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Why do Christians cherry pick the good parts of the Bible?

#31hunter_gohanPosted 1/2/2013 2:48:31 PM
Julian_Caesar posted...
"Slaughter" is a word fraught with connotations of motive, and eating children is such an extreme act that we can very nearly always assume that the motives for doing so would be evil. Slavery is neither of those.


the act of killing; specifically : the butchering of livestock for market
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/slaughter

We eat veal yes? The motive is survival because we need to eat or we will die. If humans can be treated as property with no links to morality; why can they not also be treated as a different kind of property(livestock) with no links to morality? Is the answer because your holy book never laid down a recipe for cooking human children, so you're only forced to defend one of these atrocities?
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If you find yourself falling into madness -- dive. -Malkavian Clan Book 1st edition
We eat gods for breakfast. - Dr Egon Spengler
#32mikmalotPosted 1/2/2013 3:48:54 PM
Imperator420 posted...
Polish_Crusader posted...
The topic question is meaningless. All parts of the bible are good. The bible is an accumulative document. u cannot pick apart just one part and isolate from the others.


Honestly I would praise you for not being a hypocrite. Most Christians claim that the Bible is somehow divinely inspired yet do not follow it wholly - they would certainly reject the parts not only permitting but mandating slavery, for instance.

However I have to withhold my praise based on your claim that the Bible can't be picked apart because it's accumulative. In fact, the fact that it's accumulative - that is to say, compiled from the works of many different authors over the centuries, without any knowledge or desire on the part of the individuals that their work would be thus compiled - means that you can pick one part and isolate it. You can do so whereas you cannot, for instance, do the same with a singular work by one person.

What you're advocating is akin to looking at Grimm's Fairy Tales and saying that you can't analyze each story in isolation.


My initial impressions of you seemed to be wrong. This pleases me.

Anyway, this whole topic assumes that all Christians are working from the premise that the Bible is the spoken word of God, or some sort. This is a fair assumption, given that this is the predominant view among Christians. Given this hermeneutic, I think the initial criticism is apt.

However, if we take a step away from this prevalent way of viewing the Scriptures, and instead look at them as an expression of humanity's experience with God, then this is less of a problem. If we recognize that the Scriptures were written by men (let's face it, the chances of any of them being written by a woman are slim to none), then we can recognize, with experiencing any cognitive dissonance, that some parts are morally objectionable, and there's no need to gloss over them.

This gives us the opportunity to recognize which parts are of God, and which parts are simply a record of God's people, blemishes and all.

Some examples: the thread has already dealt with the issue of slavery in the Bible. I think if we read the Bible through this lens, along with appropriate critical, cultural, and historical analysis, we see that slavery is a cultural artifact with little to no basis in peoples' experience with God.

Another example is the conquest of Canaan (which probably was much more gradual and peaceful than indicated). People often object to the brutality of this conquest, saying that it is contradictory to the loving God we see Jesus, and by extension, Christianity, portray. The narrative found in the conquest of Canaan is the result of a brutal culture, and the need for a narrative to justify their existence in the land of Canaan. Why it is attributed to God's commands to take the land, I think a close study shows that very little of that narrative comes from experience with God.

On the other hand, staying in the Hebrew Bible, let's look at the prophets. One of the primary concerns for the prophets is justice, primarily justice for the poor. I think it can be argued that these texts were written due to an experience with God. It's not God dictated, but rather human dictated, so it's not perfect or infallible. However, seeing as how it's borne out of experience with God, I think it's a much clearer expression of God's will than, say, the conquest of Canaan.
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Descartes is sitting in a bar, having a drink. The bartender asks him if he wants another. "I think not," he says and vanishes in a puff of logic.
#33Imperator420Posted 1/2/2013 3:50:45 PM
Might I ask what your initial impressions were?
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I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast ... for it repenteth me that I have made them. - Genesis 7
#34mikmalotPosted 1/2/2013 5:08:21 PM
Imperator420 posted...
Might I ask what your initial impressions were?


Mind you, I first saw you in the thread where you were talking about not adhering to morality.

My initial impression was that you came across as a college freshman who had just taken an intro to ethics/philosophy course and had just discovered moral nihilism and jumped onto the religion board in an attempt to shock us squares.

As I've read your posts, you're more fair minded and reasonable than I'd initially given you credit for. It's always interesting trying to figure out new posters.
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Descartes is sitting in a bar, having a drink. The bartender asks him if he wants another. "I think not," he says and vanishes in a puff of logic.
#35hunter_gohanPosted 1/2/2013 5:28:56 PM
mikmalot posted...
Some examples: the thread has already dealt with the issue of slavery in the Bible. I think if we read the Bible through this lens, along with appropriate critical, cultural, and historical analysis, we see that slavery is a cultural artifact with little to no basis in peoples' experience with God.


Exodus 20 ends with YHWH talking. That chapter was him laying down laws(including the 10 commandents) Exodus 21 starts as:

"“Now these are the rules that you shall set before them. 2 When you buy a Hebrew slave,[a] he shall serve six years, and in the seventh he shall go out free, for nothing."

And contains such other gems as:

"7 “When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she shall not go out as the male slaves do."

It seems pretty obvious these were supposed to be laws handed down directly from YHWH. If we can dismiss this as nothing more the product of ancient slave owning humans with no relation to any god, why can we not do that for the rest of the bible as well?
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If you find yourself falling into madness -- dive. -Malkavian Clan Book 1st edition
We eat gods for breakfast. - Dr Egon Spengler
#36Imperator420Posted 1/2/2013 5:35:28 PM
mikmalot posted...
Imperator420 posted...
Might I ask what your initial impressions were?


Mind you, I first saw you in the thread where you were talking about not adhering to morality.

My initial impression was that you came across as a college freshman who had just taken an intro to ethics/philosophy course and had just discovered moral nihilism and jumped onto the religion board in an attempt to shock us squares.

As I've read your posts, you're more fair minded and reasonable than I'd initially given you credit for. It's always interesting trying to figure out new posters.


I discovered moral nihilism in high school and I got over it. Philosophically I identify with Nietzsche, but I also have some serious objections to him (as I do with any philosopher). Nevertheless it's comforting to know that I dispelled suspicions of such immaturity.
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I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast ... for it repenteth me that I have made them. - Genesis 7
#37mikmalotPosted 1/2/2013 6:15:13 PM
hunter_gohan posted...
mikmalot posted...
Some examples: the thread has already dealt with the issue of slavery in the Bible. I think if we read the Bible through this lens, along with appropriate critical, cultural, and historical analysis, we see that slavery is a cultural artifact with little to no basis in peoples' experience with God.


Exodus 20 ends with YHWH talking. That chapter was him laying down laws(including the 10 commandents) Exodus 21 starts as:

"“Now these are the rules that you shall set before them. 2 When you buy a Hebrew slave,[a] he shall serve six years, and in the seventh he shall go out free, for nothing."

And contains such other gems as:

"7 “When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she shall not go out as the male slaves do."

It seems pretty obvious these were supposed to be laws handed down directly from YHWH. If we can dismiss this as nothing more the product of ancient slave owning humans with no relation to any god, why can we not do that for the rest of the bible as well?

This is where we get to the historical and critical analysis of the text. Unfortunately, the only commentaries I have on hand were written in the late 70s (I'll have access to more recent ones at work tomorrow), but they seem to indicate that the portions that end with 20 and begin with 21 were two separate documents that were spliced together at a later date.

The implication here is that the part containing chapter 20 was the result of an experience with God, while the part containing chapter 21 was initially a separate document that was redacted in with the other document, with the subscript of 21:1 being added to attempt to extend the divine authority.

That's my understanding with the resources on hand. I'll check some more recent commentaries tomorrow and see if scholarly opinion has changed.
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Descartes is sitting in a bar, having a drink. The bartender asks him if he wants another. "I think not," he says and vanishes in a puff of logic.
#38hunter_gohanPosted 1/2/2013 7:07:48 PM
mikmalot posted...
This is where we get to the historical and critical analysis of the text. Unfortunately, the only commentaries I have on hand were written in the late 70s (I'll have access to more recent ones at work tomorrow), but they seem to indicate that the portions that end with 20 and begin with 21 were two separate documents that were spliced together at a later date.

The implication here is that the part containing chapter 20 was the result of an experience with God, while the part containing chapter 21 was initially a separate document that was redacted in with the other document, with the subscript of 21:1 being added to attempt to extend the divine authority.

That's my understanding with the resources on hand. I'll check some more recent commentaries tomorrow and see if scholarly opinion has changed.


Well sure, but if you're going by the historical and critical analysis of it then why don't you follow it all the way to a lot of the OT being rewritten and added to to cover up the early Jews being polytheistic and that YHWH was originally the Canaanite War God and didn't become the single god of monotheism until 600BC?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MlnnWbkMlbg&list=FLMeJ-YytAlCBJfEX-ZN3wjw&index=43

So again, why can we do that for this part which you find inconvenient because you recognize slavery as wrong, but not for the rest of the bible?
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If you find yourself falling into madness -- dive. -Malkavian Clan Book 1st edition
We eat gods for breakfast. - Dr Egon Spengler
#39hunter_gohanPosted 1/2/2013 7:43:48 PM
Zeus, the "God of Justice," was a rapist...


Hahaha oh wow. The bible has the Israelites enslaving and raping virgin woman because YHWH(the embodiment of "justice" and "mercy") ordered them to go and commit genocide against a group of people. The Israelites left the little kids alive which pissed of Moses something fierce so killing them all save the virgin women whom they enslaved and raped was apparently the logical conclusion to that series of event.

If you wanna save some time, just reword the excuse you'll pull out for this as Hellenic since that will be what I reply back to you.

But the Ancient Greeks considered rape a capital offense...


"After being the victim of sexual violence, the young woman lost her virginity and became damaged goods, thus less likely to attract a suitable match, Harris said. In fact, many victims were forced into marrying the rapist, lest she become useless to her family especially her brothers or father, who were considered the burdened ones in classical times. This dilemma led to a high prevalence of suicide among raped women."

Rape is as Greek as the Parthenon
http://www.upenn.edu/pennnews/current/node/1183

A grievous offense against the men maybe. Very similar to how the early Israelites saw it.

The stories couldn't have been created to impart morals if the Greeks criminalized the behavior of the gods they worshiped.


I'm sure Zeus was a proper rapist and took care of the women he raped, and if he didn't well he had a good reason we just don't know it cause he works in mysterious ways.

BTW how many Christian nations have genocide legal now a days?

The former stories, among others, blatantly ascribe superstitious explanations to natural events, far surpassing anything in the Bible.


Except they're pretty much identical. Oh the Greeks had a Titan holding up the sky instead of a solid non-living firmament wow yeah HUGE difference there man.
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If you find yourself falling into madness -- dive. -Malkavian Clan Book 1st edition
We eat gods for breakfast. - Dr Egon Spengler
#40IvashankoPosted 1/2/2013 8:02:43 PM
I'm sure Zeus was a proper rapist and took care of the women he raped, and if he didn't well he had a good reason we just don't know it cause he works in mysterious ways.

Haha, I'm not sure if your knowledge of theology or mythology is more offensive.