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Teaching against Abortion in the Earliest Church [Ancient Jews/Christians Opposed Infanticide]
instonebrewer.com ^ | 2009 | David Instone-Brewer

Posted on 10/28/2012 4:25:31 PM PDT by SoFloFreeper

...When I was a medical student, I delivered 12 babies... - but I also had to learn about abortion. Fortunately I only had to witness one - I won’t describe it to you – it is sickening even in a clinical environment - later that day we accompanied the same consultant to an infertility clinic - I remember walking through a room full of sad-faced couples - any of them would have been overjoyed to take away the aborted baby

The term ‘abortion’ is a euphemism. Medically it refers to natural termination - about 1/10 foetuses have abnormalities which won’t survive birth - a few of these come to term, but most of them are aborted naturally - we call these ‘spontaneous’ abortions, now that we do medical abortions - and we usually use the passive “they are aborted”, or “terminated” - this helps us to believe that it really isn’t our choice. It just happens.

In the ancient world they used a similar kind of euphemism - instead of abortion (which was very dangerous) they used infanticide - but they didn’t speak about ‘killing’ babies – they said they were exposed - we have an example in Act.7.19 saying Pharoah forced babies “to be exposed” - but of course we know that Pharoah wanted them killed at birth - Miriam was breaking this command when she put Moses in a basket

Originally, in rural Greek & Roman society they did “expose” infants... - it was easier to quietly smother the baby at birth and throw out the corpse - some people did still leave babies on a hillside, leaving them to the ‘gods’ - but in practice this left them to the dogs, and to brothel keepers who sometimes rescued infants as an investment for their business.

(Excerpt) Read more at instonebrewer.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Israel; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: abortion; infanticide; judeochristian
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Other relevant links:

http://ourrabbijesus.com/2012/10/26/abortion-what-the-early-church-said/

http://www.etsjets.org/files/JETS-PDFs/52/52-2/JETS%2052-2%20301-321%20Instone-Brewer.pdf

1 posted on 10/28/2012 4:25:37 PM PDT by SoFloFreeper
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To: SoFloFreeper

The actual Hebrew text of Genesis 9:6 has always been understood by traditional Jews as prescribing a death sentence for abortion. English translations don’t really communicate this.


2 posted on 10/28/2012 4:36:26 PM PDT by jjotto ("Ya could look it up!")
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To: SoFloFreeper

 

Jews thought that this Roman custom was barbaric, and they said so

- Philo pulls no punches when he described what actually happened in practice: 

“Some of them do the deed with their own hands; with monstrous cruelty and barbarity they stifle and throttle the first breath which the infants draw or throw them into a river or into depths of the sea, after attaching some heavy substance to make them sink more quickly under its weight. Others take them to be exposed in some desert place, hoping, they themselves say, that they may be saved, but leaving them in actual truth to suffer the most distressing fate. For all the beasts that feed on human flesh visit the spot and feast unhindered on the infants; a fine banquet.”(Spec.3.114-5)

- Josephus contrasted Jewish & Roman cultures in Conta Apionem, incl: [2.202]

How does this specifically square with 1 Samuel 15:3? 

Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy all that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.’”

I am not referring to the Amalekite adults who might have been as barbaric as these scriptures mention, but the fact that the killing of the children and infants did not elucidate opposition or revulsion worthy enough to be recorded. In fact, care was taken to record the saving of the animals, which was the basis of the charge of disobedience for not carrying out the commandment to the full. A cultural opposition to killing infants, if it really did exist, would have caused the proponent to oppose the carrying out of the commandment.

3 posted on 10/28/2012 4:41:35 PM PDT by James C. Bennett (An Australian.)
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To: James C. Bennett

If God believed that infanticide were a blessing, why was he directing it’s use against his enemies?


4 posted on 10/28/2012 4:50:31 PM PDT by JCBreckenridge (Texas, Texas, Whisky)
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To: JCBreckenridge

Infants are enemies?


5 posted on 10/28/2012 4:56:51 PM PDT by James C. Bennett (An Australian.)
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To: JCBreckenridge

That part of the O.T. always has been troublesome to me...


6 posted on 10/28/2012 5:07:39 PM PDT by goat granny (.)
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To: goat granny; JCBreckenridge; James C. Bennett

While I agree it can be hard for us to understand did God not have Abraham go to Kill/Sacrifice his first born? Granted he stopped him but he knew it was going to be accomplished, yes he was older than an infant.

I look at this as obedience also but was there another reason God gave to didn’t he say they were contaminated and if they did not wipe them all out they would contaminated the Israelite’s.


7 posted on 10/28/2012 6:01:18 PM PDT by jafojeffsurf (urn to the Constitution)
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To: jafojeffsurf; Mrs. Don-o

Infants can be born “contaminated” that they must be put to death by the hands of men?


8 posted on 10/28/2012 8:15:03 PM PDT by James C. Bennett (An Australian.)
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To: James C. Bennett

The Amalekites attempted to kill the Jews when they were weak in the desert. Had they succeeded many of them would die. Now, if God was willing to punish the Amalekites as he did - what do you think is going to happen to the nations that attempted to exterminate the Jews in the Holocaust.

God made a promise to Israel that he would be their God - and they would be his people. Mess with Israel and you mess with God himself.


9 posted on 10/28/2012 8:21:10 PM PDT by JCBreckenridge (Texas, Texas, Whisky)
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To: jafojeffsurf

“understand did God not have Abraham go to Kill/Sacrifice his first born? Granted he stopped him but he knew it was going to be accomplished, yes he was older than an infant.”

Abraham had to understand that the blessing of his child was a blessing given to him by God. Not his own works. The child belonged to God and not to Abraham. It teaches us to have faith in God even when we don’t understand his commands. He is the one in control, not us.


10 posted on 10/28/2012 8:24:06 PM PDT by JCBreckenridge (Texas, Texas, Whisky)
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To: JCBreckenridge

Infants didn’t kill anyone.


11 posted on 10/28/2012 8:30:17 PM PDT by James C. Bennett (An Australian.)
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To: James C. Bennett

You a Christian James?


12 posted on 10/28/2012 8:41:00 PM PDT by JCBreckenridge (Texas, Texas, Whisky)
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To: James C. Bennett
If you read the Bible carefully, you will see that giants abounded in much of the land that the Israelites were to take over. Giants were not fully human, and they left unchecked would eventually pollute the whole human gene pool. The part man, part giant beings that would eventually cover the earth would not be eligible for salvation. Giants, according to the Bible do not, as all full human beings do, rise from the dead.

The Israelites would have no way of telling which babies, children, women or men, of the conquered cities, carried within them the race of the giants. The giants had to be wiped out to keep humanity eligible for salvation.

God is the only one who has the absolute right over life and death. God has the absolute right to convey to his servants whom He knows must live or die. The Israelites were acting under the direct command of God, therefore they were acting morally.

13 posted on 10/28/2012 10:45:41 PM PDT by Bellflower (The LORD is Holy, separated from all sin, perfect, righteous, high and lifted up.)
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To: Bellflower
If you read the Bible carefully, you will see that giants abounded in much of the land that the Israelites were to take over. Giants were not fully human, and they left unchecked would eventually pollute the whole human gene pool. The part man, part giant beings that would eventually cover the earth would not be eligible for salvation. Giants, according to the Bible do not, as all full human beings do, rise from the dead. The Israelites would have no way of telling which babies, children, women or men, of the conquered cities, carried within them the race of the giants. The giants had to be wiped out to keep humanity eligible for salvation. God is the only one who has the absolute right over life and death. God has the absolute right to convey to his servants whom He knows must live or die. The Israelites were acting under the direct command of God, therefore they were acting morally.

So, instead of stopping the genes by preventing conception, your god "knits them" in the monster-human hybrid's wombs, and forces men to crush the contaminated but innocent infants to death. Some "plan", huh?

14 posted on 10/28/2012 10:51:50 PM PDT by James C. Bennett (An Australian.)
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To: AdmSmith; AnonymousConservative; Berosus; bigheadfred; Bockscar; ColdOne; Convert from ECUSA; ...

Thanks SoFloFreeper.


15 posted on 10/29/2012 1:57:48 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: James C. Bennett

“Infants can be born “contaminated” that they must be put to death by the hands of men?”

If you are to believe the lesson was one of obedience then yes who knows Gods intent?

Were they or were they not told to kill everything and take nothing?


16 posted on 10/29/2012 4:33:19 AM PDT by jafojeffsurf (urn to the Constitution)
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To: jjotto; SoFloFreeper
"Whoever sheds the blood of [a human in a human], his blood shall be shed, for God made man in his own image."

I don't read Hebrew, but I was told that this is the correct translation for Genesis 9:6. It got a little off track when it came to be translated as [a man in a man], since in English, "man" is now used to designate "adult male", although the earlier usage as "man=human" can be seen in terms like "mankind".

The commandment was not to kill "a human in a human," i.e. an unborn child in his mother's womb. This is how the Talmud, specifically the Sanhedrin tractate, interpreted it.

17 posted on 10/29/2012 5:29:19 AM PDT by Mrs. Don-o (Stone cold sober, as a matter of fact.)
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To: James C. Bennett; jafojeffsurf
James, thank you for bringing up this most important subject of God-ordered genocide.

You may be familiar with the Sermon on the Mount, which is most prominently featured in the Gospel of Matthew (and alluded to in other Gospels) as the core of Jesus' moral teaching. The largest part of the Sermon on the Mount is the section called the "Six Antitheses" [Matt. 5:17–48] in which Jesus takes six portions of the Mosaic Law and calls on his followers to do otherwise (usually, more than the Law requires). He plainly indicates that they had misunderstood the Mosaic Law.

If you will take time to read this section of Matthew 5 (Link) you will see the contrast between His teaching and the false interpretations of the law found in Israelite history and probably stll held by most of Jesus' contemporaries.

He begins each of his "antitheses" with the preface "You have heard...", (שןמע אני), which in rabbinical practice is the formal rhetorical way to present one view and then introduce the opposite view as the only correct one. For example, 'You might deduce from this verse [Lev 19:18] that thou shalt love thy neighbor and hate thine enemy, but I say to you the only correct interpretation is, Love all men, even your enemies.'

Jesus' six antitheses are on:

As you can see, Jesus ---who is the ultimate and perfect Divine Revelation, expresssed in and by and through His own Person --- unmistakably states that the will of God is against murder (unjust killing), retaliation, and hatred. He calls, not only for abstaining from these practices, but for pro-actively going much further: ultimately, treating your enemy "as neighbor," and treating your neighbor "as yourself."

The Catholic Church does not teach pacifism, but makes a distinction between just and unjust killing: the just use of force must be limited and defensive, and can be employed, even lethally, only by those whose duty it is to defend the community against aggressors. Intentional killing of blameless persons is strictly forbidden.

How that works out in practice is still a very complicated question: but this indicates the assumptions that Christians must adopt.

18 posted on 10/29/2012 6:36:10 AM PDT by Mrs. Don-o ("In Christ we form one body, and each member belongs to all the others." Romans 12:5)
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To: jafojeffsurf

So if your god revealed itself to you personally, and asks you to kill your friend’s child by crushing its skull as a test of obedience, I take it that you will have no qualms in carrying the order out? Answer honestly.


19 posted on 10/29/2012 8:58:16 AM PDT by James C. Bennett (An Australian.)
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To: Mrs. Don-o

Mrs. Don-o, what then would the accurate interpretation of 1Samuel 15:3 be, if it is not a command to slaughter infants?


20 posted on 10/29/2012 9:04:06 AM PDT by James C. Bennett (An Australian.)
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To: James C. Bennett
God says more than a dozen times in the OT that He considers the shedding of innocent blood an abomination. He also forbids murder in the Decalogue. There's nothing ambiguous about it at all. So, what if Moses, Joshua, and others think God is telling them to shed innocent blood and murder women and children? You have to conclude that they are mistaken.

They didn't realize that; but then there's a whole lot they didn't realize, because God's revelation was gradual, and they grasped it partially and imperfectly, over a period of centuries.

The pattern can be seen in the "Six Antitheses". The OT law represents an advance which mitigates some evil in the ancient barbaric milieu; Jesus' later precept involves not an entire repudiation of the OT law, but a further advance in the same direction.

For instance:

Barbarism: Murder, esp. by a chieftain, tolerated. Jewish law: Thou shalt not commit murder. Christ: Don't even nurture the kind of wrath that motivates murder.

Barbarism: Dismiss one's wife at will. Jewish law: "You must give her a written bill of divorce (with reasons)." Christ: no divorce.

Barbarism: Use women sexually ad libitum. Jewish law: "No adultery." Christ: "Don't even look at someone with lust."

Pagan milieu: Unlimited revenge ("You put one of our guys in the hospital, we put one of you guys in the morgue.") Jewish: exact limitation of retribution (Eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth) --- Christ: no revenge.

Biblical history is very often at variance with God's law. Did God want the killing of babies by Moses, Joshua, David? I say "No" ---not on my own, but on the basis of Biblical precedent and Law (Decalogue), and especially on the basis of the true and perfect Law given by Christ.

Let's face it, I am neither a Jew nor a Protestant Fundamentalist. So I'm not stuck with Moses and Joshua's interpretation of God's will. I have Jesus. And Jesus Himself critiques Moses' interpretation, which he says was a concession to people's "hardness of heart."

In the Letter to the Hebrews (1:1 ff)---

"In the past God spoke to our ancestors
through the prophets
at many times and in various ways
but in these last days he has spoken to us
by his Son
whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory,
and the exact representation of his being,
sustaining all things by his powerful word."

And again (Hebrews 7):

"The former regulation is set aside
because it was weak and useless
(for the law made nothing perfect),
and a better hope is introduced,
by which we draw near to God."

And Hebrews 8:

"For if there had been nothing wrong
with that first covenant
no place would have been sought for another."

Everything which was imperfect in the OT, is perfected in the New. That's why I have no hesitation to say Moses and Joshua were mistaken in their interpretation of God's will, when they committed murder. They were wrong, and Jesus is right forever.

21 posted on 10/29/2012 11:18:03 AM PDT by Mrs. Don-o ("Let us commend ourselves, and one another, and our whole life, unto Christ Our God.)
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To: Mrs. Don-o

Thanks, Mrs. Don-o!

So, to condense the explanation, would it be accurate to conclude that 1 Samuel 15:3 (which the Bible records as divine commandment to kill the infants) is a corruption of the actual instruction, corrupted by the prophet who delivered it, and not really the will / command of God? If not, which part of this conclusion would be in error?


22 posted on 10/29/2012 10:37:05 PM PDT by James C. Bennett (An Australian.)
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To: James C. Bennett
That's something I could only guess about, and my guess is likely to be meandering as well as useless. I don't have much idea at all about the practicalities of Bronze-age field warfare and seige warfare, let alone the rise and fall of nations and the priestly and prophetic interpretation thereof.

But (scratching head) here goes:

Short version: I think it was a partially understood divine inspiration. Not directly "Forget what I said before about murder; murder is now OK," but rather "Do not be like the Gentile nations. Do not pursue war for wealth."

First of all, I think the authors of the OT were divinely-inspired to see their national history as Acts of God. This is not to say they were religious-chauvinistic self-glorifiers. Yes, sometimes they saw themselves as God's agents for uprooting evil regimes; but at other times they see themselves uprooted (over and over) as a punishment for *their* sins. They see the Assyrians, the Egyptians, the Babylonians and Persians as the "scourge of God" upon their *own* backs, paying them back for their evil and extirpating them from the land.

In this context, their prophets make little distinction between The Primary Cause (God) and the secondary causes. It's either "We're having our asses whipped because we're evil in His sight" or "the Canaanites are having their asses whipped because THEY are evil in His sight."

Second: I think they had a clear idea that they were not to become gold-chain-festooned, concubine-collecting looters like typical plunder-seeking warlords; nor were they to become a Slave-Empire like the Assyrians and Egyptians; nor were they to culturally assimilate with their neighbors (as they would through the customary practice of seizing captive women and thus siring cohorts of descendants who would be a permanent servile class of polytheists and idolators.) So then, what are your options if you're engaging in an existential war in which you will either be annihilated on the battlefield or you wlll prevail?

You must fight or be wiped out; and if you prevail, you are not to take plunder of goods or livestock or women or slaves. If you did the universally accepted thing, the expected thing, seizing wealth, you would surely pursue perverse incentives into more warfare: more plunder, more sheep and oxen, more slaves: a successful predator regime.

So the radical rejection of that kind of success, when you've won your battle, is to offer all the potential plunder (of goods and herds and humankind) as a total oblation to God. This severely deprives the warriors of any material incentive or reward for further warfare. As well, it underscores that these are Divine-Judgment Wars --- in other words, Miracle-Wars --- achieving not their personal or tribal or national wealth as successful fighting men, but the judgment of nations by the divine Judge.

In short: no looting, no slaves, none of the customary (and substantial) rewards of success. THis is a judgment on evil nations (the Canaanite armies) and that's all.

Does this really justify murder? Is murder better than slave-taking on a massive scale? No? (I want to say "No".) But what were their options? (Here's where I really wish I had a better understanding of ancient warfare.)

I mean: do they turn from the field of carnage to try some ind of democracy-in-our-time nation-building like the League of Nations after WWI? or the polices of Bush 43? Really? They're going to rebuild the Canaanite settlements, and then settle the Canaanite survivors in there? Build them some schools and dig them some wells?

Or: neither kill them nor re-settle them, but keep them captive permanently, without using their labor (that is to say: without enslaving them)? How does that work in a society with very low technology, very low productivity, where every man and woman and child must necessarily labor or starve?

I don't know. It's just my guess -- and this may be rubbish, but it's my best Mrs. Don-o Rubbish --- that their real option was: "Hey, Yehuda! Hey, Joshua! Let's become a fabulously successful predator-nation! Why not?"

And the prophetic word that came to them was: Not.

23 posted on 10/30/2012 6:26:01 AM PDT by Mrs. Don-o ("Let us commend ourselves, and one another, and our whole life, unto Christ Our God.)
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To: dennisw; Cachelot; Nix 2; veronica; Catspaw; knighthawk; Alouette; Optimist; weikel; Lent; GregB; ..
Middle East and terrorism, occasional political and Jewish issues Ping List. High Volume

If you’d like to be on or off, please FR mail me.

..................

24 posted on 10/30/2012 10:43:27 AM PDT by SJackson (none of this suggests there are hostile feelings for the US in Egypt, Victoria Nuland, State Dept)
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To: Mrs. Don-o
Thanks for your heartfelt reply, Mrs. Don-o, but the Bible seems to state nearly the opposite of what you implied it to hold as a stance. For instance:

Deuteronomy 21:10-14: "When thou goest forth to war against thine enemies, and the LORD thy God hath delivered them into thine hands, and thou hast taken them captive, And seest among the captives a beautiful woman, and hast a desire unto her, that thou wouldest have her to thy wife; Then thou shalt bring her home to thine house; and she shall shave her head, and pare her nails; And she shall put the raiment of her captivity from off her, and shall remain in thine house, and bewail her father and her mother a full month: and after that thou shalt go in unto her [i.e. rape her or engage in consensual sex], and be her husband, and she shall be thy wife. And it shall be, if thou have no delight in her, then thou shalt let her go whither she will; but thou shalt not sell her at all for money, thou shalt not make merchandise of her, because thou hast humbled her."

Deuteronomy 20:14: "But the women, and the little ones, and the cattle, and all that is in the city, even all the spoil thereof, shalt thou take unto thyself"

What is one to make of such verses? Are these the words of your god or not?

25 posted on 10/30/2012 10:27:34 PM PDT by James C. Bennett (An Australian.)
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To: James C. Bennett
No, this is not the eternal Law of God.

Such things are in the same category as Moses' allowance for divorce, which, as Jesus says, Moses permitted "because of their hardness of heart."

This can be seen all through the Old Testament, whose precepts are always gradual and partial, always needing correction from the New.

The Hebrew Scriptures often miserably demoralized and scandalized me, when I was reading them in a fundamentalist way, with an essentially static, ahistorical point of view.

But this was an error. Isolating single verses or even chapters is like snipping single frames out of a film: you can't see whether a guy is just inclining casually aslant, or if he's exerting himself as hard as he can against the countervailing winds of Superstorm Sandy.

The Hebrews in Deuteronomy, so lately slaves living the most debased sort of existence in the forced-labor camps of Egypt, are being nudged--- barbarian people -- over a course of lifetimes and centuries, towards a gradual but splendid culmination: the revelation of the Son of God.

Here's how St. Paul, the mentor of St. Timothy, warns this half-Jewish half-Greek disciple against misinterpreting Scripture:

(1 Tim 1)

The end at which our warning aims,
is charity, based on purity of heart,
on a good conscience and a sincere faith.

There are some who have missed this mark,
branching off into vain speculations,
who now claim to be expounding 'the law',
without understanding the meaning of their own words,
or the subject on which they pronounce so positively.

The law?
It is an excellent thing,
where it is applied legitimately;
but it must be remembered that
the law is not meant for those who live innocent lives.

It is meant for the lawless and the refractory;
for the godless and the sinner,
the unholy and the profane;
for those who lay violent hands on father or mother,
for murderers,
for those who commit fornication or sin against nature,
the slave-dealer, the liar, the perjurer.

All this and much else
is the very opposite of the sound doctrine,
contained in the gospel I have been entrusted with,
that tells us of the blessed God and his glory.

In other words, these commands and laws were meant to restrain, in stages and by degrees, the evils which were absolutely endemic in barbarian societies. They were used to slave-dealing, fornication, murder. If men were used to torture traitors to death, the command would be to kill, not torture; if they were used to maim a thieving slave by amputation,the command would be to flog but not maim. A captive woman might become a wife, but not a chattel; if this should prove unsatisfactory, the man can free her but not sell her.

Anyone will have major comprehension problems if he pries the Bible apart from the Church. because the Bible is not a manual of systematic morality. It is often not moral, and systematic? -- not even close. No one can read it intelligibly outside of the "Principle of the Whole" (=cata holos,, i.e., its Catholicity) by which the Scripture is rightly interpreted by the whole of Revelation, which is not a "what" but a "who": Jesus Christ Our Lord.

Law is not a magic spell, a formula of words which always "works". In each instance, one must carefully discern its voice, magnitude and direction. Law is not a point, it's a vector, a directed line segment, pointed, aimed at a goal. To read it intelligently, read it as directional, as in motion, as in the Church, God's arrow though time.

26 posted on 10/31/2012 10:17:18 AM PDT by Mrs. Don-o (Christ lui-même est descendu et m’a prise.)
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To: James C. Bennett
Shoot. The diacritical marks don't show up right in the tagline. Let's see if this prints correctly:

Simone Weil: "Christ lui-même est descendu et m'a prise."

Christ Himself has come down and taken me.

27 posted on 10/31/2012 10:36:27 AM PDT by Mrs. Don-o (Christ lui-meme est descendu et m'a prise.)
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To: Mrs. Don-o

Mrs. Don-o, your entire justification rests on the foundation that changes to moral behaviour must be gradual, in stages, each stage generations and thousands of years apart, critically relying on the assumption that sudden, radical change is impossible.

What reasons have you accepted to convince yourself that such a scheme is the only way?


28 posted on 10/31/2012 12:06:22 PM PDT by James C. Bennett (An Australian.)
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To: James C. Bennett
"[You are] critically relying on the assumption that sudden, radical change is impossible. What reasons have you accepted to convince yourself that such a scheme is the only way?"

I am sorry, I have left the impression that I consider sudden, radical change "impossible," and gradual change "theonly way." This is not so..

If I were acting on the level of my own preferences and proclivities and writing a Bible, it wouldn't just be the "Good Book," it would be the "Nothing But Good Book," and it would be a hell of a lot shorter. I would go even further than Marcion, the 2nd century teacher who was plain-spokenly literalist, very much a moralist, and a heretic: he believed that Jewish Scriptures were the true and faithfully written revelations of a god, but that this god was evil and opposed to the Good God revealed in the New Testament.

Marcion accepted only the Gospel of Luke (who happens to be my favorite, too) and I think 10 Epistles,and rejected the entire Old Testament and anything that was distasteful to him in the New.

As I say, if I were going according to my preferences, that would be it! But I'd be wrong.

Actually, I say that OT revelation is gradual, not because it "has" to be, but just because that's the way it is. I would make short shrift of barbarism, but God did not make short shrift of barbarism.

I think sudden and radical revelations are possible, simply on the principle that "that which happens, is possible."

The revelation of God as the Source of All Being, the YHWH, made to Moses via his burning bush experience, was radical and sudden. It certainly cut across all the polytheism of all sensible people both great and small: the Egyptians --- in whose royal and highly-advanced academies Moses was educated --- the Babylonians, and all the rest. believed in many gods. Moses' sudden new doctrine --- that which was stunningly revealed to him --- made the Hebrews almost atheists in the ancient context: they dis-believed in a thousand gods; they believed but One; and what might His name be? They wouldn't say!

And the Incarnation of Our Lord in the womb of the Virgin was sudden and radical. No one could have thought it; without hands-on proof, most couldn't accept it, not even Jesus' right-hand men.

As was His Gospel sudden and radical. After all, humankind (spoken for by Caiaphas and Pilate, Church and State so to speak) didn't crucify Him because He said things that went down easy.

So yeah, there can be gradual, and there can be sudden. I can't say why. I'm not explaining, I'm just reporting.

29 posted on 10/31/2012 1:49:14 PM PDT by Mrs. Don-o ("Christ lui-meme est descendu et m'a prise." -- Simone Weil)
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To: Mrs. Don-o
Well, I find a god that commands evil, genocide and slaughter of babies and infants, and slave-keeping / bride-robbing, to be evil by principle - and all of these are activities encouraged, even if temporarily, by the god you chose for yourself. Even if the commandments were for a particular period, particular people, for a particular context, morality is not an absolute with this god, and wavers to accommodate certain petty whims whilst dealing an iron fist onto other petty whims.

The point you made regarding gradual “refinement”, of coaxing savages to civilised societies gradually by eliminating barbarism one vile commandment at a time, is honestly repulsive and contradictory to the essential nature of a true god (which could never indulge / promote / sanction evil and which could never contradict itself over time).

It is a gigantic leap of faith to accept a god with such qualities as a true god, and a decision which my conscience will never permit me to make in a similar fashion.

Thanks for your views, and your participation. I will continue to discuss such matters with you in the future, if you want to.

I found this today, I felt you may find it interesting:

 

DEVOTION  AND ITS EFFECTS
 

Bhagavad-Gita, Ch: IX, V. 26

 

patram pushpam phalam toyam yo me bhaktyaa prayacchati
    tadaham bhaktyupahritamashnaami prayataatmanah // 9.26 //
 

Whoever offers Me with  devotion and a pure mind, a leaf, a flower, a fruit or a little water - that I  accept (the devout gift of the pure minded).
 

A gift, however small, is  accepted by The Lord when it is offered with profound faith and devotion. He is  satisfied even with a leaf, a flower, a fruit or a little water when it is  offered with single-minded devotion and pure heart. What is offered is not as  important as how it is offered. Although all the objects of the world belong to  Him only and not to the devotee, yet if they are offered to Him by a devotee  they become the conveyors of the latter's love and dedication unto The Lord.
 

Therefore the offerings serve  their purpose only if they are accompanied by (a) devotion and (b) pure mind  and heart. If these qualities are absent they are mere economic waste, vanity  and false belief breeding superstition. On the other hand, if properly done,  they are the means of transport in the spiritual path of self-development.
 

The way to the Highest is not by  way of subtle metaphysics or complicated ritual. It is by sheer self-giving,  which is symbolized by the offer of a leaf, a flower, a fruit or water. 
 

WHY  AT ALL THE LORD REQUIRES OFFERING FROM A SEEKER?
 

yatkaroshi yadashnaasi yajjuhoshi dadaasi yat
    yattapasyasi kaunteya tatkurushva madarpanam // 9.27 //
 

Whatever you do, whatever you  eat, whatever you offer in sacrifice, whatever you give away, whatever you practice  as austerity, O Kaunteya, do it as an offering to Me.
 

This verse explains how through  all activities of life one can constantly live in the spirit of `devout  offering' unto the Supreme. It is repeatedly said in the Gita that mental  attitude is of utmost importance than the mere physical act and this fact is  generally overlooked by the seekers.
 

The Lord being the creator and  sustainer of all objects needs nothing from anybody. All that is required by  Him is the devotion expressed through the spirit of offering. Sri Krishna therefore  says that even simple common tasks of daily life like what we eat, what we  offer in sacrifices, what we give as gifts and what we practice as austerity,  can be done as a sacred offering unto the Eternal and thereby a constant  remembrance of the Supreme can be maintained although undergoing the vagaries  of life.
 

When all the activities of life  are performed with a spirit of offering, not only our love to the Supreme  increases in us but also our entire life becomes sanctified with a nobler and  diviner focus. A devotee who constantly remembers the Substratum behind  everything in life can give to life the respect and reverence that it deserves  and in turn the life bestows its rewards on him. Love of God is not an escape  from harshness of life but a dedication for service. Karma Yoga or the way  of works which starts with the duty of performance of prescribed rites  concludes with the position that all tasks are sanctified when done with  disinterestedness and dedication.
 

The message is when all actions  are consecrated unto Him with disinterestedness and dedication they become  sanctified by which one is freed from the bondage of Karma with no re-birth to  him. The individual becomes one with the Cosmic Will.
 

It is appropriate to quote here a  verse from Adi Sankara’s “Siva Manasa Pooja” which reads:
 

Aatmaa tvam girijaa matih sahacharaah praanaah shariiram griham |
    Poojaa te vishhayopabhogarachanaa nidraa samaadhisthitih |
    Sajnchaarah padayoh pradakshinavidhih stotraani sarvaagiro |
    Yadyat karma karomi tat tad akhilam shambho tavaaraadhanam||
    
  You are my self, Parvati is my  understanding. My five praanaas are your attendants. My body is your  house, and all the pleasures of my senses are objects to use for your worship.  My sleep is your state of samaadhii. Wherever I walk I am walking around  you (pradakshina), everything I say is a prayer in praise of you. Whatever  act is done by me, every one of them, O Lord, is worship unto You.
 

Dedication of all our activities to the Supreme is the corner-stone for  spiritual awakening.

30 posted on 10/31/2012 10:46:25 PM PDT by James C. Bennett (An Australian.)
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To: James C. Bennett
Who were the Amalekites? Christ said fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear Him Which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. (Matthew 10:28)

It does seem truly strange that believers in the theory of evolution, ‘survival of the fittest’ would selectively pick out I Samuel 15:3 as their rationale for disdain and repulsion of the Creator. God created all souls, even the souls of the Amalekites and He has not yet destroyed their souls. One must need to begin in the beginning Genesis 1:1 wherein the Creator elected Moses to lay out a chronology of events covering a vast amount of time to inform His creation His plan.

Christ was described in the first prophecy along with that first rebel. That first rebel was symbolically called the tree of the knowledge of good and evil before the Adam was ever formed. Moses does not go into detail of what caused that first rebel to be called the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. But it most certainly indicates that evil existed before any soul was placed in a flesh body.

Planted in other places we are given more details as to why the need for this flesh age. There is only one entity named that has already been judged to hell, the devil, the serpent, that tree of the knowledge of good and evil. There is a number given of his adherents that refused to be born of woman in flesh that have also been judged death.

Genesis to the Gospel is the story of the Adam and his progeny tracing the lineage to Christ, and all the other peoples this family came into contact with up to the conception of Christ. For Christ to be who God said He would be, God with us, only God could protect that blood line from the wiles of that first rebel.

Interesting that before I Samuel 15:3 happened you ignore the decree of that Pharaoh of having all the males babes killed. You sure do go the extra mile against God while ignoring that He created your very soul and someday yet future every soul He created will get to have a one on one accounting for their actions and/or inaction. But quite unlike say our seat of judgment in this flesh USA, God is perfect in His judgment, as only He knows the purity of heart and mind of ignorance.

31 posted on 10/31/2012 11:39:29 PM PDT by Just mythoughts (Please help Todd Akin defeat Claire and the GOP-e send money!!!!!)
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To: Just mythoughts

The infants were ordered to be slaughtered by your god. It asks humans to perform this act of mass murder. Why did your god “knit in the womb” that which it wanted destroyed by humans? And if this god is also Jesus, some “great plan” it had for those infants’ stomped-out short lives, eh? Not a sentence in the Bible to address this immense moral conundrum, almost expecting the addresses population to accept it at face value, as if it were nothing. And if this is the standard of evil your god chooses to associate itself with, then how did you make a choice between such a god, instead of, say, Allah?

It’s laughable how jealous, uncompromising and arrogant your god can be at times, while allowing perfidious evil at other times because it suddenly realises the “hardness” of human hearts. Your god’s principles and “absolutes” waver like the seasonal sea winds. A true god would not be able to contradict itself the way the OT god and Jesus do, with each other, as well as with each’s self, and it doesn’t take plenty of mental gymnastics to not see this. If you are honest with your conscience, you are aware of it. Even Mrs. Don-o admits the difficulty she had about the problem.

A god, due to stringent definitional qualities, will have to be held to a higher standard than mere pharoahs. A god simply cannot do a single wrong or condone a single act of evil without contradicting and therefore nullifying itself. Do you realise this?

Oh, and by the way, evolution is the undeniable truth, buttressed by evidence with each fossil find, and the basis of whose truth is used in biology, medicine and agriculture by millions, and ultimately benefitted by billions. The more you oppose accepting it, the harder you make it for yourself to contend with the growing evidence. The Catholic Church realised this, and so will you be forced to, likewise.


32 posted on 11/01/2012 7:42:24 AM PDT by James C. Bennett (An Australian.)
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To: Just mythoughts

addresses = addressed

doesn’t = does

Autocorrect isn’t always effective.


33 posted on 11/01/2012 7:47:02 AM PDT by James C. Bennett (An Australian.)
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To: James C. Bennett; little jeremiah; Just mythoughts
(I am pinging little jeremiah to this comment too. LJ, as a Hindu will have some good insights here.)

I appreciate the beauty and spiritual relevance of the Bhagavad-Gita, with its many elements of truth and goodness.

Two points: first, the relevance of warfare in sacred writings like the Gita, and second, the mode of interpretation of the Bible: is it, essentially, a moral manual, or is it a true record of the unfolding of incarnational revelation?

My take on the Gita relies heavily on Gandhi and also on Eknath Easwaran. As I understand it, the Gita --- from which you derive inspiring excerpts --- is a “Poem of Force” comparable in some respects to the Iliad /Odyssey epic or the Talmud. In what way is it moral? How does it “get around” or “through” its inspired war imagery?

In the Gita, Arjuna, realizing that his enemies are his own relatives, beloved friends, and revered teachers, turns for advice to his charioteer/guide, Krishna, who tells him his duty is the protection of the pious and the destruction of the impious. Krishna displays his Vishvarupa (Universal Form) to Arjuna on the battlefield, a splendid Being facing in every direction at once and brandishing every implement of bloodshed (swords, axes, arrows, daggers, lances). He summons Arjuna to do his duty as a warrior.

Is all this a glorification of war? It apparently depends upon interpretation by the devout mind, and not by the ignorance-filled mind. Faith and total surrender to a chosen God (Ishta-deva) are considered to be important aspects of warfare interpreted in a spiritualized sense. It’s Bhakti yoga -- devotional service with no thought of personal reward, a total oblation to God alone. Like (I daresay) the annihilation of a Canaanite town in Deuteronomy.

This is beautifully rendered in the selected texts you quoted to me, but it doesn’t resolve the question of killing in warfare.

You look at wars in Deuteronomy and Judges, etc, as literal, outside of the interpretive context of some 60 other books of the Bible and ignoring the three solid senses of Scripture beyond the literal: the analogical, the moral, and the anagogical. At the same time, you are willing to take the devotional bhakti-aspects from the Gita as a kind of unalloyed moral teahing, easily ignoring the explicit war and battle context.

This seems to me a truncated and tendentious reading doing justice neither to the Gita nor to the Bible.

Now turn to the Bible. Saying there’s “not a sentence in the Bible to address this immense moral conundrum,” is like being indignant about a forest because it has not a tree to be seen. It failing to engage with the vast hermeneutic of commentary provided by the whole rest of the Bible.

Some key points:

Not worthy. Got that? And then, who ends up building the Temple? Hold on. Oh! Those names.... they sound ....familiar. They weren’t genocided? Oh! AND they built Solomon’s Temple? What is going on?

And then later Jesus says that God dwells in a Temple not made by hands?

“There’s a contradiction here,” says James C. Bennett.

You don’t say??!

This announcement that one has discovered the bleedin’ obvious almost leaves me gaping. It’s so far off it’s not even wrong. It's (as Mark Shea says) like watching some sophomore burst into a chat room discussion on relativity among quantum physicists in order to say, "If you're so smart, then how can light be a particle and a wave at the same time. Huh? Huh? Isn’t that some kind of contradiction? Why don't you learn some real science? When are you going to admit you don’t know a thing about non-contradictory logical thinking? Huh?”

Did you notice that the Catholic Church has been pursuing a kind of Unified Field Theory of Ethics, a hermeneutic cognizant of history, philosophy, Divine and Natural law, for, like, 20 centuries now?

And that we’re not “Sola Scriptura” believers, “verbal inerrancy” supporters or Fundamentalists? (I notice that skeptics tend to have the most fun arguing with fundies, strangely... maybe not so strangely ...beinst y'all have the same presuppositions about how "a deity" is "supposed" to communicate and how Scripture is "supposed" to work.)

Are you gratified to know that our Councils and Catechisms teach that the intentional killing of an innocent human being under any circumstances (whether under medical or military auspices, whether by abortion or infanticide or counter-city bombing or genocide,) is a “crime against God and humanity” which is unequivocally condemned?

Yes? Well, good. I’m gratified, too. Let’s shake hands.

Welcome to the chat room.

34 posted on 11/01/2012 11:36:55 AM PDT by Mrs. Don-o ("Christ lui-meme est descendu et m'a prise." -- Simone Weil)
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To: James C. Bennett
The infants were ordered to be slaughtered by your god. It asks humans to perform this act of mass murder. Why did your god “knit in the womb” that which it wanted destroyed by humans? And if this god is also Jesus, some “great plan” it had for those infants’ stomped-out short lives, eh? Not a sentence in the Bible to address this immense moral conundrum, almost expecting the addresses population to accept it at face value, as if it were nothing. And if this is the standard of evil your god chooses to associate itself with, then how did you make a choice between such a god, instead of, say, Allah?

This is like having a conversation regarding 'toe'. The pretense of that supposed claimed hot steaming pot of primordial soup that never existed. But always referenced as the origin of life. So here is what God has to say. He created all souls long before this flesh age. It is call the 'age' that was, by Peter. Other writers reference this time period where in all souls/spirit intellect existed, but not in flesh bodies. At some point during this 'age' that was Lucifer who reached the level of the anointed cherub that covereth the mercy seat, was perfect in his ways and beauty stopped loving the Creator. Lucifer fell in love with himself and decided he would be god and drew with him a third of the sons of God.

As result he, Lucifer, Satan, the devil, the serpent, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, the accuser, the destroyer, all 'names' he was called to identify his method of operation, (plus many more) was judged to death.

But rather than sentence any soul/spirit to death that followed the first rebel, that heaven/earth age was destroyed. Hence no more dinos, etc., but their remains were left to give evidence there was an 'age' that 'was'. The Genesis account of 'creation' is the cleaning up of this earth to make it habitable for this present earth age, as Peter calls it the 'world' (age) that is 'now'. Genesis 1 describes the creation of multiple peoples in flesh bodies and even describes their responsibilities/dominion of this earth.

Peter says that God keeps time that one day is as a thousand years and a thousand years is as one day. So each day of creation would account for a thousand years. Quite a clean up after the first rebel was cast down. We in this age have not personally witnessed a supernatural war yet.

The Adam was not formed until the 8th day, 2-3 thousand years depending on which part of the thousand year time frame the creation took place.

Now there were some that did not follow the first rebel when he rebelled. They are the 'elect' and they earned in that first heaven/earth 'age' their justification and were chosen to perform specific duties by the Creator. We can know who some of them are by who penned the WORD. We can also know the mindset of those that carried their rebellious nature with them in this present age. BUT, what no person can know or JUDGE is the standing of any of God's children when all is said and done.

It’s laughable how jealous, uncompromising and arrogant your god can be at times, while allowing perfidious evil at other times because it suddenly realises the “hardness” of human hearts. Your god’s principles and “absolutes” waver like the seasonal sea winds. A true god would not be able to contradict itself the way the OT god and Jesus do, with each other, as well as with each’s self, and it doesn’t take plenty of mental gymnastics to not see this. If you are honest with your conscience, you are aware of it. Even Mrs. Don-o admits the difficulty she had about the problem.

A bit of a refresher here Exodus 20:5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them; for I the LORD thy God am a jealous GOD, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and forth generation of them that *hate* Me;

6 And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that *love* Me, and keep My commandments.

It is not like the peoples have not been warned.

Hebrews 2:14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same; that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;

You obviously have not read all of the WORDS of Christ, because Christ was right there in the Garden of God called the tree of life. And right there allowed in the midst of the Garden was the first rebel, called the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Ah, when the peoples were warned, even in the heaven/earth world (age) that was, and rather than literally destroying their very existence then and there God gave opportunity for each and every soul/spirit to come through this flesh age. That is the first requirement to see the kingdom of God. And not all of the sons of God took that opportunity, some of them came and cohabited with the daughters of the Adam and produced hybrid giants. Hence the flood of Noah. Obviously there was a second influx that produced the Amalekites, and God was not going to allow that already preplanned blood line to Christ get polluted.

A god, due to stringent definitional qualities, will have to be held to a higher standard than mere pharoahs. A god simply cannot do a single wrong or condone a single act of evil without contradicting and therefore nullifying itself. Do you realise this?

I would say given your ridicule of Him and you still have the gift of breathing demonstrates a far greater love for you than you for Him.

Oh, and by the way, evolution is the undeniable truth, buttressed by evidence with each fossil find, and the basis of whose truth is used in biology, medicine and agriculture by millions, and ultimately benefitted by billions. The more you oppose accepting it, the harder you make it for yourself to contend with the growing evidence. The Catholic Church realised this, and so will you be forced to, likewise.

A load of donkey dung. There is absolutely NO evidence of the hot steamy pot of primordial pond scum and without it there is NO such thing as evolution they way it is manufactured. And you are itching about the Creator removing a peoples from His real estate promised to His peoples because they loved Him, and you have the audacity to tell me I will be forced to 'believe' evolution. You have no clue the level of ignorance you promote.

35 posted on 11/01/2012 12:50:24 PM PDT by Just mythoughts (Please help Todd Akin defeat Claire and the GOP-e send money!!!!!)
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To: Mrs. Don-o

Thank you so much for the ping and your beautiful comments. I will reply later.

Gigantic hug.


36 posted on 11/01/2012 1:40:29 PM PDT by little jeremiah (Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point. CSLewis)
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To: James C. Bennett
Dear James,

I just want to apologize if my tone has been condescending or high-handed, or if my replies have not addressed the points you are most interested in.

Sometimes I write too quickly --- maybe you're rolling your eyes, because I do go on and on -- but the fact is, I do hit SEND before I do a tone-check and then sometimes I offend people through sheer inadvertence.

Please forgive me if any of this has been aggravating to you because of my polemical twists & quirks.

I do know the moral indignation you feel, because I have been struggling -- flailing about with it, actually -- for decades. We may be kindred spirits after all.

Give me a "Hey there" back?

Mrs. Don-o

37 posted on 11/03/2012 2:10:32 PM PDT by Mrs. Don-o (Stone cold sober, as a matter of fact.)
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To: Mrs. Don-o
In the Gita, Arjuna, realizing that his enemies are his own relatives, beloved friends, and revered teachers, turns for advice to his charioteer/guide, Krishna, who tells him his duty is the protection of the pious and the destruction of the impious. Krishna displays his Vishvarupa (Universal Form) to Arjuna on the battlefield, a splendid Being facing in every direction at once and brandishing every implement of bloodshed (swords, axes, arrows, daggers, lances). He summons Arjuna to do his duty as a warrior.

Is all this a glorification of war? It apparently depends upon interpretation by the devout mind, and not by the ignorance-filled mind. Faith and total surrender to a chosen God (Ishta-deva) are considered to be important aspects of warfare interpreted in a spiritualized sense. It’s Bhakti yoga -- devotional service with no thought of personal reward, a total oblation to God alone. Like (I daresay) the annihilation of a Canaanite town in Deuteronomy.

I found the thread! I will be back tomorrow....

38 posted on 11/03/2012 10:00:36 PM PDT by little jeremiah (Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point. CSLewis)
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To: Mrs. Don-o; Just mythoughts; little jeremiah
Hey there, Mrs. Don-o!

I am sorry for not responding earlier, but every once in a while, I take a weekend and a day off to travel deep into the country, far from civilisation, and all the associated amenities. I should have responded before leaving, but I didn't have an opportunity to do so. That said, please remember, nothing can offend me: Either I accept ideas and as true provided they are convincing enough, or I don't. There is neither shame, nor fear in rejecting that which is unbelievable. To do the contrary would be the the ultimate betrayal of one's conscience. So, why take any offence? Therefore, no tone check needed for any replies to me. Let your mind speak without inhibition.

That said, about the comment:

(I am pinging little jeremiah to this comment too. LJ, as a Hindu will have some good insights here.)

 

I appreciate the beauty and spiritual relevance of the Bhagavad-Gita, with its many elements of truth and goodness.

Two points: first, the relevance of warfare in sacred writings like the Gita, and second, the mode of interpretation of the Bible: is it, essentially, a moral manual, or is it a true record of the unfolding of incarnational revelation?

My take on the Gita relies heavily on Gandhi and also on Eknath Easwaran. As I understand it, the Gita --- from which you derive inspiring excerpts --- is a “Poem of Force” comparable in some respects to the Iliad /Odyssey epic or the Talmud. In what way is it moral? How does it “get around” or “through” its inspired war imagery?

In the Gita, Arjuna, realizing that his enemies are his own relatives, beloved friends, and revered teachers, turns for advice to his charioteer/guide, Krishna, who tells him his duty is the protection of the pious and the destruction of the impious. Krishna displays his Vishvarupa (Universal Form) to Arjuna on the battlefield, a splendid Being facing in every direction at once and brandishing every implement of bloodshed (swords, axes, arrows, daggers, lances). He summons Arjuna to do his duty as a warrior.

Is all this a glorification of war? It apparently depends upon interpretation by the devout mind, and not by the ignorance-filled mind. Faith and total surrender to a chosen God (Ishta-deva) are considered to be important aspects of warfare interpreted in a spiritualized sense. It’s Bhakti yoga -- devotional service with no thought of personal reward, a total oblation to God alone. Like (I daresay) the annihilation of a Canaanite town in Deuteronomy.

This is beautifully rendered in the selected texts you quoted to me, but it doesn’t resolve the question of killing in warfare.

Yes, the Gita does have Krishna advocating Arjuna to wage war against his own relatives, teachers and former friends, as part of his duty in life. However, many make the mistake (not directed at you, but could it be considered as an example of lying by omission?). The crux of the reason for Arjuna having been forced into fighting his own blood, his teachers and his former friends is that they chose to side with evil. Wouldn't the bigger lesson therefore be that those who side with evil must be opposed with no regard to whether they share special relations with you, rather than specific tribes, ethnicities and cultures, indiscriminately, as 1 Samuel 15:3 advocates? Mind you, warfare in the Mahabharata is conducted under specific conditions:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dharmayuddha
 

http://www.harekrsna.com/sun/features/12-08/features1216.htm

 

In the Mahabharata epic, which describes the Kurukshetra war, the two sides agree on the following rules:

 

Contrast this against crushing / slaughtering babies and infants (and animals belonging to that ethnicity), indiscriminately.

You look at wars in Deuteronomy and Judges, etc, as literal, outside of the interpretive context of some 60 other books of the Bible and ignoring the three solid senses of Scripture beyond the literal: the analogical, the moral, and the anagogical. At the same time, you are willing to take the devotional bhakti-aspects from the Gita as a kind of unalloyed moral teahing, easily ignoring the explicit war and battle context.

This seems to me a truncated and tendentious reading doing justice neither to the Gita nor to the Bible.

Having clarified the context regarding the Gita as to why Arjuna had to wage war against his kith and kin (who chose to side with evil), how can any "beyond the literal" interpretation of the Bible narratives justify slaughtering children and infants through the hand of man by the command of a supposed divine entity? What moral lesson is to be sought from this section? Mrs. Don-o, I am not doing any tact check for any of this, but I take it that you understand the mindset which is causing me to type this. You mentioned earlier how you would have had things in the Bible - the parts involving genocide - gone differently, were you in charge of the events. You said:

 I would make short shrift of barbarism, but God did not make short shrift of barbarism.

This admission is important in many respects. First, whose barbarism was it where the children and infants are ordered to be slaughtered? Second, why did men have to finish what this god created by way of conception? Wouldn't true divine will have avoided ordering men to kill infants by preventing their conception in the first place? Why is there the absence of any divine explanation as to why the children had to be killed? Wouldn't the ethical implication have been immense for a god to order babies to be chopped to pieces? No man can perform this act in a genocide scale and expect to come out psychologically intact. So, why the absence of any explanation of the "morality" in the particular command from this god?

Most importantly, you say you would have liked to have had the things been done differently. Isn't it plainly because you have your conscience finding a problem with the narrative? If your conscience is not permitting you to find the morality in these heinous orders, to the point that you would have preferred their complete absence in the narrative, it cannot mean anything other than an unresolved moral crisis, can it? Deep down, you do know these parts still trouble you. Otherwise, the moral validity (that you seem to believe that the commandments ordering the violence carry) would have been immense enough to not even have a shadow of doubt about their necessity by way of their presence in the Bible. Is there really any other logical explanation, Mrs. Don-o?

Now turn to the Bible. Saying there’s “not a sentence in the Bible to address this immense moral conundrum,” is like being indignant about a forest because it has not a tree to be seen. It failing to engage with the vast hermeneutic of commentary provided by the whole rest of the Bible.

Some key points:

 

Not worthy. Got that? And then, who ends up building the Temple? Hold on.

Oh! Those names.... they sound ....familiar. They weren’t genocided? Oh! AND they built Solomon’s Temple? What is going on?

And then later Jesus says that God dwells in a Temple not made by hands?

“There’s a contradiction here,” says James C. Bennett.

You don’t say??!

This announcement that one has discovered the bleedin’ obvious almost leaves me gaping. It’s so far off it’s not even wrong. It's (as Mark Shea says) like watching some sophomore burst into a chat room discussion on relativity among quantum physicists in order to say, "If you're so smart, then how can light be a particle and a wave at the same time. Huh? Huh? Isn’t that some kind of contradiction? Why don't you learn some real science? When are you going to admit you don’t know a thing about non-contradictory logical thinking? Huh?”

Again, what is the resolution to the contradiction? The physics analogy is not really comparable - the particle and wave natures do not contradict each other, unless each's contribution is abstracted for the convenience of manual calculation. In reality, you and I have associated "particle" and wave natures, but the latter is so negligible in our existential experiences that we do not consider them at all.

However, the moral contradiction vis-a-vis 1 Samuel 15:3 and the NT is wide enough to be irreconcilable.

Did you notice that the Catholic Church has been pursuing a kind of Unified Field Theory of Ethics, a hermeneutic cognizant of history, philosophy, Divine and Natural law, for, like, 20 centuries now?

And that we’re not “Sola Scriptura” believers, “verbal inerrancy” supporters or Fundamentalists? (I notice that skeptics tend to have the most fun arguing with fundies, strangely... maybe not so strangely ...beinst y'all have the same presuppositions about how "a deity" is "supposed" to communicate and how Scripture is "supposed" to work.)

Are you gratified to know that our Councils and Catechisms teach that the intentional killing of an innocent human being under any circumstances (whether under medical or military auspices, whether by abortion or infanticide or counter-city bombing or genocide,) is a “crime against God and humanity” which is unequivocally condemned?

Yes? Well, good. I’m gratified, too. Let’s shake hands.

Welcome to the chat room.

No hesitation in shaking hands, but 20 centuries of work ought to have produced something to account for the problems I mentioned in the sentences before. Any proper justification for the presence of that vile "divine" commandment would suffice.


   The Bhagavad-Gita.
The Harvard Classics. 1909–14.

Chapter VIII


ARJUNA:

WHO is that BRAHMA? What that Soul of Souls,
The ADHYATMAN? What, Thou Best of All!
Thy work, the KARMA? Tell me what it is
Thou namest ADHIBHUTA? What again
Means ADHIDAIVA? Yea, and how it comes
Thou canst be ADHIYAJNA in thy flesh?
Slayer of Madhu! Further, make me know
How good men find thee in the hour of death?

KRISHNA:

I BRAHMA am! the One Eternal God,
And ADHYATMAN is My Being’s name, 
The Soul of Souls! What goeth forth from Me,
Causing all life to live, is KARMA called:
And, Manifested in divided forms,
I am the ADHIBHUTA, Lord of Lives;
And ADHIDAIVA, Lord of all the Gods, 
Because I am PURUSHA, who begets.
And ADHIYAJNA, Lord of Sacrifice,
I—speaking with thee in this body here—
Am, thou embodied one! (for all the shrines
Flame unto Me!) And, at the hour of death, 
He that hath meditated Me alone,
In putting off his flesh, comes forth to Me,
Enters into My Being—doubt thou not!
But, if he meditated otherwise
At hour of death, in putting off the flesh, 
He goes to what he looked for, Kunti’s Son!
Because the Soul is fashioned to its like.

Have Me, then, in thy heart always! and fight!
Thou too, when heart and mind are fixed on Me,
Shalt surely come to Me! All come who cleave 
With never-wavering will of firmest faith,
Owning none other Gods: all come to Me,
The Uttermost, Purusha, Holiest!

Whoso hath known Me, Lord of sage and singer,
Ancient of days; of all the Three Worlds Stay, 
Boundless,—but unto every atom Bringer
Of that which quickens it: whoso, I say,

Hath known My form, which passeth mortal knowing;
Seen my effulgence—which no eye hath seen—
Than the sun’s burning gold more brightly glowing, 
Dispering darkness,—unto him hath been

Right life! And, in the hour when life is ending,
With mind set fast and trustful piety,
Drawing still breath beneath calm brows unbending,
In happy peace that faithful one doth die,— 

In glad peace passeth to Purusha’s heaven,
The place which they who read the Vedas name
AKSHARAM, “Ultimate;” whereto have striven
Saints and ascetics—their road is the same.

That way—the highest way—goes he who shuts 
The gates of all his sense, locks desire
Safe in his heart, centres the vital airs
Upon his parting thought, steadfastly set;
And, murmuring OM, the sacred syllable—
Emblem of BRAHM—dies, meditating Me. 

For who, none other Gods regarding, looks
Ever to Me, easily am I gained
By such a Yôgi; and, attaining Me,
They fall not—those Mahatmas—back to birth,
To life, which is the place of pain, which ends, 
But take the way of utmost blessedness.

The worlds, Arjuna!—even Brahma’s world—
Roll back again from Death to Life’s unrest;
But they, O Kunti’s Son! that reach to Me,
Taste birth no more. If ye know Brahma’s Day 
Which is a thousand Yugas; if ye know
The thousand Yugas making Brahma’s Night,
Then know ye Day and Night as He doth know!
When that vast Dawn doth break, th’ Invisible
Is brought anew into the Visible; 
When that deep Night doth darken, all which is
Fades back again to Him Who sent it forth;
Yea! this vast company of living things—
Again and yet again produced—expires
At Brahma’s Nightfall; and, at Brahma’s Dawn,
Riseth, without its will, to life new-born.
But—higher, deeper, innermost—abides
Another Life, not like the life of sense,
Escaping sight, unchanging. This endures
When all created things have passed away: 
This is that Life named the Unmanifest,
The Infinite! the All! the Uttermost.
Thither arriving none return. That Life
Is Mine, and I am there! And, Prince! by faith
Which wanders not, there is a way to come 
Thither. I, the PURUSHA, I Who spread
The Universe around me—in Whom dwell
All living Things—may so be reached and seen! 

Richer than holy fruit on Vedas growing,
Greater than gifts, better than prayer or fast,
Such wisdom is! The Yôgi, this way knowing,
Comes to the Utmost Perfect Peace at last.

Here endeth Chapter VIII. of the Bhagavad-Gîtâ, entitled
“Aksharaparabrahmayôg,” or “The Book of
Religion by Devotion to the One Supreme God”.
 

-----------------------------

The concept of "heaven" in the Gita does not revolve around material-based "afterlives" based on glorified aspects of earthly life, but rather, a sort of spiritual union with Divinity, thus requiring no palatial homes, no guilded streets paved in gold, no endless jugs of wine, no celestial wives, none of these material complications. The question so arises: in the Christian narrative of the "afterlife", how does the reconciliation of free will and the ability to choose evil live together? In other words, what perfection does this level of existence have which was lacking in Adam and Eve? And why was this perfection absent when these two were "created"?

39 posted on 11/05/2012 11:18:27 PM PST by James C. Bennett (An Australian.)
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To: James C. Bennett; little jeremiah
Hello James,

Well, I haven’t enough knowledge to attempt an intelligent opinion on the Mahabharata, the Kurukshetra war, and any related matters. This is a possible avenue for my own further reading and learning.

I do have the impression --- and you must correct me if I'm wrong --- that the entire Mahabharata (inc. the Gita) is an allegory for the ethical and moral struggles of human life. Its intention is to be exalted moral teaching in an ideal, literary construction.

The words of Krishna, in particular, are presented as divine sayings in finished form, a theophany tout court.

This makes it quite different from the conquest of Canaan in the OT, which is not lofty epic poetry, and does not contain systematic moral law per se.

Notice the contrasting levels of development. Apparently the overlords, warriors and sages in the Mahabharata are the heirs of a millenia-long civilization. The people on both sides of this war share the same cultural attainments--- necessarily, since the kingdoms at war are all kin, with the same ancestors and the same teachers.

The Hebrews entering Canaan are at a much more primitive stage: one generation away from abject slavery in which they were deprived of all culture (cleaning the outhouses of Egypt, so to speak, or turning its windlasses like beasts), and thence to wander 40 years in the desert, where the original slave generation dies off altogether and the fugitive descendants are as good as feral, with only Moses to teach them the rudiments. They are not Vedic princes. They are at Square One of development as a society, one foot in dung, the other on the bottom rung.

If this is so, then the two texts must be evaluated differently. The Indic text is an exalted allegory and the fruit of a long civilization; the Hebrew one is the brute history of the most debased people on earth: a Sand Rat nation of fugitive slaves: slaves chosen (why?), chosen and saved by the One whose name they were forbidden to say. One foot in the dung, one in the Divine; rescued without necessarily wanting to be rescued: "Out of Egypt I called my Son."

I again emphasize that the words --- purportedly God's words --- commanding genocide have no context to establish this as systematic moral theology. The Bible itself doesn’t suggest that 's what it is. It contradicts the warning reiterated throughout the OT, that God abhors the shedding of innocent blood; it finds paradoxical re-evaluation in that the men who shed blood in this way are found unworthy in the end (Moses unworthy to cross the Jordan, David unworthy to build the Temple). Joshua is contrasted with someone immesurably better than Joshua, namely Jesus (their names are the same in Hebrew) in an extensive critique of the Old Testament in the NT Book of Hebews.

It’s a bigger message than you think.

Read discerningly. Is Mahabharata to be read as history? --- come on: 2 vast armies, 4 million in all, fighting to annihilation, without passion, and with impeccable sportsmanship? --- it’s not history, it's a spiritual allegory. And don’t read the Conquest of Canaan as if it were a graduate seminar on Ethics.

There is no question that the killing of the innocent is against moral law. What does that mean in terms of the Conquest of Canaan books? Did God command what He himself abjured as abominable?

My Catholic Study Bible says "The slaughter of the innocent has never been in conformity with God's will." The footnote goes on to suggest that Samuel misrepresents God (Footnote on 1 Sam 15:3, CSB).

One has to sort this carefully, because we are not Marcionites: the whole OT is not set aside by the New. Much, like the Decalogue, is plainly carried forward and affirmed by later texts. Some OT moral requirements are explicitly abrogated (such as when Jesus rendered all foods clean). Others are recast by Jesus Christ (e.g. Six Antitheses in the Gospel of Matthew.) Others simply disappear from sight and are never reaffirmed by later texts or the New Testament.

That last is the case with the Wars of the Ban: they are "boxed into" the Conquest of Canaan: they have no precedents and are not carried forward as legislation. It's just a brute fact: this is what they thought, and this is what they did.

Its role in the development of Doctrine? Affirmed on the level of allegory (deal thus with your own sins and vices: annihilate them) and repudiated at the level of moral doctrine. They are not models for us on the just use of force.

Keep in mind that the Development of Doctrine is something which God himself directs in the pages of the same Scripture. And in His Church. So for systematic moral theology, I direct you, as I direct my RCIA students, to the Catechism.

Now with handy Keyword Search feature.

Your thoughts?

40 posted on 11/06/2012 3:44:58 PM PST by Mrs. Don-o (What does the Lord require of you but to act justly, to love tenderly, to walk humbly with your God.)
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To: Mrs. Don-o
Hi Mrs. Don-o,

Sorry for the delay in responding:

 

Well, I haven’t enough knowledge to attempt an intelligent opinion on the Mahabharata, the Kurukshetra war, and any related matters. This is a possible avenue for my own further reading and learning.

I do have the impression --- and you must correct me if I'm wrong --- that the entire Mahabharata (inc. the Gita) is an allegory for the ethical and moral struggles of human life. Its intention is to be exalted moral teaching in an ideal, literary construction.

The words of Krishna, in particular, are presented as divine sayings in finished form, a theophany tout court.

This makes it quite different from the conquest of Canaan in the OT, which is not lofty epic poetry, and does not contain systematic moral law per se.

Notice the contrasting levels of development. Apparently the overlords, warriors and sages in the Mahabharata are the heirs of a millenia-long civilization. The people on both sides of this war share the same cultural attainments--- necessarily, since the kingdoms at war are all kin, with the same ancestors and the same teachers.

The Hebrews entering Canaan are at a much more primitive stage: one generation away from abject slavery in which they were deprived of all culture (cleaning the outhouses of Egypt, so to speak, or turning its windlasses like beasts), and thence to wander 40 years in the desert, where the original slave generation dies off altogether and the fugitive descendants are as good as feral, with only Moses to teach them the rudiments. They are not Vedic princes. They are at Square One of development as a society, one foot in dung, the other on the bottom rung. 

It's hard to imagine a large population moving together turning feral without a sudden phenomenon killing off all of the parent generation, especially considering the fact that the inter-generational spectrum (the variety in the ages of the population) could not have been sharp enough to cause all of the parent generation to die out nearly simultaneously to cause a generation without guidance to arise. Given that, what evidence exists in the form of verses or arguments to lead to the conclusion that they were utterly lawless? And if they were so, how could the "prophets" command obedience from those who carried out the "prophetic commands" (eg. 1 Saimuel 15:3, again.) A lot hangs on the assumption, and therefore naturally demands greater scrutiny.

 

If this is so, then the two texts must be evaluated differently. The Indic text is an exalted allegory and the fruit of a long civilization; the Hebrew one is the brute history of the most debased people on earth: a Sand Rat nation of fugitive slaves: slaves chosen (why?), chosen and saved by the One whose name they were forbidden to say. One foot in the dung, one in the Divine; rescued without necessarily wanting to be rescued: "Out of Egypt I called my Son."

Slaves yes, but does their history begin mention in these scriptures as slaves, per-se? A debased people from scratch, or captured and forced into slavery, with a recollection of a free past, thus not necessarily causing them to forget who they were? Then, there is the problem of how the "prophets" managed to garner the obedience of those who carried out the commandments if they were so lawless and depraved as you claim.

I again emphasize that the words --- purportedly God's words --- commanding genocide have no context to establish this as systematic moral theology. The Bible itself doesn’t suggest that 's what it is. It contradicts the warning reiterated throughout the OT, that God abhors the shedding of innocent blood; it finds paradoxical re-evaluation in that the men who shed blood in this way are found unworthy in the end (Moses unworthy to cross the Jordan, David unworthy to build the Temple). Joshua is contrasted with someone immesurably better than Joshua, namely Jesus (their names are the same in Hebrew) in an extensive critique of the Old Testament in the NT Book of Hebews.

It’s a bigger message than you think.

 

It's either a god's words, or not. What does the Bible force the reader to consider the source of the commandments as being? Any contradiction in this would cause the Bible to be in error, by definition. So, if one can choose what is a contradiction (and by implication, not a commandment / verse sourced from true divinity), what prevents the choice from being the mere whim of the reader?

 

Read discerningly. Is Mahabharata to be read as history? --- come on: 2 vast armies, 4 million in all, fighting to annihilation, without passion, and with impeccable sportsmanship? --- it’s not history, it's a spiritual allegory. And don’t read the Conquest of Canaan as if it were a graduate seminar on Ethics.

 

Mrs. Don-o, the Bible begins with a narrative about a man created from mud, a woman created from the rib of a man, and a talking serpant. Is this to be regarded as history? Against such a standard, how less implausible is the Mahabharata reference? The Bible forces the reader to accept that the means of the conquest of Canaan was architected by a supposedly divine entity. The signature of that divine entity must therefore lay in what followed. If this were not the case, who initiated the conquest? Related question: Why the conquest? What was the sins of the conquered that they deserved annihilation, down to every infant of theirs?

 

There is no question that the killing of the innocent is against moral law. What does that mean in terms of the Conquest of Canaan books? Did God command what He himself abjured as abominable?

My Catholic Study Bible says "The slaughter of the innocent has never been in conformity with God's will." The footnote goes on to suggest that Samuel misrepresents God (Footnote on 1 Sam 15:3, CSB).

This is interesting because if Samuel indeed misrepresents the divinity he claimed to be the source of prophecy, does it not imply that he was a prophet in error? I am under the assumption that this is a serious no-no when it comes to prophecy. To me, the real key here is that even the one who wrote the footnote found morality problems with the OT and had to account for it somehow, which lead to the contradiction (that a claimed prophecy is no more one due to the misrepresentation).

 

One has to sort this carefully, because we are not Marcionites: the whole OT is not set aside by the New. Much, like the Decalogue, is plainly carried forward and affirmed by later texts. Some OT moral requirements are explicitly abrogated (such as when Jesus rendered all foods clean). Others are recast by Jesus Christ (e.g. Six Antitheses in the Gospel of Matthew.) Others simply disappear from sight and are never reaffirmed by later texts or the New Testament.

That last is the case with the Wars of the Ban: they are "boxed into" the Conquest of Canaan: they have no precedents and are not carried forward as legislation. It's just a brute fact: this is what they thought, and this is what they did.

Its role in the development of Doctrine? Affirmed on the level of allegory (deal thus with your own sins and vices: annihilate them) and repudiated at the level of moral doctrine. They are not models for us on the just use of force.

Keep in mind that the Development of Doctrine is something which God himself directs in the pages of the same Scripture. And in His Church. So for systematic moral theology, I direct you, as I direct my RCIA students, to the Catechism.

The key being who the 'they' are being guided by. Being careful in dealing with these verses must not imply ignoring the full implications of the verses. The conquest of Canaan cannot be disregarded as unimportant because everything else that follows rests on that foundation, hinges on that pivotal event. If the violence and shedding of innocent blood was not mandated by the divine, then how else could the conquest have occurred? If the conquest was necessary for the divine entity to carry forward its plans, how can the conquest and the way it was carried out not be considered to have divine authorship?

Thanks for the link, and I was randomly perusing it when I came across this:



II. THE FALL OF THE ANGELS

391 Behind the disobedient choice of our first parents lurks a seductive voice, opposed to God, which makes them fall into death out of envy.266 Scripture and the Church's Tradition see in this being a fallen angel, called "Satan" or the "devil".267 The Church teaches that Satan was at first a good angel, made by God: "The devil and the other demons were indeed created naturally good by God, but they became evil by their own doing."268

392 Scripture speaks of a sin of these angels.269 This "fall" consists in the free choice of these created spirits, who radically and irrevocably rejected God and his reign. We find a reflection of that rebellion in the tempter's words to our first parents: "You will be like God."270 The devil "has sinned from the beginning"; he is "a liar and the father of lies".271

393 It is the irrevocable character of their choice, and not a defect in the infinite divine mercy, that makes the angels' sin unforgivable. "There is no repentance for the angels after their fall, just as there is no repentance for men after death."272

 

So... in "heaven" how are the "redeemed" prevented from following the same storyline? Does free choice cease to exist to prevent this? Or is some mechanism added to prevent free choice from choosing as the good Satan did to make it bad? If so, why was this mechanism absent in Adam and Eve? Wouldn't the absence implicate the divine entity's imperfection? If the absence was delibrate, would that not then mean that the divine entity desired for Adam and Eve to "fall"?

41 posted on 11/08/2012 2:35:36 AM PST by James C. Bennett (An Australian.)
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To: James C. Bennett; don-o
Hi James,

(1) I wouldn't say the Israelite slaves were totally feral. They were men, not beasts; they had language; perhaps they'd heard the name of Abraham. But they were a debased and deracinated people. They knew little or nothing of their past: Moses had to give them their past as well as their future (i.e.,the Books of Moses.) Lawless and depraved, almost from Day One they grumbled against Moses, threatening to return to Egypt, and barely managed to survive hunger, thirst, sickness, and their own anarchic tendencies. Much of the community did die; the nucleus of the new nation was kept intact by a certain awe produced by miracles of providence on one hand, and fear of plagues on the other.

(2) What does the Bible force the reader to consider the source of the commandments as being?

One command for indiscriminate slaughter plainly contradicts the many commands which forbid such bloodshed as "abominable." One can't interpret both as being divine commands in the same sense.

Thus the Bible "forces" us to see genocidal commands in a non-literal sense, either as paradox, like the Binding of Isaac, which was countermanded as God shows His real intent (and intervenes to save Isaac's life); or as a counter-type (like Jephthah's Oath: he thought he was under the influence of the Holy Spirit, but he evidently was not.)

"Any contradiction in this would cause the Bible to be in error, by definition." By what definition? Only by a definition derived from literal fundamentalism. This has to be excluded.

"What prevents the [interpretive] choice from being the mere whim of the reader?"

Three words: Scripture. Tradition. Magisterium.

"Mrs. Don-o, the Bible begins with a narrative about a man created from mud, a woman created from the rib of a man, and a talking serpent. Is this to be regarded as history?"

No. Not as literal history. Augustine of Hippo (4th century) said it would be childish to think that God, with His hands, took mud and made a dirtman, etc. God does not, after all, have hands. But we (Catholics) do not believe in the ipsissimi verbi verbal inerrancy of Scripture. We believe Scripture is true in what it intends to assert. What is intended here is not that one can make humans out of humus (though evolution suggests that this is so), but that God formed us and bestowed upon us His image and likeness. This is not to be read as a biochemical treatise, but as a love letter.

"If Samuel indeed misrepresents the divinity he claimed to be the source of prophecy, does it not imply that he was a prophet in error? I am under the assumption that this is a serious no-no when it comes to prophecy."

That would be so if the purpose of this passage were to teach genocide. But that's not what God intends, because it's conrary to His Law.

We're talking about Miracle Wars. They were without precedent and were not carried forward as legislation.

There's been a lot of discussion about this --- on and on in fact --- because there's three sticking points.

I'm perfectly willing to go with the Alexandrian school and call it an allegory for the inner moral struggle, like the Bhagavad Gita. It does show that the Israelite national story is deficient as expressing God's Law, because God's intentions don't become clear until the coming of the Messiah as perfect fulfillment of the Law.

In a sense, Jesus comes not just embodying Israel, but embodying Amalek, embodying the 7 Canaanite nations, even embodying Cain, the first murderer. Why? Because, although innocent, He "becomes sin" --- scapegoat-like --- in order to be physically destroyed and take sin along with Him.

So you could say I put 1 Samuel, the Canaanite Campaign, Midian and the rest in the "Resolve This" box, and put the box in the hands of Jesus Christ. I have to leave it at that for now.

Now, all those questions about angels? I don't know.

:o)

My guess is that when you're "in time" you can change and choose, because time is exactly that: the interval between one event and another. But when you are "in eternity," you can't chose, because there's no time: nothing changes. So it must be that the angels existed in time, made a choice, and then their choice became irrevocable. Just like ours become irrevocable when we leave time and embark on eternity.

Don't ask me to explain that. I don't even get the stuff about a photon being a particle and a wave.

42 posted on 11/08/2012 3:24:22 PM PST by Mrs. Don-o ("You never actually understand quantum physics. You just, so to speak, get used to it." Nils Bohr)
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To: Mrs. Don-o

Wow! Well said - hope you are saving stuff like this - may be an article there.


43 posted on 11/09/2012 11:25:44 AM PST by don-o (He will not share His glory and He will NOT be mocked! Blessed be the name of the Lord forever.)
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To: Mrs. Don-o
Hello Mrs. Don-o,

I am sorry about the delay in responding. Your previous reply was too long and forced me to first avail myself of an HTML editor to respond effectively.

Here goes:

 

(1) I wouldn't say the Israelite slaves were totally feral. They were men, not beasts; they had language; perhaps they'd heard the name of Abraham. But they were a debased and deracinated people. They knew little or nothing of their past: Moses had to give them their past as well as their future (i.e.,the Books of Moses.) Lawless and depraved, almost from Day One they grumbled against Moses, threatening to return to Egypt, and barely managed to survive hunger, thirst, sickness, and their own anarchic tendencies. Much of the community did die; the nucleus of the new nation was kept intact by a certain awe produced by miracles of providence on one hand, and fear of plagues on the other.

Okay, let me temporarily buy your reasoning on this. So these people are excused for slaughtering babies and infants because they were feral and their god told them to slaughter them as a way of civilising them, one cruelty subtracted at a time. Now how do you accommodate this reasoning when it comes to Ezekiel 9:6?

"Slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at my sanctuary. Then they began at the ancient men which were before the house." - Ezekiel 9:6

What was the slaughter of these children for? What was their crime, and what is the lesson? 
 
(2) What does the Bible force the reader to consider the source of the commandments as being?

One command for indiscriminate slaughter plainly contradicts the many commands which forbid such bloodshed as "abominable." One can't interpret both as being divine commands in the same sense.

Thus the Bible "forces" us to see genocidal commands in a non-literal sense, either as paradox, like the Binding of Isaac, which was countermanded as God shows His real intent (and intervenes to save Isaac's life); or as a counter-type (like Jephthah's Oath: he thought he was under the influence of the Holy Spirit, but he evidently was not.)

This is getting confusing now. Did the slaughters in 1 Samuel 15:3 and Ezekiel 9:6, among others, happen or not? Was Ezekiel lying or not?You really can't have it both ways now, Mrs. Don-o. I am sorry for seeming somewhat cold here, but your reasoning simply makes no sense whatsoever. Your god shows "the real intent" with Isaac by intervening before the slaughter happened, but there is no such stopping of the slaughter in either of the two referred genocides above. In fact, Ezekiel goes on to confirm that it did happen. Is there any suggestion that Ezekiel was later found to be misled? If not, why not, and how do you square this particular incident?

 

"Any contradiction in this would cause the Bible to be in error, by definition." 

By what definition? Only by a definition derived from literal fundamentalism. This has to be excluded.

Regarding the commandments by your god to slaughter the innocent children, as recorded in your adopted scriptures, I had mentioned:
 

It's either a god's words, or not. What does the Bible force the reader to consider the source of the commandments as being? Any contradiction in this would cause the Bible to be in error, by definition. So, if one can choose what is a contradiction (and by implication, not a commandment / verse sourced from true divinity), what prevents the choice from being the mere whim of the reader?

 

The verses are rather plain, detailed and unambiguous. By their implied and stated meaning, they do not convey any confusion regarding the target of the commandments and the action that had to be performed (slaughtering the children). Neither is there any proof or statement that the slaughters did not happen. If such verses cannot be taken in the literal sense, in spite of the lack of any deeper spiritual / figurative meaning (if there are, list them all please, with supporting arguments), then what does one do with such verses other than take them literally? It seems to me that it is a method of convenience to choose which verses to take literally and which verses to take figuratively, leading the entire interpretation of the Bible at the mercy of arbitrary human whim. I cannot buy such arguments, Mrs. Don-o.

"What prevents the [interpretive] choice from being the mere whim of the reader?"

Three words: Scripture. Tradition. Magisterium.

Say, Mrs. Don-o, you travelled back in time to the period described by Ezekiel 9:6. You are an invisible bystander at the Temple. Would you have witnessed the slaughtering of children (at the command of a Jewish Biblical prophet, who claims the source of prophecy to be your adopted god) or not? Likewise, with 1 Samuel 15:3. Do you believe you would have witnessed the slaughtering of infants, as recorded in the Bible, were you to go back in time? If not, what do you reason as you come across both these verses (and others like them)? Ignore them? 

The Catholic Church is an organisation run by humans, so if humans are the ultimate arbitrator when it comes to deciding what is literal and what is not, then it merely puts interpretation at the whim of Man. If wildly contradictory interpretations can be derived from the same verse by two different sets of people, each claiming moral authority to do so as opposed to the other (none of whose claims have any substantial validity over the other), then what is the point of the scriptures or the prophets? It would be the work of an ineffective and rather impotent and foolish god to place such ambiguity in interpretation and expect humans to follow them. Or, more logically, it would all be the work of men, as reason forces me to conclude.

Your church retroactively concludes that the slaughters were not performed at the behest of divine commands from your adopted god to do so. However, were you to have travelled back in time to the moments when the slaughters did happen, and were to view them as an invisible, objective witness, what would you have recorded? 

"Mrs. Don-o, the Bible begins with a narrative about a man created from mud, a woman created from the rib of a man, and a talking serpent. Is this to be regarded as history?"

No. Not as literal history. Augustine of Hippo (4th century) said it would be childish to think that God, with His hands, took mud and made a dirtman, etc. God does not, after all, have hands. But we (Catholics) do not believe in the ipsissimi verbi verbal inerrancy of Scripture. We believe Scripture is true in what it intends to assert. What is intended here is not that one can make humans out of humus (though evolution suggests that this is so), but that God formed us and bestowed upon us His image and likeness. This is not to be read as a biochemical treatise, but as a love letter.

 

The mechanisms of evolution, buttressed by the weight of fossil and genetic evidence, forces science to accept the view that humans and the great apes shared a common biological ancestor. Which, through generations before, evolved from other ancestors whose divergences from other species retract to reveal even more common ancestors, until they coalesce to show their derivation from far simpler life forms - which in turn evolved from border-life entities like viruses and prions (literally, protein molecules which can replicate) whose definition as "living entities" is questionable. Add to these truths the fact that amino acids have been found in space, and all the basic "alphabet" elements of DNA are continually formed all over the Universe, yes, it would not be a far stretch to conclude that evolution lends support to abiogenesis. But, for our discussion, we needn't go this far. Just the fact that humans and apes share a common ancestor would be enough to wreck the Biblical narrative of Adam and Eve, and the need for Jesus as a result of their transgression.

 

 

"If Samuel indeed misrepresents the divinity he claimed to be the source of prophecy, does it not imply that he was a prophet in error? I am under the assumption that this is a serious no-no when it comes to prophecy."

That would be so if the purpose of this passage were to teach genocide. But that's not what God intends, because it's conrary to His Law.

We're talking about Miracle Wars. They were without precedent and were not carried forward as legislation.

There's been a lot of discussion about this --- on and on in fact --- because there's three sticking points.

I'm perfectly willing to go with the Alexandrian school and call it an allegory for the inner moral struggle, like the Bhagavad Gita. It does show that the Israelite national story is deficient as expressing God's Law, because God's intentions don't become clear until the coming of the Messiah as perfect fulfillment of the Law.

In a sense, Jesus comes not just embodying Israel, but embodying Amalek, embodying the 7 Canaanite nations, even embodying Cain, the first murderer. Why? Because, although innocent, He "becomes sin" --- scapegoat-like --- in order to be physically destroyed and take sin along with Him.

So you could say I put 1 Samuel, the Canaanite Campaign, Midian and the rest in the "Resolve This" box, and put the box in the hands of Jesus Christ. I have to leave it at that for now.

If you were a human witness to the Biblical genocides as they were happening, and if you were the one ordered to carry them out (you are now Saul), it would be impossible for you to say that your adopted god was not justifying genocide. Put yourself in Saul's shoes, and you simply have no option BUT to accept the commandments to carry out the infant slaughter as a divine order, thus logically implying that the genocide was justified by your chosen god. 'Definitely not' in such a circumstance would not be a luxury you could afford, in order to convince yourself of the moral validity of the OT.

The link below is a blog entry by a Catholic priest / member of the clergy regarding 1 Samuel 15:3. The author believes that his chosen god did in fact order the slaughter.

http://blog.adw.org/2010/01/did-god-command-genocide/

An interesting comment below it:
 

The Bible says God commanded the Hebrews to kill all their enemies, including infants. But killing infants, who are innocent, cannot be right. So how do we explain God’s commanding something immoral?

Here are some possible answers to this conundrum:
(1) What God commanded them to do was not immoral once he had commanded it
(2) What God commanded them to do was not immoral because killing innocents is not wrong
(3) What God commanded them to do was not immoral because we know that God is just, even though we can’t explain how God was right to do this.
(4) God did not command them to kill the innocent, even though the Bible says he did.

Answer 1 comes from the Protestant tradition that emphasizes God’s sovereignty: Anything God commands is ipso facto right. It clashes with the Catholic tradition (usually called natural law) that insists that right and wrong are based on the nature of things. Killing innocents is wrong by the very nature of things, and God’s command is unable to make it not be wrong. But that implies that God commanded something immoral. And that can’t be correct.

Is it possible to save the natural law answer in this case? The other answers attempt to do so.

Answer 2 argues that killing the innocent children of the Amalekites was not wrong. One version says that because of original sin, we all deserve to die, and so God is entitled to kill us whenever he wants (newborns included). Another version says that killing the innocent children of the Amalekites was doing them a favour because they could have grown up to be idolators and gone to hell. Neither of these arguments should be dignified with a response. Unfortunately, they tend to confirm what some peope believe, namely that religion makes some people nuts.

Answer 3 just gives up any attempt to explain things. Saying it’s a mystery is an easy way out, but our faith is a faith that seeks understanding. And saying “It’s a mystery” whenever we can’t figure things out disgraces our faith. Non-believers are shocked when they read these passages in the Bible, and people like Dawkins quote them to discredit our faith. Saying “Uh, it’s a mystery” is not a suitable reply.

I argue for answer 4: God did not command the Hebrews to slaughter all their enemies, even though the Bible says he did. The historical books of the Old Testament are a compilation of (part of ) the history of the Jewish people. It was recounted from generation to generation before it was written down. In the course of this recounting, events were given a theological explanation: whenever the Jews won a battle, it was because God was on their side, and whenever they massacred people, it was because God had commanded them to do so. But we are not required to accept every one of these theological explanations just as we are not required to believe — as people did for centuries — that every word in the Bible was dictated by God. These books are in the Bible because through them God reveals something to us, but we do not have to accept there is a revelation in every event recounted. The fullness of Revelation is found in Jesus, and if any passages in the Old Testament conflict with what Jesus reveals to us about God, then these passages have to be understood in a way that is consonant with the full revelation in Jesus. And the way to do that is to reject, when necessary, the theological explanation the authors of these passages gave them.

 

The commenter's conclusion is basically the same excuse Muslims use to justify / reason the genocide recorded in the Quran. 

The problem with the "incremental civilising" argument is that the slaughters in Ezekiel occurred at a time when the addressed audience is no longer a bunch of Bronze Age savages. The slaughter happened at the Temple, and beyond, at the command of their god.

Now, all those questions about angels? I don't know.

Well, if free will is the reason why evil is allowed to exist, then evil cannot be absent without free will being absent. Which would mean that the Biblical heaven would have to be bereft of free will, in order to prevent human souls who inherit it from choosing evil again. If an additional mechanism is placed by the god of this kingdom to prevent such a choice whilst preserving free will, then the absence of this mechanism at the time of Adam and Eve brings to question the "perfection" of such a god. And we know that this god's angels can "fall", so even greater complications ensue regarding free will in such a heaven. If time is absent, then every aspect of activity here will be in stasis, for change is impossible without time.

These are my thoughts. 

 

44 posted on 11/11/2012 8:29:26 AM PST by James C. Bennett (An Australian.)
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To: James C. Bennett; don-o
Hello James, We're both getting pretty (hmm, check Thesaurus) prolix, here, but this "genocide" question is of intense interest to me. I've done a little reading and I want to share the results with you.


There seem to be viewpoints all over the place. The Catholics (like Msgr Charles Pope, whom you mentioned) all agree that the killing of innocents is prohibited, but aren’t in agreement about what Samuel actually said or meant. Was Samuel misrepresenting the Lord? Or not? Because what he proposed was, one the face of it, grossly immoral.

At the other end of the spectrum, it seems that some subset of Jewish settlers in present-day ‘Samaria and Galilee’ (a.k.a. ‘occupied Palestinian territory’) claim that the Amalekites represent all who hate the Jewish nation, and that if they present an existential threat it would be right to kill them all. Yes, they defend genocide. (I was not aware of this perspective until literally yesterday.)

Then I came across a long article called Yahweh Wars and the Canaanites, by Paul Copan, a member of the Philosophy and Ethics faculty at Palm Beach Atlantic University. This suggests yet another interpretation, apparently backed up by some other scholars of Ancient Middle Eastern literature: that Samuel did issue the “kill them all” edict, but did not expect literal compliance.

"He said it but he didn’t mean it??" I’d never heard this before. It initially seems questionable, unsupportable. But --- we’ll come back to that --- if it were true, it would allow me to take you up on your very reasonable challenge.

“Say, Mrs. Don-o, you traveled back in time to 1 Samuel 15:3. Do you believe you would have witnessed the slaughtering of infants, as recorded in the Bible, were you to go back in time? If not, what do you reason as you come across both these verses (and others like them)?”

Assuming I was one of Saul’s warriors, I would reason thus:

“There’s that #@!(*& Amalek. G_ddamned bastard spawn of Esau. Those #@!(*&;s ambushed us at Rephidim and picked off the stragglers, the children, the old, when we’d done them no harm. They tried to kill us again at Hormah without provocation, when we were starving and exhausted. I’d like to drive their bullocks and fatlings to the altar of YHWH at Gilgal for a big offering, flay the men alive and roast them on a spit, stuff my bags with their silver and gold, and rape all the females and then sell them into slavery.”

Then Samuel’s edict excludes all of that (using their animals for holy offerings; torture, plunder, and rape) and when the battle is over and there are survivors, Samuel strikes down only the king, Agag, and considers justice satisfied tout court.

Justice served against the evildoers. But doesn’t this contradict the plain words of Samuel to kill all, specifying women , children and infants, and spare no one?

The author Paul Copan says 'no'. Now let’s see how supports his case. (Let me note that Copan is not a Catholic, but neither does anything he’s saying conflict with Catholic doctrine. The Catholic church does not have an “official interpretation” for these “under the ban” passages, although it does have an “official teaching” that intentional killing of an innocent human , even in war, is murder, and thus always gravely morally wrong.)



Source: Yahweh Wars and the Canaanites, by Paul Copan. You can click the link and read it all, but here’s a fast fly-over of relevant points:

(1) Moral limits are already set in place: God commands Israel to abstain from shedding innocent blood, forbids child sacrifice as morally abhorrent (Lev. 18:21; 20:2 -5; Deut. 12:31; 18:10), and requires Israelites to show concern for strangers and aliens in their midst (e.g. Lev. 19:34; Deut. 10:18 -19).

(2) Ultimate reconciliation is in view: The prophets later view the nations once singled out for judgment as the ultimate objects of Yahweh's salvation. In Zechariah 9:7, the Philistines and the Jebusites are both to become part of God's redeemed "remnant." This theme is reinforced in Psalm 87, where the Philistines and other enemies are incorporated into the people of God.

(3) “Herem”, a sign which is contradicted: Copan claims that the language of “herem” ("ban," "dedication to destruction,”) ("kill all that breathes") is an ANE (Ancient Near East) rhetorical device, a boilerplate expression of military bravado in ANE warfare, found in the Hittites, the Assyrians, etc. but in Israel’s case not to be taken literally.

Here’s what’s unique to the Hebrews: the moral limit being set into place beforehand, AND the simultaneous evidence that the “ban” isn’t carried out. In Deut. 7:2- 5, alongside Yahweh's command to "destroy" the Canaanites is the assumption they would not in fact be obliterated --- hence the warnings not to make political alliances or intermarry with them. (As if to say, “Wipe the evildoers out. And after that, avoid making deals with them anymore.”)

These stock phrases (says Copan) are to be evaluated as "monumental hyperbole." The books of Joshua and Judges themselves make clear that many inhabitants remained in the land. "While Joshua does speak of Israel's utterly destroying the Canaanites... peoples that have supposedly been ‘annihilated’ have no trouble reappearing later in the story. Similarly, after Judah puts ‘all Jerusalem’ to the sword, its occupants are still living there' (Judg. 1:8, 21)."

(4) The Canaanites targeted for destruction were understood to be political leaders and their armies rather than noncombatants. OT scholar Richard Hess argues that the “ban” language describes attacks on forts or garrisons --- not a general population that includes women and children. Jericho and Ai were armed, fortified strongholds: hence Israel's wars here are directed toward government and military installments.

So the mention "women" and "young and old" turns out to be stock ANE language that could be used even if "women" and "young and old" were not in fact living there. The typical phrases --- "every living thing in it" --- "men and women, young and old, cattle, sheep and donkeys" -- appear to be ANE boilerplate, not requiring the reader “to assume anything further about their actual ages or even their genders."

Hess writes: “Archaeological evidence points to the lack of civilian populations at Jericho, Ai, and other cities mentioned in Joshua.” Hess adduces inscriptional, archaeological, and other such evidences that Jericho was a small settlement of probably 100 or fewer soldiers. This is why all of Israel could circle it seven times in one day and then do battle against it. So if Jericho was a fort, then "all" those killed therein were warriors.

(5) Saul made sure the innocent were spared. When Saul let the Kenites --- who had been kind to the Hebrews --- flee from the city of Amalek (1 Samuel 15:6), anyone aligned with the Kenites would have made their escape.

This theme of a division being made between the innocent and the guilty goes back to Abraham in Genesis. God has singled out Abraham to carry on “Yahweh’s way of just and upright living.”(Genesis 18:19) Almost, it seems, as a test, God reveals to Abraham that Sodom, the city of evildoers, will be destroyed. Abraham immediately intercedes with God that it would be unjust to kill the innocent together with the guilty (Genesis 18:22-33). (This is an outstanding example of God and a man of faith, reasoning together about justice.) God approves of Abraham’s intercession: he agrees that it is unjust to treat the innocent like the guilty.

The purpose of the fore-warning of the Kenites in (1 Samuel 15:6) is to show that people must be given a choice: to save themselves by escaping with the Kenites (the innocent, who were kind to the exhausted Hebrew nomads), or remain among the warriors of Amalek (the guilty, who attacked them)--- and face utter destruction.

(6) Israel’s chroniclers don’t glory in atrocity This makes their post-victory descriptions featherweight in comparison to those found in the annals of the major empires of the ANE --- Hittite, Egyptian, Aramaean, Assyrian, Babylonian, Persian, or Greek. Unlike Joshua's brief, four-verse description of the treatment of the five kings (Joshua 10:24 -27), or Samuel’s even briefer report of the execution of the Amalekite King Agag (1 Samuel 15:33), the Neo-Assyrian annals of Asshurnasirpal (tenth century BC) take pleasure in describing gruesome atrocities: the flaying of live victims; the impaling of others on poles; prolonged, ingenious maiming, mangling, and roasting; and the heaping up of bodies for festive or fear-inspiring display.

(7) Women and children fled from sieges. "When a city is in danger of falling," observes Goldingay, "people do not simply wait there to be killed; they get out. . . . Only people who do not get out, such as the city's defenders, get killed." Jeremiah 4:29 suggests this:

At the sound of the horseman and bowman
every city flees;
They go into the thickets
and climb among the rocks;
Every city is forsaken,
and no one dwells in them.

We read in Joshua and Judges that, despite the "obliteration" rhetoric, there are plenty of Canaanites living in the areas where Israel has settled. Joshua himself refers to "these [nations] which remain among you" (Josh. 23:12 -13; Josh. 15:63; 16:10; 17:13; Judg. 2:10 -13)

In short, you typically have the hyperbolic rhetoric of (i) obliteration as well as (ii) the realistic acknowledgment of these same nations as future neighbors. Goldingay comments that Israel knew how to read Torah: "It knew it was not to assume a literalistic understanding" of destroying the Canaanites.”

(8)The Amalekite ban is considered enforced when the prophet Samuel strikes down their king. Copan says that these hyperbolic references to "totally destroy[ing]" run on parallel tracks with regular mention of many remaining Canaanite inhabitants after the "total destruction" (for example, Judg. 1). According to Copan, this specific combatant scenario could well apply in the Amalekite case. The execution of the aggressor, the Amalekite king Agag (1 Sam. 15:33), is seen as the required accomplishment of the ban; no further slaying is afterward demanded or described.

(9) This fits the metanarrative of God's goodness, enemy love, and overarching purposes. God's reiterated goal is to bring blessing and salvation to all the nations, including the Canaanites through Abraham (Gen. 12:3; 22:17- 18; 28:13- 14). This sweeping, outsider-oriented, universally-directed covenant is utterly unique among ancient religious and national movements.

(10) Compare “the Binding of Isaac” --- a slaying commanded, and yet countermanded. God's difficult command regarding the Canaanites as a limited, unique salvation-historical situation is comparable to God's difficult command to Abraham in Genesis 22. Behind both of these harsh commands, however, are the clear context of Yahweh's loving intentions and faithful promises.

In the first, God has given Abraham the miracle child Isaac, through whom God has promised to make Abraham the father of many. Then he asks him to be sacrificed. Abraham was troubled but knew that God would somehow fulfill his covenant promises through Isaac --- even if it meant that God would raise him from the dead. Thus Abraham informed his servants, "we [he and Isaac] will worship, and then we will come back and return to you " (Gen. 22:5; seer also Heb. 11:19). God does not permit the killing to occur; He provides a substitute victim.

With the harsh command regarding the Canaanites, Yahweh has already promised to bring blessing to all the families of the earth without exclusion (Gen. 12:1- 3; 22:17- 18). As previously observed, God is in the business of eventually turning Israel's enemies into his friends and incorporating them into his family. As with Abraham and Isaac, it is as though ancient Israel could confidently say of its enemies like the Assyrians, Egyptians, and Canaanites (Isa. 19:25; Matt. 15:22): "we will worship together" (Isa. 2:3).

So while we have contrary and disturbing exceptions in each of these scenarios, these should be set against the background of Yahweh's worldwide salvific purposes.

(11) Compare Jonah: Israel was gradually learning--- by preaching, by parable, and by painful history--- that their God has an enemy-loving character. In Jonah's day, God did not punish the Ninevites --- to the great disappointment of Jonah, who knew that forgiving enemies is the sort of thing Yahweh does. To the reluctant prophet’s exasperation, God loves His (and Israel's) enemies: "I knew that You are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, and one who relents concerning calamity" (Jon. 4:2; cf. Exod. 34:6).

(12) Jesus, the fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets (Matt. 5:17), affirms that the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob is one who loves His enemies ...and calls on us to imitate this complete love (Matt. 5:43 -48). Jesus himself does not view the killing of the Canaanites to be an intrinsic tenet or permanent norm for the People of God.

Compare Luke 9:54-56, where Jesus is rejected by some Smaritan towns, and his disciples James and John say, "Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?" But He turned and rebuked them, and said, "You do not know what kind of spirit you are of; for the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them."

This specific rebuke, condemning "the kind of spirit" which is influencing them, may relate to the mission the disciples had been given, earlier in this same chapter 9, of rebuking and expelling unclean (demonic) spirits. Jesus implies that a demon spirit would incite in the destruction of an unbelieving town.

Also in that same Chapter 9 of Luke's Gospel, Jesus is transfigured on Mt. Tabor. Peter, James and John see him conversing with Moses and Elijah of old, explaining what He is about to accomplish in Jerusalem (ie. be betrayed into the hands of those who will crucify Him.) Moses and Elijah represent the Law and the Prophets, and Jesus tells them that He is going to lay down His life: He goes to willingly die for the sake of sinners. This is the definitive interpretation of the Law and Prophets: not that their enemies must die, but that He will die in their stead.

If this is the ultimate truth, it is a divine Person --- Jesus Christ --- who is put under the ban.




45 posted on 11/14/2012 6:37:17 PM PST by Mrs. Don-o (Laus tibi Christe, qui es Creator et Redemptor idem et Salvator.)
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To: Mrs. Don-o

Thanks, Mrs. don-o! Reply coming up over the weekend. I read only the first few lines on my phone, but I meant to ask you to imagine you were explicitly ordered to slaughter infants, not just a general enemy population as a whole. In those shoes, what would your conscience tell you as you imagine performing the divinely-ordered command?

No need to reply in a hurry because my reply will take a while until I get home and use the HTML editor.


46 posted on 11/15/2012 7:22:16 AM PST by James C. Bennett (An Australian.)
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To: James C. Bennett
"...imagine you were explicitly ordered to slaughter infants, not just a general enemy population as a whole. In those shoes, what would your conscience tell you as you imagine performing the divinely-ordered command? "

Me? I don't kill babies. With grace, I would rely on the Word of God: "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy."

47 posted on 11/15/2012 10:17:26 AM PST by Mrs. Don-o (What does the Lord require of you but to act justly, to love tenderly, to walk humbly with your God.)
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To: Mrs. Don-o

But you are Saul, and that was the instruction you received which you have to follow.


48 posted on 11/15/2012 10:30:13 AM PST by James C. Bennett (An Australian.)
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To: James C. Bennett
Hello, James---

We seem to have dropped the thread of this discussion somehow: possibly because I didn't see your Nov 15 comment until today.

Have you any other comments on my Nov 14 essay at
#45
? I think I learned a thing or two in the writing f it, and I'd be interested in y our feedback.

Ears perked,

Mrs. Don-o


Oh, and to answer your question:

If I were Saul, I might have said,

Now look here, Samuel, You may be a prophet, but we already have it from the Lord that we are not to kill the innocent together with the guilty. That's been clear ever since Abraham, or so I heard it from the Books of Moses. And I'm a warrior of the Lord, not a goddamned Canaanite. I'll bring King Agag here and you can execute just judgment on him. With God as my witness, that's enough."
So.
49 posted on 12/05/2012 2:35:37 PM PST by Mrs. Don-o ("The first duty of intelligent men of our day is the restatement of the obvious." George Orwell)
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To: Mrs. Don-o

Hi Mrs. Don-o,

I’m still on the tour, and stops here with Internet access are few and far between. I’ll reply later when I’m next to a laptop with a connection, but for now, a prophet that lies would be a false prophet, so what would you make of Samuel after he told you that Go told him to tell you to crush the infants?

And what would god reply, and what did God do about Saul killing the infants, thereby, implicitly violating Mosaic “law”?


50 posted on 12/08/2012 12:13:08 PM PST by James C. Bennett (An Australian.)
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