Melkite/Might 4 Right
#41
God uses a fallen world, and fallen men, to make a way to us. There are, though, no shortcuts or royal roads, and you must strive continuously after what is good and true. Your tears and sighs of agony, so long as they are sincerely turned to God, are more precious than the emptiness of material possessions, even used to achieve good, or the routine of a superficial faith.

You cannot have blind faith in a culture to lead you to truth, or even faith in the human part of the institutional character of the church, as we traditionalists learn the hard way. Modernity has taught us that we can make no use of the shortcuts our ancestors used to keep from going astray, since they have all failed, ending in ruin. Sadly, we have also learned the fallibility of our own powers of reason and capacity to sort it all out on our own, and the autonomous individual is a deranged fantasy. There is no easy way, Melkite, and no reassurances or misdirections will eliminate your doubts, disappointments, and sorrows.

But why blame God for something God did not do? Scripture is revelation, yes, but it is also literature, mediated through history and culture, the ambiguities and insufficiency of language, and the considerations of narrative and literary genre. If Hebrews in the bronze age talked about God in a way shaped by national cults of divinities that accompanied armies in war, what is really at stake? God's goodness, or a naïveté in reading scripture? And always remember that Christ, not ink on a page, is God's full and perfect revelation to humanity.

Even if we lost every copy of every Bible, we would still have the Word. Do not make an idol for yourself, even using the Bible to fashion one. God is not akin to Ashera, Baal, or Dagon, a petty and vindictive champion over a little patch of earth or a tribe of men. Our own enemies are really not God's enemies. If God wanted every Amalekite dead, every man, woman, child, and animal, He could have simply withdrawn his active sustaining of them, and they would have ceased to exist. Yet God allowed them to be live and greet each day, until they were slaughtered. Why? In cases like this, we should seek to elucidate the spiritual significations, rather than the mere literal or historical sense, which may very well be a sort of figure.

There a dangerous pitfalls at every turn. Some read the Old Testament and become indifferent to genocide, or even apologists for it, and really, I think, appear quite monstrous, because they cannot admit the slightest insecurity or doubt into a faith they hold water-tight and rigid in a specific way. Others become blasé atheists, thinking scripture to be a mere product of a culture, nothing more, with nothing important to really tell us. Both would have us accept that things don't matter, in different ways, and imperil our growth in Christ.

I pray, Melkite, that you do not give up because this is difficult and wearisome. Take heed of the dangers, and do not slip into apathy, or turn away because it is too painful. Know that everyone and every personality is called to sanctity through the life of the sacraments, and growing in holiness doesn't mean becoming just like the sort of person who doesn't fixate on things and who doesn't feel aggrieved by ideas of God that are monstrous or insufficient. Holiness is distinctive, implying being set apart for God (like the circumcision), and it has room enough for every human particularity. Have faith that Christ will succor you.
Reply
#42
Melkite, I understand how you feel to some extent. I have scars from when I had to have surgery done on my genitals as a child, I was circumcised, and I was born with only one testicle. I know how it feels. Added to that, I am autistic and I'm almost blind. But I know that all of these things are just superficial. In the end, it doesn't matter if I was circumcised or not. One day my body will be a pile of dust and I firmly believe that I will one day be ressurected as I was always meant to be and we will all be judged according to what we deserve. I know I have no magical ability to change your mind, but I honestly hope you will get things figured out.

Please don't give up on God just yet. If you can't find Him with your intellect, search for him with your heart. I know that emotions don't count for much but sometimes we get too busy trying to figure things out that we forget what's most important. We leave out love. And without its light, life will always look bleak and cruel and we forfeit our reason. Without it, all the Bibles and Catechisms in the world are worthless.
Reply
#43
(12-22-2015, 06:13 AM)Cyriacus Wrote: But why blame God for something God did not do? Scripture is revelation, yes, but it is also literature, mediated through history and culture, the ambiguities and insufficiency of language, and the considerations of narrative and literary genre. If Hebrews in the bronze age talked about God in a way shaped by national cults of divinities that accompanied armies in war, what is really at stake? God's goodness, or a naïveté in reading scripture? And always remember that Christ, not ink on a page, is God's full and perfect revelation to humanity.

Even if we lost every copy of every Bible, we would still have the Word. Do not make an idol for yourself, even using the Bible to fashion one. God is not akin to Ashera, Baal, or Dagon, a petty and vindictive champion over a little patch of earth or a tribe of men. Our own enemies are really not God's enemies. If God wanted every Amalekite dead, every man, woman, child, and animal, He could have simply withdrawn his active sustaining of them, and they would have ceased to exist. Yet God allowed them to be live and greet each day, until they were slaughtered. Why? In cases like this, we should seek to elucidate the spiritual significations, rather than the mere literal or historical sense, which may very well be a sort of figure.

I've tried to find some loophole where Christ can still be God and everything in the OT can be pure allegory.  It doesn't make much sense though.  Israel at the time didn't believe it was allegory; they believed it was their literal history.  Jesus never said any different, and we know he had no problem with being counter-cultural.  So, the fact that he said that he and Yahweh were one, at the very least strongly implies, his association with and approval of everything contained in the OT and his confirmation of it being literal history, despite any allegory the Church Fathers would read into it in the future.  And, even without that, Israel was supposed to be a light unto the Gentiles.  They were supposed to show a fallen world what morality is.  If genocide was just the way of the world that they were living in, and it was evil in the eyes of Yahweh, he would have commanded them to not practice it, just as he commanded them to not craft idols, not have illicit sexual relations, etc., etc.  Even in allegory, how could a just and good god command his followers to practice something objectively evil?  If Yahweh is God, then God DID do all of this.  If God wanted the Canaanites dead, he could just allow them to cease to exist.  Instead, he WANTED them to survive until the time of their slaughter, the slaughter he commanded the Israelites to carry out.  This is the character of Yahweh, this speaks to what kind of god he is, if he is anything more than a bronze age idol.  I don't think this can be allegorized away.  If it is an allegorical story, and it doesn't define God, then it is defining the character of Bronze Age Israel.  If it is nothing more than Bronze Age Israel, then Christianity's foundation is an epic lie.  In order for Christianity to be true, this god must also be real, in all his sadistic glory.  This is something Christianity needs to confront.
Reply
#44
(12-22-2015, 06:24 AM)Dominicus Wrote: Please don't give up on God just yet. If you can't find Him with your intellect, search for him with your heart. I know that emotions don't count for much but sometimes we get too busy trying to figure things out that we forget what's most important. We leave out love. And without its light, life will always look bleak and cruel and we forfeit our reason. Without it, all the Bibles and Catechisms in the world are worthless.

I haven't given up on God.  I still very much believe that there is a God, and that he is in some way loving and compassionate.  I don't think Christianity can accept your advice though, because it basically sounds like "Find the Truth that's in your heart."  It completely rejects catechesis.  I'm holding onto God as I'm able to perceive him, but it feels like it's at the expense of Christianity right now.
Reply
#45
Are we still going to discuss Yahweh being a war god?
Reply
#46

After having read this thread some, I googled around and found the following. I haven't read them yet (!!!), but they look like they might be links that'd help people reconcile the OT with the NT, especially the works of Tertullian at the bottom:


http://www.tektonics.org/othub.php

http://redeeminggod.com/when-god-pled-guilty/

http://www.bethinking.org/bible/old-test...s-killings

Tertullian's "Against Marcion":  http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0312.htm
Reply




Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)