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HolyGround >> Given Abraham's Choice today....


11/1/11 4:45 PM
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Malvert the Janitor
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What would you do? Are you prepared to sacrifice your son?

Don't intellectualize the question and justify the "metaphor" of the tale. Would you do it or not?

Where is your faith? Phone Post
11/1/11 9:40 PM
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Ali
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Hell no. No faith whatsoever in disembodied voices telling me to do the wrong thing.
11/8/11 9:23 PM
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AVClub
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No.

Because the result would be the rest of your life in prison. God has asked for some strange things, but in this culture do you think he would do so? I know Romans 8:28 and what not but how would doing that in America serve the will of God? Serious question.
11/8/11 9:41 PM
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Malvert the Janitor
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AVClub - No.

Because the result would be the rest of your life in prison. God has asked for some strange things, but in this culture do you think he would do so? I know Romans 8:28 and what not but how would doing that in America serve the will of God? Serious question.
You make it sound as if being commanded to kill your son makes sense in any era...

According to the good book, Abe was prepared to kill his boy, had him on the alter even. My question was simple. Would you?

Thanks for answering. Phone Post
11/8/11 11:18 PM
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Benedictus
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q8ABrcmWgH8

Always thought this was funny.
11/9/11 2:20 PM
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AVClub
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Malvert, I didn't mean to make it sound like it was okay in Abraham's day. I just din't want to write a book to support my point. I'm a believer through and through and I don't get the commandment to Abraham. Aside from the total submission to God and sacrificing all for the will of God. Is there more to learn from it? Phone Post
11/9/11 2:26 PM
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AVClub
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having the biblical account to go on it's easy for anyone to say 'yes' because we see that God provided a way out with the ram. Our inability to know the outcome of a situation greatly affects our willingness to submit to to God's plan, which is why I said 'no'. Did that make sense? Like, if I know my uncle is gonna blow $20 on crack instead of food, I won't give it to him. If I believe he really is starving and needs the money, I'll give it to him. Not a good analogy, I know. Just mean that we often won't so what God asks because we don't like what we think the outcome will be. When in fact it could be different, like with Abraham. Phone Post
11/9/11 9:08 PM
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Ali
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AVClub - having the biblical account to go on it's easy for anyone to say 'yes' because we see that God provided a way out with the ram. Our inability to know the outcome of a situation greatly affects our willingness to submit to to God's plan, which is why I said 'no'. Did that make sense? Like, if I know my uncle is gonna blow $20 on crack instead of food, I won't give it to him. If I believe he really is starving and needs the money, I'll give it to him. Not a good analogy, I know. Just mean that we often won't so what God asks because we don't like what we think the outcome will be. When in fact it could be different, like with Abraham. Phone Post

I'm confused by that. Abraham didn't know about the ram. Of course if you know the outcome is god is going to say "whoa, I didn't really mean it!" then everything is different. But Abraham didn't see that coming (else it would be a truly silly story... way sillier, at least). We wouldn't either, in the hypothetical.

Seriously if I heard a voice telling me to kill a ram, I wouldn't do that, either.
11/9/11 9:47 PM
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770mdm
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Edited: 11/09/11 9:53 PM
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Our societies have learned that sacrificing our children is wrong. Unfortunately not all societies have learned this lesson. In our society today Abraham's actions would be meaningless but we all wish one would stand in defiance of current practices of sacrificing children to causes. Yes we could say stop pushing sports, good grades, staying with current trends all on our kids beyond their capabilities but that's a lesson and it's not the level we are talking about. Abraham stood in defiance, taking a stand against child sacrifice. He was the first protestor of child sacrifice, he came from within the society that's how he made such an impact. We can only say don't sacrifice your children but until someone important from within the group realizes the truth of G-d's wisdom we will have to endure. Although, it's not reported in the Torah other texts report societies were sacrificing children. It is not the way for any society to sacrifice people let alone children.

http://www.ted.com/talks/sharmeen_obaid_chinoy_inside_a_school_for_suicide_bombers.html
11/9/11 10:04 PM
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770mdm
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Edited: 11/09/11 10:07 PM
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I'd also like to say society can't go the other way either. I don't believe in child emperor's, religious figures or even child movie stars. Children shouldn't be idolized. It ruins them & I think it corrupts their adulthood, my take on it. There's a reason there's a commandment for children to honor their parents and not the other way around.

Not to elaborate too much, I believe children are closer to G-d, they're free from social constraints, and society and people can learn from them because G-d can act through them but we can't confuse that with someone who's been tested, lived life & freely follows in G-ds ways.
11/10/11 1:10 AM
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THE CACTUS KID
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Abraham and Issac was a picture of the Father and the Son.We can see Isaac carried the wood up the mountain he was going to be sacrificed on.It was one of many pictures that God gave us from the beginning,and what Abraham didnt have to do God did.
11/10/11 1:15 AM
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THE CACTUS KID
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We can see that from Genesis to Revelations their is one theme.God didnt leave us in the dark,and unprepared but gave us his very word to follow and live by.
11/10/11 6:00 PM
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Grakman
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What if God told said it was ok to kill your child so it wouldn't interfere with your plans to go to college? Or if you couldn't afford a child right at the time? Maybe you're just not ready to be a parent? I don't know, how would we answer these questions today?

Anyway, as to the question, I believe that Abraham knew intuitively that God would not require him to go through with it. God had already promised Abraham that his descendants would rule the land and that all nations would be blessed through him, and Isaac was a miracle baby in that Abraham's wife was 90 years old when she conceived. The entire episode was a foreshadowing of God's gift of his own Son. Yes, I know it's reading back into the tale but nevertheless, that's my take on it.
11/11/11 10:50 AM
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Ali
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Grakman - 
Anyway, as to the question, I believe that Abraham knew intuitively that God would not require him to go through with it. God had already promised Abraham that his descendants would rule the land and that all nations would be blessed through him, and Isaac was a miracle baby in that Abraham's wife was 90 years old when she conceived. The entire episode was a foreshadowing of God's gift of his own Son. Yes, I know it's reading back into the tale but nevertheless, that's my take on it.


If Abraham knew, there's no story at all. A fake game of "chicken"? Like you know, but maybe.... it'll be a sacrifice sort of maybe (let's pretend you don't know it won't)? There's nothing left if Abraham knew.
11/11/11 1:44 PM
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Grakman
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Ali - 
Grakman - 
Anyway, as to the question, I believe that Abraham knew intuitively that God would not require him to go through with it. God had already promised Abraham that his descendants would rule the land and that all nations would be blessed through him, and Isaac was a miracle baby in that Abraham's wife was 90 years old when she conceived. The entire episode was a foreshadowing of God's gift of his own Son. Yes, I know it's reading back into the tale but nevertheless, that's my take on it.


If Abraham knew, there's no story at all. A fake game of "chicken"? Like you know, but maybe.... it'll be a sacrifice sort of maybe (let's pretend you don't know it won't)? There's nothing left if Abraham knew.


Sure there is. The foreshadowing. If one accepts the idea that the Bible is the inspired word of God and is meant to tell the story of God's interaction with his creation, culminating in the birth, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the story of Abraham is all part of the great plot. It's just like in a movie when you see an event and know that it foreshadows something at the end of the movie. In similar fashion, the story wasn't meant for Abraham, who might be seen as a character in the movie; the story was meant for the 'viewers', if you will.
11/12/11 12:04 AM
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Ali
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You're only making the case that God sacrificing "his only son' was... also... no big deal. Like, he was gonna get ressurected, it wasn't like a real loss.

In any case, if that's all it is, that is, "foreshadowing", I agree. And still think it's not much of a story.
11/12/11 1:28 PM
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Ridgeback
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Ali - Hell no. No faith whatsoever in disembodied voices telling me to do the wrong thing.

 That isn't answering the question.  There is no ambiguity about who gave the order in the narrative.  
11/12/11 1:33 PM
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Ali
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Edited: 11/12/11 1:46 PM
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I don't see any way around the ambiguity.



And if there is none, why does the question ask "where is your faith?" ?

But of course it's not a question either if there's ONLY certitude. And not much of a narrative.
11/12/11 5:52 PM
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Ridgeback
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Ali - I don't see any way around the ambiguity.



And if there is none, why does the question ask "where is your faith?" ?

But of course it's not a question either if there's ONLY certitude. And not much of a narrative.

 My point is there is no ambiguity about who is telling you to do this.  I didn't say there was certitude about the rightness of the action and certainly no certitude about the outcome. 
11/12/11 7:18 PM
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770mdm
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Edited: 11/12/11 7:30 PM
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Wups
11/12/11 7:18 PM
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770mdm
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To equate G-d's interaction with Abraham with our own day to day lives trivializes the event.

"The Christian theologian Soren Kierkegaard wrote about it, Fear and Trembling,in where he proposed the “teleological suspension of the ethical” – the love of G-d may lead us to do things that would otherwise be considered morally wrong – and “faith in the absurd” – Abraham trusted G-d to make the impossible possible. He believed he would lose Isaac but still keep him. For Kierkegaard, faith transcended reason. Rabbi Jonathan Sacks.

If you want to see how far people go when they think G-d is talking to him read "Under the Banner of Heaven" by Jon Krakauer.

http://www.amazon.com/Under-Banner-Heaven-Story-Violent/dp/1400032806/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1321141735&sr=8-1

In 1984, Ron and Dan Lafferty murdered the wife and infant daughter of their younger brother Allen. The crimes were noteworthy not merely for their brutality but for the brothers' claim that they were acting on direct orders from God. In Under the Banner of Heaven, Jon Krakauer tells the story of the killers and their crime but also explores the shadowy world of Mormon fundamentalism from which the two emerged. The Mormon Church was founded, in part, on the idea that true believers could speak directly with God.

Isaac doesn't belong to Abraham or Sarah. Our children don't belong to us. We don't belong to our parents. In fact many Laws in our country embody this idea. Slap your kid around and watch what happens when he calls DSS on you.

In many Pagen cultures including Roman culture it was thought that you owned your child and could virtually do whatever you wanted with him/her. They were your legal property. It was called patria potesta. A father could do whatever, including put him/her to death. The story of Oedipus begins with the father Laius leaving Oedipus to die.

Isaac belongs to G-d. All children belong to G-d. Parents do not own their children. The relationship of parent to child is one of guardianship only. G-d does not want Abraham to sacrifice his child. G-d wants him to RENOUNCE OWNERSHIP in his child. That is what the angel means when it calls to Abraham, telling him to stop, “You have not withheld from Me your son, your only son.”

How do we know the Torah abhors child sacrifice?

They have built the high places of Baal to burn their sons in the fire as offerings to Baal—something I did not command or mention, nor did it enter my mind. [Jeremiah 19: 5]

Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression,
the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? [Micah 6: 7]

When the king of Moab saw that the battle had gone against him, he took with him seven hundred swordsmen to break through to the king of Edom, but they failed. Then he took his firstborn son, who was to succeed him as king, and offered him as a sacrifice on the city wall. The fury against Israel was great; they withdrew and returned to their own land. [2 Kings 3: 26-27]

Isaac wasn't the first, first born son, to be subjected to G-ds laws. G-d went after Moses first born son too.
11/12/11 7:32 PM
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Ali
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Edited: 11/12/11 7:40 PM
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Ridge - I understood your point. And if the "who" doesn't give certainty about the "rightness" then you don't know enough about the "who" to be "certain who".

Even more basically (though that might make this more clear): it's a disembodied voice telling me to do the wrong thing. Whether I know "who" or not. UNLESS my knowing who means that's the arbiter of all that is right (and judges beyond my understanding), so it is by definition the "right action". Being certain of the "who" then means being certain the action IS right. Which is sort of what Abraham thought, presumably. Either that or something more base, so let's give him credit. OR the alternative theory that he knew he was being messed with and wouldn't have to go through with it. Of course if one knows that, it's not such a big deal at all to "prove one's faith."

If the question is... I have this absence of "ambiguity" because I was a hundred-something year old dude with a long and intimate relationship with God and got told to do this really hard thing... in short, if I WERE Abraham in all the particulars... then it's still not much of a question. If I were that guy I'd have done what that guy did.

That is, if you want to take it as that sort of story. (Which I think you don't).
11/12/11 7:50 PM
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770mdm
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Benedictus - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q8ABrcmWgH8

Always thought this was funny.


I never saw this movie but that was a great clip!
1/23/12 3:04 PM
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samcarr6
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"If I was to do what all monotheists are told to do, and admire the man who says 'yes, I'll gut my kid to show my love of god' I'd say no, fuck you". Christopher Hitchens Phone Post

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