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More on Canaanite Genocide... - leo the lamb - 04-08-2018

I've been reading old SFL threads during my lunch hour at work, and a few of those revolved around OT exterminations at the hands of God and/or His people. In one thread Klasie Kraalogies linked a few of Peter Enns's articles from Patheos, and I've been reading some of those as well. While Enns offers some good food for thought, his commenters are even more interesting. I'll paste portions of a few comments that I found particularly intriguing, from this page... patheos.com/blogs/peterenns/2012/07/more-on-canaanite-genocide-or

" It seems to me that taking the Bible seriously in some Bebbingtonish sense means that we also need to read the stories just as they are ... as texts isolated from history/context, as if they were written in modern times, perhaps found in a short story collection featuring emerging new writers. Of course there is still hermeneutical fuzz and translation problems, but there is a lot of space for picking at the small details just as they are, alert for irony, character insights, whatnot. At this level, the question "Did it really happen?" quite misses the point. There's no need to anticipate fine-grained consistency from story to story.
I reiterate this would be in addition to situated historical readings placed in the overall arcs of Scripture, Israel's story about itself, ANE history as revealed by archeology, the contemporary political/economic situation, et all. The wonderful thing about a narrative is that one is not limited to a single view of it. Very postmodern of me, I'm sure.
Since you are interested in evolutionary ideas, it has recently been brought home to me that best thought these days is that "a species" is not a well-defined genome, a type individual, but a breeding population which collectively offers choices "alleles" for the genes that compose the genome. A variety of alleles is quite necessary for a healthy population. Likewise Christianity, or A Christian, should be thought of as a breeding population of narratives, not a fixed set of ideas. "

"
It occurs to me that we have the same problem discussing the inerrancy of the Bible (i.e. truthful in all it affirms, whatever that mean) as we do in discussing evolution. That problem is deciding ahead of time how God had to do it (i.e. bring into existence the Bible and/or the universe) rather than believing that God did it and then investigating to see how God did it (why is the progressive development of either the Bible or the universe a sign that God was not involved?). As long as we take our theology to the Bible (i.e. our doctrine of inspiration) rather than getting our theology from the Bible, we will continue to have these problems it seems to me. "

"
I consider other times when God proposed destroying people, but relented when one man asked him to reconsider. One time, God told Moses he was going to destroy the entire nation of Israel. This prompted Moses to intercede in their behalf. I think God was provoking Moses into defending them, because up to that point Moses was frustrated and wanted to wash his hands of them. God also agreed to spare Sodom and Gomorrah every time Abraham asked him to do so. It was not God who set the limit of how many righteous people would qualify the cities for mercy, but Abraham who stopped asking. Also, When God sent Jonah to preach judgement to Ninevah, when they repented, God did not send judgment. I believe the Canaanite and Amalekites might also have qualified for mercy if God's people had mercy in their hearts.
In one case, Saul was going for the loot and power ply by sparing the king and livestock. I think it was a case where God was trying to teach them that war was not for gain, but to achieve peace. To allow them to take loot when they attacked (as opposed to when they had been attacked) would have taught them that it was okay to make war just to take what belonged to someone else.)
I believe the entire OT details God's efforts to move his people from primitive to mature, as a society. "



RE: More on Canaanite Genocide... - myotch - 04-08-2018

An interesting read, some stuff to consider.

Quote:I believe the Canaanite and Amalekites might also have qualified for mercy if God's people had mercy in their hearts.

This struck a chord. Today is Divine Mercy Sunday, a day observed based on the diary writings of an otherwise unnotable Polish nun.

I like the phrasing used here: “qualified for mercy if God’s people had mercy in their hearts”. After a week of reflecting on Mercy, I wonder what it would look like if people were more merciful.

After a century of war, JP2 recognized the importance of mercy, and at the end of his life, gave Sister Faustina’s reflections and prayers of mercy, her dreams of Christ preaching mercy as love, much needed attention. And recognition.

The prayers for mercy end like this: “have mercy on us and on the whole world”. Through the repetitive prayer, I’ve come to appreciate the different meanings of the words “us” and “the whole world”.


RE: More on Canaanite Genocide... - Ricardo - 04-08-2018

(04-08-2018, 12:55 AM)leo the lamb Wrote: (Peter Enns) As long as we take our theology to the Bible (i.e. our doctrine of inspiration) rather than getting our theology from the Bible, we will continue to have these problems it seems to me.
I may be beating a dead horse here, but do need to remind you that we ALWAYS bring our theology to the Bible. 
We are the ones who chose what translation to use. We are the ones who chose -through proxy committees- what cannon to use, and even what actual words to include in the Bible.
Nobody ever notices the fact that the theology we supposedly get from the Bible never conflicts with our pre-existing beliefs. We never find anything in the Bible that goes against what we consider as right, good and just.
Especially fascinating when the topic is Canaanite Genocide.


RE: More on Canaanite Genocide... - myotch - 04-08-2018

Funny, I am often in conflict with what the Bible says is right, good, and just.

I often think I have a just right to my anger, sometimes justify it as “righteous anger”. I have a problem forgiving others once (70*7? I’m still working on the first dozen!). I am tired of enduring wrongs against me with patience - and I often serve it back raw. And that feels right and good and just.

I am a man in the age of readily available porn, every lustful curiosity can be played out before my eyes as quickly as I can type it out. My mind and body can be satisfied. But the Scripture calls it lust, and Jesus compared it to adultery.

My unguarded language can too easily use the name Jesus in a number of profane ways that have made it to my lexicon. That there is a commandment broken. But it can be ubiquitous in my daily talk when communicating my frustrations.

The idols I put in front of God all seem right at the moment. And I tell myself I have liberty all the while.

And as a Catholic, I put myself not only under the authority of Scripture, but that of the Church, too. Confession is not some event that feels just and right and good. It is a voluntarily shameful undertaking.

Yeah, I am chaffed at the idea that Christianity is some self-righteous exercise meant to be aimed at others. We are called to continual conversion of ourselves. There is nothing good or just or right in the feeling of change when we are talking about our psychological/physical/spiritual habits long engrained.

For me, the Bible is often in conflict with what I want/believe. And I am better off for the Biblical guidance. What of this narrow path Jesus spoke of?


RE: More on Canaanite Genocide... - rsc2a - 04-08-2018

myotch Wrote:
(04-08-2018, 08:27 AM)Ricardo Wrote:
(04-08-2018, 12:55 AM)leo the lamb Wrote: (Peter Enns) As long as we take our theology to the Bible (i.e. our doctrine of inspiration) rather than getting our theology from the Bible, we will continue to have these problems it seems to me.

...Nobody ever notices the fact that the theology we supposedly get from the Bible never conflicts with our pre-existing beliefs. We never find anything in the Bible that goes against what we consider as right, good and just...

Funny, I am often in conflict with what the Bible says is right, good, and just...

And myself as well.

But if you acknowledge that, Ricardo can't use his tired old screed.


RE: More on Canaanite Genocide... - myotch - 04-08-2018

I can’t blame Ricardo, totally. It’s tough reconciling a lot of the conflict he’s endured.


RE: More on Canaanite Genocide... - leo the lamb - 04-08-2018

Aaanywho... There was a comment to Enns's previous post that I also found quite thought-provoking.

" Some learned Rabbi (can't remember which one) said that the leviathan and the bullock engage in battle - each one lifting the other. The leviathan lifts with its fins and the bullock with horns. Each battle raises both higher and higher until they reach heaven. IMHO the leviathan is liberal represented by Jesus (fish) and the bullock is conservative represented by Moses (horns). Each is important in human evolution. " patheos.com/blogs/peterenns/2012/07/john-piper-on-why-its-right-for-god-to-slaughter

I've been thinking lately about how we mortals don't really desire peace. We either openly or secretly desire - and need - conflict. Struggle may be the better word. We strive (work hard towards something) and we strive (engage in conflict), and that's as it should be.

Myotch, thank you for sharing your experience.

Ricardo, the issue I have with that comment (it's not from Pete E., btw, but one of the commenters on his page) is that he wants to start with the fundamental premise that not only is there a Creator God who wants to relate to his creation, but that He provided a book through which we can relate. In that sense, yes, believers will always take (the basic building blocks of) their theology to the Bible. But the comment was directed at believers, and as such I think it's useful.


RE: More on Canaanite Genocide... - Workin' Mama - 04-08-2018

Quote:Myotech wrote:

Funny, I am often in conflict with what the Bible says is right, good, and just.

[ . . . ]

We are called to continual conversion of ourselves. There is nothing good or just or right in the feeling of change when we are talking about our psychological/physical/spiritual habits long engrained.

For me, the Bible is often in conflict with what I want/believe. And I am better off for the Biblical guidance. What of this narrow path Jesus spoke of?


True, there are many portions of the Bible that challenge us on a very deep level. Particularly the teachings of Jesus (as well as portions of Proverbs, the prophets, and the epistles) challenge us to be more loving, more kind, more self-controlled, and less selfish in ways that are often uncomfortable. How about selling everything you own and giving it to the poor? I don't know anyone who has ever done that, nor is it something I'm willing to do.

But we can't get around the fact that there are other portions of the Bible where God looks like a cruel tyrant, and seemingly permits or even commands his followers to behave in a cruel, tyrannical manner.

I'm really not sure what to do with these portions of scripture, except to accept the doubt and ambiguity and look to Jesus. Jesus as we read about him in the four gospels is compassionate, merciful, just, stands up for the oppressed, and teaches his followers to do likewise. And Jesus said, "if you have seen me, you have seen the Father also." And all I can do is trust that he accepts me, even when I am full of doubt and inner conflict like the apostle Thomas.


RE: More on Canaanite Genocide... - myotch - 04-09-2018

Mama, I agree that God as revealed in the Old Testament - the One Who protected and provided for His chosen under a specific covenant - is not easily reconciled to the God of the New Testament Who calls His followers under another covenant to be peacemakers, to not return evil for evil, to love enemies, Whose covenant-believers were promised nothing but persecution, Who considers down-and out broken people blessed.

I don’t have a need to reconcile those two depictions, nor am I embarrassed by God’s nature as revealed by either. To reject the Old Testament version of God is simply to reject the God of Ten Commandments, the God of Revelation, it’s to reject the God that both requires and fulfills sacrificial atonement, it’s to reject the God that broke hell.

Frankly, The God of ancient Israel doesn’t fit the god made in my image, either. And that’s a good thing. The god made in my image isn’t the God of the Old or New Testament. The god I would make would kinda suck.


RE: More on Canaanite Genocide... - leo the lamb - 04-24-2018

Something someone wrote on a forum I had participated in got me thinking about OT moral problems.

"World isn’t based around good and bad, these are all just our delusions. Only thing that is real is simply a constant transformation of everything."

And "In my pagan eyes, time is circular, and morality has as many tides as there are colours of rainbow."