science. As I studied the texts in depth, I came to believe in the scientific accuracy of even Genesis, but not the standard interpretations. I just carefully went where the text went, not to where I wanted it to go.

    As for the laws, God was working with a community and certain social structures. Remember what Paul said about divorce. God allowed it because of hardness of heart. Remember also, that people in the future will look at other laws and question them because it goes against the future current morality of that society. God now has us focus on the results. In all ages, He has us focus on caring about other people, even in other societies. How he did it in ancient times with imperfect societies is different than now, can even seem horrible to us now because it doesn't belong in our society.
     
  10. Lux

    Lux Active Member

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    Many thanks to everyone who gave me words of advice.

    Wil, definitely I agree that men have used God's name to carry out their own human agendas. They strictly prohibit blasphemy while they put their own words into God's mouth. The irony is rich... I've never known such a thing as the Metaphysical Bible Dictionary. Something for me to look into. I appreciate it!

    Thomas, first of all, thank you very much for all you wrote. I wasn't expecting someone giving so much attention to my post and responding with such a substantial reply, and your words are very thoughtful and sensible. Looks like I came to a good place!

    Please know how delighted I was when you said, "No, He didn't" with regards to those passages that I listed. It was important for me to hear from someone 'religious in a traditional sense' to tell me that they're not God's words and the scriptures contain myths or the products of pure human imagination. It is impossible for me to believe God instituted those cruel laws and believe God is love at the same time.

    Funny you should mention C.S. Lewis ... He is responsible for my belief shifting. Almost all my believer friends told me to read C.S. Lewis. Eventually I read a book of his so I could find faults in Lewis's rationalization of his conversion. I was going to shine a light to what I considered 'a lack of critical thinking' - which I used to think as a typical tendency of a believer -, instead, I was shown the light, so to speak. I realized my argument was philosophically thin and couldn't refute what C.S. Lewis presented.

    So my search began. Even as a disbeliever, I always admired Jesus of Nazareth as a great philanthropist and social justice fighter. But now I'm beginning to think there could be more to who he is. I don't think many disbelievers object to his preaching in the new testament. However the old testament is a big stumbling block for many to accept the God of the bible. I had to find a way to resolve this issue before I can give consideration to the God Jesus speaks of.

    How encouraging! Abram's story the way you put it is almost exactly what I was thinking! I don't know how the practice of child offering began, but my guess is, when famine or plague hit, people thought God was angry therefore they had to appease God ... "What could be the most valuable thing we can offer? - Our children." ... It was out of total desperation for survival; they thought, I'd assume, it was better that a few children are sacrificed than the entire village perishes.

    But Abram realized it was wrong; that God would not desire human sacrifice. Yes, he received a divine inspiration, I'd say. Today, we think human sacrifice is out of the question, but if we were born three thousand years ago, the vast majority of us might as well have followed the common practice of the time - if you think about how powerful social conditioning is... as so many Nazi soldiers thought it was ok to kill Jews, including defenseless women and children, and that was not so long ago... To go against the cultural norm and do the right thing, one needs to be guided by something outside human nature. I'm beginning to think that's where God gets in the picture.

    Because of the leadership of Abram, the practice was abolished. To impart this wisdom to later generations, the story was created. I don't think God ever commanded Abram to sacrifice Isaac. As you said, Thomas, I think he was merely following the custom of his day, but something changed his mind - a breakthrough (a fitting expression!). The dialogue between God and Abram was later constructed to rationalize the abandonment of a long-held custom, and perhaps to render dramatic effect, for the audience of that time. What lies inside the story is a profound moment of humanity's 'spiritual' evolution. If we read the old testament stories this way, it becomes a wondrous book with gems of wisdom.

    But there's this one other thing that I feel iffy about Abraham and Sarah, if I may say so. They used Hagar to produce their heir, and cast out Hagar and Ishmael when those two were no longer needed. I'm having a hard time tolerating their action. How should I read it? Any insights you can give me on this? Anyone?
     
  11. Lux

    Lux Active Member

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    Do you believe the stories in Genesis not as allegories, but as scientifically accurate?
     
  12. Lux

    Lux Active Member

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    I should add ... I'm currently juggling a few jobs and may not have time to spend in front of a computer much, but please know that I appreciate everyone's input, though I may not respond to every reply, or it may take a few weeks to respond. Thanks. :)
     
  13. wil

    wil UNeyeR1 Moderator

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    Metaphysical meaning of Hagar (mbd) | TruthUnity
    Metaphysical meaning of Ishmael (mbd) | TruthUnity
     
  14. Lux

    Lux Active Member

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    Thanks Wil, this is interesting; something I've never heard of!
     
  15. wil

    wil UNeyeR1 Moderator

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    Anytime the Bible is tough to figure out... I read it literally and then write down what it says in my own words. Then I go back and replace troublesome words with the their metaphysical component.

    For instance G!d tells them to slay the Medianites...and then when they do, he asks if they got all the women and children... no? Go back and kill them all...but keep the virgins for yourself.... WOW!!

    So children are the offspring of the elders...and virgins are the untouched...unsullied
    So using the metaphysical strife and discontent definition...G!d isn't telling us to go and slay any people....but kill those ideas within ourcellves that are full of contention and strife...(let it go) and then asks us if we got rid of all of it..."well yeah, most but there is still some..." you know justifying why we are hanging on to this crap (there are parts of our complaining which we have become accustomed). Go back and kill all of those ideas, the creators of those ideas (women) the originators of those ideas (elders) the offspring of those ideas (children) but keep the virgins (unsullied ideas) for yourself.

    Is it right? No clue. But it does allow me to find a way for personal growth through the story...
     
  16. Devils' Advocate

    Devils' Advocate Well-Known Member

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    This kind of rewriting of the Bible for modern sensibilities makes me very uncomfortable. Wil has done it in a way that works for him, and that is cool. He does accept the literal version first, then translates it into a version that allows him to get something out of it.

    To pretend that this revision is what the Bible actually says though, that is where I disagree. This time in prehistory was often a violent, brutal world. What are evil acts by our modern standards was just the way life was back then. To pretend otherwise is throwing the intent, the real intent, of the story right out the window.

    Revisionism is never honest.
     
  17. wil

    wil UNeyeR1 Moderator

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    I questioned the metaphysical bible dictionary quite a bit when I first came across it.

    Then I went to a baby naming ceremony....where Jews wait until days or weeks after the birth to announce/choose a name for the baby...they wait till they see traits the baby displays and name the baby based on those traits.

    You know those baby naming books you find? Many of those definitions in those books relate to Jewish traditional meanings of those names.

    Biblical Baby Names with meaning, origin and description of the Biblical character.

    This is really displayed during the naming of each of the children associated with the twelve tribes.

    In the bible wells, children, towns were named based on the meanings of those names....these are the basis for the metaphysical meanings..

    Names are even changed as people change...Abram became Abraham, and Sarai became Sarah... and the bible describes the reason the name is changed and the background meanings.
     
  18. greentwiga

    greentwiga New Member

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    I do accept the stories in Genesis as accurate. I don't accept the usual interpretations as accurate. I am a chemist and worked in the C14 and other isotopes field. I have no problem with science or evolution and a literal interpretation of Genesis doesn't either. The Bible only preserves the parts of history that is useful for teaching, but it is accurate within the culture it was written.
     
  19. greentwiga

    greentwiga New Member

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    Yes, it seems horrible to us. Remember that people didn't have social security or IRAs etc. There only hope for old age was to have children. Remember also that Adam had a son Abel. Abel means vain or empty. He was called that because he left no children. Ones place in history came through ones descendents. In both ways, Abraham was desperate for children and the slave was a traditional solution. The cure was worse than the disease for Sarah, so she pushed. God was more caring.
     
  20. LincolnSpector

    LincolnSpector Member

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    A friend of mine, a rabbi, once said that when the divine dictates to a mortal scribe, the mortal will make mistakes.

    Good people have been grappling with the many obviously immoral things G*d condones or even orders in the Bible. Many reinterpret these verses as metaphors. Others simply declare them wrong, or skip over them.

    Realistically, the Bible was put together from earlier scrolls by multiple committees over several centuries. And committees make mistakes and compromises. Some of the people on those committees were clearly righteous folk who really wanted to spread love and charity. Others were proto-fascists who wanted to wipe out people who disagreed with them. Others, I suspect, were tripping on psychedelics.

    So why worship it? Because there's so much good from it, and so much culture and interpretation.
     

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