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Killing Your Own Son?


Jeremy Allen
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Many years ago, when still in college, my Old Testament professor told us that one night he was reading the Bible to his young son. He was reading the story of Abraham almost sacrificing his son Isaac. My professor's son looked up and asked, "Daddy, if God asked you to kill me, would you do it?" My professor replied, "I don't know, son, I don't know."

 

Looking back on this story I am shocked that any person could remain a Christian after hearing this. The son, unencumbered by complex theology, saw straight through to the moral lesson of the story - it's bad to kill your own child, especially if you are hearing voices in your head.

 

But none of us could see that at the time. As my professor told this story to the class, we were all asking ourselves if OUR faith would be strong enough to allow us to kill our own child. How self-centered is that? Everything was about ME, and MY faith, and MY strength.

 

This seems so disgusting now.

 

And the professor is a great guy. He is genuine and kind and would never want to hurt anyone. But because of his faith, he couldn't come right out and say to his son, "Hell no! I would never kill you, no matter who asked me to."

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Many years ago, when still in college, my Old Testament professor told us that one night he was reading the Bible to his young son. He was reading the story of Abraham almost sacrificing his son Isaac. My professor's son looked up and asked, "Daddy, if God asked you to kill me, would you do it?" My professor replied, "I don't know, son, I don't know."

 

UGH!!!

 

Phanta

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Upon hearing this bible story at sunday school when I was five years old, I asked my parents that very question. Fortunately, they replied 'No'. But that story freaked me out. For a few weeks I asked every adult I encountered -- aunts, uncles, neighbors -- I even remember asking people at the grocery store! Everyone answered 'no'.

 

That happened more than 50 years ago and I still remember it as clearly as if it happened yesterday. I shudder to think about the mental damage to kids who get a "yes" answer.

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The bible should never reach the ears or eyes of anyone under the age of 18. Even if it's a "children's" bible. Would we allow our children to watch a cartoon version of Schindler's List? Some theists don't think! Oops, how did the word "some" get in that sentence?

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The "problem" with the story of Abraham's willingness to kill his son is the ending of the story in which god ultimately did not require it. That leaves the story open for the interpretation that god would never require any of us to kill our own child and thus allow each Christian to answer their child that, "No, son or daughter, I would not kill you because I know that god would not actually require that of me." At least that's how I always dealt with that story in my Christian days. Then to take it to the Christian version, one could add, "Though god does not require that of us and never would, he was willing to sacrifice his own son for us."

 

It's still a sick concept, though.

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Many years ago, when still in college, my Old Testament professor told us that one night he was reading the Bible to his young son. He was reading the story of Abraham almost sacrificing his son Isaac. My professor's son looked up and asked, "Daddy, if God asked you to kill me, would you do it?" My professor replied, "I don't know, son, I don't know."

 

UGH!!!

 

Phanta

 

Well said, Phanta... well said! This story always gave me the creeps! I could never understand how god would think this was a good idea and I hated the idea that Abraham went along with him. I am totally baffled by an intelligent, kind individual who when asked this question by his son could not respond, "NO!!! Hell, no!!!"

 

UGH!!!

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Many years ago, when still in college, my Old Testament professor told us that one night he was reading the Bible to his young son. He was reading the story of Abraham almost sacrificing his son Isaac. My professor's son looked up and asked, "Daddy, if God asked you to kill me, would you do it?" My professor replied, "I don't know, son, I don't know."

 

Looking back on this story I am shocked that any person could remain a Christian after hearing this. The son, unencumbered by complex theology, saw straight through to the moral lesson of the story - it's bad to kill your own child, especially if you are hearing voices in your head.

 

But none of us could see that at the time. As my professor told this story to the class, we were all asking ourselves if OUR faith would be strong enough to allow us to kill our own child. How self-centered is that? Everything was about ME, and MY faith, and MY strength.

 

This seems so disgusting now.

 

And the professor is a great guy. He is genuine and kind and would never want to hurt anyone. But because of his faith, he couldn't come right out and say to his son, "Hell no! I would never kill you, no matter who asked me to."

 

I remember thinking the same thing when coming across this passage: Is my faith strong enough to kill my own child if God asked me?

 

I don't have any children but just the thought of killing someone because God asked me to was disturbing, even more so now.

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Guest I Love Dog

The "problem" with the story of Abraham's willingness to kill his son is the ending of the story in which god ultimately did not require it. That leaves the story open for the interpretation that god would never require any of us to kill our own child and thus allow each Christian to answer their child that, "No, son or daughter, I would not kill you because I know that god would not actually require that of me." At least that's how I always dealt with that story in my Christian days. Then to take it to the Christian version, one could add, "Though god does not require that of us and never would, he was willing to sacrifice his own son for us."

 

It's still a sick concept, though.

 

God had his own killing sprees, killing people on a mere whim, such as the poor guy collecting firewood on the Sabbath, just trying to provide for his family, no doubt, or Aaron's sons, lighting the sacrifical fire the wrong way. Zapped in a moment!

 

Sick stuff!

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I think a lot of human sacrifice stuff has been expunged from the bible over the years to sanitize it. There's an awful lot of strange little details that look like they are missing something to make it all make sense.

 

This story was likely kept and rewritten as the Hebrew religion evolved, changing to show how God was merciful to show a paradox of faith. Christians later took it and worked its metaphor into the Jesus story.

 

If I wasn't so lazy I could probably write a convincing essay about that.

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My parents said they would kill me but it would be OK since I would get to heaven sooner.

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My parents said they would kill me but it would be OK since I would get to heaven sooner.

 

UGH!!!

 

Phanta

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I must have been mindless as a child because I never really thought about the implications of the story. I never asked myself, "Would my parents kill me if God told them to," so it never bothered me.

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That attitude is reason why society in the ME is rather fucked at the moment if you pardon my French. People are thought to love Allah and Muhammad more than themselves and their loved ones. That is one thing that I disliked about my religion too. How can our society venerate someone who was ready to kill his own flesh and blood for a cause?

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I must have been mindless as a child because I never really thought about the implications of the story. I never asked myself, "Would my parents kill me if God told them to," so it never bothered me.

 

I think that's typical of kids who have been indoctrinated. I was the same. In fact I loved the story and saw it as a story about a man's faith.

 

However when I become a more critical adult (which sadly wasn't until I was in my early 30s), I began to question this story. If someone claimed God had told them to slaughter their own child, any Christian would claim that wasn't God, but the devil telling them to do it. So why not apply that same reasoning to this particular bible story?

 

This was one of the first real big questions I had about the bible. God would NEVER tell anyone to sacrifice their child so therefore how could it possibly be that God requested something like this of Abe? For the first time I had to doubt the details of this story. It was not possible in my mind that it could be God requesting Abe to do this, because only the devil would command such a thing. I had to wonder if perhaps it was the devil who'd told him to do that and that God turned up to stop Abe from doing such a terrible thing. That's what I wanted to believe anyway, so that I didn't have to acknowledge that God was a complete and utter bastard for putting Abe through all that.

 

Now I look at it and I question it still further. If this really was God making the command, then Abraham was cearly quite willing to do this act. In fact it's as if it was common practise for God to request that sort of thing. Why did Abe not question God about it? If I was Abe I would be saying "But God, human sacrifice is an abmonition. An evil act. Why would you want me to do such a thing?" I would even be asking "Is this really you God or the devil trying to get me to do something terrible?"

 

If he knew God's voice so well that he had no doubts it was God, then it shows me that this God of the bible must be one hell of a nasty piece of work if his people would jump to perform such a horrendous act as human sacrifice to him.

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That attitude is reason why society in the ME is rather fucked at the moment if you pardon my French. People are thought to love Allah and Muhammad more than themselves and their loved ones. That is one thing that I disliked about my religion too. How can our society venerate someone who was ready to kill his own flesh and blood for a cause?

Know what's even more fucked up? I forget where I read it, but back during Abraham's time, child sacrifice wasn't an uncommon practice.

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If this really was God making the command, then Abraham was cearly quite willing to do this act.

 

In the story, Abraham said that they both would return from the mountain and he told his son that gawd would provide a lamb for the sacrifice. Thus, a lot of people view this as an indication that Abraham really didn't expect to actually have to sacrifice his son. Of course, it would be equally possible that he only said that stuff in order to keep the boy from being suspicious.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Guest Babylonian Dream

I asked my parents that when we were doing bible studies, the response was one of discouraging me from asking such questions. I forgot what she said exactly, afterall I was little little, like 7-9. Responses to such questions by parents and others are their knowing something is just wrong, but not wanting to disagree with God.

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I asked my parents that when we were doing bible studies, the response was one of discouraging me from asking such questions. I forgot what she said exactly, afterall I was little little, like 7-9. Responses to such questions by parents and others are their knowing something is just wrong, but not wanting to disagree with God.

 

I always hated being discouraged from asking questions. I was curious child and always wanted to know the truth about things, and it pissed me off when I was lied to.

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Guest Babylonian Dream

I always hated being discouraged from asking questions. I was curious child and always wanted to know the truth about things, and it pissed me off when I was lied to.

Same here. The fact that I would ask them anyway convinced my mother to prevent me from asking pastors serious questions I somehow still managed to ask them. One of my old pastors is now an atheist, specifically, the one I asked a real lot of questions to and he jumped away from them every chance he could.

 

I'm still curious. I also had an imagination enough to know what things in the bible would've meant, by imagining them being played out in real life. That lead me very early on to doubt, but I was terrified of God so I didn't immediately become an atheist.

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...

How self-centered is that? Everything was about ME, and MY faith, and MY strength.

...

That's what I realized about religion over the years, it's about "spiritual" superiority and egotism. Religion is about fulfilling specific needs of a person, or his or her wish to be saved from eternal torture and have eternal bliss, but it's also about the need of a person to feel more important or empowered than someone else.

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  • 2 weeks later...

The "problem" with the story of Abraham's willingness to kill his son is the ending of the story in which god ultimately did not require it. That leaves the story open for the interpretation that god would never require any of us to kill our own child and thus allow each Christian to answer their child that, "No, son or daughter, I would not kill you because I know that god would not actually require that of me."

 

 

IMO, That's the big "WHY" with this whole Biblical story. Why didn't God make that His point that we aren't supposed to kill our own children. Instead, Abraham's willingness to do so makes him the father of the big three monotheistic religions. God sure missed a prime opportunity! We might have had something to work with if He hadn't.

 

Alright, follow the story here. Genesis 9:6 - Don't kill people. Genesis 22 - Kill your own son. Jeremiah 32:35 - Sacrificing your children is something that never entered my mind. Hebrews 10:10 - Sacrificing my son is how people are made holy.

 

And there are no inconsistencies in the Bible??? PLEASE!!!

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After reading this, I have a strong urge to ask my Xtian mother if she would kill me if God told her to... but I'm honestly afraid of what her answer would be. She'd probably give me some crap about how "things were different in the OT", and "God would never say that NOW."

 

I'm still not going to ask her.

 

It doesn't help that I'm bisexual, and that might actually give biblegod an EXCELLENT reason to tell her to kill me.

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My first time heard this story when entered a Catholic school. I am a Chinese grown up in a theism family. I had not much feeling about this story. If I ask adult whether they will kill their own sons if god commanded, they must said the god is crazy.

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Does selling your son or grandson down the river over the bag of goods peddled by a bunch of religious and political con men count?

 

How about selling out your kids' future to the great stories coming down from the pulpit?...And following the herd in order to go along to get to heaven, where all the lemmings seem to be running off the cliff to get to???

 

Me very mum won't even speak with me now without trembling over every word I say - in fear that her conversations with me might jeopardize her trip to Disney World...er...sorry...heaven.

 

Looking back over my lifetime, it seems an awful lot like my parents bought the story and tossed their kids with gusto out with the bathwater over a big shuck and jive...even though it all seemed so normal at the time.

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