ATTN: The Q Continuum - 10 questions about your beliefs
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27-06-2015, 01:47 AM
RE: ATTN: The Q Continuum - 10 questions about your beliefs
Bucky - I appreciate that there's quite a bit of scholarship that shows the (various) versions of Isaiah included a number of strange ideas about angels and powers, that there was a winnowing process from the worship of many gods down to the reclassification of other gods into "heavenly beings" of various kinds, and that they wrestled for quite some time with the transition to "hard" Monotheism of belief that only one god even exist... more than most are willing to admit, but I don't see solid evidence yet, even in the article you posted, that they had continued major (as in widespread) worship of other gods under the primary form of Judaism, even if they (as seems clear) assumed other gods were real and possessed of godly powers and considered the Heavenly Host to be something more than "just angels", but were monotheists in the sense that they worshipped only YHWH. The acknowledgement of other deities' existence does not exclude the use of "monotheism" to describe the pre-Exile Hebrews. The passages about Moses and his combat with the clerics of the Egyptian deities, for one, would make little sense in any other context, as would the willingness of the people in the time of the formation of the Pentateuch (during the Exile) to believe the story of the people turning immediately to the worship of the Golden Calf while Moses was up on the mountain getting the Commandments.

But I think we are simply operating from different definitions of Monotheism.

Certainly it can be said that nothing resembling "hard" (belief in the non-existence of all other deities) monotheism is proved to have existed pre-Exile, and the Judaic writings about Gabriel and the archangel Jesus from just before the time of the Yeshua ben Yosef = The Annointed One are suggestive of a more-varied opinion of the nature of the heavenly host clear into the first century CE, but it also seems clear that they appeared to be making the transition toward their later, exclusive, "hard" monotheism from the time-period ascribed to the reign of David. (Yes, I know that David's reign/existence is not yet proved, archaeologically, other than the "beth David" inscription... at that age, it's only shaky evidence that a people called Israel existed in the Canaanite hills; I am giving the story the widest latitude for the sake of argument, rather than standing firm on "lack of evidence is evidence of lack".) In the end, you're discussing speculation, however well-founded.

I resist taking a firm stand on the rejection of the assertions of the Old Testament history where it's simply a lack of corroborating evidence that's at stake, because it may turn up tomorrow. On the other hand, when it comes to subjects like "Joshua fought the Battle of Jericho", and we have clear evidence that this could not have happened as described, I take a more aggressive stance. I simply see no problem with giving the "benefit of the doubt" to the Biblical assertions not yet disproved, because it is not necessary to disprove them in order to reject the assertion that the modern interpretation of Bible history is not what I was raised to think it was, when growing up in the Southern Baptist churches of the deep South, and which mythologies my family continue to assert today.

Have a care with terms like "You need to study some history." If I make an actual historical mistake, such as placing something in the wrong century or being unaware of the Amarna Letters, for instance, that's one thing, but we're talking about highly-contested interpretations regarding an ancient-language/history expertise-level far beyond either of us. We can read and try to assimilate a best-picture opinion, but that doesn't mean that my decision to give credence to the idea that the ancient Hebrews probably began their shift toward monotheism long before we have evidence of consensus on the matter--hardly surprising, given the dearth of surviving Biblical writings dating to before the Exile, the influences of Babylonian, Egyptian, and Greek culture, and the fact that so much was "back-dated" by later redactors during the Exile and post-Exile periods-- and long before the various competing factions more or less coalesced into "modern" Judaism, which would not fully occur until after/around the time of Jesus, is a matter of ignorance about history. You prefer to take a hard line on the subject, and that's okay. But it doesn't make me ignorant, to be spoken to like I'm a fundamentalist with an emotional stake in The Truth Of God's Word. Kay?

"Theology made no provision for evolution. The biblical authors had missed the most important revelation of all! Could it be that they were not really privy to the thoughts of God?" - E. O. Wilson
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27-06-2015, 02:28 AM
RE: ATTN: The Q Continuum - 10 questions about your beliefs
Reading the above post by Rocket made me recall Julian in his work, Against the Galileans. From what Julian wrote, or rather what has come down to us, it seems the ancient Hebrews fancied themselves as special creations and worshipped one god. This does not mean they denied the existence of other gods. They simply had their own. But Paul in his efforts to get converts from other races attempted to alter what had been originally written.

I recalled this passage:

But that from the beginning God cared only for the Jews and that He chose them out as his portion, has been clearly asserted not only by Moses and Jesus but by Paul as well; though in Paul's case this is strange. For according to circumstances he keeps changing his views about God, as the polypus changes its colours to match the rocks,23 and now he insists that the Jews alone are God's portion, and then again, when he is trying to persuade the Hellenes to take sides with him, he says : "Do not think that he is the God of Jews only, but also of Gentiles : yea of Gentiles also." 24 Therefore it is fair to ask of Paul why God, if he was not the God of the Jews only but also of the Gentiles, sent the blessed gift of prophecy to the Jews in abundance and gave them Moses and the oil of anointing, and the prophets and the law and the incredible and monstrous elements in their myths? For you hear them crying aloud: "Man did eat angels' food." 25 And finally God sent unto them Jesus also, but unto us no prophet, no oil of anointing, no teacher, no herald to announce his love for man which should one day, though late, reach even unto us also. Nay he even looked on for myriads, or if you prefer, for thousands of years, while men in extreme ignorance served idols, as you call them, from where the sun rises to where he sets, yes and from North to South, save only that |345 little tribe which less than two thousand years before had settled in one part of Palestine. For if he is the God of all of us alike, and the creator of all, why did he neglect us? Wherefore it is natural to think that the God of the Hebrews was not the begetter of the whole universe with lordship over the Avhole, but rather, as I said before, that he is confined within limits, and that since his empire has bounds we must conceive of him as only one of the crowd of other gods. Then are we to pay further heed to you because you or one of your stock imagined the God of the universe, though in any case you attained only to a bare conception of Him? Is not all this partiality? God, you say, is a jealous God. But why is he so jealous, even avenging the sins of the fathers on the children?

And this passage in particular when speaking of the Babble story:

Furthermore, Moses also consciously drew a veil over this sort of enquiry, and did not assign the confusion of dialects to God alone. For he says that God did not descend alone, but that there descended with him not one but several, and he did not say who these were. But it is evident that he assumed that the beings who descended with God resembled him. If, therefore, it was not the Lord alone but his associates with him who descended for the purpose of confounding the dialects, it is very evident that for the confusion of men's characters, also, not the Lord alone but also those who together with him confounded the dialects would reasonably be considered responsible for this division.

Here Julian sounds like Hitchens:

That is a surprising law of Moses, I mean the |361 famous decalogue! "Thou shalt not steal." "Thou shalt not kill." "Thou shalt not bear false witness." But let me write out word for word every one of the commandments which he says were written by God himself.

"I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt." Then follows the second: "Thou shalt have no other gods but me." "Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image." And then he adds the reason : " For I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third generation." "Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain." "Remember the sabbath day." "Honour thy father and thy mother." " Thou shalt not commit adultery." "Thou shalt not kill." "Thou shalt not steal." "Thou shalt not bear false witness." "Thou shalt not covet anything that is thy neighbour's."

Now except for the command "Thou shalt not worship other gods," and "Remember the sabbath day," what nation is there, I ask in the name of the gods, which does not think that it ought to keep the other commandments? So much so that penalties have been ordained against those who transgress them, sometimes more severe, and sometimes similar to those enacted by Moses, though they are sometimes more humane.


And is this not an admission that other gods exist?

But as for the commandment "Thou shalt not worship other gods," to this surely he adds a terrible libel upon God. "For I am a jealous God."

Of course we cannot really be sure. And Julian's work came down to us through a Christian critic. Nevertheless.....

NOTE: Member, Tomasia uses this site to slander other individuals. He then later proclaims it a joke, but not in public.
I will call him a liar and a dog here and now.
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27-06-2015, 05:56 AM
RE: ATTN: The Q Continuum - 10 questions about your beliefs
(27-06-2015 01:47 AM)RocketSurgeon76 Wrote:  The passages about Moses and his combat with the clerics of the Egyptian deities, for one, would make little sense in any other context, as would the willingness of the people in the time of the formation of the Pentateuch (during the Exile) to believe the story of the people turning immediately to the worship of the Golden Calf while Moses was up on the mountain getting the Commandments.

http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/forum/...ble-Bull-s

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein God has a plan for us. Please stop screwing it up with your prayers.
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27-06-2015, 08:25 AM
RE: ATTN: The Q Continuum - 10 questions about your beliefs
Good article. And I agree with the vast majority of its conclusions.

I tend to see almost everything in the OT as political power-grab justifications, revisionist history toward that end, and/or nostalgic rewriting and amalgamation of mythologies that had been passed down in a hundred different forms through the various tribes and associated inhabitants of the region.

That's why I like the Solomon-and-the-Baby story, the political-parable, so much. (1 Kings 3:16-28) Great political parable-writing and propaganda at the same time. The priests of the Exile period must have been some amazingly crafty dudes.

"Theology made no provision for evolution. The biblical authors had missed the most important revelation of all! Could it be that they were not really privy to the thoughts of God?" - E. O. Wilson
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