What To Make Of The Old Testament

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

  1. wil

    wil UNeyeR1 Moderator

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2005
    Messages:
    21,772
    Likes Received:
    1,928
    Yes, it is a cultural trend that those more educated in the sciences lose the need for supernatural solutions to common nature and scientific phenomenon.

    What gets me is you know this, and yet you argue. The difference between the number of believers in the general public and the scientific community is more than statistically significant....
     
  2. A Cup Of Tea

    A Cup Of Tea Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2011
    Messages:
    3,310
    Likes Received:
    566
    We know this is so, but we don't know why. Saying we know why would be very unscientific.
     
  3. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2003
    Messages:
    11,547
    Likes Received:
    2,027
    LOL!

    Try that line of thought on the likes of Pryzwara, Millbank and Polkinghorne, or a Lonergan, Whitehead, Harsthorne or Ricoeur (to name but a few) and see if they'll buy it! :D

    But seriously, I think there's a 'same world, different planet' scenario going on here. I don't know who you might be reading, but I do not see contemporary religious thought as a quest for 'supernatural solutions to common nature and scientific phenomena'.
     
  4. wil

    wil UNeyeR1 Moderator

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2005
    Messages:
    21,772
    Likes Received:
    1,928
    I believe my statement was that in the past there were more believers among scientists... you ask me to try this line of thought against....who? Dead scientists? Really? You done proved my point. Take a look at the research 10 times as many non believers amongst scientists v the general public.

    I am not denying there are believers among top scientists... sheesh... you are now just being silly. I am saying when compared to the general public...there is a vast difference.... and ANY scientist would agree.

    [​IMG]
     
  5. A Cup Of Tea

    A Cup Of Tea Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2011
    Messages:
    3,310
    Likes Received:
    566
    Again, you are assuming the why, I know why I think atheism is more common in academia but it's not provable. You can have a conviction but not knowledge. If you have, please do share, repeating the situation several times isn't very convincing.
     
  6. wil

    wil UNeyeR1 Moderator

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2005
    Messages:
    21,772
    Likes Received:
    1,928
    [​IMG]


    More often you go to church....less often you are to believe in science (evolution)

    [​IMG]
     
  7. A Cup Of Tea

    A Cup Of Tea Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2011
    Messages:
    3,310
    Likes Received:
    566
    Why? Why? Why?
     
  8. wil

    wil UNeyeR1 Moderator

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2005
    Messages:
    21,772
    Likes Received:
    1,928
    them's the stats...

    I'd guess it is because you believe what you hear from the pulpit or in classes you take at the churches...

    Birds of a feather flock together... if your peers are constantly telling you one thing...you begin to believe it.

    I was at a table where it was being explained about how folks lived hundreds of years due to the dome of ice which surrounded the earth (when G!d parted the waters) and it wasn't until Noah, that G!d melted the dome and it began to rain for the first time...

    And yup, there were scientists at the table.
     
  9. A Cup Of Tea

    A Cup Of Tea Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2011
    Messages:
    3,310
    Likes Received:
    566
    I first wrote this
    Then I reread what you actually wrote...you aren't actually trying to make that point are you? No sure you're trying to make a point at all, just showing some numbers you thought was interesting?
     
  10. wil

    wil UNeyeR1 Moderator

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2005
    Messages:
    21,772
    Likes Received:
    1,928
    Interesting.... so if pew did a thing on white, and money we'd find more people believing in evolution and less in G!d as well? I don't know, could be.

    I just think the G!d gets educated out of them...

    Like being a magician...makes you more skeptical...once you know what is behind the curtain.
     
  11. A Cup Of Tea

    A Cup Of Tea Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2011
    Messages:
    3,310
    Likes Received:
    566
    Not all white/educated/rich people, but there are cultures and subcultures, if we look at the right correlations we will, I believe, see social patterns.

    One thing you get back to is religion = what the physical world is, but that isn't necessarily true though is it, look at T, for him it's the opposite. I would have no problem seeing a vast majority of very religious scientists is some things were just a little bit different. But that's in the chaos of human society and more a matter of chance then anything tangible.

    Again, my own personal musings.
     
  12. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2003
    Messages:
    11,547
    Likes Received:
    2,027
    Sorry you see it that way. I suppose I meant your idea of religion really doesn't stand in the light of the sample provided. Some might be dead, but their reputation survives them.

    I suggest you are the one who's being silly. And if that's what your secular scientific sample believe, so are they.

    I'm not arguing the numbers. I am arguing the assumptions.
     
  13. Devils' Advocate

    Devils' Advocate Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2014
    Messages:
    2,086
    Likes Received:
    380
    I was reading that PEW study a few days ago. If I am not mistaken, it was a survey of American's beliefs alone; not the belief's around the rest of the world. That is not splitting hairs, I don't think, it is relevant to the reasons for the views in this particular study.

    There is a proposal I would offer and would enjoy some feedback on. Scientists are more likely to study science (Yeah I know. Duh!). So they are more likely to find their answers to the great mysteries of the universe within science.

    The religious are more likely to study the Bible, and it is from that source that they tend to move for their answers to the great mysteries of the universe.

    It would be interesting to find out how many scientists who believe religion and science can coexist have studied the Bible. Versus the number in the opposite camp who have read the Bible. If I were a betting man, I expect that the scientists who have also studied the Bible are the ones who are more likely to believe the two can coexist.

    Scientists who have no use for theology would not find much purpose in studying the Bible.

    What this leads me to is that a whole lot of people, scientist or otherwise, are taking a position from having studied but one of the two; i.e. the one they choose to believe in. I have often found religious folk ignorant of science and how it works, and put them down for that.

    It is a new concept to me that people who favor science have probably never studied the Bible, and are just as ignorant of theology as the religious are of science. If I find it to be wrong for one side, I have to accept it is wrong for both sides. One cannot intelligently argue a position of which they have no real knowledge!
     
  14. wil

    wil UNeyeR1 Moderator

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2005
    Messages:
    21,772
    Likes Received:
    1,928
    Yes, I will provide that a 'doh' as well.
     
  15. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2003
    Messages:
    11,547
    Likes Received:
    2,027
    I agree with that. It's not universal, but it's certainly the case among 'scientific celebrities'. Stephen Hawkings and here in the UK we have TV's favourite Physicist and Astronomer Brian Cox who have both declared that science has relegated God to the realm of superstition.

    I would go further and say that those who are informed on contemporary religious thought, rather than assuming anyone who holds a faith holds a medieval world view, would likewise see that each operates in its own sphere without crossover or contradiction.

    Often my experience.

    Quite.

    There are meeting points though. The Catholic Church has its science academies. There's the Templeton Foundation and the Gifford Lectures and these, if any more evidence was needed, demonstrate that there is no substance to the claim that religion comprises 'supernatural solutions to common nature and scientific phenomenon'.

    When I hear Stephen Hawking or Brian Cox talk about God, I can only wonder at how thoroughly medieval their notions are! But as you say, I doubt either has actually ever read a Catholic or a Buddhist on the nature of being.
     
  16. Lux

    Lux Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2014
    Messages:
    319
    Likes Received:
    92
    Thomas, thank you very much for sharing your insights with me. It really helps. I am also finding it somewhat surprising that your views and mine, so far, are more similar than not. It's interesting, you know, considering you're a traditional Catholic and I'm a former disbeliever who had rejected the Christian God.

    If what you believe is perfectly in line with what the Catholic Church teaches, Protestantism is very different from Catholicism, it seems to me. (Well I can only speak from my experience with Christians around me tho) - Who had changed Christianity this much?

    The other day I listened to a lecture by Phillip Cary. Interestingly, he doesn't think Protestantism was created by Luther. He said Luther was very much Catholic, but only, Luther rebelled against the corruption and exploitation of laypeople by the Church's pushing indulgences. I wonder if Calvin or Zwingli were more responsible for altering Christian doctrines.

    I almost have no dissenting opinions in regards to how you read and perceive the OT ... Until I invest myself in reading the OT more studiously ... then I may challenge your views, but that'd probably take ten years. :D I take my hat off to your dedication to theology. I can only hope that I'd understand what you understand before my time is up!

    =====

    That said, there's one thing I think somewhat differently from you, which is about 'common sense'. So for what its worth...
    I happen to think "don't kill, don't steal" are divine injunctions. These are common sense only to us humans, and not to other animals, are they not? Well some social animals (apes, dogs) may somewhat practice similar rules too, but I think they do so because they're afraid of retaliation - namely for one's own security reasons. In our world, it is wrong to kill or steal even when you're the strongest in the group no-one can retaliate against. It is wrong for the strong to exploit the weak within the same species, but this rule exists only in the human world.

    Other animals don’t have a sense of right from wrong like humans do. The most important objectives for them are their survival and passing on their genes. They'll do anything for the protection of self or their offspring including killing and stealing, and there's nothing wrong with that in their world.

    So if we lived by the same standard as other animals, stealing food from old people in order to feed your children if you had no other means, even when you suspect old people may starve, would not be wrong - due to the law of "the survival of the fittest". But humans have very different moral laws and I have to attribute them to divine injunction. Our common sense comes from God - we're equipped with the ability to know what God expects of us.


    Also regarding the ten commandments, I wonder why Jesus didn't say "All of them" when he was asked by a rich man which commandments he should keep. Jesus skipped the first four and added "love your neighbor as yourself" instead.(Mt.19:18-19) Which coincidentally covers what I happen to believe are the 'universal virtues' for mankind, both for the religious and non-religious.

    =====

    Also ... I meant to ask ... when you say 'Scripture', do you mean more of the new testament, or both? Because the God presented in the old testament and the new testament seem very different to me.

    When I point that out to my Christian friends, many of them say that God 'changed' the laws because 'a new covenant' was made by the advent of the Christ. So the harsh laws God gave to the Israelites were replaced by the love of Christ. So the Christians now only need to make God's love as their law and don't have to (or rather must not) punish law-breakers using physical measures (stoning and such).

    But I'm not buying that. I am of the opinion that God does not change the laws, ever. God resides outside time (that's what I heard), so the laws must be timeless. And God gave the laws not only to the Israelites but also to everyone else in the world IMHO, so the laws must be universal. What I think is, Christ helped disentangle the wrong understanding of God's Law on humans' part, showed us what the true laws are. That's what I take from "I have not come to abolish the Law but to fulfill it." ... Now I humbly await to be corrected if my interpretations are off. (But I can't guarantee you if I'll change my mind about it. :p )
     
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2016
  17. Lux

    Lux Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2014
    Messages:
    319
    Likes Received:
    92
    Now back to the OT ...

    Another question ...

    In many ancient tribal wars Israel was involved in ... Their warfare rhetoric, expressed in the voice of God, is also troubling to me.


    A couple of examples:

    <In the quotations, the Italics are the original, the underlined are mine>


    I came across a Christian analytic philosophy professor, Paul Copan, who defends the ethics of the old testament.

    Copan states in this article that many ancient military accounts are full of bravado and exaggeration, depicting total devastation. Ancient readers knew this was 'a typical massive hyperbole' of the time and 'not literally true'.

    So, if the Israelites didn't target noncombatants as Copan infers, that's good news for me.

    However ...

    Although Copan's view is that God didn't command the Israelites to '
    obliterate' other tribes and the war rhetoric was all their own (as it was the custom of their day), and not of God, Copan believes God 'sanctioned/directed' the wars.

    This creates a problem for me. First of all, how do we know the Israelites are describing the Canaanite culture correctly in the OT, and not just making up an excuse for their attack for which the main reason could have been purely a land grab? Secondly, even if the Canaanites were morally corrupt as described, is it right (God's wish) to kill people with that reason? - I think not.

    So my question is, even though God didn't command to 'kill them all' including noncombatants, did God 'lead' the Israelites to attack Jericho at all? Was it a just war initiated by divine inspiration? Does God ever put forward an idea in human minds that we launch a war, if for a righteous reason? Or wars are always a human idea, but we just use God's name to justify it?

    By the way, I'm not necessarily 100% against wars no matter what the situation is. I believe there are circumstances where we could bring even worse outcomes by being a complete pacifist. I applaud Churchill for leading England to stand up to the Nazi regime. Shouldn't the US have intervened in WWII sooner? Then millions of Jews would not have perished ...

    But I don't know how God would see wars. Or that if God ever prompts us in that direction. (My thought is, if it was the only way to defend yourselves and those who can't fight for themselves, then God permits it.)

    Do you believe God would sanction wars, or the wars the Israelites fought were justified in God's eyes? Otherwise, can we regard Moses as a godly man?
     
  18. A Cup Of Tea

    A Cup Of Tea Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2011
    Messages:
    3,310
    Likes Received:
    566
    Lux, your are putting forward that animals are morally different from humans. The only difference I see is that we codify our actions as moral or not. If we want to compare animals to humans we must first fix our focus to social animals only. Then we compare the behaviour of both to each other. You have compared the reasoning behind the actions, and not so much the actions, which seems flawed to me since it's hard too look at the thoughts of any animal. When comparing the behaviour I see social animals as more harmonious, in general, then humans since they don't engage in physical confrontation for the petty reason we do (revenge, ideology) and very seldom more then a show of strength disengaging before turning lethal.

    There are exceptions of course, like primates, but that almost proves my point. The point is that even though we have a shared understanding that some things are wrong we, as a species, consistently disregard these agreements. If God has given anything for humans to be good humans is it very different to what God has given animals to be good animals?

    (See DA, I do share at times)
     
  19. Devils' Advocate

    Devils' Advocate Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2014
    Messages:
    2,086
    Likes Received:
    380
    And you do it well. Which is why I wish you would do so more often!

    It seems something of an irony to me that animals overall are far more moral than humans are. And the reason is because animals have not been given the capability to know what morals are.

    Yet social animals in particular DO have very real morals, but not the ability to make a decision whether to follow their moral sense or not. To my understanding, no dog has ever belittled himself for breaking the pack morality of dogs. First of all they almost never do anyway. Second even if they did, no dog would condemn himself, nor would other dogs judge him for breaking the rules of dogs.

    Animals find it very easy to be good animals, I suspect, because they have no brain function to suggest they can do otherwise. Humans, of course, do have the ability to decide which morals to follow and when to follow them. From a purely biological point of view, I don't think the evidence is in yet whether allowing an animal to have this choice is good for the biosphere or not!
     
  20. wil

    wil UNeyeR1 Moderator

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2005
    Messages:
    21,772
    Likes Received:
    1,928
    Have you never owned a dog??

    Never seen that face of one that tore apart the yard or house....


    they know so well that they did wrong....and the fun they had doing it...

    oh that face...
     

Share This Page