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Old 10-23-2002, 06:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
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First let me state that I am a born again believer in Jesus Christ. I was reading the long thread started by nursing mother about inerrancy of scripture adn I am also reading the red tent.
Some problems of faith are surfacing for me and I am wondering if anyone can help me out.

Here they are:

If God loves people, why did He wipe out so many babies? Why did He command his people to go to war? He gives the commandment "thou shalt not kill" and then commands them to do so. You can say that kill means murder, but it still doesnt hold up. These people were innocent bystsnders. If we chrisitans believe it was okay, then we should not be shocked or horrified at what goes on in jeruselum now, or what happened to the twin towers. these people are doing what their god says, just like the people of the old testament. What is the difference?
If the old testament people were under the law adn the nts are under the grace, why do we still follow the 10 commandments? How can we say that we dont have to follow the more ridiuculous Leviticanlaws but we do still follow the 10 commandmets?

The wives of the patriarchs kept their own god and goddesses? If God was appearing to the patriarchs adnwalking and talking with them, why was this not enough to encourage the wives to cast aside their own gods and follow El Shaddai? I mean, jeeze? If God was as powerful adn wonderful and appeared to them in such majesty, why would they not all fall to their knees before HIm?

Again, I am not trying to bait Christians, I am a christian. I just dont get it :
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Old 10-23-2002, 08:08 PM
 
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I loved The Red Tent.

I have for a long time had issues with the Bible (especially Old Testament) and it's historical distortion. I mean, really if you think about it, who writes history? It's the people who win the wars/conflicts. They get to put their own spin on it. I also think many of the books lost much of thier authenticity over the years of oral tradition. Haven't you ever embellished a story to make it a bit juicier? I know when I tell stories to children I try to make them as fun and exciting as possible. And then you have the years of Catholic dominance (as I'm writing this I feel the flames at my feet for what I'm about to say.) There is such a strong theme of misogyny throughout the Old and New Testaments that I find it hard to contest the influence of monks (men who chose a life of celebacy apart form the company of women) as translators. Still I lean toward Christianity with a strong eastern influence. I don't find them as incompatible as others of you might.
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Old 10-24-2002, 12:40 PM
 
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You'll get no flames from me. While I am sure NM was sincere in trying to help, the link she provided is just goofy in so many ways.

. "The populations of the destroyed cities had long histories of grievous sins (Gen 15:16, Dt 25:17-19), which often included sacrificing their children to false gods"

Well, yes, the god of the Israelites "thought" and "taught" the Israelites/Jacobites that gods of other nations was false, but obviously, the worshippers of Ba'al thought otherwise in their hearts. They weren't going around saying, haha we are evilly worshipping the wrong god, just to be contrary.

"totally depraved cultures were destroyed so that they would not corrupt the Israelites into committing the same evil acts (Dt "

Totally depraved cultures is taking it just a bit too far.

"If people grow up in a culture that accepts things like murder and rape"

Murder and rape are unfortunate occurances in all cultures. In fact, the Israelites were supposedly occ. commanded by god to take virgins of sacked cities "as wives." If my virginal 14 yo daughter was taken "as a wife" by an enemy after he killed me and my husband, would I call it a proper marriage? No, I would call it rape.

). "Therefore, the children who were killed would not face the same punishment in the afterlife as their parents. "

Where does the bible say this? no quote is provided. Ask a Jew what the jewish understanding of the after life is like.

)." As noted above, since the children had not shown themselves to be righteous, they were not spared the common fate of death."

this is just silly in so many ways.

"The only reason the Israelites were right to destroy cities in the OT is because they received a clear, direct command from God to do so. Any reason short of that, including humans deciding on their own that God wants them to kill others, is not enough to justify it. "

Humans deciding on their own that god is talking to them---well, what's the diff? Jeanne d'Arc also got into trouble with this one. It's a very touchy and hard to believe excuse. Ask any number of shizophrenics who hear voices in their head. They arne't "deciding" that god is talking to them in their mind, he is, no doubt about it, they just hear it.

As people have said before, the OT characters really believed that god was commanding them. It was their mindset of their day that god was helping them win wars. (the Greeks believed this too.) today, sports figures also belive god helps them win the big game. Worshippers of Ba'al also heard their gods commands and felt he answered their prayers, no doubt, and they weren't depraved or inherently evil to believe that, just human.

Fundamentalists that fly airplanes into buildings, i dont' believe are inherently evil either. From what I read, they were poor and desparate men, who really believed they were being commanded by Allah (not Satan) to commit their unfortunate acts. And believed in the promise of reward in heaven for doing so.

Fundamentalists can be dangerous people.



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Old 10-24-2002, 12:59 PM
 
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DaryLLL, most of the men who flew those planes were not, as you said, "poor and uneducated" men. On the contrary.

First.

Second, I didn't read NM's link, so can't answer to what it said about the Jewish view of the after-life is. Not interested in it, because Jews do not live solely to get through this life until the after-life. We live for here and now, this life is "where it's at," and I am personally much more afraid of anyone who lives solely for the after-life than of anyone else.

Next, child-sacrifice was a big thing in the ancient world. That was one of the Abrahamitic belief's big innovations, if you will, presaged by the akeidah, the almost-sacrificing of Isaac.

The "taking of wives" according to the Torah is not quite the rape and mayhem you make it sound. The differences between the "Israelites" and other tribes of the time included this distinction. I don't remember it exactly, but recollection says there was a "waiting period" before the marriage ... and it was to be a marriage.

I'm sure I'll be corrected on that last, though ...

- Amy
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Old 10-24-2002, 02:06 PM
 
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Next, child-sacrifice was a big thing in the ancient world. That was one of the Abrahamitic belief's big innovations, if you will, presaged by the akeidah, the almost-sacrificing of Isaac.
Facinating idea for y'all to chew on. What Amy states was the reason that G-d commanded thewe akeida to Avraham- so that G-d could stop him and then it would be clear to all that G-d _does not require child sacrafice_. Like when I phrase something in a ludicrious way to get Dh to see how it is not possible that I meant what he thought I meant. If anyone gets what I'm saying

Quote:
The "taking of wives" according to the Torah is not quite the rape and mayhem you make it sound. The differences between the "Israelites" and other tribes of the time included this distinction. I don't remember it exactly, but recollection says there was a "waiting period" before the marriage ... and it was to be a marriage.
The fact is that it was quite common to "take the women" of the losing side in a battle. Among ALL people, it was not a torah invention. G-d understands (in my belief at least) that we are human and to have the desires we need to have to live (the desire to eat, the desire for sex) we sometimes have those desires in appropriately. One of those inappropriate ways is the desire to rape during war. Or "take" the women as wives. The halachos (laws) of "Aishes Yifas Toar" are very specific and designed to huminize the woman in the eyes of the soldier. He is not permitted to touch her, he is not permitted to have sex with her. He must marry her if she agrees to marry him.

It is such a shame *in my opinion* that the "bible" with its "old testament" is out there and so many are so confused by it. The written torah was never meant to stand alone.

-BelovedBird

Mom of 5 boys- 13, 10, 8, 2 : and newbie Aug. 24th, '09 . babywearing advocate . Cook, baker, homemaker, wife to a man with another woman's kidney (live altruistic, unknown donor).
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Old 10-24-2002, 03:27 PM
 
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Thanks amyrpk and BB. Your Jewish perspective constantly inform me, as I read the OT, a task I have set for myself. It is certainly a shame, as you both point out, that Chrisitans base their understanding of the Israelites and their G-d, on the OT, which is an incomplete version of facts and beliefs of the time, poorly translated as well.

that said: amy, I did not say the WTC attackers were "poor and uneducated," but "poor and desparate." This is what I read in the papers and saw on TV at the time. They were recruited from refugee camps, etc. As are many Al Queda members.

Secondly, if a virgin watches her parents being brutally murdered, watches her city and all she hold dear being burnt to the ground, then is taken to another place, by big strong well armed soldiers, who don't even speak her language, how could she make a reasonable decision to agree to marry him, no matter how long the waiting period? If she didn't agree to marry him, she would have no other place to go, no relatives left to take care of her. Options extremely limited, she would have to agree to this kind of "marriage." BTW, BB, rape is understood to not be about a desire for sex, but a desire for power and domination. Altho rape does provide a sexual outlet for men unsuccessful in finding it the usual way, ei: friendship leading to courtship and a healthy respectful relationship.
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Old 10-24-2002, 05:22 PM
 
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Secondly, if a virgin watches her parents being brutally murdered, watches her city and all she hold dear being burnt to the ground, then is taken to another place, by big strong well armed soldiers, who don't even speak her language, how could she make a reasonable decision to agree to marry him, no matter how long the waiting period? If she didn't agree to marry him, she would have no other place to go, no relatives left to take care of her. Options extremely limited, she would have to agree to this kind of "marriage."
Right, the halachos of Aishes Yifas Toar are exactly the same as raping her on top of the still warm corpse of her mother.
Again- the torah was written for and about imperfect people with sometimes inappropriate desires. And G-d is not trying to set us up to fail.

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BTW, BB, rape is understood to not be about a desire for sex, but a desire for power and domination. Altho rape does provide a sexual outlet for men unsuccessful in finding it the usual way, ei: friendship leading to courtship and a healthy respectful relationship.
I know that. The bottom line is that it is forbidden by the laws of the torah. If he "desires" her he must follow the dictates of the law.

-BelovedBird

Mom of 5 boys- 13, 10, 8, 2 : and newbie Aug. 24th, '09 . babywearing advocate . Cook, baker, homemaker, wife to a man with another woman's kidney (live altruistic, unknown donor).
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Old 11-09-2002, 09:58 AM
 
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I think BB's point here is that war is one of the truly horrible things people do, and the laws she cites keep humans from adding to the ugliness.
It's true, a young woman whose whole family is killed would have nowhere to go. Would it be better to leave her alone in the rubble, or to remove her to a society where she'll be among living company?
Not easy, and an awful thought, especially for a parent of t he young woman/girl. But I think that's the point.

And the rest of your (I think rhetorical) questions are as thought-provoking. Of course, they say more to me about the errors of mankind than they say about our Creator.

And the killers from Sept. 11 were perhaps desperate, but not in a material sense--just in their blind hatred for the US. If they were readers of the Qur'an they'd have seen a clear injunction against killing non-combatants, and frankly, a clear commandment not to kill other Muslims. This is who they killed. They weren't doing what their Lord said--unless you consider that perhaps they let O b Laden become their lord (as in cult, as in brainwashing). Remember, too--most of them were Saudi nationals, not refugees.

We (generalized human we) aren't following the 10 Commandments. We lie, steal, covet, ignore our parents, and do all sorts of miserable things.
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Old 11-09-2002, 06:29 PM
 
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boysrus:

I just wanted to add my spin to your original questions:

Sometimes God lets bad people make bad choices to condemn themselves. There is a principle called free will or agency, and God lets people exercise that, even when innocent people get hurt. That doesn't make God an "evil" God. I am absolutely certain he takes care of the innocent ones; in fact, according to my beliefs, all children who die before the age of accountability (at which time children of believers are/can be baptized) are absolutely perfectly saved in Jesus Christ.

I don't know all the answers as to why God had His people "go to war." In what I consider to be scriptures (Book of Mormon), it states (and I believe very strongly) that we are to defend our homes, families, children, honor, beliefs, etc. It also says that it is better that one wicked man should perish (be killed) than an entire nation should dwindle in disbelief. We also believe that the Moses _tried_ to bring the higher law (basically looking forward to Christ), on Mt. Sinai, but they were wicked and so God set the Israelites to a preparatory law.

As far as The Red Tent, well, I identify a bit with Rebekah, and so I'm quite familiar with that story, and I was pretty horrified by the author's *interpretation* and poetic license taken in the sections about the wives of the patriarchs (Rebekah, Rachel, Leah, etc.). When Isaac's was sent for and found Rebekah, she felt the influence of the Holy Spirit, telling her she should go with him! I believe that the wives also followed the God of Abraham. Perhaps some did by conversion, but I truly believe they made that choice. Even in the New Testament, Paul and Peter are desperately trying to remove the previous traditions the communities of Christians try to continue. I struggled really hard with the Red Tent. I enjoyed the story of Dinah, and I enjoyed the idea of the red tent, but I strongly disagree with the interpretation of the women--I went back to Genesis and looked a lot for a discussion of that--and found only one verse that talked about "strange gods." That one verse is a lot to base the whole religion of all the women on.

BTW, I'm Mormon, or a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
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Old 11-10-2002, 05:13 AM - Thread Starter
 
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first of all, my questions were not rhetorical at all. I am honestly seeking answers as my entire faith may have a paradigm shift based upon the answers.
Nursing Mother, I had trouble with the thoughts on that link. I believe my opinions were in line with Daryl's (and yes, I did read the page before she posted her commentary) It has been a while since I read it, so I will try to read it over again and post my misgivings.
Bekka, I definitely believe that she took alot of artistic license with the red tent. But, in the bible, it states the Solomons wives worshipped their gods. My dhs response is that this was ultimately his undoing, but the point is, these women did not believe in the God of thier husband, who was walking and talking with him.
BB, are you saying that our old testament is untrue? Is it translated incorrectly? Is there oral tradition that is missing? What is a Christian supposed to do if this is the case?
I understand what you are saying about child sacrifice, amy. Like, this was a really big message from God to Abraham that He was the one true God. But, lets talk about circumcision for a minute. What is the reasoning behind it and why would God purposely put HIs followers in Pain?
Okay, another question(I am really on a roll : ) Why are the Jewish people the chosen ones? Hinduism, paganism, shintoism, and other religions are as old as judaism. SO why did God say that the Israelites were worthy(even though they were terribly wicked) of His redemption?
Please believe, I am not trying to disrespect anyone faith or religion, I am asking honest questions and seeking wisdom and knowledge. I am studying this on my own as well, but it is hard to find books that answer my specific questions, sometimes. I am about to embark upon a study of all major religions, but I feel the need to understand my own religion more thouroughly before I do this.
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Old 11-10-2002, 06:19 AM
 
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Forgive me if this seems like a non-sequetor. Living in the islands I have met two people who insist they have met the goddess Pele. There are also many stories locally about Pele as a woman, in the flesh visiting people. Pele is the goddess of the active volcano on the big island of Hawai'i. This puts me in an interesting double bind mentally. I have no real choice but to believe to some degree these accounts. These people have experienced something really valid to them and I can't gainsay that. But I don't believe in volcanos as goddesses nor in goddesses who walk the earth. I continue, stubbornly, in my Christianity, despite no first hand evidence of the kind these people have to support their faith. Granted, none of these people is my husband, but still... faith and religion transend logic. I often wonder if when these biblical prophets returned with tales of their meetings with their new god their wives weren't thinking to themselves 'Yeah, so? You think you're the only one Mr Bigshot?'
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Old 11-10-2002, 09:15 AM
 
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Well in regard to some of the Levitican laws. It isn't that we dont need to follow them...it is that many of them have become totally ingrained in our culture that we dont realise that at one point some of them were necessary. A lot of those were in place for hygenic purposes as well as to set the Jews apart from other religions.

Laws such as Circumcision, the designation of clean and unclean animals, the laws regarding the mixing of cloth(linsey-woolsey) and grain, drinking blood, were all part of different religious cultures by setting down these laws God is setting the Jews apart, and creating culture differences that would make it difficult to interact with some of these other religions.

They are not taken as seriously today as some of those religions are extinct or that those who follow the Bible are well established in their culture. For instance one of the things forbidden in Leviticus is prostituting one's daughter. Now this isn't something that is accepted in our culture today but AT THE TIME Leviticus was written it was going on. Beastiality is also forbidden in Leviticus and once again it is not something our culture accepts. Incest is also forbidden in Leviticus.

The laws about how one's hair was cut were in reference to another religion, to set the Jews apart from this religion,

There is much good in Leviticus as well. Respect for the aged, dealing with others fairly, giving testimony when one has information, sacrificing one's child is made punishable by death in Leviticus, as well as a child cursing one's parent (part of this law is parents treating their children well)

While we may see some of the laws of Leviticus as silly at the time they were written many of them had very real reasons for being written. The proof of that is their effectiveness.

Here is a site with some commentary on Leviticus. Still working my way through it myself...

http://www.apostolic-churches.net/bi...leviticus.html


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Old 11-10-2002, 11:04 AM
 
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They are not taken as seriously today
Mabey by those that do not keep the rest of the mitzvos as well. By those of us that do, they are taken very seriously.

-BelovedBird

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Old 11-10-2002, 01:02 PM
 
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Ditto, BB.

Mixing linen/wool is shatnez ... and there are many tailors in the NY area that will test your clothes to ensure the fabric doesn't break this prohibition.

Circumcision ... well, you know that part.

Drinking blood, clean and unclean animals ... kashrut (keeping kosher), an integral part of it.

And if you were to see my DH & son's hair (& baby's once he's 3 & gets a haircut be'H ) you'd know that the haircut thing is still happening, too ...

Still alive & kickin' & full of meaning.

And Kama, about this parallel lives thing: I used to eat lunch with a guy who claimed he was Jesus. Looked like him, too (the white guy pictures of him, anyway ). Long hair, beard, beatific sort of personality. Wore a suit, too. When I worked in the WTC in the '80s I met him in the WTC plaza, & we'd regularly sit on the bench in front of the huge round globe sculpture for lunch (the sculpture that survived the destruction, btw, and is now a monument in Battery Park, but anyway.) Nice guy. I didn't refer to him by name, though. & never did find out his real name. Don't even know why he was at the WTC every day. He would just talk to me about G-d. Sweet guy.

The "chosen" concept is a difficult one, am going to find a link for you if I can. My understanding is more that the Jews chose to accept G-d's offer of the Torah. Jewish tradition tells of how G-d offered the Torah to nation after nation, and they all found a problem with it. "Don't steal? Can't do that, sorry." "Don't eat pork? Not for me." And then the Jewish people said, "Na'aseh v'nishmah," "we will do and we will listen," meaning we don't even know what's in there, yet we'll accept it from You sight unseen.

And the "chosen" concept has been used as an excuse for anti-Semitism and murder through the millenia, so maybe going there is ... well, difficult. "Chosen" means something different to the Jews than it does to non-Jews, so it needs clarifying, I think. I'll find a link.

- Amy
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