This week we start our study of the period from the Exile to Christ. We will be examining the wisdom literature of the bible with a focus on what it has to say about suffering. Is all suffering deserved? Do we gain wisdom through suffering? Is the price too high to pay?
In this episode we will be tracing the genealogy of Jesus from Abraham to David as found in Matthew 1:2-6 and Luke 3:31-34. How do we deal with the violence in the Old Testament? What do we make of the conquest of Canaan? What about the Amalekites? Are these events even historical?
Starting the Genealogy of Jesus in Luke 3:34-38 – we take a quick look at the first 11 chapters of Genesis. Please leave a comment on biblecontroversy.wordpress.com. You can also reach me at THEBIBLECONTROVERSY@YAHOO.COM.
In this episode we start with a comparison of Luke 1:1-4 and John 1:1-18. Eternal Word of God or product of its time and place?
What is this about?
Have you ever noticed that Atheists tend to get most excited when discussing the Bible? They can quote scripture better than the average Christian. They love the Old Testament. Their eyes light up as they talk about how ridiculous Noah and his flood and his animals are, they love Leviticus and cite chapter and verse on the carnage in Joshua. They excitedly proclaim that the best way to turn a Christian into an Atheist is to make them read the Bible!
Apologists on the other hand bring up Science. Their God is the omnipotent, omniscient, and timeless being who is the first cause. He is the one who fine tunes the mass of the electron. (Is the electron mentioned in the Bible?) He sets the strength of the strong force. (Is that Genesis 1:3?) Several billion years later God puts all the incredibly unlikely protein chains together, adds in the mysteriously information rich nucleic acids, and further supplies the lipids and carbohydrates to form the amazing living cell. Later still, God spectacularly expands the diversity of life in the Cambrian explosion. (Is this day five?) Finally, he creates the most complex object in the universe: the human brain. (At least that is what the human brain wants you to think.)
But when it comes to the bible … Apologists quickly run to their “minimal facts.” They take a couple of events that they insist are accepted by almost all New Testament scholars (not just the Christians) and state that the best explanation of those facts is the resurrection. And then they are … done! Case closed, now that you are a Christian you can come to our bible study while we figure out how to deal with all those difficult passages those crazy Atheists keep citing.
Atheists, when confronted with these “scientific” arguments seem to be a bit defensive, a bit unsure, always saying that “well that may be true but that doesn’t prove God.” The rhetoric gets weaker and the attitude a bit more humble. Where before they were confidently expounding on the evils of the Bible they now simply shrug their shoulders and say with the faith of a mustard seed (the smallest seed?) that Science will eventually figure it out.
What is going on here?
Genocide! Murder! Incest! The accusations go on and on. The treatment of women. Condoning, supporting and encouraging slavery. Denial of science. Denial of other religions and other cultures. Beyond these moral questions, we face difficulties in dealing with contradictions and unclear doctrines. There are a lot of other questions as well. But the big question remains.
Does a coherent and worthy to follow message remain after we’ve used every tool to dismantle, interrogate and analyze the bible? That’s the journey this blog (potential podcast) is on. What do you think?