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after reading the bible i think i am loosing my faith.

Discussion in 'Christian Apologetics' started by rockyjohn, Jan 2, 2011.

  1. Walter Kovacs

    Walter Kovacs Justice is coming, no matter what we do.

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    Nah, that's not anywhere close to what I'm saying.
     
  2. icedbun

    icedbun Newbie

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    That is interesting about Catharism. I'd forgot about them, though they are really a re-birth of the old Gnostics of the 2nd century. It is an interesting concept, though, that a strong belief in Satan or the Devil comes close to dualism. Obviously orthodox Christianity doesn't get close although the idea that Satan has the upper hand, even for a short while, suggests it.

    the question remains, though, why would god consider one group of people and animals, connected only by their being first born, and take their lives whilst he never did that again under the Evangelists have Herod doing this although it was evil by then. I'm sure it is convenient to sweep the concept up in the 'we don't know the mind of God' idea but given all there is in the Bible, we really ought to be able to work some of it out.

    If we can't do that we are going to have to fall back on the 'what god does is moral' which leaves us wondering how we should act.
     
  3. Walter Kovacs

    Walter Kovacs Justice is coming, no matter what we do.

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    "Is what is morally good commanded by God because it is morally good, or is it morally good because it is commanded by God?"

    "God wills it because He IS good."
     
  4. badtim

    badtim Vatican Warlock Assassin

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    ok glad you're not contemplating castration or suicide to get to heaven quicker :)


    see, here's a core problem in the common christian concept of god, that i personally have never seen a good answer for. if you have one, please link me.

    either the christian god is the ultimate source of "goodness", in which case whatever he says is good, including mass murder and rape (a la the OT), or he does good because he wants to, in which case there is an external standard of "good", meaning that he is subordinate to something outside himself.
     
  5. Walter Kovacs

    Walter Kovacs Justice is coming, no matter what we do.

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  6. .Iona.

    .Iona. I love Jesus!

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    This is my main problem with christianity too. I hope you find answers to your questions.
     
  7. Walter Kovacs

    Walter Kovacs Justice is coming, no matter what we do.

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    What Jesus clearly says is that He came to fulfill the law, not add to it. He did away with the need for ritual law, leaving only the Ten Commandments. All the law that we have to follow today as Christians cane be summed up (as per the words of Christ) here:

    "Love the Lord thy God with all your heart, soul and mind, and love your neighbor as yourself."

    That's it. Christianity truly is that simple.
     
  8. Walter Kovacs

    Walter Kovacs Justice is coming, no matter what we do.

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    Also, for the record, rape is never, ever condoned in the Scriptures. Ever. Quite the opposite, honestly. Anti-rape laws abound in the OT, and there was NO SEXUAL INTERCOURSE unless it was in the context of a marriage.
     
  9. icedbun

    icedbun Newbie

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    Excellent stuff and thanks for finding it! It could be hard to find that on one's own.

    That said, Craig seems to come up with my point stated earlier, the God is good and that what he says and what he does are, of necessity good too. I think that is a fair summation of the replies. Further, Craig also points out that there is an end to reasoning and that at that end something, like raping little children is just wrong.

    So, back to the killing of the First Born in Egypt. Clearly that killing, occasioned in part by God hardening the heart of Pharaoh, was good act even though it involved that killing of innocent children and animals.

    I think that ought to end the discussion.
     
  10. Kludge

    Kludge Newbie

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    You guys are really confusing me. God wouldn't do anything evil. If I think murdering innocent babies is immoral then God wouldn't do it or I would be more moral than God and that's not only wrong it's blasphemy.

    But according to the Holy Bible God did kill all of those innocent people and babies... so is it OK to murder innocent babies as long as God tells me to? So if God told me to have an abortion it would be OK? I'm really confused.
     
  11. badtim

    badtim Vatican Warlock Assassin

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    Numbers 31. All the instances of rape or forcible marriage are quite in keeping with the idea of women as property.

    Then again, in a historical / cultural context i don't expect iron-age cultures to adhere to our modern ethical schemas.
     
  12. Walter Kovacs

    Walter Kovacs Justice is coming, no matter what we do.

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    Well, obviously those two links don't answer every single aspect of the question, as it's somehting humanity has grappled with for forever:D But it does a good job laying the case out, and there's more resources that expound on certain issues the question brings up if you're still wanting more.
     
  13. Walter Kovacs

    Walter Kovacs Justice is coming, no matter what we do.

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    I'm going to paste this answer to the issue of rape/conquest in the OT here, as it does a far better job of answering the issue than I could.

    "The Beautiful Captive Women of Israel

    Deuteronomy 21: 10-14: "When you go out to battle against your enemies, and the Lord your God delivers them into your hands, and you take them away captive, and see among the captives a beautiful woman, and have a desire for her and would take her as a wife for yourself, then you shall bring her home to your house, and she shall shave her head and trim her nails. 13 "She shall also remove the clothes of her captivity and shall remain in your house, and mourn her father and mother a full month; and after that you may go in to her and be her husband and she shall be your wife. 14 "And it shall be, if you are not pleased with her, then you shall let her go wherever she wishes; but you shall certainly not sell her for money, you shall not mistreat her, because you have humbled her."

    "...the Jews say that if she refused, and continued obstinate in idolatry, he must not marry her." -Henry

    1. It is all too infrequently recognized that this section of Deuteronomy actually represents the most humane extant law for the treatment of women and girls during warfare in the entire history of the ancient Near East. Rape of captive women by conquerors has been the inevitable consequence of military action throughout history. Deuteronomy makes it quite clear that such treatment of women -even enemy women- was forbidden. The Mosaic legislation not only precluded soldiers acting on impulsive sexual desires on the battlefield, it specifically precluded selling captive women as slaves ("sex-slaves" or otherwise). The only condition under which an Israelite soldier was allowed to have relations with a captive woman was that she be made a proselyte (which required her agreement) and that she be made a wife with all the rights and privileges accorded to any other Israelite wife. The couple, man and woman, were subject to all of the laws pertaining to Israelite marriage.

    2. Deuteronomy 21:10-14 as Anti-Rape Legislation. No intercourse was permitted until and unless all the requirements and solemn rites were performed by both parties. Desire was not enough to legitimate intercourse with a captive female; there must be a willingness to allow her to become a part of one's household and accord her all of the rights which belonged to a naturally-born Jew. Marriage could only take place after a period of mourning (the same mourning period pertained to Israel generally; cf. Num 20:29; Deut 34:8) . She was to be treated with humanity and sensitivity and could not be treated as a slave. Many ancient Rabbis maintained that the shaving of her head functioned not only as the standard purification rite accompanying freely chosen conversion, but also to make the captive woman appear less attractive, resembling a gourd or pumpkin shell, and this in his own house so that he would see her frequently (cf. Midrash Halakhah; Midrash Tannaim, Midrash Hagadol, bYevamot 48aff; Rashi; Maimonides, Toldoth Adam, and Torah Tmimah). If the marriage took place, it would only do so after a period of sober consideration and a willingness to make the same commitment which pertained to marriages generally.

    3. Neither marriage nor conversion was forced. Israelites were prohibited from marrying any foreign woman, captive or not, unless she willingly underwent ritual purification by a solemn rite. The shaving of the head was specifically just such a rite (e.g. Num 8:7, etc.). The Midrash Hagadol stated that if the captive female did not wish to convert initially she was to be given twelve months to think it over. If she did not wish to become a proselyte, she faced the choice of living as a resident alien (non Jewish, but required to live according to the standards which pertained to Noah before the covenant Abraham or Moses; according to Midrash Hagadol if these standards were repudiated she would be killed, although it is apparent from Deuteronomy that if she had no place in Israel she was free to go: "you shall let her go wherever she wishes"). It is frequently considerered inconceivable that a captive woman might actually view her conquerors in a positive light; the manner in which women and children were often -not just sometimes- treated in the ancient world, even by their parents, dispels this uncritical assumption (see further under my discussion "Were the Canaanites Evil" here).

    "The delay was full of humanity and kindness to the female slave, as well as a prudential measure to try the strength of her captor's affections. If his love should afterwards cool and he become indifferent to her, he was not to lord it over her, neither to sell her in the slave market, nor retain her in a subordinate condition in his house; but she was to be free to go where her inclinations led her. In almost every other ancient culture, women of a defeated city were raped and/or simply made into slaves. If such a woman was found to be sexually desirable the "instant gratification" of rape was expressly forbidden to the Israelites. It was required that the woman be allowed a full month mourning period before "not just sex, but marriage- was allowed to take place; this provides quite a contrast to any other ancient culture indeed. She and the man would be subject also to the other rules regarding the marriage of the Israelites. This legislation could have two basic results: the men would be restrained from rape, and the women would have time to become adjusted to their new condition. Symbolic of casting off her former life, the woman was to remove the clothing she wore when captured (13a), shave her head and trim her nails (12), and put on new clothes. These cleansing rites (cf. Lev 14:8: Num 8:7; 2 Sam 19:24) initiated the women into the Israelite family, but she would have a full month to mourn her separation from her father and mother before she became the wife of the Israelite (13b). She was also protected from being sold for money or treated as a commodity."

    B. "The ethic of Jesus expressed in the so-called Sermon on the Mount was given to disciples, not to nations. If the radical ethic of nonresistance were applied directly to nations, it would mean the end of all civil government" The principle of nonresistance or no retaliation can be a goal or ideal in the social arena, but never a political strategy of a nation" -Donald Bloesch, Freedom for Obedience, p. 293

    The worst brutalities and horrors in human history result from situations where the very survival of a people was at stake. The revulsion of war, and the horrors of survival when it hangs by the slimmest of threads are among the worst of the grim realities of life. Destruction of innocent women and children was a common feature of 20th century warfare, as most if not all centuries known to historians. It is not just "the other guys" who perpetrate such horrors. Not just Stalinist Russia, Maoist China, the Khmer Rouge, Islamist combatants or Nazi Germany, but also Britain under Winston Churchill, who after long siege by German bombing raids on English soil, made the decision to heavily bomb civilian cities in Germany where there were no military or industrial targets in the hope that the resulting horrors would create political pressure for Hitler to halt his own bombing campaigns, i.e. the decision to kill innocent men, women, infants and children without discrimination. Since the strategy did not work, these deaths were probably for nothing. Churchill also contemplated a large-scale assault on German civilians using poison gas. Napalm was used extensively where destruction of non-combatant peasant villages resulted in Vietnam. The bombs dropped at Hiroshima and Nagasaki were aimed at civilians as well. In this case many more lives were saved than lost, but it would take the utmost in callousness to claim that we are thereby absolved from the utter horrors that were committed there.

    Numbers 31 describes Moses's last military campaign (against the Midianites) continuing the account of chapter 25 of Israelite apostasy at Baal Peor, which very nearly led to the complete destruction of the Hebrew nation. It is easy for the modern reader to miss the very real mortal danger this situation presented to the survival of the other followers of Moses in the great desert wastes, men women and children, who were not a part of this apostasy. With a significant loss of their men, Moses's people would likely never secure a homeland. The Midianites, unable to defeat Israel militarily, had conceived a plot to seduce many of her men through sexual temptation to abandon their God, thereby vitiating the source of their unity, strength, and mission. Without the hearts of her men, the rest of Israel would have soon become helpless in the desert, unable to survive, and unable to continue their mission. The Israelite men known to have partaken in this seductive idolatry were given the death penalty (Num 25:5). Idolatry aside, in a very real sense their actions consigned the lives of those who did not follow their path to certain failure, and serious mortal danger. Considering the centrality of the women to this plot as well as the clear and present danger of history repeating itself, Moses's shock is understandable: "have you spared all the women?" (Numbers 31:15). Midian was placed under the ban as a result of that event (Numbers 25:17). So seductive were the enticements of the Peor that Israel is recorded still under their spell in Joshua's day (Joshua 22:17)."
     
  14. badtim

    badtim Vatican Warlock Assassin

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    the men who wrote those stories down over 2000 years ago had aims and goals for their writings, and were not out of line with any sort of moral / ethical thought for the time.

    the problem comes when people try to read the bible with no sense of historical context. that's a mistake, in anything.
     
  15. Walter Kovacs

    Walter Kovacs Justice is coming, no matter what we do.

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    Bingo. To read an ancient text through 21st century glasses is worse than not reading it at all.
     
  16. icedbun

    icedbun Newbie

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    This is just the bind we have got into by using the answer by Craig mentioned a few posts up. God is defined as ultimate goodness to the extent that anything He does is good and that God could not do anything that was not good. if we read the NT we easily see that this is the case and have the role model of Jesus to show us that too. That is not a problem.
    Then again, if we can separate the NT from the OT we have the matter sewn up... except

    Jesus confirms that not only is He the completion of the Law but that also not a yod or tittle will be reoved from the Law either - confirming that the Torah (the first five books of the Bible are true and trustworthy.) It is then we have this problem with actions that we cannot in any way justify apart from thinking that if God did it. Of course, from one point of view, the Israelites, this act of killing the First Born was a very good act as it allowed them to escape from Egypt and to get back to Palestine and, if we think of God as only the God of Abraham etc. i.e. God of the Israelites, it culd be justified as an act against the enemies of Israel. Yet it is quite clear that God is not just a tribal God but god and creator of the whole world and all its peoples, whether they know Him or not so an act against the Egyptians seems completely unjustifiable.

    I was hoping someone might suggest a way out of the dilemma but am beginning to think it is a rather tough job to find a way out.
     
  17. Walter Kovacs

    Walter Kovacs Justice is coming, no matter what we do.

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    But you're wrong on the account of the Law...Jesus came to fulfill it. By Jesus's death, the law(what we have to follow) is reduced to his most simple command:

    "Love the Lord thy God, and love your neighbor as yourself."

    That's the law for us now.
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2011
  18. icedbun

    icedbun Newbie

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    Whilst you are quite right I am not sure that we can always separate history quite so easily. For example some acts done in the OT are just bad and that is an end of it. So how do we sort out the things we can dismiss as historical content from those which have a definitive meaning then and now?

    The Psalmist tells us that 'The fool has said in his heart, there is no god.' This popular quote has its historical content - that tribes had their god and not believing in the god was to be not a member of that tribe. This cannot be said to apply today and yet it is often trotted out.

    Oh, and where did you you quote "The Beautiful Captive Women of Israel
    " from, please?
     
  19. 98cwitr

    98cwitr Lord forgive me Moderator Supporter

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    To bluntly answer your question: yes, do whatever God legitimately tells you to do without question. BIG 'BUT' HERE: it's not okay for you to do that because God will never tell you to do that, notice in this case He did not order other people to kill the babies, he ordered an angel to do it. I highly doubt all those babies ended up in Hell either. What happened when Abraham went to kill Issac and why was he doing it in the first place?
     
  20. trishshaw

    trishshaw keep getting back up!!

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    You're probably reading the Davinci Code
     
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