Christians Disregard the Old Testament Too Quickly
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30-01-2012, 11:04 AM
Christians Disregard the Old Testament Too Quickly
I was arguing with a Catholic friend about his blatant disregard of Old Testament commands such as killing adulterers or homosexuals. He gave me the argument that "you have to see the morality of those commands in context, as they applied differently to desert tribesmen", and I didn't have a ready response. As I looked it up and thought about it for a while, I came upon some new insights (new to me, anyway) that I decided I would share with you guys.

Reasons why Christians Shouldn't Disregard the Old Testament Laws:

1. They were not given with an expiration date. I've often heard it said that Jesus' return changed "the law", but no one has given a scriptural reference for why this should be. Not one law was given with the command to "follow this until Jesus returns".

2. Jesus didn't tell anyone to stop following the Old Testament laws. Upon being accused of breaking the sabbath, Jesus makes a fallacious argument (circumstantial Ad Hominem) by saying that others can't accuse him of dishonoring the sabbath because they would, too (if the life of an animal was at stake) and that David "dishonored" the shewbread in the same regard (based on the assumption that David couldn't have also been sinful). When Jesus protects the adulteress, he says that there is no one just and upright enough to carry out the punishment. These are two great examples of opportunities for Jesus to say "it's time to stop punishing people with death penalties for these laws", and whether you agree that his arguments were right or correct, they were not based on getting rid of these laws. Plus he said "not one jot or tittle from the law shall be removed". In his every action and word, he endorsed the entire Old Testament as still being relevant.

3. The distinction of "Old Testament" is not one made by any of the bible's authors. There was no New or Old Testament until the bible went to the printing press. Whenever the bible refers to itself, it is always "the word" or "the law" or "the scripture".

4. There are commands still followed today that are only found in the Old Testament. Things like "thou shalt not murder" or "thou shalt not steal" are (seriously) not given again in the New Testament, but are still believed to be necessary for Christians to follow. There is a double standard created this way to defend the right to eat shellfish and pig but not to have same-sex relations (found in the same bible chapter). What determines which of these laws still applies and which ones don't?

Mostly importantly in regards to my argument...

5. "Context" arguments employ selective sampling. Was the world so different 10 years before Jesus was born and 10 years afterwards? When we're told about "context" of such brutal commands as those found in the Old Testament, we're told they were given to "tribesmen"... but they were still followed after these tribesmen settled down and built cities. If Jesus' return was the point at which these laws changed, then what about Jesus' return changed the "context"? The Jewish lifestyle didn't change all of the sudden just because Jesus was born or died. In fact, there's no reason to assume that it was widely known at the time of either event that they happened, and only in retrospect many centuries later do we see these all-important and religion-changing events as common knowledge.

My girlfriend is mad at me. Perhaps I shouldn't have tried cooking a stick in her non-stick pan.
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Christians Disregard the Old Testament Too Quickly - Starcrash - 30-01-2012 11:04 AM
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