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Old 09-27-2013, 02:02 PM
 
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I am not religious, but I'm not hostile to those who are. This question is not meant to stir the pot...it's a serious one I've been wondering about since moving to the Bible Belt.

Christians supposedly follow Jesus and his teachings first and foremost. He delivered a "New Testament" that is the foundation of the Christian faith.

In practice, many Christians rely heavily on the Old Testament for their socially conservative opinions, even prejudices, though the New Testament of Jesus and his followers has little to say on these matters and, if anything, is pretty darn liberal and loving. Especially by comparison.

Most Jews, who only subscribe to the Old Testament, tend to be much more liberal than most religious Christians today. They obviously don't interpret the OT as literally or apply it to their worldview the same way.

It doesn't make sense to me that the people who follow Jesus and the NT would be the more conservative group of the two, given everything I've noted here. So what's the deal?

Please don't move this to the Christianity forum. I want a broader variety of input.
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Old 09-27-2013, 02:10 PM
 
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Are you asking why we take a literal interpretation of the OT? Jesus did...and, as you say, we follow him.
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Old 09-27-2013, 02:44 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Vizio View Post
Are you asking why we take a literal interpretation of the OT? Jesus did...and, as you say, we follow him.
Nonsense. Jesus used the OT to validate Himself to the Jews who were told to expect Him. Your all-or-nothing doctrine is a corruption and violates the meaning of "study to show yourself approved." Study does not mean rote blind acceptance and belief in everything in the bible as the inerrant and infallible word of God. Christ is the Word of God. It means use the "mind of Christ" as He revealed Himself to us to discern the truth in the inspired documents (that have multiple and often unknown authors) assembled by mere men.
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Old 09-27-2013, 03:01 PM
 
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Originally Posted by MysticPhD View Post
Nonsense. Jesus used the OT to validate Himself to the Jews who were told to expect Him. Your all-or-nothing doctrine is a corruption and violates the meaning of "study to show yourself approved." Study does not mean rote blind acceptance and belief in everything in the bible as the inerrant and infallible word of God. Christ is the Word of God. It means use the "mind of Christ" as He revealed Himself to us to discern the truth in the inspired documents (that have multiple and often unknown authors) assembled by mere men.
Jesus said "The Scripture cannot be broken" (John 10:35). He was referring to the OT. He called it the "commandment of God" (Matt 15:3), and the "Word of God" (Matt 15:6).

Jesus confirmed the account of Sodom and Gomorrah (Luke 17:29), the murder of Abel by Cain (Luke 11:51), the calling of Moses (Mark 12:26), and manna in the wilderness (John 6).

But you think he was lying just so he could tell a good story?
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Old 09-27-2013, 04:55 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Vizio View Post
Jesus said "The Scripture cannot be broken" (John 10:35).
Jesus was addressing a specific verse to a specific audience who believed it could not be broken and were accusing Him of blasphemy. He was NOT endorsing everything in the OT. He was countering their ignorance and inability to see how it applied to Him.
Quote:
He was referring to the OT. He called it the "commandment of God" (Matt 15:3), and the "Word of God" (Matt 15:6).
This all-or-nothing approach to scripture is your downfall. Your views will mislead a lot of people and be a stumbling block to Christ. Are there commandments of God in the Bible . . .Yes. Is the Word of God (Jesus) written about in the Bible . . . Yes. By merging the ancient Jewish beliefs about God of our ignorant ancestors you corrupt Christ's unambiguous message of love and reconciliation with God. You maintain their fear of a jealous, vengeful, Jewish War God who needed to be appeased by horrendous scourging and blood sacrifice. That blasphemes the true nature of the God revealed by Christ. No Christian should accept that . . . and don't say God does not change. It is the ignorant beliefs about God that Christ came to change . . . God is still God . . . just not what our ignorant Jewish ancestors believed He was.
Quote:
Jesus confirmed the account of Sodom and Gomorrah (Luke 17:29), the murder of Abel by Cain (Luke 11:51), the calling of Moses (Mark 12:26), and manna in the wilderness (John 6).
But you think he was lying just so he could tell a good story?
ALL teaching relies on prior knowledge and beliefs to establish some connection or continuity of understanding. THEY believed all that . . . so that was what His ministry and explanations had to use.
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Old 09-27-2013, 06:15 PM
 
Location: Parts Unknown, Northern California
48,571 posts, read 20,591,483 times
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Originally Posted by Slithytoves View Post
I am not religious, but I'm not hostile to those who are. This question is not meant to stir the pot...it's a serious one I've been wondering about since moving to the Bible Belt.

Christians supposedly follow Jesus and his teachings first and foremost. He delivered a "New Testament" that is the foundation of the Christian faith.

In practice, many Christians rely heavily on the Old Testament for their socially conservative opinions, even prejudices, though the New Testament of Jesus and his followers has little to say on these matters and, if anything, is pretty darn liberal and loving. Especially by comparison.

Most Jews, who only subscribe to the Old Testament, tend to be much more liberal than most religious Christians today. They obviously don't interpret the OT as literally or apply it to their worldview the same way.

It doesn't make sense to me that the people who follow Jesus and the NT would be the more conservative group of the two, given everything I've noted here. So what's the deal?

Please don't move this to the Christianity forum. I want a broader variety of input.
You may blame the Romans, or the Zealots, but the two great Jewish Revolts along with the destructive response of the Romans, brought an end to the Temple based, sacrificial covenant style of Judaism that was deeply rooted in the Torah scripture writings. (Karaite Judaism)

When the Jews were displaced from Palestine in the 2nd century diaspora, and scattered about the Roman empire, it was no longer possible to sustain the High Priests/Temple version of Judaism, especially since there was no longer a Temple. So over the next several hundred years the doctrines of the Pharisees, who had been an anti-Temple collective before the revolt, were reworked and adopted, emerging in the 7th century as what we would recognize as modern Rabbinic Judaism, a Talmud based brand of the faith which requires no temple.

It wasn't so much a cutting of their roots as a decision to no longer be bound by those roots. In the following centuries, Rabbinic Judaism has been subject to internal schisms, the Hassidics seem like they must be ancient, but they were not formed until the 18th century. Judaism is today represented by an array of different beliefs.

Anyway, that explains why modern Jews have a more liberal approach to the Bible than do fundamentalist Christians, today's Jews aren't your Father Abraham's Jews, or at least not all of them.

Last edited by Grandstander; 09-27-2013 at 06:37 PM..
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Old 09-27-2013, 06:25 PM
Status: "Evolving." (set 9 days ago)
 
Location: Ontario, Canada
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Originally Posted by Grandstander View Post
...snip....

Anyway, that explains why modern Jews have a more liberal approach to the Bible than do fundamentalist Christians, today's Jews aren't your Father Abraham's Jews, or at least not all of them.
(Bolding mine.)

My SO is a barely-observant Jew. And she's the embodiment of the truth I bolded.
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Old 09-27-2013, 10:03 PM
 
624 posts, read 843,672 times
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Originally Posted by Grandstander View Post
Anyway, that explains why modern Jews have a more liberal approach to the Bible than do fundamentalist Christians, today's Jews aren't your Father Abraham's Jews, or at least not all of them.
Very interesting. But since the teachings of Jesus were also a departure from a more rigid tradition, why do so many Christians, even fundamentalists, seem to emphasize the OT more than the NT when it comes to social issues? Gandhi supposedly said, "I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ." I'm not commenting on the first sentence, but the second seems to ring true in this respect and it makes no sense to me.
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Old 09-27-2013, 11:12 PM
 
Location: Parts Unknown, Northern California
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Originally Posted by Slithytoves View Post
why do so many Christians, even fundamentalists, seem to emphasize the OT more than the NT when it comes to social issues?
Because they are fundamentalist thinkers. You shouldn't expect progressive decisions from them.
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Old 09-27-2013, 11:56 PM
 
Location: Northeastern US
14,309 posts, read 9,940,971 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Slithytoves View Post
Very interesting. But since the teachings of Jesus were also a departure from a more rigid tradition, why do so many Christians, even fundamentalists, seem to emphasize the OT more than the NT when it comes to social issues? Gandhi supposedly said, "I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ." I'm not commenting on the first sentence, but the second seems to ring true in this respect and it makes no sense to me.
Bible Belt / fundamentalist Christianity is a literalist tradition that, as Grandstander did a very good job of pointing out, is antithetical to the vast majority of modern Jewish thinking, which is quite liberal, by necessity since the destruction of the Temple. Judaism was forced to evolve when it lost its historic center as a religion based around ancestral territory and a centrally located temple.

If you are going to interpret scripture, one of the first decisions you have to make, is how you're going to balance literal vs metaphorical / symbolic interpretations. Even fundamentalists make use of non-literal interpretations -- they need some mechanism to cherry-pick around inconsistencies, after all -- and interpreting everything 100% literally would be too silly even for their sensibilities. Even they will admit that when Jesus said, "I am the bread of life" that he was not saying he was literally made of bread.

The question is, what are you going to do with things outside of human experience since time out of mind? What are you going to do with talking donkeys and snakes, parting the ocean with a rod, and burning bushes that don't get consumed? The fundamentalist wants miracles to validate a god of great power and simplicity; a liberal is more interested in mystery and paradox and less concrete, corner-of-your-eye truths. The fundamentalist wants inviolable rules; the liberal wants principles and rituals and ideals.

As an unbeliever I have a lot of common cause with liberal flavors of religion; the only difference is that I dispense with the mysticism and the creator-god myth as excess baggage in an era where our understanding of the physical world and physical processes have adequately closed the gaps in knowledge in which gods tend to hide.

Maybe some of your confusion is in your focus on fundamentalist Christianity. It is a sizable and vocal minority in Christianity, but a minority just the same, especially on a worldwide basis. At the same time, while less obvious to us goyim, Judaism has fundamentalists too, and you may simply be less aware of them.
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