"But That's The Old Testament"

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Reply Thu 19 Oct, 2006 12:41 am
"But That's The Old Testament"
My point exactly: But That's the Old Testament

I have been arguing the same for many, many years.

The Bible should be rated R: What's So Bad About Killing Children?

http://www.freethought.mbdojo.com/elijah.jpg
 
Acheick
 
Reply Thu 19 Oct, 2006 08:43 am
I'll admit it. It was this sort of stuff that terrified me. Berg really used it to keep us in fear. I'm still bothered by it. It's confusing to me too. This is one of the reasons why I want to study the old testament at length and get down to the bottom of it. I need an answer. I'm going to try and find out. Wish me luck.
 
evanman
 
Reply Thu 19 Oct, 2006 02:05 pm
Why are we so shocked at the Old Testament.

If people accept that Jesus Christ is the incarnate God, then they should also accept that He and Jehovah (or Yahweh, or YHWH) are one and the same.

I realise that the idea of a "Lovey-Dovey" Jesus doesn't always tie in, in people's minds, with the "Old Testament" God, but they don't realise that there are not two different God's--one of the OLd Testament and one of the New Testament!

The Bible is replete with the idea that God is to be feared. I find the whole notion of an all-powerful, all-knowing being keeping tabs on my life, thoughts and deeds a tad scarey. Even Jesus Himself is quoted as saying that we should fear the one who not only can destroy our bodies, but our souls in hell also!

Of course Berg capitalised on this concept by twisting its meaning so that if we ever disobeyed his teachings then we were disobeying God's Word! So he actually equated himself with God! Thus we see the true nature of David Berg and Karen Zerby (who continues to promote this idea concerning herself)--"I will be as god!" The depth of narcissism of these two knows no bounds. They are truly of their father the devil!
 
Thorwald 1
 
Reply Thu 19 Oct, 2006 06:03 pm
evanman wrote:
They are truly of their father the devil!


Whatever, dude. They were and are simply frauds, that's all. Although, I will give you the "narcissism" part.
 
Acheick
 
Reply Thu 19 Oct, 2006 07:01 pm
Aha! No wonder I'm so confused. These "leaders" have sure misconstrued nearly the whole bible--for sure the OT. Here's an explanation from a follower of the Torah:


It was Elisha, not God, who instigated the bears.
God later punished Elisha for doing so.

Elisha looked upon the people and saw them as "little children" - an idiomatic expression which I'll clarify below. However, they were not literally little children (yet another instance in which stubborn literalists distort the texts and come to wrong conclusions). After all, they were water bearers - a job that requires significant muscle strength to be profitable. When Elisha cleaned up the toxic river (see the preceding verses), their livlihood of importing and selling clean water was wrecked. The "baldy" comment they yelled at him was idiomatic meaning "one who made the place bald" (i.e., unproductive) for them.

Angry at their loss of livlihood, they decided to confront Elisha in large numbers. Elisha had good concern to feel intimidated and threatened. The "little children" expression indicates that they behaved wildly, as though they were completely devoid of Torah observance - "as undisciplined as young boys." Also, Elisha noticed their hair was very long at the back of the head, in the style common among idol worshippers - those who do not observe the Seven Laws of Noach forbidding such basic laws as murder - another indicator that he was possibly in danger.

In any event, they were very angry and had come to cause trouble for Elisha, who was traveling alone and (therefore) was especially vulnerable to harm. In self-defense, Elisha instigated the bears against the angry mob. Nonetheless, God later punished Elisha for instigating the bears, indicating he had other options.
 
WalkerJ 1
 
Reply Fri 20 Oct, 2006 12:52 am
Acheick wrote:
Aha! No wonder I'm so confused. These "leaders" have sure misconstrued nearly the whole bible--for sure the OT. Here's an explanation from a follower of the Torah:

Oh, I get it. It was 42 adult heathens, not 42 children. I guess that doesn't make it so brutal after all. I'll bet the 42 heathens where all asocial orphans who had absolutely no loved ones in their lives and had it coming anyway. It's comforting to know that God will allow 42 adults to suffer a horrifc death because they mock my religious beliefs. Smile

Seriously though, I've met and had discussions with several Reformed and Orthodox Jews and I must say their reasoning seems to run similar to Christians in regards to the Torah.

They will go to great lengths to explain why certain miraculous events are not to be taken litterally, (such as the angels having intercourse with the daughters of men or the above example with Elisha), while at the same time insisting that other miraculous events happened exactly as described (God speaking to millions of people from a mountain, the parting of the Red Sea, etc.).

I guess it all comes down to believing the parts of the Bible that best benefit your chosen way of life and belief system. Berg supported his beliefs with the scriptures that benefitted him, and millions of Christians and Jews do the same to varying degrees.

I'd bet anything you could support almost any religion by using selected Bible scriptures and putting a spin on them.
 
winter 1
 
Reply Fri 20 Oct, 2006 07:11 am
They say you can prove anything from the Bible.
 
Acheick
 
Reply Fri 20 Oct, 2006 08:15 am
WalkerJ wrote:
Acheick wrote:
Aha! No wonder I'm so confused. These "leaders" have sure misconstrued nearly the whole bible--for sure the OT. Here's an explanation from a follower of the Torah:

Oh, I get it. It was 42 adult heathens, not 42 children. I guess that doesn't make it so brutal after all. I'll bet the 42 heathens where all asocial orphans who had absolutely no loved ones in their lives and had it coming anyway. It's comforting to know that God will allow 42 adults to suffer a horrifc death because they mock my religious beliefs. Smile

Seriously though, I've met and had discussions with several Reformed and Orthodox Jews and I must say their reasoning seems to run similar to Christians in regards to the Torah.

They will go to great lengths to explain why certain miraculous events are not to be taken litterally, (such as the angels having intercourse with the daughters of men or the above example with Elisha), while at the same time insisting that other miraculous events happened exactly as described (God speaking to millions of people from a mountain, the parting of the Red Sea, etc.).

I guess it all comes down to believing the parts of the Bible that best benefit your chosen way of life and belief system. Berg supported his beliefs with the scriptures that benefitted him, and millions of Christians and Jews do the same to varying degrees.

I'd bet anything you could support almost any religion by using selected Bible scriptures and putting a spin on them.


Did you miss the part where Elisha got in trouble from God for doing that? If you were thinking these 42 crazy people were coming at you and going to kill you, I suppose your human nature could kick in and do something like that to protect yourself, don't you? The point is, God didn't do it, but people take that and use it to say that God did. Don't you find that disturbing? Not to mention the fact that it wasn't condoned, but people act as if it's in the bible, ergo, it's something good to do.

Also, when Jesus came he did say that all the law and prophets were now made into one thing - to love God and your neighbor as yourself (loosely translated), so it is true, that the NT supercedes the old. So much of that in the OT has to do with the customs of the day, the scenario of how they were living and some even think such stories as Job were legends and not actual happenings. I mean, Job is an ancient manuscript that's 2500 years old. No telling how things were like in those days. We have to try and think of that and not try put it in today's perspective. Even when I think about how my grandparents did things in their homeland, it's so diametrically opposed to how things are done today, but it was so normal for them and that wasn't that long ago.

This is the problem I have with people who take the bible and use it so simplistically to discredit it, such as in your link. They aren't much better than the preachers and perhaps even followers of the Torah, who missrepresent it. Berg wasn't the only one to do that.

To me understanding the bible all has to do with what makes sense. If it doesn't make sense, then I'm pretty sure I'm not understanding it right, or maybe it's for that day and not for today. Such as how my Torah observant friend explained to me: "The Torah is NOT a science book. Torah-observant Jews are instructed to heed the advice of science experts in matters of science (including psychology)." So, it can adapt and move on and follow in conjunction with science. The problem is with people, not the book.
 
WalkerJ 1
 
Reply Fri 20 Oct, 2006 08:47 am
Acheick wrote:
Did you miss the part where Elisha got in trouble from God for doing that?


Yes, but bears??? I mean, the guy also supposedly had the power to blind people or put a plague on them. Surely he could have thought of a less brutal punishment than bears.

It just sounds too much like a Brothers Grimm fairy tale.
 
Acheick
 
Reply Fri 20 Oct, 2006 09:55 am
WalkerJ wrote:
Acheick wrote:
Did you miss the part where Elisha got in trouble from God for doing that?


Yes, but bears??? I mean, the guy also supposedly had the power to blind people or put a plague on them. Surely he could have thought of a less brutal punishment than bears.

It just sounds too much like a Brothers Grimm fairy tale.


Why are you all missing the point??? He abused his priviledges, it was not what he was supposed to do. Hello?

We have the ability to ram a person down with our cars, but we're not supposed to do that either.
 
WalkerJ 1
 
Reply Fri 20 Oct, 2006 11:34 am
Acheick wrote:
Why are you all missing the point??? He abused his priviledges, it was not what he was supposed to do. Hello?

We have the ability to ram a person down with our cars, but we're not supposed to do that either.

His "privilege" was the ability to summon God to perform miracles for him. Elisha was human. He could not have told the bears to slaughter the people/children. He would have had to ask God to do so. Therefore, if this story is to be believed, God made the bears kill the people, not Elisha.

Had Elisha killed them with his bare hands, it would be a different matter, but according to the Bible, he performed a miracle. Sure, you might have the ability to ram someone down with your car, but I doubt you'd have the ability to command two wild and untrained bears to maul a crowd to death and leave you alone.

This whole thing is beginning to sound so fantastical, we might as well be arguing over why Cinderella's step-sisters thought it was a good idea to cut off their toes so they could fit into the ballroom slipper.

Remember Occam's Razor? Often the simplest answer is the correct one.

If this story is supposed to be symbolic and is not to be take literally, then my question is, where does one draw the line between what parts of the Bible are historical and what parts are metaphoric or symbolic.

Right now, it seems that line is drawn arbitrarily.
 
Acheick
 
Reply Fri 20 Oct, 2006 12:07 pm
WalkerJ wrote:
Acheick wrote:
Why are you all missing the point??? He abused his priviledges, it was not what he was supposed to do. Hello?

We have the ability to ram a person down with our cars, but we're not supposed to do that either.

His "privilege" was the ability to summon God to perform miracles for him. Elisha was human. He could not have told the bears to slaughter the people/children. He would have had to ask God to do so. Therefore, if this story is to be believed, God made the bears kill the people, not Elisha.

Had Elisha killed them with his bare hands, it would be a different matter, but according to the Bible, he performed a miracle. Sure, you might have the ability to ram someone down with your car, but I doubt you'd have the ability to command two wild and untrained bears to maul a crowd to death and leave you alone.

This whole thing is beginning to sound so fantastical, we might as well be arguing over why Cinderella's step-sisters thought it was a good idea to cut off their toes so they could fit into the ballroom slipper.

Remember Occam's Razor? Often the simplest answer is the correct one.

If this story is supposed to be symbolic and is not to be take literally, then my question is, where does one draw the line between what parts of the Bible are historical and what parts are metaphoric or symbolic.

Right now, it seems that line is drawn arbitrarily.


You're probably right -it's sometimes arbitrary and sometimes its scientific. Well, you posed an interesting question about where Elisha got this power from. If God gave it to him, which he must have, why would he have gotten angry at him for it? That doesn't make sense either. Like saying - "OK, I'll give you those bears, oh wait a minute, that was wrong." Uh-huh, doesn't add up. Must be another explanation, something we're missing. I will ask this question and see what I find out.

One thing I've discovered, the Torah/OT is very deep and sometimes even mystical and there are different types of followers, just as in Christiandom. But I love a mystery and I love digging and finding out what is underneath it all that everyone is missing. I should have become a historian/researcher, I would have been better off.

As an afterthought - we know that God, as we believe it, doesn't intervene every little time we do something, or all these people wouldn't be committing murder, raping little girls, using the priesthood to sodomize little boys, etc. So maybe that's the puzzle or the beginning of it, why isn't God intervening? Seems to be an age old question that no one really has the answer for.
 
WalkerJ 1
 
Reply Fri 20 Oct, 2006 01:34 pm
Acheick wrote:
As an afterthought - we know that God, as we believe it, doesn't intervene every little time we do something, or all these people wouldn't be committing murder, raping little girls, using the priesthood to sodomize little boys, etc. So maybe that's the puzzle or the beginning of it, why isn't God intervening? Seems to be an age old question that no one really has the answer for.

Not quite. Millions of people have found an acceptable answer for it. It's just one that's not readily accepted or considered plausible by most believers.

That simple answer would be that God doesn't intervene, because there is no God.

God is a concept -- a concept that billions of people have accepted as a reality simply because it has been ever present since their birth. It cannot be proved nor disproved. It cannot be scientifically studied and analyzed nor can it be discounted as irrelavent.

Religion is simply what you get when people anthropomorphize that concept.
 
Acheick
 
Reply Fri 20 Oct, 2006 01:49 pm
more from a Torah follower
I asked my friend about your statements, here's her response. I found them very interesting. It may mean nothing to you if you don't believe in God anyway, but I thought it was interesting and it is helping me along quite a lot.

Quote:
If this story is supposed to be symbolic and is not to be take literally, then my question is, where does one draw the line between what parts of the Bible are historical and what parts are metaphoric or symbolic.


This story (Elisha and the bears) actually happened. However, the idiomatic expressions should not be taken literally. Many non-fiction books contain numerous idioms, which we do not interpret literally. Here are some of the English examples.

"all skin and bone"
Describes someone who is too thin. Do they literally lack organs, blood, and other tissues? Of course not.

"a day late and a dollar short"
Describes someone who has done too little, too late. Doesn't need to be a day late - could be one minute too late. And effort may be what was needed, not money at all.

"all over the place"

Describes someone who is disorganized. He could be sitting still in one place, but we know from this expression he is disorganized.

"ants in his pants"
Describes someone who is agitated or excited. No bugs actually needed.

"apple of his eye"
Describes someone who is very dear and loved. We don't believe that our eyes contain apples.

"cost an arm and a leg"
Describes an object as very expensive. Limbs are not used as currency.

Quote:
"He could not have told the bears to slaughter the people/children."


There is NO evidence that Elisha could NOT cause the bears to attack the people. On the other hand, we DO know that Elisha was a prophet. And we know that prophets have access to KNOWLEDGE that others do not.


Quote:
"...I doubt you'd have the ability to command two wild and untrained bears to maul a crowd to death and leave you alone."


Yes, but I do not have access to the same knowledge that Elisha did.



Quote:
"Remember Occam's Razor? Often the simplest answer is the correct one."


I agree. For me, the simplest explanation is that Elisha had knowledge that we don't have. No miracle need be involved at all.
"His 'privilege' was the ability to summon God to perform miracles for him."


A prophet's "privilege" is only the ability to access special knowledge from God. What the prophet CHOOSES TO DO with that knowledge is up to himself.
 
WalkerJ 1
 
Reply Fri 20 Oct, 2006 05:01 pm
Re: more from a Torah follower
Acheick wrote:
This story (Elisha and the bears) actually happened. However, the idiomatic expressions should not be taken literally.

So when the Bible says, "God created the heavens and the earth", was it just a figure of speech--Aramaic slang for "God's a powerful guy"-- or is it to be taken literally?

When it says, "He that believeth not the Son ... the wrath of God abideth on him", is that just an idiom for "He'll have a lousy day"?

Again, where do you draw the line? Some people say the six days of creation mean exactly that, other say it means 6 billion years. Apparently, the interpretation of the idioms is all based on what one is comfortable with.

Do you see what I mean?

Additionally, until the bear story is corroborated by at least one independant, historically verifiable account of it, it retains all the historical accuracy of a fairy tale.

Acheick wrote:
There is NO evidence that Elisha could NOT cause the bears to attack the people. On the other hand, we DO know that Elisha was a prophet. And we know that prophets have access to KNOWLEDGE that others do not.

Nor is there evidence that he could. Lack of proof is a very poor reason for declaring something a fact.
Your friend accepts that Elisha was a prophet. Is it possible that 3000 years from now, people will believe that David Berg was a prophet because they find ancient documents calling him one?

Acheick wrote:

Quote:
"Remember Occam's Razor? Often the simplest answer is the correct one."

I agree. For me, the simplest explanation is that Elisha had knowledge that we don't have. No miracle need be involved at all.
"His 'privilege' was the ability to summon God to perform miracles for him."

An additional factor to Occam's Razor is that one must be careful of simple answers that are based on assumptions.

For example, the above explaination is based on the assumptions that:
1) God exists
2) God has knowledge
3) God grants this knowledge to humans
4) Humans are capable of understanding and using that knowledge
5) The Bible's description of God is accurate
6) The Bible sets a precedent for historically accuracy

The only reason your friend can accept that explaination is because they have internalized the above assumptions and consider them to be fact. It is an illogical explaination for anyone who has not accepted them.

As I said earlier, God is a concept. You're trying to anthropomorphize that concept.
 
Acheick
 
Reply Fri 20 Oct, 2006 06:56 pm
WalkerJ wrote:
Acheick wrote:
As an afterthought - we know that God, as we believe it, doesn't intervene every little time we do something, or all these people wouldn't be committing murder, raping little girls, using the priesthood to sodomize little boys, etc. So maybe that's the puzzle or the beginning of it, why isn't God intervening? Seems to be an age old question that no one really has the answer for.

Not quite. Millions of people have found an acceptable answer for it. It's just one that's not readily accepted or considered plausible by most believers.

That simple answer would be that God doesn't intervene, because there is no God.

God is a concept -- a concept that billions of people have accepted as a reality simply because it has been ever present since their birth. It cannot be proved nor disproved. It cannot be scientifically studied and analyzed nor can it be discounted as irrelavent.

Religion is simply what you get when people anthropomorphize that concept.


My answer and one that millions more accept is that God is giving us the choice and it's up to us what to do with it. Of course, you have to believe in God first. I believe in a creator, I have never, ever not believed. The world to me is too great, complex and amazing to think it just happened out of the blue. Personally, I think it takes more faith to not believe in a creator.
 
Thorwald 1
 
Reply Fri 20 Oct, 2006 08:20 pm
Acheick wrote:
it's sometimes arbitrary and sometimes its scientific.


There is zero science involved with interpreting the Bible or drawing any "lines" therein. Leave science out of it, for goodness sake. We have enough trouble explaining real phenomena; we don't need to throw faerie tales into the mix.

Acheick wrote:
Personally, I think it takes more faith to not believe in a creator.


It takes the same amount of "faith" to not believe in the Flying Spaghetti Monster . . . at least on my part.
 
Acheick
 
Reply Fri 20 Oct, 2006 09:35 pm
Thorwald wrote:
Acheick wrote:
it's sometimes arbitrary and sometimes its scientific.


There is zero science involved with interpreting the Bible or drawing any "lines" therein. Leave science out of it, for goodness sake. We have enough trouble explaining real phenomena; we don't need to throw faerie tales into the mix.

Acheick wrote:
Personally, I think it takes more faith to not believe in a creator.


It takes the same amount of "faith" to not believe in the Flying Spaghetti Monster . . . at least on my part.


Pay attention. You misunderstand what I said about science and the scriptures. Read the above from my friend the Torah follower. That was what I'm talking about - how the Torah is not the end of all, but must be open to what science has to say. I can't quote it, just read it.

We just disagree on what we have faith about, that's all.
 
Thorwald 1
 
Reply Fri 20 Oct, 2006 10:22 pm
Acheick wrote:
Pay attention. You misunderstand what I said about science and the scriptures.


No. I was quoting you, not your friend. Your response to WalkerJ's question about the arbitrary dividing line was, "it is sometimes arbitrary and sometimes its scientific". That is simply not true. There is zero science involved.

It has nothing to do with us have our respective "opinions". By its very definition, your "faith" can have no "science" involved. Likewise, science doesn't take any faith. If you don't believe a scientific claim, test it yourself.

Note that science doesn't prove things to be absolutely true; it simply proves what is false (see the "null hypothesis"). There are no authorities in science; only experts. I am free to challenge even Einstein's hypotheses . . . of course, I have to show why I think he was wrong.

With religion, there is nothing _but_ authority (and rarely any experts).

Acheick wrote:
We just disagree on what we have faith about, that's all.


No. I don't have faith (of any kind); I have science.
 
WalkerJ 1
 
Reply Fri 20 Oct, 2006 11:44 pm
Acheick wrote:
I believe in a creator, I have never, ever not believed.
That is precisely why they call it "freeing your mind". Free thought has nothing to do with going to the opposite extreme just for the sake of it. Its purpose is to help one in identifying with the other side and internalizing its perspective, thereby becoming detached from the subject emotionally and gaining a balanced understanding of the whole.

Your faith has locked you into believing something because you fear the consequences should you allow yourself to disbelieve it. Most people are comfortable with that limitation.

Acheick wrote:
Personally, I think it takes more faith to not believe in a creator.

But you wouldn't know that for a fact, because you've never tried, have you? You only think it takes faith to believe in evolution because you have never experienced a reality without faith.

There is a common misunderstanding about the struggle between Evolutionism and Creationism probably caused by Creationists projecting the believed infallibility of their explanation onto the theory of evolution.

Evolution is not a fixed theory. I has been modified and updated many times over since Darwin to take into consideration new discoveries and data.

The evolutionists know that theirs is only a theory and are constantly invalidating old erroneous theories or updating them.

The creationists, on the other hand, approach the issue from the angle of, "The Bible is right, so how do I make everything fit it".

Coincidentally, the theory of evolution postulates that the more adaptable of two entities is the most likely to survive.
 
 

 
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