I got a voicemail from an elder about meeting with me.

by schnell 22 Replies latest jw experiences

  • schnell

    Cold Steel: Yeah, no. First of all, I would sooner believe the story of Jephthah is fiction and probably anti-Israel propaganda from 8th century Judah. (Hence the smear against Israel at the end of Judges for doing as they see fit. How DARE they!) Then as a story, I would trust the Jewish rabbinical interpretation long before a fundamentalist Christian's. "Olah".

    "The Bible Unearthed" by Finkelstein and Silberman is illuminating about Josiah's propaganda machine and the veracity and historicity of the Tanakh.

  • Cold Steel
    Cold Steel

    I would sooner believe the story of Jephthah is fiction, of course, than for a godly man to sacrifice his daughter. But even if the story was based in truth, most believers in God know that the Spirit of God would not rest on a man who would do such a heinous thing. One reason I always despised Agamemnon is for his sacrifice of Iphigenia at Aulis.

    Josiah is another story. Most Sunday School children are taught Josiah "did what is "right with the Lord":


    Now some scholars aren't so sure.


    I know a number of people who don't believe Jesus ever existed. And it's now common for scholars to believe there were a number of different Isaiahs. Yet many evangelicals believe the entire Bible is the complete, inerrant word of God.

    It's becoming increasingly difficult to find a common frame, or foundation, of belief upon which to debate. Many of the things we think we know, whether historically, eschatolgically or scienticically, tend to be shattered from time to time. And I've long been suspicious of the story of Sampson. The appearance of the angel, and his disappearance, was strange. Two, Sampson was an idiot in the story, being twice betrayed before his downfall with the third betrayal. Upon seeing he'd been betrayed twice, the story would have made more sense had he strangled the woman. He murdered thirty innocent people to gain their cloaks so he could win a bet. Finally, he didn't fulfill that which he'd been called to do, which was to deliver his people. If this story is true, and I have my doubts, it certainly doesn't reflect well on Israel's God!

  • schnell
    It's becoming increasingly difficult to find a common frame, or foundation, of belief upon which to debate.

    Heh, I know what you're saying. Nice post, too. Stephen Hawking wrote about this, how we can look back at ridiculous ideas from centuries past (he specifically mentioned a flat earth on a stack of turtles) and think so highly of ourselves, but how will our descendants see the things we believe?

    Considering the historical criticism that students have been learning in seminary for a couple hundred years, it's a shock to come out of the Theocratic Ministry School and see what scholars actually know, things we've been taught to dismiss. I am convinced that most elders would not pass the entry exam to seminary, and would not pass the program without abandoning their faith.

    And that's just the thing. As you pursue the truth, the truth sets you free. Matt Dillahunty went to seminary as a Christian fundamentalist and now hosts the Atheist Experience in Austin, TX. Bart Ehrman went to seminary as a Christian fundamentalist and is now an agnostic seminary professor, though he insists atheism isn't an inevitable result of Bible criticism. I would say it's either that or some sort of loose, metaphorical reinterpretation. Or just dishonesty.

    At this point, I'm atheist but certainly not nihilist. The world is beautiful, and it's a joy to be alive, to write and create and take things in and have an impact on the world around you. I like to think of my personal philosophy as Zen Stoicism, two things from East and West that naturally go together. And I'm certainly influenced by the monomyth of Joseph Campbell. That's just me and my way around nihilism.

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