Conversations with a reader: Happy Endings

I’m striking out the reader’s name, but I have a feeling many people have similar questions and thoughts, so I wanted to share my thoughts with others on these topics. If you have a question for me (even if it’s insulting or filled with disappointment), feel free to contact me at rexjameson at gmail.com, where at is an @ symbol. I love hearing from you guys and gals, and I appreciate your opinions and viewpoints–even if they’re quite contrary to mine.


> I thought that Michael and Gabriel are good guys.

They are good guys, if you’re on their side. However, the Old Testament is not exactly a children’s story, and the side we’re on is pretty brutal. As the oldest child of my family, I’m hoping I’m not a descendant of a Philistine. Things never go well for the first born Philistines and Egyptians :). In fact, the more innocent you are in the Old Testament, the more likely you’re going to be murdered.

Take the story of Samson, for instance. Samson seeks to marry a Philistine because “it is of the Lord”. He kills a lion, and bees make honey inside of the carcass. So, approaching his wedding day, he goes into the wedding feast and proposes a riddle to his Philistine groomsmen. Being a humble man, he chooses a riddle about himself–concerning the lion he killed and the bee tenants–and promises them 30 pieces of fine garments that he doesn’t have if they get it right. They don’t guess it and badger Samson’s fiancee to give them the answer. She does, and Samson decides that the best part of the riddle is yet to come.

He goes into the streets of Ashkelon and kills 30 innocent people, collects their garments and delivers the fabrics to his groomsmen. Joke’s on them, right? Samson refuses to marry the woman and leaves. The woman’s father gives her to the best man who is still interested. Samson changes his mind because maybe he has another riddle to give to the groomsmen or something, and comes back, but the father informs him that his daughter is now engaged because Samson refused her. He actually offers his younger daughter, but Samson’s having none of that.

Samson does the only logical thing available. He attaches torches to the tails of 300 foxes and sends them into the Philistine fields and cities, burning down innocent people’s farms and homes. The people get so infuriated that instead of killing Samson, they trap the woman and her father in their house and burn it down. In revenge for someone else killing the father and the wife he should have had, Samson goes about killing a whole bunch more Philistines.

The Philistines finally go “OK, we’re sending an army to bring this guy to justice for killing so many innocent people,” but unfortunately for them, God puts a magic, non-brittle ass’s jawbone on the ground, and Samson uses it to beat 1,000 Philistines to death with it.

I won’t go into the story of Delilah, but the good news is that Delilah doesn’t appear to get punished for betraying her husband. Samson just gets a chance to kill more Philistines at a temple.

Not exactly a happy ending for the Philistines. I’d argue that none of the Old Testament is a happy ending unless you’re one of God’s chosen people. Michael and Gabriel (and angels in general) are more often than not involved in slaughter and retribution against the people outside of God’s chosen. The perspective of much of the Primal Patterns series is from outside of God’s chosen, and so, it’s not much of a happy ending for some of the protagonists, and that’s perfectly OK if you’re in God’s chosen. God gets even more smitey as the series progresses.

> Have fun writing and write a book soon about light, love, good folks and
> happy endings. I need happy endings.

If you’re a fan of the New Testament, there’s a happier ending that comes by the end of Book 3: Shadows of our Fathers. (redacted) That’s a spoiler obviously, but this is a retelling of much of the Old Testament that takes into account the breadth of God’s creation–namely the billions of trillions of stars and 350 billion known galaxies and 7 trillion dwarf galaxies. God’s chosen is expanded drastically in this series.

> Can’t wait to read the happy book.
>

I have two other books that are only available on Kindle:

Elves and Goblins: Perspectives of a Father’s Rebellion
www.amazon.com/dp/B0078ZV1U8

Angels and Demons: Perspectives of a Violent Afterlife
www.amazon.com/dp/B005L7AMXW

Both of these have good guys ultimately thwarting evil, but the path is not as black and white as you’ll like. In Angels and Demons, God wants to show the Devil how good mankind is so he agrees to a wager with the Devil that humans who are murdered go to Hell and those who die of natural causes go to Heaven. If mankind follows the Golden Rule (do unto others as you would have them do unto you) and the teachings of the New Testament (forgiveness of an enemy, etc.), then Heaven wins by default. War and murder will obviously cause the Devil to gain the only power he has available–that of numbers of souls, and mankind’s tendency to kill causes Michael and Gabriel (those good guys) to have to try to convince humanity to stop killing.

In Elves and Goblins, a marginalized people (the elves) have been placed in concentration camps by goblins and are being starved to death. They can’t go to universities or receive health care, and over 300 years, they nearly die out. A father faces the imminent death of his son and decides that the only recourse is to go into town and find a cure for his son’s illness, a disease that is decimating the remaining elves. He has to kill for the first time in hundreds of years, but he’s doing so to save his innocent son.

To me, these are happy endings, but happy endings don’t come free. People have to work for happiness, and the path to redemption is often paved in tragedy and loss for the greater good.


So, to wrap up, I do believe in happy endings, but my happy endings are not the neat and tidy ones that many readers are desperately searching for. That’s OK. No book can please everyone. If you’re looking for recommendations of books that are much happier and generally death free, authors like Debora Geary may be more down your alley. Of course, she’s writing about happy witches and not angels and demons. The good news is that after the third book in the Primal Patterns series, I plan on tackling a different subject. Unfortunately, it’s highly unlikely to be about happy witches.

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About Rex Jameson
Rex Jameson is the author of two novels Lucifer’s Odyssey and The Goblin Rebellion and half a dozen short stories. An avid history buff and an unabashed nerd with an appetite for science fiction and fantasy, he loves to create complex speculative fiction with layered characters. He earned a PhD in Computer Science at Vanderbilt University and researches distributed artificial intelligence in robotics at Carnegie Mellon University. Rex and his wife Jenny live in Pittsburgh where they enjoy hosting family and friends.

9 Responses to Conversations with a reader: Happy Endings

  1. haparker321 says:

    “In fact, the more innocent you are in the Old Testament, the more likely you’re going to be murdered.”

    Rex,

    As I have said to you once, the people who were wiped out in the OT were not ‘innocent.’ If you are going to assume that the Israelites did exterminate these peoples during the times after the exodus, then you must accept that the rest of the other events previously mentioned are also true.

    Parker

  2. Rex Jameson says:

    First, I should mention that this was not Parker’s email. Second, it’s only an either/or argument if you make it an either/or argument, and I’m not claiming that I have to accept one or the other. That’s your claim.

    I accept that some of the exterminations by the Israelites in the Old Testament are true. They no doubt did kill many non-Jews because they felt they were justified. Does that mean that killing thousands of people was justified? If you believe that God wrote every single word of the Old Testament, then sure. If you believe that human beings might have tainted God’s words with their own vengeance for losing their kingdom, then no, you don’t have to practice absolutism.

    Why would God care about a small war on our planet? The universe has more than one planet in it. Our sun is one of billions of trillions of stars that warms the planets around them. It’s highly unlikely that God takes sides in a meaningless conflict on a small planet in a remote region of the universe. Samson’s actions, for instance, did nothing to ultimately curb the Philistine population or bring Israel back to power. The story is meant to be a parable, likely to increase the stature of a sect of Jews that refused to shave or cut their hair because they believed it gave them unnatural, god-given strength. The killing of dozens of Philistines so he could take their clothes was hardly a pivotal point in our history. I also don’t believe God takes sides during the Super Bowl or in making sure our favorite actor wins the Best Actor oscar this year, regardless of what tribe the person hails from and how hard we pray for it. I know many people believe that and would use specific cases in the Bible to show that prayer about even banal things can result in a miracle, but I just don’t believe it’s that important. There are plenty of other more important things that both we and an omnipotent benefactor should be focusing on.

    Why would an omniscient, omnipresent creature care about our daily self-made problems when he could instead instigate and watch forty supernovas simultaneously across the heavens to make millions of tons of new elements to use for building other important things? I guess the only reason I can think of for people believing we’re so important to God is because some truly believe life doesn’t happen in any of the other billions of trillions of solar systems in the known universe, but as the theist in this video explains, observation of our DNA and the constant changes in other species around us shows us that evolution does indeed happen (the guy’s a Catholic, btw). And then, there’s the lizards of Pod Mrcaru, which evolved different teeth, stomachs, and cell walls within 30 years of introduction into a different habitat, and we’re able to trace their ancestry through DNA to the original adults transplanted to the island.

    If we believe that this only happens on Earth, we’re fooling ourselves, and we’re simplifying the grand scheme of things greatly. I would find it hard to believe that an antagonistic, homocidal primate like ourselves is truly God’s ultimate, final or even favored work. As I’ve told you before, such belief seems very vain to me–especially considering what is out there.

    I believe we’re here, and I believe we’ve done some truly horrible things. We’ve done some wonderful things too, but killing thousands of Philistines is unlikely to be the crowning achievement of our time. At least, I truly hope not.

    • haparker321 says:

      Rex,

      We cannot just pick and choose which series of events actually occurred; each book of the Bible are meant to be taken as a whole. Which books do you know of have a type of ‘pick and choose’ style apart from the different ending fictional books you’d find in a Barnes and Noble?

      I believe Scripture is divinely inspired, meaning that God along with man collaborated to write the book. I am quite sure there are minute examples in scripture which are in error, but not when it comes to either history or doctrine. In this case, if we are going to accept the ‘killings’ as true, then you are going to have to assume that it was God’s leading. The books do not give an implication that one has the option to believe certain events; none of these Jewish conquests would make sense in light of the rest of Scripture (e.g. God promising Abraham land).

      “Why would God care about a small war on our planet?”

      Didn’t I make implication via email that mankind is the crown of his creation?

      “The universe has more than one planet in it. Our sun is one of billions of trillions of stars that warms the planets around them.”

      Right, and as I said before, God has revealed his reasons for our solar system (see Genesis 1).

      “It’s highly unlikely that God takes sides in a meaningless conflict on a small planet in a remote region of the universe.”

      What part of “I am the LORD who brought you out from Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land [Israel] to possess” do you not get (Genesis 15:7)? If he was not so involved, then this passage would make no sense whatsoever. Hence, the reasons why you cannot just ‘pick and choose’ what you want to make out of scripture.

      “Samson’s actions, for instance, did nothing to ultimately curb the Philistine population or bring Israel back to power.”

      Samson was a judge, not a general in the Land of Israel. King David conquered the land ultimately.

      “The story is meant to be a parable, likely to increase the stature of a sect of Jews that refused to shave or cut their hair because they believed it gave them unnatural, god-given strength.”

      That’s entirely false; Samson was under a Nazirite vow (see Numbers 6). Sure, there comes a time when an Angel announces his coming (Samson was set apart) and eventually he is seduced by Delilah, but that does not mean his long hair had no significance according to the law.

      “I also don’t believe God takes sides during the Super Bowl or in making sure our favorite actor wins the Best Actor oscar this year, regardless of what tribe the person hails from and how hard we pray for it.”

      I would like that to happen; however, I remain unsure if He really does.

      “Why would an omniscient, omnipresent creature care about our daily self-made problems when he could instead instigate and watch forty supernovas simultaneously across the heavens to make millions of tons of new elements to use for building other important things?”

      Genesis spells out the answer clearly, “man [is] in our image, after our likeness” (1:26). If God did not care about humanity, there would be no reason to assume we were made like him (i.e., having similar traits, not in the sense of being omniscience, omnipresent, omnipotent etc).

      This is what you get when you accept that God is sovereign; He is involved with our affairs.

      Parker

      • Rex Jameson says:

        Actually, we most certainly can pick and choose what we want to believe because the Bible frequently disagrees with itself.

        Each chapter of the Bible was written separately by dozens of authors, and this shows in how different aspects are approached. For instance, Abraham says enforced slavery is abominable and punishable by death (Exodus 21:16). Most other chapters of the Bible simply state that slave owners should be mindful of treating slaves well because at the end of their life, they will have to answer to their own master (Leviticus 25:44-46 NLT, Exodus 21:2-6 NLT, Luke 12:47-48 NLT, 1 Timothy 6:1-2 NLT, Ephesians 6:5 NLT, Exodus 21:20-21 NAB). Some of these citations deal with “indentured servitude” (which can technically involve small amounts of pay), but we should call a spade a spade, here, because up until the abolition of slavery, these verses were used by Christians to justify enslavement.

        Samson was a hero of a sect of Jewish followers called the Nazirites. He was not the only one to take the vow, but he was a figurehead that displayed how holy the vow was through a tall tale. This is a parable. This is not meant to be taken literally. Samson did not take a brittle jawbone of a long-dead ass and kill 1,000 soldiers, single-handedly, whom were armed with spears, swords, likely throwing spears, and slingshots.

        Why does the Bible say we’re made in God’s image? Why does it claim we’re the pinnacle of God’s creation? It’s more than likely because “why” is a central question of mankind, and human beings wrote the Bible to try to explain, in an age when scientific ignorance reigned supreme, why humans looked the way they did and how we came to be. If the Bible hadn’t included an explanation (any explanation), then Christianity and Judaism would have had a harder time competing with the other religions of the time which claimed to provide those answers. So, as you said, “examples in scripture” were made in error, without any divine inspiration, and this caused a huge gulf to exist between reality and what was officially recognized in the Bible.

        There’s a big difference between “Divinely Inspired” and “Divinely Accurate”.

        I have an in-law who regularly claims to have personal communion with God. She claims that every single action she does in her life is revealed by God. What kind of stuff am I talking about? Which vacation for the family to take, for instance. When her husband should work or not. My ex-step dad once claimed that God had told him that my mother should marry him because he kept dreaming about marrying her (she had been refusing for a while). She eventually relented, and I think a lot of that has to do with her deep religious roots. She might have even started to dream about this too. Their marriage was a complete train wreck, btw. There are people in my family that claim that their genes are blessed by God because they got lucky in a contest or drawing. I’ve met strangers on the street who’ve claimed divine providence of the end of days in 2000 and 2010 and now 2012. Others claim God tells them that certain people at work will be punished. Can you legitimately claim that they are wrong? Can you refute them on this? No. Because it’s a claim of belief, and you can’t get inside their mind, and even if you could, they might claim that the divine inspiration goes through their heart or from another dimension that you cannot detect with physical means in this plane.

        The truth of the matter is that millions of people, throughout history, have claimed divine inspiration. There is a list of rejected chapters for the Bible from people who wholeheartedly believed they wrote the truth (straight from God’s lips), and the acceptance of Biblical chapters was determined by committee and consensus amongst the various branches of the Christian faith. Was this committee divinely inspired? A similar committee formed today would be unlikely to accept several of the chapters of the Bible. And certain chapters, like Leviticus, are known to have changed up to the Persian period of 538-332 BC (Grabbe, Lester, 1998. “Leviticus”. In John Barton. Oxford Bible Commentary. Oxford University Press).

        Why would words, directly from God, change over hundreds of years? Well, that’s easy: because humanity and what messages it wanted to deliver changed over those hundreds of years. It’s highly unlikely God said “Wait… wait… someone get the white out…”

  3. Tyson Adams says:

    Religious arguments: cool.

    Nothing like arguing something that even religious people can’t agree on.

  4. haparker321 says:

    Rex,

    For an astrologist, I thought someone like you would come up with a theory that actually has some concrete evidences, not speculative thoughts.

    “Each chapter of the Bible was written separately by dozens of authors, and this shows in how different aspects are approached.”

    There is no proof of this; you are making a baseless claim.

    “For instance, Abraham says enforced slavery is abominable and punishable by death (Exodus 21:16).”

    Moses, NOT Abraham wrote the first five books of the Bible which includes the book of Exodus.

    “We should call a spade a spade, here, because up until the abolition of slavery, these verses were used by Christians to justify enslavement.”

    Scriptures also state that kidnapping individuals and selling them as slaves is capital punishment (Exodus 21:16). Many Christians had often downplayed and ignored Scriptures, but that doesn’t make Scripture invalid or ‘self-contradictory.’

    “Samson was a hero of a sect of Jewish followers called the Nazirites.”

    Do you have proof of this?

    “This is a parable.”

    The story of Samson and Delilah has no implication of parabolic elements to make that so. You are only saying that it is because you are rejecting the supernatural aspect of it.

    “Why does the Bible say we’re made in God’s image?”

    What do you mean?

    “Why does it claim we’re the pinnacle of God’s creation?”
    We are created after the likeness of God and as his creatures, He was pleased to make us for fellowship with him. That’s a pretty good reason to accept importance to God right?

    “It’s more than likely because “why” is a central question of mankind, and human beings wrote the Bible to try to explain, in an age when scientific ignorance reigned supreme, why humans looked the way they did and how we came to be.”

    That’s not totally true, the laws prescribed pretty advanced forms of scientific knowledge (e.g. hygiene, medical treatment, building inspection, social justice, environmental conservation etc). The Old Testament was quite practical.

    “If the Bible hadn’t included an explanation (any explanation), then Christianity and Judaism would have had a harder time competing with the other religions of the time which claimed to provide those answers.”

    But the Bible is not a science textbook.

    “So, as you said, “examples in scripture” were made in error, without any divine inspiration, and this caused a huge gulf to exist between reality and what was officially recognized in the Bible.”

    See above.

    “I have an in-law who regularly claims to have personal communion with God.”

    So do I.

    “She claims that every single action she does in her life is revealed by God.”

    The will of God is a funny thing; I usually go by trial and error since He does not deliver emails, post-cards, or Owls to deliver the message. Hence, it’s a figure it out for yourself type of deal.

    “Which vacation for the family to take, for instance.”

    Quite silly, but interesting.

    “When her husband should work or not.”

    Well I did not think God is a supernatural pastor; I believe he expected us to make those kinds of decisions ourselves.

    “My ex-step dad once claimed that God had told him that my mother should marry him because he kept dreaming about marrying her (she had been refusing for a while).”

    Cute and subjective.

    “Their marriage was a complete train wreck, btw.”

    Marriages aren’t perfect, but I can help if you want to get into the excessive details.

    “There are people in my family that claim that their genes are blessed by God because they got lucky in a contest or drawing.”

    I can say the same; I don’t ever look old. Blessings are never limited by God, what’s so bad about that?

    “I’ve met strangers on the street who’ve claimed divine providence of the end of days in 2000 and 2010 and now 2012. Others claim God tells them that certain people at work will be punished. Can you legitimately claim that they are wrong? Can you refute them on this?”

    You can if the event does not come to pass. There was a such thing as false prophets you know.

    “The truth of the matter is that millions of people, throughout history, have claimed divine inspiration.”

    True.

    “There is a list of rejected chapters for the Bible from people who wholeheartedly believed they wrote the truth (straight from God’s lips), and the acceptance of Biblical chapters was determined by committee and consensus amongst the various branches of the Christian faith.”

    The primary concern is that there are both true and false testimonies. God has given us the gift of discernment for our beneficial support so that we can know what is the truth and abide by it. Christ did expect us to worship the Father both in Spirit and Truth.

    “Why would words, directly from God, change over hundreds of years? Well, that’s easy: because humanity and what messages it wanted to deliver changed over those hundreds of years.”

    So how do you explain the hundreds of biblical references used the by Early Church Fathers (ECFs)? These quotes are quite extensive; this goes to show you that for over a 1000 years, the Bible has not changed.

    Parker

  5. Rex Jameson says:

    Would you please stop breaking up every sentence out of context and addressing them with your own quips? Not only does it make your posts difficult to read, but it’s also highly disingenuous in any type of debate.

    I’m not sure why I put Abraham instead of Moses in that context–though again, those first 5 books weren’t finalized up until the Persian period. Must have just been quoting in a hurry. Sorry about that. Moses was supposedly born ~1525-1527 BC and yet the five books you are talking about were finalized between 500-300 BC (Again, Grabbe, Lester, 1998. “Leviticus”. In John Barton. Oxford Bible Commentary. Oxford University Press), and that they are believed to have been written by the elite of exilic returnees who controlled the Temple at that time (Blenkinsopp, Joseph (1998). “The Pentateuch”. In John Barton. The Cambridge companion to biblical interpretation. Cambridge University Press.) The Bible says Moses lived for 120 years, not 1,200 years, so it’s highly unlikely he wrote that, but sure, OK, whatever. My point does not dwell on who wrote the passage or who supposedly said it in that specific chapter of Exodus. My point was that slavery was treated differently throughout the Bible. And why exactly did you quote the same exact scripture as I did (Exodus 21:16) and make it sound like you just brought it into the conversation?

    I don’t know who wrote the verse. Neither do you. Neither does anyone. If it’s attributed to Moses, great. I don’t put much stock in what human wrote it, and neither should you if you truly believe that every word was from God. The human hand would be irrelevant right? My point is that this verse contradicts many verses about bond servants and slaves from the rest of the Bible, which makes the Bible’s message unclear and resulted in a fierce debate that eventually led to wars (via arguments like Debows in 1850, http://fair-use.org/debows-review/1850/09/slavery-and-the-bible). Slavery was accepted for much of the Biblical time periods and best practices were encouraged. Other parts saw it as unnatural and unclean in the eyes of God. Why the difference?

    And at what point in my life have I ever been an astrologist? Do you even know what that word means? What possible reasoning would you have for making such an absolutely baseless accusation against me? For those reading this, Parker has been emailing me similar emails such as this to get under my skin for months (including that I write like a 15 year old). You’re unreal, dude. I’m not sure why I’m even responding to you anymore–other than that I try to respond to every message I get (whether in email or on this blog), that I don’t take attacks personally, and I try not to moderate blog comments–regardless of intent of the commenter. I’m pretty sure that few other authors would continue to engage someone doing this though.

    No proof for there being a Nazirite sect of Jews? You mean like Numbers 6:1–21 which detailed the rules of the sect?

    And am I reading you correctly when I see that your ultimate argument is that the Bible hasn’t changed for over 1,000 years and that makes it true? 1,000 years? Like since 1,010 A.D? That’s 1,000 years after Jesus walked the Earth. And well over 2,000 years after Moses (1525 BC). That means for the majority of the life of the Bible (well over 2/3) it has been morphing under different authors and editors. And we won’t even go over the changes in the Reformation that mean the semantics of the verses are now different–including in your Calvinist faith (though, you would claim that how you read the Bible has always been correct and everyone else just got it wrong because of Catholicism, right?) And the Bible may not be a “science textbook”, but I’m not sure how relevant that is to… anything, really. If you want to argue young earth creationism based on the Bible, then the book needs to be accurate or have some basis in what we can observe about everything from geology to DNA to the size and scope of the universe (and how long it took to form across billions of light years in distances).

    On your argument that years without editing shows truth or fidelity, Homer’s Illiad and the Odyssey haven’t been changed for over 2,800 years despite numerous reprints, translations, and hand-made copies for the majority of that period (almost 3x the length of time you’re claiming for the Bible). Does that mean this Greek mythology is true? Achilles was really the strongest warrior ever and he died from an arrow to the foot? The Sirens and other monsters really existed? The interactions of gods and men were so dramatic and involved? Does the fact that no changes have been made mean the text was more sacred? No. Something being unchanged and retranscribed in high fidelity just means that the humans doing the transcribing wanted to keep the text in tact, true to its original form. Before this “1,000” year period that you’ve arbitrarily described (completely without evidence or references, true to form to the months of emails you have sent to try to contradict me), followers of the Bible felt they should still make changes to God’s word, even though God’s word was infallible and correct inherently. Why is that, exactly?

    Humans make up stories, and we’ve known how to spin an interesting yarn for tens of thousands of years. There’s no reason to believe that we all of a sudden didn’t have a need to apply our story-telling skills to the Bible. There are cave paintings in Chauvet, France that show creatures which are half-man and half-beast, and these drawings are believed to have been religious in nature. These visual stories were created around 35,000-30,000 years ago (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cave_painting) and haven’t changed, but that doesn’t make them any more true than the Bible. Truth isn’t aged in time. New discoveries frequently reverse millenia-old habits and superstitutions, and that’s why the Catholic Church now recognizes evolution as being part of God’s plan (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_Church_and_evolution).

    As for the Early Church Fathers, do you mean to include the heretics Origen and Tertullian, whom are generally grouped in the Early Church Fathers? Or do you mean every single conservative Christian scholar up to John Calvin in the 1500s, each with their own interpretations and teachings? The Eastern Orthodox Church believes the age of Church Fathers persists to this day. And you do understand that the Persian period (500-300 BC, which is what you’re quoting from my post) was 500-300 years before these “Early Church Fathers” that you’re talking about, and after the authors had settled on what God and Moses said, over a thousand years after Moses said it, right?

    • haparker321 says:

      How else would you want me to respond? I use quotation marks (“”/””) so that when I put responses to your ideals, there is some readability, not to mention that there are spaces so that you can see my responses.

      If you mean by ‘books’ as to refer to the entire OT canon, you would be correct. If you mean solely the first five books, you would need to show some evidence for that. Concerning Moses age, why are you bringing that up? I know he lived for 120 years, the 1,200 year apart is a bit of a stretch (since God reduced our age spans to less than 120 years after the flood).

      I didn’t realize we were quoting from the same source, I’m sorry. Nevertheless, the different treatments of Slavery between Israel and the U.S. does not negate Scriptural teaching. Israel ran slavery based upon two condition (1) financial or (2) spoils of war. In any of the circumstances, the slaves were indebted to the owner for a brief period of time (seven years) and can be released for receiving abuse. U.S. Slavery is different because the slaves that were owned were (1) Kidnapped originally, (2) abused extensively, and (3) kept for a lifetime, and all three of these conditions are direct violations of Scriptural law. Furthermore, there are two different periods of time which I might add explains Paul’s ‘condoning.’ The funny part about is that Paul was suggesting that Christians are to be submissive to their authority, regardless of the circumstances.

      The Reformers were not claiming to have ‘new’ revelations; they sought to ‘Reform’ the church by realigning itself with the practices and beliefs of the Early Church. The reason why they split with Catholicism is because the Reformers began to see too much corruptions in the Church which demanded that there needed to be some changes. For the most part, I believe the Catholic Church has departed from the sound biblical teaching and embraced speculative theology. That is why I do not associate with the Catholic Church (though I have plenty of Conservative Catholic Friends).

      I said astrologist because I assumed you enjoyed discussing about the nature of universe. Unfortunately, I used astrologist when I mean astronomist i.e., someone who studies astronomy. I don’t know why you are getting aggravated because I said at one point that some of your writings sound like arguments from a 15 year old, but I’ll try to be more gentle if I can.

      That is not a Nazirite society, Rex. These are part of the one and the same law.

      My argument goes like this: if the Word of God has not changed for the last two millenia (i.e. 2,000 years), what’s so difficult in accepting that it has not changed since Moses wrote the books down (i.e. 4,000 years)?

      Your difficulty with accepting the Bible as fact is because it contains elements of the supernatural in the books (which occurred over a span of 2,000+ years). Why else would you gripe about the Jews killing ‘innocent’ people on the one hand and then argue that God did not deliver the people from Egypt in another (which is contradicting)?

      I would be a little pressed to imagine people who claimed to have written the books themselves (e.g. Moses + Peter), and would want to be killed for spreading a false report or, for that matter want to initiate a rebellion against the people for something that God apparently said.

      ECFs (no heretics, please).

      Parker

      • Rex Jameson says:

        I quoted exact references from Oxford and Cambridge presses in both posts. I’ve already provided you references, but you don’t read them or even look up what they’re about. That’s not my problem. Moses wasn’t 1,200 years old. He couldn’t have finished the books in question by the time that Biblical scholars attribute the completion of those 5 books. Others wrote at least some of these books, and they’re commonly attributed to elite clergy after the exodus. Again, I’ve provided the references. If you doubt them, argue with the Cambridge and Oxford scholars and the rest of the theological community that focuses on such matters. I’m not among them. I’m quoting them.

        As for the Nazirites, if you’d just read the Biblical scriptures I’ve noted, you’d see that this specifically deals with the initiation and maintenance of the Nazarite group. Samson was a hero incarnate of the Nazarites. This is one of those groups of the Jewish faith that required animal sacrifice (multiple sacrifices actually) for proper recleansing if somehow their hair was cut. And no, despite what you said, these requirements in Numbers are not meant for everyone. This is strictly Nazirite.

        I have no problem with the Bible having supernatural events in it, and you’re free to believe that Samson killed 1,000 armed men with nothing but a jawbone. You’re free to believe that God wanted animal sacrifices in the Old Testament because that would help purify us of sin. And you can believe the Global Flood really happened and that Noah managed to load all the freshwater creatures (since they couldn’t have survived in the flooded salt-based oceans), land animals, and millions of species of insects alone onto a boat/Tabernacle and the earth flooded for over a month, even though we have zero evidence of this. We have evidence of local floods in the Mediterranean including the Black Sea (9,400 years ago) and later, around the time of Noah, a flood of the Euphrates and Tigris that lasted for 6-7 days (You can read about this in MacDonald D. 1988. “The Flood: Mesopotamian archaeological evidence,” and in Harriet Crawford, “Sumer and the Sumerians”, Cambridge University Press, 2004.) This latter flood happens to coincide with other local river flood stories in the region that predate the encoding of the Noah myth and involved first Atra-Hasis, which we believe was then adapted into Gilgamesh. But Global Flood? I’d love to find evidence of that, but it’s eluded us all.

        Anyway, you can believe in the literal interpretation of these stories if you like. I don’t. To me, they’re meant to instill ethics, morals, and a fear of God into a congregation, and I think they do a good job of that. I also don’t buy into your argument that I either have to believe in all these stories as true events or else–regardless of how important you think your interpretation of the Old Testament is.

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