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Author Topic: Exploring 'God Behaving Badly'  (Read 246 times) Average Rating: 0
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Argumentum ad australopithecum
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Barlaam and Josaphat

« on: January 16, 2013, 08:41:20 PM »

Kevin Glenn [pastor of Memorial Baptist Church, in Columbia, Missouri] is already hearing the grumbling about his nine-week sermon series on “God Behaving Badly,” and it hasn’t even begun yet.
Even so, the series will kick off Sunday when author David Lamb visits Memorial to preach on his 2011 book God Behaving Badly: Is the God of the Old Testament Angry, Sexist and Racist? The book delves into Old Testament passages that many Christians would rather ignore – such as a group of boys being mauled by bears at Elisha’s request in 2 Kings – and that many in the New Atheist movement love to extol.
How is “God Misbehaving” expressed in our culture?

Lamb: Through (Richard) Dawkins and (Christopher) Hitchens, the so-called New Atheists have a lot of critiques of God that come particularly from the Old Testament.... They look at the Canaanite genocide, for example, and ask why would God, even if the Canaanites are not good people, tell his people to wipe out this entire race?
Where do you begin in addressing all of that?

Lamb: Genesis is foundational to our understanding of God – of the entire Bible.… The first thing we learn about humans is they are made in God’s image, and the first thing God does is bless them.... That tells me that my God is a generous God, a God who wants to provide for me and bless me. I’m not talking about a prosperity gospel or anything like that, but a good God who really wants to bless humans and who wants us to bless other humans.

Hmmm...a book on Christian interpretations of the Old Testament, and not one mention of Origen?
« Last Edit: January 16, 2013, 08:43:25 PM by Jetavan » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: January 16, 2013, 08:54:10 PM »

This is only a problem if you take the Protestant literalist approach. As Orthodox Christians though, there are two things to take into account when reading the Old Testament. Firstly, people had different standards back then. While the Mosaic Law may seem harsh to us now, it was actually quite advanced for its time, or at least equal in par to other ancient near east law--such as the Code of Hammurabi. And also, everything that happened in the Old Testament was so that conditions could be made for Christ to be incarnate. Second thing, we don't have to interpret everything literally--indeed, many Church Fathers didn't. Take Origen of Alexandria, the Ethiopians and pretty much the entire Alexandrian way of viewing scripture. Some stories could simply be typology and allegory representing how Christ relates to us as Christians combined with an exaggerated historical narrative from the authors at the time. It was always common back then for people to view their fate as being determined by God/the gods mood toward them, ie, I lost a battle therefore God is angry or I shattered my enemy therefore my God supported it and is on my side--we even see this on occasions with the religious-right in regards to conflict in the Middle East during this very day. So while most of these stories probably carry some historical value, we don't have to assume that it is ALL historical and need to remember that it was written in combination with allegory to represent Christ and in the mindset of the authors at the time.

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