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Old 10-18-2001, 05:15 PM   #21
jupstin
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Quote:
Originally posted by pug846:
<STRONG>
Well, then God is a liar. He told Abraham one thing knowing that it wasn’t true – or was it? The only way to get out of this is to accept that this was a test God put to Abraham’s faith. He needed Abraham to have total faith in God and even be willing to do this immoral act. Remember, it says many times that Abraham LOVED his son. Clearly, for Abraham, this was an immoral act. Again, where does this leave us in relation to faith?

I don’t think most Christian really think this whole thing through. You seem to be pretty open minded – how do you plan on resolving this? </STRONG>
Well, the text itself says that this was a test (Genesis 22:1,) so if that's the only way out of saying God lied, then I guess that God didn't lie. I simply disagree with you about God needing Abraham to be willing to do an immoral act. Sacrificial killing was not necessarily equivalent to cold blooded murder in Abraham's mind, and it is clear through the rest of scripture that blood sacrifices are a necessary aspect of the Jewish religion (and the Christian religion for that matter, but only one blood sacrifice was required for Christianity.) If God required Isaac's life, then there would be no sin in offering Isaac as a burnt offering. Had God required Abraham to complete the sacrifice, then the Jewish and Christian worldviews would be entirely different than they are. I imagine that Jews and Christians alike would, in that case, have to accept the idea that one may be asked to sacrifice a child every now and again (or all the time, who knows.) However, God did not require this sacrifice, and as he revealed himself throughout scriture it became clear that he would never require this kind of sacrifice. That doesn't mean that he never sanctioned killing (I'm sure we're in agreement) it just means that he never required ritual sacrifice of humans. Although in today's world this may seem like a no-brainer, it wasn't always the case. As I said in an earlier post, ritual child sacrifice wasn't necessarily considered wrong to everyone living in Abraham's time. God is setting himself apart from the other Gods Abraham was familiar with.
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Old 10-18-2001, 05:16 PM   #22
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Originally posted by Grumpy:
<STRONG>

As bizarre as this sounds, I think someone else has suggested it before. Is this what they're teaching in seminary these days? And when did this become the preferred interpretation? I think pug846 is summarizing a more common understanding, that the tale demonstrates Abraham's superlative obedience to God. I can see why the alternative view would be useful, because (as this thread points out), the "obedience" interpretation leads to troubling ethical questions.

However, apart from the "devil in disguise" dilemma (which I promised not to address), the interpretation advanced by jupstin fails to account for A) How Abraham knew that the almighty lacked the power to alter a bargain, and B) Why Abraham would spend so much effort at a task he sincerely believed he could never complete.</STRONG>
Abraham believed that God would be true to his word. That much is clear in scripture. hebrews 11:17-19 tells us that Abraham, when confronted with the task of sacrificing his child of promise "reasoned that God could raise the dead."
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Old 10-18-2001, 08:39 PM   #23
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God is supposed to be the source of objective morality and yet his actions/commands are to be judged according to the morality of Abraham’s contemporaries? If Jim Jones asked a follower to sacrifice their child we would rightly question his pretense as a holy man. The notion that God can do/command immoral acts (from a human perspective) and somehow still be considered moral (because he is God) is problematic.

The remark that God could raise the dead is also disturbing. From Jupstin’s remarks can we assume that premeditated murder is justifiable and moral if:
  • God is the one commanding the murder
  • Your neighbors are also murderers
  • God might resuscitate the murder victim

It amazes me how little encouragement it takes for believers to extol the virtues of atrocities in the OT (like Abraham being joyful over this opportunity to serve his new god)!
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Old 10-19-2001, 05:23 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally posted by jupstin:
<STRONG>hebrews 11:17-19 tells us that Abraham, when confronted with the task of sacrificing his child of promise "reasoned that God could raise the dead."</STRONG>
I don't wish to derail the thread into a discussion about the putative divine inspiration for all canonical scripture, but I thought I'd point out that it seems unconvincing to quote a reference from hundreds of years after the event to shed light on what actually happened. That is, Paul was familiar with how the story of Abraham & Isaac was interpreted. That doesn't mean he knew what was going on in Abraham's head any more than I do.

I am aware, however, that some Christians use this idea of "progressive revelation" to answer the very criticism I addressed above, namely, If Abraham saw through God's test, why doesn't Genesis 22 explicitly say so?
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Old 10-19-2001, 05:26 PM   #25
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Red face

I should also add that I was not familiar with the Hebrews verse, but it is now clear that it is the source of this retroactive interpretation of Genesis 22. So I guess I shouldn't have been astounded to encounter it from seemingly disconnected sources.
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Old 10-23-2001, 04:01 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally posted by Quatermass:
<STRONG>God is supposed to be the source of objective morality and yet his actions/commands are to be judged according to the morality of Abraham’s contemporaries? If Jim Jones asked a follower to sacrifice their child we would rightly question his pretense as a holy man. The notion that God can do/command immoral acts (from a human perspective) and somehow still be considered moral (because he is God) is problematic.
</STRONG>
I don't see where God has committed an immoral act. For God to "murder" every human on the face of the earth (as the Bible claims he nearly did) is entirely consistent with the Biblical concept of God. The moral standard set by the God of the Bible ranks sin (in any form) as a "capital offense." the Bible also claims that "all have sinned." Therefore, all deserve death. For God to "murder" a person can never be unjust because all people deserve death. I'm not saying that you have to agree with the Bible, I'm just saying that it is consistent with itself.
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Old 10-23-2001, 04:05 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally posted by Grumpy:
<STRONG>

I don't wish to derail the thread into a discussion about the putative divine inspiration for all canonical scripture, but I thought I'd point out that it seems unconvincing to quote a reference from hundreds of years after the event to shed light on what actually happened. That is, Paul was familiar with how the story of Abraham & Isaac was interpreted. That doesn't mean he knew what was going on in Abraham's head any more than I do.

I am aware, however, that some Christians use this idea of "progressive revelation" to answer the very criticism I addressed above, namely, If Abraham saw through God's test, why doesn't Genesis 22 explicitly say so?</STRONG>
That Abraham reasoned God could raise his son from the dead does not make the job of killing his son much easier.

That being said, I couldn't tell you why the Bible doesn't tell us about Abraham's "reason" earlier. I don't see why it's necessary for it to be in Genesis 22.
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Old 10-23-2001, 06:10 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally posted by jupstin:
<STRONG>The moral standard set by the God of the Bible ranks sin (in any form) as a "capital offense." the Bible also claims that "all have sinned." Therefore, all deserve death.</STRONG>
And they say atheists are ticking time-bombs of amoral rage, ready to mass-murder at the drop of a hat!

Quote:
I couldn't tell you why the Bible doesn't tell us about Abraham's "reason" earlier. I don't see why it's necessary for it to be in Genesis 22.
I'm only asking for a little coherence in the narrative. You'd think a book that sells so many copies would be written better.
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Old 10-26-2001, 03:28 PM   #29
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To jupstin, First let me extend a belated welcome. I have been periodically reading (and enjoying) this thread and I must say I am impressed by your attitude (and others) of cordial open-minded discussion. Unlike so many "Newbies" of all flavors (I include my own early postings in this critcism) who out of enthusiasm and hubris want to make as big a splash as possible on entry.

Now with the nicities out of the way ......

jupstin Secular Web Visitor Member # 3569 posted October 11, 2001 11:48 PM
Quote:
I take issue with your interpretation of the story. The story is not about supposed to demonstrate that if "God asks you to do a clearly immoral act and you are supposed to follow through." Instead I think it's supposed to show that this God, as opposed to some other Gods, would never require a human to commit a clearly immoral act.
I find it interesting that his early posting was completely overlooked
turtonm Administrator Member # 1981 posted October 12, 2001 04:40 PM
Quote:
As Friedman points out in Who Wrote the Bible?, many scholars believe that Abraham did indeed finish Isaac in the original version, but after it was edited and combined with other stories, the sacrifice was softened and it turned into a test. Michael
I bring your attention to this based on later postings regarding not only what is in the current text but also in reference to the story of Jephthah's Tragic Vow - (Judges 11:29-40).

You mentioned (jupstin posted October 11, 2001 11:48 PM )
Quote:
It's not likely that he anticipated having to offer his son's life to God, but this is not necessarily because he was patently against the idea. Abraham knew that God promised to make a great nation of his first born son. Since he was capable of reason, Abraham had to understand the potential contradiction in killing Isaac.
posted October 18, 2001 06:16 PM
Quote:
Abraham believed that God would be true to his word. That much is clear in scripture. hebrews 11:17-19 tells us that Abraham, when confronted with the task of sacrificing his child of promise "reasoned that God could raise the dead."
I would like to bring to your attention Hebrews 11: 32 - 34 (KJV) And what more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthah, also of David and Samuel and the prophets: Who through faith worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, Quenched the violence of fire , escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.

The following is taken from ]http://www.infidels.org/electronic/forum/ubbcgi/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic&f=6&t=0 00501] [b] h[/URL]
I wonder why is the name of Jephthah (& Samson but that is for another time) is included on this list if what he did was not considered acceptable to God.

I hold the view that what "Christians" are doing is putting a the story into a context and placing meanings into it based on their theology. What (excuse the words) "proof" or "evidence" is there concerning the author of that passage (who wrote it , when), their intent, their cultural setting etc. To be honest all we have is speculation. I think it is a gross over simplification to view the "Bible" as a single document yet modern "Christians" do just that , however what really bothers me is the unwillingness to express real compassion for "MINOR" characters involved. Where was the Ram in the thicket for this unnamed maiden, where was the voice of G-d, where were the angelic messengers? If the act of Human sacrifice was so distasteful..... Oh never mind I know G-d works in mysterious ways and uses who and what he will and Humans and their comprehension, morals, values are of no consequence. Sorry but it seems to be reflective of the attitude ...since G-d is Love and Good and the bible is the word of G-d one can not question certain things any doubt, criticism contrary views must be of the devil (whatever).....


***Judges 11 : 29 Then the Spirit of the Lord came upon Jephthah ....... *** nowhere do I see as in the case of Saul G-d withdrawing from him ... no one (believer) then or now raises objections..... Judges 12 :7 And Jephthah judged Israel six years ........ (this is after the sacrifice of his daughter)
Sorry for the rant . &lt;&lt;cut / snip &gt;&gt; .. I know an argument from silence ... "Just because there was no sign from G-d against it (in the text) does not mean it was acceptable in G-d's sight" Yeah whatever

_________________________________________

Not to be overly confrontational but what do you think of Jephthah in light of Abrham & Isaac

Did the writer (?? writers) of Judges 11&12 know of the A/I story and it's implications?

Did the writer of Hebrews have that same mind-set as you regarding human sacrifice if so why include Jephthah in the list of those who showed faith .
Did the writer of Hebrews place new meanings and interpretations on earlier texts?

Again nice to have you with us (that sounds a bit officious doesn't it) :

&lt;&lt; Edited because I am a jerk and can't spell or post links &gt;&gt;&gt;

[ October 26, 2001: Message edited by: Justus ]
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Old 10-28-2001, 07:44 PM   #30
Quatermass
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Quote:
Originally posted by jupstin:
<STRONG>
I don't see where God has committed an immoral act. For God to "murder" every human on the face of the earth (as the Bible claims he nearly did) is entirely consistent with the Biblical concept of God. The moral standard set by the God of the Bible ranks sin (in any form) as a "capital offense." the Bible also claims that "all have sinned." Therefore, all deserve death. For God to "murder" a person can never be unjust because all people deserve death. I'm not saying that you have to agree with the Bible, I'm just saying that it is consistent with itself.</STRONG>
For God to murder every human on the face of the earth is consistent with the Biblical concept of God - which is why the Biblical concept of God seems immoral and incoherent. The Bible is not consistent within itself because it says that God does and does not visit the sins of parents on their children. How is it just to “murder” infants, based on your view that “all have sinned,” without saying that infants are being punished for their parents’ sins? Yet God commands or directly causes the murder of infants several places in the OT.

It is immoral to plan and attempt to murder your own innocent son. God commanded Abraham to commit an immoral act. It does not become a moral act just because God commanded it. Morality based on a supreme being that either adjusts its acts based on contemporary morality or acts above the law is neither moral nor a source of objective morality.
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