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#61 of 81 Old 06-11-2009, 09:01 PM
 
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The Shack describes the law as something we needed in order to feel some sense of control, after the fall and our resulting (and false) sense of independence and separation from God. To me, the law now actually seems like it was even man's attempt to control and manipulate God -- as in, If I do X, then God "has" to do Y for me (or give me Y) in response.
This is an interesting viewpoint; I am naturally curious as to how, with this viewpoint in mind, you would explain the numerous occasions when God Himself is speaking and explaining the institution of the old covenant and new covenant? ("if you do xzy, you will be blessed, if you do not do xyz, you will be cursed"; "I will give you a new heart of flesh to replace the old heart of stone" type things said in His own voice, as if His idea?).

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There is Not. One. Place. in the Torah that would tell anyone to 'beat the devil' out of anyone. Such a thing is completely out of bounds.
Could you explain the verses that speak of "if you beat him with a rod he shall not die and you shall deliver his soul from hell" and "a rod is for the back of fools" because simply reading those words, beating someone with a rod does seem like it is being sanctioned.

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(By the way, the 'eye for an eye' verse has nothing to do with retribution or revenge. Its real meaning is about just compensation for an injury. If you don't understand the original language and/or the Oral Law that explains it, you would have no clue about this).
Even if it's not about revenge, it still suggests that just compensation is required; whereas, "turn the other cheek" suggests mercy and not requiring compensation for wrongs done to you. I realize this would not work in a court of law or as a criminal code, but on a personal level, it frees you from the need to "have your rights", and allows you to practice a life-changing sort of mercy. In regards to parenting, my children are often unable to "justly compensate" me for ways they have wronged me personally... but I can simply forgive them.

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This has nothing to do with that; Christians (who presumably all follow the New Testament) may have theological debates about spanking children, but those of us who live the life of Torah don't -- it's forbidden, and that's it.
Just asking because I don't know- is it anti-Jewish to spank? I'm wondering the same thing about the Amish religion, but I doubt there are any Amish online to answer =)
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#62 of 81 Old 06-11-2009, 09:19 PM
 
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Could you explain the verses that speak of "if you beat him with a rod he shall not die and you shall deliver his soul from hell" and "a rod is for the back of fools" because simply reading those words, beating someone with a rod does seem like it is being sanctioned.



Even if it's not about revenge, it still suggests that just compensation is required; whereas, "turn the other cheek" suggests mercy and not requiring compensation for wrongs done to you. I realize this would not work in a court of law or as a criminal code, but on a personal level, it frees you from the need to "have your rights", and allows you to practice a life-changing sort of mercy. In regards to parenting, my children are often unable to "justly compensate" me for ways they have wronged me personally... but I can simply forgive them.



Just asking because I don't know- is it anti-Jewish to spank? I'm wondering the same thing about the Amish religion, but I doubt there are any Amish online to answer =)
Please provide chapter and verse numbers. Your translations may or may not bear any resemblance to the original Hebrew, so I can't tell from what you wrote.

As for your second comment, you seem to be pitting what you consider an ethic of mercy/forgiveness ('turn the other cheek') against a supposed ethic of 'justice' or 'revenge.' This is a misreading and a misunderstanding of the Torah.

First of all, the verses are meant to be understood within the context of a larger body of mitzvot and are not about relationships of parents to children. That verse specifically deals with adults. Children are not expected to compensate their parents for anything. They are expected to honor their parents, just as we are expected to honor G-d, in the context of a loving and nurtured relationship. Please don't take single verses out of context based on a misreading/misunderstanding of them and impute their ideas to a larger picture of parent-child relationships. It won't work because it's not meant to be that way.

I will say it again. The Torah does not justify beating or hitting of children. It is anti-Torah to be violent with children. Period.

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#63 of 81 Old 06-11-2009, 09:52 PM
 
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This is an interesting viewpoint; I am naturally curious as to how, with this viewpoint in mind, you would explain the numerous occasions when God Himself is speaking and explaining the institution of the old covenant and new covenant? ("if you do xzy, you will be blessed, if you do not do xyz, you will be cursed"; "I will give you a new heart of flesh to replace the old heart of stone" type things said in His own voice, as if His idea?).
When man chose independence and control instead of relationship, I think God allowed him to run with it, and experience the fullness of what this was like.

When man began to see himself as independent from God, he was scared: he wasn't yet ready to relinquish his independence, but he also wanted to hang onto some sense of being protected and secure.

If he'd chosen relationship, he would have lived in continual communion with God, and wouldn't have needed a list of rules because God's laws would have literally been written upon his heart. And man would have been saturated with the sense of God's continual protection and provision.

So in a way, I think giving The Law was God's compassionate compromise for a people who were still resisting living in a connected, inter-dependent relationship with their heavenly Father -- and yet didn't want to feel completely alone and unprotected. The law gave them that sense of control, and some sense of being protected -- but ultimately it was overwhelming because by oursleves, we just can't measure up to it.

God was waiting for the fullness of time when mankind's heart was really ready for love and relationship. As Jesus said, the whole law can be summed up in LOVE -- love for God, love for neighbor.

Let me know if you still don't feel I've answered your question, and I'll try to do a better job!

Susan -- married unschoolin' WAHMomma to two lovely girls (born 2000 and 2005).
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#64 of 81 Old 06-11-2009, 09:58 PM
 
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And I really think God's promise to give man a new heart of flesh, was all about us reaching a place of readiness to live in loving communion with God and with one another.

The heart of stone was man's old heart that said "Me do it myself! Leave me alone!" The Shack says something about this being a phase best left in toddlerhood -- so in a way I feel like mankind went through a super-long toddlerhood, and the age of Christ was the advent of mankind being finally ready for, and being called into, inter-dependence and sweet communion with God..

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#65 of 81 Old 06-11-2009, 10:00 PM
 
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You know, like the Scripture that talks about a weaned child resting against his/her mother.

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#66 of 81 Old 06-12-2009, 12:25 AM
 
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Please provide chapter and verse numbers. Your translations may or may not bear any resemblance to the original Hebrew, so I can't tell from what you wrote.

As for your second comment, you seem to be pitting what you consider an ethic of mercy/forgiveness ('turn the other cheek') against a supposed ethic of 'justice' or 'revenge.' This is a misreading and a misunderstanding of the Torah.

First of all, the verses are meant to be understood within the context of a larger body of mitzvot and are not about relationships of parents to children. That verse specifically deals with adults. Children are not expected to compensate their parents for anything. They are expected to honor their parents, just as we are expected to honor G-d, in the context of a loving and nurtured relationship. Please don't take single verses out of context based on a misreading/misunderstanding of them and impute their ideas to a larger picture of parent-child relationships. It won't work because it's not meant to be that way.

I will say it again. The Torah does not justify beating or hitting of children. It is anti-Torah to be violent with children. Period.
Proverbs 23:13-14; and the other, I think, does not pertain to children- it just says "fools"- but you said "anyone" so I am wondering how you would interpret it- Proverbs 26:3.

I understand what you're saying about "eye for an eye" not pertaining to parent-child relationships. So it is in reference to civil issues only?

When you say "anti-Torah", I am still not sure if it is within the realm of the Jewish practice to spank. I know Christians who say spanking is "anti-Biblical", and yet, it is within the realm of the Christian faith to spank (in that many Christians *do* spank, even though some don't).

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When man chose independence and control instead of relationship, I think God allowed him to run with it, and experience the fullness of what this was like.

So in a way, I think giving The Law was God's compassionate compromise for a people who were still resisting living in a connected, inter-dependent relationship with their heavenly Father -- and yet didn't want to feel completely alone and unprotected. The law gave them that sense of control, and some sense of being protected -- but ultimately it was overwhelming because by oursleves, we just can't measure up to it.
This is an interesting way to look at it. I have been meditating on "The Fall" for the past two years, actually! I didn't think of it as man choosing independence and control (I think God would like us to be independent in that He created us with free will, although still "interdependent" within the context of a mutually fulfilling relationship)- but as man not believing, not having faith (not heeding God's warning and instead accepting the lie- "you will *not* surely die... you will be like God"). To me it seems like faith is what God wants all throughout the OT and NT- from as far back as Abraham "and Abraham believed in the Lord, and He accounted it to him for righteousness", to Hebrews "without faith it is impossible to please Him". Interesting the different things we come away with, isn't it? And then it says in Romans, "Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith"... in that light I view the law as a methodical system whereby we could see the faithfulness of God, in that He gave promises over and over again, and kept them all, to induce faith.
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#67 of 81 Old 06-12-2009, 04:59 AM
 
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And thinking about it further, it would seem to me that, while I take the garden of Eden literally, symbolicly doubt truly does "exclude us from paradise"-in the same way the choice of Adam and Eve barred them from paradise... the effect of disbelief in the promises (and warnings) of God in my own life is a similar inability to enter into a state of blessed spiritual rest or paradise.
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#68 of 81 Old 06-12-2009, 08:50 AM
 
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The Hebrew in Proverbs 23:13 reads, "Al timna min'a'ar musar ki teknu bashevet lo yamut".

More precisely translated, that means "Do not withhold discipline from a youth (read...young man for this Hebrew word na'ar) because if you reprimand him with a rod he will not die."

The word for rod here, as in other places, refers to guidance, not violence.

The context of the verse however is in a paragraph discussing how a person should behave in the presence of a king or absolute ruler. One should consider the consequences of incurring a host's displeasure because of inappropriate behavior or the moral harm that can come from being subservient to an unscrupulous person.

ETA: Proverbs 26:3 -- discusses dealing with a fool who thinks he is wise. It has nothing whatsoever to do with children. The entire paragraph deals with fools who misinterpret things and deliver incorrect messages, and that a person who considers himself a fool is less dangerous than someone with an overblown opinion of himself. No child-related issues here at ALL.

As with most Hebrew passages, you can't take one sentence out and expect it to make sense; nor can you derive conclusions from one verse. Hebrew is a very complex and subtle language. There are words that seem to mean the same thing, but they don't -- or, in different contexts they would mean something else. There are also tiny, intangible (to the unfamiliar) differences in the ways words are placed in sentences or vowels in words that make the meanings totally different from what would otherwise be expected.

Moreover, Proverbs (Mishlei) -- which we consider to have been written by Shlomo HaMelech (King Solomon) -- are beautiful thoughts and important lessons, but not at all authoritative in any sense of the word.

Another thing: I guess this is a fundamental theological difference with Christianity. But I take deep issue with the idea that Jews are somehow 'immature' in their relationship with G-d. You'll forgive me if I don't quite get the notion that you seem to be arguing -- that G-d's relationship with the Jews, as set down in the Torah, is based on a temporary promise. G-d's covenant with the Jews is eternal and unchanging. And as for the way we feel about it, well, He gave us quite precise instructions as to how to live a holy life. The Mitzvot ('laws') are not about guiding an 'immature' people toward some kind of relationship with G-d. Quite the contrary. They are about giving us insight into the ways G-d expects us to bring His presence and His holiness into the world on a daily basis, and live holier lives. And frankly, the whole premise of the Jews' accepting the Torah at Mt. Sinai was based not on a fearful people wary of relationship with HaKadosh Baruch Hu (The Holy One Blessed Be He) but a very trusting and open 'jump' into a G-d-led life. When Hashem asked the Jews if they wanted the Torah, they responded, "Na'aseh v'Nishmah." -- We will do and we will hear. In other words, we're trusting that G-d would direct our lives and we would live according to His will.

You might not understand those laws (they look 'legalistic' and I'm sure picayune to you) because you clearly don't get the interrelationship of the Written and Oral Torah. But a Torah life lived in accordance with G-ds expectations of us is a holy life filled with extreme closeness to G-d.

In any event, I still have not seen any evidence of anything in the Torah (your "Old Testament") which justifies, promotes, or advocates the striking of children.

It might be worthwhile to note that this is not a debate prevalent among the Jewish blogosphere or books, or anything of the sort. No Jewish 'parenting' book would justify it. This simply is a phantom argument. Base the Christian arguments for spanking on something in the New Testament because if you're trying to say it's derived from that "old legalistic and unenlightened "Old Testament" you're headed in the wrong direction.

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#69 of 81 Old 06-12-2009, 02:01 PM
 
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I appreciate you taking the time to make those verses clearer.

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ETA: Proverbs 26:3 -- discusses dealing with a fool who thinks he is wise. It has nothing whatsoever to do with children. The entire paragraph deals with fools who misinterpret things and deliver incorrect messages, and that a person who considers himself a fool is less dangerous than someone with an overblown opinion of himself. No child-related issues here at ALL.
I know this wasn't about children, it was more of a question regarding how you originally said the Torah doesn't advocate "beating the devil out of *anyone* (so I thought perhaps the *anyone* included grown men).

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Another thing: I guess this is a fundamental theological difference with Christianity. But I take deep issue with the idea that Jews are somehow 'immature' in their relationship with G-d. You'll forgive me if I don't quite get the notion that you seem to be arguing -- that G-d's relationship with the Jews, as set down in the Torah, is based on a temporary promise. G-d's covenant with the Jews is eternal and unchanging.
Respectfully, I would hope that we could avoid taking issue or being offended with each other's ideas, but rather view them in the context of our belief system and see how our ideas reflect our differing theologies. I'm sure I could have cause to "take issue with" some of the viewpoints you may embrace if they were to come up within the scope of a discussion (for instance, those who don't believe Jesus is the Messiah would essentially believe I am basing my belief system on blasphemy, right?)- but I don't take issue with it because I appreciate that we are all attempting to come to terms with what truth rings true to us. I don't think the views Mama Mamal expressed necessarily mean all Jews are "immature in their relationship with God"- but perhaps that those for whom the laws is supreme over the relationship (which does not seem to be the case for you) may be more immature- and this would be equally true of Christians who are "legalistic". ??

I do believe that God's promises to and affirmation that Jews are His special chosen people is eternal and unchanging, I just think the way in which He relates to us has been in two different manifestations- not that there was never any overlap... I truly respect your input...

On a different note, do you know of any Torah-based parenting books? I would love to check some out.
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Jesus never hit a child.

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I appreciate your insight, Nickarolaberry

When people get into arguments of "well, look at all the bad stuff God did in the OT" I think of it in a few ways. I believe God is all-knowing, meaning he knows people's hearts. When God judges, he is judging hearts. I cannot know anybody else's heart but my own. I do not go around judging people's hearts because I am not God. This includes the hearts of my children.

Also, God's viewpoint of people is not as limited as ours. Not only does he know the hearts, but He can see all the circumstances around a person to know where they are and where they are headed. He can choose to act upon this.

Just because God has attributes we may see as unpleasant, that does not mean that these are not ruled and tempered by His boundless love. I believe in a perfect God that does not over-use the attributes that we may see as unpleasant. Humans, however, do.

So, applying this to my child, I cannot know their hearts or change their hearts, I can only point them to God for that because it is His job. I don't always know what they are really thinking or even all the circumstances for every action. Unlike God, I definitely can carry my unpleasant attributes too far because I'm still learning how to love without boundaries.

We do not have the capacity to fully know, always restrain ourselves appropriately, or love like Him, because we are not infinite or all-knowing. So, just because God has done things we may see as unpleasant does not justify striking a child to me.

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#72 of 81 Old 06-18-2009, 08:55 AM
 
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Originally Posted by momma_unlimited View Post
I
I know this wasn't about children, it was more of a question regarding how you originally said the Torah doesn't advocate "beating the devil out of *anyone* (so I thought perhaps the *anyone* included grown men).



Respectfully, I would hope that we could avoid taking issue or being offended with each other's ideas, but rather view them in the context of our belief system and see how our ideas reflect our differing theologies.

On a different note, do you know of any Torah-based parenting books? I would love to check some out.
Sorry for not responding, I was out of town.

As an incidental comment, actually Judaism doesn't believe in the 'devil' at all. We have a concept of a 'yetzer ha-ra', an evil inclination, that every person has to confront each time a moral decision is made (i.e. free will). As G-d created us with this evil inclination in order to give us the opportunity to choose good, there would be no 'beating it out' of a person. It's impossible. We even have a saying, "the greater the tzaddik (wise man), the greater the yetzer ha-ra." In other words, people of great spiritual/moral stature have an even bigger battle against their yetzer ha-ra and thus their positive spiritual choices are even more significant.

I absolutely would not want to argue theology and certainly want to maintain an atmosphere of respect. However insofar as the conversation on this particular topic seemed to center around a critical view of the Torah ("Old Testament") as some kind of religious basis for violence against children/spanking based on its alleged 'judgemental/critical/punishing' tone -- I was compelled to explain the fundamental flaw in that argument. It's a straw man -- one taken out time and again -- that definitely causes friction because of its explicit tone of censure.

Anyway, good parenting books based on Torah teachings would include:

To Kindle a Soul

Straight From the Heart (Torah perspective on mothering through nursing)

The Delicate Balance

Planting and Building

There are lots more, really, but that is a good start.

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#73 of 81 Old 06-18-2009, 05:09 PM
 
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However insofar as the conversation on this particular topic seemed to center around a critical view of the Torah ("Old Testament") as some kind of religious basis for violence against children/spanking based on its alleged 'judgemental/critical/punishing' tone -- I was compelled to explain the fundamental flaw in that argument. It's a straw man -- one taken out time and again -- that definitely causes friction because of its explicit tone of censure.

Anyway, good parenting books based on Torah teachings would include:
I am glad you pointed out the "fundamental flaw". It has really given me a fresh perspective that I am really enjoying. I have shared with a couple real life friends your statement about God's laws as "They are about giving us insight into the ways G-d expects us to bring His presence and His holiness into the world on a daily basis, and live holier lives" and they've appreciated it too.

Thanks for the book recommendations! I will check them out for sure.
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#74 of 81 Old 06-25-2009, 11:43 PM
 
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Noooo... if you are Catholic, you believe that Jesus IS God. there are a number of Christian denominations that recognize that they are separate beings.

On topic, I don't think it is any big surprise that different passages in the Bible contradict one another, and that some seem to be pro spank and others pro gentle discipline. Very few people really read their entire bibles thoroughly enough and with enough scholarship to make well educated judgements about what the message really is.

This from a drifting toward agnosticism former Christian.
FYI...I have NEVER been catholic, just christian up until i was 25 and we (they?) do believe Jesus is God. I've gone to methodist, penacostal and mostly non-denom. churches...I'm sure some denominations don't think they are the same...but to say only catholics think they are is wrong.
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#75 of 81 Old 07-06-2009, 12:45 PM
 
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I was looking at the Hebrew words used in Proverbs 23:13 and I find the word "nakah" used, although I didn't see it in your quoting the verse above. I'm curious of your (Nickarolaberry) thoughts on this since it means to strike, smite, hit, beat, slay, kill. In the verse it says to nakah him with the rod.

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#76 of 81 Old 07-06-2009, 12:50 PM
 
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I also looked it up on this website and it translates the verse "Do not withhold discipline from a child; when you strike him with a rod, he will not die." This is, as far as I know, a Jewish website.

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#77 of 81 Old 07-07-2009, 12:49 PM
 
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I don't think the views Mama Mamal expressed necessarily mean all Jews are "immature in their relationship with God"- but perhaps that those for whom the laws is supreme over the relationship (which does not seem to be the case for you) may be more immature- and this would be equally true of Christians who are "legalistic". ??
Yes, thanks for saying this! I sure never meant to imply that I thought Jews were immature in their relationship with God -- but that HUMANITY IN GENERAL has been maturing over time, and increasing in many areas of understanding.

From my understanding, not even Orthodox Jews today still believe they need to offer up animal sacrifices to "pay for" their sins.

I think that as we move away from a view of God as punitive, we also move away from the view that we need to hurt and punish our own children.

Susan -- married unschoolin' WAHMomma to two lovely girls (born 2000 and 2005).
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#78 of 81 Old 07-07-2009, 06:58 PM
 
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I was looking at the Hebrew words used in Proverbs 23:13 and I find the word "nakah" used, although I didn't see it in your quoting the verse above. I'm curious of your (Nickarolaberry) thoughts on this since it means to strike, smite, hit, beat, slay, kill. In the verse it says to nakah him with the rod.
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I also looked it up on this website and it translates the verse "Do not withhold discipline from a child; when you strike him with a rod, he will not die." This is, as far as I know, a Jewish website.
That is the same verse as was quoted up-thread. The Hebrew for the 'strike-ee' is na'ar, meaning youth. Not child. The context of the entire paragraph regards a rebellious young man, one whose anger overcomes him.

The Chabad website is indeed Jewish. However, as I mentioned before: 1) Mishlei (Proverbs) is a collection of wisdom of King Solomon, but not meant to be taken either literally or as rules. We have plenty of guidelines for how people are meant to relate to one another -- including parents to children -- and this does not fall into that category. I suppose if you're searching the Bible for verses taken out of context specifically to justify violence toward children, you can use this one. But it doesn't make it a Jewish teaching at all. : It just means a person took a verse out of context from the Jewish Tanach (Bible) and decided to use it for their own purposes.


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Yes, thanks for saying this! I sure never meant to imply that I thought Jews were immature in their relationship with God -- but that HUMANITY IN GENERAL has been maturing over time, and increasing in many areas of understanding.

From my understanding, not even Orthodox Jews today still believe they need to offer up animal sacrifices to "pay for" their sins.

I think that as we move away from a view of God as punitive, we also move away from the view that we need to hurt and punish our own children.
Actually, this assumption about Jews is wholly incorrect. For Torah-oriented Jews, sacrifices (korbanot) will return when we have the Holy Temple rebuilt in Jerusalem (when the Messiah comes). They are not outdated or obsolete; they are suspended because we have lost the Temple and the supreme holiness that existed there -- and therefore we have also lost the privilege of bringing the korbanot. I realize this is politically incorrect and it will be misunderstood; this aspect of Judaism usually is. I could go into more detail but I think it is out of place here.

We don't view G-d as punitive. Our Torah doesn't view G-d as punitive. We don't view the mitzvot (laws given to us in the Torah) as punitive, or as things that mean we don't know how to relate to G-d. G-d's holiness, and love, are absolute and complete. As is His justice -- although we don't always (or even sometimes) really understand it. It doesn't always comport with what we would want or believe to be 'just.' I suppose that really, this is a perspective that is very difficult to relate to when viewing it through the lens of western Christian civilization. It's like looking at a 3-D movie without the glasses. The best you get is a really blurry picture. You can't understand or appreciate the detail or the panorama. That only happens when you relate to the Torah not only through the written (and translated) but also through the original, and with the commentaries of the Oral Torah and Rabbis as well. Over 3,000 years of tradition that goes along with our Torah means that what you see in the bare translation -- and for that matter, interpreted through another faith tradition -- is at best a distortion.

 "Now bid me run, and I will strive with things impossible." (William Shakespeare -- Julius Caesar)

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#79 of 81 Old 07-07-2009, 08:30 PM
 
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Nickarolaberry, thank you for making it clear that I had some things about your faith all wrong.

I'm not sure how to share what I believe without being offensive. It's interesting because as a fundamentalist, I used to believe the Jews needed to come to Christ to be saved, which of course was offensive.

Now I believe everyone is already saved regardless of belief -- but of course I still believe it's through Jesus. So I still seem to offend just as many people, and maybe even more.

But I really do believe I have a ton to learn about all this. So I need to keep listening to everyone, because I believe each one of us has some unique aspect of God-knowledge to share -- even people who don't believe in God have this.

Susan -- married unschoolin' WAHMomma to two lovely girls (born 2000 and 2005).
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#80 of 81 Old 07-08-2009, 01:51 PM
 
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I also think it's misleading to call this specifically a Christian argument without bringing culture into it. In the UK it's generally accepted that hitting children is wrong, and hitting babies is most especially wrong and would spark a social services investigation into child abuse. And the Christians I know would, in the US, come under the, seemingly redundant for this country, "gentle" umbrella.

Christian Mum to autonomously educated ds (5) :
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#81 of 81 Old 08-12-2009, 07:54 PM
 
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Thanks for the topic. I just asked advise of my sister (born again) and she is a preschool teacher for special needs children. She gave me some good advise, but included the bible verse about apare the rod, spoil the child.

I cannot imagine any instance in which I could hit my child, with a rod no less.
I had to keep asking myself "Is this what Jesus would do?" I'm confused...She said that her BIL made a paddle in order to discipline a 7 year old in their family. Yikes!!!!!!
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