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Author Topic: Old Testament?  (Read 3759 times)
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« on: August 05, 2008, 07:49:26 pm »
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I find myself feeling that the Old Testament is partial BS. I don't understand why but it seems to me that I just can't agree with the fact God would almost destroy the World once, tell the Israelites to kill all of the Cannanites even though they were innocent and then later Jesus preaches a message of peace. Then we are supposed to believe God can't change his opinion and this was part of his plan. Huh

It just doesn't make sense to me and I find myself agreeing wholeheartedly with almost 100% of the New Testament but thinking the Old Testament is just a bunch of stories written by the Jewish people that shouldn't pertain to Christians much besides providing a foundation for our faith.
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« Reply #1 on: August 05, 2008, 08:02:10 pm »
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I find myself feeling that the Old Testament is partial BS. I don't understand why but it seems to me that I just can't agree with the fact God would almost destroy the World once, tell the Israelites to kill all of the Cannanites even though they were innocent and then later Jesus preaches a message of peace. Then we are supposed to believe God can't change his opinion and this was part of his plan. Huh

It just doesn't make sense to me and I find myself agreeing wholeheartedly with almost 100% of the New Testament but thinking the Old Testament is just a bunch of stories written by the Jewish people that shouldn't pertain to Christians much besides providing a foundation for our faith.

     I heard a good explanation about this by Nietzsche. I could tell you if you want to hear, but please be aware that he's coming from a firmly Atheistic standpoint here.
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« Reply #2 on: August 05, 2008, 09:30:56 pm »
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The Old Testament does have a lot of BS. Smiley
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« Reply #3 on: August 05, 2008, 09:39:09 pm »
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Well basically, the Bible is a progressive revelation.
If you skip the first half of any good book and try to finish it; you will have a hard time understanding the characters, the plot, and the ending. In the same way, the New Testament is only completely understood when it is seen as being built upon the foundation of the events, characters, laws, sacrificial system, covenants, and promises of the Old Testament.  If a person only read the New Testament, we would come to the gospels and not know why the Jews were looking for a Messiah.  Without the Old Testament, we would not understand why this Messiah was coming (Isaiah 53); Christians would not have been able to identify Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah through the many detailed prophecies that were given concerning Him (e.g., His birth place (Micah 5:2); His manner of death (Psalm 22, especially vv. 1,7-8, 14-18; Psalm 69:21, etc.), His resurrection (Psalm 16:10), and many more details of His ministry (Isaiah 52:13.; 9:2, etc.).

Furthermore to this - the Old Testament containts prophecies that are cruicial to all Christians and are then fulfilled in the New Testament.  The Old Testament contains numerous lessons for us through the lives of its many fallible characters.  I won't go on and on about those lessons.  But Job and Daniel are some good ones that Christians study. 

As for the posting about why God would kill armies, and such in the Old Testament - there are seperate answers for that - I just provided a general one for the Old Testament. 

You can't "agree" with the New Testament and "not agree" with the Old Testament.  It's a package deal. 
« Last Edit: August 05, 2008, 09:59:04 pm by albertagirl »Logged
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« Reply #4 on: August 05, 2008, 09:58:20 pm »
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I thought I would add more to better explain.  Sorry these are broken into two posts, but once I posted the last one I had a few more thoughts that would address the whole "war" and "rules" thing within the Old Testament. 

As I said previously, the whole Bible is considered true and believed by Christians and can't just be divided in half. 
At the same time, Christians have always believed that many of the laws of the Old Testament no longer apply to them the way they once did - and the reason is because Jesus has fulfilled them. They pointed forward to the coming of the Messiah - and once He came, they were no longer needed.

Let me give an example. In Old Testament times, the priests carried out animal sacrifices every day to make atonement for the sins of the people. But through death on the cross, Christians believe that Jesus paid the final price for our sins - fully and completely. No more sacrifices are needed, because He is a final sacrifice for sin. Our sins have been forgiven because all our sins were placed on Christ, "And where these have been forgiven, there is no longer any sacrifice for sin" (Hebrews 10:18).

So it bascially means that no one should just ignore those parts of the Old Testament.  They teach
just how seriously God takes sin, I think - and they remind people of what it cost God to make salvation possible.

Anyway, that's my attempt at a Christian standpoint on this. 
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« Reply #5 on: August 05, 2008, 10:16:22 pm »
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     I suppose that for the sake of conversation, I should elaborate on the Atheist standpoint. The idea is basically hinged on a shift in power, & as a result, a paradigm shift in the cultural thought.

     In the Old Testament, the Israelites, after leaving Egypt, were top dog (at least until the Persians invaded them). In order to justify the wars that they carried out against various other peoples, they said that God ordered them to fight these wars. This is what Nietzsche calls the "master mentality." To wit, the oppressor is in the right.

     What happened after that was that they were no longer the strongest people around. They were beaten & annexed by Persia & then Rome. In order to justify their plight (they were after all the chosen people of God), they backpedalled & said that in fact peace is superior to conquest. Hence the New Testament, where Jesus preaches the doctrine of "turn the other cheek." This is what Nietzsche calls the "slave mentality." To wit, the oppressed is in the right.

     That's the Atheist Subjectivist explanation of discrepancies between the two testaments in a nutshell. Take it for what you will.
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« Reply #6 on: August 05, 2008, 10:24:59 pm »
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Documentary_hypothesis

Understanding current OT scholarship (by serious intellectuals) goes a long way towards helping with the dilemma you are facing.  That article helps explain.
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« Reply #7 on: August 05, 2008, 10:28:10 pm »
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Old notions of how we got the OT and where exactly it comes from are almost certainly incorrect and, ironically, the "atheist" perspective is a decent explanation, though not the conclusion they come to as a result.  Moses almost certainly had no hand in the actual authorship of the Pentateuch, even if one does accept that he referred to himself in the third person, changed writing styles often and seemingly contradicted himself on several occasions, concerning the facts.
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« Reply #8 on: August 05, 2008, 10:31:39 pm »
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Old notions of how we got the OT and where exactly it comes from are almost certainly incorrect and, ironically, the "atheist" perspective is a decent explanation, though not the conclusion they come to as a result.

     I didn't mean to imply that it is the definitive position for all Atheists. However, most Atheists I know have taken that position. That aside, if you're not a Christian, that position does make a lot of sense.
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« Reply #9 on: August 05, 2008, 10:34:58 pm »
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That position makes perfect sense, actually. And it fits well with the Muslim viewpoint.
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« Reply #10 on: August 05, 2008, 10:35:01 pm »
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Documentary_hypothesis

Understanding current OT scholarship (by serious intellectuals) goes a long way towards helping with the dilemma you are facing.  That article helps explain.

Soulty, is that what you subscribe to in terms of authorship?

Also, what is the standard Catholic line on the matter currently?
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« Reply #11 on: August 05, 2008, 10:40:43 pm »
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Documentary_hypothesis

Understanding current OT scholarship (by serious intellectuals) goes a long way towards helping with the dilemma you are facing.  That article helps explain.

Soulty, is that what you subscribe to in terms of authorship?

Also, what is the standard Catholic line on the matter currently?

I think it makes the most sense.

As for the "Catholic" line, as far as I know, the Catholic line has always been that the OT is divinely inspired (as with NT), but whether or not it is 100% historically accurate is in debate.  The hierarchy, for their part has basically taken the position that either/or is fine, but the intellectual set tend toward notions, such as the one I presented.

In terms of creation, the Catholic position is that evolution doesn't contradict the Bible, but if you want to believe in the creation story, that's fine.
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« Reply #12 on: August 05, 2008, 10:51:41 pm »
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Even the degree to which we should assume the OT was even intended to be historically acurate is debatable.
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« Reply #13 on: August 06, 2008, 12:05:06 am »
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Even the degree to which we should assume the OT was even intended to be historically acurate is debatable.

I have to jump in again here.  I have a degree in Classics from Uni - I spend some time studying Old Testament from a basic academic standpoint - (at a non-religious uni, for the record).  It's completley false to say that the OT is historically inaccurate - and most secular historians even use its accuracy to timetable events from that period.  It's one of the few written records the world has in many cases for certain periods of time and rules of various kings. 

Of course, archaeology and classical study cannot always answer that question of "is the OT 100% true" . Nothing material remains from Elijah’s ascension into heaven, for example. Therefore, if anyone is to ask archaeology to “prove” that the entire Bible is true or false, we are faced with the fact that archaeology can neither prove nor disprove the Bible’s validity. However, even though it cannot conclusively prove the Bible’s veracity in every instance, archaeology can provide important pieces of the past that consistently verify the Bible’s historical and factual accuracy.
 
And although I could go on and bore you with history and findings of "bullae" (or small clay tablets), I thought it might be worthwhile to mention the Moabite Stone. This was considered a great find by the archeology community - more can be found on it by searching.  But bascially, the written inscription on the stone provides a piece of outstanding evidence that verifies OT accuracy. Mesha, had the stone cut in c. 850 B.C. to relate his numerous conquests and his reacquisition of certain territories that were controlled by Israel.  The Mesha stele cites Omri as the king of Israel, just as 1 Kings 16:21-28 indicates. Furthermore, it mentions Ahab, Omri’s son, in close connection with the Moabites, as does 2 Kings 3:4-6. In addition, both the stele and 2 Kings 3:4-6 list Mesha as King of Moab. Later in the inscription, the stele further names the Israelite tribe of Gad, and the Israelite God, Yahweh. While the references to the Israelite kings are quite notable in and of themselves, this reference to Yahweh is one of the few that have been found outside ancient Palestine.

Another famous artifact from Classical Study is the Cyrus Cylinder.  Cyrus, King of the Medo-Persian Empire, is among the most important foreign rulers of the Israelite nation. In fact, many Old Testament prophecies revolve around this monarch. The prophet Isaiah documented that the Babylonian Empire would fall to the Medes and the Persians (Isaiah 13; 21:1-10). Not only did Isaiah detail the particular empire to which the Babylonians would fall, but he also called Cyrus by name (Isaiah 44:28; 45:1-5). Amazingly, Isaiah’s prophecy was made roughly 150 years before Cyrus was born (Isaiah prophesied in about 700 B.C.; Cyrus took the city of Babylon in 539 B.C.). To add to Cyrus’ significance, Isaiah predicted that Cyrus would act as the Lord’s “shepherd.” In fact, Isaiah recorded these words of the Lord concerning Cyrus: “And he shall perform all My pleasure, even saying to Jerusalem, ‘You shall be built,’ and to the temple, ‘Your foundation shall be laid’ ” (Isaiah 44:28).

Look there are lots of other examples from acheology.  A simple google search also produced this article:  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1557124/Tiny-tablet-provides-proof-for-Old-Testament.html

The individual books of the Old Testament were written with a different objective in mind, (a faith based, rooted in a belief in God) which does not mean that the narratives in the Old Testament have no historical value. They are recognized, even by secular historians, as one of the most reliable sources available for reconstructing the history of the time and for the Hebrew people. 
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« Reply #14 on: August 06, 2008, 12:30:57 am »
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Even the degree to which we should assume the OT was even intended to be historically acurate is debatable.

I have to jump in again here.  I have a degree in Classics from Uni - I spend some time studying Old Testament from a basic academic standpoint - (at a non-religious uni, for the record).  It's completley false to say that the OT is historically inaccurate - and most secular historians even use its accuracy to timetable events from that period.  It's one of the few written records the world has in many cases for certain periods of time and rules of various kings. 

Of course, archaeology and classical study cannot always answer that question of "is the OT 100% true" . Nothing material remains from Elijah’s ascension into heaven, for example. Therefore, if anyone is to ask archaeology to “prove” that the entire Bible is true or false, we are faced with the fact that archaeology can neither prove nor disprove the Bible’s validity. However, even though it cannot conclusively prove the Bible’s veracity in every instance, archaeology can provide important pieces of the past that consistently verify the Bible’s historical and factual accuracy.
 
And although I could go on and bore you with history and findings of "bullae" (or small clay tablets), I thought it might be worthwhile to mention the Moabite Stone. This was considered a great find by the archeology community - more can be found on it by searching.  But bascially, the written inscription on the stone provides a piece of outstanding evidence that verifies OT accuracy. Mesha, had the stone cut in c. 850 B.C. to relate his numerous conquests and his reacquisition of certain territories that were controlled by Israel.  The Mesha stele cites Omri as the king of Israel, just as 1 Kings 16:21-28 indicates. Furthermore, it mentions Ahab, Omri’s son, in close connection with the Moabites, as does 2 Kings 3:4-6. In addition, both the stele and 2 Kings 3:4-6 list Mesha as King of Moab. Later in the inscription, the stele further names the Israelite tribe of Gad, and the Israelite God, Yahweh. While the references to the Israelite kings are quite notable in and of themselves, this reference to Yahweh is one of the few that have been found outside ancient Palestine.

Another famous artifact from Classical Study is the Cyrus Cylinder.  Cyrus, King of the Medo-Persian Empire, is among the most important foreign rulers of the Israelite nation. In fact, many Old Testament prophecies revolve around this monarch. The prophet Isaiah documented that the Babylonian Empire would fall to the Medes and the Persians (Isaiah 13; 21:1-10). Not only did Isaiah detail the particular empire to which the Babylonians would fall, but he also called Cyrus by name (Isaiah 44:28; 45:1-5). Amazingly, Isaiah’s prophecy was made roughly 150 years before Cyrus was born (Isaiah prophesied in about 700 B.C.; Cyrus took the city of Babylon in 539 B.C.). To add to Cyrus’ significance, Isaiah predicted that Cyrus would act as the Lord’s “shepherd.” In fact, Isaiah recorded these words of the Lord concerning Cyrus: “And he shall perform all My pleasure, even saying to Jerusalem, ‘You shall be built,’ and to the temple, ‘Your foundation shall be laid’ ” (Isaiah 44:28).

Look there are lots of other examples from acheology.  A simple google search also produced this article:  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1557124/Tiny-tablet-provides-proof-for-Old-Testament.html

The individual books of the Old Testament were written with a different objective in mind, (a faith based, rooted in a belief in God) which does not mean that the narratives in the Old Testament have no historical value. They are recognized, even by secular historians, as one of the most reliable sources available for reconstructing the history of the time and for the Hebrew people. 

Of course.  I was referring only to certain writings in which is seems that the authors intent was more to relate a specific teaching or truth to the reader, rather than gunning for 100% historical accuracy, or what was believed to be the actual history.

There are clearly writings intended to relate real history, and those have always proven rather accurate.  But they are not close to being the only writings contained in the OT.
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« Reply #15 on: August 06, 2008, 12:38:50 am »
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I heard a good explanation about this by Nietzsche.

The less said by that disgusting Nazi fuck the better.
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« Reply #16 on: August 06, 2008, 10:00:27 am »
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I heard a good explanation about this by Nietzsche.

The less said by that disgusting Nazi fuck the better.

How can you possibly be a Nazi before they even existed? Roll Eyes
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« Reply #17 on: August 06, 2008, 10:26:26 am »
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Even the degree to which we should assume the OT was even intended to be historically acurate is debatable.

I have to jump in again here.  I have a degree in Classics from Uni - I spend some time studying Old Testament from a basic academic standpoint - (at a non-religious uni, for the record).  It's completley false to say that the OT is historically inaccurate - and most secular historians even use its accuracy to timetable events from that period.  It's one of the few written records the world has in many cases for certain periods of time and rules of various kings. 

Of course, archaeology and classical study cannot always answer that question of "is the OT 100% true" . Nothing material remains from Elijah’s ascension into heaven, for example. Therefore, if anyone is to ask archaeology to “prove” that the entire Bible is true or false, we are faced with the fact that archaeology can neither prove nor disprove the Bible’s validity. However, even though it cannot conclusively prove the Bible’s veracity in every instance, archaeology can provide important pieces of the past that consistently verify the Bible’s historical and factual accuracy.
 
And although I could go on and bore you with history and findings of "bullae" (or small clay tablets), I thought it might be worthwhile to mention the Moabite Stone. This was considered a great find by the archeology community - more can be found on it by searching.  But bascially, the written inscription on the stone provides a piece of outstanding evidence that verifies OT accuracy. Mesha, had the stone cut in c. 850 B.C. to relate his numerous conquests and his reacquisition of certain territories that were controlled by Israel.  The Mesha stele cites Omri as the king of Israel, just as 1 Kings 16:21-28 indicates. Furthermore, it mentions Ahab, Omri’s son, in close connection with the Moabites, as does 2 Kings 3:4-6. In addition, both the stele and 2 Kings 3:4-6 list Mesha as King of Moab. Later in the inscription, the stele further names the Israelite tribe of Gad, and the Israelite God, Yahweh. While the references to the Israelite kings are quite notable in and of themselves, this reference to Yahweh is one of the few that have been found outside ancient Palestine.

Another famous artifact from Classical Study is the Cyrus Cylinder.  Cyrus, King of the Medo-Persian Empire, is among the most important foreign rulers of the Israelite nation. In fact, many Old Testament prophecies revolve around this monarch. The prophet Isaiah documented that the Babylonian Empire would fall to the Medes and the Persians (Isaiah 13; 21:1-10). Not only did Isaiah detail the particular empire to which the Babylonians would fall, but he also called Cyrus by name (Isaiah 44:28; 45:1-5). Amazingly, Isaiah’s prophecy was made roughly 150 years before Cyrus was born (Isaiah prophesied in about 700 B.C.; Cyrus took the city of Babylon in 539 B.C.). To add to Cyrus’ significance, Isaiah predicted that Cyrus would act as the Lord’s “shepherd.” In fact, Isaiah recorded these words of the Lord concerning Cyrus: “And he shall perform all My pleasure, even saying to Jerusalem, ‘You shall be built,’ and to the temple, ‘Your foundation shall be laid’ ” (Isaiah 44:28).

Look there are lots of other examples from acheology.  A simple google search also produced this article:  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1557124/Tiny-tablet-provides-proof-for-Old-Testament.html

The individual books of the Old Testament were written with a different objective in mind, (a faith based, rooted in a belief in God) which does not mean that the narratives in the Old Testament have no historical value. They are recognized, even by secular historians, as one of the most reliable sources available for reconstructing the history of the time and for the Hebrew people. 

I agree with this explanation.  It is entirely accurate and true.  As a Christian, I believe that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God.  One cannot "pick and choose" what they believe about the Bible.  One either believes all of it, or they believe none of it.  Its in direct relation in what Jesus said to the church at Laodicea in Revelation 3:15-16 "I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot:  I would that thou wert cold or hot.  So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth."  If we try to pick and choose the Bible, then we are trying to pick and choose Christianity and are "lukewarm" and God will vomit us out.
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« Reply #18 on: August 06, 2008, 12:04:58 pm »
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That entails believing in explicitly contradictory things, BO. What, exactly, would God's purpose be in self-contradiction? I would imagine an omniscient being to be slightly better at proof reading..

The actual formation of the Bible is hardly a divine inspiration either. I am not trying to call the contents a work of absolute fiction. My point is that the Bible was clearly written by mankind, translated by mankind, and is not perfect. The Bible is not God, I would advise you to stop worshiping it.
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« Reply #19 on: August 06, 2008, 12:14:16 pm »
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I heard a good explanation about this by Nietzsche.

The less said by that disgusting Nazi fuck the better.

Don't tell me you buy that crap.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vfkjdLpXV6c
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« Reply #20 on: August 06, 2008, 12:47:54 pm »
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That entails believing in explicitly contradictory things, BO. What, exactly, would God's purpose be in self-contradiction? I would imagine an omniscient being to be slightly better at proof reading..

The actual formation of the Bible is hardly a divine inspiration either. I am not trying to call the contents a work of absolute fiction. My point is that the Bible was clearly written by mankind, translated by mankind, and is not perfect. The Bible is not God, I would advise you to stop worshiping it.

John 1:1 -- In the Beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

The Bible is the inerrant and divinely inspired Word of God.  It was clearly written by 40 men, but authored by God Himself.

My Bible is the most important possession that I own, because it is literally, a "How-To" book on life.

I'd advise you to start holding the Bible in higher regard than treating it as just another good book.
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« Reply #21 on: August 06, 2008, 01:36:15 pm »
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I heard a good explanation about this by Nietzsche.

The less said by that disgusting Nazi fuck the better.

How can you possibly be a Nazi before they even existed? Roll Eyes

     Didn't anyone tell you? Nietzsche was a time traveler. Tongue

I heard a good explanation about this by Nietzsche.

The less said by that disgusting Nazi fuck the better.

Don't tell me you buy that crap.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vfkjdLpXV6c

     Thank you for finding that. As anyone can see from my topic about Nietzsche (insert shameless topic hawking), a lot of people voiced negative opinions of Nietzsche, & gave reasonable explanations. BRTD was the only one to call him a Nazi.
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« Reply #22 on: August 07, 2008, 12:16:31 am »
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That entails believing in explicitly contradictory things, BO. What, exactly, would God's purpose be in self-contradiction? I would imagine an omniscient being to be slightly better at proof reading..

The actual formation of the Bible is hardly a divine inspiration either. I am not trying to call the contents a work of absolute fiction. My point is that the Bible was clearly written by mankind, translated by mankind, and is not perfect. The Bible is not God, I would advise you to stop worshiping it.

John 1:1 -- In the Beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

The Bible is the inerrant and divinely inspired Word of God.  It was clearly written by 40 men, but authored by God Himself.

My Bible is the most important possession that I own, because it is literally, a "How-To" book on life.

I'd advise you to start holding the Bible in higher regard than treating it as just another good book.

I do have high regard for the Bible, and I know it fairly well, I'd wager. It helped me get through some very difficult times in life. It also gave me undue stress. I was, and still am to a certain degree, impressed with how the actual story flows, and resolves, and all of the parallels involved. It is indeed a good book. I just don't believe it's without flaws or that it was written by God. Your verse, by the way, is a parallel to Genesis, as I'm sure you know, and the Word is actually Jesus. Not that it matters, anyway, you should know that telling me the Bible is perfect/divine because the Bible itself says so isn't exactly anything besides circular.

I mean no personal offense, either, even though it's clear you hold the Bible up preciously. I just think it's dangerous, and, in a sense, breaking one of the commandments it contains - worshiping false idols/graven images. That's sort of a running theme, dare I say repeated for emphasis.
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« Reply #23 on: August 07, 2008, 02:06:57 am »
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If I traveled back in time, and found Nietzsche standing before me, and I had a handgun, I'd blow him away. That show poorly I think of that disgusting miserable piece of human trash. He is utterly disgusting and repulsive.
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« Reply #24 on: August 07, 2008, 12:57:49 pm »
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Documentary_hypothesis

Understanding current OT scholarship (by serious intellectuals) goes a long way towards helping with the dilemma you are facing.  That article helps explain.

Excellent!  Soulty, you continue to enrich our religious discussion here.  You rock!
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