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validity of old testament?(23 posts)

validity of old testament?weiwentg
Jul 19, 2002 5:24 AM
after one very deep discussion on the validity of the gospels, I wonder what people have to say about the old testament.
I'll weigh in here. I am inclined to believe that it's mainly myth. I cannot, like Thomas Jefferson, believe in a God who could slaughter several thousand relatively innocent people. I cannot believe that God would authorize genocide and seizure of the land of the vanquished. I don't think the creation account in Eden is accurate.
comments?
does it matter?DougSloan
Jul 19, 2002 6:18 AM
Whether you take the Old Testament as accurate, myth, or a mix, it really doesn't matter. To me, it's a collection of works that binds some of us to a common heritage and belief system. Even looking at it from a pragmatic view, it helps us to teach us and our children values and give them a sense of meaning.

Your second issue is entirely different. From what I recall, Jefferson was a Deist, meaning he viewed God as the "Clock Maker." God created the universe and set it in motion, with little intervention thereafter.

It is very difficult to reconcile the nature of God as benevolent and loving, yet causing or even allowing human suffering and death. At least grant this: If there is a God, and he is capable of what the Bible tells us, He is beyond our comprehension. We can't reason much further than that, other than the explanations given in the Bible.

Doug
it's all full of holesColnagoFE
Jul 19, 2002 7:13 AM
if you read the creation account in genesis carefully you can see that they describe the world as basically flat with a dome over it to hold back the water and little holes to let light and rain through. you'd think god would know the earth was round and that we revolve around the sun unless he's changed it since then. that's just the start...you have the whole conundrum about adam and eve...they had a few kids (what do they mention...cain abel lilith? not sure here on the actual scripture.) but then they must have had to inbreed quite a lot to create the human race...and why are there so many different races if they all came from the original 2 people? lots of racy stories as well. men sleeping with young girls...having 20+ wives. also if fortune telling and the occult is a sin according to the bible then why did joseph rise to fame as a dream interpreter? how about sampson killing all those people with the jaw of an ass. supposedly given the strength and condoned by god. was it OK then and not now? that's just scratching the surface.
LOL - how could you possibly get that from Gen 1-3???Kristin
Jul 19, 2002 8:17 AM
Could you demonstrate what you mean. I've read the creation account a number of times. You'd have to infer tons to draw the conclusion you've drawn.
LOL - how could you possibly get that from Gen 1-3???ColnagoFE
Jul 19, 2002 10:33 AM
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

SOME VERSES SKIPPED...

1:7 And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.

(OR BASICALLY A DOME OVER THE EARTH--DIVIDING THE OCEANS FROM THE WATER THAT WAS "ABOVE" THE WATERS--COULD BE AN EXPLAINATION WHY IT RAINS--EVIDENTLY THEY THOUGHT THERE WAS WATER ABOVE THE EARTH)

1:8 And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.

(SO HEAVEN IS THE DOME)

1:9 And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.

(AGAIN...WATERS UNDER THE HEAVEN/FIRMAMENT--ASSUMES THERE IS WATER "ABOVE" THE FIRMAMENT)

...MORE VERSES SKIPPED...

1:14 And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:

1:15 And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.

(LIGHTS "HUNG" IN THE FIRMAMENT--SUGGESTS STATIC PLACEMENT--AND A EARTH CENTRIC WAY OF THINKING THAT THE STARS ONLY PURPOSE ARE TO GIVE LIGHT TO THE EARTH--SORTA LIKE LIGHTS)

...MORE STUFF SKIPPED...

1:16 And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.

(NO MENTION THAT THE MOON IS ONLY A REFLECTION OF THE SUN HERE...SEEMS TO THINK THE MOON IS A SOURCE OF LIGHT IN IT'S OWN RIGHT)

1:17 And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth,

(AGAIN...SUGGESTS STATIC PLACEMENT)
so, what did you expect?DougSloan
Jul 19, 2002 11:06 AM
Did you expect Genesis to explain in Newtonian (or whatever) terms all of the secrets of the universe? How would mankind have dealt with that 100,000(?) years ago?

Maybe there is some value to having us figure out some things for ourselves?

Doug
I don't have a problem with it...ColnagoFE
Jul 19, 2002 12:13 PM
i do have a problem with fundementalists that think the bible is literal and everything in it is the undisputed word of god. also where they just pick and choose the parts of the bible that back up whatever they are arguing for/against that day.
The moon actually is a source of light, in its own right.jose_Tex_mex
Jul 19, 2002 11:23 AM
Yes, the moon gets light from the sun. However, to say this is the sun's light reflected is not 100% accurate. When the sun's light hits the moon that piece of light is not redirected to us. A new quantum event takes place which comes to us and subsequently undergoes more changes on its travel. Thus, I could argue that the light from the moon is not the sun's light but its own.

As for the earth...
How much different is our world from back then? IF things are different now does that negate things back then. What about plate tectonics and such?

eg. Our earth takes about 365 days to go around the sun. We have examples of ancient coral that tell us how long a year used to be - over 400 days. We know our earth is slowing down in its orbital velocity. Thus, it is falling towards the sun. This means that days get longer, years get shorter. How might these variables have effected climate and all?

As for your interpretation of the quotes I humblly disagree and fail to see how one can infer what you are saying.
hmmmmmcritmass
Jul 19, 2002 12:06 PM
"1:14 And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:"

God actually said dmadbr(gabTr)' = ( x l / x' m )(glnTn) and then there was light.
LOL - Thanks!Kristin
Jul 19, 2002 12:53 PM
My head hurts, I'm gonna go home and ride! Ciao' moochacha's
Physics is full of holes too, if you don't read it...jose_Tex_mex
Jul 19, 2002 11:40 AM
With all due respect ColnagoFe, you are probably not a Bible scholar. I know many people who will read the Bible only to find fault with it. That's not a very wise approach.

I have had people come up to me and say - hey, what's this Physics stuff that things fall at the same rate. They take a piece of paper and then a baseball, drop them, and when the ball hits the ground first they look at me as if to say - you're physics don't work. I then explain that it works (in a vaccuum) - they just did not read/understand enough information.

Can these people go on and say that Physics is full of holes because of their lack of knowledge or misunderstandings? I suppose so.

I have dealt with this topic wrt the New Testament and I am sure that most of the holes you could find would not really be such. I am confident that there are not too many mutually exclusive statements in the Bible that I could not explain. However, I am not a Bible scholar. If you are sincere in questioning the Bible, fair enough. I would talk to a Rabbi wrt the Torah and a Priest or Reverend wrt the New Testament. I will try to answer any questions - preferably wrt New Testament misunderstandings. However, I do not have all the answers. Approach the subject with an open mind and you will learn far more.

One example, I had someone bring me two verses which they said were contradictory - "God sits to judge" and "God stands to judge." I laughed pretty hard as the person wanted to show the entire Bible was not to be trusted because of this. Can God not do both?
Anybody buying the idea that it's all random?cory
Jul 19, 2002 7:18 AM
I'll admit to getting bogged down at 3 a.m. trying to figure out where ANYTHING came from. Whether God waved his hand or there was a Big Bang or whatever, how was the first atom of anything made? What was there before? How far, physically, does it extend? The existence of ANYTHING AT ALL is the hard question for me.
As far as the existence of an all-powerful, essentially benevolent god, though...before anybody can convince me of that, they'd have to explain war, child rape, infant AIDS, famine and Pat Robertson.
No one can explain Pat Robertson (nm)Kristin
Jul 19, 2002 8:18 AM
God Does Not Roll Dice... So Said Einsteinjose_Tex_mex
Jul 19, 2002 10:50 AM
I think I agree with Einstein. I believe he said this wrt Heisenber's uncertainty principle but I am not sure.

Too often people blame the bad stuff on God and take the good for granted. I do not know why bad things happen to good people. I believe it is a matter of someone else's will.
But you do realize that the majority of physicists todaySintesi
Jul 19, 2002 12:37 PM
believe God indeed plays dice, right? While Einstein is a damn good authority, science continued to advance after his death and has growm to disagree with Einstein in some areas. If I remember my college science philosophy course (I got a "b" so don't sue me if I'm wrong) Einstein was considered the last of the classical scientists. His special relativity was the closing chapter on that era, but a new one has emerged dealing with quantuum wierdness, probability matrices, uncertainty, etc...

God rolls the dice, this is what Stephen Hawking and other pre eminant physicists say these days.
what's a cubit?mr_spin
Jul 19, 2002 9:18 AM
Can you imagine being on a boat with all those animals for 40 days? The stench must have been overwhelming. I'd probably jump overboard, quite frankly.

Why don't snakes talk anymore?
Wait I know this oneKristin
Jul 19, 2002 9:53 AM
Its 3 tablespoons...or is that a quarter cup? Darn, I've never been very good at conversions. All the animals talk in Narnia. Ever been?
That is still one of the funniest albums ever...nmDave Hickey
Jul 19, 2002 9:56 AM
what's a cubit?DougSloan
Jul 19, 2002 10:17 AM
Conversion Result:
Biblical cubit = 1.5 foot (length)

http://www.convertit.com/Go/ConvertIt/Measurement/Converter.ASP
How about Rubik's Cubit? nm :-)jose_Tex_mex
Jul 19, 2002 10:54 AM
My two centsjose_Tex_mex
Jul 19, 2002 11:12 AM
I believe the Torah is a very valid and reliable historical document. I believe there are factual accounts of real life events and I believe there are stories meant to pass on wisdom, knowledge, and morality.

We as humans love to tell stories as much as we love to hear them. Prior to the days of self induced comas watching MTV or sould I say "EMPTY" TV people often integrated and conversed.

Just have a look at astronomy and the constellations. It was very important to know the constellations to predict the rainy season (Aquarius) and harvest time (Virgo). Thus, ancient skywatchers (often priests) would watch the sky. In doing so, you might as well have some other stories to pass the time - how about some hunters, plays on morality, ...

Although it may not be the truth with a capital "T" there are many truths in there. If it were just a bunch of hocus pocus and myths I doubt it would still be around some five thousand years later.
Epic of Gilgamesh?ColnagoFE
Jul 19, 2002 12:31 PM
Some interesting parallels with the Bible there. Take a look at this page...some interesting thoughts about the contradictions in the Bible:

http://www.geocities.com/paulntobin/bibleanalysis.html

or this regarding the influence gilgamesh may have had on genesis:

http://www.geocities.com/paulntobin/babylonian.html
read thisWoof the dog
Jul 22, 2002 1:02 AM
Its not what it is all about. Christian methology is quite funky and was derived from a number of sources. Chapters 2 and 3 of genesis, for example, were written first by Babylonians, i believe. Babylon was between the two rivers in delta = irrigation. Hibrews in 5 bc (later) put together what is now the 1st chapter of Genesis. Here, God creates land out of water (or maybe the other way around, i don't remember, the point is that it all depended on where people lived).

Bible is full of strong imagery. That is all there is to it: to describe the way things are. People understand things by differentiating between them. So, part of this imagery comes, for instance, from Hibrew where God's spirit is the wind. God separates light from darkness by speaking (you exhale when you speak). It is all based on precise physical and cosmological observation, so stop ridiculing our ancestors. Take sun and lunar cycles, menstrual cycles, etc. as examples.

Fiery dragons and angels are all imagery that either stands for something or was indeed experienced in altered states of consiousness like trance, meditation (today's equivalent of schizophrenia), which all are a part of NORMAL human behavior traced in practically all cultures.

Many societies have this kind of explanation for what happens, but it wasn't their literal world, it was their social world. Each society lived in their own bubble, and the accounts of God slaughtering thousands of innocent people should not be taken directly as such. Its simply a description with an explanation, a recording if you will, of what happened to those people. Maybe it was a natural disaster (like Noah's arc story), or maybe it was a war just the same as we have today (minus nuclear weapons). So, to apply science to explain the nature of this particular religious belief is pathetic and rediculous. Modern science existed for, say, 300 years. How long did it take to put together a Bible? Lots longer, so stop being so critical of it. True, we've discovered more about physics than ever before, but we have missed the other side of the coin. I don't think science would ever be able to condition a human mind to as high of a level of understanding the meaning of existence as religion (pardon my wordiness). Bible's imagery serves a different kind of purpose and if you are really into it, all of what you read will add up to a worthwhile experience that stood the test of time, unlike any modern science bullshit with their electrons, un-ending space, expanding universes, etc. Science doesn't tell you how to live, the constitution is still based on feeling. Why do you even want to know whats past thirty light years away from our planet?

How valid are gospels? Not very valid for a man of reason. Reasons reasons reasons. Just live your life, enjoy your icecream and smile at the sun.

Sincerely
Woof, the dog that doesn't really exist anywhere but this forum, really!