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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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  •  Sorry but I absolutely disagree Rob in CT (0+ / 0-)

    the OT God is far more vengeful and mean spirited.  (The whole Book of Revelations thing aside.)

    Yes he did submit his son to Old Testament style torture but Jesus Christ basically dummied down all the laws God gave his people in the OT to a few basic laws.  Love your God, love your parents and love your neighbor as you would yourself.    All those things you mentioned he taught in the NT.  Jesus Christ did it through parables, the Samaritan, for example was about respecting foreigners.  No more laws about how you had to dress, when and where you had to worship God, who you could lay down with, or get it on with, whether or not you could eat shellfish or animals with hooven feet.  You no longer had to worry about getting freaking stoned if you did these things either.  It was a new testament for a new, 'more civilized age'.  It had nothing to do with loving the boy but just listening to his teachings which are basically the things taught us in the Old Testament but without the retribution and punishment.  It was Jesus who forgave an adulteress from an OT style (to use the pop culture reference) stoning and forgave a murderer and made him one of his disciples.  He focused more on forgiveness and love rather than on sin and retribution.  Same teachings but different point of view I guess.

    The Lake of Fire and all of Revelations for that matter was a separate thing.  There is much controversy over when it was written, by whom and frankly what its meaning is.  It had little to do with Jesus Christ or his teachings and was mostly prophetic having little to do with the now (or then as in when Jesus was alive or the book was written) but what was to come.  Alot of the imagery used was derived from the Old Testament but it was like the author was on a really bad acid trip or something.  I believe Greek and Russian Orthodox churches do not even include it.  It makes for great apocalyptic movies and stories but does little else for me.

    Frankly IMO anyone who relies on Revelations as their core Christian religious foundation is warped in the head.  To do that you have to basically ignore all that Jesus taught. The whole point of Revelations is that if you follow the teachings Jesus taught us about you won't have to worry about Revelations because when it comes you'll be going to Heaven anyway.  IMO and where I diverge from some of the christian churches and people is that I don't necessarily believe you have to be christian in order to follow his teachings because his teachings are so basic that they're universal.  Every major religion and religious philosophy can be boiled down to 'Love your God, love your parents and love your neighbor as you would yourself.'  Who cares if that God's name is Jehovah, Yahweh, Allah, Buddha or whatever.  If you love a god AND ALL OF CREATION, love your parents and everyone else YOU ARE GOOD.  You can replace love with say respect and it still applies.  As such when the time comes you will go to a better place.  These are universal beliefs not simply exclusive to christian faiths.  Buddhists for example basically believe that if you lead a good life you will be reborn in a better life.  Forget the lake of fire crap and the end of days.  If you follow those basic teachings, regardless of whether you believe in ol JC or not, you are good and will not see any of that.  At least that's the way I see it FWIW.

    Anyway this veered a bit off my original point which was that often when the term is used it's just as you said pop culture and shouldn't be taken so heavily.  I don't know why you would be offended by it's use but obviously have taken it personally probably due to your faith.  That's cool, I get that but I hope you understand my original point.  As for this longer tangent if you're going to take anything from it I hope it's that IT DOESN'T MATTER if you're a christian or not.  Just be a good person and everything else will sort itself out.  Sometimes I think we get too hung up on the minutest of details of a particular tree and fail to see the whole forest.    

    This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

    by DisNoir36 on Thu Nov 22, 2012 at 04:28:23 AM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  We obviously see vengefulness in a different way (0+ / 0-)

      You say:

      the OT God is far more vengeful and mean spirited.  (The whole Book of Revelations thing aside.)
      I don't see it that way at all.  First of all Jesus does say things like "He who hates me hates my father" (from John).   "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! ...Thus you witness against yourselves, that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets.... You serpents, you brood of vipers, how are you to escape being sentenced to hell?" (from Matthew) "He said to [the Jews], 'You are from below, I am from above; you are of this world, I am not of this world. I told you that you would die in your sins, for you will die in your sins unless you believe that I am he.'" (from John)  So it's a vicious condemnation of unbelievers in general, and Pharisees (i.e. us Jews) in particular.  And of course the crucifixion itself is no picnic either, yet it's viewed as necessary to bring on a new age of alleged forgiveness.

      Then when the above is combined with James' letter and Paul's letters, the teaching is that (a) he who is guilty of even one sin is guilty of all (and hence all humanity is guilty), and (b) you are pardoned only through faith, not through our deeds (and hence Christians with right doctrine alone are saved and all others are condemned).

      So it's not just the book of Revelation that is problematic; it's the whole doctrine: unbelievers go to hell.  And "Pharisee" (which just means the dominant sect of Jews) has become a synonym for "hypocritical evildoer".

      There is a danger in the "dummied down" laws.  Not that "love your neighbor" isn't good -- it's a copy of what's in Leviticus!  But it's too vague without a system of more particular laws, and scholars and judges who interpret them.  The result is that too many Christians think that it's ok to hunt, that it's ok to give "voluntary charity" to whoever thinks they deserve it, rather than compulsory justice to whoever is needy, and in general that if they are faithful believers the holy spirit will guide their conscience.  Deuteronomy mandates that each generation should supply judges to interpret and re-interpret the law so that just as the Supreme Court applies abstract constitutional principles to real cases, Jewish courts and scholars will apply Torah principles to real cases.  

      You may not like the cruelty in the OT, but at least it is usually explained as the consequence of some unrighteousness -- e.g. Sodom didn't help the poor, and spurned strangers, threatened to rape them, and mocked those who gave hospitality to strangers, so they were destroyed by fire and brimstone, and even then Abraham pleaded not to destroy the innocent with the guilty.  But in the NT, righteousness doesn't save you, so the horrible consequences of a fiery hell go not to the wicked but to the unbelieving.  I'll take the OT, thank you.

    •  The jewish god doesn't torture dead people. (0+ / 0-)

      The newish god does.

      I can't imagine how one could look at the prospect of infinite torture and say that it's the more civilized option.

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