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Biblical Inspiration

Just a little inspiration from the “Good Book” to bless your week:

“When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she shall not go out as the male slaves do.” (Exodus 21:7)

“Whoever curses his father or mother shall be put to death.” (Exodus 21:17)

“Whoever sacrifices to any god, save to the Lord only, shall be utterly destroyed.” (Exodus 22:20)

“You shall surely put the inhabitants of that city to the sword, destroying it utterly. all who are in it and its cattle, with the edge of the sword.” (Deuteronomy 13:15)

“The Lord will smite you with consumption, and with fever, inflammation, and fiery heat, and with drought, and with blasting, and with mildew; they shall pursue you until you perish. The Lord will make the rain of your land powder and dust; from heaven it shall come down upon you until you are destroyed.” (Deuteronomy 28:22-24)

“I will bring such distress on men, so that they shall walk like the blind, because they have sinned against the Lord; their blood shall be poured out like dust, and their flesh like dung.” (Zephaniah 1:17)

“But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the polluted, as for murderers, adulterers, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their lot shall be in the lake that burns with sulphur and fire, which is the second death.” (Revelation 21:8)

And finally, everybody’s favorite…

“Happy shall he be who takes your little ones and dashes them against the rock!” (Psalm 137:9)

As we say in church, “The word of the Lord:  Thanks be to God!”

Have I taken these passages out of context?  Of course I have.  But even reading them in context does not make them any more palatable.  Plus, all the “inspirational” scripture passages you see on bumpers stickers, billboards, and church marquee signs are also taken out of context.  And when you read those passages in context, they frequently sound quite a bit less inspirational.

But, you might protest, what about all the beautiful and lovely parts of the Bible that have brought hope to so many people?  Yes, even the Bible shows occasional flashes of genius.  Some passages even approach the sublime.   The treatise on human love in First Corinthians 13 comes to mind–which, by the way, does not contain a single reference to God.

I’m just saying that if any book were written for the purpose of transmitting a divine message of eternal truth for humanity, it doesn’t make sense that you would have to look so hard to find the good stuff.  How on earth could a book that is up to its eyeballs in divinely mandated blood, gore, and human suffering be considered in any sense, “holy?”

 

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Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Kittybrat
    March 8, 2012 at 11:21 am

    How, indeed. Since I escort at a women’s clinic, many “good Christians” take it upon themselves to use these Blble verses on large, shaming and/or graphic signs. My favorite is Jeremiah 1:5 “”Before I formed you in the womb I knew you”. When I have time, I will ask the person if they know the rest of this verse. Usually they scream that is all they need to know. Then I quote the rest, “And before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations.” Then I ask them if they are aware that God was supposedly speaking with Jeremiah the Prophet and that verse is for him only… but they do not care nor do they know their Bible. When they scream about God being pro-life, I begin telling their children (yes, they bring their kids) the story of the passover, when God killed the first born of all people and even of the animals. And then I tell the story of the Flood. And then… well, you get the picture.
    It still tickles me that people who are supposedly so concerned with life can speak with such vehemence and glee when describing how I will burn in the crackling fires of hell.

  2. Slavador
    March 10, 2012 at 4:54 am

    This week in our parish’s Church history course was a survey of the period of the French revolution. What happened at that time started with the destruction of the Europe wide school system run by the Jesuits. This had something to do with the Jesuit protection of Indians in Paraguay from Slavery that cost well connected European slave traffickers. Nature abhors a void and into this void appeared scientific, anarchist and atheist forces that led a revolution that massacred tens of thousands of Christian clergy and believers. France was successfully and permanantly converted from a Christian to a secular society.

    You are among those undermining the authority of the faith with this blog (perhaps similar to Voltaire’s attacks on his teachers the Jesuits) . Those like Dawkins who is the keynote speaker at a major atheist convention you will speak at seem to want to fill this void you are creating with a fairly radical shift to society. This movement has the potential to creating bloodshed and genocides like earlier ones in France and Russia. How? There is a fairly aggressive but leaderless occupy movement. The Church when taken out of context makes a great scapegoat for them (they occupied and damaged our Catholic Cathedral in Vancouver recently under the direction of atheists). You are a contributor to the undermining of the old societal leadership as well as one with access to the engine room of its possible successors. Are you keenly aware of the historical precident that indicates a real danger of genocidal violence led by groups likely to end up controlled by the smart guys in the American Atheists? Listen to Pat Condel’s angry atheist screeds on Youtube to get a sense of where I got this idea.

  3. Inquirer
    April 11, 2012 at 4:11 am

    For someone whose grasp of this text was so strong, a post like this is rather remarkable. I’ll start where he ends. As any student of these texts knows, the Psalms were poems/songs written and sung by various ancient Israelites. They were often written to reflect a person’s (or many people’s) hopes, fears, doubts, dreams, anxieties, and all of the different aspects of human experience. No position other than a crabbed form of inerrancy would say “a Psalm says this, therefore God says this.”

    Most of the others fall under a similar umbrella, not because they are all clearly meant to be merely human opinion, but rather because we recognize that the Bible has a great deal of humanity in it. You see some of the best and worst of humanity here, and that includes some of humanity’s tendency to attribute its worst impulses to a vengeful God. But through all of that, you also see glimpses of something beyond what human beings can plausibly accomplish or imagine. Yes, there are many troubling passages, and as I’m sure Mike well knows, many believers wrestle with these passages. But I don’t think these are enough to outweigh the thread that runs through the entire text, from beginning to end, however much it is sometimes obscured by human uncertainty, fear, and hatred: there is a transcendent, personal source of good who brought the universe about and who daily seeks to reconcile that broken universe to himself.

    I don’t say these things in order to be preachy, and I don’t say them in order to make a case. I say them simply because the post I just read gives short shrift to the nuance that frequently characterizes faith. I can understand and respect those who disagree with Christianity specifically or with theism generally. But if you’re going to disagree with, please don’t caricature it in the process.

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