A Letter From My Theist Professor Mother
Post Reply
 
Thread Rating:
  • 0 Votes - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
21-11-2012, 01:59 PM
A Letter From My Theist Professor Mother
I told my mother recently that I was doubting the existence of God. We've had some good conversations.

She's reacted well. She's a smart and compassionate woman. You can read her previous response to me here: http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/forum/...ring-faith

I sent her another letter yesterday. Here is the letter:

Mom,

Ok...question for ya.

The First two commandments are "You shall love The Lord Your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.

And the second is 'You shall love your neighbor as you love yourself."

Then, the God of the Old Testament instructs the Israelite's to
completely wipe out entire people groups. He also instructs them to
enslave others. He also gives the Jews permission to keep virgins of
conquered peoples "for themselves." I think we can assume this wasn't
for their sewing skills. See: Rape.



Later in the New Testament, the Pharisees RIGHTLY asked "Who is my
neighbor?" Jesus says "EVERYONE is. Even your enemy." I understand this
question from the Pharisees and their confusion in the light of
Israel's history. Their God told them to basically commit genocide. He
also told them to rape and pillage their way across the land he had
promised them. The pharisees were confused. "This guy (Jesus) says
EVERYONE is my neighbor and I have to love EVERYONE. But our God told us
to kill everyone in the way of God's will. What the heck? This guy's
not from God. He doesn't even talk like our God."



I understand their confusion and their assumption that Jesus was just a trouble maker who had come to stir the pot.



What's
your thought on: A: The brutality of the old Testament Jehovah. B: The
apparent contradiction between "Love your neighbor" and "Kill them all,
and rape the young virgins." And C: The seeming contradiction between
Jesus' message of "Love everyone" and Jehovah's Old Testament behavior?

================================================================================​================

Below is her response to me:

Son,

Okay - let me preface my answer with a few points:


First, when I was younger, I thought about these things and eventually I
had answers that were satisfactory to me, but I'm probably a bit rusty.
I'll do my best.




But second - keep in mind that you and I will never come up with answers
that people who WANT to argue won't be able to argue with. It will not
be "prove-able" and people are going to believe what they want to
believe.




And third, I hope that you're talking to God and listening to His
answers, too. They will be much better than mine. :-) His thoughts are
not our thoughts and His ways are not our ways. Just the fact that there
is no "time" in eternity and He doesn't experience existence in time
demonstrates to me how very, very different His reality is from ours.




I don't think any of us (or any group of us) has all the answers, but I
believe that we're each called to walk in the light that we're given.
And ultimately, I know this one thing: God is love. It is his very
nature. My Bible has a note on Hosea 2:19 that elaborates on God's
"hesed" - his loyal loving kindness. It is his central character (even
in the O.T.) and His desire is to share it with us.




So more to the point now: I think the "human race" was a whole lot
different in the O.T. times, and I think the reason is that the Holy
Spirit was not present upon the earth. Therefore evil was unrestrained
in Old Testament times and life was pretty much what we now call
"barbaric."




I understand the Bible to say that everything God did in the O.T. was to
prepare the way for Jesus. If God had not prepared the tribe of Abraham
and turned it into the nation of Israel, how would the world have been
ready to receive Jesus and have any understanding at all of who He was
and what His significance was ? But God chose a man and gave him a
promise and that promise was passed down as the family grew into a tribe
and, eventually, into a nation. Then they were taken through a whole
process to become formed into a new nation with a way of living and
viewing life that was profoundly different than the rest of those around
them. (And Jesus arrived right at the time that Greek culture and the
Roman empire were spreading over the continents of Europe, Asia, and
Africa - very interesting timing)




Back to the point - I think that in spite of some of the horrific things
that God told the Israelites to do, they were still "less barbaric"
than the groups they were driving out of Canaan. When you consider what
all we DON"T know those times and all that God DID/DOES know, I'm
content not to second guess the wisdom of His course of action. It's a
whole other world and culture to me - I haven't a clue what "right" and
"wrong" were in that world, and i don't believe that any human being
does.




But after Jesus was crucified and risen, the Holy Spirit was poured out
upon the earth in way that had not been before, bringing about a
fundamental change in human existence. The story of the New Testament
is, thus, vastly different from the old.




Now about the Pharisees and the Saducees - a lot had gone on in their
history since the time God had told the Israelites to kill all the
Canaanites, and that was no longer their direction from God. The New
Testament makes it clear that these guys were the politicians of their
day and they were using God's laws to feather their own nests and to
take advantage of the people. The leaven of the Pharisees was hypocrisy.
Notice that the religious leaders were the ones that Jesus spoke
harshly to and about, not the Romans or the common "sinners." THEY had
the WORD and THEY were supposed to be God's representatives, but they
were using it to their own advantage. They were not seeking to know God
and walk with him in his hesed and demonstrate it to those put in their
care.




Like I said in the beginning - I don't know everything (that's for
sure), but I am convinced of this- God is love. You and I have been
lucky enough to see that manifested in the life of your grandpa.




So there are some answers - I don't know if they're of any help, but they're sent with much love.

Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
21-11-2012, 02:23 PM
RE: A Letter From My Theist Professor Mother
Those aren't the first two commandments I learned. What happened to "no other god before me" and "no graven images"?

So what's the point of your letter? Were you:
a. trying to convince your mom that her faith is silly?
b. trying to get her to convince you to restore your faith?

If your answer is "a", then it looks like that's a stone wall for you to beat your head against. She's satisfied with her faith, set in her ways, and apparently completely done asking questions, as evidenced by comments like "I asked this questions in my youth" and "I hope you're asking these questions of God because his answers are better than mine". Yes, maybe if you ask enough of the right questions, you may open her mind back up to the possibility of questioning her faith, but that seems like a tightly closed door at this time.

If your answer is "b", then all I can say is, did you get the answers you're looking for? If not, try asking those questions here; I'm sure you'll get much different answers.

"Whores perform the same function as priests, but far more thoroughly." - Robert A. Heinlein
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
21-11-2012, 02:31 PM
RE: A Letter From My Theist Professor Mother
(21-11-2012 02:23 PM)Aseptic Skeptic Wrote:  Those aren't the first two commandments I learned. What happened to "no other god before me" and "no graven images"?

So what's the point of your letter? Were you:
a. trying to convince your mom that her faith is silly?
b. trying to get her to convince you to restore your faith?

If your answer is "a", then it looks like that's a stone wall for you to beat your head against. She's satisfied with her faith, set in her ways, and apparently completely done asking questions, as evidenced by comments like "I asked this questions in my youth" and "I hope you're asking these questions of God because his answers are better than mine". Yes, maybe if you ask enough of the right questions, you may open her mind back up to the possibility of questioning her faith, but that seems like a tightly closed door at this time.

If your answer is "b", then all I can say is, did you get the answers you're looking for? If not, try asking those questions here; I'm sure you'll get much different answers.

Holy crap. You're right. I need to learn my commandment order.

She's always struck me as a clear thinker. And because I came from her, she holds an elevated place of credibility in my head. The answer is B.

"Mommy, please talk me out of not believing in God. Please Mommy?"

Really, it's that sort of thing.

No, she didn't answer my questions. It all came back to "We just don't know." and "I'm not going to question God's wisdom."

(sigh)
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes onedream's post
21-11-2012, 02:35 PM
RE: A Letter From My Theist Professor Mother
I think you mixed up the 10 Commandments with Jesus' commandments.

Regardless, if you want, I could take a stab at your question.

[Image: dog-shaking.gif]
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes kingschosen's post
21-11-2012, 02:54 PM
RE: A Letter From My Theist Professor Mother
I think you're doing just fine on your own Onedream; you are answering your own questions.

Self respect, my friend... self respect. If you've got it, then you've got mine Thumbsup

I think in the end, I just feel like I'm a secular person who has a skeptical eye toward any extraordinary claim, carefully examining any extraordinary evidence before jumping to conclusions. ~ Eric ~ My friend ... who figured it out.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 6 users Like kim's post
21-11-2012, 03:54 PM
RE: A Letter From My Theist Professor Mother
(21-11-2012 02:35 PM)kingschosen Wrote:  I think you mixed up the 10 Commandments with Jesus' commandments.

Regardless, if you want, I could take a stab at your question.
Give 'er a shot!
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
21-11-2012, 03:54 PM
RE: A Letter From My Theist Professor Mother
(21-11-2012 02:54 PM)kim Wrote:  I think you're doing just fine on your own Onedream; you are answering your own questions.

Self respect, my friend... self respect. If you've got it, then you've got mine Thumbsup
Muchas Gracias!
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
21-11-2012, 03:57 PM
RE: A Letter From My Theist Professor Mother
I don't like the gist of your mothers letter, Onedream... It seems more preachy than insightful.

Quote:But after Jesus was crucified and risen, the Holy Spirit was poured out
upon the earth in way that had not been before, bringing about a
fundamental change in human existence. The story of the New Testament
is, thus, vastly different from the old.

This particularly annoys me.

Jesus died in 33 A.D. or something like that, I'm not sure bibli-bull is not my area of knowledge as I have said previously.

Does the holy spirit travel really slow? Because I imagine it took quite some time for the "fundamental change in human existence" to make an effect on us, and why'd it only affect certain areas above others? I mean, did the holy Poltergeist just not like the Middle East and Africa and just skipped most of them? Because it seems to me that places under Roman (or Grecian) influence tended to fair better then those later on say under the influence of the Moors (see M.E.).

Not to mention Greek society before hand, them and their evil sciences and knowledge progressing philosophy.


Well, whatever it's worth, good luck in your search for answers.

The people closely associated with the namesake of female canines are suffering from a nondescript form of lunacy.
"Anti-environmentalism is like standing in front of a forest and going 'quick kill them they're coming right for us!'" - Jake Farr-Wharton, The Imaginary Friend Show.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 2 users Like Free Thought's post
21-11-2012, 04:04 PM (This post was last modified: 21-11-2012 04:10 PM by Near.)
RE: A Letter From My Theist Professor Mother
onedream's mum Wrote:And third, I hope that you're talking to God and listening to His

answers, too. They will be much better than mine. :-) His thoughts are

not our thoughts and His ways are not our ways. Just the fact that there

is no "time" in eternity and He doesn't experience existence in time

demonstrates to me how very, very different His reality is from ours.
She lost me with all that special pleading in there. Also, asking you to talk to a god that you don't believe in is foolhardy. How are you then supposed to distinguish any 'answers' that you 'receive' from your own personal thoughts?


EDIT:

onedream's mum Wrote:Back to the point - I think that in spite of some of the horrific things
that God told the Israelites to do, they were still "less barbaric"
than the groups they were driving out of Canaan. When you consider what
all we DON"T know those times and all that God DID/DOES know, I'm
content not to second guess the wisdom of His course of action. It's a
whole other world and culture to me - I haven't a clue what "right" and
"wrong" were in that world, and i don't believe that any human being
does.

Being 'less barbaric' than someone else is not really a good thing, unless that means, you are not barbaric at all. That shouldn't be held up as a positive.

Contribute to the Community Resource!
Visit this user's website Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 2 users Like Near's post
21-11-2012, 04:33 PM
RE: A Letter From My Theist Professor Mother
Okay, addressing commandments:

What you said was from Jesus. That wasn't from the 10 Commandments. Jesus consolidated these into two.

You mom was right about OT events paving the way for Christ. All the brutality and murder was a cleansing of the land to ensure the purity of the Messianic line. Like I've mentioned before, these actions are "good" in accordance that they serve a purpose; not that they are moral by human standards.

As for rape: Moses commanded rape. You never see God commanding rape. He does give instructions for those that do rape or have been raped. Men are also commanded to take the women "that they burn for" as wives - meaning they have to care for them. Even if men give these forced wives their freedom, God commanded them to not enslave them; however, it gives the women a crappy deal because now they have to fend for themselves and are now defiled.

As for what I just mentioned: yeah, that's a crappy, crappy deal, but it's a better deal than slavery or death. God commands of that time also followed society. In society, women weren't very highly regarded. In any other group, those women would either be killed or enslaved once the man decided to not want them anymore as a wife. This wasn't the case with what God commanded - He commanded a level of mercy.

Now, as for Jesus... Jesus came along and changed things. The law was the foundation of His teachings, so the law had merit; however, Jesus ushered in a new era since the Messianic line was no longer in need of preservation.

His teachings were about the love and grace of God and how it was all types of people. The Pharisees hated this because they had their livelihood and popularity because of the law and because of the Jews. Any opposition to this was considered a threat.

Jesus was fulfilling God's plan of love for His people... now, in order to reach that love there had to be all kinds of other collateral damage because of sin.

There is a stark difference between the OT and NT portrayal of God because of how God's plan was enacted. God didn't change; He simply used different ways to have His plan come to fruition.

The question for this, though, is "Why?"

I don't know if I can answer that. Maybe it was because God wanted others to know the power of Him and His people... and then know the power of His love. Or, it could be simply because of "because". Or, it could be something that I could never comprehend because His plan is still coming into fruition and I'll never see the end of it. Don't know.

Hope this makes some semblance of sense.

[Image: dog-shaking.gif]
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
Post Reply
Forum Jump: