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Tobias

I think not all non-Israelites and neighbors are evil, though. There seems to be a misconception among a lot of Christians that all non-Christians are evil and satanic.

I'm not questioning the Bible though. I'm just pointing out both sides of the coin. To the non-Israelites back then, the Israelites' practice with God might seem weird at best. I'm not saying Israelites and God are evil. I just mean that the definition of good and evil is so ambiguous we cannot find a clear answer.

tom sheepandgoats

I'm with you to a degree, Tobias. However, note regarding these particular neighbors Deut 12:31 -

"You must not thus behave toward the LORD your God; for every abomination which He hates, these peoples have done for their gods, even to the burning of their sons and daughters in the fire to their gods." Ber

That's pretty bad.

Jason Chamberlain

I find it interesting that one of the chief attacks against the Bible is the order of genocide. However, the whole of the Old Testament shows that God knew what He was talking about when He commanded it. He knew what would happen when they didn't do it.

tom sheepandgoats

Jason:

I hear you. Thanks. Sort of like Deut 9:4-5:

"“Do not say in your heart when Jehovah your God pushes them away from before you this, ‘It was for my own righteousness that Jehovah has brought me in to take possession of this land,’ whereas it is for the wickedness of these nations that Jehovah is driving them away from before you. It is not for your righteousness or for the uprightness of your heart that you are going in to take possession of their land; in fact, it is for the wickedness of these nations that Jehovah your God is driving them away from before you, and in order to carry out the word that Jehovah swore to your forefathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob."

DT

When talking about the non-boy-scout-ish behavior of the ancients, the "she" mentioned in your opening should have directed the criticism more clearly: directly at those people that were behaving in such ways precisely because they were following God's law.

As she didn't, your post seems to focus the criticism on the pagans of surrounding nations, as well as the Hebrews that left God's law to follow them. This seems like ignoring the elephant in the room.

I won't insult your intelligence by rehashing individual examples (I'm sure you've heard them all anyway), but it's of course plain that the Hebrews did things that were just as horrifying and barbaric as the nations around them. The difference here, though, is that they did them with the explicit approval and direction of God.

You cite the 'burning of their sons and daughters in the fire' in one of your comments; surely the Hebrews were given and carried out the order to kill infants and children when conquering a territory.

It seems to me that the only argument that would make any sense (although I don't personally agree with it) is to agree that behavior was indeed vile and barbaric in those days, but that the Hebrews are exempt from criticism as they were simply following the commandments of Jehovah.

The argument that the Hebrews being more advanced than their neighbors in areas of health and certain social programs somehow exempts them from responsibility for their violent and barbaric behavior clearly set forth in the Scriptures doesn't seem to carry much weight.

tom sheepandgoats

DT:

I don't think I have the answer to what you bring up. You say "surely the Hebrews were given and carried out the order to kill infants and children when conquering a territory." That doesn't play very well today, does it? And the Deuteronomy verses I quoted (above) for Jason are a challenge for people to get their heads around, I admit.

Similar verses of God taking life can be found in the NT. For example, 2 Thess 1:6-9.

Also those passages in Jeremiah likening people to a potter's vessel which is not coming out quite right, which is resisting the potter's best efforts on the turning wheel, so he swats it flat and starts again.

I suppose one can carry on about how mean God is. But since he's the potter, I think it's more productive to try to get on his good side. It's not that hard.

DT

Hi Tom,

I hope my comment wasn't perceived as me challenging you to come up with an answer for something. Your post and comments were well-written and thoughtful; my comment was intended to bring up a point of view that seemed (to me!) to add to the debate.

I will also say that I have more respect for believers, like yourself, who stick to their guns and, when presented with opposing viewpoints, don't proceed to water their position down in some relativist attempt at attaining "common ground".

We might not agree, but I think it more intellectually stimulating to converse with folks that are seriously behind what they believe.

tom sheepandgoats

I appreciate the remark, DT

Bill in Detroit

"Semmelweis enforced hand writing at his own hospital"

Yeah, those keyboard germs can be nasty!

ROFLOL!

Might wanna fix the typo. 8-)

I just 'met' Semmelweis yesterday while researching antiseptics for a book (the book is set in the mid 1850s and my protagonist has an infected amputation). Another scientist who was hounded by 'orthodox' science. (Just reflecting on your climate warming post.)

tom sheepandgoats

Did it really say "hand writing?" Well well well. Nevertheless, I'll leave it as is, otherwise your comment will make no sense. Besides, perhaps it will increase the value of the post among collectors.

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