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Old 2008-07-27, 04:25   Link #1101
james0246
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Originally Posted by monstert View Post
First, God commanded Israel to kill, He says nothing about rape. And second, you forgot to mention that Moses was angry with the officers for sparing some of the enemies. But since he gave at least the virgins to the men, Moses must have compromised with them. Still, there is nothing there about simply raping these women under command of God. And it is more likely they were taken to be wives.
Just to make sure, but you do realize that this in-bold statement does count as rape. You can argue historical connotations all you want, but the passage Vexx quoted and your interpretation both have women forced into acts of intercourse against their will (in this case forced into marriage which requires an act of consummation in order to be validated). That is rape.
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Old 2008-07-27, 04:38   Link #1102
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Quote:
Originally Posted by monstert View Post
First, God commanded Israel to kill, He says nothing about rape. And second, you forgot to mention that Moses was angry with the officers for sparing some of the enemies. But since he gave at least the virgins to the men, Moses must have compromised with them. Still, there is nothing there about simply raping these women under command of God. And it is more likely they were taken to be wives.
Please.... all we have to do is look at the text. Rewriting the bible or ignoring uncomfortable bible-facts doesn't exactly score points with anyone paying attention. By any definition - they slaughtered all including the children and took terrified young virgin women forcibly to be wives. Feel free to explain how that isn't rape to any woman of your choice. It was done by authority of their God (as related by Moses who had a special channel to God). The story communicates the consequences for a whole people whose leaders resisted and interfered with the God of Abraham.

Lets be clear, the Old Testament shouldn't be what Christianity is about --- though its often amazing how often it gets quoted by some factions to justify certain behavior. Focusing on what *Jesus* is recorded to have said would be the guiding light, one would think. What did he say about violence or treatment of women? (rhetorical)

Last edited by Vexx; 2008-07-27 at 04:54.
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Old 2008-07-27, 04:39   Link #1103
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Originally Posted by james3wk View Post
Just to make sure, but you do realize that this in-bold statement does count as rape. You can argue historical connotations all you want, but the passage Vexx quoted and your interpretation both have women forced into acts of intercourse against their will (in this case forced into marriage which requires an act of consummation in order to be validated). That is rape.
Ok, my point was that the passage shows no actual command from God to rape the women. What really happened to those women, I don't know. They could be made slaves, servants, wives, concubines, raped or not raped.
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Originally Posted by Vexx View Post
Please.... all we have to do is look at the text. Rewriting the bible or ignoring uncomfortable bible-facts doesn't exactly score points with anyone paying attention. By any definition - they slaughtered all including the children and took terrified young virgin women forcibly to be wives. Feel free to explain how that isn't rape to any woman of your choice.
I'm not trying to score points, but you haven't shown me that God commanded them to rape. In fact, I'm sure by Moses' initial reaction that he would've preferred them killed.
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Originally Posted by Vexx View Post
It was done by authority of their God (as related by Moses who had a special channel to God). The story communicates the consequences for a whole people whose leaders resisted and interfered with the God of Abraham.
Yes, and as we all know, the people of Israel has not always been about following God's commands completely.

But if you argue that the matters of the virgins were done under God's authority, then it becomes a matter of God permitting lives be saved. To you and I, it may be slavery/rape, but to those women, it's their second chance to live.
Quote:
Lets be clear, the Old Testament shouldn't be what Christianity is about --- though its often amazing how often it gets quoted by some factions to justify certain behavior. Focusing on what *Jesus* is recorded to have said would be the guiding light, one would think. What did he say about violence or treatment of women? (rhetorical)
Out of curiosity, where do you get off deciding that a big part of the Bible should not be what Christianity is about?

Last edited by monster; 2008-07-27 at 05:51.
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Old 2008-07-27, 06:22   Link #1104
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vexx View Post
Please.... all we have to do is look at the text. Rewriting the bible or ignoring uncomfortable bible-facts doesn't exactly score points with anyone paying attention. By any definition - they slaughtered all including the children and took terrified young virgin women forcibly to be wives. Feel free to explain how that isn't rape to any woman of your choice. It was done by authority of their God (as related by Moses who had a special channel to God). The story communicates the consequences for a whole people whose leaders resisted and interfered with the God of Abraham.

Lets be clear, the Old Testament shouldn't be what Christianity is about --- though its often amazing how often it gets quoted by some factions to justify certain behavior. Focusing on what *Jesus* is recorded to have said would be the guiding light, one would think. What did he say about violence or treatment of women? (rhetorical)
Are you sure you are not using your interpretation to define (By any definition? What is that supposed to mean?)what the text says for the purposes of your argument? For any of us to really look in-depth at what the Book of Numbers says, we need to delve into some deep biblical exegesis, & possibly a study on the Hebrew language.

When it comes to interpreting another person's religious texts, I would prefer to err on the side of caution. What it doesn't say, I do my best not to presume. I will admit you have brought up a very good point that its really suggestive. But, as you've mentioned yourself, there is potential for anyone (including Christians) to take the Old Testament out of context.

Since Christians define the Bible as both the Old Testament & New Testament, then shouldn't it be good form to look at both instead of just one?

I also agree, yes, biblical misinterpretation is a dangerous thing. But it is sadly inevitable, seeing how Christians have broken off into so many denominations & divisions. In the end, man undoes what God has meant to be perfect - again.
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Old 2008-07-27, 06:26   Link #1105
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Speaking of Jesus and the Old Testament...
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Old 2008-07-27, 08:43   Link #1106
Backwards Blues
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Originally Posted by james3wk View Post
To clarify, Judeo-Christian belief only accepts war as being justifiable in the line of defense ("governments cannot be denied the right of lawful self-defense, once all peace efforts have failed.") Any war used as a means of attack or conquest is instantly unjustifiable by Judeo-Christian doctrine.
Says...who? The more "minor" details and ideals in Judeo-Christian beliefs are so scattered between denominations that there's no legitimate way you could make a generalization that broad.
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Old 2008-07-27, 09:41   Link #1107
WanderingKnight
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Okay, let's clear something up, and pronto:

The Bible was written by men. Anyone who doubts that is instantly barred from any kind of discussion possible. Likewise, even if you are a Christian, and even if you do believe in God over every other thing in this planet, you should realize that the Bible was written a long, long time ago, for people who had a very different set of values and tools with which understand and interpret the world. Though I'm wary of thinking that the main purpose of writing the book was simply "spreading the word of God" (isn't it too much of a coincidence that the word of God is spread by those in power?), either way, it's a book that was meant to be read and understood a very long time ago.

Now, let's go back to Israelites raping women in Canaan (I believe I was the one who mentioned that in the first place). If only you used your head, even for a bit, to think in historic terms, rape is something extremely common throughout several (if not all) ancient people. Thinking that there wasn't even a single rape committed during the invasion of Canaan is, at the very best, terribly naive. But, whether God or not had "ordered" it is completely irrelevant: such acts were automatically justified by the Bible in the idea that pursuing such a war was a God-given right.

Think, people, think. This is not about denying that God exists, this is about using your damn head for a moment. You're trying to literally accept the words of a book that was written by men more than 2000 years ago! Do you realize just how much has society changed since then? How difficult it is to understand how people of that era thought?

As someone said already, how would you know none of the current wars are divinely justified? How would you know that Bush was actually right and that the invasion of Iraq (with all its civilian casualties, and all the tortured Iraqi and American soldiers) was his God-given right?
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Old 2008-07-27, 10:24   Link #1108
Backwards Blues
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Originally Posted by WanderingKnight View Post
Okay, let's clear something up, and pronto:

The Bible was written by men. Anyone who doubts that is instantly barred from any kind of discussion possible. Likewise, even if you are a Christian, and even if you do believe in God over every other thing in this planet, you should realize that the Bible was written a long, long time ago, for people who had a very different set of values and tools with which understand and interpret the world. Though I'm wary of thinking that the main purpose of writing the book was simply "spreading the word of God" (isn't it too much of a coincidence that the word of God is spread by those in power?), either way, it's a book that was meant to be read and understood a very long time ago.

Now, let's go back to Israelites raping women in Canaan (I believe I was the one who mentioned that in the first place). If only you used your head, even for a bit, to think in historic terms, rape is something extremely common throughout several (if not all) ancient people. Thinking that there wasn't even a single rape committed during the invasion of Canaan is, at the very best, terribly naive. But, whether God or not had "ordered" it is completely irrelevant: such acts were automatically justified by the Bible in the idea that pursuing such a war was a God-given right.

Think, people, think. This is not about denying that God exists, this is about using your damn head for a moment. You're trying to literally accept the words of a book that was written by men more than 2000 years ago! Do you realize just how much has society changed since then? How difficult it is to understand how people of that era thought?

As someone said already, how would you know none of the current wars are divinely justified? How would you know that Bush was actually right and that the invasion of Iraq (with all its civilian casualties, and all the tortured Iraqi and American soldiers) was his God-given right?
Oh how much you presume.

At least to Christians I know, the Bible was written by prophets, leaders, and men very close to God, all who wrote it according to His inspiration. Hence it being a Holy Book. Its not a simple work of mankind. At least not to us. Whether or not you want to believe that is your choice, but your view of the Bible isn't absolute.

I'm sure there were incidents of rape among the invaders. Not all of them were as dedicated as some like to believe. The Israelites spent more time disobeying God than listening to him, but that doesn't mean they were a group of marauding vikings torturing and pillaging everything in their path as some like to think.

What does that have to do with anything? How would we know? Probably through asking God, but that's something a lot of people here wouldn't accept. A little birdie told me the war in Iraq did have higher dealings, but that's an entirely different discussion in itself. Why not stay on topic.
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Last edited by Backwards Blues; 2008-07-27 at 10:39.
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Old 2008-07-27, 10:39   Link #1109
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WanderingKnight View Post
Think, people, think. This is not about denying that God exists, this is about using your damn head for a moment. You're trying to literally accept the words of a book that was written by men more than 2000 years ago! Do you realize just how much has society changed since then? How difficult it is to understand how people of that era thought?
The Bible was written over a period of several thousand years, I believe. Even if it is antiquated as you claim it to be, you still have to accept that - old/ outdated or not - even if you don't think it is the divine word of God it is still history. And history is meant to be learnt, studied & applied.

I would follow through the same for all religious texts that contain historical records within them.

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Originally Posted by WanderingKnight View Post
As someone said already, how would you know none of the current wars are divinely justified? How would you know that Bush was actually right and that the invasion of Iraq (with all its civilian casualties, and all the tortured Iraqi and American soldiers) was his God-given right?
I will question again the definition & extent of "divinely inspired".

But more importantly, what do you think? Without me being disrespectful, it would be interesting to hear your views on this matter.
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Old 2008-07-27, 10:39   Link #1110
WanderingKnight
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Quote:
At least to Christians I know, the Bible was written by prophets, leaders, and men very close to God, all who wrote it according to His inspiration. Hence it being a Holy Book. Its not a simple work of mankind. At least not to us. Whether or not you want to believe that is your choice, but your view of the Bible isn't absolute.
Then at least let's agree on something: The people who were meant to read that (well, better put, to hear that, since most people couldn't read) were people living a long, long time ago. And repeating what I said, they had a very different set of tools with which they could understand and interpret their surroundings. Don't you think "God's word" would have to be "adapted" to their different understanding?

Quote:
The Bible was written over a period of several thousand years, I believe. Even if it is antiquated as you claim it to be, you still have to accept that - old/ outdated or not - if it is not the divine word of God it is still history. And history is meant to be learnt, studied & applied.
The Torah was compiled around 600 BC. And yes, I do not doubt that it has to be learned, but it has to be understood and interpreted. You just don't read it literally. Read Asimov's Guide to the Bible for a (brilliant) secular interpretation of the Bible that doesn't deal with the existence or nonexistence of God.

Quote:
But more importantly, what do you think? Without me being disrespectful, it would be interesting to hear your views on this matter.
Me? I'm atheist. But I believe I stated that a long time ago in this thread. I believe the people who wrote the Bible did it, as all organized religions do, to herd the masses. But that's just me.
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Old 2008-07-27, 10:47   Link #1111
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Originally Posted by WanderingKnight View Post
Then at least let's agree on something: The people who were meant to read that (well, better put, to hear that, since most people couldn't read) were people living a long, long time ago. And repeating what I said, they had a very different set of tools with which they could understand and interpret their surroundings. Don't you think "God's word" would have to be "adapted" to their different understanding?
Not necessarily. I think that God's word does require certain understood cultural differences, but overall its a rather timeless book about themes that can still be applied and used today. In essence, yes, but not to the extent you believe.
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Old 2008-07-27, 10:50   Link #1112
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Then you are taking the Bible literally as it stands? As in, the Earth is only 6000 years old and Adam and Eve were truly two persons and not a metaphor for different people living in the Tigris-Euphrates area during the early Sumerian era?
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Old 2008-07-27, 10:53   Link #1113
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Then you are taking the Bible literally as it stands? As in, the Earth is only 6000 years old and Adam and Eve were truly two persons and not a metaphor for different people living in the Tigris-Euphrates area during the early Sumerian era?
Probably. I've thought long and hard about the Beginning, and I reached the conclusion that its not really that important.

One could argue that evolution occurred in the "six days, six ages" theory, where each day was really periods of millions of years, since time is irrelevant to God. I vote for the Adam and Eve theory because it makes the most sense as to why the world is the way it is now. Not to mention that Jesus also stated it as truth. He mentioned it as canonical in one of the gospels. I could look up the verse if you want.
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Old 2008-07-27, 10:55   Link #1114
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Oookay... I think I've got nothing left to discuss with you then.
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Old 2008-07-27, 11:02   Link #1115
shelter
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Originally Posted by WanderingKnight View Post
And yes, I do not doubt that it has to be learned, but it has to be understood and interpreted. You just don't read it literally. Read Asimov's Guide to the Bible for a (brilliant) secular interpretation of the Bible that doesn't deal with the existence or nonexistence of God.
Since you imply that we, now, have a completely different set of views/ tools for interpretation, don't you think that (when interpreting Biblical events in the light of history) we have the benefit of hindsight too?

And since you, like me, agree it requires interpretation, don't you think it should be interpreted in context? Don't get me wrong... but if any texts were meant for an audience, instructing them in the religion, then wouldn't a secular interpretation miss some key cultural-religious points?

Nonetheless, I will check out Asimov's guide. I'm sure I can get a copy easily.

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Originally Posted by WanderingKnight View Post
Me? I'm atheist. But I believe I stated that a long time ago in this thread. I believe the people who wrote the Bible did it, as all organized religions do, to herd the masses. But that's just me.
Ok. Thanks for clearing that part up Although I was specifically asking for your views on the Iraqi war (or modern war in general) being so-called "divinely-inspired".

For the record, I'm a born-again Christian, who is trying to study Islamic Society, Culture & History in the local uni. So I try to be balanced.
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Old 2008-07-27, 11:12   Link #1116
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Hmm... it's getting rather hot in here, isn't it?

My problems with Creationists notwithstanding, I don't think there is much profit in ridiculing deeply-held beliefs in matters of religion. It is fine to question the authenticity of the Bible, but it is easy to see why Backwards Blues and other Christians would be offended when non-Christians attempt to discredit the Holy Book. For one thing, there are people who spend a lot of time studying and interpreting scripture from its relevant historical contexts to understand better how the Word is meant to be applied in everyday life. As such, it's rather presumptuous for secular individuals to criticise a text they haven't studied to the same extent.

As shelter points out, a secular interpretation, while possible, would probably lead to further misunderstanding rather than greater knowledge.

So, for a start, if there are members here who actually have a background in exegesis, I wouldn't mind hearing from them. I've met Christians who have healthy doubts about their own religion, and I'm usually impressed by how such doubts lead to greater faith in God. It's not something that an atheist can easily understand or appreciate, I believe.
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Old 2008-07-27, 11:18   Link #1117
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Hmm... it's getting rather hot in here, isn't it?

My problems with Creationists notwithstanding, I don't think there is much profit in ridiculing deeply-held beliefs in matters of religion. It is fine to question the authenticity of the Bible, but it is easy to see why Backwards Blues and other Christians would be offended when non-Christians attempt to discredit the Holy Book. For one thing, there are people who spend a lot of time studying and interpreting scripture from its relevant historical contexts to understand better how the Word is meant to be applied in everyday life. As such, it's rather presumptuous for secular individuals to criticise a text they haven't studied to the same extent.

As shelter points out, a secular interpretation, while possible, would probably lead to further misunderstanding rather than greater knowledge.

So, for a start, if there are members here who actually have a background in exegesis, I wouldn't mind hearing from them. I've met Christians who have healthy doubts about their own religion, and I'm usually impressed by how such doubts lead to greater faith in God. It's not something that an atheist can easily understand or appreciate, I believe.
Thank you for your input. I've never heard a such a level-headed and understanding opinion from an atheistic perspective before. Quite refreshing.
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Old 2008-07-27, 11:29   Link #1118
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^ You're welcome, but I'll be the first to warn you that I am very harsh towards individuals who take the Bible too literally. Like Vexx, I have very few kind words to say to such people.
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Old 2008-07-27, 11:34   Link #1119
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xD

I wasn't about to challenge your views of the Bible. Personally, I think its a story-to-story, theme-to-theme Book. Whether or not something needs interpretation is pretty situational in the scripture.
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Old 2008-07-27, 12:19   Link #1120
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You better be carefully which religion you choose to follow since you don't know which one is fake or real. If you have been pursuing the fake one all the time then that would be a tad waste wouldn't it ? Why take the risk and devot your life to something which may not be real ?
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