OT Stories - Myths,Legends, Parables, or Real

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OT Stories - Myths,Legends, Parables, or Real

In discussions with Caposkia on his thread regarding his recommended book (New Atheist Crusaders) we have mutually agreed to open a discussion on the OT discussing reality versus myth for stories in the OT. My position is that the OT is largely myths and legends with little basis in reality. There may be stories that may be considered literature as Rook has suggested though it still incorporates myths and legends as well in my opinion. The intent is to examine major stories and discuss the mythical components versus the interpretations by Christians and Jews that these events were real. Caposkia has indicated in many of his posts that he agrees that some of the stories are reality based and in those areas I'm interested in understanding his reasoning or any other believer for acceptance versus others where he does not consider them to be. It may be there are a few where we may find agreement as to a story being a myth or it being real though my inclination is little more is reality based other than kingdoms existed in Palestine that were called Israel and Judah and they interacted with other nations in some fashion.

Since the basis of Christian beliefs started with creation and the fall of man we'll begin there and attempt to progress through Genesis in some sort of logical order sort of like Sunday School for those of you that went. I’m not particularly concerned about each little bit of belief in these stories but I’m more interested in the mythology aspects. We could for pages argue over original sin or free will but that isn’t even necessary in my opinion as the text discredits itself with blatant assertions and impossibilities. Instead consider for example Eve is created in one version from Adam’s rib which can be directly compared to the Sumerian goddess of the rib called Nin-ti which Ninhursag gave birth to heal the god Enki. Other comparisons can be made to the Sumerian paradise called Dilmun to the Garden of Eden as well. These stories predate the OT by thousands of years and tell the tale of the ancient Annuna gods that supposedly created the world. Visit www-etcsl.orient.ox.ac.uk/# for more information and some of the translated stories, click on corpus content by number or category.

In order for salvation through Christ from our supposed sins against the God the events of Genesis must have occurred in some fashion. If the Genesis stories are largely mythical or they are simply a parable then this basis is poorly founded and weakens the entire structure of Christian belief. Caposkia claims I error at square one because I don't acknowledge a spiritual world. I suggest that he and other followers error by accepting that which there is no detectable basis. This is done by interpreting parables and myths by the ancients to be more than inadequate understanding by unknowing people that looked for an answer to why things were in the world they observed.

In Genesis 1 is the supposed creation of the world by God. In this account illogical explanations start immediately with the description of the Earth being without form and darkness was upon it. Light is then created and explained as day and night. Next God molded his creation into better detail by creating Heaven above meaning the sky and waters on the earth. He then caused dry land to appear calling it the Earth and the waters the Seas. On this same day he created vegetation with the requirement that it bring forth after its kind by duplication through seeds. The following day he created the heavenly bodies to divide day from night and to be signs for seasons and for years. He made the great light to rule the day and the lesser light the night as well as all the stars. On the 5th day he created all the life in the seas and air with the requirement they reproduce after their own kind. The 6th day he created all the land animals including man both male and female. The gods in this case made man after their image as male and female in their own likeness. He commanded them to multiply and replenish the earth.

Problems start with this account immediately. The Earth according to science is leftover material from the forming of our star, the Sun. This material would have been a glowing mass of molten material. The land in any event would emerge first before water could exist as a liquid upon it due to the extreme heat.  Light would already exist in the form of the Sun which according to current science is not as old as other stars in our galaxy not to mention in the Universe. The account mentions that day and night were made but this is not so except for a local event on the planet. An object not on the Earth would have no such condition or a different form of night and day. The account further errors in claiming the Sun, Moon, and stars were all formed following the creation of the Earth. In theories of planet formulation the star is formed first and planets afterwords. In the case of the moon multiple theories occur though not one where it zapped into the Universe suddenly. The statement that the heavenly bodies were created for signs and seasons is more evidence of a legend. The other planets and stars are purposeful in ways that aid in life existing or continuing to do so on Earth. Jupiter for example is a great big vacuum cleaner sucking into its gravitational field all sorts of debris that could eradicate life on Earth. Is this then a design by the god or just part of the situation that helped to allow life to progress as it did on the Earth? The observation of specific planets or stars in specific areas of the sky is just that, an observation no more and not placed there by a god to indicate the change of seasons.

One can also see some similarity between Genesis 1 and the Egyptian creation myth Ra and the serpent, see http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/~humm/Resources/StudTxts/raSerpnt.html . In this myth Ra is the first on the scene and he creates all the creatures himself doing so before he made the wind or the rain. Ra does not create man but the gods he created gave birth to the people of Egypt who multiplied and flourished.

Some Jewish sects as well as Catholic belief allow for evolution to have been the method for creation of life on Earth. This however is in contradiction to Genesis in that all vegetation and animals were to reproduce only after their own kind. If this is so, then evolution is not compatible with the creation story. Simply put the life could not alter and produce different versions not after its kind. Since obvious examples exist for variation in species such as evolution even as simple as fish in caves without eyes or color versus those that are in streams outside there is obvious adaption thus discrediting this part of Genesis as myth.

The creation of man in Genesis 1 also suggests multiple gods as man was created in their likeness male and female thus following Canaanite gods such as Yahweh and his Asherah or Ba'al and Athirat that may be a reflection of an older tradition from either Egypt or Sumer. Genesis 2 on the other hand has a slightly different version from a variant I'll discuss in a later post.

I consider Genesis 1 to be a myth, legend or a parable based on all the problems discussed with basis in ancient stories from Sumer and Egypt. I leave it to Caposkia and other believers to indicate where they accept parts of Genesis 1 as reality and to indicate their reasoning if they do so.

____________________________________________________________
"I guess it's time to ask if you live under high voltage power transmission lines which have been shown to cause stimulation of the fantasy centers of the brain due to electromagnetic waves?" - Me

"God is omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent, - it says so right here on the label. If you have a mind capable of believing all three of these divine attributes simultaneously, I have a wonderful bargain for you. No checks please. Cash and in small bills." - Robert A Heinlein.


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1 Samuel part 4-

1 Samuel part 4- Cont’d

Chapter 8

We learn that Samuel has 2 sons that he made judges over Israel and as in other family ventures such as with his predecessor Eli, they were self serving taking bribes and making judgments based on self interest.

In response the people of Israel demand that Samuel come up with a king to rule them . The god responds to him that he should do so as the people asked as they were rejecting the god’s rule not Samuel. So he tells the people what will occur under this situation whereby the king will put many of them to service as well as impose taxes, force them into the army, take portions of their lands and they will eventually be distressed. Never the less the people still demand a king so Samuel tells the god of their wants.

The god tells Samuel to comply with their demand.

Chapter 9 – background on Saul

Saul was a young man the son of a Benjamite named Kish. The donkeys’ of his father had become lost so Saul & a servant were dispatched in an effort to recover them. At some point Saul concludes they should go back but the servant suggests they go into the the town where a seer of god could help them.

1 Sam 9:9 (NIV) - Formerly in Israel, if someone went to inquire of God, they would say, “Come, let us go to the seer,” because the prophet of today used to be called a seer.

Side comment on this verse. – This indicates to me that the god beliefs of the Israelites was just as mired in magic and superstition as any other ancient culture and was recast later on to support the developing Yahweh religion.

The two of them walk towards the town and then encounter Samuel who tells them the donkeys have gone home but Saul should stay as he was expected. Samuel had been told that he would meet Saul on this day in this way by the god.  Samuel had a feast and meal prepared for the occasion in advance and told Saul he was to be the one all Israel turned to. He told Samuel he was of the insignificant tribe of Benjamin and asked why should this be. The next day they rose early and came down from the high place to the town and Samuel told Saul to send his servant home.

Chapter 10 Saul is anointed to be king


Samuel then anoints Saul. He told him he would meet 2 men near Rachel’s tomb that would tell him the donkeys were found and his father had become worried over him. He tells Saul of other encounters he will have including a meeting with prophets who are prophesying which he will also do, forever changing him.

Samuel calls the tribes all together and told them the god had understood they had rejected him and wanted a king. So the tribes and clans were to present themselves. When the tribe of Benjamin was presented Saul was hiding in the supplies and was fetched to Samuel who presents him as their king.

Comments

This story is like any other mythical fiction or legend of the ancients describing how a man is selected to govern them by the god. Consider for example the story of King Arthur which is equally steeped in such legend. I see nothing here to suggest that the selection story of Saul was any different than any other such legend.

____________________________________________________________
"I guess it's time to ask if you live under high voltage power transmission lines which have been shown to cause stimulation of the fantasy centers of the brain due to electromagnetic waves?" - Me

"God is omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent, - it says so right here on the label. If you have a mind capable of believing all three of these divine attributes simultaneously, I have a wonderful bargain for you. No checks please. Cash and in small bills." - Robert A Heinlein.


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1 Samuel part 5-

1 Samuel part 5- Cont’d

Chapter 11

This is a far fetched tale of how Saul defeats the Ammonites, it is far fetched for a number of reasons that hopefully you can see, if not as always I’ll point it out after my short synopsis.

The Ammonites lead by Nahash besieges Jabesh Gilead. The people of the city are willing to surrender and make a treaty where they will be subject to Ammon. The leader however will only agree if all the people have their right eyes removed putting disgrace on all Israel. The people inform them they will need 7 days to decide and will send out messengers asking for help to rescue us. If no one comes to our rescue we will surrender to you.

When Saul heard what had occurred the spirit of the god came upon him and he became enraged. He was out in the fields and took a pair of oxen and cut them to pieces. He sent those pieces throughout all Israel with the message that whoever did not come out and follow Saul & Samuel will have this done to their oxen. And terror of the god came upon all of Israel so 300,000 of them as well as 30,000 of Judah came forth and assembled at Bezek. Saul sent a message to Jabesh that they would come to their aid by the time the Sun was hot.

The people of Jabesh informed the Ammonites they would surrender the next day when they had heard the message of Saul. And early in the morning Saul split his forces into 3, and attacked the Ammonite camp at the end of the last watch, slaughtering them until the heat of the day until there were not 2 of them left together.

This battle made all the people accept Saul as king and desired to murder all those who had opposed Saul in the 1st place. Saul told them, no one will die, as the God had saved Israel today. They then went to Gilgal where Saul was made king before the God and sacrifices were made to the God and Saul and the men of Israel celebrated.

Comments –

1-The besiegers I’m sure are going to allow those trapped in their city to send out messengers for help. Probably not.

2-Saul is shown to be a hothead, and kills his own oxen to force the people to come help their brothers in Jabesh. They come to help because they are terrified of consequences from the god. I Sam 11:7 NIV used the word terror, while KJV used the word fear in regard to the god.

3-300,000 Israelites and 30,000 Judahites assemble to come defend Jabesh. Based on archeology the populations in these 2 countries were at best – no more than 45,000 between both of them in about 250 communities. See Finkelstein Bible Unearthed pp 114-115. This included women and children as well in the population estimates based on archeology.

4- Nothing so far in archeology supports these 2 diverse countries, Israel and Judah were unified at the time of Saul’s supposed actions. Nothing supports Saul was a king over anything more than small tribes of highland dwellers in Judah. Nothing supports he was real either.

____________________________________________________________
"I guess it's time to ask if you live under high voltage power transmission lines which have been shown to cause stimulation of the fantasy centers of the brain due to electromagnetic waves?" - Me

"God is omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent, - it says so right here on the label. If you have a mind capable of believing all three of these divine attributes simultaneously, I have a wonderful bargain for you. No checks please. Cash and in small bills." - Robert A Heinlein.


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pauljohntheskeptic

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

It's not just the numbers it is also the lack of archeology supporting that there was much of a kingdom of Judah prior to the Assyrian eradication of Israel. See the 2 books I mentioned for supporting correlation. All along in this story we have had far fetched events taken singly that are questionable, taken together are simply indicative of a legendary story being comprised as a basis for the Yahweist believers in later Judah. See both Marcus and Finkelstein' comments. Clearly without evidence to the contrary I will not accept the magic, Sci-Fi and fantasy portrayed throughout the development of the storyline. I can produce equal stories of questionable basis from Sumer or other cultures steeped in just much fantasy without actual evidence. In the case of Sumer, we at least have documents from the time period, which we do not have from the Israelites. Though the possibilities of being based in our dimension of reality of the gods of Sumer in the way as described are equally unlikely as the fantasy storyline of the Israelites with the documents so far examined.

 

Where archeology lacks, other archeology more than makes up for according to many Biblical scholars.  If you have a theological library in your area... or even if you don't a public library should be able to borrow from one 2 sources that might be relevent to our discussion and specifically archeology.
 

1.  The Bible and the Historian (Paul S. Minear, Abingdon Press)

2.  The New Encyclopedia of Archeological Excavations in the Holy Land.  This is a 4 volume encyclopedia detailing... from what I understand everything we could possibly know about all archeology from that time and location.   It is referenced in CBD.com as "an essential reference tool for archaeologists, historians, Bible scholars, and explorers." 

With these 2 sources, i'm willing to bet you'll see that there really isn't a "lack of archeology" rather a lack of knowledge of archeology and how it ties in with Biblical texts.

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

An appeal to masses or should I say to mass delusion is not supportive of a position the god of the ancients was reality based. The RCC enabled by the government of Constantine and the inheriting kingdoms and countries pretty much assured the god beliefs originated in the ancient myths of Israel survived in some kind of morphed manner. 

Knowledge tends to change beliefs in superstition with time. We live over the edge of the known world past the sea serpents where many ancients considered by belief and superstition to not exist. There are countless beliefs that have been shown to be based in lack of knowledge and understanding or even in superstition. That x million or x billion people believe something does not make it true or real and you know it.

The statement had nothing to do with whether it made Him true or real at this point or not, rather it was a questioning to the rationality of this particular god being more popular of a following than any other god in history.  What caused YHWH to be the god to follow if you had a believe and not... say Zeus or Thor? 

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

You need to spend a bit more time than a cursory inspection. If I can find my links to some sites or books to read on the subject I'll post them. They may be in Florida and I'm in Denver now for the next 4 to 5 months.

well, to get an accurate picture of what is found of course I would.  I was just taking a general conclusion from many others who claimed to have done the work and concluded such.  It seems odd to me that so many sources would come to the conclusion they did then assuming with a more thorough inspection on my part I'd find something different.

I'm willing to look into anything you have to offer


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pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

There is also documentation for objects carried into battle by other ancient civilizations including their god representations, called idols by Christians. That the Israelites have something similar only indicates they felt a need to have something to represent their "invisible" god which they were not to make as an actual representation by order of the god. Others also had containment vessels in their temples to hold supposed sacred objects as well.

As I recall, there is some legend it is located in an Ethiopian monastery like you mentioned, though no one has brought said article forward to prove it.

It's true that ancients "felt a need to have something to represent their "invisible" god"... which then makes the Christian God that much more mysterious and non-typical be it that the Bible specifically states that the Christian God hates idols and does not want anyone to make an idol of Him... if in fact this was another mythical god to "appease the masses" wouldn't it not only be ok, but encouraged by this god to make idols of Him and worship/sacrifice to them daily as every other god seemed to?

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:


So far in my examination of Samuel I see little that merits it as being "historical".

i think it was a general statement about historians commenting on the historical references in the book. 

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

The next few chapters I'm about to post have the basis for selecting Saul and are just as much legend in their presentation as the legends of Arthur. We'll  see where it goes, but if Saul was a king I need to be convinced it was over more than a few thousand people. See Finkelstein and Marcus I referenced earlier.

understood


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pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

Side comment on this verse. – This indicates to me that the god beliefs of the Israelites was just as mired in magic and superstition as any other ancient culture and was recast later on to support the developing Yahweh religion.

As mentioned from the other reference.  It is understood better within context that a lot of the Israelites were submerged in superstition... and that was the problem according to the Bible.  That does not suggest that Yahweh was invented or developed as like the other gods... I see it a mythical god created by people would appeal to the people,  not impose restrictions on them that they might feel burdensome, especially seeing as changing gods during that time was as easily done as changing pants.  If you didn't like the one you were wearing, cast it into the hamper and put on a new one.

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:


This story is like any other mythical fiction or legend of the ancients describing how a man is selected to govern them by the god. Consider for example the story of King Arthur which is equally steeped in such legend. I see nothing here to suggest that the selection story of Saul was any different than any other such legend.

Here's the funny thing about legends, they do tend to be written as if they were real, or like real life stories... therefore your comparison to other myths being similar holds no water to suggest that this story too is mythical.  Of course for a following to be accepted, it would need to have been rooted in some sort of truth.  the question then arises, what makes this story different?  As pointed out, the God of the Bible in general is very different in the way that it's not written to appease the followers.


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pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

1-The besiegers I’m sure are going to allow those trapped in their city to send out messengers for help. Probably not.

who said they were "allowed to go"?  What's to suggest they didn't or couldn't sneak out?  I see it as if people today with the technology used to protect the well fortified boarders of North Korea can still sneak out successfully, then it might be just possible for people to sneak out back then too. 

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

2-Saul is shown to be a hothead, and kills his own oxen to force the people to come help their brothers in Jabesh. They come to help because they are terrified of consequences from the god. I Sam 11:7 NIV used the word terror, while KJV used the word fear in regard to the god.

and why not?  is it uncommon for people to do extreme things or even be "hotheaded" when angry as the scripture suggested he was?  keep in mind Saul wasn't so written about because he was such a perfect person.

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:


3-300,000 Israelites and 30,000 Judahites assemble to come defend Jabesh. Based on archeology the populations in these 2 countries were at best – no more than 45,000 between both of them in about 250 communities. See Finkelstein Bible Unearthed pp 114-115. This included women and children as well in the population estimates based on archeology.

The numbers issue we have already discussed... and I thought agreed upon the idea that they can be exaggerated in factual historical writings... the numbers and exaggerations thereof are congruent with the rest of the Bible so far.

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:


4- Nothing so far in archeology supports these 2 diverse countries, Israel and Judah were unified at the time of Saul’s supposed actions. Nothing supports Saul was a king over anything more than small tribes of highland dwellers in Judah. Nothing supports he was real either.

Well, as we talked about exaggerations, the statement that he was a king rather than anything more than a military leader or a governing monarch could be an exaggeration written by those who thought highly of him and what he did for them.  The people who looked to him to help them out in the situations given in the story (numbers likely much much smaller due to archelological evidences) may have revered him as a king dispite the fact that in the grand scheme of things, he was nowhere near kingship and likely did not rule as kings of time would have been seen to rule.  

Archeology does support a small poplulation of Israel, how established they were as countries and under what rulership is very much in question due to the lack of evidence in reference.  To conclude then that this story is mythical is quite far fetched be it that there is nothing to suggest such a story couldn't have happened again on a much smaller scale just as we have concluded with all previous stories; and in fact there is archeological evidence of a smaller Israelite population in this location at that time.   Understanding a great lack of evidence for any part of this, any evidence there is does not in any way discredit any part of the story other than the population numbers being much smaller and the likelyhood of Saul being a known "king" as understood in its time being small or highly unlikely. 

Saul not being a king might be clear evidence to you of course that this whole story is debunked, but then what of stories like Johnny Appleseed and Paul Bunyan?  stories with highly unlikely scenarios... and yet, the people were in fact real and all exaggeration aside, their stories did happen... just not to the extreme that is being said. 

It's hard for me to accept that this story is false be it that outside evidences only support all other parts of the story as possible and dont' debunk them.  I also have to take into consideration the context of the rest of scripture and how congruent this story is with it.  so far we have found evidences to believe that all the stories up to this point are likely to have happened on a smaller scale.  We seemed to agree on that.  Therefore, what evidence is there for me to take this story in a different light than the last? 

In conclusion, the only reason out of the 4 given that I can see from you to not believe this story actually happened that might be a logical and sound reasoning would be reason number 4 with all the claims that Saul was king and archeology suggesting that claim to be unlikely.    Then again Paul Bunyan was described as quite the superhuman, that can't be real, so he must not have existed in history.... and I could hold to that claim except for the fact that there is much more historical evidence of such a person exsting than just the folklore and minimal archelological evidences.  It helps that he existed much much later in history.  Despite the truth about such a man existing and that truth being far from what the folklore claims, the story is still told as is about him being such a superhuman giant. 


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caposkia

caposkia wrote:

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

It's not just the numbers it is also the lack of archeology supporting that there was much of a kingdom of Judah prior to the Assyrian eradication of Israel. See the 2 books I mentioned for supporting correlation. All along in this story we have had far fetched events taken singly that are questionable, taken together are simply indicative of a legendary story being comprised as a basis for the Yahweist believers in later Judah. See both Marcus and Finkelstein' comments. Clearly without evidence to the contrary I will not accept the magic, Sci-Fi and fantasy portrayed throughout the development of the storyline. I can produce equal stories of questionable basis from Sumer or other cultures steeped in just much fantasy without actual evidence. In the case of Sumer, we at least have documents from the time period, which we do not have from the Israelites. Though the possibilities of being based in our dimension of reality of the gods of Sumer in the way as described are equally unlikely as the fantasy storyline of the Israelites with the documents so far examined.

 

Where archeology lacks, other archeology more than makes up for according to many Biblical scholars.  If you have a theological library in your area... or even if you don't a public library should be able to borrow from one 2 sources that might be relevent to our discussion and specifically archeology.
 

1.  The Bible and the Historian (Paul S. Minear, Abingdon Press)

2.  The New Encyclopedia of Archeological Excavations in the Holy Land.  This is a 4 volume encyclopedia detailing... from what I understand everything we could possibly know about all archeology from that time and location.   It is referenced in CBD.com as "an essential reference tool for archaeologists, historians, Bible scholars, and explorers." 

With these 2 sources, i'm willing to bet you'll see that there really isn't a "lack of archeology" rather a lack of knowledge of archeology and how it ties in with Biblical texts.

Key to what I said was "lack of supporting archeology" that there was much of a kingdom of Judah prior to the Assyrian eradication of the kingdom of Israel. This does not at all mean there was a lack of archeology showing the area was inhabited. Archeology generally cannot show exactly what the people believed or if the scriptures actually existed or were generally known by the population. An exception of course is all of the Asherah statues found in the remains of homes in both Israel and Judah which indicate belief in the Queen of heaven, also supported by the prophet Jeremiah. As I mentioned, the people in Judea did not use the same methods to preserve writing as did those in Mesopotamia, namely clay tablets making it very difficult to actually date when these "Biblical texts" were actually put down in writing from the oral versions.

As I am an Alumni of a Jesuit University I do have access to the books you mentioned. None are in public libraries in the Denver area but are in the Jesuit University library here in Denver. They are local use reference books for the New Encyclopedia of Archeological Excavations. It is now a 5 volume set with the 5th volume published in 2008. Available from the IES or Israel Exploration Society for $150 or $112 for members. The original 4 volumes are available to members for $150. I agree they would be nice to have. I'll make a trek over to the University library and see what they really have included.

Have you read these books or are you just mentioning a source you found?

caposkia wrote:

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

An appeal to masses or should I say to mass delusion is not supportive of a position the god of the ancients was reality based. The RCC enabled by the government of Constantine and the inheriting kingdoms and countries pretty much assured the god beliefs originated in the ancient myths of Israel survived in some kind of morphed manner. 

Knowledge tends to change beliefs in superstition with time. We live over the edge of the known world past the sea serpents where many ancients considered by belief and superstition to not exist. There are countless beliefs that have been shown to be based in lack of knowledge and understanding or even in superstition. That x million or x billion people believe something does not make it true or real and you know it.

The statement had nothing to do with whether it made Him true or real at this point or not, rather it was a questioning to the rationality of this particular god being more popular of a following than any other god in history.  What caused YHWH to be the god to follow if you had a believe and not... say Zeus or Thor?

Christianity had a lot of help from the time of Constantine.

Constantine clearly promoted Christianity to be the religion of the empire. The theology and orthodoxy of Christianity was not defined by Jesus or Paul, but instead by an all conquering emperor, ( see Constantine's Sword p 189). The emperor Julian in his short reign attempted to reverse the course of Christianity and re-institute paganism. However, the death blow to paganism comes under both Valentian and Theodosius. Further suppressing a choice in beliefs where Christian heresy was a crime and paganism was banned. This continues in the empire and the later papal dominated kingdoms of Europe going into persecutions, inquisitions, and suppression of religious freedom dealing a death blow to Zeus, and his pagan brothers as well as Celtic based nature beliefs.

So the god of the Christians had a whole lot of help in insuring it was popular.

Believe or die.

 

 

 

____________________________________________________________
"I guess it's time to ask if you live under high voltage power transmission lines which have been shown to cause stimulation of the fantasy centers of the brain due to electromagnetic waves?" - Me

"God is omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent, - it says so right here on the label. If you have a mind capable of believing all three of these divine attributes simultaneously, I have a wonderful bargain for you. No checks please. Cash and in small bills." - Robert A Heinlein.


pauljohntheskeptic
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caposkia

caposkia wrote:

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

There is also documentation for objects carried into battle by other ancient civilizations including their god representations, called idols by Christians. That the Israelites have something similar only indicates they felt a need to have something to represent their "invisible" god which they were not to make as an actual representation by order of the god. Others also had containment vessels in their temples to hold supposed sacred objects as well.

As I recall, there is some legend it is located in an Ethiopian monastery like you mentioned, though no one has brought said article forward to prove it.

It's true that ancients "felt a need to have something to represent their "invisible" god"... which then makes the Christian God that much more mysterious and non-typical be it that the Bible specifically states that the Christian God hates idols and does not want anyone to make an idol of Him... if in fact this was another mythical god to "appease the masses" wouldn't it not only be ok, but encouraged by this god to make idols of Him and worship/sacrifice to them daily as every other god seemed to?

Actually it was the Jewish god with prohibited representations, whether this also is done with the Christian god is not clear. St Peter's has representations of the Christian god on the ceiling of the Sistin chapel. Then if Jesus is God there are countless representations of him too. The RCC especially has Icons of the god, Jesus, and the saints.

caposkia wrote:

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:


So far in my examination of Samuel I see little that merits it as being "historical".

i think it was a general statement about historians commenting on the historical references in the book.

OK

 

 

____________________________________________________________
"I guess it's time to ask if you live under high voltage power transmission lines which have been shown to cause stimulation of the fantasy centers of the brain due to electromagnetic waves?" - Me

"God is omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent, - it says so right here on the label. If you have a mind capable of believing all three of these divine attributes simultaneously, I have a wonderful bargain for you. No checks please. Cash and in small bills." - Robert A Heinlein.


pauljohntheskeptic
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caposkia

caposkia wrote:

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

Side comment on this verse. – This indicates to me that the god beliefs of the Israelites was just as mired in magic and superstition as any other ancient culture and was recast later on to support the developing Yahweh religion.

As mentioned from the other reference.  It is understood better within context that a lot of the Israelites were submerged in superstition... and that was the problem according to the Bible.  That does not suggest that Yahweh was invented or developed as like the other gods... I see it a mythical god created by people would appeal to the people,  not impose restrictions on them that they might feel burdensome, especially seeing as changing gods during that time was as easily done as changing pants.  If you didn't like the one you were wearing, cast it into the hamper and put on a new one.

In context, a seer was a fortune teller. I agree the land of Judah and Israel had much superstition and belief in the gods of the land, the question of course is just how prevalent was the belief in Yahweh in the way described in the OT and especially when.

As most pagan gods really were the same, different name same god, changing gods was little more than adopting in another name or another god which had similar or added attributes.

The when is a lot of what we are trying to see in our trip through the OT in addition to the legends and superstitions that have been expanded and changed in some respects to be the Yahweist Jewish belief.

caposkia wrote:

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:


This story is like any other mythical fiction or legend of the ancients describing how a man is selected to govern them by the god. Consider for example the story of King Arthur which is equally steeped in such legend. I see nothing here to suggest that the selection story of Saul was any different than any other such legend.

Here's the funny thing about legends, they do tend to be written as if they were real, or like real life stories... therefore your comparison to other myths being similar holds no water to suggest that this story too is mythical.  Of course for a following to be accepted, it would need to have been rooted in some sort of truth.  the question then arises, what makes this story different?  As pointed out, the God of the Bible in general is very different in the way that it's not written to appease the followers.

All good myths and legends have some basis in reality, the question of course is what parts? If Saul had left behind stone monuments with his name forever etched we'd have some idea of more. Same for Arthur and Robin Hood as well. I don't know what part of this story has basis and what does not any more than the story of Hercules. Hercules was documented with stone monuments at least, far after his supposed adventures, so perhaps some of it may be true. Saul is in the storyline of Judah based Yahweh belief (all we really have actually, since it is not really clear what was believed in the Northern Kingdom) so he may have existed. Though as to the real story, its clear we will never know.

 

 

 

____________________________________________________________
"I guess it's time to ask if you live under high voltage power transmission lines which have been shown to cause stimulation of the fantasy centers of the brain due to electromagnetic waves?" - Me

"God is omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent, - it says so right here on the label. If you have a mind capable of believing all three of these divine attributes simultaneously, I have a wonderful bargain for you. No checks please. Cash and in small bills." - Robert A Heinlein.


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caposkia

caposkia wrote:

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

1-The besiegers I’m sure are going to allow those trapped in their city to send out messengers for help. Probably not.

who said they were "allowed to go"?  What's to suggest they didn't or couldn't sneak out?  I see it as if people today with the technology used to protect the well fortified boarders of North Korea can still sneak out successfully, then it might be just possible for people to sneak out back then too.

The text is specific in saying they told Nahash 1 Sam 11:7 NIV "The elders of Jabesh said to him, “Give us seven days so we can send messengers throughout Israel; if no one comes to rescue us, we will surrender to you.” Nothing in the text indicates the messengers had to sneak out or the besiegers tried to stop them. If the intention was to send for help it's really stupid to tell those attacking you "give us time to get help, and if no one comes to help us by killing you all we will surrender. That's pretty much why I said it was unrealistic. It's clearly propaganda to show how special these people were or how stupid the attackers were.

caposkia wrote:

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

2-Saul is shown to be a hothead, and kills his own oxen to force the people to come help their brothers in Jabesh. They come to help because they are terrified of consequences from the god. I Sam 11:7 NIV used the word terror, while KJV used the word fear in regard to the god.

and why not?  is it uncommon for people to do extreme things or even be "hotheaded" when angry as the scripture suggested he was?  keep in mind Saul wasn't so written about because he was such a perfect person.

No, Saul can be a hothead. And the people can quake in fear of terror from their invisible god. But wait, most of the time they "don't walk in the way of the Lord", suddenly they are in terror. I guess its the same reason churches are packed during times of disaster and war.

caposkia wrote:

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:


3-300,000 Israelites and 30,000 Judahites assemble to come defend Jabesh. Based on archeology the populations in these 2 countries were at best – no more than 45,000 between both of them in about 250 communities. See Finkelstein Bible Unearthed pp 114-115. This included women and children as well in the population estimates based on archeology.

The numbers issue we have already discussed... and I thought agreed upon the idea that they can be exaggerated in factual historical writings... the numbers and exaggerations thereof are congruent with the rest of the Bible so far.

Though we agree the numbers are far from what actually can be supported it needs to be mentioned for all those that observe our discussion. Not all believers agree with you that the Bible's claims are out of kilter with reality and exaggerated.

caposkia wrote:

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:


4- Nothing so far in archeology supports these 2 diverse countries, Israel and Judah were unified at the time of Saul’s supposed actions. Nothing supports Saul was a king over anything more than small tribes of highland dwellers in Judah. Nothing supports he was real either.

Well, as we talked about exaggerations, the statement that he was a king rather than anything more than a military leader or a governing monarch could be an exaggeration written by those who thought highly of him and what he did for them.  The people who looked to him to help them out in the situations given in the story (numbers likely much much smaller due to archaeological evidences) may have revered him as a king despite the fact that in the grand scheme of things, he was nowhere near kingship and likely did not rule as kings of time would have been seen to rule. 

I agree that when the story was put down in writing that those doing so hundreds of years later were unlikely to actually grasp how small and insignificant the group led by Saul really was, so calling him a king may have been their interpretation though he never approached any thing in comparison to traditional kings.

caposkia wrote:

Archeology does support a small population of Israel, how established they were as countries and under what rulership is very much in question due to the lack of evidence in reference. 

Agreed, there is no support for the claims as exaggerated in the Bible nor a way to determine what was really going on. As the 2 population areas were considerably separated it is not obvious from that aspect to see these claims.

caposkia wrote:

To conclude then that this story is mythical is quite far fetched be it that there is nothing to suggest such a story couldn't have happened again on a much smaller scale just as we have concluded with all previous stories; and in fact there is archeological evidence of a smaller Israelite population in this location at that time.   Understanding a great lack of evidence for any part of this, any evidence there is does not in any way discredit any part of the story other than the population numbers being much smaller and the likelyhood of Saul being a known "king" as understood in its time being small or highly unlikely.

Primarily I consider it legendary not mythical. And as you agree the story is exaggerated in the populations and war claims, very typical for legends documented far later after the events.

caposkia wrote:

Saul not being a king might be clear evidence to you of course that this whole story is debunked, but then what of stories like Johnny Appleseed and Paul Bunyan?  stories with highly unlikely scenarios... and yet, the people were in fact real and all exaggeration aside, their stories did happen... just not to the extreme that is being said.

Whether he was the head tribesman or a king doesn't debunk that this story was passed down as a legend for some reason. What it does however is scale it back once again showing exaggerated claims in the OT. And as such once more adds fuel to questioning the content. It means that the content cannot be trusted to be accurate. I realize you don't see the differences in numbers throughout to be significant, but I do.

caposkia wrote:

It's hard for me to accept that this story is false be it that outside evidences only support all other parts of the story as possible and dont' debunk them.  I also have to take into consideration the context of the rest of scripture and how congruent this story is with it.  so far we have found evidences to believe that all the stories up to this point are likely to have happened on a smaller scale.  We seemed to agree on that.  Therefore, what evidence is there for me to take this story in a different light than the last?

We agree that small insignificant numbers could have been involved, not that they actually happened. Being possible doesn't make it so.

Our perspectives are very different. I'm looking for something to show me these stories are any different than any other ancient culture's stories involved in god beliefs and occurrences and you are looking at them in how they provide evidence for your belief in God.

caposkia wrote:

In conclusion, the only reason out of the 4 given that I can see from you to not believe this story actually happened that might be a logical and sound reasoning would be reason number 4 with all the claims that Saul was king and archeology suggesting that claim to be unlikely.    Then again Paul Bunyan was described as quite the superhuman, that can't be real, so he must not have existed in history.... and I could hold to that claim except for the fact that there is much more historical evidence of such a person exsting than just the folklore and minimal archelological evidences.  It helps that he existed much much later in history.  Despite the truth about such a man existing and that truth being far from what the folklore claims, the story is still told as is about him being such a superhuman giant. 

I think there is enough there to consider it to be a questionable story of legend not to be taken at face value.

1- The messengers as described are illogical and stupid. No one tells their enemy they are sending for help to kill them or surrender. A poor written explanation of the event at the least.

2- Many believers of all gods were in terror of their gods, why else would they offer their own children as a sacrifice to make it rain. So being in fear of the god is not a good reason I grant you.

3- The size aspect of the participants in the battle we both agree is unrealistic and exaggerated. Though 300 warriors of a village and 30 others from another village could have been involved in some skirmish that was greatly expanded for the purpose of this story. It is a very large exaggeration however.

4- The point that Israel and Judah were sparsely populated and separated leads one to question exactly what Saul was king over. It really is an expansion of my contention in #3. Saul a tribe king could have taken 300 or so warriors and attacked an enemy invading another village. The site of Jabesh Gilead is not known for sure but is thought to be east of the Jordan river in Jordan at a place identified as Tell Maqlub. The population in this area again was sparse during the time period attributed to these events, which would fit in with a severely scaled down version of the legend. There were not thousands living there at the time but perhaps only hundreds.

 

____________________________________________________________
"I guess it's time to ask if you live under high voltage power transmission lines which have been shown to cause stimulation of the fantasy centers of the brain due to electromagnetic waves?" - Me

"God is omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent, - it says so right here on the label. If you have a mind capable of believing all three of these divine attributes simultaneously, I have a wonderful bargain for you. No checks please. Cash and in small bills." - Robert A Heinlein.


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pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

 

Key to what I said was "lack of supporting archeology" that there was much of a kingdom of Judah prior to the Assyrian eradication of the kingdom of Israel. This does not at all mean there was a lack of archeology showing the area was inhabited. Archeology generally cannot show exactly what the people believed or if the scriptures actually existed or were generally known by the population. An exception of course is all of the Asherah statues found in the remains of homes in both Israel and Judah which indicate belief in the Queen of heaven, also supported by the prophet Jeremiah. As I mentioned, the people in Judea did not use the same methods to preserve writing as did those in Mesopotamia, namely clay tablets making it very difficult to actually date when these "Biblical texts" were actually put down in writing from the oral versions.

As I am an Alumni of a Jesuit University I do have access to the books you mentioned. None are in public libraries in the Denver area but are in the Jesuit University library here in Denver. They are local use reference books for the New Encyclopedia of Archeological Excavations. It is now a 5 volume set with the 5th volume published in 2008. Available from the IES or Israel Exploration Society for $150 or $112 for members. The original 4 volumes are available to members for $150. I agree they would be nice to have. I'll make a trek over to the University library and see what they really have included.

Have you read these books or are you just mentioning a source you found?

I have read the books... I will admit that it was more of specific point research and not so much a cover to cover study.  Therefore, there's a lot of information (or lack thereof) possibly that I am not aware of in those books.  I do not have the ease of access as you do to that type of library.  I did find out about them through friends who had gone to Christian colleges and have had a chance to browse and point study details I had in question.  

Generally from what I could see from the amount I did read, it seemed to be quite thorough.  My interest is moreso science than history, but i am learning a lot talking to you and am enjoying this forum.  

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

Christianity had a lot of help from the time of Constantine.

Constantine clearly promoted Christianity to be the religion of the empire. The theology and orthodoxy of Christianity was not defined by Jesus or Paul, but instead by an all conquering emperor, ( see Constantine's Sword p 189). The emperor Julian in his short reign attempted to reverse the course of Christianity and re-institute paganism. However, the death blow to paganism comes under both Valentian and Theodosius. Further suppressing a choice in beliefs where Christian heresy was a crime and paganism was banned. This continues in the empire and the later papal dominated kingdoms of Europe going into persecutions, inquisitions, and suppression of religious freedom dealing a death blow to Zeus, and his pagan brothers as well as Celtic based nature beliefs.

So the god of the Christians had a whole lot of help in insuring it was popular.

Believe or die.

 

that makes sense.  If God were real, that would be a very logical approach to keeping the belief system strong.  What was it that caused those particular powers then to promote this particular following when again at the time, any other god could have been just as logical of a choice?

What keeps it going today when non-belief seems to prevail?  There are even countries that have been for years banning the following of Christianity.  With the knowledge and the view of the dirty history of the Christians in power, you'd think the popularity, just like the other gods would dwindle.  

i am aware of the history of Christianity and how certain people of power would use their power to prevent negativity toward the faith... but likewise, other persons of power would do the same thing for their god/gods, look at the history of China.  Certain other gods had just as much political pull in other parts of the world during different points in history.  

I don't remember specifics at this point, so I will refrain from referencing anything specific.  I do know that Buddhism had its place in politics and was very strong in the asian world.   Other gods had a longer history of power in politics I'm pretty sure than the Christian God did.  

 


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pauljohntheskeptic

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

 

Actually it was the Jewish god with prohibited representations, whether this also is done with the Christian god is not clear. St Peter's has representations of the Christian god on the ceiling of the Sistin chapel. Then if Jesus is God there are countless representations of him too. The RCC especially has Icons of the god, Jesus, and the saints.

The Jewish and Christian God are one and the same historically and belief wise.  Christians base their belief off the NT which is dependent on Jewish texts for clarification and consistency.  

Just because it is told of followers not to do it doesn't necessarily mean they're not going to do it.  You'll be hard pressed to find any indication that those representations were asked of by the Christian/Jewish god, let alone allowed.  

A lot of Christians see Catholicism as having a problem with idolatry because of the many visual representations they have of God and the like.    Most Christian faiths will use the cross as a symbol, but not as a representation of God or Jesus.  Its mainly the Catholics that will put a figure of the Jesus on the cross.  Most churches will have a cross somewhere without a statue attached to it.  

Generally I agree, there are many representations of God and Jesus throughout the world.  It is controversial at best among Christians as to whether that is ok or not.  Due to the specific statements in the Bible about "graven images" and the lack of any requests from the Godhead to make an image of himself, I lean toward the 'not ok' side.  

 

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:


So far in my examination of Samuel I see little that merits it as being "historical".

i think it was a general statement about historians commenting on the historical references in the book.

...to update this, the book further stated how the historians looked at it as a valid representation and that there's nothing to suggest the "history" in the book is invalid or inaccurate other than the details we've already agreed upon.

 

 


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pauljohntheskeptic wrote:In

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

In context, a seer was a fortune teller. I agree the land of Judah and Israel had much superstition and belief in the gods of the land, the question of course is just how prevalent was the belief in Yahweh in the way described in the OT and especially when.

From what we can tell, Ba'al was a strong following... possibly as strong as YHWH if not even stronger at the time.  The history of the scriptures is rooted greatly in the confusion between the 2 followings and is why a lot of idol restrictions and "a jealous God" comments were made.  I don't believe there is any evidence as to which was a stronger following at the time.  

The Israelites specifically were understood to have a stronger connection to YHWH, but of course were conflicted with the Ba'al character be it that everyone around them was following Ba'al... or so it seemed.  Keep in mind the scripture is written of a very specific clan and not as generally as a reference to a large nation as some might think it is.  It's designed to be a history of the faith and how it came to be what it is today.  

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

As most pagan gods really were the same, different name same god, changing gods was little more than adopting in another name or another god which had similar or added attributes.

They were still conflicting attributes otherwise there would be no point in changing names or switching.  Granted due to the high number of choices of gods at the time, it was common to have similar gods yet different expectations.  

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

The when is a lot of what we are trying to see in our trip through the OT in addition to the legends and superstitions that have been expanded and changed in some respects to be the Yahweist Jewish belief.

just as any history this far back.  it is one of the harder things to pinpoint.  numbers are also extremely difficult be it that census' were not taken as they are today.

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

All good myths and legends have some basis in reality, the question of course is what parts? If Saul had left behind stone monuments with his name forever etched we'd have some idea of more. Same for Arthur and Robin Hood as well. I don't know what part of this story has basis and what does not any more than the story of Hercules. Hercules was documented with stone monuments at least, far after his supposed adventures, so perhaps some of it may be true. Saul is in the storyline of Judah based Yahweh belief (all we really have actually, since it is not really clear what was believed in the Northern Kingdom) so he may have existed. Though as to the real story, its clear we will never know.

With stories such as this where we have no concrete evidence of specific characters, we look for consistency in personalities of God and historical information.  Due to the evidences in the stories we've already gone through along with other stories later that have much more historical support for their characters, there's no reason to doubt the existence of this character.  Nothing in this story... as far as i've seen... makes  a skew in the historical timeline or the Christian/Jewish timeline.  

 

 

 


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pauljohntheskeptic wrote:The

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

The text is specific in saying they told Nahash 1 Sam 11:7 NIV "The elders of Jabesh said to him, “Give us seven days so we can send messengers throughout Israel; if no one comes to rescue us, we will surrender to you.” Nothing in the text indicates the messengers had to sneak out or the besiegers tried to stop them. If the intention was to send for help it's really stupid to tell those attacking you "give us time to get help, and if no one comes to help us by killing you all we will surrender. That's pretty much why I said it was unrealistic. It's clearly propaganda to show how special these people were or how stupid the attackers were.

Ah, I see... and a bit of an overlook on my part and I'm sorry.  I should have been more conscious with my response.  I rechecked my history on this a little bit more and here's what is understood to be happening:

These people at the beginning of Ch 11 were at the point where they basically in danger of being destroyed by the Ammorites.  They knew at this point they had no support of God due to their breaking of the covenant with God and were not understood to have any outside support what-so-ever.  

They basically were trying to beat a parley, knowing that their ultimate fate would be complete destruction by this much larger much more powerful entity.  They were looking for any out they could get.  When threatened to get their eye cut out, they asked for one last window of opportunity... so why would they be granted this?

Nahash had the understanding that in such short time, there was no way they'd get help. (7 days to them would be like a group today being given 7 hours to get the help they need to arrive)  He also knew that they would die by the sword and therefore, though he knew he was much more powerful, would still suffer a minor loss due to the battle that would prevail.    They were basically giving themselves to him and agreed that they would serve him if no help came.  Matthew henry's Commentary mentions Nahash's weakness in this deal was his infatuation with security.  He was so sure his empire was so secure that he gave them the opportunity... the minute opportunity to try to get help (knowing in his mind full well they wouldn't get it) and also knowing that when it didn't come, they would willingly put down their swords and serve him.  

The Israelites had a government that was understood to be a uniform and civil government and therefore he had no reason to doubt their plea.  

Such cooperation among opposing sides is not unheard of throughout history and in fact is quite common... especially if one side knows they have the upper hand over the other... or at least think they know. 

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

 

No, Saul can be a hothead. And the people can quake in fear of terror from their invisible god. But wait, most of the time they "don't walk in the way of the Lord", suddenly they are in terror. I guess its the same reason churches are packed during times of disaster and war.

There was a clear threat to their oxen (which would be the same as someone threatening to destroy everything you have in your bank account)  Despite the lack of faith today, they've seen the work of God and know that threats like these will be followed through.   It's not like people flocking to churches today not knowing what God had in store.  This was pretty clear to them and they knew God.  

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

 

Though we agree the numbers are far from what actually can be supported it needs to be mentioned for all those that observe our discussion. Not all believers agree with you that the Bible's claims are out of kilter with reality and exaggerated.

of course not, but when confronted with the details of why, they have nothing to back themselves up.   

There are many skews on beliefs in every faith.  it doesn't mean they're right.   When it comes down to it, all we really have is the history to back it up... regardless of what they want to believe about the numbers, it still doesn't change the validity or congruency of the story.  

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

Whether he was the head tribesman or a king doesn't debunk that this story was passed down as a legend for some reason. What it does however is scale it back once again showing exaggerated claims in the OT. And as such once more adds fuel to questioning the content. It means that the content cannot be trusted to be accurate. I realize you don't see the differences in numbers throughout to be significant, but I do.

Of course, but it's congruent with other verified history of its time.  It is a common way of documentation at the time due to lack of knowledge of the actual happenings or over excitement of the situation yeilding an overexaggeration of the truth..   

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

We agree that small insignificant numbers could have been involved, not that they actually happened. Being possible doesn't make it so.

just as much as it doesn't make it false.

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

Our perspectives are very different. I'm looking for something to show me these stories are any different than any other ancient culture's stories involved in god beliefs and occurrences and you are looking at them in how they provide evidence for your belief in God.

I'm looking at them in how they are congruent with any other history documented from that time era regardless of god belief.  Most during that time did have to do with god belief because there really was no question by most that there were gods.

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

I think there is enough there to consider it to be a questionable story of legend not to be taken at face value.

except for the congruency with other stories that have better support in history.  which is why it's still considered valid by scholars.

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

1- The messengers as described are illogical and stupid. No one tells their enemy they are sending for help to kill them or surrender. A poor written explanation of the event at the least.

explained as logical through honor and integrity as it was held in high regard during that time 

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

2- Many believers of all gods were in terror of their gods, why else would they offer their own children as a sacrifice to make it rain. So being in fear of the god is not a good reason I grant you.

but it allowed the events to happen in the story

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

3- The size aspect of the participants in the battle we both agree is unrealistic and exaggerated. Though 300 warriors of a village and 30 others from another village could have been involved in some skirmish that was greatly expanded for the purpose of this story. It is a very large exaggeration however.

as far as we know... the numbers were likely much smaller, but could have been closer than we think as well.. just cant' tell

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

4- The point that Israel and Judah were sparsely populated and separated leads one to question exactly what Saul was king over. It really is an expansion of my contention in #3. Saul a tribe king could have taken 300 or so warriors and attacked an enemy invading another village. The site of Jabesh Gilead is not known for sure but is thought to be east of the Jordan river in Jordan at a place identified as Tell Maqlub. The population in this area again was sparse during the time period attributed to these events, which would fit in with a severely scaled down version of the legend. There were not thousands living there at the time but perhaps only hundreds.

 

no arguement there

 


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caposkia

caposkia wrote:

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

 

Key to what I said was "lack of supporting archeology" that there was much of a kingdom of Judah prior to the Assyrian eradication of the kingdom of Israel. This does not at all mean there was a lack of archeology showing the area was inhabited. Archeology generally cannot show exactly what the people believed or if the scriptures actually existed or were generally known by the population. An exception of course is all of the Asherah statues found in the remains of homes in both Israel and Judah which indicate belief in the Queen of heaven, also supported by the prophet Jeremiah. As I mentioned, the people in Judea did not use the same methods to preserve writing as did those in Mesopotamia, namely clay tablets making it very difficult to actually date when these "Biblical texts" were actually put down in writing from the oral versions.

As I am an Alumni of a Jesuit University I do have access to the books you mentioned. None are in public libraries in the Denver area but are in the Jesuit University library here in Denver. They are local use reference books for the New Encyclopedia of Archaeological Excavations. It is now a 5 volume set with the 5th volume published in 2008. Available from the IES or Israel Exploration Society for $150 or $112 for members. The original 4 volumes are available to members for $150. I agree they would be nice to have. I'll make a trek over to the University library and see what they really have included.

Have you read these books or are you just mentioning a source you found?

I have read the books... I will admit that it was more of specific point research and not so much a cover to cover study.  Therefore, there's a lot of information (or lack thereof) possibly that I am not aware of in those books.  I do not have the ease of access as you do to that type of library.  I did find out about them through friends who had gone to Christian colleges and have had a chance to browse and point study details I had in question.  

Generally from what I could see from the amount I did read, it seemed to be quite thorough.  My interest is moreso science than history, but i am learning a lot talking to you and am enjoying this forum.  

I'm going to try to work in  a visit to the university library in the next week and I'll look at the specific things we were discussing, especially in the new volume that has come out.

caposkia wrote:

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

Christianity had a lot of help from the time of Constantine.

Constantine clearly promoted Christianity to be the religion of the empire. The theology and orthodoxy of Christianity was not defined by Jesus or Paul, but instead by an all conquering emperor, ( see Constantine's Sword p 189). The emperor Julian in his short reign attempted to reverse the course of Christianity and re-institute paganism. However, the death blow to paganism comes under both Valentian and Theodosius. Further suppressing a choice in beliefs where Christian heresy was a crime and paganism was banned. This continues in the empire and the later papal dominated kingdoms of Europe going into persecutions, inquisitions, and suppression of religious freedom dealing a death blow to Zeus, and his pagan brothers as well as Celtic based nature beliefs.

So the god of the Christians had a whole lot of help in insuring it was popular.

Believe or die.

 

that makes sense.  If God were real, that would be a very logical approach to keeping the belief system strong.  What was it that caused those particular powers then to promote this particular following when again at the time, any other god could have been just as logical of a choice?

What keeps it going today when non-belief seems to prevail?  There are even countries that have been for years banning the following of Christianity.  With the knowledge and the view of the dirty history of the Christians in power, you'd think the popularity, just like the other gods would dwindle.  

i am aware of the history of Christianity and how certain people of power would use their power to prevent negativity toward the faith... but likewise, other persons of power would do the same thing for their god/gods, look at the history of China.  Certain other gods had just as much political pull in other parts of the world during different points in history.  

I don't remember specifics at this point, so I will refrain from referencing anything specific.  I do know that Buddhism had its place in politics and was very strong in the asian world.   Other gods had a longer history of power in politics I'm pretty sure than the Christian God did.  

 

The Sumerian gods in one form or the other lasted until Babylon was conquered. The earliest mention of them is prior to 3,500 BCE. Christianity still has a long way to go to pass it up for its durability.

The Egyptian gods date to prior to 3,100 BCE and began to fall out of favor to some extent after Alexander and were eliminated with Christianity. Though these gods come back to kill tomb robbers it would seem as was thought with King Tut.

 

 

____________________________________________________________
"I guess it's time to ask if you live under high voltage power transmission lines which have been shown to cause stimulation of the fantasy centers of the brain due to electromagnetic waves?" - Me

"God is omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent, - it says so right here on the label. If you have a mind capable of believing all three of these divine attributes simultaneously, I have a wonderful bargain for you. No checks please. Cash and in small bills." - Robert A Heinlein.


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caposkia

caposkia wrote:

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

 

Actually it was the Jewish god with prohibited representations, whether this also is done with the Christian god is not clear. St Peter's has representations of the Christian god on the ceiling of the Sistine chapel. Then if Jesus is God there are countless representations of him too. The RCC especially has Icons of the god, Jesus, and the saints.

The Jewish and Christian God are one and the same historically and belief wise.  Christians base their belief off the NT which is dependent on Jewish texts for clarification and consistency.  

Just because it is told of followers not to do it doesn't necessarily mean they're not going to do it.  You'll be hard pressed to find any indication that those representations were asked of by the Christian/Jewish god, let alone allowed.  

A lot of Christians see Catholicism as having a problem with idolatry because of the many visual representations they have of God and the like.    Most Christian faiths will use the cross as a symbol, but not as a representation of God or Jesus.  Its mainly the Catholics that will put a figure of the Jesus on the cross.  Most churches will have a cross somewhere without a statue attached to it.  

Generally I agree, there are many representations of God and Jesus throughout the world.  It is controversial at best among Christians as to whether that is ok or not.  Due to the specific statements in the Bible about "graven images" and the lack of any requests from the Godhead to make an image of himself, I lean toward the 'not ok' side.  

I realize Christians consider the Jewish god to be the Christian god though belief wise they really are not the same even beyond the messiah differences. Christians generally believe man is born with original sin but Jews believe man is born with a pure soul. Many Jews don't believe in an afterlife though Christians do. Christians have abandoned many of the Jewish laws of the OT or pull them out only when they wish to oppose something. As you know by now I consider Christianity to be a morphing of Jewish belief in a new direction without basis. I remember doing a thread about this a few years ago either here or somewhere else, but I never got any Jewish believers to join in and it was just Christians and atheists so the thread died early. Maybe I will try again sometime with a thread on Christianity versus Jewish belief after we finish this one.

I agree many Christians see Catholics as idolaters because of the representations especially in Churches. Though I have also seen similar in Lutheran churches too, just no statues of saints.

 

 

caposkia wrote:

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:


So far in my examination of Samuel I see little that merits it as being "historical".

i think it was a general statement about historians commenting on the historical references in the book.

...to update this, the book further stated how the historians looked at it as a valid representation and that there's nothing to suggest the "history" in the book is invalid or inaccurate other than the details we've already agreed upon.

  

I would guess you refer to Bible historians because generally other historians are extremely skeptical of the claims as are archaeologists that are not bible believers.

 

 

____________________________________________________________
"I guess it's time to ask if you live under high voltage power transmission lines which have been shown to cause stimulation of the fantasy centers of the brain due to electromagnetic waves?" - Me

"God is omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent, - it says so right here on the label. If you have a mind capable of believing all three of these divine attributes simultaneously, I have a wonderful bargain for you. No checks please. Cash and in small bills." - Robert A Heinlein.


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caposkia

caposkia wrote:

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

In context, a seer was a fortune teller. I agree the land of Judah and Israel had much superstition and belief in the gods of the land, the question of course is just how prevalent was the belief in Yahweh in the way described in the OT and especially when.

From what we can tell, Ba'al was a strong following... possibly as strong as YHWH if not even stronger at the time.  The history of the scriptures is rooted greatly in the confusion between the 2 followings and is why a lot of idol restrictions and "a jealous God" comments were made.  I don't believe there is any evidence as to which was a stronger following at the time.  

The Israelites specifically were understood to have a stronger connection to YHWH, but of course were conflicted with the Ba'al character be it that everyone around them was following Ba'al... or so it seemed.  Keep in mind the scripture is written of a very specific clan and not as generally as a reference to a large nation as some might think it is.  It's designed to be a history of the faith and how it came to be what it is today.

Every city and town had its own Ba'al or god. Then there were the more important deities such as the Ba'al that was similar to Yahweh also called the prince of thunder, lord of the land etc. and assorted other goddesses and gods that were believed to have specific jobs or responsibilities.

The Israelites,  rather the Judahites or  Jews since I'm not so sure what exactly the people of the 10 tribes really believed did appear to generally follow Yahweh though there was substantial Asherah belief as well in their area. The OT's purpose according to the Jews was more of a moral teaching to them than an actual history though that could just be the rabbi and Jews that I've encountered and discussed the subject.

 

 

caposkia wrote:

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

As most pagan gods really were the same, different name same god, changing gods was little more than adopting in another name or another god which had similar or added attributes.

They were still conflicting attributes otherwise there would be no point in changing names or switching.  Granted due to the high number of choices of gods at the time, it was common to have similar gods yet different expectations.  

Generally the name differences were a result of different cultures such that Athtart and Aphrodite were the same. And Asherah and Athirat were the same.  . . .

caposkia wrote:

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

The when is a lot of what we are trying to see in our trip through the OT in addition to the legends and superstitions that have been expanded and changed in some respects to be the Yahweist Jewish belief.

just as any history this far back.  it is one of the harder things to pinpoint.  numbers are also extremely difficult be it that census' were not taken as they are today.

Archeology and ruins do a lot towards quantifying the numbers.

 

caposkia wrote:

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

All good myths and legends have some basis in reality, the question of course is what parts? If Saul had left behind stone monuments with his name forever etched we'd have some idea of more. Same for Arthur and Robin Hood as well. I don't know what part of this story has basis and what does not any more than the story of Hercules. Hercules was documented with stone monuments at least, far after his supposed adventures, so perhaps some of it may be true. Saul is in the storyline of Judah based Yahweh belief (all we really have actually, since it is not really clear what was believed in the Northern Kingdom) so he may have existed. Though as to the real story, its clear we will never know.

With stories such as this where we have no concrete evidence of specific characters, we look for consistency in personalities of God and historical information.  Due to the evidences in the stories we've already gone through along with other stories later that have much more historical support for their characters, there's no reason to doubt the existence of this character.  Nothing in this story... as far as i've seen... makes  a skew in the historical timeline or the Christian/Jewish timeline.   

 

As I said, perhaps Saul was a real leader of a tribe perhaps not. Nothing other than the OT discusses him, so ???

____________________________________________________________
"I guess it's time to ask if you live under high voltage power transmission lines which have been shown to cause stimulation of the fantasy centers of the brain due to electromagnetic waves?" - Me

"God is omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent, - it says so right here on the label. If you have a mind capable of believing all three of these divine attributes simultaneously, I have a wonderful bargain for you. No checks please. Cash and in small bills." - Robert A Heinlein.


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caposkia

caposkia wrote:

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

The text is specific in saying they told Nahash 1 Sam 11:7 NIV "The elders of Jabesh said to him, “Give us seven days so we can send messengers throughout Israel; if no one comes to rescue us, we will surrender to you.” Nothing in the text indicates the messengers had to sneak out or the besiegers tried to stop them. If the intention was to send for help it's really stupid to tell those attacking you "give us time to get help, and if no one comes to help us by killing you all we will surrender. That's pretty much why I said it was unrealistic. It's clearly propaganda to show how special these people were or how stupid the attackers were.

Ah, I see... and a bit of an overlook on my part and I'm sorry.  I should have been more conscious with my response.  I rechecked my history on this a little bit more and here's what is understood to be happening:

These people at the beginning of Ch 11 were at the point where they basically in danger of being destroyed by the Ammorites.  They knew at this point they had no support of God due to their breaking of the covenant with God and were not understood to have any outside support what-so-ever.  

They basically were trying to beat a parley, knowing that their ultimate fate would be complete destruction by this much larger much more powerful entity.  They were looking for any out they could get.  When threatened to get their eye cut out, they asked for one last window of opportunity... so why would they be granted this?

Nahash had the understanding that in such short time, there was no way they'd get help. (7 days to them would be like a group today being given 7 hours to get the help they need to arrive)  He also knew that they would die by the sword and therefore, though he knew he was much more powerful, would still suffer a minor loss due to the battle that would prevail.    They were basically giving themselves to him and agreed that they would serve him if no help came.  Matthew henry's Commentary mentions Nahash's weakness in this deal was his infatuation with security.  He was so sure his empire was so secure that he gave them the opportunity... the minute opportunity to try to get help (knowing in his mind full well they wouldn't get it) and also knowing that when it didn't come, they would willingly put down their swords and serve him.  

The Israelites had a government that was understood to be a uniform and civil government and therefore he had no reason to doubt their plea.  

Such cooperation among opposing sides is not unheard of throughout history and in fact is quite common... especially if one side knows they have the upper hand over the other... or at least think they know.

When Matthew Henry wrote his commentary in the 1700s little had been found to support his view on Nahash especially an extra-Biblical account. I just searched now and can find nothing to support Henry's commentary or conjecture. Whatever a leader named Nahash thought or did is not documented anyway I can find. Henry's commentary are his views and are not necessarily supported.

 

caposkia wrote:

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

 

No, Saul can be a hothead. And the people can quake in fear of terror from their invisible god. But wait, most of the time they "don't walk in the way of the Lord", suddenly they are in terror. I guess its the same reason churches are packed during times of disaster and war.

There was a clear threat to their oxen (which would be the same as someone threatening to destroy everything you have in your bank account)  Despite the lack of faith today, they've seen the work of God and know that threats like these will be followed through.   It's not like people flocking to churches today not knowing what God had in store.  This was pretty clear to them and they knew God.  

It is a good threat in the story, anytime one's livelihood is threatened it makes people take notice.

caposkia wrote:

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

 

Though we agree the numbers are far from what actually can be supported it needs to be mentioned for all those that observe our discussion. Not all believers agree with you that the Bible's claims are out of kilter with reality and exaggerated.

of course not, but when confronted with the details of why, they have nothing to back themselves up.   

There are many skews on beliefs in every faith.  it doesn't mean they're right.   When it comes down to it, all we really have is the history to back it up... regardless of what they want to believe about the numbers, it still doesn't change the validity or congruency of the story.  

OK then.

caposkia wrote:

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

Whether he was the head tribesman or a king doesn't debunk that this story was passed down as a legend for some reason. What it does however is scale it back once again showing exaggerated claims in the OT. And as such once more adds fuel to questioning the content. It means that the content cannot be trusted to be accurate. I realize you don't see the differences in numbers throughout to be significant, but I do.

Of course, but it's congruent with other verified history of its time.  It is a common way of documentation at the time due to lack of knowledge of the actual happenings or over excitement of the situation yeilding an overexaggeration of the truth..  

I guess we will see how exactly that works out in the next few books we discuss.

caposkia wrote:

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

We agree that small insignificant numbers could have been involved, not that they actually happened. Being possible doesn't make it so.

just as much as it doesn't make it false.

As we both always say.

caposkia wrote:

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

Our perspectives are very different. I'm looking for something to show me these stories are any different than any other ancient culture's stories involved in god beliefs and occurrences and you are looking at them in how they provide evidence for your belief in God.

I'm looking at them in how they are congruent with any other history documented from that time era regardless of god belief.  Most during that time did have to do with god belief because there really was no question by most that there were gods.

OK, more of an open mind than I indicated.

caposkia wrote:

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

I think there is enough there to consider it to be a questionable story of legend not to be taken at face value.

except for the congruency with other stories that have better support in history.  which is why it's still considered valid by scholars.

Bible scholars I'd guess you mean here.

caposkia wrote:

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

1- The messengers as described are illogical and stupid. No one tells their enemy they are sending for help to kill them or surrender. A poor written explanation of the event at the least.

explained as logical through honor and integrity as it was held in high regard during that time

According to Henry, though actions documented in Assyrian records suggest that force was honored more and held to be ultimate.

caposkia wrote:

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

2- Many believers of all gods were in terror of their gods, why else would they offer their own children as a sacrifice to make it rain. So being in fear of the god is not a good reason I grant you.

but it allowed the events to happen in the story

Of course it allowed the events to happen in the story, that was the idea of the episode.

caposkia wrote:

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

3- The size aspect of the participants in the battle we both agree is unrealistic and exaggerated. Though 300 warriors of a village and 30 others from another village could have been involved in some skirmish that was greatly expanded for the purpose of this story. It is a very large exaggeration however.

as far as we know... the numbers were likely much smaller, but could have been closer than we think as well.. just cant' tell

Unless there is a whole lot of hidden ruins from these areas the numbers aren't close at all.

caposkia wrote:

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

4- The point that Israel and Judah were sparsely populated and separated leads one to question exactly what Saul was king over. It really is an expansion of my contention in #3. Saul a tribe king could have taken 300 or so warriors and attacked an enemy invading another village. The site of Jabesh Gilead is not known for sure but is thought to be east of the Jordan river in Jordan at a place identified as Tell Maqlub. The population in this area again was sparse during the time period attributed to these events, which would fit in with a severely scaled down version of the legend. There were not thousands living there at the time but perhaps only hundreds.

 

no arguement there

 

OK.

 

More to come on the next few chapters shortly where we will start to get into David..

Have fun!

 

____________________________________________________________
"I guess it's time to ask if you live under high voltage power transmission lines which have been shown to cause stimulation of the fantasy centers of the brain due to electromagnetic waves?" - Me

"God is omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent, - it says so right here on the label. If you have a mind capable of believing all three of these divine attributes simultaneously, I have a wonderful bargain for you. No checks please. Cash and in small bills." - Robert A Heinlein.


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1 Samuel part 6-

1 Samuel part 6- Cont’d

Chapter 12

Samuel addresses all of Israel in the opening discussion.

Comment – Megaphone? I don’t think they had either loudspeakers or radio. Or all 300 of them were in the village market? This is shown as an interactive discussion, so it’s not written and passed out from village to village. Or perhaps Samuel visits all of Israel, that is all 300 of them.

Samuel is old then mentions he hasn’t done this or that, if so, please tell me and I will correct it or make amends. He then gives a mini-history of the past of the Hebrews and their ancestors.

He tells them they now have the king they wanted to rule them, but they will see what an evil thing this was. He says is it not wheat harvest time? I will ask the god to make rain and thunder so you can see the evil you have done. He does and consequently it rains with much thunder. All the people then stood in awe of the god and Samuel. He further tells them the god will not abandon them if they serve the lord, but if they or their king does so, the god will allow the king and them to perish.

Comments –

The prophet threatens rain to mess up the harvest and it rains. Video? No? Oh well!

Chapter 13

This chapter begins with a tale of Saul after 2 years as king took 2000 men to Michmash and Bethel while Jonathan his son took 1000 men and attacked the Philistine outpost at Geba. The Philistines clearly did not take this well and assembled an army of 30,000 chariots and 6,000 horsemen and soldiers as numerous as the sand of the seashore. (KJV and JPS) – While NIV says it was 3,000 chariots and 6,000 charioteers. (NIV footnotes mention the numbers of JPS & KJV as another version)

Comment – Really now, 30,000 chariots or 3,000. I really don’t think so.  In 853 BCE during the time of King Ahab when Shalmaneser III of Assyria invaded Syria, the combined forces of the 12 kings in the battle opposed him with 3900 chariots. See Ancient Iraq – p 297 or see - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Qarqar

Earlier, Egypt and the Hittites at the famous battle at Kadesh in 1274 BCE, Ramses II had a force of about 2000 chariots versus about 3500 chariots. This is noted as one of the largest battles in antiquity.

So this chapter of Samuel continues on with the bloated exaggerated numbers thus once more leading me to question what is real and what is fiction.


Saul next usurps the prophet Samuel or the priesthood by offering a burnt offering to the god. Samuel is suitably upset, telling Saul he has done a foolish thing and not kept the command of the god. Saul by this action will not have his kingdom endure for all time.

Next came a weapons shortage. Only Saul and Jonathan actually have swords, the rest have sharpened plow points, axes and sickles. Even these were charged between 1/3 and 2/3 of a shekel to be sharpened. Guess they never heard of group cooperation for survival, or capitalist pigs were prevalent even then.

Is there a point to this? That was a joke.

Chapter 14


Jonathan and his armor bearer stealthily come upon the Philistines in the cliffs where they were encamped at an outpost. On the way Jonathan decided if the Philistines said to him when they were spotted “Come up to us,’ we will climb up, because that will be our sign that the LORD has given them into our hands.” If instead they said “wait there we will come to you”, we will wait. The Philistines did indeed say to them, “come up to us”, so Jonathan knew the God would devastate the enemy. They proceeded to go up and killed about 20 of them. The resultant mayhem caused the enemy camp to be in disarray.

Meanwhile Saul and 600 of his men are in Migron. Along for the trip is Ahijah, who was wearing an ephod, which we have previous discussed, a form of idol more or less. Saul noted the confusion and the army of the enemy was dispersing in all directions. In addition they had turned upon one another. The Hebrews that were allied with the Philistines deserted and joined in with Saul's group. So the god that day saved the Jews and Saul. I hesitate again to use the word Israel as I previously mentioned, I’m not sure who that was at this point.

Comments –

Sure why not have a few men sneak in and cause disruption. As to the traitors that sided with the Philistines against their supposed brothers, it’s no surprise they changed sides once again when they saw the tide turning.

Apparently in disregard to taking oaths Saul had put the men under one where none were to eat before evening when he had taken vengeance on the enemy. Jonathan did not know of this and found some honey of which he did eat. The men with him are horrified and told him of the curse that Saul made. In reply he said his father was in error because see how much I was lifted up by just the honey, imagine how many more of the enemy we could have devastated if all the men had eaten.

After the battle the men grab up the booty consisting of oxen and sheep and butcher them to eat. Saul makes an altar to do so such that the blood is drained. He asked of the god should they pursue the Philistines, but the god does not answer. He decides someone has sinned and determines through lots it is Jonathan. Upon learning of what he did, he decides to not kill him besides the army all agreed it was Jonathan that had won the battle with the help of the god. And all the days of Saul he would battle the Philistines.


Comments – I thought taking oaths such as this was verboten under the commandments. Anyway, this is all unneeded narrative that proves little and is simply not verifiable at all.

Chapter 15 The Amalekites


Samuel goes to Saul with a message from the god. The god wants Saul to “punish the Amalekites for what they did to Israel when they waylaid them as they came up from Egypt”. (Note – this was 100s of years earlier and demonstrates how the god holds you liable for the bank your great grandfather robbed in Wichita way back in 1868 – in other words, you are responsible for the sins of your ancestors and will die for it). Saul is to “attack the Amalekites and totally destroy all that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.” I Sam 15:3 (NIV)

Saul gathers together his force of 200,000 soldiers of which 10,000 are from Judah and proceeds to a city of the Amalek. He tells the Kenites that are nearby to take all of theirs and depart because they had helped the Hebrews. Saul proceeds to attack the Amalek from “Havilah to Shur, near the eastern border of Egypt”. He however violated the god’s wish as do his men. Saul spared the king Agag and the men saved all that was good from the Amalekites including “the best of the sheep and cattle, the fat calves and lambs.”

Samuel is told by the god that Saul has once more failed to abide by the wordof the Lord and what he did as well as the men in Saul’s army. Samuel goes to Saul and rips him a new one for his disregard of the god’s desire. In the end Samuel kills King Agag himself.

Comments –

There is so much wrong with this entire episode. First off as in my comment above, none of these people confronted the 50 to 100 escapees out of Egypt 200 or 300 years earlier. None of them deserve to die for the supposed evil their ancestors did against the people of the god. Next, “Kill them All” Babies, children and women. This is genocide and is like that practiced by the NAZIS. This is one of many episodes that show the cruelty and vicious nature of this god.

As to 200,000 soldiers, was the writer counting the fleas on the 600 or so soldiers and including them? There were no where near 200,000 people living in Judah and Israel at the time this event occurred more like 45,000 altogether. See Finkelstein.

As to violating the god’s orders, this is narrative and has no support once more.

This chapter once more adds to the question of credibility of the entire storyline. It once more has exaggerated claims as to the forces of Saul. It has the cruelty of man in it, killing all, genocide as a good thing from the god who is morphed later on by another religion to be all loving. There is no love in this adventure, just bloodletting.

I need to hear a really good defense of killing the descendants of the supposed attackers for the crimes allegedly committed against the small number of escapees from Egypt. This says, you will die for what your ancestors did. My ancestors attacked Rome and killed priests, nuns and desecrated it. More than once.

____________________________________________________________
"I guess it's time to ask if you live under high voltage power transmission lines which have been shown to cause stimulation of the fantasy centers of the brain due to electromagnetic waves?" - Me

"God is omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent, - it says so right here on the label. If you have a mind capable of believing all three of these divine attributes simultaneously, I have a wonderful bargain for you. No checks please. Cash and in small bills." - Robert A Heinlein.


caposkia
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pauljohntheskeptic wrote: I

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

 

I realize Christians consider the Jewish god to be the Christian god though belief wise they really are not the same even beyond the messiah differences. Christians generally believe man is born with original sin but Jews believe man is born with a pure soul.

The whole NT is completely dependent on Jewish belief and tradition.  We don't need to tangent on this now, but so far, everyone who has tried to claim differences have failed to show me those differences.  most of the time it's misunderstood.  

e.g. Original sin is a very misunderstood concept in most Christians and non-Christian beliefs.  What if i told you we are born with pure souls though still into original sin.  It's doctrine that I believe made it sin that we already have within ourselves.  What I understand it to be is that we still pay the consequences for the "original sin" which is death... We all die, therefore, we all have "original sin"  It's an idea that I don't preach myself because it's so confused and misinterpreted.  In fact, it's not important to understand for salvation.  some would disagree because they say that because of "original sin" it's in our nature to sin, so therefore, there's no way to avoid sin... except for the fact that it's outside influences that cause us to choose a sinful path, and not something we do regardless.  

all in all, it would always end up in an extensive debate among Christians and non-Christians alike.   

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

Many Jews don't believe in an afterlife though Christians do.

maybe many current Jews don't... but Biblically they did.  They understood the idea of a soul and in many passages very nonchalantly acknowledge the spirits of dead loved ones.  The OT even details one king going to a sorcerer to resurrect the soul of a dead person so that he could talk to him.  This would suggest (be it that it's in the Jewish scripts) that they accepted the idea of afterlife.  

I think what is in question is exactly what happens to you when you die, whether you go to heaven or just sleep in the grave.  I believe the Jews believed in sleeping in the grave and not running around in heaven.  Many Christians believe that we go to heaven when we die... or hell... however it's in my understanding not very Biblical.  Another long topic that tangents.

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

Christians have abandoned many of the Jewish laws of the OT or pull them out only when they wish to oppose something.

that would be the dispensationalists

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

As you know by now I consider Christianity to be a morphing of Jewish belief in a new direction without basis. I remember doing a thread about this a few years ago either here or somewhere else, but I never got any Jewish believers to join in and it was just Christians and atheists so the thread died early. Maybe I will try again sometime with a thread on Christianity versus Jewish belief after we finish this one.

You should look into "Jews for Jesus" and see why they accept the Christian idea though they still acknowledge themselves as Jews.  http://www.jewsforjesus.org

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

I agree many Christians see Catholics as idolaters because of the representations especially in Churches. Though I have also seen similar in Lutheran churches too, just no statues of saints.

Catholics get a bad rap because of the popularity of that sect in the world.. It doesn't mean they're the only ones.  

 

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

 

...to update this, the book further stated how the historians looked at it as a valid representation and that there's nothing to suggest the "history" in the book is invalid or inaccurate other than the details we've already agreed upon.

Which until there's reason to assume so, we can believe that this book is historically accurate

  

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

I would guess you refer to Bible historians because generally other historians are extremely skeptical of the claims as are archaeologists that are not bible believers.

 

Bible historians are very skeptical of any new developments.  As a historian, it doesn't matter where your belief stands, it's the facts that matter.  Many "Bible historians" are such because their studies have lead them to believe.  


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pauljohntheskeptic

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

 

Archeology and ruins do a lot towards quantifying the numbers.

Sure... today.  Not back in Biblical times when these stories were written...  I'm sure if someone was so inclined, they could rewrite the Bible with the correct numbers today and though some would not be happy about it, with proper explanation as to why, most i think would accept the change.

 

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

As I said, perhaps Saul was a real leader of a tribe perhaps not. Nothing other than the OT discusses him, so ???

most historical documents stick to their own kind.  Unless there are others from the same location at the same time talking specifically about the same events, there wouldn't be any mention of him outside OT.  


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pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

1 Samuel part 6- Cont’d

Chapter 12

Samuel addresses all of Israel in the opening discussion.

Comment – Megaphone? I don’t think they had either loudspeakers or radio. Or all 300 of them were in the village market? This is shown as an interactive discussion, so it’s not written and passed out from village to village. Or perhaps Samuel visits all of Israel, that is all 300 of them.

Possibly a town meeting style.  We both agree numbers were small during that time.  without megaphones, they were very smart at using the acoustics of their surroundings to talk to large groups.  

Though it's not specific to how he spoke it could have also been just going around to all of Israel

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:


This chapter begins with a tale of Saul after 2 years as king took 2000 men to Michmash and Bethel while Jonathan his son took 1000 men and attacked the Philistine outpost at Geba. The Philistines clearly did not take this well and assembled an army of 30,000 chariots and 6,000 horsemen and soldiers as numerous as the sand of the seashore. (KJV and JPS) – While NIV says it was 3,000 chariots and 6,000 charioteers. (NIV footnotes mention the numbers of JPS & KJV as another version)

Comment – Really now, 30,000 chariots or 3,000. I really don’t think so.  In 853 BCE during the time of King Ahab when Shalmaneser III of Assyria invaded Syria, the combined forces of the 12 kings in the battle opposed him with 3900 chariots. See Ancient Iraq – p 297 or see - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Qarqar

Earlier, Egypt and the Hittites at the famous battle at Kadesh in 1274 BCE, Ramses II had a force of about 2000 chariots versus about 3500 chariots. This is noted as one of the largest battles in antiquity.

So this chapter of Samuel continues on with the bloated exaggerated numbers thus once more leading me to question what is real and what is fiction.

my footnote acknowledges 900 Chariots.  further mentions Israelites did not aquire Chariots until the time of Solomon.  

so.... intelligent humans acknowledge the mistakes in numbers... and yet still accept the story as true.  Why is that?  

Do you accept that St. Nicholas was a real person who lived in Hungary?  He secretly gave gifts... yet the stories about him are greatly exaggerated... so he must be fictional.... regardless of historical support or lack thereof to suggest either side.  

Same with Johnny Chapman among many others.  Why would the Bible be any different?  mistaken numbers from a document so far back in history that follows consistency with writing styles of most documents of that time including exaggerations in no way indicate or even suggest the idea that its false.  you would need much more substantial reasoning.

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:


Chapter 14


Jonathan and his armor bearer stealthily come upon the Philistines in the cliffs where they were encamped at an outpost. On the way Jonathan decided if the Philistines said to him when they were spotted “Come up to us,’ we will climb up, because that will be our sign that the LORD has given them into our hands.” If instead they said “wait there we will come to you”, we will wait. The Philistines did indeed say to them, “come up to us”, so Jonathan knew the God would devastate the enemy. They proceeded to go up and killed about 20 of them. The resultant mayhem caused the enemy camp to be in disarray.

Meanwhile Saul and 600 of his men are in Migron. Along for the trip is Ahijah, who was wearing an ephod, which we have previous discussed, a form of idol more or less. Saul noted the confusion and the army of the enemy was dispersing in all directions. In addition they had turned upon one another. The Hebrews that were allied with the Philistines deserted and joined in with Saul's group. So the god that day saved the Jews and Saul. I hesitate again to use the word Israel as I previously mentioned, I’m not sure who that was at this point.

Comments –

Sure why not have a few men sneak in and cause disruption. As to the traitors that sided with the Philistines against their supposed brothers, it’s no surprise they changed sides once again when they saw the tide turning.

Apparently in disregard to taking oaths Saul had put the men under one where none were to eat before evening when he had taken vengeance on the enemy. Jonathan did not know of this and found some honey of which he did eat. The men with him are horrified and told him of the curse that Saul made. In reply he said his father was in error because see how much I was lifted up by just the honey, imagine how many more of the enemy we could have devastated if all the men had eaten.

After the battle the men grab up the booty consisting of oxen and sheep and butcher them to eat. Saul makes an altar to do so such that the blood is drained. He asked of the god should they pursue the Philistines, but the god does not answer. He decides someone has sinned and determines through lots it is Jonathan. Upon learning of what he did, he decides to not kill him besides the army all agreed it was Jonathan that had won the battle with the help of the god. And all the days of Saul he would battle the Philistines.


Comments – I thought taking oaths such as this was verboten under the commandments. Anyway, this is all unneeded narrative that proves little and is simply not verifiable at all.

who ever said all the characters of the Bible followed the commandments like they were supposed to?  do all Americans abide by the laws they themselves made?  Of course, not.  so why would there be any higher expectations from others?  

Just a sidenote, the point of the commandments was to show the people that it was pretty near impossible for them to meet the full expectations of God like they all thought they could and would.  

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:


Chapter 15 The Amalekites


Samuel goes to Saul with a message from the god. The god wants Saul to “punish the Amalekites for what they did to Israel when they waylaid them as they came up from Egypt”. (Note – this was 100s of years earlier and demonstrates how the god holds you liable for the bank your great grandfather robbed in Wichita way back in 1868 – in other words, you are responsible for the sins of your ancestors and will die for it). Saul is to “attack the Amalekites and totally destroy all that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.” I Sam 15:3 (NIV)

now what would the point of that be?  Could it be that they would... be aware of what happened because of their own actions? 

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:


Saul gathers together his force of 200,000 soldiers of which 10,000 are from Judah and proceeds to a city of the Amalek. He tells the Kenites that are nearby to take all of theirs and depart because they had helped the Hebrews. Saul proceeds to attack the Amalek from “Havilah to Shur, near the eastern border of Egypt”. He however violated the god’s wish as do his men. Saul spared the king Agag and the men saved all that was good from the Amalekites including “the best of the sheep and cattle, the fat calves and lambs.”

Samuel is told by the god that Saul has once more failed to abide by the wordof the Lord and what he did as well as the men in Saul’s army. Samuel goes to Saul and rips him a new one for his disregard of the god’s desire. In the end Samuel kills King Agag himself.

Comments –

There is so much wrong with this entire episode. First off as in my comment above, none of these people confronted the 50 to 100 escapees out of Egypt 200 or 300 years earlier. None of them deserve to die for the supposed evil their ancestors did against the people of the god. Next, “Kill them All” Babies, children and women. This is genocide and is like that practiced by the NAZIS. This is one of many episodes that show the cruelty and vicious nature of this god.

But... that can't be my God... My God is a big Carebear in the sky!  

Or is it that there's more to God than that.  Maybe... just maybe... he holds you completely accountable for your actions and will punish you fully for your actions.  What worse punishment then knowing all of your decendents were destroyed?  

If you look at the story as a whole though, it was really more about Saul and not about the people being destroyed.  God almost always works on multi-layers.  

People have an issue with God "destroying" others for their parents or ancestors actions, yet they forget to take into consideration that destroying the flesh as God is suggesting here isn't "killing them" as we would see it, but no longer delaying the inevitable.  

To suggest that this is wrong is to suggest you understand the afterlife and what happened to all those people who were destroyed thus justifying a conclusion of unjust action.   do you know for a fact that they weren't rewarded for their death... or reincarnated?  or given a great place to live in heaven?  all assumptions of course because no one can say for sure.  

i will be the first to admit that God is harsh... but I would need a detailed explanation of unjust action.  We only see one side of the effect.

also, God always warns of consequences before they happen.  Therefore, they knew what was going to happen.  

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:


As to 200,000 soldiers, was the writer counting the fleas on the 600 or so soldiers and including them? There were no where near 200,000 people living in Judah and Israel at the time this event occurred more like 45,000 altogether. See Finkelstein.

As to violating the god’s orders, this is narrative and has no support once more.

This chapter once more adds to the question of credibility of the entire storyline. It once more has exaggerated claims as to the forces of Saul. It has the cruelty of man in it, killing all, genocide as a good thing from the god who is morphed later on by another religion to be all loving. There is no love in this adventure, just bloodletting.

you're sure about that?  So loving means you do not punish for wrong doing?   

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:


I need to hear a really good defense of killing the descendants of the supposed attackers for the crimes allegedly committed against the small number of escapees from Egypt. This says, you will die for what your ancestors did. My ancestors attacked Rome and killed priests, nuns and desecrated it. More than once.

I would then need a good defense for killing anyone for anything.  Do you believe in the death penalty?  Would you want someone dead for repeated serious crimes against your family?  Rapes, murders even? 

Does that mean, through Jesus Christ that these types of actions are appropriate today?  Not at all.  Through Christ all are forgiven, therefore to end a persons life is to not allow them the time to reflect and repent.    Then again, what of those people who you know haven't a care in the world to go around killing and killing again, or raping and raping again?  should they then be put to death?  

to suggest that it was unjust is to say that they weren't warned of that action being done for their sins.  Were they not warned?  

Today, do children not pay for their parents mistakes naturally?  

ultimately, this could be a very very long discussion.  I can understand and agree with your disposition on the topic.  To grasp justification, we'd need to beat out the details of what I've already mentioned... we'd also need to discuss why such actions would not be justified scripturally today, nor needed and why the difference doesn't contradict scripture in any way, nor the actions of God so long ago.  

Ultimately this issue is off topic and regardless of what you feel about this, it doesn't make God any more or less real than he was before and therefore your opinion won't change the truth regardless of what it might be.  

So what focus should we take.  God real or not, or God just or not.  If just or not, we'd need to discuss as if he was real, otherwise, there'd be no point in discussing justification for a fictional characters actions because the only reasoning that would come up from the opposing side is that due to the loving nature of God today and how cruel he was then, he can't be real. 

 


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caposkia wrote:But... that

caposkia wrote:

But... that can't be my God... My God is a big Carebear in the sky!  

Or is it that there's more to God than that.  Maybe... just maybe... he holds you completely accountable for your actions and will punish you fully for your actions.  What worse punishment then knowing all of your decendents were destroyed? 

Or it could be that he is a bloodthirsty deity who likes to go overboard with discipline?

caposkia wrote:

you're sure about that?  So loving means you do not punish for wrong doing?  

No, loving means you punish but make sure the punishment is equal to the level of the offense.

That's the justice and mercy part that you just admitted your God lacks. Thanks.

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
— George Carlin


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caposkia wrote:

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

 

I realize Christians consider the Jewish god to be the Christian god though belief wise they really are not the same even beyond the messiah differences. Christians generally believe man is born with original sin but Jews believe man is born with a pure soul.

The whole NT is completely dependent on Jewish belief and tradition.  We don't need to tangent on this now, but so far, everyone who has tried to claim differences have failed to show me those differences.  most of the time it's misunderstood.  

e.g. Original sin is a very misunderstood concept in most Christians and non-Christian beliefs.  What if i told you we are born with pure souls though still into original sin.  It's doctrine that I believe made it sin that we already have within ourselves.  What I understand it to be is that we still pay the consequences for the "original sin" which is death... We all die, therefore, we all have "original sin"  It's an idea that I don't preach myself because it's so confused and misinterpreted.  In fact, it's not important to understand for salvation.  some would disagree because they say that because of "original sin" it's in our nature to sin, so therefore, there's no way to avoid sin... except for the fact that it's outside influences that cause us to choose a sinful path, and not something we do regardless.  

all in all, it would always end up in an extensive debate among Christians and non-Christians alike.  

I personally don't buy into the Christain view of original sin, similar to the Jews but slightly different. In some ways you are close to what the Jews say but not quite.

Jews say that man is born with a pure soul and can return it to the god in the same condition. According to them, man was born mortal,  from the start and can do right or wrong making his own destiny because God gave him free will. A good explanation of their views are here - http://www.mrrena.com/misc/judaism2.php

Since I don't buy into the sin concept at all, I see man as being born with the ability to do right or wrong. As one learns to integrate into the world as one matures, we learn what right and wrong mean and develop accordingly. Anyone can go either way based on the environment where the child develops. I consider doing wrong or harm to others be what you call sin. In my world there is no god, so one can't do wrong to that which does not exist, only to those that do.

caposkia wrote:

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

Many Jews don't believe in an afterlife though Christians do.

maybe many current Jews don't... but Biblically they did.  They understood the idea of a soul and in many passages very nonchalantly acknowledge the spirits of dead loved ones.  The OT even details one king going to a sorcerer to resurrect the soul of a dead person so that he could talk to him.  This would suggest (be it that it's in the Jewish scripts) that they accepted the idea of afterlife.  

I think what is in question is exactly what happens to you when you die, whether you go to heaven or just sleep in the grave.  I believe the Jews believed in sleeping in the grave and not running around in heaven.  Many Christians believe that we go to heaven when we die... or hell... however it's in my understanding not very Biblical.  Another long topic that tangents.

When the word soul is used in the hebrew writing it almost always refers to the life in the individual and is not a diembodied spirit. That some scripture has magic and Sci-Fi Fantasy with witches, sorcerers is a product of where and when the religion developed. As you say, most Jews adhere to the sleeping in the grave idea. A topic for another day.

caposkia wrote:

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

Christians have abandoned many of the Jewish laws of the OT or pull them out only when they wish to oppose something.

that would be the dispensationalists

Right.

caposkia wrote:

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

As you know by now I consider Christianity to be a morphing of Jewish belief in a new direction without basis. I remember doing a thread about this a few years ago either here or somewhere else, but I never got any Jewish believers to join in and it was just Christians and atheists so the thread died early. Maybe I will try again sometime with a thread on Christianity versus Jewish belief after we finish this one.

You should look into "Jews for Jesus" and see why they accept the Christian idea though they still acknowledge themselves as Jews.  http://www.jewsforjesus.org

I have a long time ago.

You should look into "Jews for Judaism" they discuss much of what's wrong with rejecting Judaism for Jesus - http://www.jewsforjudaism.org/

 

 

caposkia wrote:

caposkia-from an earlier quote wrote:

 

...to update this, the book further stated how the historians looked at it as a valid representation and that there's nothing to suggest the "history" in the book is invalid or inaccurate other than the details we've already agreed upon.

Which until there's reason to assume so, we can believe that this book is historically accurate

  If by we you mean you and the believers, as I consider it to be suspected legends and story-telling until otherwise shown to have validity and basis in the real world. Which requires more than countries, kings, and certain towns existed at the time of the story. Otherwise, there were cities in Sumer, they had kings, they discuss Enki, therefore Enki partied out and was real.

caposkia wrote:

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

I would guess you refer to Bible historians because generally other historians are extremely skeptical of the claims as are archaeologists that are not bible believers.

 

Bible historians are very skeptical of any new developments.  As a historian, it doesn't matter where your belief stands, it's the facts that matter.  Many "Bible historians" are such because their studies have lead them to believe.  

One would hope it was the facts that matter, but Bible believers have warped so much over time that I simply do not trust them. No need to elaborate, I will always distrust the validity of a historian that claims he is not biased yet is an Evangelical door knocking Christian.

 

 

____________________________________________________________
"I guess it's time to ask if you live under high voltage power transmission lines which have been shown to cause stimulation of the fantasy centers of the brain due to electromagnetic waves?" - Me

"God is omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent, - it says so right here on the label. If you have a mind capable of believing all three of these divine attributes simultaneously, I have a wonderful bargain for you. No checks please. Cash and in small bills." - Robert A Heinlein.


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caposkia

caposkia wrote:

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

 

Archeology and ruins do a lot towards quantifying the numbers.

Sure... today.  Not back in Biblical times when these stories were written...  I'm sure if someone was so inclined, they could rewrite the Bible with the correct numbers today and though some would not be happy about it, with proper explanation as to why, most i think would accept the change.

You could call it the Caposkia Revised Version and probably sell several hundred thousand copies. Hmm, there might be money in this.

 

caposkia wrote:

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

As I said, perhaps Saul was a real leader of a tribe perhaps not. Nothing other than the OT discusses him, so ???

most historical documents stick to their own kind.  Unless there are others from the same location at the same time talking specifically about the same events, there wouldn't be any mention of him outside OT.  

I need more to validate him as a real world character and not a storybook character, so he remains in my file as an unproven character.

 

 

____________________________________________________________
"I guess it's time to ask if you live under high voltage power transmission lines which have been shown to cause stimulation of the fantasy centers of the brain due to electromagnetic waves?" - Me

"God is omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent, - it says so right here on the label. If you have a mind capable of believing all three of these divine attributes simultaneously, I have a wonderful bargain for you. No checks please. Cash and in small bills." - Robert A Heinlein.


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Double Post


 

 

____________________________________________________________
"I guess it's time to ask if you live under high voltage power transmission lines which have been shown to cause stimulation of the fantasy centers of the brain due to electromagnetic waves?" - Me

"God is omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent, - it says so right here on the label. If you have a mind capable of believing all three of these divine attributes simultaneously, I have a wonderful bargain for you. No checks please. Cash and in small bills." - Robert A Heinlein.


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caposkia

caposkia wrote:

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

1 Samuel part 6- Cont’d

Chapter 12

Samuel addresses all of Israel in the opening discussion.

Comment – Megaphone? I don’t think they had either loudspeakers or radio. Or all 300 of them were in the village market? This is shown as an interactive discussion, so it’s not written and passed out from village to village. Or perhaps Samuel visits all of Israel, that is all 300 of them.

Possibly a town meeting style.  We both agree numbers were small during that time.  without megaphones, they were very smart at using the acoustics of their surroundings to talk to large groups.  

Though it's not specific to how he spoke it could have also been just going around to all of Israel

The text seems to indicate it was an interactive discussion, so I vote for all 300 of them were in the town market.

caposkia wrote:

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:


This chapter begins with a tale of Saul after 2 years as king took 2000 men to Michmash and Bethel while Jonathan his son took 1000 men and attacked the Philistine outpost at Geba. The Philistines clearly did not take this well and assembled an army of 30,000 chariots and 6,000 horsemen and soldiers as numerous as the sand of the seashore. (KJV and JPS) – While NIV says it was 3,000 chariots and 6,000 charioteers. (NIV footnotes mention the numbers of JPS & KJV as another version)

Comment – Really now, 30,000 chariots or 3,000. I really don’t think so.  In 853 BCE during the time of King Ahab when Shalmaneser III of Assyria invaded Syria, the combined forces of the 12 kings in the battle opposed him with 3900 chariots. See Ancient Iraq – p 297 or see - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Qarqar

Earlier, Egypt and the Hittites at the famous battle at Kadesh in 1274 BCE, Ramses II had a force of about 2000 chariots versus about 3500 chariots. This is noted as one of the largest battles in antiquity.

So this chapter of Samuel continues on with the bloated exaggerated numbers thus once more leading me to question what is real and what is fiction.

my footnote acknowledges 900 Chariots.  further mentions Israelites did not aquire Chariots until the time of Solomon.  

so.... intelligent humans acknowledge the mistakes in numbers... and yet still accept the story as true.  Why is that?  

Do you accept that St. Nicholas was a real person who lived in Hungary?  He secretly gave gifts... yet the stories about him are greatly exaggerated... so he must be fictional.... regardless of historical support or lack thereof to suggest either side.  

Same with Johnny Chapman among many others.  Why would the Bible be any different?  mistaken numbers from a document so far back in history that follows consistency with writing styles of most documents of that time including exaggerations in no way indicate or even suggest the idea that its false.  you would need much more substantial reasoning.

Even 900 chariots is beyond the population of the area.

Legends have great exaggerations attached to them over time by the bards that retell the stories, that's what I see in this. Saul had x chariots, insert number from 1 to an appropriate number for the less than 4500 people living in Judah at the time.

St Nicholas was indeed a person and legends abound. Some are real, some are fantasy. One must sift out that which is not possible in our reality. So were Hercules, Zeus, Enki, An, Ki, Enlil, Perseus, Pandora, ..................... all real as well. Some probably were, but does that mean that one can determine what is real in regard to Sumerian stories or the Greek stories? Probably not. Why then must one give credibility to the Hebrew stories as all reality based and not steeped in legends and story-telling? I see no difference here.

caposkia wrote:


pauljohntheskeptic wrote:


Chapter 14


Jonathan and his armor bearer stealthily come upon the Philistines in the cliffs where they were encamped at an outpost. On the way Jonathan decided if the Philistines said to him when they were spotted “Come up to us,’ we will climb up, because that will be our sign that the LORD has given them into our hands.” If instead they said “wait there we will come to you”, we will wait. The Philistines did indeed say to them, “come up to us”, so Jonathan knew the God would devastate the enemy. They proceeded to go up and killed about 20 of them. The resultant mayhem caused the enemy camp to be in disarray.

Meanwhile Saul and 600 of his men are in Migron. Along for the trip is Ahijah, who was wearing an ephod, which we have previous discussed, a form of idol more or less. Saul noted the confusion and the army of the enemy was dispersing in all directions. In addition they had turned upon one another. The Hebrews that were allied with the Philistines deserted and joined in with Saul's group. So the god that day saved the Jews and Saul. I hesitate again to use the word Israel as I previously mentioned, I’m not sure who that was at this point.

Comments –

Sure why not have a few men sneak in and cause disruption. As to the traitors that sided with the Philistines against their supposed brothers, it’s no surprise they changed sides once again when they saw the tide turning.

Apparently in disregard to taking oaths Saul had put the men under one where none were to eat before evening when he had taken vengeance on the enemy. Jonathan did not know of this and found some honey of which he did eat. The men with him are horrified and told him of the curse that Saul made. In reply he said his father was in error because see how much I was lifted up by just the honey, imagine how many more of the enemy we could have devastated if all the men had eaten.

After the battle the men grab up the booty consisting of oxen and sheep and butcher them to eat. Saul makes an altar to do so such that the blood is drained. He asked of the god should they pursue the Philistines, but the god does not answer. He decides someone has sinned and determines through lots it is Jonathan. Upon learning of what he did, he decides to not kill him besides the army all agreed it was Jonathan that had won the battle with the help of the god. And all the days of Saul he would battle the Philistines.


Comments – I thought taking oaths such as this was verboten under the commandments. Anyway, this is all unneeded narrative that proves little and is simply not verifiable at all.

who ever said all the characters of the Bible followed the commandments like they were supposed to?  do all Americans abide by the laws they themselves made?  Of course, not.  so why would there be any higher expectations from others?  

Just a sidenote, the point of the commandments was to show the people that it was pretty near impossible for them to meet the full expectations of God like they all thought they could and would. 

Saul was supposedly special, he was the anointed one of the god.

The point of the 600 plus commandants were to give the Hebrew people a means and philosophy to live by, check out Jewish beliefs on the subject.

caposkia wrote:

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:


Chapter 15 The Amalekites


Samuel goes to Saul with a message from the god. The god wants Saul to “punish the Amalekites for what they did to Israel when they waylaid them as they came up from Egypt”. (Note – this was 100s of years earlier and demonstrates how the god holds you liable for the bank your great grandfather robbed in Wichita way back in 1868 – in other words, you are responsible for the sins of your ancestors and will die for it). Saul is to “attack the Amalekites and totally destroy all that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.” I Sam 15:3 (NIV)

now what would the point of that be?  Could it be that they would... be aware of what happened because of their own actions?

I'm sure you are aware of all of the actions of your ancestors. Should you be held accountable for them?

Really, the point here is this is part of a story-telling episode. Since the big bad Amalekites long ago caused harm to the Hebrews, the truly just god looking over them will see to it that justice is served by helping king Saul kill them all today.

caposkia wrote:

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:


Saul gathers together his force of 200,000 soldiers of which 10,000 are from Judah and proceeds to a city of the Amalek. He tells the Kenites that are nearby to take all of theirs and depart because they had helped the Hebrews. Saul proceeds to attack the Amalek from “Havilah to Shur, near the eastern border of Egypt”. He however violated the god’s wish as do his men. Saul spared the king Agag and the men saved all that was good from the Amalekites including “the best of the sheep and cattle, the fat calves and lambs.”

Samuel is told by the god that Saul has once more failed to abide by the word of the Lord and what he did as well as the men in Saul’s army. Samuel goes to Saul and rips him a new one for his disregard of the god’s desire. In the end Samuel kills King Agag himself.

Comments –

There is so much wrong with this entire episode. First off as in my comment above, none of these people confronted the 50 to 100 escapees out of Egypt 200 or 300 years earlier. None of them deserve to die for the supposed evil their ancestors did against the people of the god. Next, “Kill them All” Babies, children and women. This is genocide and is like that practiced by the NAZIS. This is one of many episodes that show the cruelty and vicious nature of this god.

But... that can't be my God... My God is a big Carebear in the sky!  

Or is it that there's more to God than that.  Maybe... just maybe... he holds you completely accountable for your actions and will punish you fully for your actions.  What worse punishment then knowing all of your decedents were destroyed?  

If you look at the story as a whole though, it was really more about Saul and not about the people being destroyed.  God almost always works on multi-layers.  

People have an issue with God "destroying" others for their parents or ancestors actions, yet they forget to take into consideration that destroying the flesh as God is suggesting here isn't "killing them" as we would see it, but no longer delaying the inevitable.  

To suggest that this is wrong is to suggest you understand the afterlife and what happened to all those people who were destroyed thus justifying a conclusion of unjust action.   do you know for a fact that they weren't rewarded for their death... or reincarnated?  or given a great place to live in heaven?  all assumptions of course because no one can say for sure.  

i will be the first to admit that God is harsh... but I would need a detailed explanation of unjust action.  We only see one side of the effect.

also, God always warns of consequences before they happen.  Therefore, they knew what was going to happen. 

As mentioned above, this is pure and simple story-telling with propaganda. See how the just god of the Hebrews protects you. He takes revenge on all even if it is 200 years later. Really good propaganda as well.

As my view is  destroying the flesh is taking away the free will of the individual it seems in contradiction to even having it.

So, I can call it wrong based on my value system where life is precious. Since the OT sees life as subservient to the will of the in need of meds and mental health care god, it makes since that violence is the 1st response. this however is no different than other capricious petty gods of antiquity. Also, dead people make fertilizer or perhaps Soylent Green. Beyond that, nothing else but conjecture. Do you live by conjecture?

In summary this is really good story-telling with the god providing the ultimate revenge against the enemies as propaganda. The rest of my comments are just toying with you.

I file this episode under, legends and propaganda.

caposkia wrote:

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:


As to 200,000 soldiers, was the writer counting the fleas on the 600 or so soldiers and including them? There were no where near 200,000 people living in Judah and Israel at the time this event occurred more like 45,000 altogether. See Finkelstein.

As to violating the god’s orders, this is narrative and has no support once more.

This chapter once more adds to the question of credibility of the entire storyline. It once more has exaggerated claims as to the forces of Saul. It has the cruelty of man in it, killing all, genocide as a good thing from the god who is morphed later on by another religion to be all loving. There is no love in this adventure, just bloodletting.

you're sure about that?  So loving means you do not punish for wrong doing?  

If genocide is love.

There is enough in this chapter between the exaggeration and the propaganda message of revenge for the people of the god for me to file this under story-telling legends.

caposkia wrote:

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:


I need to hear a really good defense of killing the descendants of the supposed attackers for the crimes allegedly committed against the small number of escapees from Egypt. This says, you will die for what your ancestors did. My ancestors attacked Rome and killed priests, nuns and desecrated it. More than once.

I would then need a good defense for killing anyone for anything.  Do you believe in the death penalty?  Would you want someone dead for repeated serious crimes against your family?  Rapes, murders even? 

Does that mean, through Jesus Christ that these types of actions are appropriate today?  Not at all.  Through Christ all are forgiven, therefore to end a persons life is to not allow them the time to reflect and repent.    Then again, what of those people who you know haven't a care in the world to go around killing and killing again, or raping and raping again?  should they then be put to death?  

to suggest that it was unjust is to say that they weren't warned of that action being done for their sins.  Were they not warned?  

Today, do children not pay for their parents mistakes naturally?  

ultimately, this could be a very very long discussion.  I can understand and agree with your disposition on the topic.  To grasp justification, we'd need to beat out the details of what I've already mentioned... we'd also need to discuss why such actions would not be justified scripturally today, nor needed and why the difference doesn't contradict scripture in any way, nor the actions of God so long ago.  

Ultimately this issue is off topic and regardless of what you feel about this, it doesn't make God any more or less real than he was before and therefore your opinion won't change the truth regardless of what it might be.  

So what focus should we take.  God real or not, or God just or not.  If just or not, we'd need to discuss as if he was real, otherwise, there'd be no point in discussing justification for a fictional characters actions because the only reasoning that would come up from the opposing side is that due to the loving nature of God today and how cruel he was then, he can't be real. 

 

1- I agree with the death penalty only when the person is unsafe to keep. If the person will on 1st opportunity kill again, they need to be eliminated.

2-Repeated serious crimes may warrant execution. Or not. Given freedom again, no.

Just where do you think these people were warned in the story-telling that the god was going to kill them for the actions of their ancestors?

Chapter and verse?

It doesn't matter if the god is just or real, the point to me is this tale is legends and story-telling. I say it is story-telling based on the content as I mentioned. What part is real world is likely to be very minimal. I see it as mostly propaganda. See the Hebrews god will bring vengeance on you for generations if you attack them.

____________________________________________________________
"I guess it's time to ask if you live under high voltage power transmission lines which have been shown to cause stimulation of the fantasy centers of the brain due to electromagnetic waves?" - Me

"God is omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent, - it says so right here on the label. If you have a mind capable of believing all three of these divine attributes simultaneously, I have a wonderful bargain for you. No checks please. Cash and in small bills." - Robert A Heinlein.


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1 Samuel part 7 -

1 Samuel part 7 - Cont’d

Chapter 16

David is anointed king.

The god childes Samuel for not letting go of Saul after he (the god) had rejected him. He is told to go to Jesse and anoint one of his sons. Samuel worried he might meet an early death by Saul and so asked how he could do so without Saul knowing. As the god created all, he of course was tricksy himself, so he told Samuel to take a heifer along for a sacrifice and pretend that was the whole point. He was then to ask Jesse and the others to come with him for the sacrifice.

When Samuel arrived in Bethlehem the elders were afraid, Samuel's reputation proceeded him of crop destruction perhaps. He told them the story the god had given him and told them to sanctify themselves and come along. Jesse and his sons were sanctified and went along to the sacrifice. When the sons came past Samuel he considered each one to be the "one" but no, it wasn't Eliab, Abinadab, Shammah, or any of the 7 sons of Jesse that were present. Samuel asked Jesse if he had any other sons, he said yes the youngest that is tending the sheep. Samuel told him to have him brought to him When David was brought to Samuel the god told him, anoint him he is the "one”. Samuel then anointed David and the spirit of the god came upon him.

Comments -
This is another tale steeped in storytelling. It shows the god to be tricksy to confuse Saul, when all that was needed was to blur Saul's understanding. The god should have been able to prevent Saul from knowing, but instead he plays games, an indication of where this story originated.

The selection of David from the brood of brothers is another storyteller's trick. It makes the process look more complicated and attempt to make David somehow more special, similar to Arthur and Cinderella stories and of course my favorite stories those from Sumer.

Meanwhile, the spirit of the god left Saul and in its place the god sent him an evil spirit. Saul’s servants recognize the god is sending an evil spirit to him and told him they will send for someone to play a lyre to soothe him when the god does this. One of the servants knew about David and suggested him. In addition, they told Saul he was  very fair looking who was also  a brave man that spoke well. The god is with him as well. So David is sent for to play for Saul when he was afflicted. Saul loved him greatly and made him his armor-bearer in addition to his psychological duty as a soul soother.

Comments -
This chapter establishes the god is capable of projecting evil, as he inflicts it upon Saul. Most people already would recognize the god was evil from the mass murders he either committed or ordered, especially the most recent genocide in regard to the Amalekites, The god later on removes all doubt that he is the responsible party for evil's creation in Isaiah 45:7. This shows the vengeful jealous traits the god has claimed in Exodus 20:4.

Chapter 17
The Goliath Myth

The Philistines once again assembled their armies to battle in Judah, this time at Ephes Dammim, between Sokoh and Azekah. Saul brought his armed forces on a hill opposite them with a valley in between. The Philistines sent out their champion named Goliath who was 9 feet 9 inches tall (1 cubit = 1.5 feet, 1 span = 9 inches). He wore a brass helmet and a coat of brass mail that weighed 125 lbs (1 shekel =0.025 pounds). Note - medieval chain mail for standard height was about 50 lbs. He carried a spear that was like a weavers beam (does this mean smaller than a semi-truck but larger than a VW?) The spear's head weighed 15 pounds.

Goliath called out for Saul's forces to send out their own champion to fight him. If Goliath won the Philistines would make them their servants, if the man from Saul's army won the Philistines would be their servants. Saul and his army were terrified and afraid. Goliath did this every day for 40 days. No one came forward to fight him.

Comments -
I'm not saying no one could be 9'9" tall, but the average height back then was less than 5 feet. Please note, since I disagree that Israel & Judah were united as one country I refrain from the use of Israel in my discussion. ** See below for my reasoning on this Note-1

Meanwhile, David was going back and forth between the camp and the sheep he tended. His father Jesse sent him one day with food for his oldest 3 brothers, mentioned earlier. When he arrived this time, Goliath had just made his 1st challenge of the day; he did it in the morning and the evening. When he did so all the men were afraid and fell back. They told David that Saul would greatly reward anyone that could kill the giant Philistine including the king's daughter in marriage.David told them who is this Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living god.

Eliab, David’s oldest brother saw David and came up to him telling him who did you leave our few sheep with so you could come here and dally? They have a typical sibling relationship where the older brother considers David basically conceited with a wicked heart. Actually Eliab is right and has judged his brother well as David demonstrates later on in his life. Back to this story though, Saul hears of this encounter and calls for David. David tells Saul that he will go out and meet the giant. Saul told him he was just a young man and the Philistine was an experienced warrior so he’d lose. David tells Saul the god protected him against both a lion and a bear and the god will do so against the Philistine giant.

So Saul told him, may the god be with you. Saul gave him his own tunic, as well as armor, a helmet and a sword. David tried walking and had difficulty. Instead he decided to wear his own shepherds clothes and use only his sling as a weapon. He picked out 5 smooth stones and loaded up to go face the giant.

 
Goliath took one look at David and said “Am I a dog, that you come at me with sticks?” David tells him, I come against you with the Lord god of the armies you have defied. The god will deliver you into my hands and I will strike you down and cut off your head. He continues to rant with more threats in regard to the fate of the Philistine army following the death of Goliath, Typical tactics for a face off between warriors.

So Goliath approaches David and he loaded a stone flinging it into the giant’s head. He falls to the ground dead. David then cuts off his head. The Philistine army in terror fled towards the cities of Gath & Ekron pursued by Saul’s army. They were killed in great numbers leaving dead strewn all the way to their cities.

After David killed Goliath he took the head to Jerusalem. He took the giant’s weapons and put them in his own tent.When Saul saw David go out to fight he asked his commander who’s son was he. When David came back from the encounter he told Saul he was the son of Jesse.

Comments –

Skipping through all the story telling, the weight of Goliath and his armor, let’s look at a few points that don’t sit very well with me.

1-After the battle with Goliath David took the giant’s weapons to his tent. Was this at home? Nothing in the text mentions David having a tent in the camp, in fact David went back and forth between his home and the camp which is specifically mentioned.

2-David takes Goliath’s head to Jerusalem afterwords. OK, what’s wrong with this picture. Well, at this point in the story telling in regard to David, Jerusalem was not a city of Israel or Judah, it was occupied by the Jebusites. David later on when he has been king for 7-1/2 years ruling from Hebron attacks Jerusalem, in the story of 2 Samuel 5:6-10. So David has no reason or business to go to Jerusalem at this point at all. Uh-oh, sloppy story-telling here! This to me shows what happens when legends are told by bards and later on written into the religious propaganda.

3-Who really killed Goliath? What of this story in the Hebrew Bible version in 2 Samuel 21:18-22 where it says Elhanan slew Goliath.? The KJV and the NIV have this as the brother of Goliath, no doubt to keep the David legends valid. Is this more sloppy story-telling from the oral versions of the bards?
See –JPS Hebrew version 2 Sam 21:19 – “And there was again war with the Philistines at Gob; and Elhanan the son of Jaare-oregim the Beth-lehemite slew Goliath the Gittite, the staff of whose spear was like a weaver's beam.”

Other than that the David and Goliath story is a really good bard’s tale.


**Note 1)- ).The only support for this united country is the Judah inspired book called the Hebrew bible. Since archeology generally does not show a united country for this time period, I’ll continue to avoid any support for it in my discussion. As mentioned earlier, I consider Finkelstein’s assessment to be very likely. Also see - http://www.edwardtbabinski.us/biblical_archaeology/decline_of_israel.html for more information. I have doubts as to them as a united country based on the stories themselves which appear to be likely propaganda developed in a later period when Judah was dominant and Israel was no more, specifically following the devastation of Israel by the Assyrians.  The OT in general seems to suggest this itself when you step back and consider when and where it was written. In later stories, the differences between Judah and Israel are obvious. If related by blood and heritage little love is shown between the two countries.

____________________________________________________________
"I guess it's time to ask if you live under high voltage power transmission lines which have been shown to cause stimulation of the fantasy centers of the brain due to electromagnetic waves?" - Me

"God is omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent, - it says so right here on the label. If you have a mind capable of believing all three of these divine attributes simultaneously, I have a wonderful bargain for you. No checks please. Cash and in small bills." - Robert A Heinlein.


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jcgadfly wrote:Or it could

jcgadfly wrote:

Or it could be that he is a bloodthirsty deity who likes to go overboard with discipline?..........

No, loving means you punish but make sure the punishment is equal to the level of the offense.

That's the justice and mercy part that you just admitted your God lacks. Thanks.

What is your basis for this conclusion?  Are you saying you know what happens to those who died?  What is your basis for God lacking justice and mercy?

Should we just give a mass murderer or a rapist a slap on the wrist and say don't do it again?... again... and again?  esp.  if you know releasing him will only allow him to do it again, which he will and you know it.


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What is your basis for this

caposkia wrote:
Should we just give a mass murderer or a rapist a slap on the wrist and say don't do it again?... again... and again?  esp.  if you know releasing him will only allow him to do it again, which he will and you know it.

Eh... Are you talking about deterance or vengeance here? Which one is God doing to the Rapist or Mass Murderer?

Well I was born an original sinner
I was spawned from original sin
And if I had a dollar bill for all the things I've done
There'd be a mountain of money piled up to my chin


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pauljohntheskeptic wrote:I

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

I personally don't buy into the Christain view of original sin, similar to the Jews but slightly different. In some ways you are close to what the Jews say but not quite.

Jews say that man is born with a pure soul and can return it to the god in the same condition. According to them, man was born mortal,  from the start and can do right or wrong making his own destiny because God gave him free will. A good explanation of their views are here - http://www.mrrena.com/misc/judaism2.php

Since I don't buy into the sin concept at all, I see man as being born with the ability to do right or wrong. As one learns to integrate into the world as one matures, we learn what right and wrong mean and develop accordingly. Anyone can go either way based on the environment where the child develops. I consider doing wrong or harm to others be what you call sin. In my world there is no god, so one can't do wrong to that which does not exist, only to those that do.

I am familiar with the Jewish understanding.  I will look it over.

As a child, it is shown to be that the core expectations of right and wrong are clearly understood without teaching.  It's all the gray understanding that is taught.  However, a child's mind can be corrupt by the world around it and therefore eventually suppress the instinctual knowledge of right and wrong and replace it with society's right and wrong.   in other words, it's not just taught, but some is already known or learned through natural consequence.  

e.g.  Statistically, a neglected child doesn't typically grow up to be a murderer, though the may not be ideal as far as we're concerned when it comes to what we expect of a person.  Mass murderers are statistically individuals who grew up in an abusive or otherwise harsh lifestyle, which would suggest their environment replaced what would orignally have been instinctual not to do.  This is supported across the spectrum for serious offenses.  Obviously there are outliers, but it's not typical and each outlier would have to be taken into consideration individually to understand their MO.

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

When the word soul is used in the hebrew writing it almost always refers to the life in the individual and is not a diembodied spirit. That some scripture has magic and Sci-Fi Fantasy with witches, sorcerers is a product of where and when the religion developed. As you say, most Jews adhere to the sleeping in the grave idea. A topic for another day.

I didn't once use the Hebrew "soul" as a defense for my understanding.   I agree with your explanation.

......................

I accidentally erased it, but you suggested i look into Jews for Judaism.  I should add that i don't agree with everything the Jews for Jesus believe, but my point was to look at some of their reasoning while still holding onto the Jewish tradition and calling themselves Jews.  

i will look into the link.  I expect a lot of Jewish objection might parallel mine.

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

  If by we you mean you and the believers, as I consider it to be suspected legends and story-telling until otherwise shown to have validity and basis in the real world. Which requires more than countries, kings, and certain towns existed at the time of the story. Otherwise, there were cities in Sumer, they had kings, they discuss Enki, therefore Enki partied out and was real.

yes, we the believers.  Congruency in history and the fact that no history can show reasoning to say that it didn't happen suggests a good basis for accepting it.

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

One would hope it was the facts that matter, but Bible believers have warped so much over time that I simply do not trust them. No need to elaborate, I will always distrust the validity of a historian that claims he is not biased yet is an Evangelical door knocking Christian.

You are right to question everything.  it is what lead me to believe what i do today.  Though unlike your approach, i questioned literally everything, and not just what I disagreed with.  i still do today.  Forgive me if I'm wrong about your approach.  

 

 


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caposkia wrote:jcgadfly

caposkia wrote:

jcgadfly wrote:

Or it could be that he is a bloodthirsty deity who likes to go overboard with discipline?..........

No, loving means you punish but make sure the punishment is equal to the level of the offense.

That's the justice and mercy part that you just admitted your God lacks. Thanks.

What is your basis for this conclusion?  Are you saying you know what happens to those who died?  What is your basis for God lacking justice and mercy?

Should we just give a mass murderer or a rapist a slap on the wrist and say don't do it again?... again... and again?  esp.  if you know releasing him will only allow him to do it again, which he will and you know it.

Should we kill the mass murderer, his wife, his children, his parents, his cousins, his aunts and uncles. his next door neighbors, his grandparents, his siblings...? After they're dead, should we dig them up and kill them again and pass this idea down to our children?

That's what your god advocates. Bible's full of examples of that. Justice and mercy my ass.

Oh wait...that must be why you guys like Paul so much. The serial killer can ask God for forgiveness and keep going as long as he is forgiven one more time than he kills.

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
— George Carlin


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pauljohntheskeptic

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

 

Even 900 chariots is beyond the population of the area.

Legends have great exaggerations attached to them over time by the bards that retell the stories, that's what I see in this. Saul had x chariots, insert number from 1 to an appropriate number for the less than 4500 people living in Judah at the time.

St Nicholas was indeed a person and legends abound. Some are real, some are fantasy. One must sift out that which is not possible in our reality. So were Hercules, Zeus, Enki, An, Ki, Enlil, Perseus, Pandora, ..................... all real as well. Some probably were, but does that mean that one can determine what is real in regard to Sumerian stories or the Greek stories? Probably not. Why then must one give credibility to the Hebrew stories as all reality based and not steeped in legends and story-telling? I see no difference here.

By the information already gone through.  The only dispute you have with validity is numbers... and maybe possibly names that might not have existed during the timeframe of the story, but very well could have existed during the time frame of when the story was written down, therefore, the lack of opposing information and the general support of the information that is accurate as little as it is cancels out any reasoning to believe its false.... at least until there's the slightly greater support opposing it rather than validating it.

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:


 

Saul was supposedly special, he was the anointed one of the god.

The point of the 600 plus commandants were to give the Hebrew people a means and philosophy to live by, check out Jewish beliefs on the subject.

I agree with that.  Saul was supposedly Special.. so was Moses... Moses also was a murderer.  But special to God none the same.  Therefore, even though he got the commandments directly from God, he still was a sinner and broke the commandments himself.   Granted the murder happened before the commandments were put in place, but the understanding that killing was very wrong was there.   

They were to give the Hebrew people a philosophy to live by.  The Hebrew people were also very pompus with the understanding that they were God's chosen, so God wanted to show them how they still fell short of His expectations.    They were to be followed explicitly.  None could admit that they just couldn't do it explicitly.  If they could, it's likely that Jesus would have come to them then and not much much later.  Obviously stretching it here, but the point was that Jesus was in the works even during Moses' time and God knew the progression of his people and knew they'd need a Messiah eventually.  Part of the purpose of Jesus was because of the lack of ability on the peoples part to follow the commandments explicitly throughout their lives.

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

 

I'm sure you are aware of all of the actions of your ancestors. Should you be held accountable for them?

Am I not?  There are natural consequences from every action of every one of my ancestors.  Most i probably can't conceive due to the fact that I just grew up that way.  E.g.  i know I'm in this country because my ancestors from Italy came for a better opportunity.  I'm not sure what made them believe they didn't have a good opportunity where they were, but it could have been the poor decision of someone that caused them hardship and had them move to the states.  Some would see this as maybe a blessing, but then again, it is a consequence just the same, good or bad.  

Today, through Christ I should not be because Christ died for the sins of my ancestors as well as mine.  But before Christ it would be understood that unpaid debts aught to be paid in full.   It's not our way of life today and so this concept is hard for us to understand, but it is how it was then.  Technically through God it's the same, but through Christ it's already been paid for.  

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

Really, the point here is this is part of a story-telling episode. Since the big bad Amalekites long ago caused harm to the Hebrews, the truly just god looking over them will see to it that justice is served by helping king Saul kill them all today.

Historical and reasonable for the time.  Think about it, What do you do if you want to get rid of a corrupt king?  Kill his son so that his reign cannot continue becasue we all know that his son will pick up where he left off if you just kill the king.

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

 

As mentioned above, this is pure and simple story-telling with propaganda. See how the just god of the Hebrews protects you. He takes revenge on all even if it is 200 years later. Really good propaganda as well.

As my view is  destroying the flesh is taking away the free will of the individual it seems in contradiction to even having it.

200 years is said to be no time to God.  it'd be like it being unjust for us to try anyone in a court of law anytime after the day it happened.  We can wait up to 3 years I think it is to sue someone for hitting me with their car and breaking my leg.  It doesn't matter that my leg healed fine and that i had no physical trauma after.  Why not 200 for God?  

... yes, but would you sue their son for your accident with his father.

... don't people sue families for a deceased loved ones actions today?  Justice must be served.  The family unit today is falling apart, but historically it has always held the weight of each individual regardless of when.  If one screwed up, the family suffered.  

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

So, I can call it wrong based on my value system where life is precious. Since the OT sees life as subservient to the will of the in need of meds and mental health care god, it makes since that violence is the 1st response. this however is no different than other capricious petty gods of antiquity. Also, dead people make fertilizer or perhaps Soylent Green. Beyond that, nothing else but conjecture. Do you live by conjecture?

So... killing people was the first response?  you sure?

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

In summary this is really good story-telling with the god providing the ultimate revenge against the enemies as propaganda. The rest of my comments are just toying with you.

i figured as much Eye-wink

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

If genocide is love.

There is enough in this chapter between the exaggeration and the propaganda message of revenge for the people of the god for me to file this under story-telling legends.

I haven't seen the basis for doing so yet other than your personal disposition of the killing of people that might not have had a direct hand in the problem.

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

 

1- I agree with the death penalty only when the person is unsafe to keep. If the person will on 1st opportunity kill again, they need to be eliminated.

2-Repeated serious crimes may warrant execution. Or not. Given freedom again, no.

Just where do you think these people were warned in the story-telling that the god was going to kill them for the actions of their ancestors?

By taking the whole bible into consideration.  It was widely known that "messing with" the Isralites results in severe consequences.  It'd be odd to me that this particular people group missed the memo.  It just wouldn't add up.  

Are you under the impression that this people group had no intention of following in their ancestors footsteps?  half the reason why such drastic actions were ever taken Biblically was because of the tight knit following of offspring to their parents and how they woudl likely continue where their ancestors left off.

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

Chapter and verse?

It doesn't matter if the god is just or real, the point to me is this tale is legends and story-telling. I say it is story-telling based on the content as I mentioned. What part is real world is likely to be very minimal. I see it as mostly propaganda. See the Hebrews god will bring vengeance on you for generations if you attack them.

Or just once.  It could be an ongoing consequence... just as any  natural consequence could be, or it could be one harsh slap from God as seen here.

Again, all I see for your reasoning is your issue with God's approach.  Where would this not be historically accurate other than sheer numbers at this point?

I'll have to get back to this again later.  I'm not ignoring your next post.


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caposkia

caposkia wrote:

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

I personally don't buy into the Christain view of original sin, similar to the Jews but slightly different. In some ways you are close to what the Jews say but not quite.

Jews say that man is born with a pure soul and can return it to the god in the same condition. According to them, man was born mortal,  from the start and can do right or wrong making his own destiny because God gave him free will. A good explanation of their views are here - http://www.mrrena.com/misc/judaism2.php

Since I don't buy into the sin concept at all, I see man as being born with the ability to do right or wrong. As one learns to integrate into the world as one matures, we learn what right and wrong mean and develop accordingly. Anyone can go either way based on the environment where the child develops. I consider doing wrong or harm to others be what you call sin. In my world there is no god, so one can't do wrong to that which does not exist, only to those that do.

I am familiar with the Jewish understanding.  I will look it over.

As a child, it is shown to be that the core expectations of right and wrong are clearly understood without teaching.  It's all the gray understanding that is taught.  However, a child's mind can be corrupt by the world around it and therefore eventually suppress the instinctual knowledge of right and wrong and replace it with society's right and wrong.   in other words, it's not just taught, but some is already known or learned through natural consequence.  

e.g.  Statistically, a neglected child doesn't typically grow up to be a murderer, though the may not be ideal as far as we're concerned when it comes to what we expect of a person.  Mass murderers are statistically individuals who grew up in an abusive or otherwise harsh lifestyle, which would suggest their environment replaced what would orignally have been instinctual not to do.  This is supported across the spectrum for serious offenses.  Obviously there are outliers, but it's not typical and each outlier would have to be taken into consideration individually to understand their MO.

We pretty much agree, as I said "man is born with the ability to do right or wrong". Environment has an effect to the overall development of individuals.

caposkia wrote:

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

When the word soul is used in the hebrew writing it almost always refers to the life in the individual and is not a diembodied spirit. That some scripture has magic and Sci-Fi Fantasy with witches, sorcerers is a product of where and when the religion developed. As you say, most Jews adhere to the sleeping in the grave idea. A topic for another day.

I didn't once use the Hebrew "soul" as a defense for my understanding.   I agree with your explanation.

......................

I accidentally erased it, but you suggested i look into Jews for Judaism.  I should add that i don't agree with everything the Jews for Jesus believe, but my point was to look at some of their reasoning while still holding onto the Jewish tradition and calling themselves Jews.  

i will look into the link.  I expect a lot of Jewish objection might parallel mine.

OK. I imagine you will agree with many ideas of the Jews from what I have seen of you.

caposkia wrote:

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

  If by we you mean you and the believers, as I consider it to be suspected legends and story-telling until otherwise shown to have validity and basis in the real world. Which requires more than countries, kings, and certain towns existed at the time of the story. Otherwise, there were cities in Sumer, they had kings, they discuss Enki, therefore Enki partied out and was real.

yes, we the believers.  Congruency in history and the fact that no history can show reasoning to say that it didn't happen suggests a good basis for accepting it.

Thanks. So therefore Enki and the Sumerian gods may actually have lived, though the stories may be extremely exaggerated. I agree that is possible.

caposkia wrote:

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

One would hope it was the facts that matter, but Bible believers have warped so much over time that I simply do not trust them. No need to elaborate, I will always distrust the validity of a historian that claims he is not biased yet is an Evangelical door knocking Christian.

You are right to question everything.  it is what lead me to believe what i do today.  Though unlike your approach, i questioned literally everything, and not just what I disagreed with.  i still do today.  Forgive me if I'm wrong about your approach.   

It is inherrant in my nature to understand. I question everything as I have told you. Seeing clay tablets and ruins with ancient stories I want to understand why they wrote, what it means, and what their culture and world involved. This is also true for the Hebrews and others. I don't accept stories as reality based without validation. This may mean most of the OT, stories from Greece, Egypt and Sumer will be held to be questionable and not real world based.

If something cannot be done today in a lab or otherwise tested, a claim it was done in an ancient story is held to be unlikely until shown to be possible. Winged flying gods, gods tossing thunderbolts, food dropping from the skies, seas parting, dead people coming to life, gods flooding the world due to the noise of man or the sins of man ...... all have not been demonstrated to be possible.

 

 

____________________________________________________________
"I guess it's time to ask if you live under high voltage power transmission lines which have been shown to cause stimulation of the fantasy centers of the brain due to electromagnetic waves?" - Me

"God is omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent, - it says so right here on the label. If you have a mind capable of believing all three of these divine attributes simultaneously, I have a wonderful bargain for you. No checks please. Cash and in small bills." - Robert A Heinlein.


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caposkia

caposkia wrote:

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

 

Even 900 chariots is beyond the population of the area.

Legends have great exaggerations attached to them over time by the bards that retell the stories, that's what I see in this. Saul had x chariots, insert number from 1 to an appropriate number for the less than 4500 people living in Judah at the time.

St Nicholas was indeed a person and legends abound. Some are real, some are fantasy. One must sift out that which is not possible in our reality. So were Hercules, Zeus, Enki, An, Ki, Enlil, Perseus, Pandora, ..................... all real as well. Some probably were, but does that mean that one can determine what is real in regard to Sumerian stories or the Greek stories? Probably not. Why then must one give credibility to the Hebrew stories as all reality based and not steeped in legends and story-telling? I see no difference here.

By the information already gone through.  The only dispute you have with validity is numbers... and maybe possibly names that might not have existed during the timeframe of the story, but very well could have existed during the time frame of when the story was written down, therefore, the lack of opposing information and the general support of the information that is accurate as little as it is cancels out any reasoning to believe its false.... at least until there's the slightly greater support opposing it rather than validating it.

Our differences from the start of this thread are not just the numbers but also the magic acts. I believe Penn & Teller perform magic. That magic is an act. The magic in the OT is fantasy until proven otherwise.

In this discussion RE:Saul, I dispute it on the numbers, the storyline, archeology, and lack of support from other cultures.

The storyline is similar to other legends of the ancients. It contains heroes and fantastic events as well as propaganda. Things in it don't add up for me. I therefore hold it to be story-telling until shown otherwise.

caposkia wrote:


pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

 

Saul was supposedly special, he was the anointed one of the god.

The point of the 600 plus commandants were to give the Hebrew people a means and philosophy to live by, check out Jewish beliefs on the subject.

I agree with that.  Saul was supposedly Special.. so was Moses... Moses also was a murderer.  But special to God none the same.  Therefore, even though he got the commandments directly from God, he still was a sinner and broke the commandments himself.   Granted the murder happened before the commandments were put in place, but the understanding that killing was very wrong was there.   

They were to give the Hebrew people a philosophy to live by.  The Hebrew people were also very pompous with the understanding that they were God's chosen, so God wanted to show them how they still fell short of His expectations.    They were to be followed explicitly.  None could admit that they just couldn't do it explicitly.  If they could, it's likely that Jesus would have come to them then and not much much later.  Obviously stretching it here, but the point was that Jesus was in the works even during Moses' time and God knew the progression of his people and knew they'd need a Messiah eventually.  Part of the purpose of Jesus was because of the lack of ability on the peoples part to follow the commandments explicitly throughout their lives.

As what we know of the Hebrew people is from a religious text alone, a biased one at that promoting a certain god we really don't know if they were "pompous" etc. In the views of the writers of the OT the Jews had issues. No more do we know.

caposkia wrote:

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

 

I'm sure you are aware of all of the actions of your ancestors. Should you be held accountable for them?

Am I not?  There are natural consequences from every action of every one of my ancestors.  Most i probably can't conceive due to the fact that I just grew up that way.  E.g.  i know I'm in this country because my ancestors from Italy came for a better opportunity.  I'm not sure what made them believe they didn't have a good opportunity where they were, but it could have been the poor decision of someone that caused them hardship and had them move to the states.  Some would see this as maybe a blessing, but then again, it is a consequence just the same, good or bad.  

Today, through Christ I should not be because Christ died for the sins of my ancestors as well as mine.  But before Christ it would be understood that unpaid debts aught to be paid in full.   It's not our way of life today and so this concept is hard for us to understand, but it is how it was then.  Technically through God it's the same, but through Christ it's already been paid for. 

No, you are not held accountable for what your ancestors and relatives have done.

My great grandfather's brothers stayed in Germany in 1866. Several of their sons fought for Germany in WW1. Some of their sons fought in WW2. One was a SS Panzer Colonel who died on the Russian front. My uncles fought in WW2 for the US. Both were in the Pacific. My father was also German and fought in WW2 for the US. He was sent to Europe.

I was never judged for the actions of my German relatives, though in some cases German immigrants were held in suspicion. In WW2, Japanese Americans were incarcerated illegally just because they were descendants, so in this case they were held in suspicion for the current actions of a country at war with the US not the past actions of their ancestors.

I have never been held accountable for the sack of Rome by the Lutherans in the 1500s. If your family lived in Italy probably some of my relatives killed, tortured or raped your relatives.

caposkia wrote:

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

Really, the point here is this is part of a story-telling episode. Since the big bad Amalekites long ago caused harm to the Hebrews, the truly just god looking over them will see to it that justice is served by helping king Saul kill them all today.

Historical and reasonable for the time.  Think about it, What do you do if you want to get rid of a corrupt king?  Kill his son so that his reign cannot continue becasue we all know that his son will pick up where he left off if you just kill the king.

This case was not just killing the king, it was genocide of all the people. Most other countries took the people captive and made them slaves or put in their own rulers to run the country.

caposkia wrote:

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

 

As mentioned above, this is pure and simple story-telling with propaganda. See how the just god of the Hebrews protects you. He takes revenge on all even if it is 200 years later. Really good propaganda as well.

As my view is  destroying the flesh is taking away the free will of the individual it seems in contradiction to even having it.

200 years is said to be no time to God.  it'd be like it being unjust for us to try anyone in a court of law anytime after the day it happened.  We can wait up to 3 years I think it is to sue someone for hitting me with their car and breaking my leg.  It doesn't matter that my leg healed fine and that i had no physical trauma after.  Why not 200 for God?  

... yes, but would you sue their son for your accident with his father.

... don't people sue families for a deceased loved ones actions today?  Justice must be served.  The family unit today is falling apart, but historically it has always held the weight of each individual regardless of when.  If one screwed up, the family suffered. 

200 years for an asserted god of myths, why not for infinity. This doesn't matter, what does is it is propaganda and story-telling. This story shows how others will be punished in theory anyway, if they attack the people of the god. In reality, not so much.

You can't generally sue someone who is not involved in an incident. If the father hit you and the son had no involvement you can't touch his assets. If the father and son owned a general partnership 50/50 all you can attach is the father's 50%. If you gain the ownership of the father's 50% of the partnership you are held to the terms of the partnership agreement. Failing to abide by these terms may see you sued and lose what you gained.

Bad analogy for our world today.

The assets of a deceased person is his, not the members who inherit it. In probate all actions against the deceased must be settled. If you had a lawsuit against the deceased and did not continue it properly before the estate was distributed in most cases you are out of luck.

caposkia wrote:

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

So, I can call it wrong based on my value system where life is precious. Since the OT sees life as subservient to the will of the in need of meds and mental health care god, it makes since that violence is the 1st response. this however is no different than other capricious petty gods of antiquity. Also, dead people make fertilizer or perhaps Soylent Green. Beyond that, nothing else but conjecture. Do you live by conjecture?

So... killing people was the first response?  you sure?

Is there a discussion of the god sending in prophets to allow the Amalekites to come over to the "true god" of the Hebrews and be given a chance not to die?

Did they drop leaflets on the cities telling them they would be exterminated if they didn't join the people of the god?

caposkia wrote:

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

If genocide is love.

There is enough in this chapter between the exaggeration and the propaganda message of revenge for the people of the god for me to file this under story-telling legends.

I haven't seen the basis for doing so yet other than your personal disposition of the killing of people that might not have had a direct hand in the problem.

Our differences are in the values we attach to the writing perhaps.

 

caposkia wrote:

By taking the whole bible into consideration.  It was widely known that "messing with" the Israelites results in severe consequences.  It'd be odd to me that this particular people group missed the memo.  It just wouldn't add up.  

Are you under the impression that this people group had no intention of following in their ancestors footsteps?  half the reason why such drastic actions were ever taken Biblically was because of the tight knit following of offspring to their parents and how they woudl likely continue where their ancestors left off.

First off, no memo was published by the 100 or so escapees out of the supposed Exodus.

Next, in the time we are discussing there were no more than 4500 in Judah in sparse settlements.

The Jews then did not go door to door teaching Torah in foreign lands. This means the Amalekites had no idea what was in the yet to be distributed Bible by the Jewish Publication Society.

I really don't buy into the supposed drastic actions as reality based including this one.

Perhaps Saul and warriors killed off an entire village of 50 or so people to the last baby for the land. It sounds much better if it is associated with the god punishing a people of a larger group years later as propaganda.

caposkia wrote:

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

Chapter and verse?

It doesn't matter if the god is just or real, the point to me is this tale is legends and story-telling. I say it is story-telling based on the content as I mentioned. What part is real world is likely to be very minimal. I see it as mostly propaganda. See the Hebrews god will bring vengeance on you for generations if you attack them.

Or just once.  It could be an ongoing consequence... just as any  natural consequence could be, or it could be one harsh slap from God as seen here.

Again, all I see for your reasoning is your issue with God's approach.  Where would this not be historically accurate other than sheer numbers at this point?

I'll have to get back to this again later.  I'm not ignoring your next post.

The storyline has all the aspects of some great adventure of heroes and legend. There is no other support for it. The population of the area was far less than claimed. It goes into my story-telling folder until anything can show it should be considered as anything else.

 

 

____________________________________________________________
"I guess it's time to ask if you live under high voltage power transmission lines which have been shown to cause stimulation of the fantasy centers of the brain due to electromagnetic waves?" - Me

"God is omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent, - it says so right here on the label. If you have a mind capable of believing all three of these divine attributes simultaneously, I have a wonderful bargain for you. No checks please. Cash and in small bills." - Robert A Heinlein.


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pauljohntheskeptic

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

Comments -
This is another tale steeped in storytelling. It shows the god to be tricksy to confuse Saul, when all that was needed was to blur Saul's understanding. The god should have been able to prevent Saul from knowing, but instead he plays games, an indication of where this story originated.

The selection of David from the brood of brothers is another storyteller's trick. It makes the process look more complicated and attempt to make David somehow more special, similar to Arthur and Cinderella stories and of course my favorite stories those from Sumer.

You seem to be getting into a trend of using the "story telling" excuse for not accepting the story as real.  When reading these stories or any retelling of an event from that time, we would have to admit that none of the stories true or not would be anything short of "story telling" be it that it's how they would have been retold through the times.  Much of the story telling was from parent to child sometimes neighbor to neighbor, but that's the means they had to spread the news.  I'm not sure exactly when it was, but I'm pretty sure the New York Times came out quite a few years later than these events.

Of course when "story telling" the actual events that took place tend to get skewed a bit.  We've gone through this.  The point of course was to make the story more interesting than i t really was so that the story would again be retold. 

It'd be my guess that the original story teller didn't exaggerate quite as much as we're seeing written down, but after it's been handed around from person to person, the ever so slight exaggerations got bigger and bigger.  After so many people retelling a story and time going by so much, it's kind of hard to reference back to the originator to make sure the numbers that took place were accurate, though the people of the time would also understand that the important part of the story is what happened and the result thereof and not so much how big the event really was.

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:


Comments -
This chapter establishes the god is capable of projecting evil, as he inflicts it upon Saul. Most people already would recognize the god was evil from the mass murders he either committed or ordered, especially the most recent genocide in regard to the Amalekites, The god later on removes all doubt that he is the responsible party for evil's creation in Isaiah 45:7. This shows the vengeful jealous traits the god has claimed in Exodus 20:4.

Again, you're claiming you know what happens after death to claim that God's actions were in fact evil.  You would then be able to deduce that justice had been served, then there was an action up and beyond justice that was completely uncalled for.

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:


I'm not saying no one could be 9'9" tall, but the average height back then was less than 5 feet. Please note, since I disagree that Israel & Judah were united as one country I refrain from the use of Israel in my discussion. ** See below for my reasoning on this Note-1

Sure, there was an average height of 5 ft or less during that time.  Chineese people are known to be much shorter than the average person in this world as well, but Yow Ming (spelling?) is a great example of how the average height does not determine that no one of that ethnicity can be much larger than the average person.

For example, how about the Myans and their Emperor in Mexico.  Part of the reason why the steps of the pyrimids were so large in the Riviera Myan area was because the emperor happened to be a giant in comparison to the average person and therefore looked so much more powerful.  To enforce that fear on the people, he had everything made to his size and not theirs.

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:


Skipping through all the story telling, the weight of Goliath and his armor, let’s look at a few points that don’t sit very well with me.

1-After the battle with Goliath David took the giant’s weapons to his tent. Was this at home? Nothing in the text mentions David having a tent in the camp, in fact David went back and forth between his home and the camp which is specifically mentioned.

common knowledge that if you have a camp, you'd likely have a tent.  It was mentioned for others, probably implied here from context from what I can see.

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:


2-David takes Goliath’s head to Jerusalem afterwords. OK, what’s wrong with this picture. Well, at this point in the story telling in regard to David, Jerusalem was not a city of Israel or Judah, it was occupied by the Jebusites. David later on when he has been king for 7-1/2 years ruling from Hebron attacks Jerusalem, in the story of 2 Samuel 5:6-10. So David has no reason or business to go to Jerusalem at this point at all. Uh-oh, sloppy story-telling here! This to me shows what happens when legends are told by bards and later on written into the religious propaganda.

We've gone through this scenario before with retelling of the times.  The author will always use the information that they understand from their time.  Location was key, not names.  IT is likely he didn't go into Jerusalem, but to the point of the story, he brought the head to what would be their Jerusalem. 

It'd be like me having the knowledge of the people of the time and saying how the colonists when landing in this country debated in Washington D.C.  We all know Washington D.C.  didn't exist when the colonists landed, so i likely would be referring to Plimoth, but at the time it would have been their Washington. 

However, the point of my story isn't that Washington D.C. was the actual location that they would have debated, the point of my story is that they debated in what would have been considered their main place of government.

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:


3-Who really killed Goliath? What of this story in the Hebrew Bible version in 2 Samuel 21:18-22 where it says Elhanan slew Goliath.? The KJV and the NIV have this as the brother of Goliath, no doubt to keep the David legends valid. Is this more sloppy story-telling from the oral versions of the bards?
See –JPS Hebrew version 2 Sam 21:19 – “And there was again war with the Philistines at Gob; and Elhanan the son of Jaare-oregim the Beth-lehemite slew Goliath the Gittite, the staff of whose spear was like a weaver's beam.”

Other than that the David and Goliath story is a really good bard’s tale.

"...and the bard songs will remain.  They all will remain"  Sure.  I can see your angle on that

Be it that there is a lot of support historically for what the Bible claims throughout and no history that refutes the Bible other than sheer numbers or particular names that have little to do with the point of the story as exampled above, there is no logical reasoning to yet doubt this story until otherwise noted in history. 

My point is, there is very little evidence of this Bible story being true.  There is NO evidence of it not being true.  the little outweighs the none right now.

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:



**Note 1)- ).The only support for this united country is the Judah inspired book called the Hebrew bible.

see my note on historical congruency just above.

 

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

Since archeology generally does not show a united country for this time period, I’ll continue to avoid any support for it in my discussion. As mentioned earlier, I consider Finkelstein’s assessment to be very likely. Also see - http://www.edwardtbabinski.us/biblical_archaeology/decline_of_israel.html for more information. I have doubts as to them as a united country based on the stories themselves which appear to be likely propaganda developed in a later period when Judah was dominant and Israel was no more, specifically following the devastation of Israel by the Assyrians.  The OT in general seems to suggest this itself when you step back and consider when and where it was written. In later stories, the differences between Judah and Israel are obvious. If related by blood and heritage little love is shown between the two countries.

but my question to you is:  is the point of the story  to prove to the readers that there was a united country for this time period?

In our progression, we seem to be losing focus of what has already been discussed.  Here it would be the already elaborated point that the focus of the story is where the information matters, not so much the details that surround it.  In this case, you're trying to make the point of the story the united country when in fact it had nothing to do with the focus.  At the time of the book being written down, it was probably united, which would explain why that was written in as such just as we had discussed earlier in other stories.


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Nikolaj wrote:caposkia

Nikolaj wrote:

caposkia wrote:
Should we just give a mass murderer or a rapist a slap on the wrist and say don't do it again?... again... and again?  esp.  if you know releasing him will only allow him to do it again, which he will and you know it.

Eh... Are you talking about deterance or vengeance here? Which one is God doing to the Rapist or Mass Murderer?

look at it as a court mandated sentencing.


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jcgadfly wrote:Should we

jcgadfly wrote:

Should we kill the mass murderer, his wife, his children, his parents, his cousins, his aunts and uncles. his next door neighbors, his grandparents, his siblings...? After they're dead, should we dig them up and kill them again and pass this idea down to our children?

is that what you see happening here?  So you're telling me that not only the nation that took the action against Gods people, but all the surrounding nations should have suffered as well? 

Let's look at it in perspective.  During that time, the family was always responsible for the actions of a family member... look it up.  If you were around during that time, and your son killed someone, you would be held responsible, why?  YOu raised your son, your responsible for his actions.  Of course it's not look at like this today with our judicial system, everyone is accountable for themselves and nothing more, but statistically,  most mass murderers are that way due to a not so normal homelife... which would technically would then place some of the fault on the parents.  During this time, the parents did pay.  Likewise, if your father killed someone, you would be looked at very carefully as well due to the fact that it would be seen as you possibly following your dads footsteps. 

God knows the heart of the people.  Looking at this story in context with the whole Bible, we can emperically conclude that God saw into their hearts and knew that this action would happen again from this nation.

jcgadfly wrote:

That's what your god advocates. Bible's full of examples of that. Justice and mercy my ass.

Oh wait...that must be why you guys like Paul so much. The serial killer can ask God for forgiveness and keep going as long as he is forgiven one more time than he kills.

really... is that what you truly believe the Bible is saying? seriously is it?  recheck and get back to me


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pauljohntheskeptic wrote:If

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

If something cannot be done today in a lab or otherwise tested, a claim it was done in an ancient story is held to be unlikely until shown to be possible. Winged flying gods, gods tossing thunderbolts, food dropping from the skies, seas parting, dead people coming to life, gods flooding the world due to the noise of man or the sins of man ...... all have not been demonstrated to be possible.

It seems that you and I, though taking the same approach with our understanding look at it differently by me looking at everything as if the glass is half full and you looking at everything as if the glass is half empty.  The half full approach can be seen as gullible, but of course I use logical reasoning to deduce what I quickly accept as possible or not.  Of course then how do I explain myself when it comes to the impossibilities in the Bible.  e.g. walking on water, food falling from the sky, etc.  At this point, I have seen enough evidences in history, archeology, my life experiences, sciences, etc. to conclude that the stories of the Bible are true.  Due to that fact, I also would have to accept the harder to believe truths.  I either accept all of it or none of it.  No middle of the road. 

Also, understanding the God character, to me the "impossiblilites" aren't so impossible to Him.  why?  He created everything we know, so why would it be impossible for food to fall from the sky or for someone to walk on water.  If he created it, I'm sure he can manipulate his creation as he pleases.  I'm also sure he's got abilities far beyond what we see around us. 

I've also discovered through my research that people generally take what they see at face value, but when they open their eyes and really look at what they think they see, they discover something they ne ver saw before.  For example, do you look at the money you spend or do you just spend it.  IF you just spend it, it's likely you've spent a coin that was worth more than face value, but because you didn't look at it, you only saw what it was worth at face value.  However, the avid coin collector would look at every peice of money that comes their way and understand the true value of each coin they own.  That way when they spend their money, they are spending its true value and not just its face value.  They hold onto the coins that are worth more and sell them at auction or in trade. 

Don't take this to the extreme either, I'm  not saying everyone has spent a million dollar coin, but for example, wheat pennies are worth more than face value.  Many may only be worth 3 cents, but that's 2 more cents than their face value and when compiled over time, that 3 cent per penny value can really add up. 

My point in all this is, look at everything as if it is worth more than it seems.  Once you find out that it's not, then throw it away, but don't just throw it away because you didn't see its value right away. 


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pauljohntheskeptic wrote:No,

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

No, you are not held accountable for what your ancestors and relatives have done.

really?  How did you end up living in this country?  Depending on your ancestery would depend on the magnitude, but how do you have the freedom you have now?  and are you at all responsible for continuing it?  As far as the rest of the world is concerned you are responsible as much as your ancesters are for what this country is today.   You may not be held directly accountable today for your ancesters actions, but you are held accountable for either fixing their mistakes or continuing their good deeds. 

Again, this goes back to God knowing their hearts and likely seeing that they were going to continue where their predicessors left off.

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

My great grandfather's brothers stayed in Germany in 1866. Several of their sons fought for Germany in WW1. Some of their sons fought in WW2. One was a SS Panzer Colonel who died on the Russian front. My uncles fought in WW2 for the US. Both were in the Pacific. My father was also German and fought in WW2 for the US. He was sent to Europe.

I was never judged for the actions of my German relatives, though in some cases German immigrants were held in suspicion. In WW2, Japanese Americans were incarcerated illegally just because they were descendants, so in this case they were held in suspicion for the current actions of a country at war with the US not the past actions of their ancestors.

You are not held responsible today because someone in your past has already rectified that for you.  there's a reason why during our wars with the middle east the sons of Saddam were targeted first.  There's a perfect example actually of this type of justice being carried out.  Why bother bomb a building that likely held Saddams children, but not Saddam himself?  Think about it.

yes, of course here the whole nation wasn't destroyed by us and we didn't target the whole nation, but the whole nation wasn't responsible for the problems now were they?

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

I have never been held accountable for the sack of Rome by the Lutherans in the 1500s. If your family lived in Italy probably some of my relatives killed, tortured or raped your relatives.

I think we can agree through a historical recap that justice has been served already for those mishaps.  What you seem to be eluding to here is a continuous never ending annihaliation of peoples through the end of time.

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

This case was not just killing the king, it was genocide of all the people. Most other countries took the people captive and made them slaves or put in their own rulers to run the country.

in this case, the whole nation was responsible and not just a king

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

 

200 years for an asserted god of myths, why not for infinity.

because the Bible does elude to the fact that God takes time into consideration.

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

You can't generally sue someone who is not involved in an incident. If the father hit you and the son had no involvement you can't touch his assets. If the father and son owned a general partnership 50/50 all you can attach is the father's 50%. If you gain the ownership of the father's 50% of the partnership you are held to the terms of the partnership agreement. Failing to abide by these terms may see you sued and lose what you gained.

exactly today that's how the system works... doesn' t stop people from trying to beat around the red tape... now lets look back on U.S. history for a moment.  What is it exactly that decides that one can't sue someone who was not directly involved in an incident... and that one can only take a persons share and not everthing? 

I think it was something written... only a few hundred years ago... it might have had a few amendments since as well... what was that?  it seems to me that before this mystical document was in place, the scenario above might not have been so easily rectified in a court.

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

Is there a discussion of the god sending in prophets to allow the Amalekites to come over to the "true god" of the Hebrews and be given a chance not to die?

no, but taking the whole bible in context, God didn't destroy them without some sort of warning to the consequence whether directly told to them or just known as most nations of that time were aware of severe consequences when messing with Gods people. 

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

Did they drop leaflets on the cities telling them they would be exterminated if they didn't join the people of the god?

looking at the context of the whole Bible and the events up to this point... did they really need to?

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

Our differences are in the values we attach to the writing perhaps.

perhaps, but the real difference is whether they were aware of the possibility of the consequences or not.  I say yay, you say nay.

If you know that your whole family would be destroyed for an action you might choose to take, would you take it?  Likely not, but then in the heat of the moment, there are many who would think... 'that can't happen to me'

Regardless, we could go through all the scenarios we want, when it comes down to it, if the God of the Bible really made the decicion, he would have known... just like we did with Saddams sons, that the generations after were only going to continue the problems. 

otherwise, you're saying what our country did to Saddam and his family was uncalled for and unjust.

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

 First off, no memo was published by the 100 or so escapees out of the supposed Exodus.

Next, in the time we are discussing there were no more than 4500 in Judah in sparse settlements.

The Jews then did not go door to door teaching Torah in foreign lands. This means the Amalekites had no idea what was in the yet to be distributed Bible by the Jewish Publication Society.

I really don't buy into the supposed drastic actions as reality based including this one.

Perhaps Saul and warriors killed off an entire village of 50 or so people to the last baby for the land. It sounds much better if it is associated with the god punishing a people of a larger group years later as propaganda.

When events happened, information was spread by word of mouth through travelers.  Again, taking the whole Bible into consideration... reading it in the context, regardless if there's evidence in this story or not of them getting warning, there is no evidence in any part of the Bible that God destroyed anyone or any nation without warning... quite the contrary, so there's no reason to believe they had no warning or understanding here.

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

The storyline has all the aspects of some great adventure of heroes and legend. There is no other support for it. The population of the area was far less than claimed. It goes into my story-telling folder until anything can show it should be considered as anything else.

As shown in context with everything else and the congruency that history shoes at this point, you have not shown any reason to doubt it other than personal quams about certain actions.

 


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caposkia wrote:jcgadfly

caposkia wrote:

jcgadfly wrote:

Should we kill the mass murderer, his wife, his children, his parents, his cousins, his aunts and uncles. his next door neighbors, his grandparents, his siblings...? After they're dead, should we dig them up and kill them again and pass this idea down to our children?

is that what you see happening here?  So you're telling me that not only the nation that took the action against Gods people, but all the surrounding nations should have suffered as well? 

Let's look at it in perspective.  During that time, the family was always responsible for the actions of a family member... look it up.  If you were around during that time, and your son killed someone, you would be held responsible, why?  YOu raised your son, your responsible for his actions.  Of course it's not look at like this today with our judicial system, everyone is accountable for themselves and nothing more, but statistically,  most mass murderers are that way due to a not so normal homelife... which would technically would then place some of the fault on the parents.  During this time, the parents did pay.  Likewise, if your father killed someone, you would be looked at very carefully as well due to the fact that it would be seen as you possibly following your dads footsteps. 

God knows the heart of the people.  Looking at this story in context with the whole Bible, we can emperically conclude that God saw into their hearts and knew that this action would happen again from this nation.

jcgadfly wrote:

That's what your god advocates. Bible's full of examples of that. Justice and mercy my ass.

Oh wait...that must be why you guys like Paul so much. The serial killer can ask God for forgiveness and keep going as long as he is forgiven one more time than he kills.

really... is that what you truly believe the Bible is saying? seriously is it?  recheck and get back to me

Hey, you're the one that worships a god that visits the sins of the parents on to the third and fourth generations, you tell me. Why punish someone who's not even born for something Grandpa did?

Some murderers grew up in, as you say, a not so normal home life. Your view (and the view of your God) would put the murderer's sister, who didn't become a murderer and defied the odds of her upbringing , would have to be put to death because her brother was a murderer.

God "looked into their hearts" and apparently discovered that they were guilty of the heinous crime of not knowing enough about him to kowtow to him? More like Israel wanted more and better land and used divine imprimatur for genocide.

I did recheck the Scripture and you are correct. The murderer doesn't have to ask forgiveness after the first time he does so because that pesky old law no longer applies to him once he believes. Thanks for making me look that up. Looks like he'd only have to fear man - God would let him slide.

How can one transgress against a law that no longer applies?

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
— George Carlin


pauljohntheskeptic
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caposkia

caposkia wrote:

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

Comments -
This is another tale steeped in storytelling. It shows the god to be tricksy to confuse Saul, when all that was needed was to blur Saul's understanding. The god should have been able to prevent Saul from knowing, but instead he plays games, an indication of where this story originated.

The selection of David from the brood of brothers is another storyteller's trick. It makes the process look more complicated and attempt to make David somehow more special, similar to Arthur and Cinderella stories and of course my favorite stories those from Sumer.

You seem to be getting into a trend of using the "story telling" excuse for not accepting the story as real.  When reading these stories or any retelling of an event from that time, we would have to admit that none of the stories true or not would be anything short of "story telling" be it that it's how they would have been retold through the times.  Much of the story telling was from parent to child sometimes neighbor to neighbor, but that's the means they had to spread the news.  I'm not sure exactly when it was, but I'm pretty sure the New York Times came out quite a few years later than these events.

Of course when "story telling" the actual events that took place tend to get skewed a bit.  We've gone through this.  The point of course was to make the story more interesting than i t really was so that the story would again be retold. 

It'd be my guess that the original story teller didn't exaggerate quite as much as we're seeing written down, but after it's been handed around from person to person, the ever so slight exaggerations got bigger and bigger.  After so many people retelling a story and time going by so much, it's kind of hard to reference back to the originator to make sure the numbers that took place were accurate, though the people of the time would also understand that the important part of the story is what happened and the result thereof and not so much how big the event really was.

The name of this thread is after all myths, legends, parables or real.

I'm attempting to identify the parts which smack of legends and storytelling. I did give Saul at least the level of legend not complete fiction, that in itself is a lot. You agree the numbers are exaggerated, why would not other parts be as well? My take is the story was enhanced to make it more appealing and not just in the numbers but in the purported actions of the characters. The problem is after years of alteration, how can one tell what was the original story.

caposkia wrote:

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:


Comments -
This chapter establishes the god is capable of projecting evil, as he inflicts it upon Saul. Most people already would recognize the god was evil from the mass murders he either committed or ordered, especially the most recent genocide in regard to the Amalekites, The god later on removes all doubt that he is the responsible party for evil's creation in Isaiah 45:7. This shows the vengeful jealous traits the god has claimed in Exodus 20:4.

Again, you're claiming you know what happens after death to claim that God's actions were in fact evil.  You would then be able to deduce that justice had been served, then there was an action up and beyond justice that was completely uncalled for.

I'm judging the character god described in the writing just as I would any character in a book. The action here was genocide, in the same way as it was for Stalin, Hitler or any other character or person. In the time period, genocide was fairly unique in this part of the world, as captives were taken or a ruler was placed over those conquered. I'm a fan of Dexter both on Showtime and Jeff Lindsay's books. Dexter kills other serial killers and is presented as more or less a hero in both. Dexter is both a hero and he is evil in that he kills without a fair trial.

caposkia wrote:

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:


I'm not saying no one could be 9'9" tall, but the average height back then was less than 5 feet. Please note, since I disagree that Israel & Judah were united as one country I refrain from the use of Israel in my discussion. ** See below for my reasoning on this Note-1

Sure, there was an average height of 5 ft or less during that time.  Chineese people are known to be much shorter than the average person in this world as well, but Yow Ming (spelling?) is a great example of how the average height does not determine that no one of that ethnicity can be much larger than the average person.

For example, how about the Myans and their Emperor in Mexico.  Part of the reason why the steps of the pyrimids were so large in the Riviera Myan area was because the emperor happened to be a giant in comparison to the average person and therefore looked so much more powerful.  To enforce that fear on the people, he had everything made to his size and not theirs.

The idea of a giant in the story was likely to make David appear just that much more heroic and legendary.

caposkia wrote:

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:


Skipping through all the story telling, the weight of Goliath and his armor, let’s look at a few points that don’t sit very well with me.

1-After the battle with Goliath David took the giant’s weapons to his tent. Was this at home? Nothing in the text mentions David having a tent in the camp, in fact David went back and forth between his home and the camp which is specifically mentioned.

common knowledge that if you have a camp, you'd likely have a tent.  It was mentioned for others, probably implied here from context from what I can see.

Whether he had a tent seemed unlikely in view of his brother's comments.

caposkia wrote:

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:


2-David takes Goliath’s head to Jerusalem afterwords. OK, what’s wrong with this picture. Well, at this point in the story telling in regard to David, Jerusalem was not a city of Israel or Judah, it was occupied by the Jebusites. David later on when he has been king for 7-1/2 years ruling from Hebron attacks Jerusalem, in the story of 2 Samuel 5:6-10. So David has no reason or business to go to Jerusalem at this point at all. Uh-oh, sloppy story-telling here! This to me shows what happens when legends are told by bards and later on written into the religious propaganda.

We've gone through this scenario before with retelling of the times.  The author will always use the information that they understand from their time.  Location was key, not names.  IT is likely he didn't go into Jerusalem, but to the point of the story, he brought the head to what would be their Jerusalem. 

It'd be like me having the knowledge of the people of the time and saying how the colonists when landing in this country debated in Washington D.C.  We all know Washington D.C.  didn't exist when the colonists landed, so i likely would be referring to Plimoth, but at the time it would have been their Washington. 

However, the point of my story isn't that Washington D.C. was the actual location that they would have debated, the point of my story is that they debated in what would have been considered their main place of government.

It just shows that this story was altered over time with errors, errors indicate story-telling and legends. Jerusalem did actually exist and the ruling city was Hebron which also existed, so to me it was an error in story telling. In the case of the colonists, no city existed so I don't see your analogy to be the same.

caposkia wrote:

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:


3-Who really killed Goliath? What of this story in the Hebrew Bible version in 2 Samuel 21:18-22 where it says Elhanan slew Goliath.? The KJV and the NIV have this as the brother of Goliath, no doubt to keep the David legends valid. Is this more sloppy story-telling from the oral versions of the bards?
See –JPS Hebrew version 2 Sam 21:19 – “And there was again war with the Philistines at Gob; and Elhanan the son of Jaare-oregim the Beth-lehemite slew Goliath the Gittite, the staff of whose spear was like a weaver's beam.”

Other than that the David and Goliath story is a really good bard’s tale.

"...and the bard songs will remain.  They all will remain"  Sure.  I can see your angle on that

Be it that there is a lot of support historically for what the Bible claims throughout and no history that refutes the Bible other than sheer numbers or particular names that have little to do with the point of the story as exampled above, there is no logical reasoning to yet doubt this story until otherwise noted in history. 

My point is, there is very little evidence of this Bible story being true.  There is NO evidence of it not being true.  the little outweighs the none right now.

Considering it true until proven not true even though it has errors and character glorification like other legends is not looking at it objectively. Instead, one can minimally suspend judgement. There are other ancient texts which have a lot of historical support, the Sumerians existed, they had cities, they had temples, so why not conclude their god stories are real. That's what you suggest in regard to the god of the Hebrews so why not for them as well?

caposkia wrote:

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:



**Note 1)- ).The only support for this united country is the Judah inspired book called the Hebrew bible.

see my note on historical congruency just above.

 

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

Since archeology generally does not show a united country for this time period, I’ll continue to avoid any support for it in my discussion. As mentioned earlier, I consider Finkelstein’s assessment to be very likely. Also see - http://www.edwardtbabinski.us/biblical_archaeology/decline_of_israel.html for more information. I have doubts as to them as a united country based on the stories themselves which appear to be likely propaganda developed in a later period when Judah was dominant and Israel was no more, specifically following the devastation of Israel by the Assyrians.  The OT in general seems to suggest this itself when you step back and consider when and where it was written. In later stories, the differences between Judah and Israel are obvious. If related by blood and heritage little love is shown between the two countries.

but my question to you is:  is the point of the story  to prove to the readers that there was a united country for this time period?

In our progression, we seem to be losing focus of what has already been discussed.  Here it would be the already elaborated point that the focus of the story is where the information matters, not so much the details that surround it.  In this case, you're trying to make the point of the story the united country when in fact it had nothing to do with the focus.  At the time of the book being written down, it was probably united, which would explain why that was written in as such just as we had discussed earlier in other stories.

The point of the story is to glorify David with heroic acts, much like the stories of Jason.

I don't agree that Israel was ever united as one country, I think these stories were written down after Israel was conquered by Assyria, again see Finkelstein and the above link.

I simply don't like calling the kingdom at this time Israel when I don't think it was which was my point in not using Israel for the name of Saul's kingdom. I wasn't trying to change the focus at all, the focus was on the heroic stories of David and Saul's failing in the god's service. All of which I suggest is done in a manner of story-telling or legends.

____________________________________________________________
"I guess it's time to ask if you live under high voltage power transmission lines which have been shown to cause stimulation of the fantasy centers of the brain due to electromagnetic waves?" - Me

"God is omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent, - it says so right here on the label. If you have a mind capable of believing all three of these divine attributes simultaneously, I have a wonderful bargain for you. No checks please. Cash and in small bills." - Robert A Heinlein.


pauljohntheskeptic
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caposkia

caposkia wrote:

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

If something cannot be done today in a lab or otherwise tested, a claim it was done in an ancient story is held to be unlikely until shown to be possible. Winged flying gods, gods tossing thunderbolts, food dropping from the skies, seas parting, dead people coming to life, gods flooding the world due to the noise of man or the sins of man ...... all have not been demonstrated to be possible.

It seems that you and I, though taking the same approach with our understanding look at it differently by me looking at everything as if the glass is half full and you looking at everything as if the glass is half empty.  The half full approach can be seen as gullible, but of course I use logical reasoning to deduce what I quickly accept as possible or not.  Of course then how do I explain myself when it comes to the impossibilities in the Bible.  e.g. walking on water, food falling from the sky, etc.  At this point, I have seen enough evidences in history, archeology, my life experiences, sciences, etc. to conclude that the stories of the Bible are true.  Due to that fact, I also would have to accept the harder to believe truths.  I either accept all of it or none of it.  No middle of the road. 

Also, understanding the God character, to me the "impossiblilites" aren't so impossible to Him.  why?  He created everything we know, so why would it be impossible for food to fall from the sky or for someone to walk on water.  If he created it, I'm sure he can manipulate his creation as he pleases.  I'm also sure he's got abilities far beyond what we see around us. 

I've also discovered through my research that people generally take what they see at face value, but when they open their eyes and really look at what they think they see, they discover something they ne ver saw before.  For example, do you look at the money you spend or do you just spend it.  IF you just spend it, it's likely you've spent a coin that was worth more than face value, but because you didn't look at it, you only saw what it was worth at face value.  However, the avid coin collector would look at every peice of money that comes their way and understand the true value of each coin they own.  That way when they spend their money, they are spending its true value and not just its face value.  They hold onto the coins that are worth more and sell them at auction or in trade. 

Don't take this to the extreme either, I'm  not saying everyone has spent a million dollar coin, but for example, wheat pennies are worth more than face value.  Many may only be worth 3 cents, but that's 2 more cents than their face value and when compiled over time, that 3 cent per penny value can really add up. 

My point in all this is, look at everything as if it is worth more than it seems.  Once you find out that it's not, then throw it away, but don't just throw it away because you didn't see its value right away. 

I look at impossibilities in the Bible, the Qu'ran, the Sumerian texts, Hindu Vedas as unlikely or explanations by unknowing, uninformed, or misunderstood. I could give you the example of the WW2 island in the Pacific where planes and technology had never been observed by the islanders. They created an entire cult based on John Frum an American called the cargo cult - see - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tanna_%28island%29 and see - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cargo_cult

I collected coins as a hobby for over 20 years and quit about 15 years ago. I look at every single coin and piece of paper money. I find on average 1 or 2 per week worth something more than face value.

So, though I have not thrown away what I know of all religions, I don't accept the conclusions made by believers, priests and shamans. As you have seen, I know what you know but I consider it far differently than you. Religious beliefs to me show the creativity of man in attempting to understand that which has insufficient information. Sometimes you just have to file it as unknown until either more is known or it's shown to be erroneously based in unwarranted creativity.

 

____________________________________________________________
"I guess it's time to ask if you live under high voltage power transmission lines which have been shown to cause stimulation of the fantasy centers of the brain due to electromagnetic waves?" - Me

"God is omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent, - it says so right here on the label. If you have a mind capable of believing all three of these divine attributes simultaneously, I have a wonderful bargain for you. No checks please. Cash and in small bills." - Robert A Heinlein.


pauljohntheskeptic
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caposkia

caposkia wrote:

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

No, you are not held accountable for what your ancestors and relatives have done.

really?  How did you end up living in this country?  Depending on your ancestery would depend on the magnitude, but how do you have the freedom you have now?  and are you at all responsible for continuing it?  As far as the rest of the world is concerned you are responsible as much as your ancesters are for what this country is today.   You may not be held directly accountable today for your ancesters actions, but you are held accountable for either fixing their mistakes or continuing their good deeds. 

Again, this goes back to God knowing their hearts and likely seeing that they were going to continue where their predicessors left off.

If you persist with this line of thought you discredit even having free will and create a scenario whereby the whole thing enfolding upon the Earth is a play written by the god. So it comes down to why even bother having any of the Amalekites be born if all that's going to happen is they will be killed. One angle believers take on this is it is an example to others. So the god suppresses free will by eliminating one group so another can practice it.

I think I answered how I got to this country more or less. My great grandparents emigrated from Germany in 1866 on one side while my grandparents on the other side emigrated from the German  Black Sea colonies in Russia in 1898.

I fully understand the responsibilities I have as a US citizen as well as the perceptions others have of the US. I personally tried to go to Iraq for 3 years as either part of the PRT reconstruction effort or with USAID, but I was never selected. I saw it as a great opportunity to actually see the country as well as help repair the damage we did in saving them from Saddam.

caposkia wrote:

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

My great grandfather's brothers stayed in Germany in 1866. Several of their sons fought for Germany in WW1. Some of their sons fought in WW2. One was a SS Panzer Colonel who died on the Russian front. My uncles fought in WW2 for the US. Both were in the Pacific. My father was also German and fought in WW2 for the US. He was sent to Europe.

I was never judged for the actions of my German relatives, though in some cases German immigrants were held in suspicion. In WW2, Japanese Americans were incarcerated illegally just because they were descendants, so in this case they were held in suspicion for the current actions of a country at war with the US not the past actions of their ancestors.

You are not held responsible today because someone in your past has already rectified that for you.  there's a reason why during our wars with the middle east the sons of Saddam were targeted first.  There's a perfect example actually of this type of justice being carried out.  Why bother bomb a building that likely held Saddam's children, but not Saddam himself?  Think about it.

yes, of course here the whole nation wasn't destroyed by us and we didn't target the whole nation, but the whole nation wasn't responsible for the problems now were they?

Bad example with Saddam's sons, they were both fairly corrupt and vicious, see the HBO mini-series "House of Saddam".

I'm not one that considers the Iraq invasion to have been justified. That's another argument, and not something I really care to discuss.

caposkia wrote:

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

I have never been held accountable for the sack of Rome by the Lutherans in the 1500s. If your family lived in Italy probably some of my relatives killed, tortured or raped your relatives.

I think we can agree through a historical recap that justice has been served already for those mishaps.  What you seem to be eluding to here is a continuous never ending annihaliation of peoples through the end of time.

What I'm saying is you are responsible for your own actions and the actions that you support. If I didn't support or aide my relative robbing a bank 100 years before I was born why should I be held accountable for it?

As the leaders I did not support ordered an invasion I did not support, I'd argue against taking responsibility for what Bush did, though I would accept responsibility for not doing enough to stop the warmongers in the Bush administration.

caposkia wrote:

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

This case was not just killing the king, it was genocide of all the people. Most other countries took the people captive and made them slaves or put in their own rulers to run the country.

in this case, the whole nation was responsible and not just a king

In the case of NAZI Germany, I agree with the Soviet General who told his troops that the only innocent in Germany were the unborn. Though I may be related by blood, I considered all of those who lived at the time in Germany to be responsible for the situation. Many received their just due for their part, many did not. Not all of them deserved death, but many escaped justice. Turning a blind eye to what Hitler and the NAZIs did was complicity unless they fought against it as resistance fighters.

Unless you can show the Amalekites 200 years after the encounter with 100 escapees did something similar, I will continue to argue it was evil and unjust if it was a real genocide. As I think it was no more than a village of very few, as the Amalekites still show up in later OT scripture, I think it was only exaggerated propaganda anyway.

caposkia wrote:

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

You can't generally sue someone who is not involved in an incident. If the father hit you and the son had no involvement you can't touch his assets. If the father and son owned a general partnership 50/50 all you can attach is the father's 50%. If you gain the ownership of the father's 50% of the partnership you are held to the terms of the partnership agreement. Failing to abide by these terms may see you sued and lose what you gained.

exactly today that's how the system works... doesn' t stop people from trying to beat around the red tape... now lets look back on U.S. history for a moment.  What is it exactly that decides that one can't sue someone who was not directly involved in an incident... and that one can only take a persons share and not everthing? 

I think it was something written... only a few hundred years ago... it might have had a few amendments since as well... what was that?  it seems to me that before this mystical document was in place, the scenario above might not have been so easily rectified in a court.

Your point is? The US was established to be far more fair than your god?

caposkia wrote:

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

Is there a discussion of the god sending in prophets to allow the Amalekites to come over to the "true god" of the Hebrews and be given a chance not to die?

no, but taking the whole bible in context, God didn't destroy them without some sort of warning to the consequence whether directly told to them or just known as most nations of that time were aware of severe consequences when messing with Gods people.

It appears the propaganda of God's People worked, though it is after the fact 3000 years later.

If any of the episode was true, I'm sure they were warned as the heard the beating of the drums and the charging of the army into their hamlet.

caposkia wrote:

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

Did they drop leaflets on the cities telling them they would be exterminated if they didn't join the people of the god?

looking at the context of the whole Bible and the events up to this point... did they really need to?

Yes, as the Amalekites didn't have a copy of the Hebrew scrolls. Maybe they had no idea some of their ancestors set upon a 100 escapees out of Egypt.

caposkia wrote:

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

Our differences are in the values we attach to the writing perhaps.

perhaps, but the real difference is whether they were aware of the possibility of the consequences or not.  I say yay, you say nay.

If you know that your whole family would be destroyed for an action you might choose to take, would you take it?  Likely not, but then in the heat of the moment, there are many who would think... 'that can't happen to me'

Regardless, we could go through all the scenarios we want, when it comes down to it, if the God of the Bible really made the decicion, he would have known... just like we did with Saddam's sons, that the generations after were only going to continue the problems. 

otherwise, you're saying what our country did to Saddam and his family was uncalled for and unjust.

The problem with the Amalekites is it was over 200 years according to the stories. We have established only a few may have escaped from Egypt and entered Canaan. The Amalekites attacking the 100 or so Hebrews may have been justified in their action as the Hebrews supposedly came from Egypt and had no homes in Canaan at the time.

In regard to Saddam and Iraq, I don't think we were justified to invade Iraq, another argument, but once we did, we needed to end it ASAP.

Saddam's sons were corrupt, murderers, who were just as nasty as he was. They were actively doing violence during their father's reign so we didn't need to wait for their turn in power, they already had committed enough crime against their fellow countrymen. Not that it was our job to bring freedom to them, if so we have a lot more countries to invade still.

caposkia wrote:

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

 First off, no memo was published by the 100 or so escapees out of the supposed Exodus.

Next, in the time we are discussing there were no more than 4500 in Judah in sparse settlements.

The Jews then did not go door to door teaching Torah in foreign lands. This means the Amalekites had no idea what was in the yet to be distributed Bible by the Jewish Publication Society.

I really don't buy into the supposed drastic actions as reality based including this one.

Perhaps Saul and warriors killed off an entire village of 50 or so people to the last baby for the land. It sounds much better if it is associated with the god punishing a people of a larger group years later as propaganda.

When events happened, information was spread by word of mouth through travelers.  Again, taking the whole Bible into consideration... reading it in the context, regardless if there's evidence in this story or not of them getting warning, there is no evidence in any part of the Bible that God destroyed anyone or any nation without warning... quite the contrary, so there's no reason to believe they had no warning or understanding here.

Again, the victims had no Hebrew scrolls, they may have heard or not that the tribal king Saul was en route to devastate their village(s). It is somewhat similar to the Sumerian gods killing man for making too much noise. Did those gods warn the people to shut up? And it wasn't just them talking it was them living. What I see in Saul's genocide is it was propaganda, developed later and probably never even occurred beyond the destruction of a village.

caposkia wrote:

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

The storyline has all the aspects of some great adventure of heroes and legend. There is no other support for it. The population of the area was far less than claimed. It goes into my story-telling folder until anything can show it should be considered as anything else.

As shown in context with everything else and the congruency that history shoes at this point, you have not shown any reason to doubt it other than personal quams about certain actions.

I think at this point I'd need someone like  Lazurus Long* being in the army of the Amalekites to still be around to tell you what really happened or didn't.

*Lazarus Long was a Robert Heinlein character who lived forever and didn't die, supposedly born though before WW1

 

 

 

____________________________________________________________
"I guess it's time to ask if you live under high voltage power transmission lines which have been shown to cause stimulation of the fantasy centers of the brain due to electromagnetic waves?" - Me

"God is omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent, - it says so right here on the label. If you have a mind capable of believing all three of these divine attributes simultaneously, I have a wonderful bargain for you. No checks please. Cash and in small bills." - Robert A Heinlein.


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1 Samuel part 8 -

1 Samuel part 8 - Cont’d

Chapter 18 David in Saul’s Employ

This chapter begins with a discussion of the friendship of David and Jonathan. It is almost described as too close. I guess they had the BFF thing then as well.

Saul gave David various missions to do and whatever the task he was always successful. He was given a position in the army with a high rank. After David’s return from the slaughter of the Philistine (singular meaning one? Perhaps Goliath?) the women were all excited singing and dancing and saying, “Saul has slain his thousands but David has slain ten of thousands”. This made Saul very angry and suspicious of David, for what more could he gain but the kingdom. Saul from then on kept a close eye on David.

Comments-
The relationship between David and Saul began to deteriorate when the public’s admiration of David becomes overly enthusiastic. As of the beginning of this chapter the only person we have heard that  David killed was but one, not 10s of thousands though David could have been sneaking out and committing serial murders at night.


The next day, the evil spirit from the god came to Saul very forcefully. Saul was raving throughout his house. David was playing his lyre to soothe Saul but he had a spear in his hands and threw it at David. David dodged the spear twice. Saul was afraid of David as the god was with him and had left Saul except of course the evil spirit of the god. Since Saul was afraid of him he of course promoted him to the captain over a thousand men in the hope he’d die in battle I would guess. David was successful in all he did further adding to Saul’s apprehension of him, though all the people of the land loved him.

Comments –
The god continues to harass Saul with his evil to the point Saul attempts to kill David. The god exhibits the qualities of a trickster such as Loki, though causing problems for man is not a new thing to him.

In v17 Saul offers his oldest daughter Merab to David in marriage, something that was promised in the previous chapter for killing Goliath, perhaps another legend. Anyway, all David has to do is serve Saul and kill Philistines. Saul figures they will eventually kill David for him. Saul ignores his offer to David and gives his daughter in marriage to Adriel of Meholah instead. His other daughter Michal was in love with David which pleased Saul as he still had a means to control David he thought. Saul informs him that the only price for his daughter is the foreskins of 100 Philistines, which he hoped would cause David’s death. David and his men went out and he killed 200 Philistines which he counted out to Saul on his return. Thus Saul gave his daughter Michal to David as a wife and continued to fear David as the god was with him.

Comments –

More narrative in the legendary manner, typical of ancients describing events with much detail even when it is unsupported. Stories such as this also involve Greek heroes in similar fashion. All it does is show the god has abandoned Saul, except of course his evil spirit and now supports David, at least in the opinion of the ancient bard who wrote this story.

Chapter 19 – Saul’s attempts to kill David

This chapter begins with Saul ordering his son Jonathan and all his servants to kill David. As Jonathan was David’s BFF he first warned David about his father and told him he’d talk to his father. Jonathan tells Saul David has done nothing but serve Saul and the people and should not be killed,  He asked him why would you wrong an innocent man. Saul takes an oath to the god as follows, “As surely as the LORD lives, David will not be put to death.”

Comments –
Saul apparently has a jealous rage from the evil spirit of the god. The oath he took was of course worthless, as the god does not live either because he is imaginary, my view or because he was incorporeal or out side of dimensional reality.

Once more David is in Saul’s house when the evil spirit of the god descends upon him. Saul again has his spear handy and attempted to stick David with it. David correctly flees the scene. Saul sent messengers to watch David’s house and kill him in the morning. David’s wife warned him if he didn’t leave that night he’d be dead in the morning. Michal set up a dummy in the bed to appear to be David. When the killers came in to slay him that’s what they found. David fled to Samuel at Ramah and informed him of all that Saul had done.


Saul learns that Samuel and David went to Naioth and dispatches assassins to kill him. Instead, the men end up prophesying with Samuel and other unnamed prophets. When Saul learns his attempt on David’s life once again has failed, he goes to Naioth himself. Saul is also affected by the spirit of the god and prophesies as well, stripping himself naked in the process.

Comments-
The god continues to insert his evil spirit into Saul over-riding free will. Saul as mentioned ignored his oath and attempts to kill David anyway. This is simply all more unsupportable narrative and legendary as other bard originated stories of supposed heroes of the ancients.

____________________________________________________________
"I guess it's time to ask if you live under high voltage power transmission lines which have been shown to cause stimulation of the fantasy centers of the brain due to electromagnetic waves?" - Me

"God is omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent, - it says so right here on the label. If you have a mind capable of believing all three of these divine attributes simultaneously, I have a wonderful bargain for you. No checks please. Cash and in small bills." - Robert A Heinlein.


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The bible is properly titled

The bible is properly titled The Iron-age Goat-herders' Anthology of Campfire Tales for Boys.


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jcgadfly wrote:Hey, you're

jcgadfly wrote:

Hey, you're the one that worships a god that visits the sins of the parents on to the third and fourth generations, you tell me. Why punish someone who's not even born for something Grandpa did?

To put it in perspective, everything you do does in fact affect your family generations down the line.  most of your actions might affect in such a small way that no one would notice, others could be quite dramatic.  Think about a lot of problems in the world today and why many generational problems still exist.  Family values were passed down more carefully back then.  Certain generations may have been more aggressive with the negative aspects than others.  

jcgadfly wrote:

Some murderers grew up in, as you say, a not so normal home life. Your view (and the view of your God) would put the murderer's sister, who didn't become a murderer and defied the odds of her upbringing , would have to be put to death because her brother was a murderer.

You make it sound like a random selection.  Why again did we kill Saddam's sons first?  Wasn't it Saddam himself we were actually after?  Why would we do such a cruel thing?  They didn't do anything wrong... right?

jcgadfly wrote:

I did recheck the Scripture and you are correct. The murderer doesn't have to ask forgiveness after the first time he does so because that pesky old law no longer applies to him once he believes. Thanks for making me look that up. Looks like he'd only have to fear man - God would let him slide.

How can one transgress against a law that no longer applies?

That's where many sects and even believers get confused.  The law does still apply, it always has and always will until the return for sure.  But the penalty for breaking that law has been paid for all of those who accept that gift.  Accepting that gift means you are hating your transgression and are trying to turn away and not do it anymore.  How can you accept a gift of redemption if you're not really looking to be redeemed from the action but only want to do it again with a free ticket?


caposkia
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pauljohntheskeptic wrote:I'm

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

I'm attempting to identify the parts which smack of legends and storytelling. I did give Saul at least the level of legend not complete fiction, that in itself is a lot. You agree the numbers are exaggerated, why would not other parts be as well? My take is the story was enhanced to make it more appealing and not just in the numbers but in the purported actions of the characters. The problem is after years of alteration, how can one tell what was the original story.

I agree that numbers are exaggerated because with the historical research and understanding of the populations and capabilities of the times, we can logically conclude that these numbers are inaccurate.  Why wouldn't other parts of the story be exaggerated as well?  Well, they very well could be... but we have no logical reasoning through research, history and understanding of the populations and cultures of the times to assume they are.  

The concern for many when discovering details in the Bible not to be 100% is exactly what you're asking.  "How can one tell what was the original story." and more commonly, how can we tell what's true or not.  

Through the research and history, it is known of these cultures to be very careful as far as important details of a true event.  Numbers are exaggerated to add emphasis and grab interest.  Places and names might be changed due to the persons current understanding of what is around them, but what actually happened is the point of the whole story and the ancient peoples were very careful not to skew that information as discovered with any like "storytelling' that has been proven to be true.

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

I'm judging the character god described in the writing just as I would any character in a book. The action here was genocide, in the same way as it was for Stalin, Hitler or any other character or person. In the time period, genocide was fairly unique in this part of the world, as captives were taken or a ruler was placed over those conquered. I'm a fan of Dexter both on Showtime and Jeff Lindsay's books. Dexter kills other serial killers and is presented as more or less a hero in both. Dexter is both a hero and he is evil in that he kills without a fair trial.

I see how you'd be questioning the character of God... but scripture makes it clear that even non-followers of God during that time were aware of God's expectations and regulations.  Also, to question his character to the degree you have as far as the punishment being just, would suggest then that you want to get into the detail of spiritual ramifications for our actions and how severe they might be.  I don't believe there are answers here.  Just an understanding that there are spiritual consequences for our actions

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

 

The idea of a giant in the story was likely to make David appear just that much more heroic and legendary.

...and there could be exaggerations in place... but it doesn't make the story any less true or the events any less real.  It's likely that he was still a larger person due to the detail involved in describing his size and not just power.

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

 

It just shows that this story was altered over time with errors, errors indicate story-telling and legends. Jerusalem did actually exist and the ruling city was Hebron which also existed, so to me it was an error in story telling. In the case of the colonists, no city existed so I don't see your analogy to be the same.

the point was they debated in what would be considered a prime location.  

these differences again don't suggest truth or myth.

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

Considering it true until proven not true even though it has errors and character glorification like other legends is not looking at it objectively. Instead, one can minimally suspend judgement. There are other ancient texts which have a lot of historical support, the Sumerians existed, they had cities, they had temples, so why not conclude their god stories are real. That's what you suggest in regard to the god of the Hebrews so why not for them as well?

You're trying to look at this story by itself.  I'm taking this story in context with the Bible as a whole.  We have agreed on evidences suggesting the validity of other stories and more yet to come i'm sure.  The fact that many stories of the Bible have been proven to have happened through history, archeology, etc... or likely in fact, maybe not so proven, would then suggest that we can safely assume this story is just as valid until something else suggests otherwise.  I'm not just looking at this story as true until proven otherwise, I'm looking at it as true in context with what we already know to be true.  

As far as Sumererians, sure the people existed.  In context of scripture, other gods were real, but not superior.  By definition, any being superior to their following is god.  Therefore, any fallen angel or human for that matter could be god and those stories could be true to their following.  The question then would be does this mean that all gods have to be real or no gods can be real?  Of course not.  Each story must be held up to the same scrutiny and historical evidences.

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

The point of the story is to glorify David with heroic acts, much like the stories of Jason.

I don't agree that Israel was ever united as one country, I think these stories were written down after Israel was conquered by Assyria, again see Finkelstein and the above link.

I simply don't like calling the kingdom at this time Israel when I don't think it was which was my point in not using Israel for the name of Saul's kingdom. I wasn't trying to change the focus at all, the focus was on the heroic stories of David and Saul's failing in the god's service. All of which I suggest is done in a manner of story-telling or legends.

so you'd agree the focus was David and not the country.  history was not the strength of the ancient peoples, they only added what they were told.  i'm sure somewhere in there, the writer was told this was a united situation... wishful thinking?  maybe... but then again, either way it doesn't change the validity of the story from what i can see.  the focus and the point still remains.


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pauljohntheskeptic wrote:I

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

I look at impossibilities in the Bible, the Qu'ran, the Sumerian texts, Hindu Vedas as unlikely or explanations by unknowing, uninformed, or misunderstood. I could give you the example of the WW2 island in the Pacific where planes and technology had never been observed by the islanders. They created an entire cult based on John Frum an American called the cargo cult - see - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tanna_%28island%29 and see - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cargo_cult

I collected coins as a hobby for over 20 years and quit about 15 years ago. I look at every single coin and piece of paper money. I find on average 1 or 2 per week worth something more than face value.

So, though I have not thrown away what I know of all religions, I don't accept the conclusions made by believers, priests and shamans. As you have seen, I know what you know but I consider it far differently than you. Religious beliefs to me show the creativity of man in attempting to understand that which has insufficient information. Sometimes you just have to file it as unknown until either more is known or it's shown to be erroneously based in unwarranted creativity.

 

I do file something that has insufficient information in the unknown.  For the sake of this forum, i push toward the content being true as much as you push toward it not being true.  We both know we stand on opposite sides as far as that conclusion, but i can agree unknown due to lack of information for the sake of this forum as well.  The problem is, most of our conversation from hereon out will be categorized in the unknown.  I figure the some vs. none in evidences would suggest one side vs. another.  Some evidences of a crime would outweigh the none for evidences of a person not being involved and they would likely be convicted.  I hold the Bible to the same degree.  Of course off topic I have other reasons beyond history and physical evidences to accept this as well, but that's irrelevant to this forum.