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July 8th, 2014
01:01 PM ET

Eye for an eye: The Bible's role in revenge attacks

Opinion by Joel Baden, special to CNN

(CNN) - This past Sunday, six Israelis were arrested for the murder of a 16-year-old Palestinian boy. Israeli officials admitted the likelihood—already acknowledged by many—that this killing was carried out in revenge for the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers.

Both sides have stepped up their aggression in the past few days, with rocket launches from Gaza into Israel and Israeli airstrikes against Gaza.

It’s a familiar cycle: attack for attack, murder for murder. Such patterns are familiar from conflicts across the world, but they have a special resonance in the Holy Land.

After all, it was from Israel, nearly 3,000 years ago, that this famous concept spread.

The Book of Exodus in the Hebrew Bible says, “The penalty shall be life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise.”

The Book of Deuteronomy uses even stronger language: “Show no pity: life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.”

And the Book of Leviticus says again, “Anyone who maims another shall suffer the same injury in return: fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth. The injury he inflicted on another shall be inflicted on him.”

Few biblical laws are repeated three times; this is one of those few. It is known as the lex talionis, or “law of retaliation,” and it would seem to be central to the biblical worldview.

Flare-up in Israeli-Palestinian violence: Why now?

This law is often brought as evidence that the Bible cannot be a reliable guide for modern morality: Who today would truly advocate for this kind of retributive justice?

It seems barbaric that the penalty for arson, for example, would be burning the arsonist to death—this sounds like something out of the Middle Ages, not out of the 21st century.

Though famously biblical, lex talionis isn’t a biblical creation at all.

It was already present in the famous Code of Hammurabi, from the 18th century BCE: “If an upper-class man should blind the eye of another upper-class man, they shall blind his eye,” and so on through breaking bones, knocking out teeth, etc.

Earlier Mesopotamian law codes, two generations before Hammurabi, take what we would consider a more civilized approach to the matter:

“If a man bites the nose of another man and thus cuts it off” —don’t ask— “he shall weigh and deliver sixty shekels of silver; an eye, sixty shekels; a tooth, thirty shekels …”

It turns out that the oldest codes in the Near Eastern legal tradition, Sumerian laws from the 21st century BCE, also have payment in place of retaliation.

The concept of “eye for an eye” isn’t really representative of some primitive state of humanity—it’s actually a development from an earlier system of monetary compensation.

Yet it was not a permanent shift; some of the earliest interpreters of the Bible read the lex talionis as advocating for monetary compensation: the value of an eye for an eye.

This remains a very common interpretation even today—quite likely as an attempt to make the biblical custom seem less harsh in comparison to contemporary cultural and legal norms.

Has the Middle East crisis reached a tipping point?

In the Talmud, the fundamental Jewish legal text, there is an extended discussion about the phrase “eye for an eye,” with multiple rabbis arguing, and the text concluding, that the phrase means nothing other than financial compensation.

Eventually, in Judaism the literal reading of lex talionis came to be associated with heresy.

There is another important aspect of “eye for an eye” that is often overlooked: in the Bible, the law prescribes that the punishment be leveled against the offending individual by the state.

It is not permitted for the victim himself to turn around and inflict the same injury on the aggressor. On this the Bible and modern law agree.

But another biblical legal tradition provides the exception to this rule, and it too has enjoyed a long life down to the present: the idea that in the case of premeditated murder, someone from the family of the victim is appointed the “blood-avenger.”

The notion of putting a murderer to death is common enough even today (see: death penalty). But not so the idea that it is the obligation of the victim’s family, rather than of a central government.

This biblical passage enshrines in law the retaliatory instinct of anyone whose close relative has been injured. And it is this instinct that we see playing itself out in the Middle East today.

The problem, both between the two nations and for the rest of the world, is defining which side is playing which role. Both Israel and Gaza believe themselves to be the blood-avenger, and the other to be the murderer.

Yet even in the case of blood vengeance, biblical law at least keeps the system under the watchful eye of the elders, who arbitrate the claims of the respective parties, just as in the more direct cases of lex talionis.

Nowhere in the world is the Bible more alive and its traditions more present than in Israel and Palestine, the lands from which the holy book emerged.

Was teen's death a revenge killing?

As the conflict between the two parties worsens, yet again, comparisons with the kinds of retaliation and blood vengeance found in the Bible grow more and more apt.

And so, therefore, does the need for a third party to play the part of arbitrator: to settle the price of monetary compensation, to declare the terms of retaliation, and to put a stop to the cycle of blood vengeance.

That's a role the Bible calls for someone to fill - and we're all still waiting.

Joel S. Baden is the author of “The Historical David: The Real Life of an Invented Hero,” and professor of Hebrew Bible at Yale Divinity School. The views expressed in this column belong to Baden.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Bible • Ethics • Foreign policy • Israel • Jerusalem • Judaism • Opinion • Palestinians • Religious violence • Violence

soundoff (3,582 Responses)
  1. Alias

    If 'eye for an eye' were really going on, the Palistinians would have houses to live in.

    July 8, 2014 at 5:29 pm |
    • neverbeenhappieratheist

      The only way things will get any better over there is if both sides just chose to forget about their Gods for two seconds and forgot about this ancient religious feud they have over supposed "holy" land. Both need to be disarmed if they can't play nice. But, since that will never happen, this will likely continue for another 2000 years...

      July 8, 2014 at 5:41 pm |
      • Alias

        This isn't entirely about religion.
        It also has a lot to do with the people who were thrown out of their homes.
        Do any of you know how we got all these refugees in the first place?

        July 8, 2014 at 7:06 pm |
  2. colin31714

    The likelihood of there being a god is as low as Germany scoring five goals against Brazil in the first 30 minutes of the World Cup.

    Oh Wait!!

    July 8, 2014 at 4:39 pm |
  3. Doc Vestibule

    God's miracles and revelations must be timed correctly.
    Imagine if Moses performed the same kinds of miracles as Jesus.
    If I were wandering the desert for 40 years, I don't think I'd be too appreciative of some dude turning my water into wine.
    Sometimes, proper hydration takes precedence over getting a buzz on.

    July 8, 2014 at 3:57 pm |
    • Reality

      Not a problem as there was no Moses and there was no wandering about the desert for 40 years.

      And there also was no changing of water into wine. And never will be just as there never will be any bodily resurrections.

      Details previously presented.

      July 8, 2014 at 4:03 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      I guess the all powerful god was all out of Camelbaks...

      July 8, 2014 at 4:15 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      curious that jesus performed many of the same "miracles" attributed to Horus from Egypt in 3000 BC and Attis from Greece in 1500 BC and Mithra from Persia in 1200BC and Krishna from India in 900BC and Dionysus from Greece in 500 BC ...

      there must be a deity school up there in the magical next dimension where new gods are taught their standard miracle ABC's.

      July 8, 2014 at 4:20 pm |
      • Doc Vestibule

        Do you think Jesus can still walk on water now that he has those holes in His feet?

        July 8, 2014 at 4:21 pm |
      • bostontola

        Although the progression to stronger and stronger Gods is striking. It reminds me of my kids when they were about 6. One would tell the other that their superhero was 10 times stronger than the other's. Then the other would say mine is a million times stronger than yours. This would escalate to infinity times yours. Then to double infinity times yours, etc.

        July 8, 2014 at 4:28 pm |
      • Dalahäst

        What "miracles" are attributed to Horus that Jesus later performed?

        July 8, 2014 at 4:29 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horus

          July 8, 2014 at 4:50 pm |
        • colin31714

          He got a straight, consistent position out of you on a theological issue. Nobody has been able to repeat the feat ever since.

          July 8, 2014 at 4:50 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          He didn't try to childishly dictate what other people believe and how it is inferior to his beliefs, and then brag about the warm feeling that produces and the enjoyment he receives from that.

          July 8, 2014 at 5:02 pm |
      • Dalahäst

        What "miracles" are attributed to Attis of/from Greece that Jesus are also attributed to Jesus?

        I'm not having luck finding any information on this.

        July 8, 2014 at 5:10 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          Divine conception, though in a somewhat roundabout way.
          See, Zeus left an Onanistic mess on a mountain and from his seed sprang the creature Agdistis – who isn't popular with the other gods and demi-gods. Dionysus especially has a hate on for the magical creature, so gets him good and drunk, ties his balls to a tree and startles him awake. A pomegranate tree then grew out of the amputated scrotum – a tree with magic, spermy fruit that impregnated the first woman who picked some.
          So like Jesus, Attis is born to a virgin (Nana who magically stays a virgin despite being a mother) impregnated by supernatural sperm. His birthday, like Christ, is in or around the winter solstice.

          In the first centuries of Christianity, the Cybele/Attis religions were quite popular and some of the rites have parallels with Christian ones. For example, they would sacrifice a bull and baptized in it's blood so that they might be born again.

          Other than that, most of the parallels that people talk about aren't doc/umented until centuries after Christian mythology became the dominant player and the materials were mostly written by Christian clergy (one of the few literate castes in history), so it is hard to know how much of those references are just the authors inserting their own assumptions based on their own religious pre-conceptions.

          July 9, 2014 at 8:41 am |
        • Dalahäst

          Yes. Thanks.

          I've been trying to find doc.umentation to back the claims that doG makes. Nothing.

          July 9, 2014 at 4:55 pm |
      • Dalahäst

        What are the Mythra miracles? That he was born from a rock (which wasn't a miracle he performed, technically)? That he fired a bolt into a rock that caused water to spout out?

        July 8, 2014 at 5:24 pm |
      • Dalahäst

        Dionysus?

        July 8, 2014 at 7:26 pm |
      • Dalahäst

        Nada?

        July 9, 2014 at 4:55 pm |
      • Dalahäst

        Nil?

        July 10, 2014 at 11:33 am |
        • LaBella

          Here's something I found interesting (and amusing): Paul as a Mithras priest.
          http://armageddonconspiracy.co.uk/the-mithras-deception(1753794).htm

          July 10, 2014 at 11:48 am |
        • Dalahäst

          I didn't read it all, but saw the list of 25 parallels. I've seen such lists before – but have never seen anyone be able to back it up. That is amusing they keep posting that.

          July 10, 2014 at 11:53 am |
        • LaBella

          Such is the nature of conspiracy theories.

          July 10, 2014 at 11:59 am |
        • Dalahäst

          This comes in handy for me. It was written by an atheist:

          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/2012/06/better-atheist-fact-checking.html

          July 10, 2014 at 12:01 pm |
      • Dalahäst

        ?

        July 11, 2014 at 12:00 pm |
      • Dalahäst

        ??

        July 11, 2014 at 12:00 pm |
      • orbitaltoaster

        No, see the debbildidit. The sneaky dude went back in time and made it look like all those evil pagan deities did the same things as jazus, just to fool everyone. Kinda like he planted the dinosaur bones and erased any and all signs of a global flood. Gotta watch out for him; he's pretty clever for a guy with horns and a tail. And what's with the horns and tail anyway? Don't angels have wings and things, even the fallen ones? Must be more sneakiness on his part. Yeah, that's it.

        July 11, 2014 at 2:50 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          The pagan deities aren't actually described as doing those things like Jesus, though.

          July 11, 2014 at 8:39 pm |
    • believerfred

      The timing for Jesus was at the exact time and place in order that God's plan of redemption would result in the greatest number of saved souls while minimizing suffering for those who have and will reject God.

      July 8, 2014 at 4:34 pm |
      • TruthPrevails1

        How many other parents do you know that would be considered loving for allowing their child to be tortured?

        July 8, 2014 at 4:52 pm |
        • believerfred

          TruthPrevails1
          I assume you are speaking about Jesus who gave his life that all who desire to be free from the bondage of this world can experience it.
          Jesus was not a child as he was about 30 something in age. This was a free decision by an adult to give his life and take upon himself the consequence of sin to set you free. God is perfect love which we cannot grasp because all of us have some form of brokenness that clouds what true love is. The smallest of sin (and for non believers just look at it as that which puts a stain on perfect love) is like a drop of anything other than pure white into pure white which forever clouds the perfection.
          If you are opposed to Jesus because of some personal experience then use the Jefferson approach. Follow the example set by Jesus and you will begin to experience a taste of that perfect love.

          July 8, 2014 at 5:08 pm |
        • observer

          believerfred,

          The Bible says that the half-human half-god Jesus was only "DEAD" for 72 hours. For others who sacrificed their lives such as our brave soldiers, it was FOREVER.

          July 8, 2014 at 5:55 pm |
        • believerfred

          observer
          I note the atheist has no choice but to make up his or her own religion. You have no evidence concerning the mortality of the soldier so at best you can say an observable organic blob reacting to chemical stimuli is no longer functioning.
          As to Jesus he was fully man not half man. As to deity he was the full representation of the Glory of God.

          July 8, 2014 at 6:04 pm |
        • observer

          believerfred

          "As to Jesus he was fully man not half man".

          Sorry. I thought the Bible said that God was his FATHER. Any idea where the sperm came from that made Jesus a MAN? Mary certainly had no sperm.

          July 8, 2014 at 6:09 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          No sperm involved observer.

          July 8, 2014 at 6:18 pm |
        • believerfred

          observer
          Hardly miracle worthy if sperm is required.
          I do not recall Jesus ever discussing the conditions surrounding His conception other than born of the Spirit. This is main thrust where we are all to be born again and it is that spiritual rebirth that indwelling of the Holy Spirit. It is far more important for all concerned that we carry on as born again, loving others as Jesus did rather than speculate about sperm.

          July 8, 2014 at 6:27 pm |
        • midwest rail

          " It is far more important for all concerned that we carry on as born again, loving others as Jesus did "
          Oh, if only....

          July 8, 2014 at 6:30 pm |
        • believerfred

          midwest rail
          Story of the Bible from start to finish we just simply can't and when we finally realize that I would think the next logical step is to ask how can I do that if I really wanted to. This is where Jesus comes in and simply does it for us. We gradually over time become transformed into that which we aspire to become. It is a win win situation.

          July 8, 2014 at 6:43 pm |
        • midwest rail

          There is little yo no evidence of that on these pages.

          July 8, 2014 at 6:44 pm |
        • observer

          Fred & Robert,

          A human male has a Y-chromosome which makes him a male.

          Y-chromosomes come ONLY from a FATHER through sperm.

          BASIC BIOLOGY 101.

          Where did Jesus get his Y-chromosomes that made him a MAN? Who was the FATHER who supplied them?

          July 8, 2014 at 6:50 pm |
        • believerfred

          midwest rail
          What I notice in my life is that I am very aware when my level of say compassion is not acceptable or I think non loving thoughts towards another. I only know this because an inner voice says you just judged that person.......or why won't you help that person instead of wondering how he got that way etc.
          I suspect one could have that inner voice without knowing Jesus but, for me it was Jesus that began my transformation.

          July 8, 2014 at 7:02 pm |
        • believerfred

          observer
          You are attempting to apply mans understanding of reproduction on that which is not subject to the natural laws. It is like showing me how Harry Potter really could not fly on a broom due to lack of air foil necessary to create a pressure differential sufficient to lift the broom and Harry.

          July 8, 2014 at 7:07 pm |
        • austin929

          WHAT? no.

          July 8, 2014 at 7:13 pm |
        • austin929

          Fred. who is THE Angel of the Lord?

          July 8, 2014 at 7:14 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          Okay, spin it how you wish fred but that is not what your bible states.
          John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
          (a verse every child has engrained in them when raised by christian parents)
          Now it's hard to accept any story about jesus as being factual due to the fact that nothing was written about this character until 30-40 years after this apparent resurrection. We know that stories were mainly passed verbally back then and we know that word of mouth is highly unreliable....moutains are made out of mole hills (so to speak). So it makes no sense to me that based on those factors, anyone would not question the integrity of the story.

          July 8, 2014 at 7:28 pm |
        • believerfred

          TruthPrevails1
          John 3:16 does not make any sense out of the context of the plan of creation i.e. purpose for existence in the first place. You keep holding up pieces to the puzzle and telling me it does not fit with the vision you have of the picture of creation. You cannot put the puzzle together if you do not have the right vision.

          July 8, 2014 at 7:41 pm |
        • believerfred

          TruthPRevails!
          "John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life."
          =>What greater love is there than to give you that which is most precious to the giver. In what greater way could anyone express their love. What greater hurt is there than to have that love rejected.
          =>You have one part right in that there is a serious consequence to rejecting love, but God so loved that even your rejection is met with an atoning forgiveness and love.
          =>symbolically Christ on the cross was a visual of the pain and suffering God experiences when we reject the opportunity to experience perfect love and choose instead our ways over "The Way"

          July 8, 2014 at 8:23 pm |
        • believerfred

          austin929
          A theological understanding of the Angle of the Lord will not bring you into a full experience in Christ. We need the love of God and the power of the Holy Spirit if we are to be in Christ. Liberal and old school Theologians as well as non believers find their way based upon the light they are given even though they may be miles apart on understanding what is the meaning of the Angel of Lord.

          July 8, 2014 at 8:30 pm |
      • G to the T

        "The timing for Jesus was at the exact time and place in order that God's plan of redemption would result in the greatest number of saved souls while minimizing suffering for those who have and will reject God."

        I find that very hard to believe considering the population of the world and the speed/methods for information dispersal at that time. Wouldn't a concerted effort on all continents make more sense? At the least the Mormon's don't think God left the America's hi and dry until the last 1400's...

        July 9, 2014 at 1:07 pm |
        • believerfred

          Omniscience of God allows only the optimal timing of Jesus entry.
          If you do not accept omniscience then observation would point to this being the first stable form of civilization under Roman rule. Trade routs came through the heart of middle east by sea and land. Right through to this very day in the same center through Israel and Muslim belief we have Ishmael and Isaac sons of Abraham playing out the promise of God given to him. Like it or not your nose is being rubbed in the sands of faith where the world cannot shake the absolute truth that man needs God.

          July 9, 2014 at 3:21 pm |
        • G to the T

          And if everyone in the world lived in Europe or the Near/Middle East at that time you might have a point.

          July 10, 2014 at 8:18 am |
        • believerfred

          G to the T
          Christianity exploded from a handful of followers now 2.1 billion reaching every country. Jesus referred to the Laws of Moses as did the Muslims and said they will be fulfilled and so it is with 2.2 billion Muslims.
          Timing was perfect.

          July 10, 2014 at 12:01 pm |
        • G to the T

          It's taken 2K years to reach that level. And in the meantime, most of the rest of the world was left hi and dry (if your theology is true, that is). While the timing was fine for that area, it doesn't make sense to me that a loving god would go through all the trouble he is supposed to have, and then allow literally billions of people to live and die in the meantime...

          July 11, 2014 at 6:32 pm |
  4. voiceofreason1

    Question Prof. Baden: Why do you fail to mention that Islamic law (even today in many places) holds of quite a literal version of lex talionis? I'm sure as a Yale prof. you are aware of this fact. Also, your statement that:
    "Both Israel and Gaza believe themselves to be the blood-avenger, and the other to be the murderer" – fabricates a grossly inaccurate equivalency. Only Hamas employs constant vengeance-based rhetoric. The government of Israel, and the vast majority of Israelis, use self-defense claims to explain their military actions.

    July 8, 2014 at 3:54 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      It would have been a better article had Joel Baden included how the Qur'an frames a response to injury, and a reminder of how Christian teaching frames a response to injury (and it's not the death penalty).

      July 8, 2014 at 4:01 pm |
      • voiceofreason1

        I know you are pretty much supporting my comment, and I don't mean to be rude, but I think Baden's exclusion of the Islamic approach is much more egregious than his non-mention of the Christian approach – seeing as half of the conflict he is discussing is driven mainly by Islamic people and Islamically-oriented ideology.

        July 8, 2014 at 4:17 pm |
        • thesamyaza

          dude lets not pretend that their is equal blame her the Palestinians are the victims Israel is the aggressor, if a foreign enemy invaded your land how quick will you go Hamas.

          their is not an American alive that will say the Sons of liberty are half to blame for the revolution, England was to blame.

          just like their were to blame for the Many Irish uprisings.

          Israel has no right to those lands and should be removed by force.

          go get them Hamas drive the enemy from your home, your flag is on my post for you.

          July 9, 2014 at 1:03 am |
        • analogismos

          I am a living American and, yes, there are two sides to this conflict as there were for the American revolution.

          July 9, 2014 at 8:42 am |
      • readerpan

        Christian teaching has no relevance in a dispute between Jews and Muslims.

        July 9, 2014 at 12:55 am |
    • igaftr

      voice
      Hamas says a lot of rhetoric, that is true. Isreal speaks with bulldozers, rifles, full military attacks. They steal land and THEN claim the right to it. The Isreali's are the aggressors, but have more military right. They don't need to speak when they shoot a guy who threw a rock at them.

      6 palestinians killed for every 1 isreali. 28,000 homes destroyed in palestine to 0 Isreali.
      Isreal speaks with a hammer.

      July 9, 2014 at 8:55 am |
  5. Lucifer's Evil Twin

    “The Bible: proof that gullible people will believe any dumbass thing that you tell them” ~LET

    July 8, 2014 at 3:43 pm |
  6. lunchbreaker

    Sometimes I wonder which people hope for more, eternal bliss for themselves or eternal suffering for others.

    July 8, 2014 at 3:38 pm |
    • Dalahäst

      Eternal bliss for all. I don't wish for eternal bliss for just myself, that is selfishness. And I certainly don't hope for eternal suffering for others. My hope is to become more selfless.

      July 8, 2014 at 3:44 pm |
      • G to the T

        "Eternal bliss"

        Do you believe there is still free will in heaven?

        July 9, 2014 at 1:19 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          I do not know either way.

          July 9, 2014 at 4:50 pm |
        • G to the T

          I guess for me that would be kind of a sticking point. If I don't have free will, then it's not really "me" enjoying eternity is it?

          July 11, 2014 at 6:35 pm |
      • igaftr

        What if my eternal bliss is to spend every moment with a certain person, and the other persons eternal bliss is to never spend a moment with me....who wins? I would assume from the bible that I would win if the other person is female, since they are more property than anything.

        July 9, 2014 at 4:08 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          You could try being nicer to that certain person.

          July 9, 2014 at 4:58 pm |
      • thesamyaza

        dude Enternal bliss sound like hell what makes bliss so god is the fact that it come in just a moment.

        Parvati says; "if you you eat nothing but cake soon that cake test of hell, one should eat some curry"

        basically suffering is what makes bliss possible and so delicious. an existence of just bliss is boring and painfully just as a life of nothing but suffering.

        what does the Buddha say; "with out suffering their can be no compassion, and with out compassion their can be no wisdom, with out Wisdom no happiness."

        July 9, 2014 at 7:41 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          I really don't know what eternal bliss is. The Bible doesn't say anything about eternal bliss as far as I know. It describes heaven as a Kingdom that comes to us. We don't really go to it. Following Jesus is certainly not a suffering avoidance program.

          July 9, 2014 at 8:05 pm |
  7. MadeFromDirt

    More inflammatory garbage from Baden, this time blaming the Bible for man's cruelty to each other, and ignoring the actual source and consequences of evil, falsehoods, and deception. You will run into trouble whenever you parcel out God's Word, rather than understanding the Bible as a progression of revelations and solution to the human condition, with the common thread and purpose of Jesus Christ running throughout from beginning to end, to further the glory of God. Such deviation from a comprehensive and cohesive understanding of the Bible is a symptom of a fallen mind, and serves as reinforcement for more foolish thinking. Baden demonstrates that with regularity.

    July 8, 2014 at 3:08 pm |
    • evidencenot

      ""Every living substance that I have made will I destroy."
      God repeats his intention to kill "every living substance ... from off the face of the earth." But why does God kill all the innocent animals? What had they done to deserve his wrath? It seems God never gets his fill of tormenting animals. 7:4

      "All flesh died that moved upon the earth."
      God drowns everything that breathes air. From newborn babies to koala bears - all creatures great and small, the Lord God drowned them all. 7:21-23

      July 8, 2014 at 3:26 pm |
    • Reality

      And you know this how?

      Before answering, peruse the following:

      Think about the logic (or lack thereof).

      “I believe the Bible is inspired.” “Why?” “Because it says so.” Would
      anyone let that logic pass if it came from the followers of any other book
      or person? “I believe x is inspired because x says so.” Fill in the blanks:

      x=Pat Robertson
      x=the ayatolloah Sistani (sp?)
      x=David Koresh
      x=the Koran
      x=MadefromDirt

      more “logic”?
      “I believe there is One God Jehovah because He is revealed in the infallible
      Bible. I believe the Bible is infallible because it is the Word of the One God Jehovah.”

      July 8, 2014 at 3:29 pm |
      • Theo Phileo

        My apologies!!!! I meant to just post the LINK, not the video.... I know that's frowned upon... SORRY!!!!!!

        July 8, 2014 at 3:35 pm |
      • observer

        Theo Phileo,

        The big problem is that it is SUPPOSEDLY the SAME God in both testaments. You know, the one who discriminates against women, gays (which is fine for you), and the handicapped.

        July 8, 2014 at 3:38 pm |
        • Alias

          And racist. Don't forget that the god of the ld testament was very racist.

          July 8, 2014 at 5:34 pm |
    • evidencenot

      @dirt "understanding the Bible as a progression of revelations and solution to the human condition,"

      Yea, that's a real "solution" to the human condition...... kill them all!

      July 8, 2014 at 3:35 pm |
      • Doc Vestibule

        For God so loved the Earth that he killed everything on it that couldn't fit in a 400ft wooden zoo.

        July 8, 2014 at 3:39 pm |
        • readerpan

          And is planning to off everyone at some point in the future...why would any being wish to do that?

          July 9, 2014 at 12:58 am |
    • igaftr

      made
      Since there is only evidence that men made your bible, complete with many, many flaws, it is far more likely that your book is part of the deception of men, than any gods having anything to do with it.
      If your god had something to do with the bible, why is so much of it wrong?

      July 8, 2014 at 3:41 pm |
    • MadeFromDirt

      Like I was saying, isolating parts of the Bible is a strategy of fallen and darkened thinking. So thank you to all you responders, for demonstrating again the point about Baden. In his clouded theology, Baden blames the Bible for violence, and then cries for a solution from it, as if the solution is not already available on every page. The further you detach Bible verses from the consistent Scriptural core of the pure and infinite power of God, the depravity of man, our dependent need for reconciliation, and the salvation available only through the perfection of Jesus Christ, the further you move away from God, and the more confused, counter-productive, and hopeless your thought becomes. You see flaws in the Bible that do not exist. You imagine meanings that indict God and self-justify man. You erect hollow intellectual and moral walls to shield you from your conscience's alarms. You apply short-term standards that collapse in the long run. You create a god who changes. All these strategies only accelerate your separation from the actual source of all Truth and Wisdom.

      There was a time when my mind was dark, and I employed all these strategies too, fooling myself. I never wanted or deserved to see the Truth and Reasons of the Bible as a whole, but God showed me anyway, and He continues to uncover more every day, and because of that I will be forever serving and praising Him.

      July 9, 2014 at 2:52 am |
      • G to the T

        Sorry MFD, I find the bible a very poor instrument. The more I have studied it and it's history, the more I believe that (if anyone) the Catholics probably have it right and the apostolic traditions are superior to the concept of sola scriptura. Though when I was a christian I had no problem rationalizing this so I'm sure you probably won't either...

        July 9, 2014 at 1:23 pm |
      • natesaintwilson

        This is seriously one of the most convoluted things I have ever seen written. Christians cherry pick the Bible all the time, yet have an issue when others do the same. I am sorry, MadeFromDirt, but you are very much part of the problem, not the solution, for what is ailing our world today.

        July 9, 2014 at 3:40 pm |
      • MadeFromDirt

        Thanks anyway boys, but there is no need to be sorry for me; I'm not the one telling our Creator that man knows better than He. And you and the world aren't rejecting my opinion; you are rejecting God's Truth communicated in the Bible harmoniously from start to finish. Like I was saying, cherry-picking interpretations that conflict with the overarching comprehensive purpose of the Bible are a sure sign of false doctrine coming from fallen minds, even if it comes from someone professing to be "Christian".

        This world and all humanity was lost from God when Adam brought sin into it. Any justification you find from the world or yourself expires when you do.

        July 9, 2014 at 7:10 pm |
        • observer

          MadeFromDirt

          "you are rejecting God's Truth'

          Yes. What logical, caring person can support slavery, discrimination against women, discrimination against gays, discrimination against the handicapped, beating children, beating elderly female slaves without punishment, supporting a god who would let the family of his greatest supporter be killed to WIN A BET, etc.?

          July 9, 2014 at 7:19 pm |
        • thesamyaza

          dude your god is not the creator, and if that's true then your statement is false, I'm more inclined to believe Vishnu on that on. what creator would tell creation to turn there back on creation. some one who just created a lie that's who. every lie says the tell the truth.

          July 9, 2014 at 7:33 pm |
        • G to the T

          "you are rejecting God's Truth"

          You may believe that, I only believe I'm disagreeing with your interpretation.

          July 11, 2014 at 6:37 pm |
  8. observer

    Theo Phileo,

    Do your follow the words of Jesus when he said "whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also. Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two. Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you." or are you just a HYPOCRITE?

    July 8, 2014 at 2:59 pm |
    • Theo Phileo

      Not that I need to explain myself to you, but in the spirit of Paul who gave evidence of his qualifications before men who would attempt to disqualify him...

      I have been a missionary in this country and outside. I have been threatened with my life and did not return with violence. I have aided the needy to the point of housing a man in need as I was counselling him out of a drug habit until he got clean and became employed.

      How have I not lived out Rabbi Jesus' instructions?

      July 8, 2014 at 3:03 pm |
      • observer

        Theo Phileo,

        Please send me $100,000.

        Let's see if you are a HYPOCRITE.

        July 8, 2014 at 3:06 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          Sure, you take a check? *smiles*

          The intent of the passage is not to blindly give money to whoever asks, but rather inasmuch as it is in your power to do so, help the poor and needy with their needs.... Not their wants... (Deuteronomy 15:7-11, Luke 6:34, 1 Timothy 6:18) If you just give money to whoever asks, you could very well be supporting his drug habit, or a drinking habit, or whatever. But when you give the poor and needy access to food, clothing, shelter, that sort of thing, then you are helping him obtain all that we really need on this earth. And with his needs met, he may be less distracted, and better receive the word of God.

          That's actually one of the purposes of the feeding of the multi.tudes. And that's another reason why when I'm sharing the gospel with someone, I'll often do it over a cheeseburger.

          July 8, 2014 at 3:21 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Nice explanation Theo.

          July 8, 2014 at 3:26 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          Cheeseburgers are abominations unto the Lord.
          Or at least they were before He became His own father and mellowed out a bit.

          July 8, 2014 at 3:30 pm |
        • observer

          Theo Phileo,

          Which part of this don't you understand?

          "Give to HIM WHO ASKS OF YOU, and DO NOT TURN AWAY from him who wants to BORROW from you."

          Which English words have STUMPED you?

          July 8, 2014 at 3:32 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          Cheeseburgers are abominations unto the Lord.
          Or at least they were before He became His own father and mellowed out a bit.
          -----------
          Nah... Cheeseburgers were an abomination until Genesis 9:3 – Everything that moves shall be food for you... It may be an abomination to my cholesterol, but not to my spirituality. *smiles*

          July 8, 2014 at 3:38 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          Isn't slapping cheese on ground beef the modern equivalent to boiling goats in their own milk?
          (Exodus 23,19; Exodus 34,26; Deuteronomy 14,21)

          July 8, 2014 at 3:42 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          Which part of this don't you understand?
          "Give to HIM WHO ASKS OF YOU, and DO NOT TURN AWAY from him who wants to BORROW from you."
          Which English words have STUMPED you?
          ----------------–
          Context, context, context... For lack of space here, look up what Matthew Henry has to say on this passage. In brief: "...the affairs of our charity must be guided with discretion (Psalm 112:5), lest we give that to the idle and unworthy, which should be given to those that are necessitous, and deserve well."

          July 8, 2014 at 3:43 pm |
        • observer

          (Gen. 1:29-30) “God said, “See, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food. "

          Sorry about all those POISONOUS ones. Oooops.

          July 8, 2014 at 3:44 pm |
        • ausphor

          There goes Theo interpreting scripture yet again something he says he never does, liar.

          July 8, 2014 at 3:45 pm |
        • observer

          Theo Phileo

          The OPINION of ONE MAN, whoever Matthew Henry is, doesn't mean much.

          So the CONTEXT says "This only applies to the people I think are worthy".

          Good one!
          ------–
          Context, context, context... For lack of space here, look up what Matthew Henry has to say on this passage.

          July 8, 2014 at 3:47 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          Isn't slapping cheese on ground beef the modern equivalent to boiling goats in their own milk?
          (Exodus 23,19; Exodus 34,26; Deuteronomy 14,21)
          -------------
          But you're getting into the Jewish ceremonial laws, and neglecting to draw a distinction between that and the moral law. Since the New Covenant, the ceremonial laws no longer are applicable.

          July 8, 2014 at 3:47 pm |
        • SeaVik

          "Everything that moves shall be food for you"

          Last time I checked, people move. So it's ok to eat people according to the bible?

          July 8, 2014 at 3:48 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          Hence my qualifier about "since God became His own Father and mellowed out a bit"

          July 8, 2014 at 3:52 pm |
        • observer

          SeaVik,

          Cannibalism is a recurrent theme in the Bible. Eat Jesus' body. Drink Jesus' blood. Threats of cannibalism from God.

          July 8, 2014 at 3:53 pm |
        • evidencenot

          ...but rocks are definitely out!

          July 8, 2014 at 3:57 pm |
    • Reality

      As per Professor Gerd Ludemann who has rigorously evaluated Matt 39-42: " The five aphorisms are original, offensive and the same time comic so that Jesus must have uttered them." (from Ludemann's studies as published in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years, pp. 142-143.

      July 8, 2014 at 3:40 pm |
      • Reality

        Oops, make that Matt 5: 39-42.

        July 8, 2014 at 6:27 pm |
  9. Theo Phileo

    The "eye for an eye" passage, and others like them was not in the strict sense a declaration that "if you take my eye, then you forfeit your own eye" rather, it was a limitation on the severity of justice. That the punishment should fit the crime, and not be excessive.

    Rabbi Jesus explains the law in Matthew 5:38-42 "“You have heard that it was said, ‘AN EYE FOR AN EYE, AND A TOOTH FOR A TOOTH.’ But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also. Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two. Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you."

    To the Jews, the “eye for an eye” passage had become a license for personal vengeance, a basis for a vendetta, sort of a biblical permission to have a grudge or to strike back. Jesus reminds the people of its true intent: that love was to take preeminence when dealing with their fellow man. He does not nullify the law or justice, (1 Timothy 1:9-11) but gives them illustrations on forgiveness over personal infractions. Justice belongs to civil authorities, not to individuals.

    Proverbs 24:29 – Do not say, “Thus I shall do to him as he has done to me; I will render to the man according to his work.”

    Proverbs 25:21-22 – If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink; for you will heap burning coals on his head, and the LORD will reward you.

    This passage has the idea of a refining fire, one that is used to purge out the dross, burning off impurities. By acting kindly to your enemy, you may in fact turn him away from being your enemy

    July 8, 2014 at 2:50 pm |
    • observer

      Theo Phileo,

      Yes. The "perfect" and "unchanging" God CHANGED his mind about "an eye for an eye".

      July 8, 2014 at 2:53 pm |
      • Theo Phileo

        ...or you just didn't understand the passage.

        July 8, 2014 at 2:55 pm |
      • SeaVik

        "To the Jews, the “eye for an eye” passage had become a license for personal vengeance"

        Observer, even God couldn't predict how the horrible Jews would misuse the bible. (Or at least this seems to be what Theo thinks.)

        July 8, 2014 at 3:00 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          "even God couldn't predict how the horrible Jews would misuse the bible."
          -----------------–
          God didn't have to predict that the Jews would misuse scripture, God ordained it to be so.

          July 8, 2014 at 3:05 pm |
        • observer

          God even said he had REGRETS about how things turned out.

          OOOOOPS.

          July 8, 2014 at 3:16 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          God even said he had REGRETS about how things turned out.
          OOOOOPS.
          --------------
          Why is this an "oops?" Have you never punished your child for something that they have done and felt horrible about doing it, but did it anyway because you knew it was for their good? It's kindof like that.

          July 8, 2014 at 3:24 pm |
        • observer

          Theo Phileo,

          So your pitiful EXCUSE was that God REGRETED punishing his children? He was SORRY he did it? Ooops.

          July 8, 2014 at 3:29 pm |
        • SeaVik

          Theo, it's pretty telling that what you objected to in my post was NOT the implication that you think Jews are horrible. You might want to refute that before worrying about anything else!

          July 8, 2014 at 3:32 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          The God / parent punishment parallel is weak.
          It would be like saying to your kid that all the other kids in their class are bad, therefore you're going to kill all their families (including pets) and raze the neighbourhood. The only things that will survive your parental wrath are whatever can fit in the family car – you know, the one with wood paneling and the custom license plate that says "Ark1"

          July 8, 2014 at 3:35 pm |
    • ausphor

      Theo
      If you could only follow Mat. 5:38-42 yourself you wouldn't be such an obvious hypocrite. Those rather amusing sentiments do not apply to me BTW.

      July 8, 2014 at 2:57 pm |
      • Theo Phileo

        Explain how I am an "obvious hypocrite" and how I have – according to you – apparently not followed Rabbi Jesus' instructions...

        July 8, 2014 at 2:59 pm |
        • observer

          Theo Phileo,

          There's likely no one on here who is a bigger HYPOCRITE than you. You have no interest at all in following the Golden Rule. Same for all the time you IGNORE Jesus's words on doing to him what YOU do to others.

          Get real. Your words are a JOKE.

          July 8, 2014 at 3:15 pm |
        • ausphor

          Theo
          You are a disp!cable sinner that has to depend on Rabbi Jesus to forgive you for all your faults, your get out of jail free card. Good luck with that, repent, already and quit lying for a start.

          July 8, 2014 at 3:31 pm |
      • ausphor

        Theo
        Bear ith me . On July 2 I used some quotes from Thomas Jefferson, part of your response was thar he was hardly an expert and an amateur in hermeneutics, remember? As a self proclaimed expert are you conversant with hermeneutics and apply that devise often?

        July 8, 2014 at 3:07 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          There is a proper way to understand the Biblical text, and the rules for doing so are really no different from reading and comprehending any written doc.ument. (Jefferson did not understand proper hermeneutics as evidenced by his re-written Bible, sans the miraculous)

          If you want a really good synopsis of hermeneutics, check out "Herman Who" by Tod Friel. Amazon's got it for under $13.
          http://www.amazon.com/Herman-Who-Right-Hermeneutics-Primer/dp/0978607503/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1404846674&sr=8-1&keywords=herman+who

          July 8, 2014 at 3:12 pm |
        • ausphor

          Theo
          Of course you ducked the question yet again. You have declared yourself an expert and have constantly claimed you do not "interpret scripture" but say someone is an amateur if they do not know hermeneutics, you are a hypocrite. Some expert you are, no formal scholarly training, no peer reviewed papers, just self righteous babbling on a belief blog where you often lie. Thomas Jefferson took the time to write his own version of the bible, without the supernatural BS, making him an expert in my opinion. Poor sad Theo, an expert in his own mind.

          July 8, 2014 at 3:23 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          Of course you ducked the question yet again. You have declared yourself an expert and have constantly claimed you do not "interpret scripture" but say someone is an amateur if they do not know hermeneutics, you are a hypocrite.
          ------------------
          The "an.alogia scriptura" is a good two word definition of proper hermeneutics. How is it being hypocritical if I recognize someone not obeying the Bible by using the Bible?

          2 Peter 1:20-21 – no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God

          Some expert you are, no formal scholarly training
          -------------–
          Nope. Never went to seminary. I'd love to, but I can't right now.

          no peer reviewed papers
          ---------------
          So? Jesus never wrote a peer reviewed paper, and yet He was a Rabbi.

          just self righteous babbling on a belief blog where you often lie.
          ----------------
          You have yet to show where I have ever spoken one single solitary lie on this blog.

          Thomas Jefferson took the time to write his own version of the bible, without the supernatural BS, making him an expert in my opinion. Poor sad Theo, an expert in his own mind.
          --------------–
          Sure, Jefferson was an expert on how to become damned.

          Revelation 22:18-19 – I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book.

          July 8, 2014 at 3:31 pm |
        • ausphor

          Theo
          May I suggest that numerous times before being called out on it, that you lied about your so called expertise. You came across as a teacher if not a professor who educated students about your only "truth" that laughed at you as being a pompous ass, as if you know the only truth in the world. I remember that incident and you will have to lie again to deny it. I imagine all the regulars on this blog have called you a liar and even pointed it out to you, you are a hoot.

          July 8, 2014 at 3:38 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          May I suggest that numerous times before being called out on it, that you lied about your so called expertise.
          ---------------
          I never lied about having "an expertise" in theology. To say that I did, you would have to prove that having a degree in something is the only way to become an expert in anything. I remind you, Rabbi Jesus never went to school, and yet He was considered an expert by all of the Rabbis.

          You came across as a teacher if not a professor who educated students about your only "truth"
          ------------------
          I have been a teacher. I told you before that I was a layman who has been a Sunday School teacher, and that I have taught in missionary settings as well as in counselling. Once again, where have I lied?

          I remember that incident and you will have to lie again to deny it. I imagine all the regulars on this blog have called you a liar and even pointed it out to you, you are a hoot.
          ------------------
          You still haven't showed where I have lied. Others have as.sumed that I was a university professor before, I'll admit that, but I never said that I was, so how is someone else's misunderstanding MY fault, especially when I came out and directly told you I was a layman.

          July 8, 2014 at 4:09 pm |
        • ausphor

          Theo
          I suppose if you are a creationist you can make your self believe in anything including the misrepresentations you have made in your comments in the past. I guess you are the only one that does not believe you are a liar. I have accounts to tend to on a down market dat.

          July 8, 2014 at 4:17 pm |
        • G to the T

          "The "an.alogia scriptura" is a good two word definition of proper hermeneutics."

          Sorry but using a book to analyze itself is not proper textual criticism, esp. the bible. The bible is not a "book" it's a compilation of books my many authors living in many different times/places.

          July 14, 2014 at 11:42 am |
    • bostontola

      It's amusing when one group of Yahweh believers thinks they are superior to another group of Yahweh believers.

      July 8, 2014 at 3:11 pm |
  10. analogismos

    Seeing as Islam also reveres Jesus (Issa) as the Messiah, the seems relevent:

    –I saw in the Gospel that Jesus, son of Mary (Peace be upon him!) said, "It has been said to you formerly, Tooth for tooth and nose for nose; but I say to you, Do not resist evil with evil. On the contrary, if someone strikes your right cheek, turn to him the left cheek; and if one takes your cloak give him your mantle; p. 48 and if one compels you to go a mile with him go with him two miles."

    Michaël Asin y Palacios "Logia et Agrapha nomini Jesu apud Moslemicos Scriptores, asceticos præsertim, usitata"

    July 8, 2014 at 2:33 pm |
    • MidwestKen

      FYI
      I don't think Islam reveres Jesus "as the Messiah". As a prophet, sure, but nt the Messiah.

      July 8, 2014 at 2:49 pm |
      • analogismos

        III, 37-52.–And when the angels said, "O Mary, verily God has chosen you and purified p. 18 you and chosen you above the women of the worlds. O Mary, obey your Lord, and worship and bow down with those who bow down." That is one of the pieces of information regarding the unseen which We reveal to you, although you were not with them when they were casting their reeds [to see] which of them should have charge of Mary, and were not with them when they were disputing. When the angels said, "O Mary, verily God gives you good news of a Word from Him, whose name shall be the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, eminent in this world and the next, and one of those who approach God's presence.

        July 8, 2014 at 2:57 pm |
        • MidwestKen

          b think the key phrase there is "whose name shall be...". As in someone called Christ, Jesus.

          But I'm not Muslim, so just ask a Muslim if they think Jesus is/was the Messiah.

          July 8, 2014 at 3:18 pm |
        • analogismos

          I have.

          July 8, 2014 at 3:25 pm |
        • MidwestKen

          My apologies. I think I am incorrect.

          July 8, 2014 at 3:52 pm |
        • Reality

          Obviously, it is all in the translation but Jesus is not the Messiah as Christians know him.

          "Îsâ Ibn Maryam ( Arabic: عيسى, translit.: ʿĪsā ), known as Jesus in the New Testament, is considered to be a Messenger of God and al-Masih (the Messiah) in Islam[1][2]:30 who was sent to guide the Children of Israel (banī isrā'īl) with a new scripture, al-Injīl (the Gospel).[3] The belief that Jesus is a prophet is required in Islam, as it is for all prophets named in the Qur’an. "

          But now for some reality from one of the old philosophers:

          "The Two Universal Sects

          They all err—Moslems, Jews,
          Christians, and Zoroastrians:

          Humanity follows two world-wide sects:

          One, man intelligent without religion,

          The second, religious without intellect. "

          Al-Ma'arri
          , born AD 973 /, died AD 1058 / .

          Al-Ma’arri was a blind Arab philosopher, poet and writer.[1][2] He was a controversial rationalist of his time, attacking the dogmas of religion and rejecting the claim that Islam possessed any monopoly on truth."

          Read more: http://www.answers.com/topic/resalat-al-ghufran#ixzz1lI6DuZmZ and http://www.humanistictexts.org/al_ma'arri.htm

          July 8, 2014 at 3:59 pm |
  11. midwest rail

    It's a beautiful day for some gardening and a quick dip in the pool. Enjoy.

    July 8, 2014 at 2:32 pm |
  12. thesamyaza

    it not exactly a game of tit for tat Israel is doing far more damage and has done far more damage.

    you want an eye for an eye burn Israel to the ground then and only then we it began to be even.

    July 8, 2014 at 2:31 pm |
  13. bostontola

    While the general topic of lex talionis is always a fun philosophical discussion, I don't think it applies to what is going on in Israel right now.

    The killing of the Palestinian boy was not an eye for an eye. That boy had nothing to do with the kidnapping and murder of the Israeli teens. An eye for an eye might apply if the actual perpetrators were killed. Likewise, the Israeli teens had nothing to do with any perceived crimes by Israel against Palestinians. The va.gue notion by Palestinians that Israelis should be made to feel their pain is not an eye for an eye. It is simple murder and would not have been allowed by even primitive biblical justice.

    Dr. Baden may be trying to make a larger point, but tying it to the current events muddles the point and cheapens the murder. He was on target with one point, the bible is not a good doc.ument to administer justice with in modern society.

    July 8, 2014 at 2:22 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      One could argue (essentially as Baden does) that the behavior by the Israelis concerned as lex talionis by proxy. It is clearly not lex talionis directed at the offending party.

      I did like this article, particularly the references to Hammurabi and prior Mesopotamian laws. What Joel Baden did not cover was how the Qur'an frames a response to injury which would be relevant to his point here. I think it would have been helpful and more rounded if he had.

      Nor does he discuss how Christian teaching frames a response to injury.

      July 8, 2014 at 3:59 pm |
      • bostontola

        notGOPer,
        I don't think proxy fits here. There is no justice in killing the Palestinian boy because he committed no crime and the killers were not the aggrieved. I think it is a misplaced analogy.

        July 8, 2014 at 4:07 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          I understood what you meant.

          The proxy in this case is the innocent Palestinian who certainly didn't deserve this even under lex talionis. I happy stipulate that "vigilante justice" is an oxymoron.

          July 8, 2014 at 4:17 pm |
  14. guidedans

    I find it interesting that justice systems place a monetary value on human suffering and on life. As if 1 million or 10 million or 100 million dollars could replace a life. Even our punitive justice system seems to be very illogical, e.g., imprisoning someone for 25 years would never right the wrong of murder.

    This is not to put down our justice system. It is probably the best thing we, as a society can do with those who break the law. However, to call our justice system "just," I believe, would be inaccurate. Once a wrong is committed, there is really nothing you can do to right that wrong, aside from traveling back in time to prevent yourself from committing the wrong in the first place.

    Without that ability, we are all in an imbalanced state where we have committed wrongs in our past that are impossible to correct. That is why I believe that the Christian world view that Jesus died to absolve us of our sins is the only way to rationalize imperfect people interacting with a perfect God (or going into a perfect Heaven). If there is no way to cleanse ourselves of the wrongs we have committed in the past, then there is no way for any of us to reach Heaven. All of the laws we have on Earth are meant to keep order. They are not true justice. Only God can enact true justice and we are just extremely fortunate that God chooses mercy for those who put faith in His son.

    July 8, 2014 at 2:20 pm |
    • observer

      guidedans

      "I find it interesting that justice systems place a monetary value on human suffering and on life".. Yep, like God did when a woman suffers a miscarriage from a fight and a FINE is paid to the HUSBAND.

      "Only God can enact true justice". Is that like when we must cut off the hand of a wife who touches the genitals of someone ATTACKING her husband?

      July 8, 2014 at 2:25 pm |
      • guidedans

        Hey observer,

        God gave us the laws in the Bible to demonstrate that no one could ever uphold the laws perfectly. The laws naturally lead to the question of, what do you do when you cannot follow all the laws? The answer to this question is that you cannot do anything, but God can absolve you of your misdeeds and the way He does that is through His son Jesus Christ.

        If you want to rag on the laws of the Old Testament, go for it, but our inability to keep those Old Testament laws just better illustrates the need for Jesus in our lives.

        July 8, 2014 at 2:33 pm |
        • igaftr

          "God gave us the laws in the Bible"

          No...you do not know that. Men wrote your bible and claimed god did this and that, calimed to speak for god, but no one has ever been able to show this "god" exists.

          Men wrote those laws, men propogated those "laws" to the people. No sign any "god" was involved at all.

          July 8, 2014 at 2:38 pm |
        • observer

          guidedans,

          It's fascinating to hear that God's laws were given as a DEMONSTRATION rather than because they are LOGICAL or JUST.

          July 8, 2014 at 2:45 pm |
        • guidedans

          Man cannot be just. We are terrible most of the time. Selfish and self centered. When we do do good, we feel self righteous about it. We play with things that are priceless and more often than not, we destroy them. What is the value of a spider? That is impossible to quantify. If you kill a spider then, what is the payment that should be made? Also impossible to quantify.

          The rules God gave us were as close to justice that man can come and we cannot even uphold those. If you think you are a good person, then you are either discounting your flaws, or are lying to yourself. There is no way to be a good person in the world as it stands.

          I am really interested in what you think it takes to be a good person and/or how a person makes up for the bad he or she has done in their past.

          July 8, 2014 at 3:00 pm |
        • observer

          guidedans,

          God supposedly INTENTIONALLY made man IMPERFECT and yet you beat yourself up for not being PERFECT. Use some LOGIC.

          WAKE UP!

          July 8, 2014 at 3:04 pm |
        • guidedans

          Hey Observer,

          I don't beat myself up for being imperfect. I know that I am imperfect and there is no way out of that except through Jesus. Also, the Christian narrative is that God made us perfect and we fell from grace. So, originally, we were perfect. The only way to regain that perfection is to fall out of sin and the only way to do that would be to never have ever sinned (which no one, save for Jesus, has ever done).

          I feel like this comes up a lot on these forums: you are blaming God for our imperfection and then blaming Him for not giving us a way to reach perfection, which is not true because God did give you a way to reach perfection, but it is not through your own actions. It is through Jesus.

          July 8, 2014 at 3:12 pm |
        • observer

          guidedans,

          I don't blame God for ANYTHING. I am an agnostic.

          God apparently so BADLY MISJUDGED how things would turn out that the VERY FIRST WOMAN blew his plans for perfection and living forever and the first human baby MURDERED the second.

          If's fortunate God didn't work for Donald Trump or he would be been IMMEDIATELY FIRED.

          July 8, 2014 at 3:20 pm |
        • igaftr

          dans
          "There is no way to be a good person in the world as it stands. "

          False, How horrible you believe that.
          I am a good person. Not perfect, but good.
          Perhaps you cannot be while you believe your man made book. It is not difficult for me.

          July 8, 2014 at 3:34 pm |
        • evidencenot

          ..." I know that I am imperfect and there is no way out of that except through Jesus."

          Pure cult speak..

          July 8, 2014 at 3:39 pm |
        • tallulah131

          So this perfect, all-powerful being creates flawed humans so that he can punish them when they behave exactly as he created them to behave. They only way to avoid punishment is to allow some innocent guy to be tortured to death.

          How in the world can even reasonably educated adults take this stuff seriously?

          July 8, 2014 at 3:47 pm |
        • G to the T

          "God gave us the laws in the Bible to demonstrate that no one could ever uphold the laws perfectly. "

          Not sure where you are getting that from but there are definitely people (ex Paul in Phillipians) that are described as being "blameless" before the law.

          July 14, 2014 at 11:45 am |
        • Dalahäst

          I think Paul was talking about the ritual law. He was so fanatical to following the ritual law, that he failed to carry out some of the most basic things God asks for, like loving others. He definitely described himself as a sinner who was living out of God's will in many verses.

          July 14, 2014 at 11:52 am |
    • igaftr

      " imprisoning someone for 25 years would never right the wrong of murder. "

      But putting someone in hell for all etermity for not believing god exists...that is right?

      Considering the fact that no one can show any such "god" to exist, relying on "his justice" is a fools errand. Best to leave humanity to care for humanity...can't count on any "god".

      July 8, 2014 at 2:26 pm |
      • guidedans

        igaftr,

        I am saying that 25 years is not enough to right the wrong of murder. I personally believe that 1 million years is not enough. Eternity is not enough to right the wrong of anything. Justice demands that people pay for their wrongs and if their is no payment large enough to pay for a wrong, then eternal punishment is the only true justice. That kind of sucks. So it is a good thing that God didn't leave us with that being the only option. Jesus came and took the punishment for all of us so, if we follow Him, we can accept that gift.

        I would be interested to see what you think a truly just punishment for murder would be.

        July 8, 2014 at 2:38 pm |
        • igaftr

          it would be interesting to see what you think a just punishment for not believing in "god" is...simply not believing the stories that MEN made up, with no evidence anywhere to back it up.

          An eternity in hell for being sleptical, as your obviously man made bible says?

          How about the punishment for ra'p;e?
          According to your bible, the WOMAN is stained by not being "pure" anymore, and the ra.p.ist has to pay 50 sheckles of silver to her father, then the VICTIM is forced to marry her ra.p.ist. ( straight from your bible, and still practiced in Morocco, when young girls kill themselves to get away from the abuse...according to your book, the victim is the one who carries the dishonor.

          July 8, 2014 at 2:45 pm |
        • MidwestKen

          @guidedans,
          If even eternity cannot right the wrongs, then how can eternal punishment be "true justice"?

          July 8, 2014 at 3:03 pm |
        • guidedans

          igaftr,

          If not believing in God was your only sin, then that would be supremely impressive. In a 100% just system, the payment for any sin would be the amount required to erase that sin so that it never happened.

          Because that is impossible outside of Christ, then the punishment in a completely just system would be eternal, until you paid off your debt (which being incalculable would be forever).

          July 8, 2014 at 3:05 pm |
        • guidedans

          MidWest,

          I think you are thinking of it wrong, it is true justice to pay for the sin. Your punishment will last until you have paid for it, which is never. True justice would then demand that you keep paying for it until it is repaid. You will never repay it so you will always be punished. Justice is holding people accountable for their wrongs until they right them. If you never right them, the Justice is eternal punishment.

          July 8, 2014 at 3:08 pm |
        • observer

          guidedans

          "I am saying that 25 years is not enough to right the wrong of murder" but Hitler may be in heaven right now after killing MILLIONS.

          Makes sense, but mostly to you.

          July 8, 2014 at 3:09 pm |
        • MidwestKen

          Guidedans,
          Perhaps you are thinking of it wrong. Should not the focus of justice be on righting the wrong, not punishing the offender? Would not restoring the life of the murdered be more just than eternal punishment of the murderer?

          Or in other words if the debt can never be repaid then how can any payment be "true justice"?

          July 8, 2014 at 3:29 pm |
        • guidedans

          Observer,

          Perfect justice would demand punishment/repayment. Perfect mercy forgives all trespasses. Without Jesus, you have perfect justice. With Jesus, you have perfect mercy. If Hitler wanted to make Jesus his lord, then he would receive the perfect grace of Jesus. Based on Hitler's life and his philosophy, however, it does not seem like Hitler made Jesus his lord.

          July 8, 2014 at 3:32 pm |
        • observer

          “My feeling as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded only by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them and who, God's truth! was greatest not as a sufferer but as a fighter. In boundless love as a Christian and as a man I read through the passage which tells us how the Lord at last rose in His might and seized the scourge to drive out of the Temple the brood of vipers and adders. How terrific was his fight against the Jewish poison. Today, after two thousand years, with deepest emotion I recognize more profoundly than ever before the fact that it was for this that He had to shed his blood upon the Cross. As a Christian I have no duty to allow myself to be cheated, but I have the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice.”
          - Adolph Hitler, Munich, April, 1922

          July 8, 2014 at 3:36 pm |
        • tallulah131

          So basically, a man who is responsible for the torture and deaths of millions could end up in paradise if he loves Jesus best. Sick, sick religion. Your god is a sociopath.

          July 8, 2014 at 3:50 pm |
        • guidedans

          observer,

          Hitler wasn't an idiot. Germany was a predominantly Christian country when he took over. He is not going to attack the religion of the people he is aiming to control. You want to throw out some quotes? Here are some you should look at as well:

          The Fuhrer is deeply religious, though completely anti-Christian. He views Christianity as a symptom of decay. Rightly so. It is a branch of the Je.wish race. This can be seen in the similarity of their religious rites. Both Judaism and Christianity have no point of contact to the animal element, and thus, in the end they will be destroyed. The Fuhrer is a convinced vegetarian on principle.
          Goebbels Diaries, 29 December 1939

          or

          Hitler, wrote Speer, viewed Christianity as the wrong religion for the "Germanic temperament" Speer wrote that Hitler would say "You see it's been our misfortune to have the wrong religion. Why didn't we have the religion of the Ja.panese, who regard sacrifice for the Fa.therland as the highest good? The Mohammedan religion too would have been much more compatible to us than Christianity. Why did it have to be Christianity with its meekness and flabbiness?"

          or

          The dogma of Christianity gets worn away before the advances of science. Religion will have to make more and more concessions. Gradually the myths crumble. All that's left is to prove that in nature there is no frontier between the organic and the inorganic. When understanding of the universe has become widespread, when the majority of men know that the stars are not sources of light but worlds, perhaps inhabited worlds like ours, then the Christian doctrine will be convicted of absurdity.
          Adolf Hitler, from Hitler's Table Talk 1941-1944

          July 8, 2014 at 9:18 pm |
        • igaftr

          guide
          I am surprised to hear you quote from "Table Talk" since those are unverifiable and quite dubious reports. None of it can be confirmed, so is not an accepted source.
          The running joke has always been "The loser of any debate about Hitler is the guy who mentions Table Talk."

          July 9, 2014 at 9:04 am |
        • G to the T

          Eternal punishment for finite crimes = injustice, not justice.

          July 9, 2014 at 2:00 pm |
        • observer

          guidedans,

          Yes. God's "perfect justice and mercy" means that Hitler COULD be in heaven right now while the nicest person who NEVER heard of God is in Hell.

          Great system.

          July 9, 2014 at 5:21 pm |
        • guidedans

          G to the T,

          Then what is justice? Finite punishment for finite crimes? Like, if someone kills someone else, they should be punished to the extend that their crime harmed the other person and society? How much punishment is that? Would 100 years in prison be enough for justice to be served? Would that undo the pain cause by the act of murder?

          What if no amount of punishment could make up for a crime? What if, once a crime was committed, it is written down in the pages of history as a wrong that could never be righted?

          Then, no amount of punishment could ever make up for the crime. The criminal would then need to be punished until he made up for the crime, which would be eternity, because he never would be able to.

          July 9, 2014 at 5:21 pm |
        • guidedans

          observer,

          maybe you will answer my question here. You a-people (a-theists, a-gnostics, etc.) are all really good at telling people what you don't believe or why other peoples' beliefs are wrong, but I don't really get to hear what you DO believe about things.

          What do you believe true, perfect justice entails?

          July 9, 2014 at 5:24 pm |
        • observer

          guidedans,

          Everyone's ideas of justice are on a spectrum, but I'd sum of my own in the fewest words by saying to follow the concept of the Golden Rule, which most Christians love to preach but don't follow.

          July 9, 2014 at 5:29 pm |
        • G to the T

          Punishment is (should) not be a form of retribution and/or compensation. Do you discipline a child to make up for what they did? Of course not. You do it in the hopes that the punishment (commensurate with the nature/magnitude of crime itself) will prevent a repeat of the punishable behavior. What you are describing isn't justice to my mind. It's a farce.

          July 13, 2014 at 5:02 pm |
    • guidedans

      Just a note on this, no one has offered me a counter-explanation for what "True Justice" would entail. Just all ragging on my explanation.

      Seriously, What do you think "True Justice" is?

      July 8, 2014 at 9:20 pm |
      • igaftr

        True Justice is a horrible TV show starring Steven Seagal

        to think some imagined "god" is going to give you some measure of justice is absurd, since it will only be what you imagine. Since everyone would imagine it differently, that "true justice" as it realtes to any "god" would change depending on the one imagining the god.

        Until someone can show any "god" and show that it has some interest in this world, it is pointless to speculate about what any "god" wants or does.

        July 9, 2014 at 9:11 am |
        • guidedans

          OK. So it sounds like you do not have an answer to my question. What do you think True Justice entails?

          July 9, 2014 at 5:13 pm |
      • G to the T

        Well, for a start, how can any justice be true if there is no chance of reformation? One of the reasons we put people in jail is the hope that they will eventually be reformed and able to be re-integrated into society. It is only for the gregious offenders that we reserve life in prison and/or death – i.e. jailed to keep separate from society with no hope of re-integration.

        The justice of the god as portrayed by many is a one-size fits all sentance of death with no chance of re-integration. It is punishment without an element of reformation.

        July 9, 2014 at 2:05 pm |
        • guidedans

          G to the T,

          I am not asking what you think True Justice is not. I am asking what you think it is. Do you think that justice is merely the rehabilitation of the perpetrator of a crime? So, once a murderer is no longer a threat to anyone, justice is served?

          July 9, 2014 at 5:15 pm |
        • G to the T

          I said one of the reasons is the hope of reformation. Of course one of the other reasons is the isolation of those who would pose a threat to the public. But again, finite crime + infinite punishment does not allow for the chance of reformation.

          July 13, 2014 at 5:05 pm |
  15. Dyslexic doG

    So let's see what the bible says about revenge ...

    Psalm 58:10-11: The righteous will be glad when they are avenged, when they bathe their feet in the blood of the wicked. Then men will say, "Surely the righteous still are rewarded; surely there is a God who judges the earth.

    Apparently revenge is celebrated.

    but uh oh ...

    Proverbs 24:17-18: Do not gloat when your enemy falls; when he stumbles, do not let your heart rejoice, or the LORD will see and disapprove and turn his wrath away from him.

    oh no, yet another bible contradiction!

    (please apply Religious Law #4 to all replies below – If a bible verse furthers the cause, it is to be taken literally. If a bible verse is detrimental to the cause, it is either: taken out of context; is allegorical; refers to another verse somewhere else; is an ancient cultural anomaly; is a translation or copyist's error; means something other than what it actually says; Is a mystery of god or not discernible by humans; or is just plain magic.)

    July 8, 2014 at 2:14 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Countess Elizabeth Báthory's personal pedicurist strongly recommends bathing ones' feet in blood to help prevent the formation of stubborn corns and callouses.

      July 8, 2014 at 2:18 pm |
    • observer

      That sums it up well.

      Don't forget people like Kermit who just make up "facts" that the Bible forgot to include.

      July 8, 2014 at 2:18 pm |
  16. Lucifer's Evil Twin

    I'm pretty sure the concept of revenge existed millennia before the existence of the current god cults. Revenge is a very human emotion/reaction. Chimpanzees, our closest genetic cousins, exhibit it. So it stands to reason it is also part of our evolutionary heritage.

    July 8, 2014 at 2:10 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      If anything, the bible aggravates are capacity for revenge.

      July 8, 2014 at 2:12 pm |
      • bostontola

        Revenge is pretty basic. The eye for an eye could also be read as a regulatory force, i.e you can't take an eye for a finger.

        While eye for an eye is crude by today's standard, it was a step in the right direction at a time when people killed others for a lesser transgression.

        July 8, 2014 at 2:27 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      There is a current docu/mentary film giving a most excellent portrayal of simian revenge behaviour.
      It chronicles their linguistic development as well as mastery of complex tools, including firearms.

      Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is out in theaters Friday, July 11.

      July 8, 2014 at 2:15 pm |
      • Lucifer's Evil Twin

        Looking forward to it.

        July 8, 2014 at 2:17 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          Tim Burton's initial reboot was disappointing, but "Rise" wasn't bad.

          July 8, 2014 at 2:19 pm |
  17. austin929

    I think this is a fantastic topic for a belief blog!

    July 8, 2014 at 1:49 pm |
  18. Vic

    When I look at the world's problems, it is evident to me that this lifetime is unfinished business, and that there must be "Ultimate Justice" that transcends and is "Superior" to the human caliber. I believe that "Ultimate Justice" is God Almighty.

    The Lord Jesus Christ is the "Solution."

    July 8, 2014 at 1:33 pm |
    • observer

      Many of the world's biggest problems today are the result of RELIGIOUS differences.

      July 8, 2014 at 1:38 pm |
      • Vic

        Religions are works of the flesh, let alone human doctrines. I don't live by religion, I live by Faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and my personal Savior.

        July 8, 2014 at 1:44 pm |
        • observer

          Vic

          "Faith in Jesus Christ" is your religion.

          July 8, 2014 at 1:48 pm |
        • G to the T

          If the bible and the religion of christianity never existed, would you still hold the same beliefs? If not, how can you claim you don't follow a religion?

          July 8, 2014 at 1:48 pm |
        • SeaVik

          "Jesus Christ as Lord" is an invention of your religion. Without your religion, there would be no magical stories about Jesus Christ.

          July 8, 2014 at 1:53 pm |
        • Vic

          Very good question indeed.

          I would definitely believe in God and uphold "Sanctity of Life" and "Justice for All." All of that is instinctive to me.

          July 8, 2014 at 1:56 pm |
        • G to the T

          "I would definitely believe in God"

          This may be a semantic argument, but I don't believe you would believe in "God" (i.e. Yahweh), though you might believe in a "god" of some type. Otherwise, we would have people worshiping Yahweh independant of missionaries. So to me, you cannot separate the religion from the god built around it. You can change the nature of that religion, but I would still consider it a religion as it cannot exist separate from it's religous history.

          July 8, 2014 at 2:07 pm |
        • observer

          Vic

          "Sanct-ity of Life" and "Justice for All." exist completely independent of God and religion.

          July 8, 2014 at 2:07 pm |
        • Vic

          @July 8, 2014 at 2:07 pm | —first one—

          Good points.

          I always say God because it is an established belief for me but yes, it would a Deity without "Special Revelation"—Scripture.

          Also, the term "religion" used to reflect "belief/faith" before the various incorporations of human doctrines.

          @July 8, 2014 at 2:07 pm | —second one—

          Yes but it is by inheritance from God, hence instinctive, hence "Natural Revelation."

          July 8, 2014 at 2:18 pm |
        • ausphor

          Vic
          You skipped answering my question on why you think life preservation is by design and that it is a given, how so?

          July 8, 2014 at 2:19 pm |
        • Vic

          "...but yes, it would be a Deity without "Special Revelation"—Scripture."

          July 8, 2014 at 2:23 pm |
        • thesamyaza

          I would definitely believe in God and uphold "Sanctity of Life" and "Justice for All." All of that is instinctive to me.

          I'm afraid not you would probably be Idollistic and Animistic, all of us a born pagan.

          Jesus and Yahweh wouldn't even register, it is a teaching that runs counter to nature.

          i guess you could also be atheist, although that usually needs to have some education involved, then again i have never heard of a pagan turned atheists before, i am living prof of the opposite.

          July 8, 2014 at 2:50 pm |
        • thesamyaza

          Yes but it is by inheritance from God, hence instinctive, hence "Natural Revelation."

          if it was instinctual how come all the various tribes do not follow a monotheistic god.

          their has never been a single tribe with inherent monotheistic faith even the Persians (monothist) at one point were Animistic same with the Huns (Atheist)

          July 8, 2014 at 2:54 pm |
      • austin929

        true, and mishandling of the new testament is also a term called pseudo Christianity.

        this is a huge prophecy and reality.

        The correct usage of the new testament is a beautiful example of patience and long suffering. Things are not accomplished in the flesh, but by God through the spirit. The new testament acknowledges that there are evil governments who should be feared, but there is no promotion for revenge , war, or punishment. The only example of discipline is church discipline. Christianity is not a civil inst.itution. it is a spiritually eternal life born of the Spirit.

        The goal of the christian is not a government or a piece of land or a possession, or money, rather the redemption of lost souls.

        July 8, 2014 at 1:48 pm |
        • observer

          austin929,

          So OT references to gays are GONE and WRONG, right?

          July 8, 2014 at 1:51 pm |
        • Dyslexic doG

          no wonder there is religious conflict. You, like all religious people, believe that they know what religion is better than everyone else. You even believe your particular interpretations of your divine book are more correct than other people's. What a joke.

          July 8, 2014 at 1:52 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      It is evident to me that many people hope for posthumous, divine, perfect justice – just as they have all throughout human history. There have been innumerable afterlife judges and places of punishment and reward – and yet none agree on the criteria for entrance – and that includes different sects of the same religions positing the same judge/place of punishment/reward.

      They can't all be right – but they can sure all be wrong!

      July 8, 2014 at 1:48 pm |
    • SeaVik

      Vic, care to explain why you come to those conclusions?

      July 8, 2014 at 1:52 pm |
    • Vic

      Note to the readers:

      Even under the "Dispensation of Law," during His Ministry on earth, the Lord Jesus Christ abolished the laws described in this Blog post. Please see Matthew 5:38-42.

      July 8, 2014 at 1:52 pm |
      • Doc Vestibule

        While Christ may have done away with the Levitical and Deuteronomic codes, did He also abolish the Covenant Code?

        July 8, 2014 at 2:04 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      "and that there must be "Ultimate Justice" that transcends"

      Vic,

      How does telling a god that you are "really, really sorry" that you r@ped and murdered and therefore get out of any punishment after death...equate to "ultimate justice"?

      July 8, 2014 at 2:18 pm |
    • Dalahäst

      Amen. Something I heard the other day: God is not just in love with the idea of justice like we are.

      July 8, 2014 at 2:47 pm |
  19. Dyslexic doG

    religion is a cancer of the human race.

    July 8, 2014 at 1:23 pm |
    • austin929

      unbelief is a bad hobby. Christ is alive. His spirit is all around. The new testament is perfect and is greatly misused and abused.

      July 8, 2014 at 1:32 pm |
      • Doc Vestibule

        Sure – the New Testament is perfect.
        Except for the historical inaccuracies, multiple edits, translation errors and supernatural claims.
        Otherwise – perfect.

        July 8, 2014 at 1:35 pm |
        • austin929

          Doc, i have experienced the supernatural. Your opinion of supernatural reality from the time of Christ, is a subjective and short sighted opinion. So is mine.

          experience the Holy Spirit for a better understanding. Then you can objectively know.

          Best of wishes my friend.

          July 8, 2014 at 1:41 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          Subjective, emotional experiences like divine, personal psychic messages do not make for objective truth.
          There are people who claim to be able to project themselves astrally and if only I'd stop to learn and experience it for myself, I'd know the truth of astral projection.
          I don't believe them either.

          July 8, 2014 at 1:50 pm |
        • G to the T

          Austin – have you applied for Randy's challenge yet? You could bring millions to god if you could prove what you say.

          July 8, 2014 at 1:53 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          As I've said to you many times before –
          In order to give any credibility to your claims of divinely inspired premonitions, you need to docu/ment them as they happen in a public way.
          Keep an online dream / premonition journal and mark down what you experience as you experience it.
          That way, should your predictions come to pass there would be evidence of the accuracy of your prophecies.

          You need not, as some other have suggested, call said log "The Squished Kitty Chronicles".

          July 8, 2014 at 1:59 pm |
      • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

        "The new testament is perfect and is greatly misused and abused."

        If it was perfect there would not be any room or possibility that it could be misused or abuded.

        FAIL

        July 8, 2014 at 2:40 pm |
      • evidencenot

        @dog "religion is a cancer of the human race."

        over time the truth of that statement will become more and more obvious.

        July 8, 2014 at 3:44 pm |
    • thesamyaza

      can a cancer have a cancer.

      if so then yes religion is cancerus to cancers.

      another words humans are a cancer

      no offense to my crustaces buddies

      July 9, 2014 at 12:19 am |
  20. Reality

    Obviously, the human species is not evolving as we still have "cave man" reactions. And religion is one of the major reasons for this failure.

    July 8, 2014 at 1:08 pm |
    • austin929

      This is a wrong statement. The old testament and the nation of Israel was a priestly nation because God intervened with mankind through this nation, set apart to bless the world and deliver mankind from evil.

      The prophets and the books in the old testament are an account of how God spoke to the world, and defended and punished this nation.

      Now we have the new testament, a change in the covenant. You should read it. You will find that nothing in the new testament condones revenge. You will find that the examples of Christ, followed by His disciples and Apostles, were the opposite of military action.

      Forgiveness and love are the representative actions for the spiritual seed of Abraham perfected in Gods expression of who He is in Christ.

      This is the age of the church. Take advantage of God's grace and free gift!

      July 8, 2014 at 1:30 pm |
      • In Santa We Trust

        The age of the church is in decline and that can only continue as people substitute education for superstition.

        July 8, 2014 at 2:18 pm |
      • Reality

        Talk about some serious OT and NT brainwash !!!!

        July 8, 2014 at 3:23 pm |
      • igaftr

        austin
        In a couple of different spots, Jesus allegedly says that the OT is the eternal word of god. Unchanging and permanent. He did not change a word of it, re-inforced it in fact, only added to it.

        July 8, 2014 at 4:57 pm |
      • rosenj72

        A common argument I often hear from those who try to prove to me that Jesus rose from the dead, is that because the tomb where Jesus was supposedly buried was empty the only logical conclusion was that he must have risen. The difficulty with this argument is that these Christians try to prove something by an absence of proof. Not only is this illogical but the same argument can be used to ‘prove’ virtually anything. A silly example might be that because we don’t see evidence of aliens on earth, they must have all left because the lack of alien evidence proves they were once here but must have left long ago. With the God of Israel, it is not lack of evidence that proved he was God but the open fulfillment of prophecy that we can still see today, right now, this very minute as you look at your clock.

        The Bible tells us in Leviticus 26:33 “I will scatter you among the nations and will draw out my sword and pursue you. Your land will be laid waste, and your cities will lie in ruins.” Approximately 2,000 Years ago, the Jewish nation was exiled from the land of Israel by the sword of the Romans and scattered across the ends of the earth just as the Bible foretold 1,400 years earlier. Our holy city of Jerusalem was laid waste and the land of Israel was in ruins. As far as being conquered, the Jewish nation is certainly not unique. All throughout history, native people were conquered by others, hundreds possibly thousands of times throughout the ages. While most other cultures die out and assimilate into the nations they are scattered to however, the Jewish people has been the only nation in history to defy those odds and return to the land of their origin. The reason we survived as an independent people comes straight from Leviticus 26:44 “Yet in spite of this, when they are in the land of their enemies, I will not reject them or abhor them so as to destroy them completely, breaking my covenant with them. I am the Lord their God.” It was God’s personal promise that we would not be assimilated like everyone else. It was only God’s faithful word to keep the covenant he made with our ancestors that allowed us to survive and defy the impossible odds against us. For 2,000 years through pogroms, inquisitions, crusades and holocausts the Jewish nation survived “never to be destroyed completely” just as promised in Leviticus. The Jewish people are living proof of these prophecies.

        The Prophet Isaiah in Chapter 66:8 says something that should send shivers down your spine, he says “Who has ever heard of such things? Who has ever seen things like this? Can a country be born in a day or a nation be brought forth in a moment? Yet no sooner is Zion in labor than she gives birth to her children.” This prophecy was fulfilled on May 14th 1948 when the nation of Israel was reborn in an instant just as Isaiah had prophesized nearly 3,000 years ago. The Prophet Amos in Chapter 9:14 says “I will bring back my exiled people Israel; they will rebuild the ruined cities and live in them. They will plant vineyards and drink their wine they will make gardens and eat their fruit. I will plant Israel in their own land, never again to be uprooted from the land I have given them,” says the Lord your God”. The return of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel was a fulfillment of prophecy that everyone in the world currently sees and the Bible openly predicted. Prophecy is a revelation that needs to be witnessed by everyone, not just a few people.

        There is no one alive today that can honestly claim the Jewish nation does not live in the land that God promised to us. In the 1500’s, the founder of Protestantism Martin Luther said that the Jews were so blinded as to be rejected and despised by God that they never had any hope of returning to the land of Israel. Apparently, Martin Luther was unfamiliar with his own Bible because time and again it openly rejects his statements. The Jewish nation living in Israel is a physical sign that everyone can see, this is not absence of proof like an empty tomb, but a visible manifestation of Gods promise to the Jewish people. It is not the absence of Israel, but its physical presence which is the sign. An absence of proof is no proof at all.

        The reason that we know dinosaurs once existed is because their fossilized bones are evidence of their once great existence. We have physical proof that ancient civilizations once existed because of the remains of the cities and artifacts they left behind. The ancient land of Israel and the remnants of our past culture bear witness that we have now returned to the land. In 1867, Mark Twain visited Israel and published his impressions in his book “The Innocents Abroad”. He described Israel as a desolate country devoid of both vegetation and human population: He said, “….. A desolate country whose soil is rich enough, but is given over wholly to weeds… a silent mournful expanse…. a desolation…. we never saw a human being on the whole route…. hardly a tree or shrub anywhere. Even the olive tree and the cactus, those fast friends of a worthless soil, had almost deserted the country.” However upon the return of the Jewish people to the land of Israel, God promised in Isaiah 35:1 “The desert and the dry land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom like the crocus flower. They will burst into bloom, and rejoice with joy and singing”. He continues to repeat this theme in Chapter 51:3 “The Lord will surely comfort Zion and will look with compassion on all her ruins; he will make her deserts like Eden [lush gardens], her wastelands like the garden of the Lord. Joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the sound of singing.” In fact, the borders of Israel are commonly referred to as the Green Line which separates the dry desert lands of the Arab nations with the blossoming land of the Jewish people in Israel. For 2,000 years the land lay barren awaiting the return of the Jewish nation just as Mark Twain had witnessed in 1867, however less than 100 years later the same desolate land bloomed into a productive nation as God promised thousands of years earlier. This is tangible proof.

        In Deuteronomy 28:7 it says “The Lord shall cause your enemies who rise up against you to be defeated before you; they will come out against you one way and will flee before you seven ways.” In 1948 when the United Nations recognized Israel’s independence, the nations of Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Yemen attacked Israel. Did you count how many nations that was? Seven. This is not speculation but historical, verifiable fact. The end result of the war was exactly as God promised; the attacking nations all fell before Israel. They attacked her as a unified coalition but retreated to their respective nations utterly defeated and humiliated. Time and again, the prophecies of the Hebrew Bible have been fulfilled and continue to be fulfilled just as the Bible states. How can some in the Christian community ignore these prophecies when the fulfillment is right before their eyes? Most Christians today have recognized that their ancestors were wrong about Israel and the Jewish people and that we are not “rejected” as they once believed. Most Christians today have recognized the importance of Israel in the world and know that God is not yet finished with the Jewish people. Had Martin Luther learned the proper way to translate and read the Jewish scriptures from the Jewish people instead of his own foolish interpretations he would have never come to such contradictory conclusions about us. It is only because he chose a different path, a non-biblical interpretation that caused him to openly ignore the incontrovertible evidence that Israel will once again exist as a nation.

        Just as Martin Luther, the founder of Protestant Christianity misinterpreted the Bible to suit his own hate-filled and anti-Semitic ideology; Christianity today misinterprets the Hebrew Scriptures and prophecies in order to prove the existence of a dying and resurrected Jewish Messiah which has no basis in Jewish scripture. Nowhere in Jewish teaching does it say that the Messiah will be a son of God or a God. Nowhere in Jewish scripture does it say that the Messiah will be born of a virgin. Nowhere in Jewish scripture does it say that the Messiah is to die for the sins of the world, and nowhere in Jewish scripture are Moses’ laws nullified or “completed.

        July 9, 2014 at 3:20 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.