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HolyGround >> Reconciling the OT and NT Biblical God's character


3/4/11 2:41 PM
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dabigchet
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Greetings HolyGrounders. i don't frequently post here, but i am interested in a more thoughtful exchange than commonly occurs on the OG. i am curious as to how christians can reconcile god's character in the OT with kinder, gentler NT version. to me, it seems like christians quickly dismiss the OT away ("it's the old covenant", or "those rules were only for the israelites" or "jesus reset everything") but i don't see how you can do that when it comes to CHARACTER.

the best example of what i am talking about is substitutional atonement. it is very clear in the OT that god finds it just to punish person A for the sins of person B. it is so frequent in the OT that it is almost a unifying theme. i am currently reading jeremiah and it seems that the entire book is one prolonged and exhaustively repeated threat to send famine and pestilence upon children.

here are a couple examples:

Jeremiah 2:9

9 “Therefore I bring charges against you again,”
declares the LORD.
“And I will bring charges against your children’s children.

Jeremiah 11:22

22 therefore this is what the LORD Almighty says: “I will punish them. Their young men will die by the sword, their sons and daughters by famine.

this of course is not unique to jeremiah, but it is just all over the place here. so, how is it that god once could have punished babies by starvation for the sins of their parents, yet he no longer does? it seems to me that either he still does do this (or reserves the right to do so and be completely in the right) as fred phelps believes, or he had a complete change of heart in how he handles such matters indicating that he was wrong in his actions before. i suppose a third option is that, he was right before when he did kill the innocent by horrible means (famine and plague in this case, outright slaughter in other cases), and he is right now to no longer do this, but that would also mean that he would reserve judgment to starve my kids tomorrow for my actions today and be morally justified in doing so. to me, the idea of starving my children as a consequence for my own lack of faith is morally abhorrent, and that would be as true in 2011 CE as it was in 0 CE, or 2011 BCE.

so, holyground, what am i missing?
3/4/11 8:58 PM
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Lahi
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I think some of the things we see in the OT aren't so much God's punishment, but the way things work when we cut ourselves off from God. Even in the NT, where I believe Jesus gives us the clearest picture of God, this is still the case.

I know I've been too quick to dismiss the things in the Hebrew Scriptures about God's mercy, kindness towards foreigners, and forgiveness of one's enemies, and focus just on the things I find objectionable. But at the end of the day, I still come across several things in the OT I can't reconcile with a loving God. And I think we do sometimes get a different picture of God from what Jesus shows us.

One thing mentioned before that has helped me is the idea of a God who is gradually coming into focus throughout history as we read the Bible. Not all Christians believe the Bible was intended to be perfect, direct revelation from start to finish. Rather its more a record of our interactions with God, and His with us. Sometimes the perception of the writers may very well reflect their own imperfections more so than at other times.

Another thing that's been mentioned is the fact that Jews themselves saw the Scriptures as something to be wrestled with, challenged, and critiqued as they struggled to live them out. I'm not sure that they have traditionally had the kind of rigid understanding of Biblical literalism that many Evangelicals today seem to have. (If I'm off here I hope MS of someone will let me know.)

3/5/11 1:47 AM
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Ridgeback
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 I believe the Jews were describing God from their own perspective and with their own language and cultural mores.  So God is a jealous God, which is a good way to understand that God would not want the Jews to engage in their own destruction by worshipping false gods, not that God would actually be "jealous" in the way that a husband might.  

I agree with Lahi about wrestling with the scriptures as well.  Plus, the Jews would have known that many of the Genesis stories had a basis in other cultures like the Sumerians, but were told with a uniquely Jewish stamp put on them.  The creation accounts aren't meant to convey a literal telling of events, but rather to restructure the creation myths of surrounding cultures along new theological lines.  So the sun and moon become "lamps" in the sky rather than gods to be worshipped.  It is technically wrong to call the moon a lamp since it doesn't emit its own light.  It is theologically right to refer to it as "something that illuminates the sky like an oil lamp would illuminate a room" as opposed to a living god to fall down before and worship or make sacrifices to.  

Christians have long held that one must start with Jesus and interpret the OT accordingly, not try to remake Jesus along the lines of a literal reading of God in the OT.  With that said, most people who criticize the OT don't actually read it themselves.  They are just reading some choice verses from atheist websites largely out of context and with the fundamentalist assumption that every word is the direct word of God like the Koran.  
3/7/11 8:43 AM
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dabigchet
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thanks for the responses. it seems that we all agree that god wasn't actually deliberately punishing children with famine for the sins of their parents. where we disagree, i would imagine, is what that means about the bible. this is more than simply god coming into focus, or referring to the sun as a lamp. many authors in the old testament, across a period of many hundreds of years directly quote god in the matter or i am describing, and/or directly attribute the behavior of punishing children to god. it is certainly a theme of the OT.

i don't understand how you can say that particular repeated characterization of god is incorrect without completely disregarding all other OT descriptions of god's character and actions, certainly disregarding all communications through prophets which is the bulk of the communications described.

now, imagine you have hundreds and hundreds of pages of scripture that is completely false (slanderous, if you think about it) about god's character, attributing this substitutional atonement punishment to children over and over again. then god appears in the flesh. don't you find it weird that he didn't clear the air about those scriptures being completely bunk?
3/7/11 11:41 AM
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Lahi
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Will get back to this, running out the door. My short answer would be that Jesus did address many of those things pretty directly. "If you have seen me, you have seen the Father." "You have heard that it was said, 'an eye for an eye...' but I tell you love your enemies..."



3/7/11 3:05 PM
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prof
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Another perspective:

The Bible is the work of authors with differing supernatural and theological claims, which explains the jumbled and often contradictory picture it paints of a God. And it explains the tortured reasoning any Christian must resort to in trying to cohere all these jumbled depictions into a coherent whole.

Christians are enamored of certain portions of the bible, typically parts of the New Testament that describe what they see as a loving, compassionate, wise Jesus. Unfortunately they are sort of stuck with the parts of the bible that provide a more sinister depiction of a God.

What to do?

Some, typically literalists/fundamentalists, refuse to jettison the parts they don't like and try to square the whole mess together. The amount of tortured reasoning necessary to do so underlines just how at odds some portions of the bible are with other portions.

Others choose to ignore, disavow, or rationalize away the portions that seem troubling.

One of the more popular methods, on display here it seems, is to use the New Testament God, Jesus, and declare this the "lens" through which one ought to view the rest of special revelation. This is more a cognitive strategy - attempts to rationalize away problems - than a sound argument.

Just take the parts you think are really good...and since THOSE parts establish the value of God and the Christian method, use those goggles to view the more sinister parts.
And if you don't have a good answer for the sinister parts, it's ok because you've already established the Goodness of God and the value of Christianity from the obviously good parts of the New Testament. Add to this the Christians will often believe they sense that God is in their lives somehow
contributing goodness to their lives. A sort of subjective/personal experience aspect of the belief. Not surprising that, if it's their imagination making up this divine interaction, that they are imagining a Good God.


However, in any other realm of rational thought it's obvious this approach is how you rationalize bad beliefs, not how you infer good ones. And anyone can see this when other people are doing it.

Ted Bundy, the notorious serial killer, was well known to have "groupies" while he was alive in jail. He would communicate with these women and use his guile to flatter them and ingratiate himself with them. These women chose to view Ted Bundy not from an objective view of the evidence for his character - all the evidence for his crimes. Rather they chose to view Bundy's character through how he interacted with THEM. "But he sends me flowers, you should see how wonderful he is when he talks to me at the prison, he makes me feel so great with his wonderful letters! THAT is the true measure of Ted's character and it is through this knowledge of his character that I know he is fundamentally a good guy."

Some were so enamored they used the lens of the "good side" of Bundy to view all the sinister evidence, not surprisingly leading some to dismiss it. One woman even ended up marrying Bundy when he was imprisoned.

This is what it looks like when you are trying to rationalize a belief; when you find yourself attracted to an object or person with good and bad qualities, you cling to the good parts and ignore or rationalize away the bad parts.

And that is precisely what one sees Christians doing with the bible.

Ted Bundy's groupies would protest "Everyone else is biased, they are only looking at the claims Ted did some bad things, but they are ignoring the wonderful side of Ted!"

But of course non-deluded observers weren't ignoring the fact Bundy could be sweet and charming and make certain people feel on top of the world; the fact was in looking at the big picture, NOT using Bundy's goodness to rationalize away his evil, the obvious inference was Bundy was a sinister
murderer.

Similarly, Christians will complain to non-believers like myself that we are simply not giving God a fair shake; that we are ignoring the good of the Biblical Jesus to merely concentrate on the passages that indite God as sinister or irrational. We ought to be viewing Christianity through the same New Testament Jesus goggles they do!

No...that's not how one makes a reasonable assessment. You look at the whole picture, all the evidence. It doesn't matter a damn if Ted Bundy was great to some women, or even if he'd run a soup kitchen for the homeless for most of his life. Once you have slain women tied to Bundy's actions you can't ignore the implications. Considering all the evidence available, on balance it's clear Bundy was a sinister dude.

Same with God. Some of us have noticed that whatever niceties the bible might preach in one portion, the New Testament, if God is a sinister tyrant in another portion, with evil and blood on his hands, it can not be dismissed. Nothing Jesus-God does makes up for what God does in the OT, and nothing "good" that Jesus does or says remotely makes up for the concept of hell (which is introduced in the NT).

Cheers,


Prof.

3/7/11 8:28 PM
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Grakman
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I don't see a real difference between the God of the OT and Jesus in the New. The difference rather seems to be between the God of the OT and the popular caricature of Jesus - soft, passive, and loving. Jesus' didn't order anyone to kill children in 'real time' in the NT but one could certainly say he had a mean streak, calling people white washed sepulchres and threatening people with being thrown into Gehenna if they did not change their ways. Many of his parables describe a system of rewards and punishment that most of us in our modern era would find unfair or even cruel.

In Revelation we read about blood to the bridles of horses, plagues, death...Jesus is the Alpha and Omega, the one who comes to judge.

The real crux of the question is, if God exists and it's His world, it doesn't matter whether we think something is fair or not. Without being omnipotent and omniscient we can't say that what happened in the OT was not the best possible outcome at the time anyway.
3/8/11 2:21 AM
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Lahi
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for later...
3/8/11 4:20 AM
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Ridgeback
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 Keep in mind that Prof. believes without a hint of irony that we have reached the pinnacle of morality as humans simply because we have the best technology.  Nevermind that we now worship Moloch in a sterile and hidden way where people used to do it in the open.  Nevermind that we still kill women and children who are not armed, but we use long range weapons rather than our bare hands.  We also use up resources around the world and rely on the labor of chilren in sweat shops to feed the economic monster without even the slightest suggestion of a jubilee.  Unless one considers how we are not more moral than the ancient Hebrews one cannot read the Bible and how God deals with such people with any degree of clarity.  One can't see the whole picture looking down one's nose.  The Bible means nothing to a person who assumes he needs no salvation, who is convinced he has no sin, and who takes Progress for granted no matter the evidence to the contrary.  

And of course Prof's second assumption about the Bible is that it must be approached in the manner of an American fundamentalist or it is some kind of cop out.  Nonsense.  The Bible was traditionally wrestled with and not simply seen as a series of orders directly from God.  The first Christians claimed that there was a second and deeper meaning to scripture and that was Jesus, who was described as the true icon of God on earth.  

Not that any of it matters.  He could no more approach the library of books in the Bible with fair mindedness than he would admit that human revolutions that consciously tried to abolish belief in God were very bloody indeed.  The modern atheist is often a Pharisee, strangely proud of his Christian derived values that he uses as a whip against Christianity.  The atheist John Gray does a great job of pointing out the hypocrisy and lack of clarity in this approach to reality.  You can't use Christian morality against Christianity and then deny that there is any validity to it.  
3/8/11 4:22 AM
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LoveToChoke
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Grakman,
How can raping women or genocide ever be considered "the best possible outcome"?

And if it was okay then, why is it not okay now?
3/8/11 4:25 AM
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LoveToChoke
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Edited: 03/08/11 4:29 AM
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Come off it Ridgeback,

Are you really suggesting that we are morally worse off than in biblical times? How does that apply to women? Are they worse off now? would it be better if they were still considered to be chattels?

The idea that biblical times were " the good old days" is a sham, and only possibly true if you weren't a woman, or a homosexual, or in a neigbouring tribe, or an any other form of outsider.
3/8/11 8:56 AM
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dabigchet
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Grakman -  Jesus' didn't order anyone to kill children in 'real time' in the NT but one could certainly say he had a mean streak, calling people white washed sepulchres and threatening people with being thrown into Gehenna if they did not change their ways.


doesn't even remotely come close to the OT god punishing descendants. if you are caught shoplifting and are sent to prison for 5 years (first offense), the argument could be made that the punishment is severe, but not necessarily immoral. the same would not be true if you children received the sentence. that is a really, really big difference, imo.


The real crux of the question is, if God exists and it's His world, it doesn't matter whether we think something is fair or not. Without being omnipotent and omniscient we can't say that what happened in the OT was not the best possible outcome at the time anyway.


absolutely, and i allowed for this possibility in the original post. as it seemed to be the consensus of OT authors that god viewed substitutional atonement as just for a long period of time, he could certainly do the same tomorrow. do christians accept it as possible that god might revert back and starve their kids for their own sins in 2011? i don't understand how you can answer definitively "no" without completely throwing out the OT as substitutional atonement is so prevalent throughout it, and i don't understand how the NT can exist without it.
3/8/11 9:27 AM
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prof
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Edited: 03/08/11 2:38 PM
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Grakman -
The real crux of the question is, if God exists and it's His world, it doesn't matter whether we think something is fair or not. Without being omnipotent and omniscient we can't say that what happened in the OT was not the best possible outcome at the time anyway.




I already showed the flaws of that thinking in the "How is God patient with us?" thread.

What you wrote there *seems* on the surface to be obvious, but when examined it's a throwing up of your hands and an excuse to turn off your brain. Most people have not through through the consequences of saying "Well, who would we be to judge a God so it's hopeless."

Fact is, the only way we can reason about ANYTHING is from our perspective, and if we don't do that then anything goes.

What if tomorrow Rush Limbaugh declares himself God? He claims he's All Knowing and All Powerful and All Good.

Then he starts wandering through the streets armed with guns, shooting men women and children.

We say "Hey Rush, you aren't All Powerful! If you were you wouldn't need to walk around with guns, you could just Zap people to death. And you aren't All Knowing because you never appeared that way on your talk show. And you aren't All Good because, look, you are obviously doing evil, killing people with guns."

RUSH responds: "How ridiculous and arrogant of you to judge me, a God! Since you are not Omniscient like I am, how in the world could you have the perspective to judge ME?!!
I have my own All Knowing reasons for how I acted on my talk show and for why I'm walking around with guns. Reasons that you as a mortal don't have access to. And how could you possibly judge me, a God, to be immoral? If I'm a God then this is my world. It doesn't matter whether you think something is fair or not. Without being omnipotent and omniscient, like I am, you can't say that what's happening is not the best possible outcome."

Now, does that remotely persuade you that we would be paralyzed from making any rational inference about Rush Limbaugh's claims? You think that is good enough for you to say "Well, yeah, if you ARE a God I'm just not in a position to make any judgement here. Sorry for even bothering you."

Obviously not, right? We'd be quite rational to LOOK AT THE EVIDENCE as we see it and infer Rush has gone insane, not that he's a God.

The same goes for if anyone comes up to you with a book and says: This book has a character who claims to be God of the Whole Universe, Omniscient, Omnipotent, Omnibenevolant!

Do you think that someone, or a book, merely making this claim leads us to paralysis in assessing those claims? Just because "IF" it's true "who are we to judge?" Of course not.
As with any claim, we look to see what type of evidence there is to back it up, and that will have to include assessing the moral claims of the book from the only perspective possible for us: our perspective.

Note that this claim of being a God could be made for ANYTHING...a car salesman, a cat, a jug of milk, you name it. And then anyone could say when you try to asses the merits of the claim: But WHO ARE YOU, SOMEONE WITH MERE HUMAN PERSPECTIVE, TO JUDGE THAT THIS JUG OF MILK ISN'T ACTUALLY GOD?

See where this thinking leads?

Prof.

3/8/11 11:39 AM
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prof
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Edited: 03/08/11 11:46 AM
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Ridgeback - Keep in mind that Prof. believes without a hint of irony that we have reached the pinnacle of morality as humans simply because we have the best technology.


Ridgeback, I just don't know why you consistently decide to depict these strawmen instead of engage with what I actually write.

First "pinnacle" suggests we are at the highest reachable state of morality, which is ridiculous and which I've never suggested. Our moral status is likely to have ups and downs as we go through time, but the trend is upward insofar the moral wisdom currently available to us is superior to times past. Certainly superior to biblical times. I'm open to someone pointing out a time in the past when, taken all together, there was greater moral enlightenment. But I've yet to see anyone make a good case.

Second, "because we have the best technology" is a non-sequitur - I've never made such a bizarre statement!

(This, btw, is the trend in criticizing atheists, especially New Atheists; it's hard to find
criticisms not strewn with mischaracterizations and straw-men).


Ridgeback -

Nevermind that we still kill women and children who are not armed, but we use long range weapons rather than our bare hands.


And we can say it is deplorable that unarmed women and children are killed!
If you say "Isn't it great we can kill women and children with missiles today?" is anyone going to stand up and say "Hell yeah! Finally!"

I wouldn't. Nor would anyone I know. Because we think that IF this can be avoided it should be avoided. Unfortunately war is messy and our limited powers means innocent people die as well. No civilized person WANTS this state of affairs, certainly not me, which is the point.

Whereas God has no such excuse: A God wouldn't have to worry about killing innocents during war actions - He could remove any offenders without killing innocents. Yet, biblically, God goes ahead and orders genocide, killing of women and children, anyway.

This is only one example of how you and I are morally superior at this point to the primitive God of the OT. We recognize that we wouldn't be acting morally to CHOOSE to deliberately kill innocent women and children.

So keep this in mind: The argument is not that we all ACT morally all the time. That is obviously indefensible and wrong - we all fail to meet the best moral standards to a greater or lesser degree. The argument is we have - at least some of us - an evolved understanding of morality which renders much of what passed as "moral" in biblical times to be naive or downright immoral.


Ridgeback -
We also use up resources around the world and rely on the labor of children in sweat shops to feed the economic monster without even the slightest suggestion of a jubilee.


Yes. And I would say, as would many, that's a BAD thing. It would be better if it weren't the case.

In times past, though, I and many others may have accepted it as ok.


Ridgeback -
.
And of course Prof's second assumption about the Bible is that it must be approached in the manner of an American fundamentalist or it is some kind of cop out. Nonsense. The Bible was traditionally wrestled with and not simply seen as a series of orders directly from God. The first Christians claimed that there was a second and deeper meaning to scripture and that was Jesus, who was described as the true icon of God on earth.


It needn't be based on how I approach the bible. It's about the claims Christians make for the bible. They don't hold up. I pointed out the claims that the bible represents truth about a Christian God don't hold up WHETHER the Christian is being a literalist or WHETHER the Christian is "wrestling" with the "deeper meanings" or not.

See my Star Trek analogy.

You are representing the type of criticism where you are content to just make assertions that the atheist is just naive, without backing it up. The problem is when you actually place the "sophisticated" "wrestling with deeper meaning" versions of Christianity on the table for scrutiny, they don't hold up in the light either.
Which it seems is why liberal/non-fundy Christians spend so much time calling atheists naive rather than doing the harder work of defending their beliefs.

Ridgeback -
Not that any of it matters. He could no more approach the library of books in the Bible with fair mindedness than he would admit that human revolutions that consciously tried to abolish belief in God were very bloody indeed. The modern atheist is often a Pharisee, strangely proud of his Christian derived values that he uses as a whip against Christianity. The atheist John Gray does a great job of pointing out the hypocrisy and lack of clarity in this approach to reality. You can't use Christian morality against Christianity and then deny that there is any validity to it. <br type="_moz" />


And...again...ad hominem instead of argument. It would be more impressive if you could show that I'm wrong and THEN get to the psychology/ad hominem part, rather than skipping to the ad hominem. Please 'n thank you.

Cheers,

Prof.


3/8/11 4:12 PM
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Grakman
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Will anyone here actually take the time to consider other points of view of the Scripture and the stories from the Old Testatment you're asking about? Ridge has already pointed out that many of the arguments here are against 'fundamentalist' or literal interpretations of the Bible,  but it is retorted then that any other offering or suggestion is 'not true Christianity' according to the view of the Christian strawman you're jousting.

Many of the arguments that are being made here have already been debated ad inifitum throughout the ages, and so far I haven't seen any new arguments here, purple popsicles and Rush Limbaugh not withstanding, that are capable of defeating the sound arguments for the existence of God and less 'fundamental' reading of the Bible. 

There are demands for sources and quotes from the Christians on this board when they say something about atheists, but no one has any qualm of dumbing down Christians and Christian beliefs to the lowest common denominator and acting like this is the essence of Christianity.

If I begin to show examples from the Bible and history of the teaching of universal salvation, and build a coherent framework and worldview on this basis, I get the feeling that I would just be told that such view is not 'true Christianity' and that it isn't an 'accurate or traditional reading of the Bible.'  Really? lol

Christians are told that they cannot legitimately discuss things such as biology or geology or so on because they are not credentialed, have not read the appropriate papers, studied at the right schools or been in the right programs. But for some reason non-believers think they can knock down the Bible and 2000 years of theology without ever having read even just the entire Bible all the way through, let alone any historical documents or works of the fathers.

If anyone is interested in reading anything on any of these topics, I'll post some links later, just let me know what topics you most want addressed.

Cheers!
3/8/11 4:47 PM
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prof
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Grakman,

Just checking: That reply wasn't to me was it?

I have to ask since there is no connection between what you wrote and what I've been arguing - it just seems to come out of nowhere.

If you meant to address someone specifically in the thread could you use his/her name? Thanks.

Prof.

(This forum can be surreal at times....)

3/8/11 5:07 PM
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Grakman
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Prof,
My post is a comment on what I see is the general tone and form of argument on this thread and others in this forum recently. Take it as you will.
3/8/11 5:13 PM
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LoveToChoke
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Grakman,
Can you please answer some of the questions posted towards you? I'd be interested in your answers.
3/8/11 5:36 PM
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Grakman
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LoveToChoke - Grakman,
How can raping women or genocide ever be considered "the best possible outcome"?

And if it was okay then, why is it not okay now?

 Choke,
I wrote a post entitled "Innocents in Ancient Warfare' here on the HG. I think you can see where I'm coming from re: genocide in that thread.

Can you give me a specific incident from the Bible regarding rape that I can address?

Now, in general, Ridge has already pointed out that we judge the ancients from the seat of our cushy air-conditioned homes, with what appear to be (at least in the West) unlimited resources, and we overlook our own modern sins while indicting the ancients for theirs. We champion 'right to choose' even when the reason is mere economic impact or inconvenience, but wish to condemn ancient people for fighting for their survival, even at the expense of other peoples.

The only real argument here is whether or not God made the best possible world, that he should have made the world without the risk of war, famine, disease, and so on. I posit that God saw that the risk was worth it, and took it. Others will disagree. It's easier for me to see it that way considering that I accept universal salvation; a Christian who believes in literal roasting flames of hell may be more hardpressed to defend it.
3/8/11 5:42 PM
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Grakman
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I forgot to add that the verses you mentioned in Jeremiah, et al about the sins and punishment being meted out on the children as well as the fathers, I felt was capably addressed by Lahi. First, if God is sovereign and he has created the world as it is, he is ultimately responsible for everything that happens, good or bad. Ergo his decree is a statement of effect and acceptance of responsibility for it by God. However, the effects of the sins themselves are what actually bring punishment, even to many generations of children. Think about children who come from broken homes where they are abused; this child will likely grow up and abuse his own children, and so on down the line. Or generation after generation of people living on welfare or being drug abusers. In one sense God 'decreed' that this be so because he is ultimately responsible for the world; on another it is the fault of the sinner himself who has wrought these terrible effects on the lives of his descendants.

Sobering thought.
3/8/11 5:54 PM
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Grakman
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 Here is an easy to read article about 'Argument by Outrage' that talks about some of the points made in this thread.
3/8/11 6:07 PM
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prof
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Grakman - Prof,
My post is a comment on what I see is the general tone and form of argument on this thread and others in this forum recently. Take it as you will.


Grakman, maybe you aren't aware of this but it's pretty inconsiderate to do that.

To post a broad criticism, not addressing anyone in particular, and especially such a mischaracterization of the arguments in the thread, is frankly a dick-move. It's trying to get the satisfaction of making a criticism, while not owning it and not having to defend it or address people's arguments.

And that's not cool when people are putting effort in their responses (like me) in good faith that you will at least respond.

In the other thread you asked why the religious confusion of human beings indicated no God. I presented the argument. You haven't shown any flaws in the argument.

You've claimed that we can not judge claims about God or what He purportedly did in the bible without our being omnipotent and omniscient. Yet I've produced arguments showing how that thinking is wrong - that it commits the fallacy of Special Pleading.

What do you do? Ignore it. And post a broad, unfocused, mischaracterization instead.

So when you say you've yet to see good arguments against the theistic position one can only infer this is because you tend to ignore them. Not that you aren't in plenty of company with other Christians....

Prof.

3/8/11 6:16 PM
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Grakman
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Member Since: 6/21/08
Posts: 3760
prof,
I apologize for violating Internet etiquette. I'm of the opinion that just because someone posts something doesn't mean you're requred to respond, nor that anyone at all is required to respond, particularly if the same ground is being argued again. You may present what you consider a different argument or another way of looking at something, but if it appears to me to be of the same nature as the first response, I let my first argument stand. I'll take a look at your posts again though and see if there is anything that I want to comment on.

If you'd rather not comment or answer anything that I post, that's ok too. I won't get mad. :)
3/8/11 6:29 PM
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Grakman
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 prof,
If Rush Limbaugh made such a claim right now, I'd agree with you. He is probably insane.

But what happens if we say he is crazy and then he heals a person crippled from birth? Or he actually makes live again a person we know for a fact is medically dead? What if he himself were killed in a car accident or overdose of Oxycotin and then he lived again, and many people witnessed this and talked to him. What if he then claimed that God sent him and all of his messages were divinely inspired? Would it give you pause at all, or would you a priori assume that anyone who said such a thing was mistaken and they were all committing fraud, even if you knew the doctors who had pronounced him dead and saw him dead on the table with your own eyes?
3/8/11 6:59 PM
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Grakman
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 prof, I addressed one of your arguments on another thread. Sorry for the inconvenience.

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