HA Bible Study

2 Samuel 13:10-15
And Tamar took the bread she had prepared and brought it to her brother Amnon in his bedroom. But when she took it to him to eat, he grabbed her and said, “Come to bed with me, my sister.”

“No, my brother!” she said to him. “Don’t force me! Such a thing should not be done in Israel! Don’t do this wicked thing. What about me? Where could I get rid of my disgrace? And what about you? You would be like one of the wicked fools in Israel. Please speak to the king; he will not keep me from being married to you.” But he refused to listen to her, and since he was stronger than she, he raped her.

Then Amnon hated her with intense hatred. In fact, he hated her more than he had loved her. Amnon said to her, “Get up and get out!”

Discuss.

Comments

  1. 1

    Deathfrogg spews:

    Pennsyltucky ain’t Isreal.

    That being said, Amnon is portrayed as a sort of hero character in the story here. Tamar is banished and condemned to hell forever or something. I lived in the hills outside of Willits for a few years back in the mid-80′s. There were some folks, whole families who were entirely insular, hostile to everyone that hadn’t lived like that for three or four generations. Going to the “Big City” meant Ukiah, and the really well traveled had actually been to Oregon once.

    The dudes I was living with had a sign at their gate:

    “Welcome to the Valley of the Shadow

    Please Ring Bell”

    Those people couldn’t get their heads out of the `Nam. Lotta hill folks are like that.

  2. 2

    "the grey-eyed man of destiny" spews:

    God can spin a yarn better’n just about anybody!! Desperate housewives, hell!

    The lesson to be taken here is that nowhere in this tale did God give his permission to use birth control.

  3. 5

    God spews:

    @3 Steve

    What is “bible bashing?”

    Do you think this story means that I endorse forced rape?

  4. 7

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @6 You’re supposed to be selective, Goldy, and only tell people what they want to hear. You gotta leave the bad parts out and only post the happy parts. That’s what editors are paid to do! =:-D<

  5. 8

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @2 Okay, the GOPers’ contraception argument — as I understand it — goes like this. Making them pay insurance premiums to an insurance plan that covers birth control violates their constitutional rights.

    By that reasoning, it’s equally unconstitutional to make anyone pay taxes if supporting wars and/or military spending is against their religious beliefs.

    But that argument didn’t fly in the courts back in the Vietnam days, so I don’t think this argument will fly either. If you can make people pay taxes for wars that are against their conscience, then you can make people pay premiums to insurance plans that cover birth control. And here’s another point: Our government can make you fight in a war, but nobody’s going to make anyone use birth control.

  6. 9

    Liberal Scientist thinks that concentrated power and wealth should be met with suspicion, not adoration spews:

    @3, @6
    How, indeed?

    Given the foundational nature of this document for many in this country, especially as it is seen by many as both inerrant murmurings of their deity and justification for all sorts of nastiness, I think examining it is entirely valid in a political context.

    In fact, just yesterday little Ricky Santorum said that Obama’s agenda is “not about you. It’s not about your quality of life. It’s not about your jobs. It’s about some phony ideal. Some phony theology. Oh, not a theology based on the Bible. A different theology” (emphasis mine)

    The bible is used as a political/moral cudgel, and therefore I think we progressives do our agenda a disservice if we don’t try to disarm the wingnuts.

    If one wants to believe whatever, fine – the Bible leads you to do good, and love, and make life better for the ones you touch, great. But when one uses religion and faith and this document to advance fear and exclusion and tribalism and sorts of nasty misogyny and gay-bashing, among many ills, then the power of those symbols, including the Bible, needs be neutralized.

  7. 10

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    I don’t see why people who oppose birth control can’t set up their own insurance company. In fact, I’m pretty sure such insurance plans already exist, through Catholic associations etc. It looks to me like they don’t want any insurance company covering birth control, in which case, they’re trying to impose their values and religious beliefs on non-Catholics and others who think differently from them. After all, Obama’s health care reform law doesn’t tell anyone what insurance company they have to subscribe to, and the marketplace will provide choices. Catholics and right-to-lifers are a huge market, so there won’t be a dearth of insurance plans catering to their religious beliefs. This whole debate is really about a group of people trying to tell everyone else how they have to live. That storyline is as old as mankind, and is responsible for inestimable social strife, which makes it an evil in itself.

  8. 11

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @9 Given that Bible-thumpers rarely if ever practice what the Bible preaches, their sanctimonious attempts to cudgel others with it lack any scintilla of authenticity.

  9. 12

    doggril spews:

    @6 – C’mon, Goldy, that’s an easy one, as anyone who has actually been a part of the Religious Right can tell ya. When they say they love and respect the Bible, it’s not the actual BOOK they’re talking about, as the vast majority of the ones I’ve talked to have never, you know, actually READ it. No, when they speak in angry tones about how liberals hate the Bible, it’s the mythical support the book lends to conservative talking points that they, in fact, worship. That’s the support we saw on so many church reader boards encouraging the killing of Iraqis when we declared war on a country that never posed any serious threat to us. It’s the prayers high school football players send up before the big game, as if God gave a rat’s ass about whether or not they won Homecoming. It’s the hugely disproportionate amount of fire and brimstone they expend on gays, when the book actually spends very few verses discussing homosexuality (far fewer than it does discussing, say, greed, which for most of these folks is a virtue, not a vice). Mostly, it’s the absurd notion that America, a country never mentioned or hinted at in the Bible, is, nonetheless, God’s favorite group of folks EVAH–or, at least would be, if not for those stinkin’ aforementioned gays–and the liberals who love them.

  10. 13

    Liberal Scientist thinks that concentrated power and wealth should be met with suspicion, not adoration spews:

    @11
    They have no authenticity with anyone with critical thinking skills or a moral compass, no.

    But those aren’t the voters we’re worried about.

    It’s the fools who listen to the Bible-fueled snarlings of Santorum and Palin and Tony Perkins and Slick Rick Warren who are the problem.

  11. 14

    Steve spews:

    How is it “Bible bashing” to merely quote the Bible?

    What I see is a weekly presentation of verse selected from the Bible, seemingly chosen solely for it’s usefullness in putting Judeo-Christian faiths in a bad light and promoting ridicule. I see you promoting a weekly progressive laugh-fest at the expense of the faiths of millions of Americans. Do you think that’s good politics? If so, please explain why. Please explain, in the context of local progressive political blogging, why only the Bible? So many ridiculous religious texts to choose from. Why only this one? My guess is that the answer reveals far more about you than it does anybody’s faith.

    Why no commentary or criticism by you? Why don’t you put it out there what you think of that passage? If the Bible was copyrighted material, your post would be deleted because you bring absolutely nothing.

    Given the foundational nature of this document for many in this country, especially as it is seen by many as both inerrant murmurings of their deity and justification for all sorts of nastiness, I think examining it is entirely valid in a political context.

    If that’s the case, then why only examine those parts of the document that leave it open to ridicule? Is that the scientist’s way? Why do we never discuss John 8:32, “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free”? I’d suggest that this never discussed because Biblical verse such as that doesn’t lead to much ridicule.

    just yesterday little Ricky Santorum

    Going after the hypocricy of politicians is entirely suitable for discussion on a political blog, especially those with a theocratic bent, such as Santorum. But I’m asking, what place does ridiculing the faiths of a couple hundred million Americans have here? Can a person truly be one of the 99% if they get off on ridiculing the religious beliefs of the majority of that 99%? What good can come from ridiculing the faiths of our neighbors, family and friends?

  12. 15

    God spews:

    for those who see Hanavi’s post as “bashing”

    Is it better to DENY the truth?

    So, yes … King David did evil, what are the pious going to do about it.? Oh, and Jesus ….. he sinned too … unless the pious think sing Me name in vain is OK!

  13. 16

    Steve spews:

    “The bible is used as a political/moral cudgel, and therefore I think we progressives do our agenda a disservice if we don’t try to disarm the wingnuts.”

    Generalized Bible-bashing bashes the faith of progressive Christians as well as wingnut Christians. Now, if Goldy were to make even the least attempt to tie the verse he selects to some wingnut atrocity such as Santorum’s speech, then these weekly blog posts would take on a whole different flavor. But that never happens because Goldy never offers commentary. And as someone who has been paying attention, most of the verse Goldy chooses to post has little to no direct association with politics. No surprise here that these threads degenerate into a bash of all Christians, progressive and wingnut alike. I’ll ask again, is that good politics? Or is this just Goldy’s personal issues on display?

  14. 17

    doggril spews:

    @14 – How can the truth set you free if you decide to censor those portions of it which you don’t like?

  15. 18

    "the grey-eyed man of destiny" spews:

    re 14: So, quote your own Bible verse that shows what you want it to show — “same old wine in a brand new bottle” — to quote Loggins and Messina.

  16. 19

    "the grey-eyed man of destiny" spews:

    re 14: Respecting a person’s right to believe nonsense is not the same thing as not being able to criticize or mock the foolish belief.

    Your beliefs are holy to you, not to me.

  17. 20

    the observer spews:

    If you criticize or mock the Koran, you are called racist.

    If you criticize or mock the Torah, you are called anti-Semitic

    If you criticize or mock the bible, you are being a typical progressive.

    Funny how that works.

  18. 21

    "the grey-eyed man of destiny" spews:

    re 20: I have heard plenty of criticism of the way that jihadist Muslims use the Koran to convince easily fooled youths that they will have forty virgins to deflower upon killing themselves in the ‘holy’ cause and entering heaven.

    Additionally, Goldy quotes from the Torah probably more than from the New Testament, so I think that your reasoning apropos criticism of the Torah and the Koran is just an attempt for you to feel like a victim.

    You poor dear.

  19. 22

    doggril spews:

    @20 – It’s not funny at all, really. Of all the groups you mention, only one of them habitually tries to force their beliefs down the throats of the rest of us (and, let’s not forget, has the political power to do so). It’s a perfectly fair response to hold some of those beliefs up to scrutiny, and, where cause for ridicule is found, ridicule them as appropriate.

  20. 23

    Don Joe spews:

    @19

    Respecting a person’s right to believe nonsense is not the same thing as not being able to criticize or mock the foolish belief.

    That depends entirely on how you, yourself, reach the conclusion that the belief in question if “foolish”. Would you, for example, criticize someone for believing that the sum of the interior angles of a triangle is always strictly greater than 180 degrees?

  21. 24

    Steve spews:

    “How can the truth set you free if you decide to censor those portions of it which you don’t like?”

    Yeah, if I had tried to censor somebody. I question what is going on here.

    “I have heard plenty of criticism of the way that jihadist Muslims use the Koran to convince easily fooled youths”

    It’s too bad we don’t have time or space for a weekly Koran study group. Or maybe pull something from the actual Torah once in a while instead of the New International Version of the Christian Bible. My point was that this sets up a weekly indiscriminate bash oriented towards all Christians, left and right, and not Jews, Muslims, Hindus, or people of any other belief system. This happens on a progressive political blog. Could we possibly come up with a better way to play into the wingnut stereotype of progressives as Christain haters?

    Let me be clear about where I stand. I say that this is bad politics. I see such behaviour turning what began as a wingnut stereotyping of progressives as Christian haters into reality. Goldy is a political animal, he’s not stupid and should know better. So I ask, what’s up with that? Would he happier with us chanting that “We’re the 20%!” rather than “We’re the 99%!”? If he disagrees and believes that a weekly Bible bash on progressive political blog is good politics, then I’d like to read his explanation for it.

  22. 25

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @21 It’s surprising anybody falls for it, because for the math to work, the birth rate has to be 40 girls to every boy throughout the Muslim world. Even kids should be able to see that somebody is lying to them. If everyone goes to Paradise, there will be slightly more boys than girls up there, so in the best of circumstances some of the boys are going to get the short straw. In other words, Paradise works a lot like Mormon polygamist sects; to have enough girls to go around, most of the boys are kicked out. If I found myself in that setup, I’d go shopping for a better deal.

  23. 26

    Don Joe spews:

    Steve, I think Goldy, and others here, are trying to capture some of the ethos of this:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jYaewOBGybw

    While that’s a great scene, and has a lot for which progressives can find something to cheer, there is, I think, a tendency to strip the use of Bible references from their context even in that scene. President Bartlett was a deeply religious character, and, yet, his soliloquy is not out of character.

    The fact that there are some people whose religious beliefs aren’t nuanced does mean that everyone who has some form of religious belief arrives at that destination via a route that’s devoid nuance.

    So, I find myself very much in agreement with you. Indeed, not only is this bad politics, the bashing that goes on in these comment threads (e.g. the comment at 19) is just plain faulty reasoning. All creatures made of straw are easy to slay, particularly if one doesn’t care to be bothered to actually try to understand the thing one is criticizing.

    ‘Course, it’s entirely possible that all of this would be much better if served up with healthy portions, or even unhealthy portions, of crab puffs. Unfortunately, Godly doesn’t have a Presidential budget.

  24. 27

    Steve spews:

    @23 Wouldn’t it be better to look to the sciences that explore the fundamental nature of reality for your example? I have recorded on my DVR a great show with the title, “What is Reality?” A handful of physicists disagreeing with each other. Criticizing each other’s views. About reality. Eleven dimensions or ten? Infinite universe or finite? Certainty or uncertainty? Who is right? Who on that panel are the fools?

    One of the amazing things about us humans and our large brains is how, for countless millinia, we did so little with it. After thousands of millinia, we believed in idols and gods and killed each other over them with stones. Alas, we are risen apes, not fallen angels, and for a people to get their perceptions of reality narrowed down to the machinations of a single God was really quite an acheivement, no matter how long it took. And we continue to rise. But it seems no matter how high we apes might rise, we still love to throw stones at each other.

  25. 28

    Steve spews:

    @26 heh. I’m just playing the Devil’s advocate here, pun intended, trying to help some normally very nuanced friends of mine to be a little more nuanced and targeted in their criticisms of the beliefs of others. It’d be better politics. If we want to have more than 20% of Americans identifying themselves as liberals, we’re going to have to appeal to Christians, as our nation’s religious demographics eventually boil down to a very real political equation.

  26. 29

    Don Joe spews:

    @27

    Wouldn’t it be better to look to the sciences that explore the fundamental nature of reality for your example?

    For my purposes, no. When we draw triangles on a flat surface, the some of their interior angles is 180 degrees. When we draw them on the surface of a sphere, however, the sum of their interior angles is always strictly greater than 180 degrees.

    If we can reach contradictory conclusions in Mathematics, the most logically rigorous of human intellectual endeavors, then why would we expect to not reach contradictory conclusions in any of our other fields of thought?

    Clearly, if people are to be scorned, it’s not for the conclusions they reach. Rather, if we are going to subject people to scorn, it has to be based on how they’ve reached the conclusions they hold dear.

    @ 28

    I’m just playing the Devil’s advocate here…

    No need to apologize. You raise a perfectly legitimate point, and it’s not just political.

  27. 30

    Zotz sez: They lie, cheat, have no shame and cannot be embarrassed. spews:

    @Steve:

    Progressive whatever is not being mocked here, delusional bronze age thinking filtered through a mysogynystic medieval worldview is.

    “Progressive” christians don’t think the bible is an infallible document. In fact, if you really pushed them (you), I submit most would admit it’s more about socialization and ideals than dogma.

    This week’s verse nails the past few weeks of right wing bigotry against women, hence it is entirely political and therefore eminently mockable (if you ignore the sheer horror of it).

    Until a bit ago, most of us thought we’d settled all this stuff about women owning their own bodies way back in the 60s. Even the Rs, including Huckabee, are on record requiring insurance coverage for birth control — except now they’re not.

    Mocking the fuck out of bigots and their bible (or whatever organized mythology) is fair game, particularly when you realize that these cretins only really differ in which century they want to take us back to.

    Frankly, re-education camps would be more effective than mocking, but certain delusions are protected in this country and mocking at least tends to make the deluded think twice about displaying their delusions in public.

  28. 31

    the observer spews:

    Frankly, re-education camps would be more effective than mocking

    how very progressive of you….

    shorter: “anyone who disagrees with us should be sent to re-education camp”.

    Seems like I have heard that a few times before – from people like Stalin, Lenin, Mao, the fruitcakes from North Korea – just to mention a few.

  29. 32

    uptown spews:

    @Steve:

    It’s a pretty sad day when somebody asks us not to quote The Bible because it might hurt someones feelings.

    BTW: if you are not familiar with a passage, the link that Goldy uses has plenty of resources to help you understand the passage. Including multiple commentaries.

  30. 33

    uptown spews:

    @31

    “anyone who disagrees with us should be sent to re-education camp”

    Except Zotz didn’t suggest that, you did. A little projection goes a long way doesn’t it?

  31. 34

    doggril spews:

    @24 – No, you’re not trying to censor Goldy. You’re just asking him to predict which verses you might consider examples of “…those parts of the document that leave it open to ridicule…” and then self-censor.
    Heck, that’s not unreasonable at all!

  32. 35

    Don Joe spews:

    @ 30

    Mocking the fuck out of bigots and their bible

    Except that the difference between the bigots and the progressives isn’t the reverence that each holds for the Bible. The difference is in their approach to understanding the Bible. No matter how you want to cut it, lumping the bigots and the Bible together is a rhetorical error.

    It’s certainly easy to mock the bigots and the Bible at the same time. Far more difficult, yet far more rewarding, is to mock the bigots while showing respect for the Bible. Steve is free to correct me if I’m wrong on this, but I think that’s what Steve is trying to say.

  33. 36

    Steve spews:

    @32 “It’s a pretty sad day when somebody asks us not to quote The Bible because it might hurt someones feelings.”

    That’s OK. I happen to think it’s a sad day when a progressive resorts to making shit up. I haven’t asked Goldy to stop quoting the Bible. I have not made demands. I have asked questions. I’ll ask one of them again. Is it good politics for progressives to indiscriminately bash Christians?

    @34 “You’re just asking him to predict which verses you might consider examples of “…those parts of the document that leave it open to ridicule…””

    I didn’t ask Goldy to predict anything. I asked Goldy questions intended to get to the bottom of why he indulges, as I see it, in what I’ve called “bad politics”.

    “Heck, that’s not unreasonable at all!”

    By that remark, I take it that you think I’m being unreasonable. If that’s the case, what is it that you find unreasonable about my comments?

  34. 37

    Steve spews:

    @35 “Far more difficult, yet far more rewarding, is to mock the bigots while showing respect for the Bible.”

    Spot on.

  35. 38

    Zotz sez: They lie, cheat, have no shame and cannot be embarrassed. spews:

    I have NO respect for the bible. NONE.

    Having respect for the bible means you simply haven’t been paying attention and have likely not read it, leaving aside understanding its sordid history.

  36. 39

    Don Joe spews:

    @38: Having respect for the bible means you simply haven’t been paying attention and have likely not read it, leaving aside understanding its sordid history.

    And, your basis for claiming this is, what? That people who do have respect for the Bible reach conclusions about the Bible that contradict yours?

    Would you boldly proclaim that spherical geometry is false, and anyone who believes in it to be ignorant, merely because some of the conclusions of spherical geometry contradict conclusions of plane geometry?

    A countervailing bigotry is no cure for bigotry itself. It only begets more bigotry.

  37. 40

    Zotz sez: They lie, cheat, have no shame and cannot be embarrassed. spews:

    @39: Facts and evidence.

    If you want to know the truth of the bible and its origins, there is plenty if you seek it out. I suspect by your response that you haven’t actually read the bible or understand its history.

    I don’t have the time or inclination to educate you and based on your response it would matter little if I did.

  38. 43

    isambard kingdom brunel spews:

    Whole lotta hate going here……

    Zitz and his lefty dreamworld of gulags for anyone who doesn’t think like him…..

    Entertaining to watch, but not surprising……

  39. 44

    Steve spews:

    My friend Zotz, “I have NO respect for the bible. NONE.”

    We certainly differ in that I respect the Bible in several ways. I see the first books of the Torah as being oral histories passed down through generations for which there is little or no direct archeological evidence. It probably wasn’t until the time of David or Solomon that scribes started writing stuff down, including the previous oral histories. Contradictions abound, often on the same page or in the following paragraph. Was the flood 40 days or 150? Was it a blackbird or a dove? I doubt that it was ever intended as an historical document as we now know them. I suspect it more likely started out as something that helped former low-rung Canaanites form a new identity as Israelites and then to cement that identity, and help make sense of the destruction of the Temple. While I don’t think it was intended as an historical document, anybody familiar with Biblical archeology knows that there are points where archeology and the Torah coincide. I respect the people, my own Jewish friends and their Torah.

    Then we have the Christian Bible, cobbled together by Constantine. I see it, too, as a document with a purpose. Was Emperor Constantine a goody two-shoes Christian of some sort? I don’t think so. I think along lines of power and control, the usual stuff of emperors. I also think they left out some great stuff with some of the lost Gospels. The one where the boy Jesus kills his classmate is pretty damned funny. Instuctional as well. Don’t fuck with Jesus!

    I’ll discuss why I respect the Bible in another comment.

  40. 45

    Steve spews:

    My friend Zotz, “I have NO respect for the bible. NONE.”

    Another way in which I respect the Bible is the respect I feel for people who I love and what the book means to them and how what they got from the Bible played out in how they touched my life.

    Here’s one example of that. This happened in the freezing dead of winter when I was about ten years old. A woman heard a noise at her door, opened it, and found me crumpled on her porch, beaten to a pulp, half naked and hypothermic. I recall her rubbing my hands and feet for hours trying to get my circulation to return. She had to hold a cup of warm chocolate milk to my mouth because I couldn’t hold it myself. She saved me me that day.

    A couple years later, I was a kid who was locked up and, as I believed then, long forgotten. As it turned out, I wasn’t forgotten. It took a lot of effort on her part, but that same woman finally succeeded in giving me a home. She had saved me again.

    She was a devout Catholic and her most valued possession was her Bible. She had little money, living off her late husband’s Longshoreman’s pension and social security. She had lived a hard life. A lifetime of scrubbing floors had left her bent over like Rodin’s Fallen Caryatid. She never asked me to attend Mass with her but I often did.

    When she died a few years ago, her three sons and three kids she had saved, myself included, carried her coffin to her final resting place. I told the story again that day about how that woman had saved me not once, but twice. I had this passage on my mind all that week,

    “Then they also will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’ Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’

    I was the least person she knew. By her believing in, and living, those words, she found the will to reach out and save me. Regardless of the Crusades, Inquisition and all of the many horrors begat by that book, I would have sooner faced death than to have ever told that woman that I had no respect for the Bible.

    Yeah, I respect the Bible.

  41. 46

    Don Joe spews:

    Zotz @ several. Perhaps you don’t quite grasp the significance of the difference between Spherical Geometry and Plane Geometry? They contradict each other in some important ways (like, say, the sum of the interior angles of a triangle).

    By your reasoning, then, Mathematics is purely mythical, and anyone who believes in any of the conclusions of Mathematics ought to be regarded with scorn.

    By the way, the reasoning in your link @42 is sophomoric at best. It’s the classic case of a straw man argument. Really, you couldn’t come up with something better?

  42. 47

    Steve spews:

    I’ve noted a number of times on this blog that, if the trolls disappeared, we’d soon turn on each other. I’d rather that I was wrong about that.

  43. 48

    Steve spews:

    @35 “Steve is free to correct me if I’m wrong on this, but I think that’s what Steve is trying to say.”

    I’m trying but it doesn’t seem to be going over very well. You seem to understand what I’m trying to say better than I do myself.

    “It’s certainly easy to mock the bigots and the Bible at the same time. Far more difficult, yet far more rewarding, is to mock the bigots while showing respect for the Bible.”

    That puts it in a nutshell. Perhaps I should have wrote something similar and just left it at that.

  44. 49

    Zotz sez: They lie, cheat, have no shame and cannot be embarrassed. spews:

    @46: I’m not a math whiz. But anything purported to be perfect (i.e., inerrant) shouldn’t have any — let alone 100s — of egregious contradictions.

    By the way, the reasoning in your link @42 is sophomoric at best. It’s the classic case of a straw man argument.

    I assume you’re refering to the second link.

    Care to share what you think the strawman is?

  45. 50

    Zotz sez: They lie, cheat, have no shame and cannot be embarrassed. spews:

    I’d rather that I was wrong about that.

    Good point and me too.

    We’ve only been subjected to the purse dog sized piles lately. It’s nice not having dog shit on your shoe.

  46. 51

    Zotz sez: They lie, cheat, have no shame and cannot be embarrassed. spews:

    @45: Beautiful story, Steve. I do respect that.

  47. 52

    uptown spews:

    @Steve

    Is it good politics for progressives to indiscriminately bash Christians?

    That is a statement pretending to be a question. Like those used by the rightwing on their push polls. It’s purpose is to divide, not to find answers or to open dialogue.

    It’s also a false statement, as just quoting a verse from The Bible can not be construed to be more than it is – a quote from The Bible.

    At least try and be honest with yourself (and us) about what you are writing.

  48. 53

    Steve spews:

    “That is a statement pretending to be a question.”

    No, it is a simple fucking question. How about you answering it instead of making shit up? Again, is it good politics to for progressives to indiscriminately bash Christians?

    “It’s purpose is to divide, not to find answers or to open dialogue.”

    Good fucking grief! Yeah, just look at how Zotz and I are now hopelessly divided after our exchange. We disagree but still have a ton of respect for each other. If my intent was to divide, it would have turned out far different.

    “At least try and be honest with yourself (and us) about what you are writing.”

    Horseshit.

  49. 54

    Don Joe spews:

    @ 49 I’m not a math whiz.

    Well, you don’t have to be a math whiz, but here’s a little mental experiment: stand at the North Pole. Walk south a ways, then make a 90 degree turn to the left. Walk east for a bit, then make another 90 turn to the left. Walk north until you get back to the North Pole. You’ve just walked a triangle that has two 90 degree angles in it. According to the rules of Plane Geometry, however, that can’t be possible.

    But anything purported to be perfect (i.e., inerrant) shouldn’t have any — let alone 100s — of egregious contradictions.

    Except that the issue hinges entirely on what people mean by “inerrant”. What’s the purpose of the book? Is it meant to be a full historical record, or is it meant to convey an entirely different set of truths about who we are? The whole concept of “inerrancy” is exceedingly fungible, because the notion of purpose inheres to any concept of “inerrancy”.

    Now, are there folks who’s concepts of “inerrancy” lead to contradictions within their rhetorical framework? Absolutely, but this is where the difference between mocking people and the Bible at the same time and mocking people while showing respect for the Bible plays its more important role. In the former case, you’re merely opposing their world view with yours. The latter case involves showing people how their view is incoherent in and of itself. That creates cognitive dissonance. That is how you go about changing the way people think.

    More on this in a bit, you said:

    I assume you’re refering to the second link.

    You posted three links in two comments. I was referring to the last link regarding “Why Won’t God Heal Amputees?” article, and this actually affords an opportunity to explain some of what I mean.

    According to the argument there, the primary justification for even asking the question rests on Mark 11:24:

    Think about it this way. The Bible clearly promises that God answers prayers. For example, in Mark 11:24 Jesus says, “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”

    While there are some Christians, most of them Evangelicals, who do read that verse in that way, there are quite a few Christians who will say that the entirety of the Parable of the Fig Tree is about faith, not prayer, and will point to 1 John Ch. 5 regarding the notion of praying for things in accordance with God’s Will. 1 John Ch. 5 shows us how the Apostles understood the concept that Jesus was explaining in Mark Ch. 11. (As a friend of mine once said to me, with a hint of gleam in his eye, the most sure-fire way to get everything you want is to make your will congruent with God’s Will.)

    It gets even more interesting when you start delving into the original Koine and how similar concepts might have been expressed in Aramaic, because then you come away with the notion of acting as if the prayer has been answered, indeed that it is this action itself that brings about the outcome that’s desired (again, so long as what’s asked is in accordance with God’s will–and, yes, I’m leaving any discussion of how we come to know God’s will on the table; maybe later; the point here is about diversity of belief, not the correctness of any one given point of view).

    To the extent that the article’s argument relies on one reading of Mark 11:24, while ignoring ways that other Christians understand the meaning of Mark 11:24, as a means of disproving any belief in God whatsoever, the argument becomes a straw man.

    There are those who approach the Bible as they would a piece of literature. This approach is not inconsistent with a belief in the infallibility of the Bible, through it serves to constrain the realm within which the Bible might be considered infallible. It’s not a history book. The details of some facts aren’t important, because the purpose of the book is to teach us about who we are and how we should treat one another.

    The people who understand this fundamental purpose are people like the woman who saved Steve’s life. Not only do I think we should not mock these people or their belief in God, I think they should be encouraged to strive to understand more deeply the ethical and moral ideas that the Bible conveys. These are the people who leave this world in a better state for their having been here than it would have been without them.

    And, if you want something to pray for, let us all pray that we, too, leave this world in a better state for our having been here than it would have been without us. And by “pray,” I mean “hope,” and, having so “prayed,” let us all behave as if that hope has already been fulfilled. No?

  50. 55

    Steve spews:

    @54 What a wonderful and thoughtfully expressed comment! That was so much better than my angry reply to Uptown, for which I apologize to him and everybody else who might read this thread. The anger wasn’t called for.

  51. 56

    Don Joe spews:

    I should probably point out, as I think it’s relevant to this context, that I first learned about non-Euclidean geometries in a very excellent book by Isaac Asimov, entitled Asimov on Numbers. Unfortunately, the book is out of print, but used copies are still available. In addition to non-Euclidean geometries, you’ll learn about the history of Arabic numerals and not only that “infinity” isn’t a number but also that there are different levels of “infinity” (i.e. countably infinite vs uncountably infinite sets).

    Asimov was, himself, an atheist, but he also managed to show respect to people who did believe in God. What mattered to him was the extent to which people held a set of beliefs that was internally consistent, not the extent to which they believed the same things he believed.

  52. 57

    "the grey-eyed man of destiny" spews:

    “One gradually attains tranquillity of mind by keeping the mind fully absorbed in the Self by means of a well-trained intellect, and thinking of nothing else.” Bhagavad Gita

    I guess Milton Friedman was wiser than I thought.

  53. 58

    Steve spews:

    @54 “And, if you want something to pray for, let us all pray that we, too, leave this world in a better state for our having been here than it would have been without us.”

    I’m reminded of Rachel Beckwith, the little girl who died last year before her birthday wish to bring clean water to kids who desparately need it could come true. Although she didn’t live to see her tenth birthday or to see her wish come true, she left this world a better place than it would have been without her. Because of her, children will live who would have otherwise died. Incidently, she learned about the need for clean water from the pastor at her church.

  54. 59

    Max spews:

    47. Steve spews:
    I’ve noted a number of times on this blog that, if the trolls disappeared, we’d soon turn on each other. I’d rather that I was wrong about that.

    02/20/2012 AT 1:35 PM

    Not to worry Steve my friend. Max is still here to save the day…..

    Hope all is going well for ya…

  55. 60

    Max spews:

    Maybe the “trolls” are watching and having a good laugh.

    Always….thats all this place is good for.

    Me thinks many here take this place, and themselves, far too seriously.

  56. 61

    Max spews:

    Incidently, she learned about the need for clean water from the pastor at her church.

    Well shit, dont tell that to Zitz – he will just conclude that the pastor was trying to get into her pants..

    and then he would suggest that both of them go to “re-education camp”(read: gulag)

  57. 62

    Zotz sez: They lie, cheat, have no shame and cannot be embarrassed. spews:

    @54: That was a long and thoughtful post. I appreciate the effort and the sentiment, actually. I also note the rationalizing logic — that’s not a dig, BTW, just an observation.

    I think I said something similar upfront in my original comment: “…socialization and ideals more than dogma.”

    I respect that and progressive christians, muslims, whatever.

    But the bible does not deserve respect as anything sacred, or divine, or most importantly any kind of guide for public policy in and of itself.

    The folks (and their bible) who do want a “biblical” public policy deserve to be called out and mocked mercilessly when they act out. They are and we do.

    We aren’t mocking the “least of these” part here (that would be at RedState or FreeRepublic), but all that baggage about the role of women and lots of other ugly stuff that affects our politics come along with it and that’s all fair game for Bible Study on a lefty political blog.

  58. 63

    Steve spews:

    “Not to worry Steve my friend. Max is still here to save the day…”

    Too funny. I thank you for showing up and saving the day.

    I hope that one of these days I can share with you what a friend and I are doing to try to help Rachel’s family. It’s a small thing, to be sure, but we hope to help ease the pain of their terrible loss a little. It’s deeply personal thing that we’re doing and something I’ll talk no further about here at HA. We do have the support of a gentleman from her church who knows the family well, as well as support from other people who introduced us to him. This man has given considerable assistance to the family himself, and he has encouraged us to see what we’re doing through because he believes that what we’re up to is a very wonderful thing to do for Rachel’s family. My friend and his wife lost their own child a few years ago. The pain of such a loss lasts forever, but doing something for Rachel’s family to help them deal with their loss has been a very cathartic experience for them. I see my friend starting to live life again.

    And I hope all is well with you too!

  59. 64

    Max spews:

    Steve,
    I’d like nothing more that to sit down over a beer and listen to what you are doing RE Rachel’s family.

    You’re a good man, Steve.

  60. 65

    Steve spews:

    I hope that beer follows a round of golf.

    We should be done with this thing for Rachel in two or three weeks. When done, I’ll ask Darryl to forward an email to you so we can get together.

  61. 67

    Don Joe spews:

    @ 63

    But the bible does not deserve respect as anything sacred, or divine, or most importantly any kind of guide for public policy in and of itself.

    First, this is the Bible Study thread. No one here is suggesting that the Bible be used as a guide or basis for public policy. Nor, for that matter, does a respect for the Bible require that we use it for such.

    Second, I happen to think that anything that inspires people to raise the level of their conduct is sacred in some way, but even that’s not the point. The point is to demonstrate that there really is a wide variety of views out there. No one has a monopoly on truth.

    And, lest you think I’m defending a personal position, here, let met state that I’m not a Christian. Indeed, I’ve seen my daughter get off the school bus in tears because she thought to answer truthfully when asked, “Are you a Christian?” We all pretty much know what happened when she did.

    The only thing I can think of that would be worse than watching my daughter get off the school bus in tears would be to watch some other parent’s child get off the school bus in tears over something my child said.

    An open-minded person is someone who searches for the truth. A close-minded person is someone who has found it. That human frailty knows no religious, political or sectarian boundaries.

  62. 68

    spews:

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