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Old 09-26-2001, 03:00 PM   #1
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Exclamation My favorite (complex) contradiction

1 Chronicles 21:1 - "Satan stood up against Israel, and incited David to count the people of Israel."
1 Chronicles 21:7-8, 14 - "But God was displeased with this thing, and he struck Israel. David said to God, 'I have sinned greatly in that I have done this thing. But now, I pray to you, take away the guilt of your servant; for I have done very foolishly.'" ...(God, through Gad, offers David a choice of three punishments to make up for his sin)... "So the Lord sent a pestilence on Israel; and seventy thousand persons fell in Israel."

2 Samuel 24:1 - "Again the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and he incited David against them, saying, 'Go, count the people of Israel and Judah.'"
2 Samuel 24:10 - "But afterword, David was stricken to the heart because he had numbered the people. David said to the Lord, 'I have sinned greatly in what I have done. But now, Lord, I pray you, take away the guilt of your servant; for I have done very foolishly.'" (Then God plagues the people)

1 Kings 15:5 - "[B]ecause David did what was right in the sight of the Lord, and did not turn aside from anything that he commanded him all the days of his life, except in the matter of Uriah the Hittite."

James 1:13 - "No one, when tempted, should say, 'I am being tempted by God;' for God cannot be tempted by evil and he himself tempts no one."

Questions:
Who made David do it, Satan or God?
Did David sin in doing it or not?
Why the hell does God kill 70,000 Israelites with a plague because of David's sin? Be sure to reconcile this answer with your first two.

Any Christian who can satisfactorily reconcile these verses gets eternal salvation (maybe). And a cookie.

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"O Lord Most High, Creator of the Cosmos, Spinner of Galaxies, Soul of Electromagnetic Waves, Inhaler and Exhaler of Inconceivable Volumes of Vacuum, Spitter of Fire and Rock, Trifler with Millennia—what could we do for Thee that Thou couldst not do for Thyself one octillion times better? Nothing. What could we do or say that could possibly interest Thee? Nothing. Oh, Mankind, rejoice in the apathy of our Creator, for it makes us free and truthful and dignified at last. No longer can a fool like Malachi Constant point to a ridiculous accident of good luck and say, “Somebody up there likes me.” And no longer can a tyrant say, “God wants this or that to happen, and anybody who doesn’t help this or that to happen is against God.” O Lord Most High, what a glorious weapon is Thy Apathy, for we have unsheathed it, have thrust and slashed mightily with it, and the claptrap that has so often enslaved us or driven us into the madhouse lies slain!" - A minister of the Church of God the Utterly Indifferent
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Old 09-26-2001, 03:30 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally posted by Cracker:
<STRONG>1 Chronicles 21:1 - "Satan stood up against Israel, and incited David to count the people of Israel."
1 Chronicles 21:7-8, 14 - "But God was displeased with this thing, and he struck Israel. David said to God, 'I have sinned greatly in that I have done this thing. But now, I pray to you, take away the guilt of your servant; for I have done very foolishly.'" ...(God, through Gad, offers David a choice of three punishments to make up for his sin)... "So the Lord sent a pestilence on Israel; and seventy thousand persons fell in Israel."

2 Samuel 24:1 - "Again the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and he incited David against them, saying, 'Go, count the people of Israel and Judah.'"
2 Samuel 24:10 - "But afterword, David was stricken to the heart because he had numbered the people. David said to the Lord, 'I have sinned greatly in what I have done. But now, Lord, I pray you, take away the guilt of your servant; for I have done very foolishly.'" (Then God plagues the people)

1 Kings 15:5 - "[B]ecause David did what was right in the sight of the Lord, and did not turn aside from anything that he commanded him all the days of his life, except in the matter of Uriah the Hittite."

James 1:13 - "No one, when tempted, should say, 'I am being tempted by God;' for God cannot be tempted by evil and he himself tempts no one."

Questions:
Who made David do it, Satan or God?</STRONG>
God, using Satan as his agent. The goal of the counting was judgment upon Israel. God didn't tempt David for the sake of temptation, but used David's pride as the means of His judgment.

Quote:
Did David sin in doing it or not?
Yes.

Quote:
Why the hell does God kill 70,000 Israelites with a plague because of David's sin?
He didn't do it because of David's sin, but as judgement against Israel. God was incited to judgment against Israel and used David's pride to bring that judgment.

Quote:
Be sure to reconcile this answer with your first two.

Any Christian who can satisfactorily reconcile these verses gets eternal salvation (maybe). And a cookie.
This was off the cuff, just by what you had posted. If there is error of context let me know and I'll look it up in in the Biblical context. I'm granting that the context given here is pretty accurate without further detail.
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Old 09-27-2001, 06:05 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally posted by Thunder:
<STRONG>

This was off the cuff, just by what you had posted. If there is error of context let me know and I'll look it up in in the Biblical context. I'm granting that the context given here is pretty accurate without further detail.</STRONG>
Eh...are you using M. Henry`s explanation of the Bible, or something...? I am always amazed of people trying to defend cruelties..If I give you the "Holy" book of Islam I guess you as well be suddenly be a reasonable critical person..

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Old 09-27-2001, 06:22 AM   #4
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Quote:
God, using Satan as his agent. The goal of the counting was judgment upon Israel. God didn't tempt David for the sake of temptation, but used David's pride as the means of His judgment.
Then why is it that the same causal verb is used in both passages? Furthermore, how can it be that in Chronicles, God is speaking DIRECTLY to David and yet we're supposed to believe that God did it through Satan?
You also say that you believe that David sinned in taking the census... how is that reconciled with 1 Kings 15:5 which says that David didn't ever sin except in another matter? Yahweh outlawed census taking long before David came to power.
Quote:
He didn't do it because of David's sin, but as judgement against Israel. God was incited to judgment against Israel and used David's pride to bring that judgment.
This seems kind of petty. It gives one the impression that Yahweh's thought process was something along the lines of "Gee, I'm mad at the Jews, but I can't call them on anything right now...hmmmm...I KNOW! I'll make David commmit an overt sin so that I can punish those bastards!" It seems so sneaky and underhanded. In most other parts of the OT, Yahweh doesn't have to mess around with things like that, he just says, "You guys messed up in doing X, prepare to die." Furthermore, it seems really unlikely to me that Yahweh wouldn't be able to pin anything on the Israelites that would justify him in punishing them for two reasons: 1) There are so many rules and regulations listed in the OT that they can be applied to ANYTHING. Preachers can condemn "new sins" by referring to them in simpler terms and invoking OT law. 2) Even if we're to believe that the Israelites did do something that Yahweh had not expressly forbidden, he could have punished them for it directly and told them not to do it again instead of [ostensibly] putting the blame on David's pride so that the Israelites might mess up again in the future in the same (not expressly forbidden) way. It seems to me that if we're to accept this explanation, Yahweh is just a capricious, non-omniscient, petty, conniving god.

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"If people are good only because they fear punishment and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed." - Albert Einstein
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Old 09-27-2001, 07:30 AM   #5
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The implication here seems to be that if God tells people *not* to do something ( such as taking a census), and then comes along at a later date and tells them to do that very thing, they should *not* do it, as it is either a trick of Satan or it is God testing their loyalty to his laws.

It seems then that the only proper response of the Israelites, upon being told to slaughter the inhabitants of such-and-such village, would have been an emphatic "No...our God gave us laws at Mt Sinai that tells us not to kill others, therefore if God is now instructing us to kill other people, it is not God doing the instructing. It is Satan, tempting us to break the commandments."
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Old 09-27-2001, 06:38 PM   #6
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My favourite (simple) answer:
Yes the Bible has some contradictions.
It has nothing to do with orthodox Christianity, it merely disproves the Fundamentalist doctrine of inerrancy.

Tercel
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Old 09-27-2001, 11:17 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by Tercel:
<STRONG>My favourite (simple) answer:
Yes the Bible has some contradictions.
It has nothing to do with orthodox Christianity, it merely disproves the Fundamentalist doctrine of inerrancy.

Tercel</STRONG>
A simple answer for one of such a simple mind as yourself. Its so simple to see the fatal flaw in your reasoning: if the Bible has errors in it, how do you know the whole thing isn't wrong? If you can't trust one part, why trust any of it? Please detail the specific criterion you use to weed out the flawed verses from those that are not flawed.

Then tell me why God's message to all literate humans in existence (the Bible) would even have errors in it in the first place. He can create the entire universe, but can't write a coherent book?
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Old 09-28-2001, 09:34 AM   #8
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Tercel:

I’d like to expand a bit on the Emperor’s point. You say that the fact that the Bible has some flaws “has nothing to do with orthodox Christianity”. On the contrary, it has everything to do with orthodox Christianity.

According to orthodox Christianity, the Bible is the Word of God. It’s not clear exactly what this means, but at the very least it means that the Bible is not a haphazard jumble of pointless stories. Everything in it is there for a good reason: to provide inspiration, instruction, or moral guidance.

So let’s look at the story in question to see what it has to offer by way of inspiration, instruction, and moral guidance.

Inspiration: We see that taking a census (i.e., obtaining valuable information) is a grievous sin. Thus we are inspired to avoid seeking knowledge unless we have been explicitly permitted (or preferably ordered) to do so by God. You never know when it might make God very angry, so why take chances? This lesson is repeated in the Book of Job: when Job asks God for a little insight into His purposes, he is rebuked in a memorable fashion for his insolence. The Catholic Church was so inspired by such lessons about the undesirability of knowledge that it forbade laymen from trying to read the Bible itself on their own. To enforce this policy it forbade translating the Bible into any language that anyone but priests could read.

Instruction: We see that God will punish tens of thousands of innocent people for something they are not responsible for and which they could not have prevented. Thus we are instructed that punishment of the innocent for the sins of the guilty is just. (This lesson is such an essential preparation for the Christian doctrine of Vicarious Atonement that it is repeated dozens of times in the OT.) Moreover, we see that only Jews are punished. So we are further instructed that treating people according to their race is a godly practice. And finally, we note that Jews are singled out because they are of the same race as the sinner. So we are introduced to the uplifting concept of racial guilt. This lesson is also repeated many times in the OT, as for example in the divinely ordained slaughter of thousands of innocent children for the crime of being Amalekites. This lesson of racial guilt was applied repeatedly in the most examplary fashion in the twentieth century.

Moral guidance: Aside from the excellent moral guidance noted above, we see that God offers David three choices, but cleverly refrains from giving him enough details to know which one is relatively best. After David makes the choice that seems to involve the least harm to his people, God reveals that it was actually the worst. Thus we are given to understand that trickery and deceit are morally admirable, especially if the purpose is to hurt as many innocent people as possible. The heroic martyrs who destroyed the WTC clearly obtained their moral guidance from such stories, and undoubtedly have gone to their just reward in the upper tier of Paradise for following the example set by God Himself.

The OT is full of this kind of stuff. The inspiration, instruction, and moral guidance that it contains are vastly inferior to what was on offer at Fagin’s school for pickpockets. You can say that stories like this are true or you can say that they are false, but the real question is: what are they doing in the Word of God?

The fundamentalists don’t claim that the Bible is inerrant because they are such fools that they can’t see the problems with this position. They do so because they see clearly that admitting that the Bible is flawed is fatal to the claim the it is the Word of God. If one want to claim that the Bible is the Word of God one is faced with an impossible dilemma. The fundamentalists have chosen one horn; you have chosen the other. Who is the greater fool?
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Old 09-30-2001, 08:01 PM   #9
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I see the atheist Fundies are at it again...

"The Bible must either be completely and absolutely right or completely and absolutely wrong! ... After all, our minds simply cannot hold the concept that it might be literal in some places and only metaphorical in others, or that sometimes two different authors differ slightly in their theology, beliefs or narratives with it voiding the entire thing - or even that it might be factually true in some places and factually incorrect in others! Because... ~gasp~ if it wasn't either entirely true or entirely false we would have to use our brains to carefully interpret which parts of it were what. We would have to actually seek guidence in our interpretations - from other clearer passages in the Bible, from Commentaries, heck perhaps we even might need the help of God to interpret the Bible and that just wouldn't be right at all!
But not only that... If it turned out that the Bible did not have to be entirely right for Christianity to be true in its entirity, then it would threaten our comfortable atheism.
After all, we disbelieve in Christianity because we've found many contradictions in the Bible. Although that is not quite true - we disbelieve because we choose to and the contradictions are what we use to rationalise that decision. But if it was to turn out that Christianity wasn't even seriously hurt by those contradictions then we would lose our rationale for rejecting it! We would be forced to realise that we have no real reason for our unbelief! Not only would we realise it, but the Christians would realise it too! That cannot be allowed to happen: The contradictions must be concluded to disprove Christianity and the Bible in its entirely. Anyone who says otherwise must be accused of being simple minded: There is only black, and white - no grey areas, none!"



Quote:
Its so simple to see the fatal flaw in your reasoning: if the Bible has errors in it, how do you know the whole thing isn't wrong? If you can't trust one part, why trust any of it?
And its equally simple to see the flaw in your logic: Reverse your statement. Thus equally, if I can find one thing correct in it (And there are certainly plenty of historically confirmed correct things) then how do I know the whole thing isn't right?
But how can you even entertain the notion of the whole thing being wrong? Because there are small contradictions and mistakes in some places, we are justified in scrapping it all?!? All 66 books, and everything they say is completely wrong - or at least I suppose, so wrong as to make them worthless? That's just insane.

Don't be so narrow-minded. There are some things in the Bible that are true, and there are some things that aren't. "The Bible" is a single term for what is a whole collection of books ranging in dates of composition over perhaps one and a half millennia and its authors ranging from the most highly educated to the all but uneducated. It's authors made mistakes, yes they were human, but they did the best they could. The Gospel writers did their best to record accurately the actions of Jesus in this world as they saw it or as it was told to them. Paul did the best he could when writing his letters to guide the new Churches. The Old Testament prophets did their best to preach and prophesy the word of God as it was revealed to them. All the authors did their best to write about a God who no one fully understands, and they weren't all theology experts. Yet they were men who had knowledge about God, or about God's working's in the world that others didn't and they preserved that for us.
The Church recognises their writings as something special: We see in them a pointer to the living God and a testiment to His actions in the world. But it is more than that: What we know about God must come from His revelation of himself. Science and philosophy can tell us little, the truth about God must be revealed by God Himself. Thus behind these writings which reveal the truth about God, must lie spirit of God who works to reveal the truth about God. And so we say these writings are inspired by God or the "Word of God".

To say "there are mistakes and therefore the Bible is not the Word of God" seems to me to miss the point. Humans are always making mistakes. When flawed man is trying to discern Ultimate Truth, even with a degree of divine help, plenty of mistakes is hardly surprising. A few errors don't make it all wrong: they show nothing one way or another. It is the real truth that lies at the heart of the Bible: God the Father, Jesus Christ the Lord, and the Holy Spirit, which are the only things that could truly be said to make it all "right" or all "wrong" in any meaningful way.
A few errors hardly come into it at all. That the writer of Chronicles disagreed with the writer of Kings over the interpretation of events in the life of David is trivial when assessing the real questions about Christ and God.

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Old 09-30-2001, 09:38 PM   #10
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Quote:
But not only that... If it turned out that the Bible did not have to be entirely right for Christianity to be true in its entirity, then it would threaten our comfortable atheism.
Not at all. I'm not a biblical scholar; my atheism rests comfortably on the fact that there is no evidence for the existence of ontological conceptions of gods, and no remotely interesting value to accepting metaphysical conceptions of gods.

The arguments for the errancy of the bible are interesting however, because errancy destroys the a priori truth of the bible; it destroys its epistemological value. The bible then clearly becomes secondary to personal revelation. Consequently your personal revelation of god used to interpret the bible is no more relevant or persuasive than my own; our beliefs become just a matter of taste.

I am certainly willing to grant you your personal taste; if you choose to believe in a god, and choose to believe that the best way such a god reveals itself to you is through the primitive superstitions of a bloodthirsty tribe of barely-literate nomadic goat herders, well good for you. I cannot say I have any particular respect or admiration for such a decision, but I suspect that my respect and admiration means as little to you as yours does to me.

[ September 30, 2001: Message edited by: SingleDad ]
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