Reformed Chicks Blabbing

Reformed Chicks Blabbing


Israel refuses security help for Carter

posted by Susan Johnson

Good for them! Let the Palestinians protect him.I think that our Secret Service should refuse to go, it puts them at risk:

Israel’s secret service has declined to assist U.S. agents guarding former U.S. President Jimmy Carter during a visit in which Israeli leaders have shunned him, U.S. sources close to the matter said on Monday.
[...]
Israel has also rejected Carter’s request to meet jailed Palestinian uprising leader Marwan Barghouthi, who is seen as a possible successor to President Mahmoud Abbas, a spokesman for Carter said.
Barghouthi was convicted in 2004 of murder by an Israeli court over the killing of four Israelis and a Greek Orthodox monk in attacks by Palestinian militants. He is serving five life sentences.
[...]
American sources close to the matter said the Shin Bet security service, which helps protect visiting dignitaries and is overseen by Olmert’s office, declined to meet the head of Carter’s Secret Service security detail or provide his team with assistance as is customary during such visits.
[...]
Carter included the southern Israeli town of Sderot on his itinerary. The area is often hit by rockets from the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip and one of the sources described the lack of Shin Bet assistance there as particularly “problematic.”
[...]
Hamas leaders have offered a long-term truce with Israel in return for a viable Palestinian state in the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip, but the group’s 1988 founding charter calls for the destruction of the Jewish state.
Ahead of his visit, Carter defended talks with Hamas.
“I think there’s no doubt in anyone’s mind that, if Israel is ever going to find peace with justice concerning the relationship with their next-door neighbors, the Palestinians, that Hamas will have to be included in the process”

No one, not even the lefty commenters who supporter his trip, can explain to me how you can have peace with a nation that’s bent on your destruction.
(via)



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meh

posted April 14, 2008 at 10:35 am


No one, not even the lefty commenters who supporter his trip, can explain to me how you can have peace with a nation that’s bent on your destruction.
First, Israel has to admit that it committed crimes against the people who were living in the region when they came through and stole homes, bulldozed crops and orchards, and walled off millions from the place of their birth.
Until they’re willing to do that, there will be – should not be – peace.
Of course, that doesn’t jibe with the official tale, the one where Israel is pure as snow and never did anything that provoked a violent response.
Let me ask you Pro-Israel folks – if some foreign body decided that Texas belonged to them, and they had, say, the backing of a major superpower to help them come and annex it, would Texans be within their rights to fight for the land of their birth?



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Michele McGinty

posted April 14, 2008 at 10:42 am


meh, you still haven’t answered the question. Carter is trying to get the two sides to come together but how can they when Hamas wants to destroy Israel? Answer my question than I will answer yours.



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meh

posted April 14, 2008 at 10:50 am


I will answer your question: I’m sure Hamas would be happy to come to the table if Israel would admit that it committed crimes against the Palestinian people and is willing to make recompense for that.
Your “question” is predicated upon Israel not owning up to any of their actions. Why do they get a pass?



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meh

posted April 14, 2008 at 11:48 am


Yeah – I thought so.



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Michele McGinty

posted April 14, 2008 at 12:00 pm


“Yeah – I thought so.”
About what?
“I’m sure Hamas would be happy to come to the table if Israel would admit that it committed crimes against the Palestinian people and is willing to make recompense for that.”
Where have they said that? Have they made that part of their charter? The way they did with the whole destruction of Israel thing.
Why should Palestine get a pass on the bombings and on what their charter says?



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RJohnson

posted April 14, 2008 at 12:01 pm


The whole Israel-Palestine conflict would simply go away if we were honest with folks in that region and let Israel simply commit genocide. It’s what the evangelicals really want anyway, and their interpretation of Scripture supports the genocide of anyone who opposes God’s chosen people.
Why don’t you just admit it, Michele. That’s the end you are working towards. This wouldn’t be a problem if the Palestinians would just do the honorable thing and die off. It’s how things end anyway in the Bible, so they are just resisting God’s will anyway.



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meh

posted April 14, 2008 at 12:02 pm


Who smacked who first?
You refuse to acknowledge that without Israel doing what it did to Palestine, it would not find itself under attack by Palestinians.



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meh

posted April 14, 2008 at 12:06 pm


I think it’s disingenuous in the extreme for someone like Michele to hold Palestinians to a higher standard than that to which she would hold her own people.
If Texas was handed over to Mexico by the UN, and Mexico was suddenly armed by China to force Texans into relocation camps, Michele would be standing on the highest soapbox she could find urging Texans to fight by any means necessary.
That Israel happens to be part and parcel of the mythology by which Michele orders her life means that Palestinians aren’t human enough to deserve the right to fight for their land.



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RJohnson

posted April 14, 2008 at 12:09 pm


It will be interesting to see if Michele concedes that the Palestinian people have a right to life. I have yet to see any conservative commenter on any level admit this without following it with a “but…”.
Let’s see what she does.



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Michele McGinty

posted April 14, 2008 at 12:14 pm


“It’s what the evangelicals really want anyway, and their interpretation of Scripture supports the genocide of anyone who opposes God’s chosen people.”
I’m not clear as to what you think we want. Are you actually saying that we want the death of Palestinians? That’s our goal? Do we want to kill the Christian Palestinians as well?



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meh

posted April 14, 2008 at 12:34 pm


I’m not clear as to what you think we want. Are you actually saying that we want the death of Palestinians? That’s our goal?
I don’t think you’d ever admit to it, but that’s the endpoint that your logic leads to.
They don’t have the right to fight for their homes or their land, so they must either capitulate and assimilate, or they deserve everything they get.
Isn’t that about it?



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Michele McGinty

posted April 14, 2008 at 12:38 pm


Um…so you think that because I believe they should stop bombing Israel that I want all Palestinians to be killed? Even the Christian Palestinians?



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RJohnson

posted April 14, 2008 at 12:56 pm


Michele: “I’m not clear as to what you think we want. Are you actually saying that we want the death of Palestinians? That’s our goal?”
Yes, it seems to be exactly that.
Michele: “Do we want to kill the Christian Palestinians as well?”
Have you expressed concern about them in the past, or are they merely a convenient foil for your argument today? And what about the Bah’ai Palestinians, or the Atheist Palestinians, or the Humanist Palestians? We know the Muslim Palestinians are not worth the same to you as Christian Palestinians (otherwise you would not have mentioned them), but are the other Palestinians worth less than the Christians to you? How about to God….are they expendable in his view?



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Michele McGinty

posted April 14, 2008 at 1:07 pm


“Have you expressed concern about them in the past, or are they merely a convenient foil for your argument today?”
Have I? I would have thought that you would know the answer to that question because you are the one telling me what I want.



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ZZ

posted April 14, 2008 at 1:11 pm


The way you people are piling on Michelle here is just frivolous. Israel has a right to exist as a state. The jews have a right to live in their ancestral homleland. If the Palestinians would recognize that, and just settle down and get jobs and raise their kids, rather than lobbing rockets at Israel, the problem would be solved. Every step Israel has taken has been for her own security. You just don’t spend billions on walls and checkpoints out of sheer spite.
Since everybody here feels so sorry for the Palestinians, what’s your solution? Return to the 1967 borders? Do you think the region was some kind of paradise of Israeli-Pelestinian harmony before 67? Hardly. Israel was subject to daily rocket attacks and guerilla raids from the disputed territories.
Of course the atheists among you want to kick the Jews out of the holy land entirely. Holocaust, anyone?



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meh

posted April 14, 2008 at 1:17 pm


What “holy land?”
Why is that land any more “holy” than any plot of land in the world.
Reality-based responses only, please. Leave the mythology out, and you have no argument.
Without the mythology, Israel is merely an invader. Without the mythology, Plaestinians are the victims here.
Which is why you mythologists will never admit it.



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ZZ

posted April 14, 2008 at 1:19 pm


Call it whatever you want to. You’re obviously just ducking the real question. What is your solution? Throw the Jews into the sea?



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meh

posted April 14, 2008 at 1:20 pm


The jews have a right to live in their ancestral homleland. If the Palestinians would recognize that, and just settle down and get jobs and raise their kids, rather than lobbing rockets at Israel, the problem would be solved.
Would Native Americans have the right to put Americans in refugee camps if they got China to back them up?
What you’re saying is: “If Palestinians would just forget the fact that they were kicked out of their homes and recognize Israel’s right to steal their land, the problem would be solved.”
Would YOU accept that kind of solution if it was YOUR home that got stolen?
I know empathy is like kryptonite to people on the right, but please – use your brain for a second.



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meh

posted April 14, 2008 at 1:21 pm


What is your solution? Throw the Jews into the sea?

Give them Texas.



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meh

posted April 14, 2008 at 1:24 pm


Q: Why does Israel’s right to the land trump the right of the Palestinians to the same land?
A: Because they have bigger guns.
“Thus sayeth the Lord: Might Makes Right.”



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Michele McGinty

posted April 14, 2008 at 1:24 pm


meh, let’s all back up here one moment and argue in an Obama-type way. Let’s get to the place where we all can agree. How was the nation of Israel established?



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meh

posted April 14, 2008 at 1:25 pm


How was the nation of Israel established?
By ignoring the people who already lived there.



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meh

posted April 14, 2008 at 1:27 pm


I’m sorry – that was glib. You offered the olive branch and deserve better than that. Give me a minute and I’ll post the non-glib response.
Thank you.



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Michele McGinty

posted April 14, 2008 at 1:31 pm


Yeah and in the name of Obama too! You almost proved my point, didn’t you :-)



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meh

posted April 14, 2008 at 1:31 pm


The modern state of Israel has its roots in the Land of Israel, a concept central to Judaism for over three thousand years. After World War I, the League of Nations approved the British Mandate of Palestine with the intent of creating a “national home for the Jewish people.”[7] In 1947, the United Nations approved the partition of the Mandate of Palestine into two states, one Jewish and one Arab.[8] The Arab League rejected the plan, but on May 14, 1948, Israel declared its independence. The new country’s victory in the subsequent Arab-Israeli War expanded the borders of the Jewish state beyond those in the UN Partition Plan. Since then, Israel has been in conflict with many of the neighboring Arab countries, resulting in several major wars and decades of violence until this day
So the nation of Israel was founded by national leaders of countries that didn’t live in the region in spite of the protestations of those who did live there.
Of course, in the “Might Makes Right” world, Israel won the “war,” so they have the right to the spoils, but I think that fails to recognize the plight of the Arab people that were forcibly evicted from their land.
Honest question seeking an honest answer:
Why, in this discussion, is the right of a people to defend their land from agressive invasion only afforded to Israel and not to the Arabs who were displaced>



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RJohnson

posted April 14, 2008 at 1:31 pm


Michele: “How was the nation of Israel established?”
According to the Bible, the nation of Israel was established by God. God directed the Israelites to kill all who stood in their way as they took possession of the land. The killings extended to women and children, both born and unborn.
Genocide.



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Michele McGinty

posted April 14, 2008 at 1:56 pm


RJohnson,
Are you a Christian, because if you aren’t I suggest you might not want to comment on the Bible, you don’t know what you’re talking about. If you are a Christian, you need to learn more about the Bible before you speak in public about it again.



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Michele McGinty

posted April 14, 2008 at 1:58 pm


And meh, why did Israel go to war and expand it’s borders? (And if say to expand its borders than you are demonstrating that you aren’t looking at this honestly).



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meh

posted April 14, 2008 at 2:05 pm


They went to war because the Arabs wouldn’t simply lay down and let “Israel” steal their homes. The Palestinians did as any self-respecting people would. Why was land where people were living “given” to those people in the first place?



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Alicia

posted April 14, 2008 at 2:06 pm


Yeah, I’m sure Carter was almost as “shocked, shocked” as Tariq Ramadan was when he was denied a visa to come to the U.S. Associations with terrorist and terrorist ideology do actually have consequences. Good for the Israeli Secret Service — they did exactly the right thing.



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meh

posted April 14, 2008 at 2:11 pm


As regards RJohnson’s take on the Old Testament, you gotta know, sis, from the “outside,” that’s how it looks.
The OT is *chock full* of stories of Israel committing genocide. Hell, the Book of Joshua is practically Genocide 101!
The more things change, the more they stay the same, huh?



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ZZ

posted April 14, 2008 at 2:11 pm


So we’ve expanded this discussion to Native Americans. It is an unassailable fact that we came in and (mostly unwittingly due to disease) caused the deaths of millions of native inhabitants. We also forcibly settled land that they considered to be theirs. No arguments there. We can aside the question of whether it would have made any sense to set aside an entire continent as a buffalo preserve for a small number of people.
By Meh’s logic, it is our moral responsibility to get back on the boat and return to England. I’d like to ask her if she’s bought her ticket yet. And if not, why her staying in North America is any more defensible than the Jews staying in Israel.



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Michele McGinty

posted April 14, 2008 at 2:13 pm


Ok, meh now were getting somewhere because even though you colored the whole thing from a Palestinian point of view, you’ve got the basic facts right. Common ground from an Obamaian point of view :-)
Now, let see if we can, Obama-like, further that ground. Why do you think they were given the land?



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meh

posted April 14, 2008 at 2:17 pm


By Meh’s logic, it is our moral responsibility to get back on the boat and return to England. I’d like to ask her if she’s bought her ticket yet. And if not, why her staying in North America is any more defensible than the Jews staying in Israel.
No, by Meh’s logic, we owe the Native Americans more than some crappy reservation land. They deserve a seat at the table of governance, just as the Palestinians do in their region.
Of course, that’s never going to happen – not in “Mightmakesrightland”
I suppose the Native Americans that are left should just be bowing and scraping and kissing our feet that we didn’t use them for target practice or flay them alive like our armies did in the 1800s. You’re “mostly unwittingly due to disease” flies in the face of the written accounts of the genocidal soldiers who did the work.
Read “A Culture of Make Believe” for some great excerpts from those diaries. You’ll never spout such revisionist nonsense again.



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Michele McGinty

posted April 14, 2008 at 2:17 pm


BTW, I would suggest that one thing that you did leave out of your explanation was that Palestine wasn’t exclusively Muslim. That the population, though predominately Muslim included Jews and Christians.



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ZZ

posted April 14, 2008 at 2:18 pm


And no, Meh, Israel went to war in 1967 because the Arab countries were massing tanks on her borders, blockading her ports, and openly threatening to invade. Israel was just quicker on the draw. She occupied the disputed territories as a buffer against further attack.
But that point is now moot since you obviously have a problem with the very existence of a Jewish state in Palestine. Please answer my questions above about your boat ticket.



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Michele McGinty

posted April 14, 2008 at 2:21 pm


“As regards RJohnson’s take on the Old Testament, you gotta know, sis, from the “outside,” that’s how it looks.”
Yeah, I understand that and I know that you guys don’t understand the Bible because you haven’t read it and that you hear about these passages but you don’t understand the context. That’s why I was suggesting he didn’t know what he was talking about.
If I had some free time I would be happy to explain it but I have to work on a paper, prepare for a Hebrew quiz and write outlines for Ruth-Neh.



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meh

posted April 14, 2008 at 2:25 pm


Yeah, I understand that and I know that you guys don’t understand the Bible because you haven’t read it and that you hear about these passages but you don’t understand the context.
Pray tell, Michele, ma belle…
In what context is genocide acceptable?



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Michele McGinty

posted April 14, 2008 at 2:28 pm


ZZ, I think that meh was talking about the 1948 war.



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meh

posted April 14, 2008 at 2:29 pm


Please answer my questions above about your boat ticket.
I already did.
In addition to your inability to look beyond the “Israel Good/Arab Bad” cookie-monster view of history, you apparently fail reading comprehension 101, as well.
Good American. Have another cookie.



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ZZ

posted April 14, 2008 at 2:29 pm


“we owe the Native Americans more than some crappy reservation land”
We don’t owe them anything more than any other American. They are citizens and have all the same rights and opportunities as everybody else. If they want to self-segregate and live out in the boonies, that’s their business.
You still haven’t answered my question about how the Jews staying in Israel is worse than Europeans staying in North America. Or Normans staying in Britain for that matter.
Nor have you proposed a solution the the problem that doesn’t involve the liquidation of the Jewish state. It’s becoming more obvious that is your goal.



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meh

posted April 14, 2008 at 2:32 pm


I already gave my solution.
Give them Texas.
Texans should be willing to pony up for Israel. It’ll be one step closer to the Jesusland they wish they could create, anyhow.



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Michele McGinty

posted April 14, 2008 at 2:32 pm


“In what context is genocide acceptable?”
Meh, my sweet, I never called it genocide. That’s your term, not mine.



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meh

posted April 14, 2008 at 2:33 pm


Meh, my sweet, I never called it genocide. That’s your term, not mine.
What do you call killing every man, woman and child, if not genocide?
Words mean what words mean, do they not?



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Moonshadow

posted April 14, 2008 at 2:40 pm


I know that you guys don’t understand the Bible because you haven’t read it
I’m on pins & needles as to how you’re going to justify your elitism towards RJohnson … and the rest of us.



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Michele McGinty

posted April 14, 2008 at 2:42 pm


Meh, I knew you were going to say this but the answer is much more complex than you realize because you have to deal with what God said in Genesis and Deuteronomy before you even get to Joshua. I can’t do that in the little amount of time I have for comments (which is only 2 secs more). If you really want my answer, you’ll have to wait.



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meh

posted April 14, 2008 at 2:47 pm


I’ll happily wait to hear how context somehow justifies the deaths of every man, woman and child in those tribes unfortunate enough to live on the borders of a genocidal nation with a mandate or might from a fictional being.



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Michele McGinty

posted April 14, 2008 at 2:48 pm


Back to the original discussion. Who had control of the land when it was given to Israel?



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ZZ

posted April 14, 2008 at 2:49 pm


“I already gave my solution. Give them Texas”
You have utterly failed to give a coherent rebuttal so I will stop expecting one.
Thank you for conceding defeat on this matter, and admitting that your only debate tools are hurling slogans and childishly gainsaying whatever your opponent says.



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RJohnson

posted April 14, 2008 at 3:17 pm


Michele: “Are you a Christian, because if you aren’t I suggest you might not want to comment on the Bible, you don’t know what you’re talking about. If you are a Christian, you need to learn more about the Bible before you speak in public about it again.”
Please show me where I was incorrect in my statements regarding the taking of the Promised Land? Did not God order the destruction of those women and their male children? Did I fabricate that account? As a lofty seminary student I am sure you can point out my exegetical error for me.
For the record, I am Christian, and I served as minister to a conservative, evangelical congregation for a number of years. I suspect I have tapes of my old sermons that predate your entry into seminary by a few years.
But clearly nothing I can say will convince you that I am a Christian, for I disagree with you, and having placed yourself in the position of God with regards to determining who is Christian and who “rightly divides” the Word, I suspect that there is little reason for me to continue debating you.
But I digress. Michele, mighty seminary student, please show me the error in my post.



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RJohnson

posted April 14, 2008 at 3:34 pm


Michele: “Back to the original discussion. Who had control of the land when it was given to Israel?”
The Bible tells us this in Genesis 15:17-20.
“When the sun had set and darkness had fallen, a smoking firepot with a blazing torch appeared and passed between the pieces. On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram and said, “To your descendants I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates- the land of the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaites, Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites and Jebusites.”
So, according to the Bible, the following people possessed the land of Israel when it was given to the Israelites.
Kenites
Kenizzites
Kadmonites
Hittites
Perizzites
Rephaites
Amorites
Canaanites
Girgashites
Jebusites
And it was this grant that the Jewish people turned to in the 1940s when a Jewish homeland was being considered. It was also reiterated in the Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel.
tinyurl.com/2ny7z
“ERETZ-ISRAEL [(Hebrew) - the Land of Israel, Palestine] was the birthplace of the Jewish people. Here their spiritual, religious and political identity was shaped. Here they first attained to statehood, created cultural values of national and universal significance and gave to the world the eternal Book of Books.
After being forcibly exiled from their land, the people kept faith with it throughout their Dispersion and never ceased to pray and hope for their return to it and for the restoration in it of their political freedom.
Impelled by this historic and traditional attachment, Jews strove in every successive generation to re-establish themselves in their ancient homeland. In recent decades they returned in their masses. Pioneers, ma’pilim [(Hebrew) - immigrants coming to Eretz-Israel in defiance of restrictive legislation] and defenders, they made deserts bloom, revived the Hebrew language, built villages and towns, and created a thriving community controlling its own economy and culture, loving peace but knowing how to defend itself, bringing the blessings of progress to all the country’s inhabitants, and aspiring towards independent nationhood.”
According to the nation of Israel, and to the Old Testament, this is the status of the land prior to it being given to Israel.
Is this incorrect?



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ZZ

posted April 14, 2008 at 3:43 pm


I think she main mean who was in the land when it was given to Israel in the 1948 mandate, not in old testament times.



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meh

posted April 14, 2008 at 4:07 pm


Great Britain,
Back to the Might Makes Right argument, huh?



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meh

posted April 14, 2008 at 4:14 pm


ZZ,
You got the only answer you deserve. You’ve been chomping at the “victor/spoils” meme since the outset of this “dialogue,” so whatever anyone says, Israel’s right to the land trumps all other concerns. In your worldview, no matter who had to be slaughtered to get there, the current landholder is right.
I wonder whether you’d have said the same thing had Germany been successful in WWII?
Thank you for conceding defeat on this matter, and admitting that your only debate tools are hurling slogans and childishly gainsaying whatever your opponent says.
How can I concede “defeat” when the “debate” was loaded from the beginning with Michele asking “How can you have peace with a nation that’s bent on your destruction?”
Loaded like that, how does one respond? It’s not a debate, it’s an exercise in demagoguery.
Just as valid a question is: “How can Palestine have peace with Israel when it is bent on denying Palestine’s right to exist?”



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ZZ

posted April 14, 2008 at 4:23 pm


Please point to a specific statement by Israel that say Palestine has no right to exist.



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meh

posted April 14, 2008 at 5:25 pm


Please point to a specific statement by “Palestine” that “Israel” has no right to exist.
According to you people, there is no “palestine,” so such a statement is impossible. What you have are statements by angry members of an occupied citizenry to that effect.
israel, on the other hand, being a “recognized” entity, can and does “say” exactly what I posted about Palestine – their actions speak louder than words. They treat Palestinians as if they have no rights and refuse to recognize a Palestinian state, so they, in effect, say that Palestine has no right to exist.
Game.
Set.
Match.
Have fun cheering for genocide, ZZ. I hope for your sake that you’re not a Christian, otherwise, you’ve got a long hot afterlife ahead of you the way you profess.



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ZZ

posted April 14, 2008 at 6:47 pm


Blah, blah blah. The “palestinian constitution” blatantly states that Israel should be destroyed, and it says it to this day. Have fun cheering the Holocaust, Meh.



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meh

posted April 14, 2008 at 7:20 pm


What palestinian constitution? They’re not recognized as a state, so how can they have a constitution?
When you’re done talking out of your hat, maybe you can explain to us why it is that people shouldn’t fight for their land against an occupying force?
If your town was invaded, would you fight, or would you just say “Oh well, they’re the victor; I’m required to lay down and take it?”



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meh

posted April 14, 2008 at 7:22 pm


BTW… you can play the Holocaust card all you want, ZZ. It doesn’t make what Israel has done to those people right.



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Michele McGinty

posted April 14, 2008 at 7:26 pm


Moonshadow,
So you believe that God commanded Israel to commit genocide?



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Michele McGinty

posted April 14, 2008 at 7:49 pm


“As a lofty seminary student…mighty seminary student,”
I never pull the seminary card in discussions on this blog so your comments demonstrate more about you than me. I asked the question because you accused God of genocide, I’m not exactly going to stand for God being blasphemed on my blog without asking if the blasphemer considers himself a Christian or not.
I’m not asking you to convince me that you’re a Christian — I just wanted some clarification before I responded to you. Now, please tell me how you could lay genocide in the lap of God? Don’t you think it’s presumptuous of you to do so?
“So, according to the Bible, the following people possessed the land of Israel when it was given to the Israelites.”
You left out what God said about them.
And don’t you think that the state of Israel after 70 AD is important? How do you view Israel after 70 AD? Who owns Israel after 70 AD and beyond?



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meh

posted April 14, 2008 at 10:16 pm


You left out what God said about them.
I’m sure whatever He said through his “appointed mouthpieces” can certainly be viewed through a right-to-life lens today, no? Or is the paradigm of Bronze Age tribal herders as sophisticated as we’re allowed to get about this subject?
Is “convert or die” a paradigm you think is appropriate? Was it appropriate then? Why or why not? Is it appropriate now? Why or why not?



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Moonshadow

posted April 15, 2008 at 12:05 am


So you believe that God commanded Israel to commit genocide?
I deserve that, I do. Shame on me. Kyrie eleison.
I’ve been thinking about this conundrum all evening.
I don’t believe that the Bible can be interpreted to say just about anything. I believe there’s a right interpretation. I believe grace is necessary for one to make the right interpretation, ‘though I’m probably less of an “all or nothing” regarding grace: actual grace works wonders (Wiki).
We believe God would not ask us to do anything contrary to his law. Blowing up an abortion clinic, for instance, cannot be God’s will. So I wonder how Abraham discerned God’s call to sacrifice Isaac. Or Peter, in taking the gospel to Cornelius (Acts 10:14). They got their instructions, not from the law, but from special revelation.
I’m not a Marcionist – consciously, by choice, I’m not – but I’ve studied the Bible with much older Catholics who, perhaps without realizing it, are.
I can’t find what God says about the indigenous peoples, other than that he’ll take a hand in driving them out, too (Deut. 7:1 and many others).
I am listening now. I am anxious to hear how you tie this all together because, even after all these years of studying the Bible with you, your approach to Scripture is still something of a mystery to me. No doubt that feeling is mutual.
Peace.



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Moonshadow

posted April 15, 2008 at 12:57 am


you accused God of genocide,
Follow-up: in all honesty, I missed the word “genocide” in RJohnson’s post above and frankly didn’t know how that word was introduced.
michele’s strong reaction to RJohnson seemed unwarranted so I commented. But now I understand why michele was so forceful. Even so, I’ll take my share of the blame for my part in this misunderstanding.



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bob lachman

posted April 15, 2008 at 2:18 am


“Who owns Isreal after 70 A.D. ?'” That’s an easy one. God owns Isreal same as ever. The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof. Jesus would have loved to gather us all into his loving arms but we (christians muslims jews aethist and whatever) won’t have it. Not until we learn and practice the attributes of love that make for peace.(see I Corinthins 13). Jimmy Carter has learned some things that make for peace: building homes interest free for the poor, overseeing fair and honest elections and recognizing and negoiating with the winners of those elections even when their views are in conflict with yours. Noone or state/people have the right to exist or will exist that will not learn to love their neighbor and enemy as they love themselves. Our species is poised on the brink of self extinction because we have not been able or willing to humble ourselves to learn this lesson. But learn it we will or Jesus is a myth.



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vanhoopcoach

posted April 15, 2008 at 3:39 am


Bob’s right.
We will not see His return until His covenenet with His people is filled. Humankind was given the mind to make choices and ALL of us are required to listen to those, and I do believe that President Carter is one of those,who lead with passion for His will. From a worldly view, I can understand the flesh and mindset of the Israeli people. I CAN!..But, all of us must change our vision,understanding and thoughts to coincide with HIS.



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RJohnson

posted April 15, 2008 at 10:09 am


Me: “As a lofty seminary student…mighty seminary student,”
Michele: “I never pull the seminary card in discussions on this blog so your comments demonstrate more about you than me.”
Actually Michele, your arrogant comment about me not being a Christian or not understanding the Bible properly (in your opinion) did exactly that. Your implication is that yours is the only correct interpretation of the Scriptures, and that my knowledge was inferior.
Michele: “I asked the question because you accused God of genocide, I’m not exactly going to stand for God being blasphemed on my blog without asking if the blasphemer considers himself a Christian or not.”
Michele, God ordered the destruction of all the Midianites. The Israelites were chastised for not killing all of the women who had known men and their male children. They were then instructed that they could take the virgins for their own.
One definition of genocide, according to Webster’s, is “the deliberate and systematic destruction of a racial, political, or cultural group.” According to this definition God ordered the genocide of the Midianites. I am sorry you lack the courage and integrity to look at the clear teaching of the Bible.
Michele: “I’m not asking you to convince me that you’re a Christian — I just wanted some clarification before I responded to you. Now, please tell me how you could lay genocide in the lap of God? Don’t you think it’s presumptuous of you to do so?”
Not at all. Why do you refuse to call it what it is? God ordered the destruction of a complete group of people, and the Israelites followed God’s directions as given to them by Moses.
Me: “So, according to the Bible, the following people possessed the land of Israel when it was given to the Israelites.”
Michele: You left out what God said about them.
What did God say about the reason He ordered the killing of the infant males in that group, Michele?
And don’t you think that the state of Israel after 70 AD is important? How do you view Israel after 70 AD? Who owns Israel after 70 AD and beyond?



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meh

posted April 15, 2008 at 11:16 am


But now I understand why michele was so forceful.
That’s the part I’m missing.
What does it matter if someone says God ordered the genocide of the tribes that occupied the land before the Israelites?
They were living in the land, as part of the land. According to the mythology, God decided the Israelites deserved the land, so He told the Israelites to wipe the current inhabitants off the face of the planet.
By what criteria this was decided, who knows – my take on it is that the story is reverse engineering of a justification after the fact and that the Israelites were, like all expanding empires, murderers bent on securing themselves some resources. Much like America throughout our bloody history.



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RJohnson

posted April 15, 2008 at 12:47 pm


Sorry for missing this last portion…
Michele: “And don’t you think that the state of Israel after 70 AD is important? How do you view Israel after 70 AD? Who owns Israel after 70 AD and beyond?”
Certainly. But how can you separate what happened to the nation of Israel after AD 70 from the initial grant of the land to them by God through Abraham? The context of the latter gives meaning to the former. Why must you divorce the two?



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RJohnson

posted April 15, 2008 at 1:27 pm


Deuteronomy 20:10-18
“When you approach a city to fight against it, you must make an offer of peace. If it accepts your offer of peace and opens [its gates] to you, all the people found in it will become forced laborers for you and serve you. However, if it does not make peace with you but wages war against you, lay siege to it. When the LORD your God hands it over to you, you must strike down all its males with the sword. But you may take the women, children, animals, and whatever else is in the city—all its spoil—as plunder. You may enjoy the spoil of your enemies that the LORD your God has given you. This is how you are to treat all the cities that are far away from you and are not among the cities of these nations. However, you must not let any living thing survive among the cities of these people the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance. You must completely destroy them—the Hittite, Amorite, Canaanite, Perizzite, Hivite, and Jebusite—as the LORD your God has commanded you, so that they won’t teach you to do all the detestable things they do for their gods, and you sin against the LORD your God.”
Slavery or death…this was the orders God gave to the Israelite army as they moved through the lands He had given them. “You must completely destroy them…” is clear instruction to commit genocide, to completely and utterly kill a group of people.
You call this blasphemy, Michele. Fine. What else would you call it if not genocide? Ethnic cleansing? Purging? Manifest destiny?
This is the context in which the people of God took the land that had been given to them by God. This grant of land is referred to in the founding documents of the modern state of Israel, and is in the mind of the people of that nation as they deal with the Palestinians who still occupy a portion of the land God had given to His people. This is why they feel no compunction about building a wall around them, killing 10 for every 1 Israeli that is killed, and cutting off food, medical supplies, electricity, and water to them.
This may be a hard truth for you to grasp, Michele. But if you accept the WHOLE of the Word of God as inerrant and inspired, then these accounts are exactly what happened, and they present a framework for today’s actions in that region.
Genocide, Michele. It is the ultimate solution. The Bible says so.



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RJohnson

posted April 15, 2008 at 1:39 pm


meh: “By what criteria this was decided, who knows – my take on it is that the story is reverse engineering of a justification after the fact and that the Israelites were, like all expanding empires, murderers bent on securing themselves some resources. Much like America throughout our bloody history.”
I believe the appropriate term is “midrash”. Yet most evangelicals do not accept the concept that these stories are midrash. They accept them as literal truths, completely accurate accounts of events that occurred as the Israelite people traversed the desert and then moved into the Promised Land.
As Midrash they make sense. They provide a cultural context in which one can bring meaning to the history of ones nation or culture. As you pointed out, we have midrash from our own past that brings meaning to us yet does not necessarily accurately reflect the events that transpired.
God ordering the killing of every Midianite or Hittite…did this really happen? If you accept that it did you must wrestle with the harsh idea that God ordered the killing of complete cultural groups, down to the infants in arms in some cases (and the babes in womb, which makes an interesting argument for God being pro-life). However, if you allow for this to be written as midrash, it is merely the glorification and poetic license applied to an account of a military campaign. The victors composed the story, and over the years the story became legend, and a mythos developed surrounding it.
However, as I am sure we will discover soon, Michele does not accept that these stories are anything other than literal truths, given by inspiration to Godly men to record, just as I used to. Accepting these as literal truths forces a person to either be Clintonian with words (i.e. genocide isn’t genocide when God orders it), engage in justification (the unborn children might have carried grudges and attacked the Israelites down the road), or plead for a mystery understanding that will be revealed at a later time.
The problem is that for the past 60 years the leadership of the modern state of Israel have looked upon their return to the land as a fulfillment of God’s original grant of the land, and have treated the others living there at the time in a manner not unlike how the Hittites, Midianites, and others were treated in the OT accounts. In other words since God ordained their killing in the past, it is OK to kill them, imprison them, and drive them from the land again.



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meh

posted April 15, 2008 at 3:24 pm


Thanks for that explanation, RJohnson.



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bob lachman

posted April 15, 2008 at 4:03 pm


There is a very sound reason for calling the New Testament “new” . Although the character of a loving God is evident, if you look for, it in the Old Testamentthe new testament clearly calls us to a stance that completely repudiates the establ ishment of a geneticly based chosen people. As well followers of Jesus are committed to fullfilling the love God love yourself love your neighbor and enemy as yourself teachings of Jesus. These teachings of the
son trump the old testament, as well as Paul, and totally disallow the violence and hatred that self proclaimed followers incite toward thir fellow humans.



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RJohnson

posted April 15, 2008 at 4:08 pm


“These teachings of the son trump the old testament, as well as Paul, and totally disallow the violence and hatred that self proclaimed followers incite toward thir fellow humans.”
For Christians this is certainly true. The teachings of Jesus and the NT writers illustrate the new covenant that God offers to us.
However, to the modern day state of Israel, the New Testament holds no such authority. For them, the Old Testament and it’s promises to Israel are paramount.



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RJohnson

posted April 15, 2008 at 4:30 pm


A good article regarding the role of Midrash is found here:
http://www.sacred-texts.com/jud/mhl/mhl03.htm



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bob lachman

posted April 15, 2008 at 4:43 pm


Yes RJohnson that is true for you and me as followers of Jesus but I guess I was wondering about all the other self proclaimed christians who support genocide and oppression of others. Michele and friends. One can only pray and hope that the Isreali state like our own would see the light of the God of love ,repent and make peace.



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RJohnson

posted April 15, 2008 at 5:01 pm


“Yes RJohnson that is true for you and me as followers of Jesus but I guess I was wondering about all the other self proclaimed christians who support genocide and oppression of others.”
For the Christian that takes a literalist view of the OT narrative, it is quite easy to understand why Israel is within its rights to treat the Palestinians as they do. God gave Israel the land. God ordered, sanctioned, and enabled the violent removal of the occupants of that land. God ordered and sanctioned the extermination of large groups of these people, and the enslavement of others.
If you look at these accounts as literal then it is not a stretch to accept similar treatment of these “illegal” occupants of the Holy Land in today’s time. Thus those who share Michele’s view can only see the violence that the Palestinians commit, for they see Israel’s actions as sanctioned by God.
However, to those of us who view the OT narrative as mythic in nature, as stories and legends written by a people to explain their dealings with the world around them, in many cases centuries after the actions were believed to have taken place, the idea of genocide in today’s time is abhorrent, even more so when done in the belief that God has blessed it.
The important thing to remember in all of this is that there is sufficient blame to cover both sides in this conflict. Instead of justifying present actions by those taken in the past both sides need to look to the future, and the other countries of the world need to encourage this.
Right now neither side trusts the other. Trust must be earned, but it also must be sought. Seeking recompense for past actions will never work. Only when both sides come to the conclusion that it is their interests, both together and separately, to work together to resolve issues will we see peace in that region. Until then, the blood will continue to flow.



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anonymous reincarnate

posted April 16, 2008 at 3:23 am


“…you accused God of genocide, I’m not exactly going to stand for God being blasphemed on my blog…”
now, perhaps i’m a bit unclear of the definition of “genocide”, but are you suggesting that genesis ch 6 is something else, or that the great deluge is a myth, or that the great flood wasn’t, in fact, the handiwork of god?



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Michele McGinty

posted April 16, 2008 at 7:25 am


“Is “convert or die” a paradigm you think is appropriate? Was it appropriate then? Why or why not? Is it appropriate now? Why or why not?”
Where did you get “convert or die” from the OT? There was no conversion and you would have understood that if you had read the passages in question (read Genesis-2 Chron. to understand the context of my comments).



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RJohnson

posted April 16, 2008 at 7:56 am


Michele: “Where did you get “convert or die” from the OT? There was no conversion and you would have understood that if you had read the passages in question (read Genesis-2 Chron. to understand the context of my comments).”
No, there was no convert or die. If the tribes surrendered to the Israelites, they became slaves to them. If they resisted they were to be killed. There was no conversion option offered by God.



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meh

posted April 16, 2008 at 8:34 am


Sorry – maybe I should have said “submit or die” to get past your dissonance filter.
Face it, Michele, your own mythology glorifies and justifies genocide. You can perform all of the mental gymnastics you need to in order to reconcile that within yourself. You can believe that the myth the genocidal tribes constructed is true, and that you owe the monster-god they created as a foil for their bloody misdeeds all of the allegiance you can muster. You can even play the ivory tower card and perform even further moral contortions to tell those of us not fortunate to be “chosen” to understand the glory of spreading the word at sword-point.
It doesn’t change the reality one whit: The OT is chock full of examples of peoples slaughtered to make way for ‘God’s Chosen People.’ It is genocide 101.



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meh

posted April 16, 2008 at 8:37 am


What’s really sick about it is that it’s the same paradigm happening in the Middle East right now.
We’re there blowing crap up to “spread freedom,” in the form of slavery to the West, and if the poor unwashed brown folks over there don’t like our “gift,” will just kill them to make room for people who’ll appreciate it.
Sick. Truly sick.



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Michele McGinty

posted April 16, 2008 at 9:55 am


“No, there was no convert or die. If the tribes surrendered to the Israelites, they became slaves to them. If they resisted they were to be killed. There was no conversion option offered by God.”
Where is that in Scripture? Where does it say that they were to make them slaves?



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Michele McGinty

posted April 16, 2008 at 10:13 am


I’m very slowly working my way through these comments so I might have to ignore your new ones, so don’t be so quick to jump on me until you hear me out (and I mean that for all of you, not just Moonshadow). I really don’t have time for this but I do consider it import so I will answer when I take breaks from writing my exegetical paper.
“I am listening now. I am anxious to hear how you tie this all together because, even after all these years of studying the Bible with you, your approach to Scripture is still something of a mystery to me. No doubt that feeling is mutual.”
Yes, the feeling is mutual.
As you should know in Genesis God states why the Israelites have to wait to enter the promised land:
Gen. 15:16 And they shall come back here in the fourth generation, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete.
God was waiting for the nations to get to a point in which he would be ready to execute justice against them. He sent Israel to do that.
Do you, Moonshadow believe that God had the right to do that? Execute judgment against the nations that were sinning against him.
BTW, what I am saying in these responses to the questions relate to Israel at the time that the events took place. This is a unique time in redemptive history and cannot be applied to today in the same way because it isn’t the same (the NT is clear that Christ’s kingdom is not of this world).



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Michele McGinty

posted April 16, 2008 at 10:26 am


“Actually Michele, your arrogant comment about me not being a Christian or not understanding the Bible properly (in your opinion) did exactly that. Your implication is that yours is the only correct interpretation of the Scriptures, and that my knowledge was inferior.”
Sorry, I would have said the same thing with or without seminary. Accusing God of genocide is something even my daughters would know is wrong. What would you have said if I said the same thing without being in seminary?
“One definition of genocide, according to Webster’s, is “the deliberate and systematic destruction of a racial, political, or cultural group.” According to this definition God ordered the genocide of the Midianites. I am sorry you lack the courage and integrity to look at the clear teaching of the Bible.
RJohnson, isn’t God the one who determines when any of us die? Do you, as a Christian believe that? And I ask you the same question I asked Moonshadow:
“Gen. 15:16 And they shall come back here in the fourth generation, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete.
God was waiting for the nations to get to a point in which he would be ready to execute justice against them. He sent Israel to do that.
Do you, Moonshadow believe that God had the right to do that? Execute judgment against the nations that were sinning against him.”
Do you?



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meh

posted April 16, 2008 at 10:27 am


Do you, Moonshadow believe that God had the right to do that? Execute judgment against the nations that were sinning against him.

Are you frigging serious with this?
Genocide is “God” using one tribe to “execute judgment” against other nations that were “sinning against him?”
So the Amorites deserved to be slaughtered en masse because an invisible man in the sky said so?
How bad did European Jews sin to deserve the Holocaust?



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Michele McGinty

posted April 16, 2008 at 10:40 am


“What does it matter if someone says God ordered the genocide of the tribes that occupied the land before the Israelites?
They were living in the land, as part of the land. According to the mythology, God decided the Israelites deserved the land, so He told the Israelites to wipe the current inhabitants off the face of the planet.”
It matters, meh because it is saying that God killed people just because they were of an ethnic group, he did not. He ordered Israel to execute his judgment against them because they had sinned against him.
Do you know, meh that God also sent nations into Israel to execute judgment against Israel? The Bible’s clear that Israel isn’t God’s chosen people because of anything they’ve done and when they sin against him, they pay.
And the reason they were given the land:
Deut. 9:4 ¶ “Do not say in your heart, after the LORD your God has thrust them out before you, ‘It is because of my righteousness that the LORD has brought me in to possess this land,’ whereas it is because of the wickedness of these nations that the LORD is driving them out before you. 5 Not because of your righteousness or the uprightness of your heart are you going in to possess their land, but because of the wickedness of these nations the LORD your God is driving them out from before you, and that he may confirm the word that the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. 6 ¶ “Know, therefore, that the LORD your God is not giving you this good land to possess because of your righteousness, for you are a stubborn people.
As you can see, God didn’t think they “deserved” the land.
You really should take my suggestion to read this stuff for yourself. If you’re going to engage in conversation about it, it might help if you understood the topic by a least reading the document that the conversation keeps referring to.



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Michele McGinty

posted April 16, 2008 at 10:50 am


“How bad did European Jews sin to deserve the Holocaust?”
meh, I will have to ignore your comments if you ignore mine. I said this:
“BTW, what I am saying in these responses to the questions relate to Israel at the time that the events took place. This is a unique time in redemptive history and cannot be applied to today in the same way because it isn’t the same”
In redemptive history God determined to punish a nation, the Amorites, because of their sins against him. That is one nation among many that are judged by God. You can’t extrapolate from that the Holocaust was a punishment from God because we are know living in a time of grace, not a time when God executes judgments against nations (your interpretive skills are on a par with Pat Robertson if you do that, meh). Judgment is coming but now is the time of salvation.



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Michele McGinty

posted April 16, 2008 at 10:55 am


“But how can you separate what happened to the nation of Israel after AD 70 from the initial grant of the land to them by God through Abraham? The context of the latter gives meaning to the former. Why must you divorce the two?”
But what about the exile? Weren’t they supposed to live in the land forever after the exile?
Why did Jesus believe that his kingdom wasn’t of this world?



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Michele McGinty

posted April 16, 2008 at 10:59 am


“Slavery or death…this was the orders God gave to the Israelite army as they moved through the lands He had given them. “You must completely destroy them…” is clear instruction to commit genocide, to completely and utterly kill a group of people.”
But what about Jericho? They weren’t given a choice. They were to utterly destroy the nations that when they entered the land, they were to “devote them to destruction.” They weren’t even allowed to take any of the plunder, they even had to destroy their cattle.



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Michele McGinty

posted April 16, 2008 at 11:03 am


“Clintonian with words (i.e. genocide isn’t genocide when God orders it”
I’ll just wait around here for you to answer my comment about how a God who is sovereign over life and death can be accused of singling out one ethic group.
And notice that I didn’t even have to resort to “Clintonian” words.



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meh

posted April 16, 2008 at 11:19 am


Michele,
He ordered Israel to execute his judgment against them because they had sinned against him.

Well, that’s one way to look at it. Another way to look at it is that the writers, having been successful at committing genocide in order to take the land of the people they just slaughtered, wrote a myth to justify it.
All of what you say is predicated upon the writings of the Bronze-Age tribalists being literal truth. You talk about this “God decided…,” “God ordered…” “God ordained…” without even stopping to consider that a literal interpretation of those stories is utterly mad. Crazy. Off the deep end. Bonkers. Whacko. Divorced from reality.
I have read the stories. I have not read them from the standpoint that “Whatever these writers say God said they had to do must be right because God said so.” That idea just doesn’t enter the equation because it’s (see the litany above.)
What we’re left with is a history of atrocity using a divine mandate as an excuse.



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meh

posted April 16, 2008 at 11:34 am


Think about this, just for a moment. It’s going to require that you set aside the dissonance factor for a second, but I think you’ll understand where I’m coming from better if you can.
In the mythological view, there is nothing wrong with saying “Tribe X sinned against God, so they deserved to be wiped out.” If the mythological portion of those writings (claiming the divine mandate and all that) are, in fact, post-facto justifications, then those peoples who were slaughtered stop being abstractions and become *people*.
That means that taking the babies out of mothers’ arms and throwing them to the ground, crushing the life out of them, isn’t punishment from God, it’s callous, cruel genocide. That means killing all the males and taking virgin women to become sex slaves isn’t God’s judgment, it’s barbarism. That means that approaching a people and telling them “Submit to us, let us have your land, and become our slaves or we’re going to destroy you,” isn’t proof of God being on their side so much as it is proof that they had no compunction against murdering or enslaving nations because they needed resources.
Age of judgement, age of grace – if all of it is myth, then there’s no difference between what happened to the Amorites and what happened to the native people of the Americas, or the European Jews.
If the myths are myths, then it’s all just bloody murder.



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Michele McGinty

posted April 16, 2008 at 11:54 am


“What we’re left with is a history of atrocity using a divine mandate as an excuse.”
And yet, here you are wasting my time talking about them. I will be ignoring your comments from now on about this topic because they are said in ignorance without the slightest desire to understand why people throughout history would believe what is in the Bible.
“It’s going to require that you set aside the dissonance factor for a second, but I think you’ll understand where I’m coming from better if you can.”
I get what you’re saying and I understand where you are coming from. I was trying to help you get where I’m coming from but you who can’t put aside your presumptions long enough to listen. Conversation is wasted then, isn’t it?



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Michele McGinty

posted April 16, 2008 at 11:58 am


“self proclaimed christians who support genocide and oppression of others. Michele and friends.”
Where have I done that?
What I find amusing is the context in which you say this. Hamas is committed to wiping Israel off the face of the map and yet, it’s Israel that’s accused of genocide. And yet you are the one who supports Hamas and I’m the one who is accused of supporting genocide. Ironic, huh?



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Michele McGinty

posted April 16, 2008 at 12:08 pm


“Thus those who share Michele’s view can only see the violence that the Palestinians commit, for they see Israel’s actions as sanctioned by God.”
I’m Reformed, those who share my view don’t believe Israel’s actions are sanctioned by God because we don’t believe that Israel has a claim to the land. Christ is the offspring of Abraham and in him all the promises of Israel have been fulfilled (Genesis 17, Gal. 3).
I’m not a premill, babe. So before you speak for me, you better figure out what it means when I say that I’m a Reformed Chick.



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Michele McGinty

posted April 16, 2008 at 12:19 pm


“I believe the appropriate term is “midrash”. Yet most evangelicals do not accept the concept that these stories are midrash. They accept them as literal truths, completely accurate accounts of events that occurred as the Israelite people traversed the desert and then moved into the Promised Land.
As Midrash they make sense. They provide a cultural context in which one can bring meaning to the history of ones nation or culture. As you pointed out, we have midrash from our own past that brings meaning to us yet does not necessarily accurately reflect the events that transpired.”
So, God didn’t give Israel the land, there was no Adam and Eve, no original sin, God didn’t bring Israel out of Egypt.
I guess that means you don’t believe that Jesus was the Son of God and rose again from the dead? That he didn’t come to die for the sins of his people.



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meh

posted April 16, 2008 at 1:02 pm


I will be ignoring your comments from now on about this topic because they are said in ignorance without the slightest desire to understand why people throughout history would believe what is in the Bible.
Yeah – sorry I can’t look at what I consider authoritarian dissemination of dogma from a storybook foisted upon the ignorant upon pain of death as a rationalization for bloody murder.
Ignore away.



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meh

posted April 16, 2008 at 1:04 pm


I guess that means you don’t believe that Jesus was the Son of God and rose again from the dead? That he didn’t come to die for the sins of his people.
Got it in one.
I never fail to be astonished at how easily religionists buy whatever’s being sold by their “betters.”
I suppose if this was 700 years ago, you’d be trying to lecture us about how right and meet it is that we capture every Jew we can and put them to the rack to save them.



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meh

posted April 16, 2008 at 1:10 pm


You know… it would be nice if you’d explain what it is about those horrible stories you find inspiring.



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Michele McGinty

posted April 16, 2008 at 1:42 pm


“You know… it would be nice if you’d explain what it is about those horrible stories you find inspiring.”
If I tried to explain it to you, you wouldn’t listen and then you would rant about myth, dogma, storybooks and authoritarian dissemination. Why bother?



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RJohnson

posted April 16, 2008 at 1:55 pm


Michele: “I’m Reformed, those who share my view don’t believe Israel’s actions are sanctioned by God because we don’t believe that Israel has a claim to the land. Christ is the offspring of Abraham and in him all the promises of Israel have been fulfilled (Genesis 17, Gal. 3).”
Ah yes, the covenant theology of the Reformed tradition. Of course, the modern state of Israel does not share your views with regards to the fulfillment of the covenant. Neither do many of the more ardent voices within the evangelical movement who hold to a dispensationalist viewpoint. To these people the actions of Israel are sanctioned by God, as they believe that God considers Israel still to be His chosen people.
I confess an educational bias here…most of my reading and study was from dispensationalist scholars and their writings (Darby, Scofield and Ryrie among others). Not surprising given that I was Baptist at the time. Supercessionism was and is considered unsupportable by these teachers, and by the majority of the evangelical movement today, so it did not enter my consideration back then (80s and early to mid 90s).
So, if the modern state of Israel has no Biblical claim to the land they occupy, what do you see as the authority under which they took control of the land?



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Michele McGinty

posted April 16, 2008 at 2:05 pm


“So, if the modern state of Israel has no Biblical claim to the land they occupy, what do you see as the authority under which they took control of the land?”
The League of Nations.



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RJohnson

posted April 16, 2008 at 2:06 pm


Michele: “”No, there was no convert or die. If the tribes surrendered to the Israelites, they became slaves to them. If they resisted they were to be killed. There was no conversion option offered by God.”
Where is that in Scripture? Where does it say that they were to make them slaves?”
????
Please tell me you were simply busy and forgot about this passage. I’d hate to think you had not studied it.
Deuteronomy 20:10-18
“When you approach a city to fight against it, you must make an offer of peace. If it accepts your offer of peace and opens [its gates] to you, all the people found in it will become forced laborers for you and serve you. However, if it does not make peace with you but wages war against you, lay siege to it. When the LORD your God hands it over to you, you must strike down all its males with the sword. But you may take the women, children, animals, and whatever else is in the city—all its spoil—as plunder. You may enjoy the spoil of your enemies that the LORD your God has given you. This is how you are to treat all the cities that are far away from you and are not among the cities of these nations. However, you must not let any living thing survive among the cities of these people the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance. You must completely destroy them—the Hittite, Amorite, Canaanite, Perizzite, Hivite, and Jebusite—as the LORD your God has commanded you, so that they won’t teach you to do all the detestable things they do for their gods, and you sin against the LORD your God.”
For those cities far away from the Promised Land, the offer was slavery or death. For those closer, slavery was not an option.
Again, I merely hope this was an oversight in your memory and not a gap in your studies of the OT.



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Michele McGinty

posted April 16, 2008 at 2:18 pm


RJohson, in the passage you quote, do you think the Lord was saying that Israel most make an offer of peace with the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites? They could covert, submit whatever or die?



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RJohnson

posted April 16, 2008 at 2:18 pm


“Well, that’s one way to look at it. Another way to look at it is that the writers, having been successful at committing genocide in order to take the land of the people they just slaughtered, wrote a myth to justify it.”
Indeed, this is perhaps the simplest reason behind these narratives. Just as our own nation developed a mythology to justify our removal of the natives from the land as we moved to the west (we called this mythology “manifest destiny”) the conquering Israelites developed a mythology under which their God gave sanction to and enabled their victories. Occam’s Razor, once again.
However, Michele asked the question of me: “RJohnson, isn’t God the one who determines when any of us die? Do you, as a Christian believe that?”
If I were to kill you, Michele, and then offer up my defense as “God told me it was time for Michele to die, and I was to be his implement in her death,” do you think your family would understand and accept me as following God’s will? More directly, if I were to come to your home and say that God had decreed that your daughter was to die by my hand, would you stand aside and allow me to carry out God’s will?
Why or why not?



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meh

posted April 16, 2008 at 2:34 pm


If I tried to explain it to you, you wouldn’t listen and then you would rant about myth, dogma, storybooks and authoritarian dissemination. Why bother?
If I promised not to use any of those terms, would you at least try? It’s like a Mexican and a Chinese person having a conversation – we don’t speak the same language. In a lot of ways, it’s like two people form different planets – you integrate cultural assumptions into your dialogue that I don’t understand, just as I do.
Rather than both of us stamping our feet going “I’m right because I’m right,” if you claim to understand my understanding, then you’re one up on me, because I have no frame of reference from which to understand your understanding. Those stories read like mythology to me. I don’t know how to approach it as if it was more than that.
You’re a theologist. Help me understand.
Please?



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RJohnson

posted April 16, 2008 at 2:35 pm


Michele: “RJohson, in the passage you quote, do you think the Lord was saying that Israel most make an offer of peace with the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites? They could covert, submit whatever or die?”
Let’s allow the Scripture to speak for itself, Michele. After all, the best interpreter of God’s intent is Scripture, is it not?
“When you approach a city to fight against it, you must make an offer of peace.”
Note that there is no distinction on which cities this offer was to be made. “When you approach a city…” any city, either near or far, is clearly the meaning. Likewise, “…you must make an offer of peace.” No wiggle room, they must make an offer.
Where the difference comes in has to do with those cities that do not accept the offer of peace.
“However, if it does not make peace with you but wages war against you, lay siege to it. When the LORD your God hands it over to you, you must strike down all its males with the sword. But you may take the women, children, animals, and whatever else is in the city—all its spoil—as plunder. You may enjoy the spoil of your enemies that the LORD your God has given you. This is how you are to treat all the cities that are far away from you and are not among the cities of these nations. However, you must not let any living thing survive among the cities of these people the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance. You must completely destroy them—the Hittite, Amorite, Canaanite, Perizzite, Hivite, and Jebusite—as the LORD your God has commanded you, so that they won’t teach you to do all the detestable things they do for their gods, and you sin against the LORD your God.”
The cities that resist were differentiated on their proximity to Israel. Those that were far away were treated differently than those that were close. From those far away spoils, in the form of women and children, could be taken. From those close there were to be no spoils taken. Resistance by nearby cities was to be met with complete and utter destruction…no prisoners.
The cities farther away resisted the Israelites as vehemently as those nearby. Often times they mistreated the Israelites as badly as the nearby cities. It is difficult to make the argument that the punishment was based on how the city and its army treated the invading Israelite force.



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RJohnson

posted April 16, 2008 at 4:03 pm


“If I promised not to use any of those terms, would you at least try? It’s like a Mexican and a Chinese person having a conversation – we don’t speak the same language. In a lot of ways, it’s like two people form different planets – you integrate cultural assumptions into your dialogue that I don’t understand, just as I do.”
This may be impossible for Michele. Unless I miss my guess she feels that salvation itself is linked inextricably with the view one takes of the Scriptures, and that anything other than a literalist interpretation of the Scriptures puts salvation itself into doubt. She gave a peek at this earlier when she posted:
“So, God didn’t give Israel the land, there was no Adam and Eve, no original sin, God didn’t bring Israel out of Egypt.
I guess that means you don’t believe that Jesus was the Son of God and rose again from the dead? That he didn’t come to die for the sins of his people.”
It is the domino theory in action. If one allows that any account in the OT or NT may be allegorical or part of the mythos of that particular culture (i.e., it didn’t really happen), then the very gates of hell open up because we are left with nothing to assure salvation. If one can doubt the 7 day creation, one can doubt the Fall, and then one can doubt the Exodus, the Abrahamic covenant, the virgin birth, and finally the atoning death and resurrection itself.
Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians, “If Christ be not risen then our preaching is in vain…”. This has been extrapolated into “If {insert Biblical account} did not happen, then we are not saved.”
This results in some interesting logical gymnastics, which have been developed into an entire discipline called apologetics.



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RJohnson

posted April 16, 2008 at 4:09 pm


Me: “So, if the modern state of Israel has no Biblical claim to the land they occupy, what do you see as the authority under which they took control of the land?”
Michele: “The League of Nations.”
Specifically the Palestinian Mandate, an attempt to implement the Balfour Declaration. Let’s look at the text of that declaration, shall we?
————-
Foreign Office,
November 2nd, 1917.
Dear Lord Rothschild,
I have much pleasure in conveying to you, on behalf of His Majesty’s Government, the following declaration of sympathy with Jewish Zionist aspirations which has been submitted to, and approved by, the Cabinet:
“His Majesty’s Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country”.
I should be grateful if you would bring this declaration to the knowledge of the Zionist Federation.
Yours sincerely
Arthur James Balfour
——————-
The phrase “sympathy with Jewish Zionist aspirations” seems to be the key here, for this is the underpinnings for the policy. What were those aspirations, and on what were they based?



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RJohnson

posted April 16, 2008 at 4:29 pm


Another contextual question.
Michele, if the United Nations were to say to you that you must vacate your home and move across country (or across the state), without compensation, so that another group of people (we’ll call them the Daleks, for this scenario) could have a homeland in your old neighborhood and the surrounding environs.
Would you resist the UN? If the US government supported this mandate, would you resist the US government? Would you take up arms in that resistance? How far would you go to defend your home?
Would you try to kill the Daleks? Would you come to have hatred for them, even though they did not issue the edict moving you from your home? Would you resort to violence against their property, their enterprises, their military?
Or would you simply pack up and move to another area, an area that may not want you moving into their neck of the woods?



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RJohnson

posted April 16, 2008 at 5:00 pm


One last thing for this afternoon, Michele.
What agreement did British High Commissioner Sir Henry McMahon make with Sharif Hussein, the Hashemite Arab head, in 1915? Specifically, what did the British want, and what did they offer the Arabs for it?



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Michele McGinty

posted April 16, 2008 at 5:02 pm


“f I promised not to use any of those terms, would you at least try? It’s like a Mexican and a Chinese person having a conversation – we don’t speak the same language. In a lot of ways, it’s like two people form different planets – you integrate cultural assumptions into your dialogue that I don’t understand, just as I do.”
meh, I took the time this morning in an attempt to give you a well thought out response, even though I didn’t have the time because I’m under a deadline for my exegetical paper, outlines of the OT history books and a Hebrew quiz and then after I give you a reasoned response you give me this rant:
“Well, that’s one way to look at it. Another way to look at it is that the writers, having been successful at committing genocide in order to take the land of the people they just slaughtered, wrote a myth to justify it.
All of what you say is predicated upon the writings of the Bronze-Age tribalists being literal truth. You talk about this “God decided…,” “God ordered…” “God ordained…” without even stopping to consider that a literal interpretation of those stories is utterly mad. Crazy. Off the deep end. Bonkers. Whacko. Divorced from reality.
I have read the stories. I have not read them from the standpoint that “Whatever these writers say God said they had to do must be right because God said so.” That idea just doesn’t enter the equation because it’s (see the litany above.)
What we’re left with is a history of atrocity using a divine mandate as an excuse.”
If you really want to understand my point of view, go back and read what I said again and think about what I’m saying without the emotional reaction. I will answer well-reasoned questions but I’m really not in the mood to waste my time.
“Rather than both of us stamping our feet going “I’m right because I’m right,””
If you don’t want to do that, meh, then I suggest you be a little more contemplative in your responses. Declaring that the Bible is a myth doesn’t make it so. That’s an assertion, not proof and there’s nothing you’ve said that has convinced me that your assertion is truth. All you’re doing is stamping your feet and saying, “I believe it’s not true so you have believe it’s not true or I’m going to accuse you have all kinds of things.”
Sorry, I’m not swayed by your rants against the Bible or against my God.



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Michele McGinty

posted April 16, 2008 at 5:18 pm


“f I were to kill you, Michele, and then offer up my defense as “God told me it was time for Michele to die, and I was to be his implement in her death,” do you think your family would understand and accept me as following God’s will? More directly, if I were to come to your home and say that God had decreed that your daughter was to die by my hand, would you stand aside and allow me to carry out God’s will?”
Sorry, RJohnson you have to first answer the question and then I promise to respond to the above. Do you believe that God is sovereign over death?
“This may be impossible for Michele. Unless I miss my guess she feels that salvation itself is linked inextricably with the view one takes of the Scriptures, and that anything other than a literalist interpretation of the Scriptures puts salvation itself into doubt. She gave a peek at this earlier when she posted:”
You missed your guess. I asked about what you believed because I’m trying to figure it out and you are trying to play gotcha. If that’s all you want, we might as well stop know because I’m not in the mood to waste my time.



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meh

posted April 16, 2008 at 5:24 pm


I suppose if you must look at the Bible as being an accurate account of cosmic occurrance, then it makes sense that you’d see whatever God decided to do in his angry past as “right.” He is, after all, God, and taking a Job-like stance is appropriate: God’s gonna do what God’s gonna do because God is God.
I recognize that in what you wrote, and while I can acknowledge that you’re well within your rights to believe that, I don’t see *why* you believe that.
If all we as mere humans have to prove the veracity of those stories are those stories and some faith, then why is it we don’t look at the history of the Roman Empire and say that Jupiter delivered Gaul into the hands of Ceasar because the Gauls angered him? We don’t say that because we are capable of looking at the *real* reasons – namely, that the Gauls had resources that Ceasar needed, and he had the war machine to exact the transfer of those resources.
You are capable of taking that objective, non-mythological view when it comes to Roman, Greek, Norse, history – why is it such a stretch for us to apply the same view to the Judeo-Christian cosmology?



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Michele McGinty

posted April 16, 2008 at 5:37 pm


“Let’s allow the Scripture to speak for itself, Michele. After all, the best interpreter of God’s intent is Scripture, is it not?”
OK, let’s do that then. In the light of this passage, how do you interpret Deut. 7:1-4 or Judges 2:2?
“It is difficult to make the argument that the punishment was based on how the city and its army treated the invading Israelite force.”
I wouldn’t make that argument. My argument is that the cities that were far off were not the nations that Israel were driving out of Canaan so there was no problem making peace with them (see Joshua 9). My argument is that there was to be no conversion of those nations because they were to be utterly destroyed.



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Michele McGinty

posted April 16, 2008 at 5:46 pm


“I suppose if you must look at the Bible as being an accurate account of cosmic occurrance, then it makes sense that you’d see whatever God decided to do in his angry past as “right.” He is, after all, God, and taking a Job-like stance is appropriate: God’s gonna do what God’s gonna do because God is God.”
See, this is what I’m talking about. That isn’t my position. You are mischaracterizing it and you have no interest in learning the truth.
“You are capable of taking that objective, non-mythological view when it comes to Roman, Greek, Norse, history – why is it such a stretch for us to apply the same view to the Judeo-Christian cosmology?”
You will never know because you won’t stop to think about what someone else is telling you. If you really wanted to know, you wouldn’t write these type of responses. You would listen and then think and then ask questions related to what was said, not complete rejections because you believe it’s all myth.



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RJohnson

posted April 16, 2008 at 6:34 pm


Michele: “My argument is that there was to be no conversion of those nations because they were to be utterly destroyed.”
In other words we are back to the issue of genocide.



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Michele McGinty

posted April 16, 2008 at 6:40 pm


“In other words we are back to the issue of genocide.”
How can God commit genocide? He is sovereign over life and death. All death is at his decree, so he doesn’t single out anyone group for death.



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RJohnson

posted April 16, 2008 at 6:41 pm


Me: “If I were to kill you, Michele, and then offer up my defense as “God told me it was time for Michele to die, and I was to be his implement in her death,” do you think your family would understand and accept me as following God’s will? More directly, if I were to come to your home and say that God had decreed that your daughter was to die by my hand, would you stand aside and allow me to carry out God’s will?”
Michele: “Sorry, RJohnson you have to first answer the question and then I promise to respond to the above. Do you believe that God is sovereign over death?”
If God is sovereign over life and death, then God may choose to take that life at any time, by any agent of His choosing. Therefore He could very well send someone to your house, having determined in His wisdom that your child was due to die, and use that person to carry out His will, correct?
However, if God is not sovereign over life and death we are left with what you would identify as a chaotic atmosphere where the law was that which the powerful, crafty, and well-connected said it was, and the law would never be settled but would only change as the power changed among the players in the system.
So, for sake of our discussion, let’s assume God is sovereign over life and death. What do you say to the individual who comes to your door and says that your daughter’s life has been demanded by the Most High God? To you turn her over or do you demand proof?



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RJohnson

posted April 16, 2008 at 6:45 pm


Me: “In other words we are back to the issue of genocide.”
Michele: “How can God commit genocide? He is sovereign over life and death. All death is at his decree, so he doesn’t single out anyone group for death.”
If God is sovereign over life and death, then He is sovereign over those in the macro and micro viewpoint. In other words He is sovereign over the lives of the Midianites and over your daughter equally.
So again, we are back to the person at your door saying that God has sent Him to take the life of your daughter. What do you do?



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RJohnson

posted April 16, 2008 at 6:56 pm


“I suppose if you must look at the Bible as being an accurate account of cosmic occurrance, then it makes sense that you’d see whatever God decided to do in his angry past as “right.” He is, after all, God, and taking a Job-like stance is appropriate: God’s gonna do what God’s gonna do because God is God.”
Michele: “See, this is what I’m talking about. That isn’t my position. You are mischaracterizing it and you have no interest in learning the truth.”
Michele, you assert that God is sovereign over life and death. I am sure you know the definition of sovereign, but for others I will post it here, just so we are all on the same page.
Sovereign, according to the American Heritage Dictionary
ADJECTIVE:
1. Self-governing; independent: a sovereign state.
2. Having supreme rank or power: a sovereign prince.
3. Paramount; supreme: Her sovereign virtue is compassion.
4.
1. Of superlative strength or efficacy: a sovereign remedy.
2. Unmitigated: sovereign contempt.
So in saying “God is sovereign” we are saying that “God is paramount or supreme.” As I see the word I think of it as meaning that God is in absolute and complete control, governing according to His will in all matters regarding life and death. Would you agree with this?
If that be the case, then anything God does is, by definition, right. This is sovereign rule, the rule of a monarch. There is no standard by which the sovereign can be judged other than the standard set by the sovereign, for nothing or nobody outranks Him. Would you agree with this?



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Michele McGinty

posted April 16, 2008 at 7:00 pm


“So, for sake of our discussion, let’s assume God is sovereign over life and death. What do you say to the individual who comes to your door and says that your daughter’s life has been demanded by the Most High God? To you turn her over or do you demand proof?”
I’m not interesting in a hypothetical, I’m interested in what you believe. Do you believe that God is in control of the universe? Do you believe that he is sovereign over life and death? Do you believe that he’s the Creator? That’s all I’m asking here, can’t you just say yes or no?



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RJohnson

posted April 16, 2008 at 7:02 pm


Me: “This may be impossible for Michele. Unless I miss my guess she feels that salvation itself is linked inextricably with the view one takes of the Scriptures, and that anything other than a literalist interpretation of the Scriptures puts salvation itself into doubt. She gave a peek at this earlier when she posted:”
Michele: “You missed your guess. I asked about what you believed because I’m trying to figure it out and you are trying to play gotcha. If that’s all you want, we might as well stop know because I’m not in the mood to waste my time.”
No, I am not playing gotcha. However, can you not see how the statement that you posted (and I quoted just after the above words) might lead one to think that you see such a link?
If you do not see such a link, then why would viewing the account of the conquest of the Promised Land as mythos written by the victor invalidate any other part of the OT or the NT? If there is no link, what do you mean in your words:
“So, God didn’t give Israel the land, there was no Adam and Eve, no original sin, God didn’t bring Israel out of Egypt.
I guess that means you don’t believe that Jesus was the Son of God and rose again from the dead? That he didn’t come to die for the sins of his people.”



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Michele McGinty

posted April 16, 2008 at 7:03 pm


And I will answer your the person at the door when you answer what you, RJohnson believe.



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Michele McGinty

posted April 16, 2008 at 7:05 pm


“what do you mean in your words”
I was trying to determine how much of the Bible you viewed as midrash.



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RJohnson

posted April 16, 2008 at 7:19 pm


Me: “So, for sake of our discussion, let’s assume God is sovereign over life and death. What do you say to the individual who comes to your door and says that your daughter’s life has been demanded by the Most High God? To you turn her over or do you demand proof?”
Michele: “I’m not interesting in a hypothetical, I’m interested in what you believe. Do you believe that God is in control of the universe? Do you believe that he is sovereign over life and death? Do you believe that he’s the Creator? That’s all I’m asking here, can’t you just say yes or no?”
Why, Michele? The question I ask you above places you in a position quite similar to those people in the cities that the Israelites were invading. You have stated that you believe God to be sovereign over all life and death. Does that include the live(s) of your daughter(s) as well?
I ask this because this is the question each and every person in those condemned cities had to face when the envoy of the Israelites came to offer peace and enslavement. It puts a very real face on the issue of the sovereign nature of God and our response to the concept.
I will be honest with you, Michele, I struggle with this concept. A few weeks ago our church suffered the loss of a 17 year old girl in a tragic car wreck.
http://www.thehawkeye.com/Story/fatality-030208
I received the call from the father later that afternoon, about 7 hours after the accident happened. He was asking me to go to the funeral home with him to help with arrangements. Our minister was out of town, so he called me.
The issue of the sovereign nature of God over life and death is more than a theological exercise in those moments, Michele, as I am sure you will find out in your own ministry. In your certainty that God is sovereign, then you also must acknowledge that He chose to permit that death as well as the driver’s.
It is easy to talk in the abstract about God being sovereign, but when it is your own child in question, are you willing to acknowledge that sovereignty based on the word of someone you do not know, standing at your door, saying that it is time for your child to die?
This is the position that the women in those cities found themselves. They were mothers, just like you. They were sinners, just like you. They loved their sons, every bit as much as you love your daughters. They were faced with strange people from a strange place saying that a God that they had never heard of, or a God they did not believe in, had given their homeland over to them. These mothers, wives, and caregivers were faced with the choice of surrendering their lives to servitude or resisting. When defeated they were told that their sons, their infant sons, must die.
The stranger is at the door of your home, Michele. He says God has decreed that your daughter must die. What do you do?



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RJohnson

posted April 16, 2008 at 7:25 pm


Michele: “And I will answer your the person at the door when you answer what you, RJohnson believe.”
I have answered as honestly as I know how. Will you do likewise?



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meh

posted April 16, 2008 at 7:44 pm


See, this is what I’m talking about. That isn’t my position. You are mischaracterizing it and you have no interest in learning the truth.
I can say with 100% honesty that I am *not* – repeat- *not* mischaracterizing your position. You haven’t *said* what your position is, except that God is sovreign. If that is not, in fact, what you mean, then I may be misunderstanding your position, but I’m not mischaracterizing it.
To be fair, you are using words that means something very specific to you and not taking the time to explain what those words mean. To someone who does nto have your frame of reverent reference, you must understand that those words don’t mean to you what they mean to me, and yet you insist on putting a nefarious intent into my reacctions.
It’s patently unfair.
Without explaining why one set of ancient writings is more true than another set of ancient writings, to someone that sees them as simply “ancient writings,” then something like the following passsage has a completely different meaning.
You said:
“In redemptive history God determined to punish a nation, the Amorites, because of their sins against him. That is one nation among many that are judged by God. You can’t extrapolate from that the Holocaust was a punishment from God because we are know living in a time of grace, not a time when God executes judgments against nations…”
I have no idea how to read that passage, because understanding it is predicated upon taking a whole host of theological ins and outs as merely givens.
if you say that it was right for the Israelites to act as the judgment of God against the list of tribes RJohnson provided because God so ordained it, I do not understand why you would take offense at what I said here: “God is right because God is God.”
If that’s not what you mean, then what do you mean? You’re certainly not being clear. it’s almost as if you’re deliberately obfuscating so you can look down on the poor lost unbeliever.
I’d be insulted if I thought that’s what you’re actually doing.
I don’t. it’s just coming across that way. i know you’re busy, and that you don’t want to cast your pearls before a swine like me, but frankly, sister, you’re giving me short shrift.
I’ve been nothing but honest with you on this thread – from the standpoint of someone that cannot distinguish between the cosmically-influenced history of one people and the mythological storytelling of other peoples, it all looks like myth.
I’m not asking you to prove to me that it’s not myth. I don’t care if you think I’m doomed to hell or whatever happens to people like me. What I want to know is *why* do you believe the way you do? What about that story, with all the killing and the blood and the dying, do you find redemptive?



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Michele McGinty

posted April 16, 2008 at 7:57 pm


Thank you for your answer. I now understand the problem that you had answering it and can sympathize. I’ve been in ministry a number of years (I taught the Bible to women for over 10 years) and know the struggles that people have over the concept of the Lord being sovereign over their children.
“It is easy to talk in the abstract about God being sovereign, but when it is your own child in question, are you willing to acknowledge that sovereignty based on the word of someone you do not know, standing at your door, saying that it is time for your child to die?”
The difference between your analogy and Israel, is that Israel was called by God to go into the land. No one can claim that he’s heard from God today because God doesn’t speak to man today the way that he did through the prophets:
Hebrews 1:1 ¶ Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.
Jesus is the prophet that is the intermediary between God and man. He is the one who told us what God wants of us (He is the prophet that Moses said was coming — Deut. 18:18 — he is the archetypal prophet that all the other prophets are based on).
The nation of Israel was told to go into the land of promise and be a people of God. They were to destroy all the inhabitants (which they didn’t do) and live in the land as God’s people, obeying him and forsaking other gods (which they didn’t do).
Jesus was sent into the world to establish the kingdom of God but the war was spiritual. He triumphed on the cross over his enemies and he took the captives captive and he reigns over them now.
That’s why Israel is no longer Israel in the sense that they are a nation unto God. God’s kingdom is in Christ not in the Middle East.
“The stranger is at the door of your home, Michele. He says God has decreed that your daughter must die. What do you do?”
You do realize that there are cultural differences between how we view children and how they viewed children? You are trying to take 21 century sensibilities and project them unto the people of that day. Would we make our children a burnt offering?
But here’s the bottom line, God created man and warned man that he would die if he disobeyed God. He did so and now man dies. I don’t know if you view the garden as a myth or not but that would be my ultimate answer to your analogy. Man dies because we are disobedient to God. None of us deserves life because we are all in rebellion against God. But God in his grace has allowed us to live. Thanks be to God for his mercy.



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RJohnson

posted April 16, 2008 at 8:59 pm


Michele: “Thank you for your answer. I now understand the problem that you had answering it and can sympathize. I’ve been in ministry a number of years (I taught the Bible to women for over 10 years) and know the struggles that people have over the concept of the Lord being sovereign over their children.”
Then you know the difficulty in applying theological precepts to oneself in times of crisis. It is perhaps the most difficult and challenging part of any kind of ministry, pastoral or otherwise.
Me: “It is easy to talk in the abstract about God being sovereign, but when it is your own child in question, are you willing to acknowledge that sovereignty based on the word of someone you do not know, standing at your door, saying that it is time for your child to die?”
Michele: “The difference between your analogy and Israel, is that Israel was called by God to go into the land. No one can claim that he’s heard from God today because God doesn’t speak to man today the way that he did through the prophets:
Hebrews 1:1 ¶ Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.
Jesus is the prophet that is the intermediary between God and man. He is the one who told us what God wants of us (He is the prophet that Moses said was coming — Deut. 18:18 — he is the archetypal prophet that all the other prophets are based on).
The nation of Israel was told to go into the land of promise and be a people of God. They were to destroy all the inhabitants (which they didn’t do) and live in the land as God’s people, obeying him and forsaking other gods (which they didn’t do).”
The Bible was not written at that time. There was no written account for the Israelites to show these people as they addressed them about God’s will. All that was given was the Israelites saying that God had willed this. Nothing more.
Michele: “Jesus was sent into the world to establish the kingdom of God but the war was spiritual. He triumphed on the cross over his enemies and he took the captives captive and he reigns over them now.
That’s why Israel is no longer Israel in the sense that they are a nation unto God. God’s kingdom is in Christ not in the Middle East.”
We know that today because of the Bible, which we accept in faith as being the Word of God. The people of those cities and nations in the days of the return did not have this knowledge. All they knew was that some strange people were at the gates claiming that God had decreed them to die.
Me: “The stranger is at the door of your home, Michele. He says God has decreed that your daughter must die. What do you do?”
Michele: “You do realize that there are cultural differences between how we view children and how they viewed children? You are trying to take 21 century sensibilities and project them unto the people of that day. Would we make our children a burnt offering?”
You are prevaricating, Michele. I gave honest answer, you promised the same.
Michele: “But here’s the bottom line, God created man and warned man that he would die if he disobeyed God. He did so and now man dies. I don’t know if you view the garden as a myth or not but that would be my ultimate answer to your analogy. Man dies because we are disobedient to God. None of us deserves life because we are all in rebellion against God. But God in his grace has allowed us to live. Thanks be to God for his mercy.”
I am tempted to be a bit testy here and insist you give me an answer. However I understand your reluctance, for I share it. I place myself in the shoes of those parents, faced with the choice they had. If all I knew was what they were telling me, and I had no verification of it, I would likely resist. No, I would definitely resist. If strange people showed up at my doorstep, or at the bridge coming into our community, saying that God had decreed our town should be destroyed and all the men, women and children killed, I would honestly disagree with them and grab my shotgun and defend my family and home.
Kara’s father asked me why his daughter had to die. He asked me why God didn’t do something, anything, to save her.
Your confidence is God’s sovereignty is admirable, Michele. I was once similarly confident in the same. Life, and God, challenged me in my certainty.
I pray, in all sincerity, that He spares you from that challenge.



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MH

posted April 16, 2008 at 9:26 pm


meh: What I want to know is *why* do you believe the way you do?
That question is probably the reason I read this and some related blogs off an on. While I am not as strident as you in my disbelief, I suspect that it is impossible for you and I to understand this mindset.
However after reading this thread I think I got the answer to my natural disaster question I asked in another thread.



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Donny

posted April 17, 2008 at 8:39 am


Carter is simply insane or deluded by demonic powers. His actions are hell-bent to destroy the people he knows very well are special to God. The Israeli’s have proven their beauty over and over and over again in their restraint against the Muslim world united to kill them. If I were Jewish and lived in Israel I would demand that Carter not even touch the ground in Israel. Let the Taliban send some armed thugs to protect Carter wherever he takes his anti-Christian pro-death circus. Or better yet, why doesn’t the Palestinian followers of the religion of peace put Carter’s name on the rockets the shoot into Israel every day with a few Gospel tracts attached to them. Then, when the Taliban gets a view of Carter and his religion, the world (the decent part) will no longer have to worry about Jimmy Carter supporting terrorists and terrorism. Carter needs to repent and start asking Muslims to stop murdering people in the name of Islam. – – – And then, after that, he can fly back to his buddy Hugo Chavez, and ask him to stop his war on America, and then, he could fly to China and ask the Chinese to end their economic war on Americans. But alas, demomic powers usually don’t work against the powers they promote.



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RJohnson

posted April 17, 2008 at 9:15 am


But Donny, according to Michele (our host here at this blog), Israel has no Biblical title to the land they inhabit. In fact, if I understand Covenant Theology correctly, it teaches that the church, not Israel, is now God’s chosen people. I’m uncertain if Michele would use those particular words, but in the past days as I’ve seen other CT advocates online use them,
So, according to Covenant Theology, Israel is no longer God’s chosen people, and therefore no longer special to God.



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meh

posted April 17, 2008 at 9:31 am


Israel may no longer be “special,” but one thing is for certain:
Donny is *definitely* “Special.”



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Michele McGinty

posted April 17, 2008 at 9:51 am


OK, meh. You got it, I’ll answer your questions. All of them. You’re right, I’m not interested in keeping you in the dark. Is your question why do I believe in the Bible instead of some other myth like Greek mythology?
As to your statement: “God is right because God is God.” I don’t agree with this statement because I know that you don’t understand God and you leave out some very important facts. God is all-knowing so any judgment he makes is based on his knowledge, he doesn’t need witnesses because he knows what we’ve done and our motives. God is good and just and since he’s all-knowing, his judgment is true. God is not right because he’s God. God is right in his judgment because he is a just and holy God. He would not lie to our account judgment that was not ours.



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Michele McGinty

posted April 17, 2008 at 10:06 am


“You are prevaricating, Michele”
Actually I probably should have expanded that answer more, I wasn’t trying to avoid your question, I was trying to say that we can’t put our sensibilities on them. They would have viewed Israel as an invading army. Though the Bible does make clear that they understood that the God of Israel was powerful and was giving their enemies into their hand (Joshua 2,9).
“Your confidence is God’s sovereignty is admirable, Michele. I was once similarly confident in the same. Life, and God, challenged me in my certainty.
I pray, in all sincerity, that He spares you from that challenge.”
I know that when theology meets life it takes a beating. I know that if my children were taken by God I would rail against God for doing it. I would be upset that the beauty and the love that he blessed me with would be gone and my life would empty of meaning. But I trust in the Lord that he will get me through that time. My hope and my trust is in him to get me through, I hold to that hope because of who he is. He is good, kind, merciful and loving. He was there during my two miscarriages and I know he’ll be there through the rest because he has promised to never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5) and I believe him.



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Michele McGinty

posted April 17, 2008 at 10:08 am


MH, I’m sorry I didn’t see that question. If your question was: “do I believe that God is in control of national disasters,” then my answer would be yes, I do.



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MH

posted April 17, 2008 at 11:53 am


No problem Michelle, you have a lot to keep up with here.
Yes that was the question since it has an impact on the problem of evil.



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meh

posted April 17, 2008 at 12:31 pm


Thanks Michele,
That is my main question, yes – “Is your question why do I believe in the Bible instead of some other myth like Greek mythology?” It also includes Roman, Norse, Hindu, Chinese, Aboriginal, Native American, etc. in that question – not just Greek, but you get the point for sure. My corrolary questions all follow from that one, so I look forward to reading your response.



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Michele McGinty

posted April 17, 2008 at 12:33 pm


“Yes that was the question since it has an impact on the problem of evil.”
It does because the Bible clearly teaches that God is sovereign over all and decrees all but it also says:
Jame 1:13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one.
How do we reconcile human responsibility and God’s sovereignty? I will be honest and say that it is very difficult to reconcile. I think the best response I’ve heard so far has been Keller’s. When I’m done with this semester I was thinking about summarizing his response and putting it on the blog.



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Michele McGinty

posted April 17, 2008 at 4:23 pm


The question is quite easy and hard at the same time. The easy part: why don’t I believe that polytheistic myths are true? Because they describe a world in which cannot exist. I know that Neptune (Poseidon) does not control the sea, I know that Hades (Pluto) does not control the underworld, I know that there isn’t a god of war, or a god who is god of the other gods, nor a god of love or nature, etc. This answer would be the same for any of the other polytheistic belief systems.
Now, here comes the hard part. You’re probably ready to pounce and ask, if I know that they aren’t in control of all those things why do I believe that God is? And though I know my response will not satisfy you, there isn’t much more that I can say than this: I believe that God is sovereign and in control of the universe because I know that he created it and he sustains it. Even if you proved to me that Christianity was untrue, I would still believe that there was a God who created all this. I would have no idea what type of God he was but I would still believe in him since I know there was a creator God. I could never be an atheist because I know that all of this wasn’t an accident. Sorry, but it all works together too smoothly to not have a grand design and a grand designer.
Now, on the positive side, why do I believe that the Bible is true? Because I’ve read the whole story from Genesis to Revelation and it makes sense. It fits with the world that I experience. In it I find the answers to the questions that have plagued man since the dawn of philosophy :-) Who are we? Why are we here? What is the purpose of life? How did we get here? Who am I?
I believe it’s truth claims. I believe that we are at war with God, I see it everyday on this blog, I see it all over the Internet and I have experienced it in my own life before I became a Christian. I see it throughout the course of human history as society after society tries to find a way to appease an angry God. I see it in my own life of trying to be a good person and I see it in the lives of others who are trying to as well, even the atheists who don’t believe that they have to appease a wrathful God. I see my need of a Savior because I know I will never be able to stand before a wrathful God in my own acts of kindness or trying to be ethical or moral (puny as they are).
There’s the gist of it, I probably could have gone into more detail but I think it sums up what I believe.



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meh

posted April 17, 2008 at 6:49 pm


Thanks for posting that. I understand where you’re coming from now.



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Michele McGinty

posted April 17, 2008 at 10:19 pm


So, that’s it? No more questions? I am in seminary so I do have more than that :-)



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meh

posted April 17, 2008 at 11:19 pm


Well, I have plenty, but I don’t know how to ask them. I’m afraid any question I ask will be read as an attack on some foundational principal I’m not aware of.
There are so many premises that are required for what you said to make sense, and I don’t have a frame of reference from which to ask this any other way. But since you ask, please read the following without an eye for an attack, as it’s offered in innocent inquisitiveness:
Now, on the positive side, why do I believe that the Bible is true? Because I’ve read the whole story from Genesis to Revelation and it makes sense. It fits with the world that I experience. In it I find the answers to the questions that have plagued man since the dawn of philosophy :-) Who are we? Why are we here? What is the purpose of life? How did we get here? Who am I?
Are there not other answers to those questions that make even more sense than supernatural ones? Who are we, why are we here and what is the purpose of life have much simpler answers than ones which only a single tribe in the entirety of human history have been able to suss out. We are living beings. We are here to live. Our purpose in life is to participate in it – to be born, to live, and to die.
Why is that not enough? Why must there be more than that? Why must we believe that we are so special that an entire universe was created just so it could produce us? Why is there more “meaning” in a worldview predicated upon uncertain externalities than one built on actual experience?
And the big one: Why is good not possible without belief in a god – namely, yours?
Thanks for reading that with as much generosity as you can muster.



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Michele McGinty

posted April 18, 2008 at 6:36 am


“Are there not other answers to those questions that make even more sense than supernatural ones?”
Yeah, of course. There are many different answers aren’t there? But which one is the right one? I believe I was created for a purpose and I believe that I found it. When I read the Bible I realized that my life had meaning that I didn’t even realize. Now, you can believe that all there is to life is this life but why do you believe that? Why do you think your answer to the questions is right and mine is wrong?
Don’t worry about asking your questions, now that I know you want to know and not attack I will read what you write in that light.
“Why must we believe that we are so special that an entire universe was created just so it could produce us?”
It’s not that we are so special that God created the universe for us, it’s that God is so immense he could create a huge, complex environment for us to live in :-)



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meh

posted April 18, 2008 at 8:27 am


Now, you can believe that all there is to life is this life but why do you believe that?
Because there is no evidence for anything more than that. I mean real, tangible evidence. There’s plenty of speculation, but it just seems to be that: speculation.
Why do you think your answer to the questions is right and mine is wrong?

Because for that one tribes take on the ordering of the universe to be correct means that no other people in the history of people (and that goes back way farther than the Middle East 6k years ago) lived ‘right.’
In a material world, what works survives, and what doesn’t work doesn’t survive. How is it that there were people for tens of thousands of years living the way they lived, but as soon as the world was subjugated to live the way the Bible said to live, we find ourselves in a crisis of global proportions within a mere 2-4k years?
To me, that’s evidence that such a way of living doesn’t “work.”
of course, that’s part and parcel of the worldview, though, isn’t it? In the story that people lived before the bible, humans were part of the community of life, just like badgers and lions and beetles. They lived for millennia just as those other animals did. The world had no end, and our lives were finite. If we wanted to continue, we had to care for and support each other – the tribal way – the same way the native peoples lived before they came in contact with people who were living the story in the bible.
In that story, humanity can’t live without God, and the world has a finite end. In that story, humanity is fatally flawed instead of working exactly as intended. In that story, how we treat each other is excusable, because of the fall. How we treat the world is excusable because it will end and then we get to live in paradise.
Before that story, the world *was* paradise – red in tooth and claw, to be sure, but we continued – we lived.
How is it that in the bible story, there can be no good without God, but those native Americans who greeted Columbus did so with open arms. How is it that the tribes living near the first American colonies treated the pilgrims with such compassion that they welcomed them and showed them how to grow food here? how is it that they shared their bounty with those who had nothing if there is no good without the god of the bible?
These are the questions that will keep me from ever being capable fo believing the narrative of the bible is anything morethan one tribe’s take on the matter of “Who are we, why are we here and what purpose do we serve?” because their answers, taken to their logical conclusion, put the whole of humanity at war with the rest of the living world.



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Michele McGinty

posted April 18, 2008 at 9:43 am


“there can be no good without God”
Reformed Christians believe in common grace that man can be good (by man’s standards, not by God’s — good by God’s standards is perfect conformity to the law) apart from a belief or submission to God so it is not surprising to me that Native Americans could have been welcoming to Columbus or that atheists today could be much more gracious than me :-)
“because their answers, taken to their logical conclusion, put the whole of humanity at war with the rest of the living world.”
I think that you paint a rosier picture of the world than has existed in the course of human history. Sunnis and Shiites fight over their brand of Islam. Greece and Roman put themselves at war with the rest of the world to conquer it. So did Hitler. None of these nations did so because of Christianity or Judaism. Man will always be in conflict with each other because each of us wants to dominate and some more than others.
In the last 2k years you’ve had Christians fighting Christians but you’ve also had atheists killing millions of people in China, Vietnam, USSR, Cuba, etc. So, I wouldn’t put all of humanities problems on the backs of Christianity or Judaism because man bears the weight of his warmongering — it’s existed since the beginning of time (Cain and Abel which I know you don’t believe but I’m sure you would agree that nations have been waring against each other forever and that man has probably killed each other since the dawn of time)
You may call it one tribes story but it has been embraced by many tribes since then. I guess you don’t think it amazing that a story that is so specific to a place and time could be so universally accepted as “my story” and that we aren’t bothered that it was written before the Enlightenment :-) I find the universal acceptance of the story amazing!



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meh

posted April 18, 2008 at 11:00 am


You may call it one tribes story but it has been embraced by many tribes since then. I guess you don’t think it amazing that a story that is so specific to a place and time could be so universally accepted as “my story” and that we aren’t bothered that it was written before the Enlightenment :-) I find the universal acceptance of the story amazing!
You know, I find it difficult to separate the expansion of empire from that equation. Much of that “acceptance” is the result of the destruction of old ways of being by encroaching civilizations. It only takes 2 generations living under bondage to destroy a belief system.
Here’s how it works:
When first subjugated or captured, there are members of the tribe who remember living and believing in the old way. The first generation fo children born in captivity at least have their parents and grandparents who know the old way to pass it on to them. This is why I think it was such a horrible thing that in both the US and Autralia native children were taken from their parents to be schooled in the “civilized” way.
When the first generation to be born in captivity becomes the last generation to remember anyone who wasn’t, then assimilation is complete.
It’s not, therefore, amazing to me that the story has been almost universally accepted because our civilization has been almost universally imposed.
Does that make sense?
I guess I’m saying if the Romans had been successful in conquering the world, most of us would still be worshipping Zeus.



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meh

posted April 18, 2008 at 11:07 am


I think that you paint a rosier picture of the world than has existed in the course of human history. Sunnis and Shiites fight over their brand of Islam. Greece and Roman put themselves at war with the rest of the world to conquer it. So did Hitler. None of these nations did so because of Christianity or Judaism. Man will always be in conflict with each other because each of us wants to dominate and some more than others.

I have to ask about this as well…
Do the tens of thousands of years of pre-civilization humanity not count in this equation?



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MH

posted April 18, 2008 at 11:14 am


Not to pile on, but I’d like to ask a question about the nature of good in general.
I was raised Christian and had the reverse of your experience Michelle. One example is the story of Abraham and his son which really creeped me out.
My objection boils down to this philosophical problem. Is something good because God tells us, or is it simply good? If it’s good then why does God need to tell us? If it is because God tells us, then good is not good, but God’s opinion.
God’s asking Abraham to kill his son seems pretty wrong to me, so this seems to imply that good is based upon God’s opinion. The prevention of the sacrifice really doesn’t change my objections.



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Michele McGinty

posted April 18, 2008 at 11:31 am


“This is why I think it was such a horrible thing that in both the US and Autralia native children were taken from their parents to be schooled in the “civilized” way.”
Did you know that the Babylonians and the Romans did the exact same thing before the advent of Christianity? :-)
“almost universally imposed”
I think that the early church would be pretty shocked to hear that given the fact that the Roman government was persecuting them for believing what they did. Far from imposing Christianity on their citizens, it was trying to stamp it out among it’s citizens. And the Christian community was growing despite the persecution. And btw, this was going on at the time that Rome was trying to conquer the world.
And look at China, the government isn’t imposing Christianity on it’s citizens and yet there has been an implosive growth of house churches and I’ve heard that there has been a growth of Christianity in Iran as well.
Growth through persecution, pretty amazing :-)



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Michele McGinty

posted April 18, 2008 at 11:40 am


“Do the tens of thousands of years of pre-civilization humanity not count in this equation?”
BTW, meh you’ll notice I kind of answered this with the example of the Babylonians.
But if you want to look at their barbarism of sacrificing their children, making war with each other (how about those Goths and Samurai), and other acts of violence I’m sure it would be fun to look at the history of humanity.



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Michele McGinty

posted April 18, 2008 at 11:50 am


“My objection boils down to this philosophical problem. Is something good because God tells us, or is it simply good? If it’s good then why does God need to tell us? If it is because God tells us, then good is not good, but God’s opinion.”
I’m going to answer this in two parts because the first part is easier to answer than the second and I’ll need to think about it more before I respond.
God is good in his nature. It is who he is as he is. It is part of his essence. He created man. If man has anything: goodness, compassion, wisdom, etc. it came from God. It’s not just God’s opinion what is good, it’s that he is the standard for goodness. We could have no goodness if our Creator didn’t have goodness.
I need to think about the Abraham story a little before I respond to that. Right now my mind is on Deuteronomy 5 and God’s theophany at Sinai and not Genesis :-)



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meh

posted April 18, 2008 at 12:07 pm


I guess I don’t make a distinction between Christian civilization and Chinese or Babylonian civilization.
Seems to me that regardless of which civilization is expanding, they do so by 1) conquering and then 2) imposing a narrative that justifies the conquering.
So it appears that my disconnect is not with the Judeo-Christian religion as justification in the west so much as it is any religious justification for conquest.
Wow. Lots of food for thought there.



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