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Mon Dec 25, 2017, 01:53 PM

Christmas turned the world upside down

Source: Washington Post Opinion Page, by E.J. Dionne, Jr.

*****

Everything about the Christmas account portrays a world turned upside down. A new king heralded as the Son of God comes into the world quite inauspiciously, born in a manger surrounded by farm animals as part of a working-class family. This is a radical inversion of how God or gods were typically understood at the time: mighty and all-powerful beings, lording it over often hapless humans. The Christmas story is about God becoming one of us, and a particularly humble member of our company at that.

This is why Christmas has always been a fundamentally subversive holiday, and why Christianity, an organic outgrowth of prophetic Judaism, has always been at root a radical faith.

*****

Christmas is the day for those who have been knocked for a dozen loops. Its good tidings are that the bad tidings about them are wrong. This is their world, too.

*****

He has sent me to bring glad tidings to the poor

To heal the broken-hearted

To proclaim liberty to the captives and release to the prisoners.


*****

You don’t have to be Jewish to experience the liberating message of the Exodus story. And you don’t have to be a Christian to feel elation over the idea that a fallen world can be redeemed. The poor, the broken-hearted, the captives and the prisoners do not have to be left to their fate and their suffering. Every year at this time, we are called to renew our hope that cold indifference and smug complacency can be overcome by a humble and gentle love powerful enough to inspire wise men, shepherds and even angels.


Read it all at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/christmas-turned-the-world-upside-down/2017/12/24/5cb62cea-e69c-11e7-ab50-621fe0588340_story.html

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Reply Christmas turned the world upside down (Original post)
yallerdawg Dec 2017 OP
Voltaire2 Dec 2017 #1
AtheistCrusader Dec 2017 #8
guillaumeb Dec 2017 #47
Canoe52 Dec 2017 #67
AtheistCrusader Dec 2017 #70
shenmue Dec 2017 #77
Mariana Dec 2017 #79
DavidDvorkin Dec 2017 #2
shenmue Dec 2017 #76
Mariana Dec 2017 #80
DavidDvorkin Dec 2017 #81
MineralMan Dec 2017 #3
Cartoonist Dec 2017 #4
dchill Dec 2017 #78
MineralMan Dec 2017 #5
customerserviceguy Dec 2017 #6
AtheistCrusader Dec 2017 #7
yallerdawg Dec 2017 #9
Mariana Dec 2017 #10
yallerdawg Dec 2017 #11
AtheistCrusader Dec 2017 #13
yallerdawg Dec 2017 #14
AtheistCrusader Dec 2017 #15
MineralMan Dec 2017 #20
yallerdawg Dec 2017 #22
MineralMan Dec 2017 #37
Mariana Dec 2017 #38
MineralMan Dec 2017 #42
AtheistCrusader Dec 2017 #12
yallerdawg Dec 2017 #16
AtheistCrusader Dec 2017 #17
Voltaire2 Dec 2017 #19
yallerdawg Dec 2017 #21
Voltaire2 Dec 2017 #25
Mariana Dec 2017 #40
guillaumeb Dec 2017 #49
MineralMan Dec 2017 #24
yallerdawg Dec 2017 #27
MineralMan Dec 2017 #29
Voltaire2 Dec 2017 #18
yallerdawg Dec 2017 #23
MineralMan Dec 2017 #26
yallerdawg Dec 2017 #31
MineralMan Dec 2017 #32
yallerdawg Dec 2017 #34
MineralMan Dec 2017 #35
yallerdawg Dec 2017 #36
MineralMan Dec 2017 #39
yallerdawg Dec 2017 #41
Voltaire2 Dec 2017 #43
yallerdawg Dec 2017 #44
Voltaire2 Dec 2017 #45
yallerdawg Dec 2017 #46
AtheistCrusader Dec 2017 #66
AtheistCrusader Dec 2017 #64
AtheistCrusader Dec 2017 #62
AtheistCrusader Dec 2017 #60
AtheistCrusader Dec 2017 #55
yallerdawg Dec 2017 #68
AtheistCrusader Dec 2017 #69
Voltaire2 Dec 2017 #28
AtheistCrusader Dec 2017 #30
MineralMan Dec 2017 #33
Mariana Dec 2017 #73
guillaumeb Dec 2017 #48
yallerdawg Dec 2017 #50
guillaumeb Dec 2017 #51
AtheistCrusader Dec 2017 #53
guillaumeb Dec 2017 #57
AtheistCrusader Dec 2017 #58
AtheistCrusader Dec 2017 #52
guillaumeb Dec 2017 #54
AtheistCrusader Dec 2017 #56
guillaumeb Dec 2017 #59
AtheistCrusader Dec 2017 #61
guillaumeb Dec 2017 #63
AtheistCrusader Dec 2017 #65
Lordquinton Dec 2017 #71
guillaumeb Dec 2017 #72
Lordquinton Dec 2017 #74
guillaumeb Dec 2017 #75

Response to yallerdawg (Original post)

Mon Dec 25, 2017, 02:21 PM

1. Alexa, how out of touch with the reality of christmas is this op?

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Response to Voltaire2 (Reply #1)

Tue Dec 26, 2017, 10:55 AM

8. (Bonk!)

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Response to Voltaire2 (Reply #1)

Tue Dec 26, 2017, 03:50 PM

47. One of your better replies.

A tiny bit of humor.

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Response to Voltaire2 (Reply #1)

Tue Dec 26, 2017, 05:05 PM

67. Useless, long and everlasting THEOLOGICAL DEBATE in 3 2 1....

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Response to Canoe52 (Reply #67)

Tue Dec 26, 2017, 05:19 PM

70. Oh, that train left the station a long time ago.

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Response to Voltaire2 (Reply #1)

Wed Dec 27, 2017, 09:44 PM

77. None.

There is an Atheism group, you know.

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Response to shenmue (Reply #77)

Wed Dec 27, 2017, 11:22 PM

79. Yes there is.

Here is the Statement of Purpose for the Religion group:

Discuss religious and theological issues. All relevant topics are permitted. Believers, non-believers, and everyone in-between are welcome.

Here is the Statement of Purpose for the Atheists & Agnostics group:

A place where atheists and agnostics can engage in frank discussions about the effects of religion on politics, free of debate about the existence of a deity or deities.


You can see that while there is a little overlap, the two groups are quite different in purpose.


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Response to yallerdawg (Original post)

Mon Dec 25, 2017, 03:03 PM

2. The Exodus story and the Christmas story have this in common:

They're both fiction.

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Response to DavidDvorkin (Reply #2)

Wed Dec 27, 2017, 09:44 PM

76. Bzzzt. Nice try.

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Response to shenmue (Reply #76)

Wed Dec 27, 2017, 11:30 PM

80. We've been told over and over again

by some of the religious in this group that the stories in the Bible are not to be taken literally as accounts of events that actually occurred, but are there to convey some message or other. Do you believe the Exodus story and the Christmas story really happened as they are written?

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Response to shenmue (Reply #76)

Thu Dec 28, 2017, 12:37 AM

81. Can you cite historical evidence for either one?

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Response to yallerdawg (Original post)

Mon Dec 25, 2017, 03:13 PM

3. Well, that's how it should have happened. Sadly, that is not what did happen.

For a very, very long time, the Church was absolutely dominated by Rome, and Catholicism is still the largest denomination worldwide, and still is run from the Vatican, its own city-state with its uncounted wealth and power.. Then, the Reformation happened, but did not reform things all that much at all. The reformation was about hierarchy, not congregations.

Which is not to say that there are not denominations that focus on the message you are talking about. There are, but they are in the minority and their membership is also a small minority of Christians.

Unfortunately, religions are not run by their deities. Those supernatural entities are nowhere to be found. People operate religions, so they mostly end up being like most human enterprises - dominated by power seekers.

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Response to yallerdawg (Original post)

Mon Dec 25, 2017, 06:02 PM

4. The Beatles changed the world!

I was there.

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Response to Cartoonist (Reply #4)

Wed Dec 27, 2017, 09:45 PM

78. Yes, and changed it for the better.

Christianity has not done that.

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Response to yallerdawg (Original post)

Mon Dec 25, 2017, 08:53 PM

5. Depending on who you were, Christianity benefited you or

Destroyed you. History reveals who was on which side of that equation over the past two millennia. I strongly suggest studying that. If you are in a general geographical or ethnic group that saw benefits, you might have a different perspective from someone who was not.

Christianity's impact on people has been mixed.

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Response to yallerdawg (Original post)

Mon Dec 25, 2017, 10:10 PM

6. I'm going for Constantine

the Roman emperor in the 4th Century, who changed the world by converting to Christianity as the thing that turned the world upside down.

He, and the bishops who decided what writings were "accurate", and then burned the rest made the difference. A later Roman emperor would probably have been successful at burning all of the writings.

Accidents of history have shaped this world far more than most people want to admit.

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Response to yallerdawg (Original post)

Tue Dec 26, 2017, 10:54 AM

7. Exodus is a ridiculous hoax.

Zero archeological support for the idea of Hebrew slaves building the pyramids, zero archaeological support for the plagues.

It takes about 10 days walking at a moderate pace to get from Cairo to Jerusalem, yet Moses bumbled around for 40 years, to a mountain no one can find anymore, honestly I'm missing the liberating aspect of this tale.


The Helots overthrew Sparta and liberated themselves without the Christian 'release to the prisoners' paradigm. This article hand-waves away considerable non-Christian contribution to humanity/social structures worldwide.

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Response to AtheistCrusader (Reply #7)

Tue Dec 26, 2017, 11:06 AM

9. Your devout Biblical Literalism demonstrates...

there is Fundamentalism at both extremes.

The "article" points to the "message" of Exodus, not the historical record of it.

There are lifelong Apple users who would never use any other kind of product, and consider Microsoft and Bill Gates to be the Great Satan.

That's just an anecdote. It is not what the vast majority of people believe!

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Response to yallerdawg (Reply #9)

Tue Dec 26, 2017, 11:24 AM

10. Yallerdawg, do you believe any story in the Bible is literally true?

For example: Was Jesus's mother literally a virgin? Was she literally impregnated by the Holy Spirit? Did Jesus literally die, and literally come back to life?

Is there any story you think really happened as written? I'm not asking what the majority of people believe. I'm asking what you believe.

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Response to Mariana (Reply #10)

Tue Dec 26, 2017, 11:55 AM

11. I'm here in support of tolerance and inclusion.

The idea of "literalism" without understanding "the message" is the trap of this debate.

The point is, it doesn't have to be "literal" to be "real" -- and if the "literal" brings one to "the message" that is a good thing, too.

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Response to yallerdawg (Reply #11)

Tue Dec 26, 2017, 12:48 PM

13. To two parties, the story is literally real, and it's getting people killed all the time.

No part of 'the message' is productive, useful, compassionate, or worth considering on any level. It is, at best, an excuse or inspiration for nationalism and exclusive ownership of land that is literally causing a war.

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Response to AtheistCrusader (Reply #13)

Tue Dec 26, 2017, 01:05 PM

14. Some of us choose to see the good in people.

Some of us don't.

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Response to yallerdawg (Reply #14)

Tue Dec 26, 2017, 01:07 PM

15. Some of us, up is up, down is down. Left is left, right is right. Etc.

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Response to yallerdawg (Reply #11)

Tue Dec 26, 2017, 01:26 PM

20. There's a message in "Moby Dick," too,

but we haven't built a world religion around it.

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #20)

Tue Dec 26, 2017, 01:31 PM

22. "Moby Dick" isn't a religious text.

Maybe one day?

"In the beginning, there was Ishmael..."

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Response to yallerdawg (Reply #22)

Tue Dec 26, 2017, 02:37 PM

37. So? It's a story. It's a metaphor.

If you wish, you can actually discuss it in biblical terms. Many freshmen English Majors have done just that, actually.

Is it historical? Well, sort of, it is. Something similar to the story actually did take place. The book was inspired by a real shipwreck caused by a whale.

Does it have a message? Sure. Again, freshmen English Majors have written term papers on that message again and again. You can even buy a term paper from many sources if you don't have the time or imagination to figure it out.

Is it a religious text? No. It doesn't pretend to be. It is certainly studied religiously, though, by the aforementioned freshmen English Majors. It has been the fodder for thousands of interpretive essays. It has been studied to death, pretty much.

Does it have a message? Of course it does. To discover that message, I encourage you to reread the novel. Pretend you are a freshman English Major at one of our public or private institutions of higher education. Write a term paper of at least 5 pages, with footnotes, but do not, under any circumstances rely on the Wikipedia article on the novel. Use your own intellect. Half of your grade for the semester will be based on this paper.

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Response to yallerdawg (Reply #22)

Tue Dec 26, 2017, 02:43 PM

38. Maybe one day...

It could happen. It's possible some of the books of the Old Testament were originally written as works of fiction, just like Moby Dick. We really don't know how those particular stories came to be considered as religious texts.

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Response to Mariana (Reply #38)

Tue Dec 26, 2017, 03:18 PM

42. Most of them began as oral tradition.

Stories told around the campfire. Stories taught by people who remembered them to new people capable of remembering them. Generations of storytellers.

Eventually, they got written down by those storytellers, when a stable and common writing method was available. They were the stories of tribal people with a common genealogy. As they were told again and again, they changed in small ways, no doubt. By the time they were written down, they had changed a good deal from the first storyteller's version long, long ago. None of the storytellers, almost certainly, were witnesses to those stories, so they were probably inaccurate from the first telling.

Once written down, they were less likely to change, of course. Instead of being memorized by talented storytellers, they were copied, over and over again, by scribes, who were probably less imaginative. Their wording and sequence became fixed with the writing, and care was taken to make sure each transcription was accurate and didn't change the stories.

Once they were reduced to writing, they could be studied by scholars, who more or less replaced the storytellers. Storytelling had become obsolete by then. Instead, those who could read became the priests and rabbis who read the stories to the faithful who could not read. Since they were in writing, the stories could be told in the same way every time, becoming more and more true with each reading. Each generation now heard exactly the same story, and they were studied carefully by those who received educations - usually priests and rabbis in training.

But, they all began as stories told around the campfire. Stories about ancestors. Stories about travels. Stories about battles fought and won or lost. Stories about prophets who predicted things and were correct. The prophets who predicted incorrectly, of course, were forgotten. Love stories. Stories about kings and princes. Campfire tales to while away the hours and teach the youngsters what was important to know.

That is how the Old Testament came to be. Testament comes from the same root as Testify. Oran Storytelling. We know the stories that were preserved in writing. No doubt there were many other stories that were not preserved. Those are not part of scripture. And Scripture comes from the same root as Script - writing.

And that's my only lesson for today. It's almost time for me to leave the computer. I'm going to make this an OP.

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Response to yallerdawg (Reply #9)

Tue Dec 26, 2017, 12:46 PM

12. The 'message' is couched as literal inerrant bilbical truth by evangelicals and others in the US.

But lets set that aside.

I'm not sure you fully grok the entirety of the message of exodus.

One, it invents and demonizes a villain; The Pharaoh, and the people of Egypt. Literally no better than the demonization of Jews via the crucifixion story, which two thousand years later a pope just finally came forward and explicitly said 'no harm no foul' over Judas's betrayal as 'the only possible outcome'. These demonizations have real power and real consequences, real harm.

Two, it attempts to distort actual history. What began as a secular settler movement in the late 19th century has become a (via Exodus and the return to Israel in the bible) as the title deeds of Zionism. There is a continued religious fervor to the settlements and continued expansion of Israel, and the displacement of the Palestinians, and it is sourced to explicit biblical claims of the peoples and region in question. It has very real consequences for the people who live there, geopolitics throughout the middle east, and the world.

Three, if you want out of bondage, you're going to have to do it yourself. No slavery system in recorded human history has ended by way of supernatural intervention. Plenty have ended in blood. Some have ended by economic reality. Zero have ended by divine intervention.


I don't interpret the bible literally. I'm along for the ride, a victim of a very large percentage of people who do take it literally, and the message being taken by them isn't the happy positive 'deliverance from bondage' thing referenced in that article. It's exasperating to see people try to cherry pick the 'positive' or the 'good' when so much actual pain and destruction is coming from the overarching story.

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Response to AtheistCrusader (Reply #12)

Tue Dec 26, 2017, 01:17 PM

16. Still hung up on literalism.

The "message" of Exodus is as part of an ongoing process in the promise of deliverance, intercession, and salvation resulting from faith.

For some this is a horror story?

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Response to yallerdawg (Reply #16)

Tue Dec 26, 2017, 01:21 PM

17. Yes. Yes it is a horror story.

Now you're catching on.


Because your 'positive' interpretation of the story doesn't reflect the reality of how humanity is collectively observing and using that same story.

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Response to yallerdawg (Reply #16)

Tue Dec 26, 2017, 01:23 PM

19. "For some this is a horror story"

Certainly the "intercession" which you appear to believe in was a horror story for the parents of the children of egypt slaughtered by the murderous god of the Israelis.

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Response to Voltaire2 (Reply #19)

Tue Dec 26, 2017, 01:28 PM

21. Can you all get it straight?

It's either a made-up fantasy or a historical record.

Can it miraculously be both?

"There is no God" but "he killed all these children."

Which is it?

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Response to yallerdawg (Reply #21)

Tue Dec 26, 2017, 01:43 PM

25. You claimed that we should look at the message.

It seems we all agree that the stories in your holy book are fictional. You have argued we should look instead for inspiration from the messages in those stories, but oddly you made the following comment that the message in exodus is a:

promise of deliverance, intercession, and salvation


Ok, so this intercession thing had the following components: egyptian children were slaughtered by the intercession of the god of the israelis, and the israelis themselves were saved from the army of the egyptians, both by divine acts.

If you are going to claim that there is intercession, that a supernatural entity reaches out somehow and changes the world, then we should look at the claims made to see what sort of acts this entity commits.

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Response to yallerdawg (Reply #21)

Tue Dec 26, 2017, 02:49 PM

40. People can discuss a fictional character in a story.

It doesn't require that anyone believe the fictional character is or was real. Of course, you already know this.

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Response to yallerdawg (Reply #21)

Tue Dec 26, 2017, 03:53 PM

49. Both are "needed" by the literalist strain of non-theism.

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Response to yallerdawg (Reply #16)

Tue Dec 26, 2017, 01:39 PM

24. Is a message delivered in a false story valid?

There's a question worth considering. Is a message that works for the good of only one group a worthwhile message? That's another question we could discuss.

Moses' journey with his band of refugees is a good story, but only for one group. For others, it's a story of destruction, death, and even genocide on a limited scale. It's a very troubling, disastrous story for far more people than it is a good one.

So, if it happened, which is extremely doubtful, it's a story that ends well only for a few. It ends badly for the rest who were along the way. How is that a worthy message?

You claim it doesn't matter whether the events actually occurred. I say that it does matter, because a story based on falsehoods carries a false message. The message: The Jews are God's people. All others are not and their fates do not matter. That's another way of looking at the story of the Old Testament.

But, if it didn't even occur as written, then the whole narrative is false, and even the good news that you claim is the message is also false.

I'm not impressed.

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #24)

Tue Dec 26, 2017, 01:46 PM

27. Simply a message of promised deliverance in response to faith.

In denial of the power of faith, I can see why you all want to make it about things you don't believe in or don't believe could have happened.

I don't understand what purpose it serves, but everyone is entitled to their own opinion.

Well - most everyone.

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Response to yallerdawg (Reply #27)

Tue Dec 26, 2017, 01:47 PM

29. See my second post below, regarding Jericho.

The message is, "we won. You die."

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Response to yallerdawg (Reply #9)

Tue Dec 26, 2017, 01:21 PM

18. which message of exodus exactly?

The message that a bloodthirsty god willfully murders innocent children to force the pharaoh to submit to his will, that message? Or should we ignore that message?

The "its metaphor" dodge is bullshit.

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Response to Voltaire2 (Reply #18)

Tue Dec 26, 2017, 01:36 PM

23. Symbolism and metaphor is bullshit.

That's deep.

An illness of some kind ending the lives of multiple children - described as an Act of God in ancient times - that's just cruel barbarity on the part of a being who doesn't exist?

I just can't follow all this. You keep losing me.

Real or fantasy. Make up your mind.

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Response to yallerdawg (Reply #23)

Tue Dec 26, 2017, 01:45 PM

26. So, then, let's have a look at Jericho and its fate,

as described in Joshua. Did that actually happen? What is the message to take from the described wholesale destruction of Jericho?

Was that a good thing? Was it a message to be proud of?

Of course, there is zero evidence that the "Battle of Jericho" ever occurred. Zero. So, maybe that's another metaphorical story, but what does that say about the message delivered?

Joshua sent spies to Jericho, the first city of Canaan to be taken, and discovered that the land was in fear of Israel and their God. The Israelites marched around the walls once every day for seven days with the seven priests and the Ark of the Covenant. On the seventh day, they marched around the walls seven times. Then the priests blew their seven ram's horns, the Israelites raised a great shout, and the walls of the city fell. Following God's law of herem the Israelites took no slaves or plunder but slaughtered every man, woman and child in Jericho, sparing only Rahab - a Canaanite prostitute who had sheltered the spies, and her family.


As paraphrased at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Jericho

the Israelites took no slaves or plunder but slaughtered every man, woman and child in Jericho, sparing only Rahab - a Canaanite prostitute who had sheltered the spies, and her family.


What is the "message" delivered in that, yallerdog? To whom is that message beneficial?

You are not the only one who knows the Old Testament stories. Some of us who do think the message is not a good message. Can you guess why?

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #26)

Tue Dec 26, 2017, 02:00 PM

31. Literalism again.

Do you recognize that the Old Testament describes an ongoing transition culminating in the New Testament, a New Covenant and relationship between man and God?

That's the story and the message.

All these little pieces of oral traditions and passed-down histories are a continuum of transition in that relationship. In that context, there are much bigger themes and messages than each of these ancient events depicted as just so, but actually just contribute to the overall arc of the ongoing narrative.

Maybe you just require better editing?

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Response to yallerdawg (Reply #31)

Tue Dec 26, 2017, 02:10 PM

32. Forget literalism. Let's say that never happened. Still,

what message is being sent by that story? It seems simple to me. "We are the chosen ones. All who oppose us will die." That's the message of the genocide at Jericho. I can't, for the life of me, see any possible message for the slaughter of the entire population of a city - men, women and children. Maybe you can, but I cannot.

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #32)

Tue Dec 26, 2017, 02:15 PM

34. I just don't follow.

If it never happened - this singular event - then why does there have to be a message?

In the context of the Old Testament and the evolution of our relationship with God, this is just another piece in that story - THAT message.

As I've mentioned before, what would be the point of having faith if there wasn't some kind of payoff for it? That would be a rather pointless story, wouldn't it?

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Response to yallerdawg (Reply #34)

Tue Dec 26, 2017, 02:21 PM

35. You're asking the right questions, but you aren't thinking about the answers.

Think some more. Try to figure out what the point of all of that was. It's not all that difficult. Think about those stories, being told for who knows how long, really. No message? Nah...there's a message, or those stories would not have survived. You know what the message was, and I made that message clear above. It's a very simple one: "We're the Best. Our God's the Best. Anyone Who Screws with Us Is Toast!"

It could be a cheer for a High School Football team, really. It's just that simple.

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #35)

Tue Dec 26, 2017, 02:36 PM

36. We're talking about faith here.

The Old Testament and the Torah have a theme - things go well for the faithful, bad for the faithless.

This theme is consistent start to finish.

How else would a "story of faith" be portrayed?

What religious book says, "Take it or leave it. It doesn't really matter?"

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Response to yallerdawg (Reply #36)

Tue Dec 26, 2017, 02:49 PM

39. Faith in what? What are we supposed to have faith in?

False stories? Some message? What? Again, you are forgetting that the Old Testament was scripture long before we changed the calendar from B.C. to A.D. Long, long before. Did the people before that changeover see that scripture as metaphor? Really? How do you know that?

In fact, the Middle East is still in turmoil over the very stuff of the Old Testament. The disputes and wars have been going on for a few thousand years already. What's that about? What message does that convey to you?

The Israelis and their neighbors are still duking it out over the same crap that is described in the Old Testament. It's millennia old stuff. Were the Old Testament stories true? Well, probably not literally. But, similar shit did happen in that region, and is still happening. People die over which God they like best. Yes, Allah and Yahweh are the same, now, but only sort of. The Christians, of course, got the heck out of that region, and spread their religion in Europe. The Middle East was too crazy to deal with. Had that not happened, Christianity would have disappeared, along with all the other minor religions of that region.

Without a very, very long view of history, none of this makes any sense. But, with a long view, it's crystal clear. It's a territorial dispute, like it has always been. The religious aspect is just one of the ways to separate the warring factions. The tribes are still fighting each other, but there are millions of tribe members now, and they have big weapons that can kill lots more people now.

Same wars. Same disputes. Same places. Same nasty warlike gods and humans. People die. Nobody actually wins. It's a shitshow. Same as it ever was.

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #39)

Tue Dec 26, 2017, 03:15 PM

41. You're also stuck in the past.

The Middle East has political ideologies and territorial/natural resource disputes, many, many initiated by outside forces that had nothing to do with Judaism/Islamic issues, Shia/Sunni issues, etc.

Here in the 21st Century, we all have new perspectives, new understandings - new outlooks about the religious experience and faith.

You know this isn't the same as when you were 20. In my life, the Catholic Church has become almost unrecognizable from my youth, chants and Latin turning into "Hi, how are you today?" and mass absolutions!

Religion has been at the forefront of progressive issues - like civil rights - and has opened its doors to the LGBTQ community, has for years and years - see UU's!

You look at 'the bad' and say it has been ever so - ignoring all the good throughout history, all the good today.

I'm pretty sure the vast majority of people everywhere agree with me!

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Response to yallerdawg (Reply #41)

Tue Dec 26, 2017, 03:20 PM

43. "religion" - "has opened its doors to the LGBTQ community" well, about that...

If one wants to find out where the bigots are, go find a church on Sunday. The correlation is very clear. The more religious a person is the more likely that person is to be bigoted.

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Response to Voltaire2 (Reply #43)

Tue Dec 26, 2017, 03:30 PM

44. Stuck in the past.

The less religious a person is, the more intolerant and divisive they become.

That is becoming very clear.

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Response to Voltaire2 (Reply #45)

Tue Dec 26, 2017, 03:49 PM

46. Mine is anecdotal. Just looking through "Religion" OP's and comments. ; )

Now, compare any of those views on same-sex issues - religious or otherwise - to 100 years ago, 50 years ago.

Progressive - just as I said.

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Response to yallerdawg (Reply #46)

Tue Dec 26, 2017, 04:58 PM

66. The RCC still exerts influence worldwide to prevent legal recognition of same sex marraige.

So uh... yeah.

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Response to yallerdawg (Reply #41)

Tue Dec 26, 2017, 04:51 PM

64. UU's are 0.0114285714% of the world's population and the religion is only 60 years old.

Real movers and shakers there.

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Response to yallerdawg (Reply #36)

Tue Dec 26, 2017, 04:49 PM

62. Pagans. Deists. Agnostic Theists. Hindus. Jainism. Church of Satan. Take your pick, I got more.

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Response to yallerdawg (Reply #34)

Tue Dec 26, 2017, 04:45 PM

60. How do you feel about Moses himself being denied faith?

He is poked, prodded, led, forced, and punished, but moreover, he is given direct knowledge/view/contact with god.

He can't have faith, can he?


What is the point of requiring faith, when god just (Allegedly) strips it away whenever it suits him?

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Response to yallerdawg (Reply #31)

Tue Dec 26, 2017, 04:31 PM

55. I like how you just set arbitrary bookends to prevent analysis of the whole story, rather focusing o

n just the little bits/meaning you prefer.

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Response to AtheistCrusader (Reply #55)

Tue Dec 26, 2017, 05:10 PM

68. Genesis to Revelation?

"Arbitrary bookends?"

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Response to yallerdawg (Reply #68)

Tue Dec 26, 2017, 05:17 PM

69. Different books entirely. Which is fine.

But in talking about the meaning of Exodus, the entirety of Exodus should be fair game, not handwaved away with howls of 'literalism'.

One can still explore metaphor, taking the whole thing together.

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Response to yallerdawg (Reply #23)

Tue Dec 26, 2017, 01:47 PM

28. Symbolism and metaphor are fine, but hiding from defending the stories

in your holy book by yelling "it's just metaphor" every time somebody points out the rather unpleasant content of those stories is just dishonest.

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Response to yallerdawg (Reply #23)

Tue Dec 26, 2017, 01:47 PM

30. Speaking of cruel barbarity, god actually MADE the Pharoh evil, causing the death of children.

Exodus 7:3-4 “But I will harden Pharaoh's heart, and though I multiply my miraculous signs and wonders in Egypt he will not listen to you. Then I will lay my hand on Egypt and with mighty acts of judgment I will bring out my people the Israelites.”


It's fantasy. Cruel, twisted, torture porn fantasy.


For those of us that can do basic fucking arithmetic, we can see that God arranges conditions so that an entire generation of Egyptian children would die horribly.

Take whatever metaphorical lesson you want from that fantasy tale I guess.

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Response to AtheistCrusader (Reply #30)

Tue Dec 26, 2017, 02:12 PM

33. The message is: "Our God is the Most Powerful God. Defy our God and Die!"

It's a simple message. It's only a positive message if it's your God. If not, then, well...sucks to be you, I guess.

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #33)

Wed Dec 27, 2017, 11:50 AM

73. If it's not your god, you're evil by definition

and you deserve to die in some horrible way, even if you're a wife, a child or a slave and had no choice about which religion to follow.

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Response to yallerdawg (Reply #9)

Tue Dec 26, 2017, 03:51 PM

48. From the well known group of non-theistic literalists.

For whom a literal interpretation is necessary to their arguments.

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Response to guillaumeb (Reply #48)

Tue Dec 26, 2017, 04:02 PM

50. What possesses them to have such an Anti-Christian viewpoint...

that they have to twist themselves into pretzels?



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Response to yallerdawg (Reply #50)

Tue Dec 26, 2017, 04:13 PM

51. I have read the claim that they are "forced" to it by theistic intolerance.

I just posted an interesting article about Exodus. But it relies on a metaphoric interpretation of Exodus as symbolizing an intellectual wandering before finding God, so I assume that the literalists will reflexively deny its validity.

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Response to guillaumeb (Reply #51)

Tue Dec 26, 2017, 04:29 PM

53. Does it require a god that engineers obstacles and pain/death/misery for bystanders on the way?

Because the story of exodus suggests some things about whether the Abrahamic god is worth finding at all.

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Response to AtheistCrusader (Reply #53)

Tue Dec 26, 2017, 04:39 PM

57. I would suggest reading it and deciding for yourself.

Your version seems to insist on a literal view, so perhaps you will not like the other post.

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Response to guillaumeb (Reply #57)

Tue Dec 26, 2017, 04:42 PM

58. Your excuse wears thin. There is a difference between me mockingly pointing out how long it takes

to get from one place to another, or Egyptologists shrugging and asking "WFT" when they observe western claims of how they allegedly treated slaves, who their alleged slaves were, when they were allegedly held, or who built the pyramids, all that stuff, and the actual story itself, what it means in the abstract.

People in this thread have addressed the metaphorical overarching tale, and the technical specifics. You keep howling 'literalist', but nobody here is insisting on literalism.

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Response to guillaumeb (Reply #48)

Tue Dec 26, 2017, 04:24 PM

52. I identify vicious torture porn, as vicious torture porn. Clearly the problem is with me.

I won't go out of my way to invent some sort of silly metaphorical meaning behind a story that is vicious torture porn from stem to stern.

Clearly exodus does have a metaphorical meaning; defy my god and die. That doesn't really salvage it as anything other than still being vicious torture porn.

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Response to guillaumeb (Reply #54)

Tue Dec 26, 2017, 04:37 PM

56. Already read it. It's nonsense. Its not "corrosive patina" to observe that god is a character within

the story.

The Abrahamic god is a specific character with roles, actions, motives, and directly affects the story. That's not something that's been 'read into' the story over time, or obscures the meaning. Without the direct intervention of the Abrahamic god, the pharaoh may have relented. He couldn't because of the actions of a character in the story; god.

That does not map to an internal struggle, or introspective quest within the human mind to seek faith.

It's apologist hand-waving, meant to whitewash a horrible, horrific story, and the character of one of the personas in the story.

The Abrahamic God is BOTH and actor, and the endpoint relationship goal of the 'internal conflict' in seeking faith. You have abstracted the story beyond all recognition when you ignore that element.

This is not some mere technical criticism of the time it takes to hike across Egypt. This is core foundational material of the story.

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Response to AtheistCrusader (Reply #56)

Tue Dec 26, 2017, 04:44 PM

59. A literalist? I understand. eom

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Response to guillaumeb (Reply #59)

Tue Dec 26, 2017, 04:47 PM

61. Except I, and others, are willing to discuss the metaphorical/allegorical meanings of the story.

But if we look at the WHOLE story, and include any material that casts god in a negative light, you scream 'literalist', and flee.



I understand as well. I understand that you cannot possibly defend this pile of shit, so you hide behind accusations.

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Response to AtheistCrusader (Reply #61)

Tue Dec 26, 2017, 04:51 PM

63. If you are attacking the events as if they literally happened,

you are indeed insisting on a literalistic view.

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Response to guillaumeb (Reply #63)

Tue Dec 26, 2017, 04:53 PM

65. Including that the Pharaoh was controlled by god so that he could not relent is not

merely a literalist interpretation. It's a core element of the story, a sine qua non to the story being a story at all.

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Response to guillaumeb (Reply #63)

Tue Dec 26, 2017, 05:32 PM

71. Man, you should never visit any fan fiction site

Or a Con, or discuss someone's favorite show with them, or talk about Harry Potter, or...

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Response to Lordquinton (Reply #71)

Tue Dec 26, 2017, 05:34 PM

72. I never have.

Nor have I read any of the Harry Potter books.

Can the discussion become heated?

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Response to guillaumeb (Reply #72)

Wed Dec 27, 2017, 09:31 PM

74. The discussion actually takes place

And no one accuses the other side of taking the stories literally. Like, we can discuss Dumbledore as a character without someone flipping out and accusing them of being a Harry Potter literalist.

Just saying you'd have to take the English literature classes you apparently missed.

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Response to Lordquinton (Reply #74)

Wed Dec 27, 2017, 09:35 PM

75. My degrees were awarded in 1974.

Harry Potter was not part of the core curriculum at that time in either of my major fields.

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