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View Diary: Why do so many folks here use the term "Old Testament" as code for barbarism? (265 comments)

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  •  Both OT & NT developed over centuries (3+ / 0-)
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    Diamond Mind, librarisingnsf, mbayrob

    by various individuals and groups with different social/political agendas, as well as different UNDERSTANDINGS of what their religions were supposed to be about.

    I'm basically on your side in this, Rob, because I too am often distressed by the hate-speech that is (imo) rampant on this site when it comes to Christianity (by which this site means 'right-wing politicized fundamentalism), and which often results in the specific hate-speech pointed at the Old Testament (as distorted and used by the right-wing political fundamentalists).

    You write:

    God tries in the OT to teach us to give to the poor, stop harassing foreigners, visit the sick, execute justice, and help widows and orphans.  He scolds us when we don't do this.  
    Yes, there are large portions of the OT -- both the Law and the Prophets -- in which the OT does express exactly those teachings as the basis of God's will for his chosen people.

    And in the NT, the Gospels show JC TEACHING exactly the teachings you love the OT for.

    Even the gospels, however, were written by mainly second- or third-generation believers who were looking back forty to sixty years and INTERPRETING the experiences of a now-dead generation.  And by that time, Paul's letters -- which were written much closer in time to the life of Jesus -- had already incorporated a great many elements of Roman Mithraism into the understand (interpretation) believed by that later generation.

    The 'lake of fire' thing that really  seems to distress you (as it should, imo) didn't come into the writings that became the NT until quite late -- i the book of Revelatoin was written much later than any other NT book, and was almost not chosen for inclusion in the King James version (ca 1600).  I wish it had been been left out.

    Here's another reading (interpretation) of the life of JC for you:  I'll leave out any consideration of whether or not he was 'fully human, fully divine' and just look at him, for now, as a Nice Jewish Boy who had a mystical, prophetic bent and who, instead of marrying, chose (or felt compelled) to wander about talking to other Jews.  What he mainly talked about was: How we are to love our fellow humans.  We are to love our fellow humans (he said to Jews) because Love is the Essence of God's law -- and the rest is just commentary.  G-d's relationship with me, he said, and with you and with the Samaritan and the Woman by the well who had five husbands and with the woman who was caught in adultery and with the men I prevented from stoning her to death -- My relationship with God, he said, is the same as that of a son to this father, and so is your relationship with him like that of parent to child.

    He also taught that the Priests -- the religious hierarchical political/religious power structure -- had sold out to the Romans and had become capitalist quislings.  (And, if God is your Father, why do you need any intermediaries to  sacrifice animals in your behalf?)  So this pissed off both the Romans and the Jewish Power Structure, and they colluded in killing the troublemaker, but only succeeded in making a martyr of him.

    I can tell Rob, that you've given much careful and loving study to your Torah tradition, and this makes me respect you quite a bit.  I'm afraid, though, that you may have settled for simplistic versions of New Testament study (interpretations) and are using them as your basis for what the NT 'says' or 'means'.  (Or that may just be what it looks like because you are being attacked by a good many commenters here, now.)

    I do appreciate what you're trying to do here, which I thinks is that you wanted to ask 'why are people hating on my beloved Torah here, and everybody thinks it's okay?"  I think that's a good question, and one that needs to be brought up here for grown-up discussion, so thanks.

    •  Point well taken (1+ / 0-)
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      As a non-Christian who's read bits and pieces of the Gospels, while I don't see JC as a deity, I'm willing to concede he must have been Quite A Guy.  At least in the Synoptic Gospels, there's a definite sense of the person behind the text, and it's a compelling personality at that.  A great teacher, and a teacher of great things.

      What many Christians ended up doing with his teaching, well, that's another conversation altogether, but certainly, Christian teaching can be Way towards our better (say, even, Buddha) nature.

      [I]t is totally not true that Mitt Romney strapped Paul Ryan to the top of a car and drove him to Canada. Stop spreading rumors! -- Gail Collins

      by mbayrob on Wed Nov 21, 2012 at 11:06:47 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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