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Dogen



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PostPosted: Sat Jul 29, 2006 9:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Did you know that all of the comments and requirements and laws in Leviticus were for God's Preists and not the general public?

It's not really quite that simple. According to current theory ("documentary hypothesis") the Torah (and thus the Old Testament) has three major narratives (Priest, Jahwist and Elohist or P, J and E) twisting through it and Leviticus (of the Priestly source) has two major codes: the Holiness Code and the Priestly Code. The Priestly Code centers mainly on details of worship, cleanliness and rituals. The Holiness Code is a collection of somewhat miscellaneous laws for the people to follow to make them holy as God is holy and to avoid the pitfalls of neighboring peoples. Parts of it, however confusingly, are directed at the priesthood (priestly dress), like the Priestly Code.
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Yorick



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PostPosted: Sun Jul 30, 2006 1:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Did I miss something? Is the Forum as a whole upset with PsycoMonkey for some reason?
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Fhqwhgads



Joined: 11 Jul 2006
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 30, 2006 6:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dunno. I'm pretty sure I've managed to piss off some folks, but I'm not chapped at anybody myself.

bun bun wrote:
Why don't we have a huge anti-work-on-Saturdays-because-it's-immoral movement?

We do: they're called Seventh-Day Adventists. Razz I keed, I keed!


I've been arguing with myself for a couple of days whether to even weigh in on this because if history is my guide, I *will* get yelled at. So: a couple of disclaimers up front: 1) I am a Christian. The Bible-believing type (and not even very good at it much of the time). I am not asking you to do so or be so. What you believe is what you believe and more power to you. This is not evangelism going on here. All I can do is attempt to offer a viewpoint to round out the discussion. 2) I AM NOT PRETENDING TO HAVE ALL THE ANSWERS ABOUT EVERYTHING, FOREVER. I'm just giving you the best I got, and somebody, is always, always, unsatisfied at best and in total frothing-at-the-mouth bloodlust at worst. So, apologies in advance.

Some Guy! wrote:
My main point is: The Bible is not capable of keeping itself up to date.

The Christian answer to that, as I understand it, is: 1) Scripture is considered to be the inspired, infallible Word of God (as in, actually written by God using human agencies as his media); and 2) since God is not bound by time as his creation is, therefore His canon is relevant to all times and all peoples.

As far as Germ's av and the Leviticus thing goes, leaving aside which bits were for the priests and which bits were for the people, the thing to keep in mind is that the Mosaic law was written specifically for the Jews. Christians are not at all expected to follow it. In fact, there was a big argument amongst the Jews, Acts 15 covers it, about whether or not the Gentiles could be Christians at all without first submitting to circumcision and the rest of the Mosaic law.

The core of the answer (as I see it) lies in Peter's response: 10) "Now therefore, why do you test God by putting a yoke on the neck of the disciples which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? 11) But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved in the same manner as they." Which - I love this. The whole point, the thing that Christians have faith in, is that belief in Christ's redemptive work on the cross is the only thing necessary to salvation. It's grace, not works. Christianity is the story of God reaching down to man because man can't reach God successfully. Works, any works, will never cut it. If you want to try and sum it up in one of those cheap little dime-store acronyms: God's Riches At Christ's Expense.

OK, anyway. To cut to the chase, James (the leader of the Jerusalem church at the time) responded: 19 "...Therefore I judge that we should not trouble those from among the Gentiles who are turning to God, 20 but that we write to them to abstain from things polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from things strangled, and from blood." Now that sexual immorality? Pretty broad term. My understanding (and I haven't checked this so correct me if I'm wrong here) is that the Greek word is the same one that translates into English as "pornography". Again, meant to cover a broad spectrum all at once, basically saying that anything outside the marriage bed is for No.

But it's not like God is sitting up there, all horrified, going "Oh my Me! What the- Gabriel! Come check this out! Where in the world did they get that idea??!?" Let's keep in mind, He invented sex. I think it's safe to say He likes it. C.S. Lewis did a beautiful job laying it out (in a passage I cannot now find) -basically he was saying that the whole point of a Christian marriage is to serve as an example of the sort of union God wants to have with His people. A union between two people, on all levels... physical, mental, and spiritual. And the whole problem with extramarital sex is that it takes one kind of union (the physical) and tries to separate it out from all the other kinds of union that were meant to go with it. Which tends not to work out.

So Psycomonkey, back to your question, Acts 15 is a good chapter to look at if you're interested. Also 1 Corinthians, the whole letter. Paul touches on a bunch of things at once. (...um, just a heads up, I'm going to be away for a couple of days so I'm not ignoring anybody when I don't respond to questions or anything. I'll get back soon's I can.) So, hope that didn't make things worse.

OK. 'Night.
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Sojobo



Joined: 12 Jul 2006
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 30, 2006 10:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some Guy! wrote:
A number of the ideals in it are undoubtedly fundamental even today. Most of them are contained in the general "Golden Rule."

This idea is the fundamental reason I would disagree with saying the Bible isn't relevant to today. I believe universal moral concepts like this can never be outdated. "Love your neighbor as yourself." will always be a useful moral guide.

Some Guy! wrote:
To me, it seems as though a vast number of people look to the bible for answers so they don't have to bother thinking about the questions themselves. Then, when something happens, rather than taking personal responsibility, they claim that it's God's plan.

I think it is more accurate (and much more sad) to say that a vast number of people have a particular moral judgement in mind, then look through the Bible to find a verse that might back it up (or can be misread/twisted to back it up), then preach it as clear evidence that their initial judgement was correct.

An example of this is people who want to claim that masturbation is sinful, then point to God frying Onan for pulling out of Tamar (Genesis 38), completely neglecting the context.

Judah had three sons: Er, Onan, and Shelah. Er died. Onan was required by levirate law to get with Er's wife to provide a son for Er. Verse 9 states very clearly that Onan pulled out early because he didn't want to provide a son for Er. God smites Onan.

No one, reading the text with any kind of respect, could consider this a blanket indictment of masturbation. An honest reader would ask why Onan wouldn't want to give his brother a son, which is a simple enough matter if you know the inheritance laws involve equal shares for all sons, with a double share for the eldest. So, before Er died, Judah's wealth was going to be divided 1/2, 1/4, 1/4 for Er, Onan, Shelah. Afterwards, it would be divided 2/3, 1/3 for Onan and Shelah. If Onan gave Er a son, it would revert to 1/2, 1/4, 1/4. Onan is pulling out early because staying in would cost him 5/12 of his daddy's money.

Anyway, the example took longer than it was supposed to, especially since it's not in any way an argument, but just a common "people r teh stupid!" rant.

Some Guy! wrote:
That last bit there is yet again another little side rant, but I hope it clarifies my stance that appealing to a text that does not take into account modern norms and issues definitely has some serious implications.

When Jesus was asked which commandment was the most important, he mentioned two: Love God, and Love your Neighbor (Mark 12:29-31). Paul, preaching freedom from the Law, said, "The entire law is summed up in a single command: "Love your neighbor as yourself." (Galatians 5:14). I quote these to point out that the text does account for modern norms by pulling away from absolute Laws, and throwing the question back to the reader's own morality.

Reader: Should I have sex before marriage?
Text: Well, is that loving your neighbor?
Reader: Hehe. Actually... *cough*... Sorry 'bout that.
Text: S'alright.
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Sojobo



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PostPosted: Sun Jul 30, 2006 11:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fhqwhgads wrote:
The Christian answer to that, as I understand it, is: 1) Scripture is considered to be the inspired, infallible Word of God (as in, actually written by God using human agencies as his media); and 2) since God is not bound by time as his creation is, therefore His canon is relevant to all times and all peoples.

That is a Christian answer, not the only one. Razz

Fhqwhgads wrote:
Now that sexual immorality? Pretty broad term. My understanding (and I haven't checked this so correct me if I'm wrong here) is that the Greek word is the same one that translates into English as "pornography". Again, meant to cover a broad spectrum all at once, basically saying that anything outside the marriage bed is for No.

The word is general, but I think it more often refers to prostitution than pornography. In context (sandwiched between worshipping idols and strangled animals), I think it is referring to temple prostitution.

Fhqwhgads wrote:
A bunch of other stuff.

Agreed.
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WheelsOfConfusion



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PostPosted: Sun Jul 30, 2006 1:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sojobo wrote:
I believe universal moral concepts like this can never be outdated. "Love your neighbor as yourself." will always be a useful moral guide.

Until you're the last man on Earth, having survived nuclear war by accidentally being locked in a vault while trying to steal a moment of reading.

Quote:
I quote these to point out that the text does account for modern norms by pulling away from absolute Laws, and throwing the question back to the reader's own morality.

In other words, "the Letter kills, but the Spirit gives life."
Which is why he's Central City's most beloved hero.
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Krazy Stixx



Joined: 11 Jul 2006
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 30, 2006 4:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/contra/otlaw.html
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nathan



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PostPosted: Sun Jul 30, 2006 6:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The real moral tragedy is that this is the only book apparently capable of inciting such soulful investigations.



Sojobo wrote:
"Love your neighbor as yourself." will always be a useful evolutionary guide.


It is a very common and alluring mistake to think that what has always been true inevitably must be. I wonder whether it stems from a desire to claim, even just to oneself, that the forces to which we have entirely subjugated ourselves must be, by definition, intrinsically immutable. There's a source of power somewhere in that negation.
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Some Guy!



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PostPosted: Sun Jul 30, 2006 7:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fhqwhgads wrote:
Some interesting stuff.


You, sir, are the type of Christian I like.

Sojobo wrote:
Reader: Should I have sex before marriage?
Text: Well, is that loving your neighbor?
Reader: Hehe. Actually... *cough*... Sorry 'bout that.
Text: S'alright.



*laughs*

I suppose where I come down is, yes, there are many things in The Bible that are applicable today. But they are not applicable because they are in The Bible. They are applicable because they are still standards of conduct necessary for sustainable society today. If The Bible never existed, these things would still be relevant. To paraphrase Richard Dawkins, morality doesn't have to come from some divine creator, but rather, morality comes from a group of people agreeing that they don't want to live in a society that permits theft, murder or rape.

As such, when you ask if this or that is allowed by a society a thousand years ago, there are very clear lines of morality forbidden today that are perfectly permissible in The Bible. Should I own a slave today? The Bible, to my admittedly very superficial understanding, is fine with that. Modern society, however, isn't. Should I kill a guy? Well, The Bible and modern society says no. At least, not without a good reason.

...

I hope someone at least appreciates that I am trying to capitalise The Bible whenever I mention it.
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WheelsOfConfusion



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PostPosted: Sun Jul 30, 2006 7:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some Guy! wrote:
To paraphrase Richard Dawkins, morality doesn't have to come from some divine creator, but rather, morality comes from a group of people agreeing that they don't want to live in a society that permits theft, murder or rape.

Thank you Richard DawEuthyphrokins.

Quote:
Should I own a slave today? The Bible, to my admittedly very superficial understanding, is fine with that.

Would you want to be owned as a slave? Let's try to keep in mind that reciprocal moral code thingy.
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Fhqwhgads



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PostPosted: Mon Jul 31, 2006 1:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sojobo wrote:
That is a Christian answer, not the only one. Razz
*heh* Fair enough.

Some Guy! wrote:
I hope someone at least appreciates that I am trying to capitalise The Bible whenever I mention it.
I was gonna make a joke about not having to capitalise the "The" but it sounded stupid even to me. Rolling Eyes
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kame



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PostPosted: Mon Jul 31, 2006 2:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

WheelsOfConfusion wrote:
Some Guy! wrote:
To paraphrase Richard Dawkins, morality doesn't have to come from some divine creator, but rather, morality comes from a group of people agreeing that they don't want to live in a society that permits theft, murder or rape.

Thank you Richard DawEuthyphrokins.


Trying to figure out the best way to co-exist as a species != seeking a definition of piety.

Very Happy
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Snorri



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PostPosted: Mon Jul 31, 2006 5:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

WheelsOfConfusion wrote:

Quote:
Should I own a slave today? The Bible, to my admittedly very superficial understanding, is fine with that.

Would you want to be owned as a slave?


Maybe...
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WheelsOfConfusion



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PostPosted: Mon Jul 31, 2006 7:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kame wrote:
Trying to figure out the best way to co-exist as a species != seeking a definition of piety.

Very Happy

The Euthyphro dilemma, not actually set out as the main argument in the passage from Plato but addressed somewhat, is the nature of morality and its relation to the divine, i.e. whether good is good because the Divine says so, or if the Divine says so because it's good. Dawkins phrased the same idea when discussing human societies in terms of sociology/biology, that it's absurd to think that something is "good" just because a Divine Being says it is. The point is that in this sort of assertion Dawkins is not the first, nor is his approach the only one to take when arriving at the conclusion. In fact it's not even the most eloquent.

I had the chance to pick up The Ancestor's Tale today at the library, but opted instead for Zimmer's At the Water's Edge.
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Dogen



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PostPosted: Mon Jul 31, 2006 9:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Somewhat on topic, have you read Plato's Protagoras? It's a particular favorite of mine, among Plato's works.
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