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  1. #781
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    Quote Originally Posted by midgetradio View Post
    "Mundane name/location details..." As if to suggest wars between nations are mundane (e.g. Babylonians, Assyrians), kings, Herod the Great, Paul, the origin of a major world religion, the method by which it was spread, letters from its earliest adherents, etc. Plus also that there's a nation of Israel like right now.
    Honestly, reading through the history presented in the Bible tends to remind me of that M. Bison line from the Street Fighter movie. All of these traumatic events that the Israelites had to endure may have seemed monumental from their perspective, but for the conquering kings who seemed to walk right through their land quite casually, it was just another Tuesday and few found it noteworthy enough to record in their own histories. Now, far be it for me to deny the right of a small tribe caught between warring superpowers to write its own narrative and tell the story as they saw it, but is that history really significant enough to fill up a significant chunk of what is undoubtedly the most important book ever written?

    From a Jewish perspective this all makes sense, they never aspired to be a global religion and it's fitting that their holy book tells the story of their people. But from a Christian perspective this makes absolutely no sense, since even in the earliest days of Christianity most converts were drawn from those exact same groups of people that caused the Jews so much trouble in the past - Egyptians, Syrians, Greeks, Romans, etc. Those people must have had a great time reading about how their ancestors were wicked heathens who did nothing but cause pain and suffering for God's chosen people, people who conveniently chose NOT to accept salvation when it finally came. I mean, why did they even bother with the Old Testament at all, why didn't they just start writing a new holy book from scratch that would go something like:

    "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth, and then a bunch of stuff happened with some people that you probably don't really care about, cause to be honest they were pretty awful with all their raping and murdering and such and it would be a lot worse if it actually affected you or your ancestors in any way but it doesn't so we'll just leave that out and get to the good bits, because after a couple thousand years of pretty crappy existence where people didn't really know what they were doing, God sent his only begotten son, who was also God just so we can clear up any confusion regarding that and nip a potentially confusing debate in the bud, to die on the cross for your sins, so all you ungrateful bastards get a second chance so don't screw it up again okay, and if that's all well and good you are free to resume with your pork eating, working on Saturdays, and worshipping of graven images cause I mean putting up pictures of Jesus everywhere is pretty necessary if he's God, and all that aside just don't be dicks to each other and have faith in God and you'll live eternally, but not in the weird way where you start getting sick of being alive or your perception of time really speeds up or anything like that, and oh yeah don't be gay."

  2. #782
    Father Son Kamehameha < Kuwagaton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CSTowle View Post
    Second bolded- Interesting article, my favorite line: "Myths, however, do not need facts; they simply need supporters." Even if you take his interpretation that curses only last several generations (and plenty of christians throughout history did not, though for personal/financial reasons) it doesn't change the fact that the christian god not only approved of slavery and told slaves to behave as good slaves but actively cursed innocent folks (however many generations) to become slaves. Again I ask, how do you justify that?
    If you're talking about Ephesians or Colossians, you can't really tie it to advocating slavery if it's completely unlike slavery. "Masters, be just and fair to your slaves. Remember that you also have a Master--in heaven." is one translation of Colossians 4:1 . Ephsesians says "And masters, treat your slaves in the same way. Do not threaten them, since you know that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no favoritism with him." We see how this fits with Proverbs 24:17: "Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and let not your heart be glad when he stumbles" and Luke 6:27-28: "“But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you," as examples. These build the same case. The bible concedes the freedom of will and that unjust people who aren't with God, like Nero, Hitler, Stalin, Henry VIII, and most Americans with considerable influence throughout our history come into power, but that we shouldn't lose good character. Our lives aren't long at all. Of course we have the very early case of corruption being overthrown anyway, in Exodus. The bible doesn't say that we are not to strive for justice, just to understand that things in this life will drive people made equal and actually worthy of love and understanding to not be lovable at all. So then what happens, what do we show them?

    As for justification, first of all, it was Noah, not God. The reason people put bible citations, like in that piece, is because the point is actually bringing it back to what the bible says. Second, any time you have to say "but these people did it like this," that's on those people. In no parts of what I pointed out above do you see a reflection of American slavery, for example. Actually, you see closer to modern slavery, the corporate and financial slavery that we have in this country. The better parts of it, at least; there are tons of other kinds or servitude going on these days that are just as harsh as what hit a head maybe 70 years ago.

    Third/fourth bolded- Nope, not at all. I do find it horrifying when a child for example gets cancer and someone explains how it's "god's plan", but that's more on the moron saying/believing it than any magical being. What I listed, however, are things that are completely different. Not "why does he allow this to happen?" (that'd be passive, though the question there could be asked and has) but rather "why does he turn to mass murder as an answer when he gets angry?" And again, I'd ask how does one who follows this being justify it?
    Ah, "moron." You can't help yourself, lol. The point of mentioning God's plan in unfortunate events (and honestly people love to throw children in there but when it's so out of our hands, like cancer, I feel just as bad for the majority of adults) isn't trying to deny that they can be terribly taxing on every level. It's that lamenting that something isn't supposed to happen is useless, since it did happen. It's that lamenting at all really doesn't help anyone. You can't stop yourself from feeling bad if you've had a single atom's mass of compassion in the first place, but that in itself, feeling bad doesn't help. Do your best to help positive thinking (which has been a help in cases such as cancer on at least small levels) and be absolutely constructive in efforts, like seeking and paying for treatments. A son of a pastor I'm very close with just finished his leukemia treatments (also a series of surgeries) last year in a case where doctors initially said it was terminal. I feel for the doctors, as incredibly learned as they must be, they're only human.

    Fifth bolded- not proven? They're written in the bible, mostly in Leviticus and Deuteronomy, and deal with stoning people to death for various minor crimes like talking s##t about god or letting one type of cattle graze with another type. Absolute horse-s##t that even if you believe in a supernatural magical being in the sky must strike you as something hardly worth it's time to write down in a book and much more likely to have been thrown in to keep local tribal leaders happy and the peasants under control. If he truly does care about how many different types of cloth your shirt's made out of he's not only evil he's bat-s##t insane.
    Not proven meaning that just saying the name Leviticus does nothing to explain anything. I'm sure it's happened many times in this thread, too. "God is whatever I say. Why? Dude, Leviticus!" Leviticus what? You can point out how, say, Leviticus 20:10 mentions stoning adulterers. And again I bring you to John 8. The Christian bible is not complete without New Testament. There were many standards upheld in many cultures and all fell short. We still all fall short, according to Romans 3:23. The bible points to Jesus as savior because we can't defend ourselves absolutely. You can tell people that lying or committing adultery are wrong, and they will still do it. You can tell them, as hard or as easy as it may be to avoid, that there is a strict penalty, and people will still commit things that not only they believe to be wrong, but they believe will actually be met with the mentioned punishment of death. If they believe there is an all power being Who breathes stars, they will intentionally do things that piss him off. King David committed adultery and murdered the woman's husband. The power of will is to a fault. Humans do all sorts of cowardly, incompetent things no matter how hard we try. We will betray our own standards constantly by being capricious. What do you think would happen if our government told people to write out their own creeds?

    Similarly though, when someone volunteers at a homeless shelter or collects goods for the needy in the name of their religion I also don't credit the religion. I think those people would be doing that anyway, with or without their religions. Religion can shape what actions a person takes, but unless they have no will of their own they're generally going to act as they would.
    I have to tell you that I have done more volunteer work in the last 3 weeks than I had in the first 25 years of my life. That's the point of teaching; when you take something in voluntarily, and take it in constantly, it makes your mind more efficient in dealing with what you're trying to understand or do. I don't claim that someone has to be a Christian to do good, or that all "Christians" do good or that any human only does good, but it's at the core of the teaching and becomes a focus with conviction.

  3. #783
    Veteran Member CSTowle's Avatar
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    Just so I'm not misreading you, it seems like you're saying it's not slavery because god said to be kind to your slaves? And that the way modern corporations treat their employees is similar to or worse than ancient biblical slavery, so that somehow negates the slavery of the bible? Or at least makes it less awful somehow?

    I never said anything like "god is anything I say" or "dude, Leviticus". I said I think the people who wrote the bible thought god was what they wrote that he was, in the bible. And if one were to assume there was a god as described in that bible chances are he'd have more important things to worry about than some of the crazy laws included in that book, mostly things in Leviticus. I wasn't using Leviticus to justify my version of a god, I don't have a version. I think it's make-believe. If anything I was saying it was unlikely he wrote Leviticus, not that Leviticus justified any version of a god.

    As to individuals falling short of moral standards, nobody's arguing that. I'm arguing that if a god exists and he's anything similar to what he's written to be like in the bible he's not a good guy. If taken literally (nobody does, but if you did) probably the most evil creature in existence. But only if you accept hell as existing. Otherwise he's just a cosmic dictator, no better or worse than many humans that have existed over time (though with more power to abuse, obviously).

    As to anyone who believes their god needs a 4 year old so he gave him/her cancer to suck him back up to a magical other realm, I stand by my labeling them a moron. I see no need to help myself there. I also think the phrase "god works in mysterious ways" is another cop-out lazy runaround to avoid examining your beliefs for logical consistency.
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  4. #784
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    Paul told the slaves to be faithful to their masters and masters kind to their slaves to keep the peace. During those times, slavery is a way of repaying debts. But Paul also said that masters should be merciful and considerate to a slave if a slave leaves him (see Paul's letter to Philemon about Onesimus).

    Even in the Old Testament slaves are to be treated well and can leave their masters:

    Deuteronomy 23:15:
    If a slave has taken refuge with you, do not hand them over to their master. Let them live among you wherever they like and in whatever town they choose. Do not oppress them.

    In the more modern times, it was the Christians who worked to abolish slavery because of the belief that creatures created in the image of God should not be bought by money. It was the same doctrine that Rev. Martin Luther King held on to fight for equal rights.

  5. #785
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    Quote Originally Posted by CSTowle View Post
    As to anyone who believes their god needs a 4 year old so he gave him/her cancer to suck him back up to a magical other realm, I stand by my labeling them a moron. I see no need to help myself there. I also think the phrase "god works in mysterious ways" is another cop-out lazy runaround to avoid examining your beliefs for logical consistency.
    Well anyone who thinks he can understand the mind and will of the being who started off the Big Bang and set all the laws of the physical universe into place and creating the complexity of biological life, is arrogant, to say the least.

  6. #786
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    Quote Originally Posted by beetle_booster View Post
    Well anyone who thinks he can understand the mind and will of the being who started off the Big Bang and set all the laws of the physical universe into place and creating the complexity of biological life, is arrogant, to say the least.
    Any supposedly omnipotent, all-knowing, and not in the least, supposedly benevolent who is responsible for a creation that has that many evil crap in it really needs to get a whole lot better at those mysterious ways, or is just plain evil.

    He's omnipotent. He sup^posedly wrote the laws of nature. Biological life is as complex as he wants it to be.

  7. #787
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    Quote Originally Posted by beetle_booster View Post
    Paul told the slaves to be faithful to their masters and masters kind to their slaves to keep the peace. During those times, slavery is a way of repaying debts. But Paul also said that masters should be merciful and considerate to a slave if a slave leaves him (see Paul's letter to Philemon about Onesimus).

    Even in the Old Testament slaves are to be treated well and can leave their masters:

    Deuteronomy 23:15:
    If a slave has taken refuge with you, do not hand them over to their master. Let them live among you wherever they like and in whatever town they choose. Do not oppress them.

    In the more modern times, it was the Christians who worked to abolish slavery because of the belief that creatures created in the image of God should not be bought by money. It was the same doctrine that Rev. Martin Luther King held on to fight for equal rights.

    So slavery is all right with God if masters treat the slaves well? Thanks God.

    Exodus 21:20 ""If a man strikes his male or female servant with a stick and he or she dies as a direct result, the master must be punished."
    so it's okay to beat a slave, just don't kill him.

    And just as many Christians used the bible to defend slavery as oppose it. Just as they did with civil rights. Christians were on both sides and used the Bible for their arguments.

    http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2011/0...-abolitionism/

    Have you not noticed that it is Christians in this country that are opposed to equality for Gay people?

  8. #788
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carabas View Post
    Any supposedly omnipotent, all-knowing, and not in the least, supposedly benevolent who is responsible for a creation that has that many evil crap in it really needs to get a whole lot better at those mysterious ways, or is just plain evil.

    He's omnipotent. He sup^posedly wrote the laws of nature. Biological life is as complex as he wants it to be.
    So the sentient beings in that creation bear no responsibility for the evil? God created the planet but we made/chose this world to be what it is.

  9. #789
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    Quote Originally Posted by CliffHanger2 View Post
    So the sentient beings in that creation bear no responsibility for the evil? God created the planet but we made/chose this world to be what it is.
    Hey, we didn't create crap like Alzheimers and cancer.

  10. #790
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    Quote Originally Posted by edhopper View Post
    So slavery is all right with God if masters treat the slaves well? Thanks God.

    Exodus 21:20 ""If a man strikes his male or female servant with a stick and he or she dies as a direct result, the master must be punished."
    so it's okay to beat a slave, just don't kill him.

    And just as many Christians used the bible to defend slavery as oppose it. Just as they did with civil rights. Christians were on both sides and used the Bible for their arguments.

    http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2011/0...-abolitionism/

    Have you not noticed that it is Christians in this country that are opposed to equality for Gay people?
    some of them, yes. however, blaming Christianity for the continuance of homophobia is a flawed line of argument.

    it's not just Christians who have opposed homosexuality. Bertrand Russell, the famous author and atheist, was widely known as despising homosexuality. are we supposed to interpret that as meaning post-Darwinian and evolutionary thought should be seen as a natural enemy of homosexuality? no. in this case it just means that one prominent atheist was a homophobe.

    the ignorant strawman of Christianity = homophobia never seems to go away. yes, some adherents to Christianity are incredibly opposed to homosexuality. heck, I have family members that think it should be outlawed and believe that it's going to lead the death or our beloved nation (or some similar nonsense). but guess what? the larger number of tolerant Christians who are willing to live-and-let-live are never going to make the same sort of headlines.

    have you seen that bumper sticker "well behaved women rarely make history"? (that phrase was lifted from the book of a Mormon feminist scholar Laurel Thatcher Ulrich. she used that phrase to explain the difficulties she had in writing a book about Mormon housewives based on funeral sermons. sources were hard to come by! I can't imagine that all those people out there with their YOLO shirts and that quote on their bumper share the world view of Thatcher Ulrich. ;-)

    for every dozen religious practitioners that lives quietly and peaceably with others the one who refuse to do so and wants to make a name for themselves stand out all the more. the people who make the news are usually not the best people out there-- the Christians we read about in the news are usually not even very good Christians.

    over the years I don't really see the world in terms of "us against them". there's no long term profit in finding scapegoats for the ills of the world. it's just trying to distract people from a problem that can't be eliminated with another one that LOOKS like we can solve it. it's like when you're taking a test-- if you can't solve one question you move on to another that you can solve. we replace complex questions with simple questions in hopes of easing our struggle through life.

    this is how I've come to view cultural scapegoats. and you're implicitly making Christians the scapegoat over this issue of homosexuality and public acceptance.

    even if you were to punish a scapegoat (or eliminate them outright, as America essentially did with the Indians) the problems will continue to exist. it's not like Germany's problems got incrementally and noticeably smaller with every minority and Jew that Hitler murdered.

    and, of course, the cultural condemnation could go both ways. we oppose slavery but the ancient Israelites opposed lending on interest to fellow citizens. it was expressly forbidden to loan money on interest to another Israelite. how many people do you know that are slaves? how many people do you know who are burdened with crippling debts with interest piling up on top of that month after month, year after year? we hate slavery and they could live with it. they would consider credit cards with two-cycle billing to be appalling and inhumane and most people in our culture are okay with having more than one of them.

  11. #791
    Veteran Member CSTowle's Avatar
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    Christianity as homophobic isn't a strawman, and Christians aren't "cultural scapegoats", it's clearly in the book. You have prominent and vocal Christians like the deceased Falwell and Pat Robertson blaming hurricanes and earthquakes on boys kissing other boys. In my lifetime, not in the Bronze Age. Individual Christians can choose to ignore those laws, and increasingly are, as they do the bacon laws and coveting oxen and the like but it's clearly there and there's no interpretation or context that changes it.

    Also slavery and interest on debt should not really be used in any sort of moral equivalency argument. Nor should you ever find a reason to justify slavery, kind or paying of debts or "only for 3 or 4 generations" or any kind ever. Again, it's your book and I get that you feel the need to. I'd still say this is one of those I don't blame Christians for turning a blind eye. It's f##king horrifying.
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  12. #792
    Extraordinary Member Kirby101's Avatar
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    Totoro Man;
    Did not mean all or most Christians oppose Gay rights.
    But the fact is here and now, in this country, the overwhelming majority of those that do are Christain. And they oppose Gasy Rights because of their religion.
    That is the simple truth.

  13. #793
    Fantastic Member Red Wolf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by edhopper View Post
    Totoro Man;
    Did not mean all or most Christians oppose Gay rights.
    But the fact is here and now, in this country, the overwhelming majority of those that do are Christain. And they oppose Gasy Rights because of their religion.
    That is the simple truth.
    Muslims aren't big fans of the queer nation either. Christians and Muslims unified on one issue.

  14. #794
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    Quote Originally Posted by beetle_booster View Post
    Paul told the slaves to be faithful to their masters and masters kind to their slaves to keep the peace. During those times, slavery is a way of repaying debts. But Paul also said that masters should be merciful and considerate to a slave if a slave leaves him (see Paul's letter to Philemon about Onesimus).
    Let's be clear on this point, debt slavery wasn't some kind of social program meant to help people work off their debts, it was a system designed to lure people into debt and keep them there so that their creditors could have easy access to free labor. In practice debt bondage is usually a thinly veiled pretext to profit from slave labor with the built-in excuse that it doesn't qualify as true slavery since the workers aren't being owned as human chattel.

    To be fair, ancient Israel was not a slave society, but that was largely because they were not really in a position to engage in empire building and take in massive numbers of war captives. To some extent, the slave laws in the Bible seem almost like wishful thinking, like establishing a set of rules for a future time when the Israelites would have a giant empire and rule over slaves taken from a thousand nations.

  15. #795
    Veteran Member CSTowle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Redwolf View Post
    Muslims aren't big fans of the queer nation either. Christians and Muslims unified on one issue.
    Yeah, nobody's arguing Islam isn't as hardcore and then some on these issues as Christians. ISIS (though about as representative of Islam as the Westboro Baptist Church is of Christianity) is openly taking slaves and using their holy books to justify it. Same reason they throw acid in the faces of girls trying to learn to read or keep their women clad head to toe. It's just that most of those posting are in English speaking countries, which tend to also be Christian-majority countries. The religion we're most familiar with (and where most of us turned to atheism from) is Christianity.
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