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Christian Apologetics A forum to discuss the systematic defense of the Christian belief system with other Christians.

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  #1  
Old 2nd January 2011, 09:20 PM
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after reading the bible i think i am loosing my faith.

a few weeks back i decided it was time for me to actualy read the whole bible to better understand the word of my god . i am an avid reader so it wasnt to hard for me to spend a few hours ever evening going through it at steady pace to better understand and take in what i was reading. the problem is what i found in there shocked me badly. there is so much in there i had never heard in church. and also alot i had never been able to take my time and anylize while the preacher read it. as i would get more caught up with how he said stuff than exactly what he said. now the prblem is that after reading the bible i am afraid i am loosing my faith.

now i know alot of my problem was with the old testament and that maybe i should just concentrate on the new. but jesus clearly says that he came not to change the law of the old testament, but to expound upon it. and the old testament still applies.

now there were many places in the old testament where i was shocked, and even disgusted by what the bible said. like where god hardened the heart of the pharoah, there by obstructing his free will. so that god could show everyone how powerfull he was by killing the first born sons. now i dont understand why god didnt just lighten his heart so that he wouldnt have had to murder children. now i know they had them in slavery, but why would god mess with his free will then still punish him by murdering children , who had no part in the conflict, for a decision god made him make.

now the other issue in there that surpasses everything else is the one of slavery. there was one passage in exodus that completely disgusted me , on how to sell your own daughter as what is basicaly a sex slave. now i have spoken to people about this. and the common thing i have heard while discussing this is that slavery as we know it isnt the same as it was then. they were more of an indentured servant or some such. but this doesnt make sense when considering all thatwas said in a few different places. these slaves could be bought and sold as chattel. they would be inherited by the mastors children if he died. they were exoected to obey all orders or be punished. they could be beaten so badly, that so long as they didnt die within 2 days everything was fine. and if they died after 2 days this was also fine as they were the mastors property. now this doesnt sound to much different to slavery as we knew it not so long ago. the only people who had it slightly better and were more like indentured servants where other jews who were enslaved. the other thing i have heard said is that this wasnt gods will but he had to put up with it as its how society was back then. but in many other instances god doesnt put up with things he doesnt like. not even remotely. why was slavery different since slavery is so obviously evil? i cant make myself see how it is right to own another person as property to do with as you will in any age. yes it might have been common back then but that didnt make it right did it?

the other problem is monogamy. i have always been taught this is an important part of my faith. that and being faithfull to your wife. yet reading the bible many many people have multiple wives and slaves to have sex with. now some of these people where the ones who god had such a close relationship with he would talk to them in person as such. and god seemed fine with this. so how does this work?

so please. if anyone could help me with this. i have been a christian all my life but i have begun to seriously doubt the bible as the word of my god. so please, if anyone could help me with these questions ,and a few more, but these where the major problems i had.

thank you and god bless
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  #2  
Old 2nd January 2011, 09:35 PM
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You should change the title of your OP to "Why isn't God a 21st Century American and Also Identical to Me?"
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Old 2nd January 2011, 09:51 PM
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Because the Old Testament is very much a work in progress, the laws and moral lessons in it are not timeless. They are the product of a gritty, difficult-to-live-in world that the West has not been exposed to for many centuries; a world without police to provide forcible order, without independence and choice, without social mobility or any other sort of mobility, without free and open information, without a constitution and governing bodies to protect the rights of the minority, without any concept of human rights at all.

For this reason, it's important to see that the Old Testament is an expression of thinking in a sinful world. The New Testament modifies many things in the Old Testament, like monogamy which you mentioned, because of the Christian belief that through Jesus, God has been working to change minds and hearts, and by changing minds and hearts, improving the state of the world.
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Old 2nd January 2011, 10:06 PM
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now there were many places in the old testament where i was shocked, and even disgusted by what the bible said. like where god hardened the heart of the pharoah, there by obstructing his free will
Some people understand it as God obstructing his free will. I don't think thats accurate though. God allowed him to continue on in evil and follow the passions of his heard heart. He didn't force him to be that way however and thats not what "God heardened his heart" is supposed to imply. Even though God knew that Pharoah would bring about great evil God would bring good from it. It's explaining why God didn't just smack him down before he even became a king and caused all those troubles for everyone.

You might want to find a few Patristic commentaries on Scripture. Blessed Theodoret of Cryus, St John Chrysostom, Blessed Theophylact, and the Venerable Bede are good bets.
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Old 2nd January 2011, 10:35 PM
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So you said that you trust your own intelligence (Tree of Knowledge) more than God (Word of God), as prophecied? So be it.

God hardened your heart sometimes which God allows you (your free will) to decide to walk in the darness, He won't choose to wake you up when you made up your mind to betray Him.

Several question for you,

1) Is you who decided to turn away from God, or is it God turns away from you in this case, what you think? (try to answer me please)

In my opinion, it is you who decided to turn away from God, just because you read something you don't have an answer then you decided to distrust God who is both a just and loving God.

On the other hand, God may decide to harden your heart such that your already made-up mind will continue to turn away from God without returning. That's what "harden" means.

2) Slavery is a human establishment, not God's. And it is 100% legal by all the Caeser's Law in that period of time. So my questoin here is, have you ever tried to compare all the Caeser's Law (such as the Egyptian's Law) to see if how the Jews' treating their slavery justified?

I'll give you a reference (and from Bible account). Under the Egyptian Law (assume so), Pharoah can kill the Jews first born sons at will and in mass. Whenever the Egyptians felt that the Jews were getting over-populated, they'll kill all the first born sons of the Jews (hope that you won't turn a blind-eye to this in the Bible).

So if all other Caesers were adapting the more cruel Laws regarding to slavery, do you specially want the Jews to be saints without slavery?

From my speculation, you can do whatever your Caeser considered 100% lawful while your fellow national folks feel the same (feel justified). That's how it works till now. Basically, God allows you to do what is 100% Lawful by the definition of your Caeser (and other Caesers surrounding), and 100% legal by your national folks (and other people surrounding). Render what Caesers' to the Caesers.

3) In OT before and till Moses period of time, the Jews adapts the "Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth" policy. If they are only killed and enslaved but forbiden to do the same as other Caesers and other humans surrounding, then the Jews may not be able to survive the history to bring us the message of God's salvation. That's why God allows them to be adaptive to the environment (they are already better folks than their surrounding humans). Because God's priority is to save soul, thus to carry forward the salvation message via the Jews while allowing them to be just as other Caesers.

It is explained, still God may choose to harden your heart such that you'll choose to be ignorant about the history and continue to trust your own judgment of good and evil by rejecting the Word of God (exactly what was done by Adam).

It's all up to you to decide.
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Old 2nd January 2011, 10:38 PM
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Seems like you are struggling with the common question "Why does God allow so much suffering/injustice/evil...?" I found Lee Stobel book, "A Case for Faith" to be helpful in answering some of these questions. Basically, first you can't subject God to rules of morality as God is the source of all morality and you are not the judge of God (sorry). Also, Jesus destroyed DEATH so now ask the question "Are all those who have been allowed to be murdered, are they really dead?" NO!!!! Remember the cause for suffering is sin and Jesus took away the sin of the world therefore Jesus has taken away the suffering of the world by opening the gates to heaven. Mother Teresa once compared all the suffering in the world to one inconvient night in a hotel compared to the glory of God. I imagine heaven will be even greater than what she expected. Don't stop seeking for answers hold on to the righteous. Don't give up on God.
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Old 2nd January 2011, 11:32 PM
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thank you for your answers so far. but im not to sure how much they have helped. but i am probably just being dense.

christos- ok i can see where i could have got part of that wrong. i can see how it could be taken differently where god hardened his heart. especialy since it could merely be a translation misunderstanding. but im still having a problem with the part of the story where god killed the first born of the land because of the pharohs decision. it wasnt the first borns decision so why where they puished with death. also some of those must have been no more than babies. why should a small baby be killed by god because of the pharohs decision, no matter how evil the pharaoh was for keeping them as slaves. i can see no possible way a small child should pay in place of the person who made the actual decision.also something i have just thought of. god was angry because the egyptions kept the jews as slaves. but after all this the jews where given free reign in keeping slaves of there own. that doesnt make sense to me.

kaitlyn- i would agree with you except for the fact jesus said "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished" (Matthew 5:17-18). Jesus was talking about the entire Old Testament - the Law and the Prophets.

hawkins- you are a bit to self rightous for my liking- self rightousness is often the covering people use to hide there own bigotry and evil from themselves. all those muslim suicide bombers are self rightous. that is the main reason why they dont see murdering innocent people as wrong. while you may not be anywhere near as bad, it is still the same mask and i dont trust it.

1)also i never said i was loosing faith in god. i am loosing faith in the bible as the 100% true word of god. after reading it i have realised i have no proof the bible is the 100% true word of god except that the bible says so. and i have come to realise the bible says alot of things i simply cant agree with . i could not stone to death one of my children for disobediance. even though the bible says i should. and yes it may be in the ot but jesus himslef said he came not to change a single law of the ot and it all still aplies fully. jesus only came to fulfill the sacrificial ofering so we could be forgiven and go to heaven through him as far as i understand.

2) all you have just said here is that the only way to combat evil is to become just as evil yourself. sorry but i disagree with you on that point strongly

3) are you telling me that god is not powerful enough to have protected the jews from harm while they followed a law without slavery and being allowed to murder cities full of defencless woman and children of there enemies. if god had wanted them to survive they would have survived no matter the odds against them. do you think mere men can thwart the will of god?
also in the ot god was not afraid to get ionvolved in things diectly. he destroyed armies so the jews would survive. he sent plagues onto egypt, he parted the red sea, he turned cities to salt and drowned the world when people went against hes will, so i dont see how you can claim god needed his chosen people to be just as evil and barbaric as the people around them so they could survive

diychristian. i will take a look at those thankyou

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Old 2nd January 2011, 11:38 PM
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Originally Posted by rockyjohn
now there were many places in the old testament where i was shocked, and even disgusted by what the bible said. like where god hardened the heart of the pharoah, there by obstructing his free will. so that god could show everyone how powerfull he was by killing the first born sons. now i dont understand why god didnt just lighten his heart so that he wouldnt have had to murder children. now i know they had them in slavery, but why would god mess with his free will then still punish him by murdering children , who had no part in the conflict, for a decision god made him make.
rockyjohn: Who said that "God messed with Pharaoh's free will"? I'm quite confident that you're reading the account incorrectly. Consider two plates sitting on a window sill on a sunny day. In one plate is a stick of butter and in the other plate is a ball of clay. The butter will melt and the clay will harden. It's the same sun that shines upon both, so then why are there different results? Obviously, we must consider other variables beside the sun itself to properly answer this question...namely the PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS of the items that it is shining upon. Along these same lines, in scripture, we read:

"For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God: But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh to cursing, whose end is to be burned." (Hebrews 6:7-8)

Why does the SAME RAIN produce herbs in one place and thorns and briers in another? Obviously, the PRE-EXISTING CONDITION OF THE SOIL has something to do with this. The same principle that I've sought to describe here applies with God and Pharaoh's heart. God merely "shone his light" on Pharaoh's heart, figuratively speaking. That Pharaoh's heart was hardened by such "light", speaks volumes about the PRE-EXISTING CONDITION OF PHARAOH'S HEART. Hopefully, you understand what I'm saying/implying. Also, whether you're aware of it or not, scripture also says that PHARAOH (not God) HARDENED HIS HEART. For example, we read:

"But when Pharaoh saw that there was respite, HE HARDENED HIS HEART, and hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had said." (Exodus 8:15)

On top of this, in scripture, we clearly see how others put the blame for the "hardening" NOT on God, but on the people with whom He was dealing instead. For example, we read:

"And the ark of the LORD was in the country of the Philistines seven months. And the Philistines called for the priests and the diviners, saying, What shall we do to the ark of the LORD? tell us wherewith we shall send it to his place. And they said, If ye send away the ark of the God of Israel, send it not empty; but in any wise return him a trespass offering: then ye shall be healed, and it shall be known to you why his hand is not removed from you. Then said they, What shall be the trespass offering which we shall return to him? They answered, Five golden emerods, and five golden mice, according to the number of the lords of the Philistines: for one plague was on you all, and on your lords. Wherefore ye shall make images of your emerods, and images of your mice that mar the land; and ye shall give glory unto the God of Israel: peradventure he will lighten his hand from off you, and from off your gods, and from off your land. WHEREFORE THEN DO YE HARDEN YOUR HEARTS, AS THE EGYPTIANS AND PHARAOH HARDENED THEIR HEARTS? when he had wrought wonderfully among them, did they not let the people go, and they departed?" (I Samuel 6:1-6)

The priests whom the Philistines called for placed the blame of "hardening their hearts" UPON PHARAOH and the Egyptians and NOT upon God. Additionally, in the New Testament, an Old Testament scripture (Psalm 95-7-11) is continually quoted that warns us thusly:

"Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To-day if ye will hear his voice, HARDEN NOT YOUR HEARTS, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness: When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works for forty years. Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, THEY DO ALWAY ERR IN THEIR HEART; and they have not known my ways. So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest). Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you AN EVIL HEART OF UNBELIEF, in departing from the living God. But exhort one another daily, while it is called To-day; LEST ANY OF YOU BE HARDENED THROUGH THE DECEITFULNESS OF SIN." (Hebrews 3:7-13)

God is no more guilty of the "hardenings" that we just read about than any "hardenings" of Pharaoh's heart. God strives with us. All of us. We either willfully choose to draw nearer to Him or willfully choose to harden our hearts against Him. You're placing the blame in the wrong place. I have a lot more that I could say along these lines, but hopefully you get my point. I hope that this helps.

Take care.
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Old 2nd January 2011, 11:59 PM
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Yikes, sorry for some of the horrible answers I see here. Anyway. . .

+For slavery, read http://christianthinktank.com/qnoslave.html

I'll post some more stuff later.
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Old 3rd January 2011, 12:13 AM
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Originally Posted by rockyjohn View Post
kaitlyn- i would agree with you except for the fact jesus said "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished" (Matthew 5:17-18). Jesus was talking about the entire Old Testament - the Law and the Prophets.
This saying is only found in Matthew, and even in Matthew's gospel, Jesus intensifies certain aspects of the Mosaic Law, and reinterprets or does away with others. Certainly in Matthew's gospel, Jesus claims to be the divine Wisdom itself (Matt 11:19); and this would constitute blasphemy, which was prohibited by the Mosaic Law. I don't think this saying in Matthew 5:17-18 should be taken very seriously at all.
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