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Damned if you do, damned if you don't


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I've come across a few cases where it seems Christians have backed themselves into a corner, leaving no good answers.  Damned if they go one way, and equally bad the other.

The first example was a Christian talking about mis-translations in the bible.  He said the line "don't boil a baby goat in its mothers milk" was actually "don't eat a baby goat while it is still feeding from its mother".  Either this is mis-translated, in which case God isn't protecting His word and therefore what else is wrong, or it is correct, in which case its a ridiculous law that the bible has placed more importance in than anti-slavery or woman's rights.  If it is a mis-translation then perhaps other passages are too.  Did Jesus walk on water, or was he just a good swimmer?

 

There was also a Christian questioned about the killing of 42 kids by the two she-bears (not sure why the sex of the bears is important) for calling the prophet bald.  Well, they weren't really kids, but the word maybe meant young people.  Sorry, doesn't sound any better.  Well, it probably meant gang members, and despicable types worthy of death.  So the God of pure love sent two bears to rip 42 gang members to pieces, and you are okay with that because you are guessing they were worse than the bible says?

Either the bible reads correctly, in which case it is a horrific punishment for a minor annoyance, or the bible is missing massive parts of the story which validates this story as somehow just.  Is the bible a book of horror, or a book missing so much of the story that the true meaning cannot be gained by a straight forward reading?  Is God unable to pass on the message He wants us to gain from this without making Himself look like a murdering psychopath?

 

The third example I came across was the salvation message.  If you say you are saved by faith alone and works don't matter, then Hitler can reach heaven while the Jews he killed would burn in hell.  If you say works do matter, then to what degree?  What works?  How are you judged?  Or is it that you need to both believe in Jesus and do good works, in which case if everyone is saved and going to the same perfect heaven, then what do those who carried out good or bad works receive for their efforts? 

You can have a humanitarian who invests their whole life helping people who is due to burn in hell for not knowing Jesus, while Jeffrey Dahmer who murdered and ate 17 people, gets to go to heaven for his belief.  There is no way to get a just system from these ideas. 

 

Lastly, the discussion on freewill.  The statement was made that god will not appear to us because that would remove our freewill to chose to follow Him, and He doesn't want robots.  It was then pointed out that everyone in heaven must know god, so either they have no freewill (heaven is full of robots), or knowledge of god doesn't remove freewill.  Everyone in heaven is purely good, with nothing bad ever happening.  If true then god is perfectly capable of making a place where we have freewill, no evil and no suffering.  If He is all-loving and already able to make such a place, then there is no reason why He wouldn't do so for Earth.  So you end with the double whammy of both the problem of evil and the problem of divine hiddenness, with no good answer as to why god would not show Himself and why He would not remove suffering, when it is claimed He can do so in heaven.

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Only slightly related:

I had the opportunity tonight to talk with 3 Baptist ladies at my door. I saw them making the rounds in the neighborhood and assumed JWs, but her purse wasn't big enough. Then the thought occurred to me that they might be actual Christians making the rounds. Far more rare locally, but that's who they turned out to be. I was making dinner so feigned belief, which is simple after decades of belief. They were happy to meet a kind stranger and I was happy to get back to my tacos. 

 

Another time I might come out as an ex-Christian and see what happens. 

 

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Every (Protestant) minister I've known and most believers I've encountered downplay the significance of the Old Testament, preferring to emphasize the Gospel.

Only in later years did I realize that most don't want to be confronted with the weirdness and multiple contradictions of the O.T., and so they consciously avoid it.

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, alreadyGone said:

 

Every (Protestant) minister I've known and most believers I've encountered downplay the significance of the Old Testament, preferring to emphasize the Gospel.

Only in later years did I realize that most don't want to be confronted with the weirdness and multiple contradictions of the O.T., and so they consciously avoid it.

 

 

 

Trying to make the brutal war god of the OT reconcile with the hippy god of the NT is nigh on impossible. Jesus says "turn the other cheek", "do unto others" and "love thy neighbour" while OT God is out telling people how to beat their slaves, setting bears on people and arranging mass murder. Yet somehow we are meant to think they are one and the same? 

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1 hour ago, Wertbag said:

Trying to make the brutal war god of the OT reconcile with the hippy god of the NT is nigh on impossible.


So much so that an important movement in early Christianity was Marcionism.  The Wikipedia entry on Marcionism sums it up: 

 

Marcion preached that the benevolent God of the Gospel who sent Jesus Christ into the world as the savior was the true Supreme Being, different and opposed to the malevolent Demiurge or creator god, identified with the Hebrew God of the Old Testament

 

There were many wildly different versions of Christianity in its first few centuries.  All were later suppressed and extinguished by the winning dogma.  Very few believers today know about these movements, some of which make more sense than the version that won out.  

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