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God as a Father

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posted on Jan, 3 2011 @ 11:43 PM
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reply to post by Rustami
 


The issue IS the scriptures themselves, in particular the Old Testament law and Yahweh's interactions with people as described in those books.

Take Job for example. Here's a man who is doing everything right, he's obedient and God just hands Satan the ability to torment Job for no good reason and Satan actually murders Job's children. So even the obedient aren't necessarily immune from having horrible tragedy befall them thanks to God. Why doesn't God refuse Satan?




posted on Jan, 4 2011 @ 03:29 AM
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He walks in the Garden with Adam and Eve, he sits on a throne and we are made IN HIS IMAGE.

This is all figurative language. God has no legs with which to walk, he has no butt to place in a chair, and he is invisible, and thus without image.

Now, if you say you have encountered people who take all of the figures in that sentence literally, then by all means, post about their error. However, most literate adult Christians, like most literate adult non-Christians, know how to read a poem.

There are easily more than a billion Christians worldwide, maybe almost two. You took a small and unrepresentative sample of that population. Such things happen. And, of course, you do realize that you may have been given an "age-appropriate" version of your teachers' views, and so your sample may not even accurately reflect the beliefs of those few whom you have sampled.


The angle I take with most of my criticisms is the one I was raised with, the idea that Bible, even the Old Testament, might as well have been coming directly out of the mouth of God.

That idea is more usually associated with Islam than with Christianity. Allah told Gabriel, who told Mohammed, and at some point, Mohammed's followers wrote down the recitations, supposedly verbatim. In contrast, the usual Christian view about the Bible follows the usual Jewish view, that the Bible was written by human beings, acting under God's inspiration, but writing in their own words. It is also the usual Christian view that the Bible we have now is not the original text.

Even if the Islamic view of divine authorship were correct, and even if the Bible had been transmitted with the word-for-word quality control that Islam has maintained, the Bible would still differ from the Koran in another crucial respect. The Bible is an anthology of different kinds of literary forms, and is not just a collection of sermons.

We have already discussed that the Bible has poems and the penal code for a Bronze Age military occupation. It has alleged history. It has visionary experiences. It has a manual for Temple religious rituals. It has proverbs. It has outright fiction, such as the book of Daniel. Each genre must be read in its own way; a statute book is not a love poem. Duh.

Obviously, it would be convenient for the Biblical critic if the Bible were more like the Koran, and if the majority of those who credit the Bible were more like Muslims. But, you must take your victims as you find them. And the bottom line is that most adult Christians have better information about the Bible than what you remember about what you were told when you were younger.


How does discussing a book and its interpretation translate into being religious? I don't need to believe in Darth Vader to criticize his actions, the same goes for Yahweh - he's a character in a story.

Discussing? You are instructing your reader in the correct way to read scripture. The one, true correct way to read scripture. I can get that on the Jesus Channel. I call it religion. If you don't, then your opinion is noted. I will, however, call things as I see them.

Finally, I do appreciate your intention to edit your post, and realize that you cannot. But nothing prevents you from acknowledging, as you make each of your various criticisms, how small a minority of Christians your criticisms rebut, and how few people read the Bible as you do.

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posted on Jan, 4 2011 @ 04:17 AM
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reply to post by eight bits
 


I'm finding more and more than Fundamentalists are most certainly not representatives of modern Christianity and I fully understand that and acknowledge that most of my criticisms of the Bible come from reading it literally the way Fundamentalists claim it should be read. I understand that there some books, such as Psalms or the Song of Solomon for instance, that are obviously poetic just as Jesus's parables are obviously figurative but there are many passages and books that are gray areas when it comes to interpretation such as whether Hell or the Lake of Fire are to be taken literally. If the interpretation was clear there wouldn't be so many denominations of Christianity. So if any portion of the Bible is to be claimed as divinely inspired than God must be a fairly poor communicator or be purposefully trying to confuse us.

After our initial discussion I actually turned to one of the "Jesus" channels on television and lo and behold I saw a preacher literally doing a whole sermon about how God was a Father and he wasn't subtle about it. This guy had them recite a chant before preaching about how the Bible was absolute truth that began the way a marine talks about his assault rifle. In fact.. here is the creepy mantra right here:



And here is the actual sermon titled "Knowing God as a Father", I only watched about ten minutes of it on TV because I was sick to my stomach by that time.



This is the sort of mindset that I'm opposed to. I understand that average Christians don't think like this and I'd like to think that in some small way I could make a difference to make sure that this never becomes the majority viewpoint.
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posted on Jan, 4 2011 @ 05:29 AM
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but there are many passages and books that are gray areas when it comes to interpretation such as whether Hell or the Lake of Fire are to be taken literally.

Gray? There is some passage in the Bible which says that Hell has an oxygen supply? That the Devil receives fuel shipments? That incorporeal beings can accomplish ignition?

These are the necessary conditions for a literal fire, any literal fire. And then there's lake. That's a body of water, hydrogen ash. Stuff doesn't burn; stuff cannot burn. Yes, we've all seen pictures of a lake with fire, but that's not the figure we're discussing.

So, it is pretty obvious that any "lake of fire" would be figurative.

Beyond that, given the diversity among believers' sincere interpretations of "Hell," the idea is at least underspecified. The word is at most suggestive of a "place," if not outrightly figurative, as it is if, say, Hell were a condition rather than a residence. And since Hell is, to all appearances, "located" outisde of time and space, then it pretty much can't be a place in any literal sense.


So if any portion of the Bible is to be claimed as divinely inspired than God must be a fairly poor communicator or be purposefully trying to confuse us.

Well, the claim is that it's all divinely inspired. But, that doesn't exclude different purposes for different parts.

As to the overall effectiveness of the Bible as message, it may be that the subject matter is inherently unable to be completely and accurately described in words. The counting numbers can't be so described. Godel's Theorem settled that.

So, if God existed, then why couldn't he be as ineffable as something conceptually simple, like counting 1, 2, 3, ... and not stopping? How would I know otherwise? Wouldn't that maybe even be the way to bet? (With the bet called off if his existence cannot be established, of course).


This is the sort of mindset that I'm opposed to. I understand that average Christians don't think like this and I'd like to think that in some small way I could make a difference to make sure that this never becomes the majority viewpoint.

Good, then all I would ask is that you choose your shots and aim carefully, lest the safest place to stand is at the target. Otherwise, you're just needlessly alienating potentially helpful coalition partners.

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posted on Jan, 4 2011 @ 10:39 AM
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I am coming into this conversation rather late, and I fear being new this might be brushed away. Any way, reading over the comments, a thought did strike me. I know the OP feels as if God, as our father has done a horrid job- or needs a re upper on his parenting skills.

Going on that alone (I am not about to dive into the Scriptures debate just yet as I want to read each post carefully so as not to offend) couldn't one argue that if God is our father then we are seeing through a child's eyes?

I know when I was younger I often questioned my father's actions and decisions. Hell, I would argue that I thoguht he was doing a crap job, but then I wasn't living in the same experience he was nor had I seen the whole picture or could I even fathom what he was thinking in those times. Later on it became clear to me that the decisions had merit and he had our family's best interest at heart-and often times, my own as well.

In that same vein, we perhaps are not seeing things in the same lense or sphere as God-and thus what we might see as really crappy parenting could in fact be for our benefit. And perhaps at the end of it all, when we do have an unrestricted view on things in our lives and on things that have happened in the world we might see the purpose behind it-when to us it seemed pointless or just bad.

I know that is a very simplistic way to describe it-but I think it does apply.



posted on Jan, 4 2011 @ 01:47 PM
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reply to post by Woodhouse
 





couldn't one argue that if God is our father then we are seeing through a child's eyes?


In a sense yes, however the way I see it it's an adult child's eyes, the child has grown into an adult and now must make their own decisions. It seems, at least from the Bible, that God will intervene, usually with wrath, if we make the wrong decisions. The God of the Old Testament reminds me very much of an overbearing and abusive Father while the modern Christian concepts of God seem almost deistic in nature. God has indeed softened as society has changed.




Later on it became clear to me that the decisions had merit and he had our family's best interest at heart


This argument would be solid except that God's decisions in the Bible are often murderous. While it might be excusable for a Father to be strict and to make tough decisions murdering your children is never a good idea no matter how rebellious they've become. This is another idea that works well with the kinder gentler God of most Christians but not with the God of the Bible.



and thus what we might see as really crappy parenting could in fact be for our benefit.


I've heard this excuse before, the idea that we are not understanding God correctly. The issue should actually be the other way around. God needs to have a basic comprehension of empathy and be able to put himself in our shoes. According to the those who believe in a Trinity God does just that with Jesus but this is thousands of years after the supposed Flood and the first born of Egypt and the whole Job debacle. Why is it that God does not understand us? He created us didn't he and to those who take the Bible literally God had a far bigger hand in creating us than most Fathers have in creating their children. God seems baffled when his creations disobey even though he's the one who would have given them free will to begin with. Again it reminds me of a Father who continues to hound his children and exert control over them long after they've left the house and are on their own.

As I said in another thread when your children are leaving the house a good Father should not grab them and say, "You must obey everything I have taught you or else I would find you and I will punish you!" God not only does this but his punishment, if the Bible is taken seriously, is either eternal punishment as a soul or physical death.


reply to post by eight bits
 




So, it is pretty obvious that any "lake of fire" would be figurative.


Tell that to fundamentalists.

I can remember being taught that the Lake of Fire was a real place, a boiling lake of lava and fire in some other dimension where we would be tormented for eternity. I do understand that not all Christians believe in a literal Hell and I would applaud those who reject such an idea.



then it pretty much can't be a place in any literal sense.


Again, if only fundamentalists shared your reasoning. It is an insidious tool this idea of an actual eternal Hell and I still don't understand how they get away with teaching kids this sort of thing or how the adults don't seem to see through it. The idea that it is the loving God who owns the torture pit, as opposed to Satan, just seems odd to me.



Good, then all I would ask is that you choose your shots and aim carefully


I will try and I think it would be nice if Christians, theists of other types and atheists alike could keep the vocal fringes in line. The surge of fundamentalism here in America frightens me to no end.



posted on Jan, 4 2011 @ 05:16 PM
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Originally posted by Titen-Sxull

In a sense yes, however the way I see it it's an adult child's eyes, the child has grown into an adult and now must make their own decisions. It seems, at least from the Bible, that God will intervene, usually with wrath, if we make the wrong decisions.


Interesting point, but couldn't one contend that God does not respond in wrath, and has not since the changing of the covenant? And if we do see consequences due to our fallings, they are just the natural consequences, and not just divine wrath?



The God of the Old Testament reminds me very much of an overbearing and abusive Father while the modern Christian concepts of God seem almost deistic in nature. God has indeed softened as society has changed.


I thought this was interesting as well. Maybe it's not God who has changed, but his approach to his creation that changed? As if the circular way punishment/exile/repent/renew was changed in favor of a choice in order to keep the cycle of rebelling from continuing? I honestly cannot say why the change came, but there is a change in the approach to humanity as is seen in the Bible from the Old to the New Testament. But, I do see the same God who loves his people fiercely.




This argument would be solid except that God's decisions in the Bible are often murderous. While it might be excusable for a Father to be strict and to make tough decisions murdering your children is never a good idea no matter how rebellious they've become. This is another idea that works well with the kinder gentler God of most Christians but not with the God of the Bible.


I still think it is a valid argument. And if you go under the thinking that wages of sin are ultimately death then the consequences make sense. It also puts weight into the old saying "I put you into this world, I can take you out." But, I am being cheeky here.




I've heard this excuse before, the idea that we are not understanding God correctly. The issue should actually be the other way around. God needs to have a basic comprehension of empathy and be able to put himself in our shoes. According to the those who believe in a Trinity God does just that with Jesus but this is thousands of years after the supposed Flood and the first born of Egypt and the whole Job debacle. Why is it that God does not understand us? He created us didn't he and to those who take the Bible literally God had a far bigger hand in creating us than most Fathers have in creating their children. God seems baffled when his creations disobey even though he's the one who would have given them free will to begin with. Again it reminds me of a Father who continues to hound his children and exert control over them long after they've left the house and are on their own.


Perhaps it's not that God doesn't understand us, but he wishes we would try to understand Him. Perhaps he's baffled on why we keep choosing the same self destructive paths when He's told us how things would be. I don't think it is so much as him being completely "Oh What the Hell? How stupid are you?" as much as it is "Why do you keep doing this? Can you see it brings only pain and the same results?" Knowing that we will never change-he changes his way to approach us.



As I said in another thread when your children are leaving the house a good Father should not grab them and say, "You must obey everything I have taught you or else I would find you and I will punish you!" God not only does this but his punishment, if the Bible is taken seriously, is either eternal punishment as a soul or physical death.


Explain the parable of the prodigal son? In that God doesn't say "I am going to punish you." but allows the child to go out and learn the lessons which he has said over and over-so that when the son finally returns he is welcomed with loving and forgiving arms.

Those are just my thoughts- I will never claim to know every aspect of God, but I will try my best to answer with what I do think I know-and hope I don't represent poorly.



posted on Jan, 4 2011 @ 11:30 PM
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reply to post by Woodhouse
 




Interesting point, but couldn't one contend that God does not respond in wrath, and has not since the changing of the covenant?


I suppose but according to many Christians there's still the threat of wrath in the here and now and also later on in Hell although these may very well merely be scare tactics of the church. The God of the Bible seems like an abusive Father rather than the loving God that most Christians today believe in... In the same way that the Old Testament God's barbarism reflects the moral precepts of the day today's liberal and loving God also reflects the morals of our modern society to an extent. There are some fundamentalists who still believe that things like Hurricane Katrina and the BP oil spill were done by God.



And if you go under the thinking that wages of sin are ultimately death then the consequences make sense.


The idea that the wages of sin is death is only morally tenable if the sins punished by death are actually crimes deserving of such harsh punishment. In the Old Testament something as simple as working on the Sabbath could get you the death penalty, why is working on the Sabbath a sin while something obvious like SLAVERY is entirely condoned by scripture? I mean look at the Ten Commandments, freedom of religion is a sin as is using God's name incorrectly... why are those in there instead of slavery, rape, etc? The problem is the broad nature of the term sin, not all sins are deserving of death. Does a woman truly deserve to be stoned for not being a virgin on her wedding night?




Perhaps he's baffled on why we keep choosing the same self destructive paths when He's told us how things would be.


Why would an all knowing being be baffled? How is that even possible? The Bible claims he knows our thoughts... he should understand us then. We're not that complicated. And God's never told us anything. All we have to go on is the Bible and a bunch of other religious texts which have never been proved to be historically accurate or give morally sound advice. Even if we count out all other religious texts and focus just on the Bible it is still impossible to interpret, full of logical contradictions and moral absurdities and doesn't seem at all divine. A God who does not speak to his children cannot expect to disobey and if the best parenting he can give is an old tome full of contradictions than it is perfectly understandable that we humans would be confused about what God wants or whether he even exists.



Explain the parable of the prodigal son? In that God doesn't say "I am going to punish you." but allows the child to go out and learn the lessons which he has said over and over-so that when the son finally returns he is welcomed with loving and forgiving arms.


Jesus's parable is a good one indeed. At times it seems like the God Jesus believes in is a far kinder and gentler deity than the tyrant of the Old Testament. Indeed the New Testament God is far nicer, so merciful that he is equated with Love itself. Paul says God is love and later on says that love is not jealous, this seems in direct opposition to the God of the Old Testament who repeatedly identifies himself as a jealous God and even says his name IS Jealous at one point.

There's also this verse where Jesus gives a more Old Testament image of God:


4 “I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. 5 But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after your body has been killed, has authority to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him. - Luke 12:4-5




Those are just my thoughts- I will never claim to know every aspect of God, but I will try my best to answer with what I do think I know-and hope I don't represent poorly.


I'd say you've done a good job, it's been an interesting discussion thus far



posted on Jan, 5 2011 @ 10:40 AM
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Originally posted by Titen-Sxull


I suppose but according to many Christians there's still the threat of wrath in the here and now and also later on in Hell although these may very well merely be scare tactics of the church. The God of the Bible seems like an abusive Father rather than the loving God that most Christians today believe in... In the same way that the Old Testament God's barbarism reflects the moral precepts of the day today's liberal and loving God also reflects the morals of our modern society to an extent. There are some fundamentalists who still believe that things like Hurricane Katrina and the BP oil spill were done by God.


People will never truly know God's decisions. And Fundies are perhaps the easiest to exploit and say they know. I had a prof in Seminary once say that we often try to paint God in a box, or will easily use God as a means to defend something hateful we say. I believe God's Word is perfect-and human interpretation is not anywhere close sometimes.

Also with Katrina and the BP Oil-where disasters. One being Natural the other the cause of a flawed creation. To say God is hate and thus is punishing us in such a manner is lunacy. Blaiming such events on God because he hates homosexuals or is angry at us is fear mongering. Allow me to quote I John



Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. - I John 4:8


People get things wrong, and sadly fellow Christians will use the Bible in a way when they fear something or someone they do not understand. God then becomes the Rod- to us.



The idea that the wages of sin is death is only morally tenable if the sins punished by death are actually crimes deserving of such harsh punishment. In the Old Testament something as simple as working on the Sabbath could get you the death penalty, why is working on the Sabbath a sin while something obvious like SLAVERY is entirely condoned by scripture? I mean look at the Ten Commandments, freedom of religion is a sin as is using God's name incorrectly... why are those in there instead of slavery, rape, etc? The problem is the broad nature of the term sin, not all sins are deserving of death. Does a woman truly deserve to be stoned for not being a virgin on her wedding night?


Christ does go on to say of the commandments there are two that should ultimately be followed: "Love and obey God with all your heart, strength.." etc. and the second to this being: "Love thy neighbor as thyself." In Matthew fifteen, he even chides the Pharisees about dietary laws and other nonsense that was the norm in Leviticus stating that it's not what goes in your mouth that makes you unclean but what comes out of it, as it reflects your heart and mind on a matter.

With the woman being stoned, I even believe God is clear on that topic when he stops an adulterous woman from being stoned to death. There is a change in the way God is meeting us- and so what he wants us to do is show the mercy and love he is showing us. This is the last "do-over" for lack of a better phrase. there will be no more floods, exiles, etc. We're exiled as is. sin=death. Love and belief= Life.

Again over simplyfing things.

As for rape- God does not condone rape. When it is mentioned in Dueteronomy- God punishes the rapist. When Jacob's daughter is raped I do believe that he and his sons go and destroy an entire town over it. Rape is never condoned.
Never.

Slavery is also cast out as Paul talks to Christians who owned slaves asking them to release them- Also slavery then is different of slavery now and the slavery of the 1800's. But, I could go on about manumission and slavery. In fact when Jesus brings about the notion of Jubilee ( a statement that ends up pissing folks off whom he is speaking to) it is noted that the freeing of slaves is listed in the whoel what should be happening now.



Why would an all knowing being be baffled? How is that even possible? The Bible claims he knows our thoughts... he should understand us then. We're not that complicated. And God's never told us anything. All we have to go on is the Bible and a bunch of other religious texts which have never been proved to be historically accurate or give morally sound advice. Even if we count out all other religious texts and focus just on the Bible it is still impossible to interpret, full of logical contradictions and moral absurdities and doesn't seem at all divine. A God who does not speak to his children cannot expect to disobey and if the best parenting he can give is an old tome full of contradictions than it is perfectly understandable that we humans would be confused about what God wants or whether he even exists.


Perhaps baffled is the wrong word. Perhaps a profound disappointment? I don't see Him perplexed in saying why do you do these things- more like exasperated and let down.



Jesus's parable is a good one indeed. At times it seems like the God Jesus believes in is a far kinder and gentler deity than the tyrant of the Old Testament. Indeed the New Testament God is far nicer, so merciful that he is equated with Love itself. Paul says God is love and later on says that love is not jealous, this seems in direct opposition to the God of the Old Testament who repeatedly identifies himself as a jealous God and even says his name IS Jealous at one point.

There's also this verse where Jesus gives a more Old Testament image of God:


4 “I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. 5 But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after your body has been killed, has authority to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him. - Luke 12:4-5



I think God will always be jealous because he loves so fiercely. And that to do such a thing as throw one's soul into hell is not a petty thing to do, like discarding a broken toy. But, something that truly and deeply hurts Him.


I'd say you've done a good job, it's been an interesting discussion thus far


Thank you. I have enjoyed this conversation with you, and like the challenges and thoughtfulness put forth in each post.



posted on Jan, 5 2011 @ 10:38 PM
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reply to post by Woodhouse
 




I believe God's Word is perfect-and human interpretation is not anywhere close sometimes.


But God's word isn't God's word, it is the words of ancient men recopied and re-translated a dozen times. Even if the original inspiration was derived from an actual deity its pretty clear that the scriptures themselves are filled with flaws and morally repugnant teachings. Take Jesus's teaching about lusting after a woman being adultery, what Jesus is setting up is tantamount to thought crime and is patently immoral. Without lust none of us would even exist today. To make mere fantasy a sin is just plain wrong. Also, slavery, obviously slavery isn't morally tenable yet Yahweh never takes the time to say so in the Bible despite saving his own "people" from bondage in Egypt.

If God wants us to believe something is his word than the words need to come directly from his mouth, not second hand from some bronze age civilization's scrolls re-translated by European nobility with a hidden agenda.



In Matthew fifteen, he even chides the Pharisees about dietary laws and other nonsense that was the norm in Leviticus stating that it's not what goes in your mouth that makes you unclean but what comes out of it, as it reflects your heart and mind on a matter.


Throughout the Gospels Christ walks a fine line but he definitely comes out, overall, against the established religion of the day and in favor of some drastic changes. The Love Commandment is one of the shining moments in the Bible as is the Golden Rule I just wish it was those verses that fundamentalists focused on. In fact I've been considering creating my own Bible, sort of the way Thomas Jefferson did, taking out the supernatural and morally repulsive and keeping the good bits.




When it is mentioned in Dueteronomy- God punishes the rapist.


The rapist pays a fine and gets to marry the woman he assaulted. Whether this is a punishment for the rapist or not is debatable but it definitely is a punishment for the woman. Again this is a case in which the Bible fails miserably to be an apt moral guide. If we assume it was written by ancient Israelites than that makes sense but if we assume, as Fundamentalists do, that these are God's moral precepts than that doesn't make sense unless God is immoral or at least amoral.



Also slavery then is different of slavery now and the slavery of the 1800's


In some ways I'm sure it was different. But considering that the Bible gives you tips on how hard you are allowed to beat your slave it is clear that slavery was still violent and was still SLAVERY in every sense of the word. The Bible even says you can sell your daughter as a slave.

Paul may have offered advice on freeing slaves but he also said "slaves obey your Earthly masters".



And that to do such a thing as throw one's soul into hell is not a petty thing to do, like discarding a broken toy. But, something that truly and deeply hurts Him.


There is always this idea that God damns people reluctantly. If God doesn't want to damn people than he doesn't have to. There's no list of sins a mortal can commit in one lifetime that is deserving of eternal punishment anyway AND Hell accomplishes nothing. God should be placing people into rehabilitation programs not sending them into horrific punishment FOREVER with no chance of parole. I can understand a Father's right to discipline their children to some extent however eternal punishment is about as immoral and evil a punishment as I can possibly imagine. Many Christians have recognized the immorality of the idea of a literal Hell, it is incompatible with God as a loving God. The only way that God should be reluctant here is if he is bound by some immutable rules to throw sinners into Hell.



posted on Jan, 6 2011 @ 04:06 AM
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Take Jesus's teaching about lusting after a woman being adultery, what Jesus is setting up is tantamount to thought crime and is patently immoral. Without lust none of us would even exist today. To make mere fantasy a sin is just plain wrong.

But it is not clear that that was Jesus' intent. It's ironic to say that, because the verse is part of a suite of sayings about intent, sayings which contrast compliance with the letter of the Law as opposed to compliance with the spirit of the law.

The verse in question is a natural part of Matthew 5: 17 ff, (yours comes at verse 27), which is a long series of elaborations of the theme announced in 17:

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them."

through verse 20:

"For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven."

The difficulty Jesus is pointing out in verse 27 is that you have an affirmative duty to the woman, her husband, your own spouse if you are married, and to the larger society. You have already failed to fulfill your duty when you embarked on your campaign, in Jesus' view, even if the lady has the good sense not to accommodate you. Viewed from the letter of the Law alone, in contrast, her good sense exonerates your failure.

There's nothing in the verse which forbids justified appreciation of an outstanding rack. There's also nothing about failing to do your part for the continuation of the species, although you may consider yourself advised to get your own spouse with whom to make your contribution.

The obvious point that some pious people interpret the saying your way is noted. But in this case, they can't hide behind their usual oxymoron, "literal interpretation." Lustful has no meaning apart from a reader's interpretation, since it refers to a private interior mental state. If they interpret it to mean general awareness of sexuality, then that is on them, not on Jesus.

Finally, "thought crime" is a beautifully crafted phrase, which nicely conveys the totalitarian nature of the Orwellian dystopia. But in the real-life American and English systems, all crime is thought crime, in the sense that mens rea and capacity for instrumental thought are necessary conditions for any act to be a crime. Intent is the chief difference between manslaughter and murder in the English and American systems, and similar distinctions appear throughout the criminal code.

Evaluation of acts in light of intention, then, seems to me to be a valid feature of justice. If human beings can manage it, then I am unsurprised to read that Jesus thinks God can, too.



posted on Jan, 6 2011 @ 10:05 AM
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Originally posted by Titen-Sxull



But God's word isn't God's word, it is the words of ancient men recopied and re-translated a dozen times. Even if the original inspiration was derived from an actual deity its pretty clear that the scriptures themselves are filled with flaws and morally repugnant teachings. Take Jesus's teaching about lusting after a woman being adultery, what Jesus is setting up is tantamount to thought crime and is patently immoral. Without lust none of us would even exist today. To make mere fantasy a sin is just plain wrong. Also, slavery, obviously slavery isn't morally tenable yet Yahweh never takes the time to say so in the Bible despite saving his own "people" from bondage in Egypt.

If God wants us to believe something is his word than the words need to come directly from his mouth, not second hand from some bronze age civilization's scrolls re-translated by European nobility with a hidden agenda.


This might just be one of those points we have to agree to disagree. I still hodl that God's Word is infallible and perfect. Whether man when inspiried wrote it out correctly, or someone missread a letter on the ancient papyri in which the text was housed on is another matter.

As for thought crime and fantasies? Can we not agree that some fantasies are morally repugnant? And that getting into a habit of thinking of those things one could easily make a shift from merely thinking or day dreaming to doing? I know it can be a stretch, but it could happen.



Throughout the Gospels Christ walks a fine line but he definitely comes out, overall, against the established religion of the day and in favor of some drastic changes. The Love Commandment is one of the shining moments in the Bible as is the Golden Rule I just wish it was those verses that fundamentalists focused on. In fact I've been considering creating my own Bible, sort of the way Thomas Jefferson did, taking out the supernatural and morally repulsive and keeping the good bits.


I do as well. It seems a lot of people often forget the whole "Do not judge others." and the Love commandment in favor of keeping things in a comfort zone in which the person or people group is already accustomed. And from that controlled line they can accept or push out anyone they like. It's not very Christian-nor do I think Christ would be for that at all.



The rapist pays a fine and gets to marry the woman he assaulted. Whether this is a punishment for the rapist or not is debatable but it definitely is a punishment for the woman. Again this is a case in which the Bible fails miserably to be an apt moral guide. If we assume it was written by ancient Israelites than that makes sense but if we assume, as Fundamentalists do, that these are God's moral precepts than that doesn't make sense unless God is immoral or at least amoral.


I know the passage you are talking about. Sadly I do not have all of my wonderful notes from Seminary on this computer, but I do have a links I have used before when dealing with this passage and several commentaries that can back up the view. Hopefully these help shed some light on this.

Link I (Sam Shamoun)

Link II (Matt Flannagan)



In some ways I'm sure it was different. But considering that the Bible gives you tips on how hard you are allowed to beat your slave it is clear that slavery was still violent and was still SLAVERY in every sense of the word. The Bible even says you can sell your daughter as a slave.

Paul may have offered advice on freeing slaves but he also said "slaves obey your Earthly masters".


Christ even said to follow your Earthly Masters. I will agree that Slavery is Slavery and indeed, not the best thing in the world, and one of the worst things that humans can do to one another. But, I still don't take Paul by saying to obey your masters that he was saying Slavery is A OKAY. In a day in which you could be killed for anything- as a slave, he was probably trying to help fellow believers keep their skins- and to keep from giving their owners a reason to distrust the Way. At that time many of the Way's followers were slaves- and many owners and etc. feared that because Christ does talk of freedom from sins and a new order of things, that the Slaves would rise up. That's not Christ's message, and to keep from further persecutions of believers, I believe that this could be why you have the notion of obeying one's masters.

[qoute]
There is always this idea that God damns people reluctantly. If God doesn't want to damn people than he doesn't have to. There's no list of sins a mortal can commit in one lifetime that is deserving of eternal punishment anyway AND Hell accomplishes nothing. God should be placing people into rehabilitation programs not sending them into horrific punishment FOREVER with no chance of parole. I can understand a Father's right to discipline their children to some extent however eternal punishment is about as immoral and evil a punishment as I can possibly imagine. Many Christians have recognized the immorality of the idea of a literal Hell, it is incompatible with God as a loving God. The only way that God should be reluctant here is if he is bound by some immutable rules to throw sinners into Hell.


There are some that think Hell is a rehabilitation center, and over time God can free one's soul from there. But that deals with Open Theism, and that's a path I myself am not quite ready to go into.
edit on 6-1-2011 by Woodhouse because: fixing syntax



posted on Jan, 6 2011 @ 09:51 PM
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reply to post by Woodhouse
 




Can we not agree that some fantasies are morally repugnant?


I would argue that if we take away the right or ability to fantasize or make mere fantasy a sin you run the risk of making people more violent and more immoral. Isn't fantasy a way of dealing with the dark desires, the primitive and violent ones, that all human beings have? Also, thought isn't always completely under our conscious control, many thoughts are subconscious. I don't see the correlation as a very strong one, after all how many workers have thought of hitting their boss or merely cursing their boss out yet most of them will never go through with it.



Hopefully these help shed some light on this.


The first link appears to be defending the verse from Muslim claims that the Bible actually condones rape. I agree that the Bible DOES NOT condone rape however the penalty given for rape is a fine of fifty shekels and afterward the woman would marry the rapist. The defense here is that the Hebrew word can mean entice, while I see that such a defense does dismiss the claim that rape is condoned it doesn't make things that much better for Fundamentalists. They insert the word entice to replace the word rape but it doesn't make the verses much better.

25 But if out in the country a man happens to meet a young woman pledged to be married and entices her, only the man who has done this shall die. 26 Do nothing to the woman; she has committed no sin deserving death. This case is like that of someone who attacks and murders a neighbor, 27 for the man found the young woman out in the country, and though the betrothed woman screamed, there was no one to rescue her.

28 If a man happens to meet a virgin who is not pledged to be married and entices her and they are discovered, 29 he shall pay her father fifty shekels[c] of silver. He must marry the young woman, for he has violated her. He can never divorce her as long as he lives.

This also doesn't excuse how a few verses before this the penalty for adultery is being STONED TO DEATH in no uncertain terms.



But, I still don't take Paul by saying to obey your masters that he was saying Slavery is A OKAY.


He is advising slaves to be obedient rather than rising up against their masters and freeing themselves. While not an outright approval of slavery it is advising that those already enslaved should remain obedient rather than fighting injustice and Paul even says to show them obedience the way they would obey Christ.



There are some that think Hell is a rehabilitation center


Many Christians see the doctrine of a literal Hell for what it is, a scare tactic. Even Jesus uses it to strike fear in Matthew 10:28 by saying you should fear God because he can throw you, body and soul, into Hell. If a literal Hell existed Yahweh would be a malevolent deity, no loving being could cast something he loves into eternal torment. Could you imagine doing that to someone you loved? I could not imagine doing it even to someone I hate! Even torturing Hitler for an entire eternity is overkill.



posted on Jan, 7 2011 @ 07:27 AM
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I would argue that if we take away the right or ability to fantasize or make mere fantasy a sin you run the risk of making people more violent and more immoral.

But again, there is no textual support for the view that that is what Jesus is talking about in Matthew 5: 27.

To sin "in the heart" is a term found in the Law, not something new that Jesus is making up on the spot. See, for instance, Job 1: 5. There is simply no reason to think that what he is discussing has anything to do with "fantasy" or imagined narratives. There is every reason to think, based on its consistent contrast with observed overt acts of accomplished sin, that it refers to the privately experienced instrumental thought which accompanies the intended performance of overt acts.

As the saying goes, man proposes, God disposes. The would-be rapist encounters a 9 mm semi-automatic in the hands of a lady who practices twice a week on the firing range. The Law is to all appearances upheld, but the gentleman has still sinned. This does not seem obscure or scrupulous to me.

In contrast to Jesus, the Pharisees would still be discussing how far the planned rape needed to have proceeded before the law was violated. Perhaps if he had not yet opened the car door, ...

To which analysis, Jesus appears to be calling BS. I think I see his point, and I am morally certain that the lady with pistol does, too.

As to some of the rest, one of the problems of translation is that modern words do not principally refer to ancient, or even earlier modern practices. "Rape" in contemporary English, as every law student easily remembers, is forced unlawful carnal knowledge. But, elsewhere and at other times, it was elopement without prenuptual property settlement, among other things.

The root meaning of the word, after all, is to seize or run off with, not so much to have sex with. Even in modern English, we use one past particple of rape, rapt, to mean something very different from the other past particple, raped. A synonym for rapt is? Carried away.

There were other words for what we now call rape, and distinctions were made among kinds of rape which we would not make today. For example, we do not even have the category "human trophy of war" with which to make the distinction for that kind of rape.

And rape is simple. Slavery is complicated and varied. Hebrew slavery wasn't the Roman variety that Paul discussed, which wasn't the modern variety that existed in the English-speaking world, which differed from contemporary Spanish and French versions, to say nothing of Arab practices.

Part of the art of leadership is to give orders that can and mostly will be obeyed, orders that only incrementally exceed expectations and established capabilities. God displays leadership of the Hebrews whose national god he is. So, sue him.



posted on Jan, 7 2011 @ 08:07 AM
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reply to post by Titen-Sxull
 




Many Christians believe that God is a Father.


I think that should read "all Christians believe God is a Father." My question is, and I am sure there are others in here too, if God, a male deity is a Father, then where is the Mother? This is the big thing I have with Christians. They rail about the three males that are the head God over all others, but there is never any mention of a Mother. Even in the Bible it says, "As Above, So Below." I look around here on Earth, and I see two species, not just one. I see Females everywhere! Animals, and even plants are distinctly male and female. Anyone who grows herb knows that. So why is it all about the male, the father then? I came from the waters of a Woman, not from the loins of a Man. How did you get here, friend?



posted on Jan, 7 2011 @ 04:10 PM
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reply to post by autowrench
 


That's an interesting question, where is God's wife? Recent discoveries in archeology suggest that the ancient Israelites did have other deities and one of those may have been God's wife.



Asherah



posted on Sep, 13 2011 @ 12:54 AM
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Originally posted by Titen-Sxull


So you say, because in your religion, God is made up.


I have no religion.

Atheism is a religion... A religion is a collection of beliefs and you are choosing to believe against other religions...



posted on Sep, 13 2011 @ 04:11 AM
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Originally posted by rschmfem

Originally posted by Titen-Sxull


So you say, because in your religion, God is made up.


I have no religion.

Atheism is a religion... A religion is a collection of beliefs and you are choosing to believe against other religions...


Let's confuse the issues STILL another time by going off into excessive-semantic land. Anything to distract opposition to christian missioning from the really inconvenient parts.



posted on Sep, 13 2011 @ 06:09 AM
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I haven't read the thread but I noticed a video a few posts up with what looks like I would guess a mother goddess statue. I just wanted to remark on something I ran across the other day in the New Testament in a verse about Christ. It probably doesn't mean anything but it is something that gives me to thinking.
The noun for deity (found only once in the NT in this form) in the verse about "fullness of deity dwelt in him bodily" is feminine.



posted on Sep, 13 2011 @ 11:11 AM
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Originally posted by Titen-Sxull
So what do you think? If God is a parent, how would you rate his performance either Biblically or in your actual life?


God is a perfect father my friend.

He has given his children all that they need.
He does not choose between his children (contrary to what you have heard.)
He does not force himself on his children, but quietly waits for their acknowledgement.

Of course my view of God is a bit different than most. To understand God, what God is, you must first come to understand who you are. Everyone wants to make God in their own image rather than realize God made THEM in his image. God is within the Atheist telling him he does not exist. God is within the murderer telling him to murder. God is within the rapist driving him to rape. God is rage, lust, peace, love, hate, and indifference. God is war and destruction, creation and invention. God is ALL.

So however you see the father, non-existent or ever present, who am I to question you?

Who are you to question me?

We are Brothers from the same source arguing over who is more blessed in the eyes of our father. We love what we have been given from on high so much that we think ourselves more blessed than the other. In this case, it is your disbelief and my belief at odds. Shall our differing points of view end in the same fate as Cain and Able? Such is the choice the world will make soon enough.

Christ looked at God as his father. I look at God as the King of this existence. He creates it and I dwell in it.Within the existence he created just for me, I rule. I choose what law will govern my Kingdom and that law is simply to love, always.

You too have been given a kingdom to rule. You too have the power to make laws within your Kingdom. What Laws you make within your Kingdom will effect your relations with your neighboring Kingdoms. Choose wisely.

Rather than debate over who's gifts are greater under heaven, I'd prefer to simply share what I have been given.

Pass the pipe Brother, have a beer, celebrate for the life you have been given is YOURS.

With Love,

Your Brother




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