Sunday, July 15, 2012

Bible Stories



Is Exodus a True Story?

Some people are sunshine, others are lugubrious rainclouds. Then there are those who enjoy sowing seeds of dissention and doubt...

Exodus did happen. The Bible and other Jewish writings provide the greatest details, but it is possible that some of it was allegorical.

Here is a simple rebuttal to the "It never happened" crowd who point out that no Egyptian history of the time mentions the Jewish people:
The question can be asked however: How complete are the Egyptian records from this period? There is no real literature, no actual books or chronicles, which have survived from that period of Egyptian history. (Actually the Bible is by far man’s earliest chronicle.) We have only a very limited number of inscriptions that have been recovered and translated.

[...]
The eruption of the Thera volcano c. 1600 BCE can help to illustrate the problem. The eruption was perhaps four times as powerful as the Krakatoa eruption in 1883. The eruption occurred 450 miles from the Nile delta with the force of a 600 megaton hydrogen bomb.
There would seem to be no question that the sound, smoke, ash and tsunami had a major impact on Egypt. However there is no reference to it, “not even a single clue”, in surviving Egyptian records even though we know from geological evidence that this certainly did happen.

It therefore seems silly to draw any conclusion from the gaps in Egyptian records. Obviously, in this case an absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. (Torah Philosophy)
The Catholic Encyclopedia notes that references to the Jewish People and Israel can be found inscribed on Egyptian monuments. Israelites and their eventual settlement in Palestine are mentioned on the inscriptions, so there are Egyptian historical records, although the timelines are muddled. It's a short article but not easy to excerpt. I invite you to go read it yourself: Merneptah I

Finally, here is something from a Rabbi who says the Exodus probably did not happen, at least as explained in Exodus, but he goes to to explain why that doesn't matter. Biblical literalists will disagree with it, but it is based upon solid scholarship.

He bases his view not on absence of evidence in Egypt, but on archaeological evidence in Israel:
Therefore, not the wandering, but the arrival alerts us to the fact that the biblical Exodus is not a literal depiction. In Israel at that time, there was no sudden change in the kind or the volume of pottery being made. (If people suddenly arrived after hundreds of years in Egypt, their cups and dishes would look very different from native Canaanites'.) There was no population explosion.
The probability is, given the traditions, that there were some enslaved Israelites who left Egypt and joined up with their brethren in Canaan. This seems the likeliest scenario, a beautiful one that accords with the deeper currents of biblical tradition. The Exodus was a very small-scale event with a large, world-changing trail of consequences.
[...]
Knowing the Exodus is not a literal historical accounting does not ultimately change our connection to each other or to God. Faith should not rest on splitting seas. At the Passover Seder we declare: "In each generation, each individual should see himself as if he (or she) went forth from Egypt." The message does not depend upon whether 3 or 3 million individuals left.
He quotes an orthodox rabbi who believes that Jeremiah's prophesy that the Jewish liberation from Babylon would be more important than their liberation from Egypt also has something to do with it, and why the story is not repeated in Chronicles.
In the future the very story of the exodus is omitted, for it is not the specifics of history, but the theme of liberation and of God's providential care that is the theological center.
[...]
The Torah is not a book we turn to for historical accuracy, but rather for truth. The story of the Exodus lives in us. Standing at the Passover Seder, I see in my mind's eye the Israelites marching out of Egypt, the miracles at the sea, and the pillar of fire leading them through the fearful night. I feel an enormous gratitude to God. For although we cannot know exactly how God has saved our people, we have been saved (Rabbi David Wolpe)
So sneering smartasses can make the stupid statement that "The Exodus never happened," but Christians and Jews know it ain't so simple.

As a final note, it is useful to see how educated people of God discuss controversial issues.  No one used curse words or vulgarity, all comments were based upon scholarship and references to sacred texts, with personal feeling and trends of the time blessedly absent.

See Also these excellent sites that examine archaeological evidence of the Exodus, courtesy of Elmer's Brother (who I believe is a sola scriptura literalist):

Biblical Chronologists
Bible Archaeology - The Exodus Controversy
Christians and Archaeology
Biblical Archaeology
Biblical History

59 comments:

Always On Watch said...

the Bible is by far man’s earliest chronicle

Yes.

However, I myself do not look to archaeology to support the faith I have. Just sayin'.

Ducky's here said...

Is this the first time you've encountered the controversy, Silverfiddle?

Ducky's here said...

This does cause a lot of difficulty for anyone who is sola scriptura.

conservativesonfire said...

Whether it was three or three million doen't matter. True!

FreeThinke said...

Let's face it. "The Jewish People" are as eternal as they are ubiquitous. Their existence predates that of God, and their influence knows no bounds.

We know this for a fact, because the Jews created God. It was not the other way 'round, as most have long been duped into believing.

Now put that in your Sunday pipe and smoke it. ;-)

Cheerio!

~ FreeThinke

FreeThinke said...

If you're the least but interested in knowing what I really think about God, please visit


http://freethinkesblog.blogspot.com/?zx=da63e836789862c5


There's lots of material there on the subject of faith and what it means to human existence.

~ FreeThinke

PS: In case you are wondering, I am anything BUT an atheist. - FT

Silverfiddle said...

@ Freethinke: "We know this for a fact, because the Jews created God. It was not the other way 'round, as most have long been duped into believing."

That's a cute turn of phrase, way better than the scholarship and analysis I've presented...

You've learned well from Ducky, FreeThinke. Ignore the subject and crap out your own sour folderol.

We get it, you're a pantheist who believes the Jooos hijacked God.

I've seen what's in your pipe, and I sure as hell ain't gonna smoke it.

Bunkerville said...

It is interesting that you chose Exodus today. Are we not wandering ourselves, looking and searching? A thoughtful post.

Thersites said...

If you care to learn the whole Megillah, there was more than one Exodus... the Jews return from Persia under Joshua and Zerubabbel after the Decree of Cyrus the Great, being yet another...

Jack Camwell said...

"Knowing the Exodus is not a literal historical accounting does not ultimately change our connection to each other or to God. Faith should not rest on splitting seas."

This is essentially what I've been trying to tell you for the past like 5 days Silver. So because a scholar says it means you'll finally wise up to it?

I'm also curious as to why you think my ideas are based on "feelings." How can you even presume to know what my feelings are, or how much they taint my beliefs? I'm the first person to say that how we feel does not necessarily have to fall in line with what we believe.

What is silly is that you continue to assert that my positions are just based on feelings and whims. As if I just arrived at all of my conclusions by chance.

Well, you're wrong. My conclusions are based on scholarship as well, and I've spent a good portion of my young life having to do that. Granted, grade school theology didn't really count, but theology was a pretty serious study during my high school years. And I guess all that time I spent in college studying theology and religion means nothing, too, right?

Z said...

http://bibleprobe.com/exodus.htm

SF, I was looking for an article I suddenly remembered seeing about how archeologists have found chariot wheels and other things in the Red Sea from that era and found the link above, which I found fascinating...take a look.
Another:

http://www.wyattmuseum.com/red-sea-crossing-05.htm

Steve said...

What about the natural drive people have for freedom and liberty?
Is it strange for a slave, and the oppressed, to want to be free?
I submit there are other reasons slaves would revolt against their oppressors and leave their society of enslavement, other than a God led (inspired) movement.
The Bible is a good book, a real page turner, and every page one turns contradicts previous pages. It's pretty easy on almost any issue, to find Bible passages that can be used to declare both pro and con on those issues.
I always wonder why the God of 4,000 years ago had direct communication with his chosen children (Jews) yet has not been heard from in modern history.
Certainly the Holocaust of the Jews in WW II was much more egregious (7 million died) than the days of Egyptian Jewish slavery when the whole Jewish population of Earth, was far less.
There have been many different Gods worshiped over human History. All of which have stories of their God inspired human behavior. Maybe it's just human inspired human behavior.
As we get to more modern times, freedom movements are described as natural to humans (natural human right) which of course becomes their God's original intention for man, but not directly led by their God. A curious change in God's behavior.
It's easy to take a fact and make it fit your beliefs. A little harder to suggest to believers, that there could be a different answer to human behavior, other than their Gods intervention, because of course, that might suggest their God is not real.
If one (non Jew) wants to believe in the God of the Bible, they must also believe that they are not loved by the God they worship, as much as their God loves the Jews.
Like parents that show more love for one child than another, that causes jealousy, which causes anger, which causes violence.
Why would an all loving God make such a choice (professing greater love for one race over another) knowing it would cause such violence?

Elmers Brother said...

I believe in hermeneutics. The Bible can be read like a newspaper, where most of the time allegories and analogies are quite evident. I suggest Josh McDowell's excellent work, Evidence That Demands a Verdict Vols I and II for reasons why Scripture is not only reliable but surpasses the higher criticisms and also includes archaeological evidence

Elmers Brother said...

I would add that there is no archaeological evidence for climate change. Archaeology is one piece of a puzzle but surely not the single piece that anyone can make an informed decision

Elmers Brother said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Elmers Brother said...

It is true that few remains of encampments or artifacts from the Exodus era have been discovered archaeologically in the Sinai, but a nomadic, tribal migration would hardly leave behind permanent stone foundations of imposing buildings en route. Hardly any archaeology is taking place in the Sinai, and if this changes, evidence of migration may very well be uncovered. Again, beware of the argument from silence.

Silverfiddle said...

ElBro: I read McDowell's books and they are excellent. They're a little dry, but he lays out his evidence patiently and thoroughly. You are right, they are excellent works.

Elmers Brother said...

This may help with those unfamiliar with hermeneutics it also has a brief description of the types interpretation. I think its clear on the literal interpretation but also has brief descriptions of the allegorical and devotional etc

FreeThinke said...

I'm sorry I appear to have been the one responsible for reducing you to name calling today, Kurt. It's unlike you and unworthy of you.

I may have been unduly provocative, but hell I'm trying to drum up interest in

http://freethinkesblog.blogspot.com/?zx=da63e836789862c5

a monster you were instrumental in creating I might remind you. ;-)

I will reassert, however, that ALL forms of religious doctrine started as INTUITION. Hard knowledge has NEVER been part of the game, although people who love to argue for the sake of argument have built an enormous structure of "facts" ABOUT the myriad bits of OPINION and INSPIRATION and arm themselves to the teeth with "data" with which they can have oodles of fun tossing at each other like grenades -- or in earnest attempts to justify their cherished prejudices.

Taking offense and taking umbrage [Are they same same? If so I'm guilty of redundancy. Sorry!] anyway letting oneself respond with hostility to a difference of opinion is inconsistent with the essence of Christianity.

~ FreeThinke

Steve said...

"I would add that there is no archaeological evidence for climate change"
Hogwash
There is overwhelming scientific, archaeological evidence, that the Earth has gone through many different climate changes in its history.
Climate change, as compared to temperature variations, can only be determined by the passage of time.
Scientific facts show we are getting warmer, that does not necessarily mean the Earths climate is changing, but we are fools if we don't consider the possibility.
Either way, there is nothing wrong with care taking our Earth and cleaning up the pollution we cause, in fact, we have a duty to take care of our Earth..

Elmers Brother said...

Steve I didn't say no scientific evidence, I said no archaeological evidence. You're welcome to show me the preponderance of ARCHAEOLOGICAL evidence that "proves" climate change but my guess taken alone the archaeolgical evidence ALONE proves nothing of the sort. Comprende?

Elmers Brother said...

Just as any archaeological evidence or lack thereof taken alone is not conclusive evidence that the Exodus did not happen. BTW there is archaeological evidence that does support portions of the Biblical narrative.

Finntann said...

You're welcome to show me the preponderance of ARCHAEOLOGICAL evidence that "proves" climate change...

Uhhh, glaciation? Marine fossils in Kansas? If you haven't found archaeological evidence proving climate change you either haven't looked or are choosing to ignore it.

Steve said...

So you would deny that this planet has ever been through an ice age, or tropic periods?
And yes, there is archaeological evidence (as I said) that this Earths climate has changed many times. The evidence is there.
I'm sure all the facts I could lay in front of you wouldn't change your mind, that's something you have to prove to yourself. Research and read.

Elmers Brother said...

My point is that the archaeological evidence taken ALONE, taken by itself to conclusively prove climate change, just as taking any lack of ARCAEOLOGICAL evidence makes a final conclusion as to the veracity of Exodus.

Finntann said...

Does the value of the moral of a story change based on whether or not the story by which it is conveyed is fictional or historical?

I think we all acknowledge that the Jews existed, the Egyptians existed, the Romans existed, and the early Christians existed.

If you want to argue over whether 1 Jew or a 1000, or 10,000, or 100,000 Jews were in Egypt and left you are arguing over minutia.

Coincidental archeological evidence supporting or denying the background of the message is irrelevant, you are in essence arguing over the words used, not the message contained within them.

Cheers!

Elmers Brother said...

Uhhh, glaciation? Marine fossils in Kansas? If you haven't found archaeological evidence proving climate change you either haven't looked or are choosing to ignore it.

I'm not suggesting climate change has ever happened but the godfather of global warming has his doubts about whether it's caused by man, so I think I can be skeptical yet humble.

Silverfiddle said...

"There is overwhelming scientific, archaeological evidence, that the Earth has gone through many different climate changes in its history."

Yes! And the ancients did it without fossil fuel burning SUVs!

We've had little ice ages and blazing hot years without winters just in recorded history.

So should we care for the environment? Sure.

Economically castrate ourselves upon the altar of Gaia and give all our money to the UN?

No way in hell.

Now we're completely off topic...

Elmers Brother said...

Sorry SF

FreeThinke said...

"Now we're completely off topic..."

Isn't it funny how that always seems to happen when leftists are around?

A new "ism" has just come to mind;

How about DERAILISM?

Always fun to have a new name to call leftists.

~ FreeThinke

Finntann said...

LOL... I'm a little confused. Saying there is no archaeological evidence for climate change in the context of 'global warming' is like saying there is no archaelogical evidence supporting the existence of Bill Clinton. One does not look for archaeological evidence in the context of current events.

Now before you all get bent out of shape, I am not commenting on the existence or non-existence of anthropological climate change. But for now, I'm heading into the dugout, I think it's going to rain.

LOL

Cheers!

Steve said...

I did respond to your post.
Couldn't pass up the stuff about there having never been climate change.
So we either do what the UN says, or nothing?
For a guy who doesn't like the UN, you give way to much credit for the garbage it spews.
I don't know if what man does is changing climate.
I do know we are dirty pigs and have polluted the planet, and we should clean up our mess.

Z said...

One challenge is that the minute a conservative speaks up reminding us that we have to behave better than destroying our economy (and making over-the-top GREEN advocates like Gore filthy rich) when considering what to do about changes in our climate, the conservative's often portrayed as standing with an ax at the foot of a giant redwood calling for the onset of more and more dirty air and water.

Jersey McJones said...

As an avid amateur historian, I can say this confidently:

Yes, there were Jews in Egypt at that time, but whether they were slaves and the specifics of their social class there are in question.

It was probably a lot more complex than as described in the Bible. Jews may have even held considerable positions in Egyptian society.

But they were there, and a number of them left, probably without much force to remove them, and without much reason to follow them, as far as the Egyptians were concerned.

So, you can take Exodus as a unique story of a people who managed to sort of up-root and re-root themselves, under all sorts of duress, over a couple of generations.

As for the exact way it is described in the Bible, that's the way the story is told in the Bible. There's a lot of weight there, but not in the more melodramatic fantasy details.

JMJ

Leticia said...

Loved that you chose Exodus, actually I love all of the Old Testament, I read it more than the New Testament.

And I believe every single word in the bible, KJV, of course.

Awesome post!

LSP said...

Enjoyed that; the old "it never happened in history" riff seems to have pretty much stopped. And no wonder, the Old Testament's as good a source as many and better than some.

Enjoy the typology viz. the New.

Also, if you have the time, have a gaze at the remarkable Velikovsky. Mistaken in many ways but what a great read!

God bless.

Silverfiddle said...

Thank you, Parson.

For those who don't know, the Lone Star parson is an Anglican priest, transplanted to Texas. He's a Sandhurst man who knows how to ride and shoot, so don't mess with him.

His life is now dedicated to combating space aliens.

You can read his latest here: Lone Star Parson

jez said...

The factual basis of Exodus is not as interesting to me so much as what is revealed about God's character through the plagues, particularly the final one.

FreeThinke said...

PART ONE

"And I believe every single word in the bible, KJV, of course."

Well, Leticia, you have every right to believe whatever you choose to believe. No one should try to stop you, but I do have one question:

Why the King James Version particularly? Don't misunderstand me, I was brought up on the KJV, myself, and have rarely read from any other translation, but I am aware that the KJV is nothing but a translation -- and a terribly flawed one at that filled with grammatical and syntactical errors and clumsy awkward phraseology -- depending on what passages you read.

The Bible was not originally written in English. It is in reality a compendium of many different writings by many different authors some of whom wrote in Arabic, some in ancient Greek, some in Hebrew and possibly some in Aramaic. Many biblical accounts were first written down many many years after the events chronicled as well.

It was not originally conceived and written from beginning to end as one big book. The Bible we know today is a document put together by committees of early Church leaders who were highly selective as to what ancient manuscripts they chose to publish under aegis.

~ FT

FreeThinke said...

PART TWO

(CONTINUED)

It's a very involved story. I am not a scholar, and frankly know little about it, but I know enough to be sure that most parishioners know even less about how what-we-call The Bible came to be in its present form.

For instance, I just learned within the last four years that the King James Version most of us grew up with is a revision of the original KJV. I don't have the dates in my head, but I could get them for you if you have doubts.

The GENEVA Bible predates the KJV but is remarkably similar to it. Many passages are virtually word for word the same.

We all love what is dear and familiar to us, and tend to want to believe that what we've known and been comfortable with all our lives just has to be the best of the best. but, as the song says, "it ain't necessarily so."

That said, other than noticeable differences in writing style and syntax, there is no appreciable difference that I've ever been able to discern among the five of six different English translations I've examined over the years.

The Word is Spirit, and Spirit transcends the limitations of language just as it overrides the apparent confines of Matter.

The Bible has been translated into just about every language in the world. As a matter of fact, one of my mother's cousins spent her entire life as a missionary. She was partly responsible for creating a written language from the traditional oral, unlettered communication system of a remote mountain people in Bolivia. It was the work of a lifetime, but those people were given -- and taught -- a written version of a their language for the first time in their history just so they would be able to read the Bible.

Do you really believe this special, lovingly created version of Holy Writ has to be inferior to the King James Version?

What about the Scriptures in French, German, Spanish, Italian, Polish, Russian, Chinese, etc?

For a very long time the Roman Catholic Church, apparently, did not want the Word to be seen or heard in any language other than Latin. It was considered a heinous crime even to attempt to translate the Bible into whatever language was spoken and familiar to the people of any given country.

In fact at least one person who made a successful effort in doing just that was brutally executed by Church Officials of his time. Again, not being a scholar I can't give you names and dates, but the information is there.

I may be writing this off the top of my head, but I am not making it up.

It's a shame when we like to think we know something , but are in fact woefully ignorant.

A good first step toward Enlightenment would be to realize and acknowledge just how very little we really do know, give up the notion that "All Has Been Revealed," and stop our limiting, narrowing, self-defeatng pretense at omniscience.

Good day to you, and God bless,

~ FreeThinke

Always On Watch said...

FT said:

the Jews created God. It was not the other way 'round, as most have long been duped into believing

Those who know me will realize that I don't go along with that.

People believe or don't believe. I'm not convinced that persuasion ever changes people's beliefs.

Z said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Z said...

AOW, that's a weird one, isn't it :-)
Someone created God ?! I think the Jews'd be shocked at that one. There's nothing more amazingly humble and rejoicing than a Jewish synagogue service..a bar mitzvah for example. How they love God!

Leticia, I know you love the KJV for the beauty of the way it's written...most translations don't differ much at all in sheer meaning, but the KJV can't be beat for its beauty of language.

Leticia said...

FT, for one reason, I love it because like Z said it is poetic. It has more depth and I also have the 1599 Geneva Bible Patriot's Edition. It's wonderful.

I feel safe using the KJV, which was translated by 52 scholars who literally spoke and wrote the ancient languages.

Only KJV faithfully upholds the doctrine of the Godhead and deity of Jesus Christ. You won't even find the word “Godhead” in any of the modern Bibles; but you'll find “Godhead” in the King James Bible (Acts 17:29; Romans 1:20; Colossians 2:9).

Many other translations leave out [or question] Mark. 16:9-20; JOhn. 7:53-8:11; Acts. 8:37; Romans 8:1b; and delete `through His blood' in Col. 1:14; `God' in 1 Timothy. 3:16; Trinity passage in 1 John. 5:7,8; "by Himself purged our sins' in Hebrews. 1:3; `washed us from our sins' in Revelation. 1:5; the word `yet' in John. 7:8 (this word being dropped from new versions makes our Saviour a liar)

Here is one link you can look at.

http://www.jesus-is-savior.com/Books,%20Tracts%20&%20Preaching/Printed%20Books/James_Melton/fighting_back.htm#fight2

Here is one that will answer many, many questions.

http://www.jesus-is-savior.com/Bible/1611_authorized_king_james.htm

Always On Watch said...

Z,
I've learned that faith is such a personal matter. In my view, this aspect reflects the complexity of human thinking as well as man's free will.

As you know, FT is not an atheist. Most who say that the Jews invented God are atheists -- as I've learned from my MIL's longtime significant other, who is a militant atheist, albeit the most compassionate man I've ever known. He puts Believers to shame, I tell you!

FreeThinke said...

Leticia,

Thank you for providing so many solid reasons why you prefer the King James Version. I happen to prefer it, myself, but probably for more sentimental reasons. I prefer it, because I'm used to it, and because, like Z, I love the "music" or poetic aura of the archaic language.

There are, however, many instances where the KJV uses words whose meanings have changed -- sometimes drastically -- since the KJV was first produced. More modern translations have tried to address that issue and clarify those meanings. For that I think those newer versions may be worth studying -- especially if one wants to make a penetrating study of certain passages.

I wish I had good examples at the top of my head, but I don't. I believe, however, that "rent" may be one of the words in question.

I know quite a lot of German and french without ever having fully mastered ether language. Having worked extensively with opera, lieder and oratorio singers in my New York days, I was able to develop a good "sense" of those two languages and of Italian as well.

However, I took a course in graduate school that required us first to transcribe an early form of music notation into the system we use today - AND - to make our own translation of ancient texts used in Madrigal settings by Peri, Caccini, Monteverdi, Gesualdo and others. Transcribing the notation was tedious, but relatively easy. All it took was patience -- and a steady hand with India Ink on manuscript paper. However, the text translation turned out to be one of the most difficult assignments I ever undertook. The professor said -- not just of my poor efforts, but of all of us in the class -- that the results we achieved were downright humorous -- just as he'd fully expected them to be.

The assignment was so difficult, because our class happened to have been the very first who ever made an attempt to transcribe the material.

The effort required to meet challenges such as that is a good way to learn something about humility. It was also one of the most interesting experiences I ever had in academia.

If certainly brought me in closer touch with the nearly incredible challenges faced by those who made the first attempts to translate the texts used in the Bible. We owe them a tremendous debt of gratitude, but to imagine their work to be error free is, I think, naive. There simply had to be a good deal of educated guesswork involved.

Did you know, for instance, that ancient Hebrew is written from back to front with NO PUNCTUATION and NO SPACES BETWEEN the WORDS?


~ FreeThinke

FreeThinke said...

Just to make my meaning a little plainer:

When I said, "The Jews created God not the other way 'round," I was being satirical and admit to using the element of sarcasm to try to attract attention to the essays about the true nature of God at FreeThinkesblog.

Of course the Jews did not "invent" God. Neither did they "hijack" Him, as I believe Kurt accused me of suggesting.

Let's get THIS straight I hope once and for all:

I have no doubt that the Cosmos, or the Universe whatever you want to all it, and every atom in it [that would includes you and me and the Muslims, the Africans, the Asians and "everything that hath breath"] is the product of Divine Intelligence and Creative Power.

As the remarkable scholar Joseph Campbell, a one-time Roman Catholic priest, has clearly and beautifully demonstrated, however, virtually every culture or society that we know of has "Found" or "Discovered" or has had "Revealed" to them some concept or understanding of Divinity.

So the God, who created us all, has -- in part -- "revealed" Himself to ALL people.

It troubles me, as a thinking Christian who most fervently desires to preserve and increase my faith -- despite the aggressive ministrations of those who hate its innately liberating power and would destroy it in order to gain a death grip on political ascendancy -- that Western Civilization has been fated to accept as the Whole Truth only an understanding of The Creator that came to us through the perceptions, imaginings, hopes, dreams, vainglorious triumphal ambitions, and demonically clever, always self-serving intellectual searchings of a primitive tribe of fractious, ferocious, pathologically self-important people who were in truth little more than barbarians.

Of course the Jews did not "create" God, BUT their particular impressions of Him have somehow rooted themselves in the collective consciousness and ethos of a vast number of people who over nearly two-thousand years fostered and developed what-was-to-be the most advanced Civilization the world has ever known.

God is still revealing Himself to us every day. There never was a "FINAL" revelation.

IF there had been, we would all be living in Paradise right now, and if we know anything, surely we know that this life ain't no Paradise.

~ FreeThinke

jez said...

"Did you know, for instance, that ancient Hebrew is written from back to front with NO PUNCTUATION and NO SPACES BETWEEN the WORDS?"

Not only that, but no vowels, like a text message! Except it goes on forever, in a foreign, dead language.

FreeThinke said...

"AOW, that's a weird one, isn't it :-)
Someone created God ?! I think the Jews'd be shocked at that one."


Well, Z, I jut explained in some detail what I meant. The argument I made holds water from an intellectual standpoint, but no one has said you or anyone else must accept it.

I throw these things out as "food for thought," and hopefully to stimulate more curiosity about the origin and true nature of some of our most cherished notions.

As far as the Jews being shocked, I doubt if so mild an assertion -- really a questioning -- could disturb them after having suffered The Holocaust.

I'm sure you are aware that approximately 85% of the jews in Israel are atheists ad regard the importance of Jewishness to be seated more in ethnicity and culture than in Judaism?

Surely that HAS to be one of THE greatest ironies History has shown us yet?

It's also of tremendous interest -- to me -- that virtually every single one of the intellectuals who devised the demonic influence we call Marxism or Communism and the members of the infamous Frankfurt School were Jews who ardently embraced AtHEISM.

There's something whacky about that, isn't there?

Certainly a most curious phenomenon in any case. I've always found it absolutely incredible that no one ever wants to acknowledge it let alone discuss it.

~ FreeThinke

FreeThinke said...

Thanks , Jez, for filling in one of the (many) gaps in my scanty knowledge.

~ FreeThinke

Z said...

AOW, I agree.

FT, supposed sarcasm doesn't work well in emails or comments...it helps to write something like (sarc) at the end of sarcastic comments.

I am not that interested in what anybody believes; just that they have a saving faith through Jesus Christ, not through some 'god' people invent to suit themselves, as Oscar Wilde once so wisely and surprisingly said.

that's all..

Always On Watch said...

Quick comment; my neighbor is pulling up to take me to pick up my car from the repair garage....

FT said, and I thought that such might be the case all along:

When I said, "The Jews created God not the other way 'round," I was being satirical...

Back later to this interesting thread!

FreeThinke said...

Dear, Z,

That is surprising coming from Oscar -- or what we have been conditioned to think of as Oscar -- and I wholeheartedly agree, but to me the manmade gods that plague us most today are Marxism, and all its terrible derivatives we know so well, Freudian psychology, and the bizarre 'cults' that spring up around rock stars, rap stars [I almost called them "rap-ists," Oh Dear!] and other "pop" figures. The Bible warns us against idolatry, and if the kind of mindless, passionate devotion generated by "pop" figures doesn't qualify as idolatry, I don't know what would.

I'm not even sure that people like Rush Limbaugh, and Glenn Beck, whose information seems hard to refute, and who sincerity I don't question, but who seem to develop a demagogic persona through the urgency and intensity of their message, aren't a bit dangerous, themselves?

Oscar Wilde also said,

He may have been wise in saying that too.

As for being able to recognize humor, satire or whatever, I feel I must have failed as a writer if intelligent people don't realize what truly motivates some of the more outrageous things I say -- especially if they've known me for a while.

Telling folks in advance "This is supposed to be funny," or "This is an example of satire,"-- or whatever -- takes an awful lot of the punch out of it.

It's a bit too much like trying to explain why a joke is supposed to make you laugh, or what precisely what effect the punch line is supposed to have on you. Where I come from, if you do that, it ceases to be amusing and falls flat.

Also, try to think of it this way, if you can. How would you feel if you read a post or an article that said something like, "This is a very sad story. I hope it makes you cry out loud while you're reading it."

I don't know about you, but I would tend to shy away from a remark that began like that -- and from the writer who made it.

That said, Shakespeare did label his plays as either "comedies, "tragedies" or "histories, " didn't he? However, during the course of the action he never had a figure standing outside the play, itself, telling the audience what to think and feel, did he?

The Greek Choruses may have functioned a bit like that come to think of it, but I'm not very "up" on Greek drama these days.

Please don't think of this as a "defense" on my part or an attempt to refute anything you've said. It's merely an explanation of motive, which everyone is free to accept or reject however they will.

All the best,

FreeThinke

FreeThinke said...

Come to think of it why should the internet be any more humor-challenged than any place else?

I suspect it could be because with politics being the lugubrious, dull-witted affair it has become most of us have started to take ourselves and what we're discussing much too seriously.

Without a sense of humor life, quite frankly, would be unbearable.

Satirical humor is what attracted me to Rush Limbaugh in the first place. I just loved it when started to refer to Molly Yard, Bella Abzug, Elizabeth Holtzman, Betty "The Feminine Mystaque" Friedan, and Gloria Steinem, as "FEMINAZIS."

I loved it too when he referred bleeding heart liberals as "COMPASSION FASCISTS" and when he started performing"CALLER ABORTIONS" accompanied by the sound of a vacuum cleaner when one of his callers became too obnoxious or manifestly inane.

I loved it too when he started telling his audience "Many accidents are caused by women farding at intersections."

Well, you KNOW what THAT sounded like over the air, but he kept on doing it even though he finally did explain that "farding" is a legitimate-if-somewhat-archaic term for "putting in makeup."

I LOVED it -- ALL of it.

I don't think it was Rush who said on air, but I've always loved this little rhyme:

Remember the days before Gloria Steinem,
When all you hadda do was wine 'em and dine 'em?"


Now, if I have to explain THAT to you, you really are seriously "humor-challenged."

Be of good cheer always, and have a fine day.

~ FreeThinke

Always On Watch said...

FT,
So many times on the blog, I have come up against the issue of others not correctly interpreting my satire or sarcasm. This happened to be early on, so now I label those types of my remarks.

Yes, the effect is ruined.

Remember Jonathan Swift's famous satire about how to solve "the Irish problem"? I'll be that people thought that he was serious,too.

And, of course, we now hear over and over again about how racist Huckleberry Finn is. The most effective satirical novel in all of American literature!

Ah, well. The blogs are what they are. When all is said and done, I'm thankful that we have this venue.

I do wonder how much longer we'll have it. Call me paranoid. I don't care.

Z said...

FT..."Telling folks in advance "This is supposed to be funny," or "This is an example of satire,"-- or whatever -- takes an awful lot of the punch out of it."

Not funny, but SARCASTIC is important because, let's face it, sarcasm is usually very subtle.....satire and humor usually aren't so much.
You know, people will say something like "that's why I love Obama" and, if you didn't know their politics, you could miss the sarcasm. I think "sarc" doesn't hurt.
"this is funny" hurts!

Sit down for the shock, FT: I agree with your comments :-)
And I see now your point about "little g gods"...and Marxists, etc.

And Beck and Limbaugh are usually right....but the huge adulation they get makes them come off almost like Obama the Messiah did when he was nominated. Yes.

Leticia said...

FT, you are very welcome. And I have read and compared many new versions, but I always go back to my reliable KJV. I just love it.

I also did many comparisons by using Bible Gateway to see if the verses were left out, like the "Blood of Jesus" and shockingly some do leave out the Blood.

I wasn't aware about the Jewish language leaving punctuation or spaces! Very interesting. Makes me wonder if I should have taken advantage of the Hebrew classes being offered at our church. We had a wonderful Hebrew Professor that gave up his Saturday's to teach the class.

FreeThinke said...

Thanks, Z, Leticia and AOW. This turned out to be a really good conversation after all, despite my having "put my foot in it" early on.

I won't tell you what I put my foot in, because that would be rude, but I'm sure you can imagine.

It's another one of the antique sayings I sometimes use, because I'm getting uncomfortably close to being an antique, myself. ;-)

Be well. Be happy, and as Shakespeare advised, "Be true to yourself."

And, as Dickens said, "God bless us, every one!"

~ FT

jez said...

Leticia: were those verses left out, or introduced? The longest bible isn't necessarily the best preserved one.