Try to reconcile Numbers chapter 31 to God the benevolent

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xris
 
Reply Mon 12 Jan, 2009 02:10 pm
@Dichanthelium,
Dichanthelium wrote:
Well, Jesus was a Jew, of course, and I think it's clear that his teachings were primarily Jewish teachings. According to the accounts we have, he claimed to be fulfilling "the law" and he regularly quoted the OT, and treated it as holy scripture. He presents his teachings as the essence of true Judaism, in reaction against the corrupt form being practiced and taught by the "scribes and Pharisees."

In fact, one might well argue that Christianity, properly understood, is a sect within Judaism; Christianity, popularly practiced, is a heresy sprung from Judaism.

But to tie back to the theme, a lot of us both within Judaism and within Christianity, would say that the Yahweh of Numbers chap. 31 is not the object of our faith.
So are you a jew or christian and what separates you one from the other..
 
Dichanthelium
 
Reply Mon 12 Jan, 2009 02:44 pm
@xris,
xris wrote:
So are you a jew or christian and what separates you one from the other..


I don't adhere to any institutions, but I accept as a guiding principle for my life, the central message of Jesus, "Love God, and love your neighbor as yourself." I also accept as guiding principles many things I find in the OT, the book of Proverbs, for example, which explicitly commends knowledge and learning and the development of our reasoning powers. I also accept as guiding principles whatever truth I discover in any other religious tradition, such as Buddhism or Native American insights, or philosophy, such as the writings of Plato, or natural phenomena, such as the marvels of this living planet.

So maybe I am a Christian and a Jew and a Buddhist and a Platonist, etc., etc.

But I do not believe that the warfaring god of the ancient Hebrews, as depicted in Numbers chapter 31, is the same entity that Jesus was referring to when he said, "Love God..."
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Mon 12 Jan, 2009 02:55 pm
@Dichanthelium,
Dichanthelium wrote:

But I do not believe that the warfaring god of the ancient Hebrews, as depicted in Numbers chapter 31, is the same entity that Jesus was referring to when he said, "Love God..."


Even though Jesus could not have known this, they may not be the same God. I'm not sure how the timeline breaks down, but the Israelites were worshiping El (a relatively peaceful deity, the God who shares a meal with Abraham) until Moses brought Yahweh (a war god, the one who destroys the Egyptian army) north. Over time, these once distinct deities merged into the One God of the Jews.

Jesus says something interesting in order to address the apparent contradiction between the wrathful OT God, and the compassionate faith taught by Jesus. Matthew 22:34-40:
34 But when the Pharisees heard that He had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. 35 Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying, 36 "Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?"
37 Jesus said to him, " 'You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.'[d] 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'[e] 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets."
 
xris
 
Reply Mon 12 Jan, 2009 03:19 pm
@Dichanthelium,
Dichanthelium wrote:
I don't adhere to any institutions, but I accept as a guiding principle for my life, the central message of Jesus, "Love God, and love your neighbor as yourself." I also accept as guiding principles many things I find in the OT, the book of Proverbs, for example, which explicitly commends knowledge and learning and the development of our reasoning powers. I also accept as guiding principles whatever truth I discover in any other religious tradition, such as Buddhism or Native American insights, or philosophy, such as the writings of Plato, or natural phenomena, such as the marvels of this living planet.

So maybe I am a Christian and a Jew and a Buddhist and a Platonist, etc., etc.

But I do not believe that the warfaring god of the ancient Hebrews, as depicted in Numbers chapter 31, is the same entity that Jesus was referring to when he said, "Love God..."
So a jew is a christian and a christian a jew there is nothing of difference between them. Christ need not have arrived his message was already with us?
 
xris
 
Reply Mon 12 Jan, 2009 03:21 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
Didymos Thomas wrote:
Even though Jesus could not have known this, they may not be the same God. I'm not sure how the timeline breaks down, but the Israelites were worshiping El (a relatively peaceful deity, the God who shares a meal with Abraham) until Moses brought Yahweh (a war god, the one who destroys the Egyptian army) north. Over time, these once distinct deities merged into the One God of the Jews.

Jesus says something interesting in order to address the apparent contradiction between the wrathful OT God, and the compassionate faith taught by Jesus. Matthew 22:34-40:
34 But when the Pharisees heard that He had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. 35 Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying, 36 "Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?"
37 Jesus said to him, " 'You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.'[d] 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'[e] 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets."
What else do you exclude Elijah killing the children by jehovas power by the bears that ate them..Pick and mix ,pick and mix..
 
Dichanthelium
 
Reply Mon 12 Jan, 2009 03:37 pm
@xris,
xris wrote:
So a jew is a christian and a christian a jew there is nothing of difference between them. Christ need not have arrived his message was already with us?


Maybe this should be a new thread or threads. 1. What was the message of Jesus? 2. Was he trying to start a new religion, or was he just trying to bring a deeper understanding within an existing religion? 3. Did Jesus really say anything new?

I don't know. Maybe it's all one theme.
 
xris
 
Reply Mon 12 Jan, 2009 03:39 pm
@Dichanthelium,
Dichanthelium wrote:
Maybe this should be a new thread or threads. 1. What was the message of Jesus? 2. Was he trying to start a new religion, or was he just trying to bring a deeper understanding within an existing religion? 3. Did Jesus really say anything new?

I don't know. Maybe it's all one theme.
So turning ones cheek or an eye for an eye is compatible in your opinion.
 
Dichanthelium
 
Reply Mon 12 Jan, 2009 03:43 pm
@xris,
xris wrote:
What else do you exclude Elijah killing the children by jehovas power by the bears that ate them..Pick and mix ,pick and mix..


What's wrong with picking and mixing? The Jews did it. Jesus did it. The apostles did it. The church fathers did it. Every Christian I have ever met in every denomination does it.

Surely you don't mean to imply that you refrain from it?
 
Dichanthelium
 
Reply Mon 12 Jan, 2009 03:50 pm
@xris,
xris wrote:
So turning ones cheek or an eye for an eye is compatible in your opinion.


Actually, no! But if we go in this direction, it seems to me that we are branching into Christology, which may not relate well to the theme of the thread.

I don't know, maybe it's fine. what do you think?
 
Alan McDougall
 
Reply Mon 12 Jan, 2009 03:51 pm
@Alan McDougall,
We agree to disagree and hopefully come nearer collectively to the truth.

Although this thread is about Numbers 31 Jesus has entered the topic and I believe he was the most influential significant person in all of human history
 
xris
 
Reply Mon 12 Jan, 2009 03:51 pm
@Dichanthelium,
Dichanthelium wrote:
What's wrong with picking and mixing? The Jews did it. Jesus did it. The apostles did it. The church fathers did it. Every Christian I have ever met in every denomination does it.

Surely you don't mean to imply that you refrain from it?
Im not in the habit of believing scriptures written by man in the hope it will reveal a god of my choosing..Picking and mixing is the habit of those who want their god to behave in certain way, have their model imposed by the selection process.
 
xris
 
Reply Mon 12 Jan, 2009 03:53 pm
@Alan McDougall,
Alan McDougall wrote:
We agree to disagree and hopefully come nearer collectively to the truth.

Although this thread is about Numbers 31 Jesus has entered the topic and I believe he was the most influential significant person in all of human history
I wont disagree with you at all.His message is of love and it still shines.
 
Dichanthelium
 
Reply Mon 12 Jan, 2009 04:50 pm
@xris,
xris wrote:
Im not in the habit of believing scriptures written by man in the hope it will reveal a god of my choosing...Picking and mixing is the habit of those who want their god to behave in certain way, have their model imposed by the selection process.


I would argue that you presume a bit too much here. Such an allegation would overlook the possibility that picking and mixing could also be characterized as an essential process of exploring and analyzing and discriminating between what seems to be true, good, and reliable and what seems to be false, bad, or unreliable. We all pick and mix when we go to the grocery store, the library, the radio, etc.

It's undeniable that some people go to a book or books in order to try to confirm their presuppositions or reinforce their pre-conceived notions. It's also undeniable that some people go to a book or books in order to learn and discover.
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Mon 12 Jan, 2009 05:53 pm
@Dichanthelium,
xris wrote:
What else do you exclude Elijah killing the children by jehovas power by the bears that ate them..Pick and mix ,pick and mix..


I didn't exclude anything - I simply restated the historical record; that the God of the Jews has evolved over time.

You are quick to accuse people of "pick and mix", which is one sort of spiritual materialism. Surely, though, recognizing history is not spiritual materialism, but straightforward scholarship.

Dichanthelium - Caution, my friend. The spiritual life is not a trip to the super market. You get close to an important point, though: not everyone understands every passage of scripture. I certainly do not. But, as I think you would agree, the fact that we humans are not omnipotent is no stain on our faith tradition.
 
Dichanthelium
 
Reply Mon 12 Jan, 2009 07:17 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
Didymos Thomas wrote:

Dichanthelium - Caution, my friend. The spiritual life is not a trip to the super market. You get close to an important point, though: not everyone understands every passage of scripture. I certainly do not. But, as I think you would agree, the fact that we humans are not omnipotent is no stain on our faith tradition.


10-4. Poor analogy. Careful interpretation of canonical writings, realizing multiple authorship and complex historical contexts, is quite different from picking and choosing which books or passages you give credence to.

Is that your point?
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Tue 13 Jan, 2009 02:46 am
@Dichanthelium,
Dichanthelium wrote:
10-4. Poor analogy. Careful interpretation of canonical writings, realizing multiple authorship and complex historical contexts, is quite different from picking and choosing which books or passages you give credence to.

Is that your point?


That and then some.

As practitioners we need to stick with our guns: the basic teachings. Compassion and brotherly love. As scholars, we must be terribly careful (and I'm the first to admit my failure in this regard) to consider historical concerns such as authorship, dating, and the other aspects of what you accurately describe as "complex historical contexts". And, yes, this scholarly practice is quite different from "picking and choosing" of the sort that Xris spoke of.

Let me struggle for an example. As a scholar, I have serious questions about the Gospel of John. As a practitioner, some of those concerns surface when I read the text, yet I still find profound wisdom in the book. And there needs to be a difference: unless, of course, you happen to be a theologian or a monk meditating in the monastery. As scholars, we need to be deep skeptics. As practitioners, we need to focus on the basic teachings and our own weaknesses. Unless I'm a particularly rare breed, which I doubt, my weaknesses typically involve my inability to love my fellow human being. As practitioners, we do not have to reconcile every single line of a text in order to find value in the text. As scholars, we have a duty to scrutinize every single line of the text. But these two practices do have some degree of separation.

Sorry the analogy did not grab you. It is not my own. I heard it several years ago and appreciated the analogy. I hope the above helps to explain what I am trying to say about the matter. Thanks for reading.
 
xris
 
Reply Tue 13 Jan, 2009 03:52 am
@Didymos Thomas,
Well you may kid yourself your being theologicaly superior but you both seem hell bent on excluding anything that may disturb your opinion on your conceived god. If for personal reasons you can deny certain scriptures why cant you deny the whole lot as i have done.How much of it is from god or from man ,if they are holy scriptures do you think your god would allow this to happen. How do decide whats from god, whats from man?
 
Dichanthelium
 
Reply Tue 13 Jan, 2009 07:16 am
@xris,
xris wrote:
Well you may kid yourself your being theologicaly superior but you both seem hell bent on excluding anything that may disturb your opinion on your conceived god. If for personal reasons you can deny certain scriptures why cant you deny the whole lot as i have done.How much of it is from god or from man ,if they are holy scriptures do you think your god would allow this to happen. How do decide whats from god, whats from man?


xris, I certainly appreciate your enthusiam and candor. I will try to take your points one at a time, and give you a courteous reply, and then, I will ask you to continue in the same vein. Fair enough?

But, just so I know where you are "coming from," what do you know about the Bible? If someone were to ask you, "What is the Bible?" how would you respond?
 
xris
 
Reply Tue 13 Jan, 2009 07:31 am
@Dichanthelium,
Dichanthelium wrote:
xris, I certainly appreciate your enthusiam and candor. I will try to take your points one at a time, and give you a courteous reply, and then, I will ask you to continue in the same vein. Fair enough?

But, just so I know where you are "coming from," what do you know about the Bible? If someone were to ask you, "What is the Bible?" how would you respond?
The old testament is the jewish faith story and their relationship to God before the arrival of christ..the new testament in the main is supposed to be factual reports of christs life by the disciples and the extras such as St Pauls letters etc.
 
Khethil
 
Reply Tue 13 Jan, 2009 08:03 am
@Dichanthelium,
Hey folks,

Dichanthelium wrote:
But, just so I know where you are "coming from," what do you know about the Bible? If someone were to ask you, "What is the Bible?" how would you respond?


I know this wasn't directed at me, but I hope you all don't mind the interjection of another opinion/point of view. This is just my belief - my view - I have the fondest respect for the faithful. This is but a divergent set of statements to help interject some diversity. I've read the King James version several times, as well as other more "unique" books some call scripture. I'm no expert and speak from mine own experience only:[INDENT] The bible is a compilation of ancient stories, prophesies, parables and ideals originally scribed by dozens of denizens long, long ago. It has a number of different compilations of various scripture of a theistic nature. Many view it as THE model for christian thought, while others take a more liberal approach. While many writings have been included in popular versions, others that might well have fit in haven't. Various accords and rulers have sanctioned specific compilations. Some events described in the bible have correlating archeological evidence; many don't.
[/INDENT][INDENT]Some folks take it literally, others figuratively, others still not at all. It is commonly defended in such as way as "that can mean anything", much like the word "it", which happens to mean whatever is being spoken about at the time. Since it was written by different writers, at different times, from different points of view much seems to contradict and many will claim that such contradictions just, "... depend on how you see <it>".
[/INDENT][INDENT]Much good and much evil has been justified in its name. Passages are often referred to as justification or support for "X"; taking on that aire of credibility with the sound of medieval english translated. There's just something that sounds so cool about a "Thee", "Thine" and "Dost" now and then.
[/INDENT]It's like a ball of putty whose meaning is molded by the heart - with their views, hopes and minds - to what feels bets and 'seems to fit'. Placing their new clay-doll on the mantle one might sit back and say "That's it - that's what it means". With so little definition, so much iffyness and uncontrolled relativeness and a far-disconnected genesis - to me - it has little worth. For others, it gives great comfort wherein dictates for the life well lived for the Almighty provide direction, comfort and grounding.

The highest value I can ascribe is based on the respect I have for the feelings of those who take comfort in its pages - it otherwise has none. For those of you who take comfort in it - Congratulations, Enjoy!

But I will say this: Its interpration, between various peoples, is a source of friction I think we could well do without. Unfortunately, if true that's completely academic since its already firmly entrenched into humanity's mind.

Hope this adds productively in some way, thanks
 
 

 
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