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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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  •  The Tanakh contains utter barbarism and (1+ / 0-)
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    some of the highest ideals of humanity both. As long as the loudest Christians in the US cite only the barbarisms in their political rhetoric, their political opposition, including many Kossacks, will continue to have the impression that we would have been better off without any part of the Bible. Genocide isn't even the most savage part of Neolithic and early Bronze Age Jewish law and mythology (killing off nearly the entire human race and everything else in the Flood is), but Armageddon is definitely the most savage part of the more savage versions of Christianity.

    It is not immediately obvious, without going over the historical record worldwide, that this is either true or false. One should not discount the vast scope of the killing, torture, and oppression done in the name of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam over 3,000 years (and in the names of other religions and ideologies), nor should one discount the exhortations to do better throughout the same period. If those had not happened, we would not have them to draw on today. Most of all, one should not discount the clarity of ancient Jewish views of the flaws of Jews and Judaism at the time, and the progress made so far. What other religious tradition has done so in its Holy Scriptures itself?

    I am a former Jew, with Buddhist monastic training. I learned far more about the good parts of Judaism in the Buddhist monastery than I did in Saturday school or any of the services, although I did learn a fair amount there and from my own reading of Tanakh and New Testament both, along with Hindu, Muslim, Daoist, Confucian, and other scriptures. I can recommend the books of Ecclesiastes/Koheleth and Job, and there are a lot of other good bits. Here is one particularly applicable to this discussion.

    Proverbs 26:4-5

    Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him.

    Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit.

    America—We built that!

    by Mokurai on Wed Nov 21, 2012 at 08:22:38 PM PST

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