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Author Topic: The Bible is confusing me!  (Read 302 times) Average Rating: 0
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Ai
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« on: June 11, 2014, 12:48:50 AM »

Atheists would usually pull out a list of contradicting Bible verses. I will not attempt to list them all but it's still something I question. I cannot reference them all right now because Im about to go to sleep.  For instance, The Old Testament talks about God being vengeful and destroying without mercy and pity, yet in other parts of the Old Testament, it says that God is merciful,to all. The New Testament says God is love, etc. 

The Bible equates divorce to adultery (somewhere in Matthew...I dont know where but it says it there) yet the Orthodox Church allows divorce and there are plenty of Christians that get divorced everyday.

The Old Testament says something against marking your bodies with cuts or marks (i.e. tattoos). Im sure there are plenty of Orthodox Christians out there who have tattoos. Many of my Christian friends have tattoos.

Jesus says that if any part of your body causes you to sin, remove it! Since we're all sinners, we shouldve cut off our body parts a long time ago. Elsewhere, Jesus says that if a man looks at a woman with lust, he has already committed the sin of adultery in his heart. I doubt those guys oogling at those hot girls walking by would want to gouge their eyes out like Jesus said that if they sin, then remove such a body part.

The Old Testament says something about seeing the face of God, yet In the New Testament it says that nobody has seen the face of God.

Parts of the Bible say to seek the wisdom of God and that wisdom is one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit (?) yet other parts of the Bible says that this is folly and futile because God will destroy those with wisdom and the righteous shall laugh at the sinners, yet God will destroy the righteous as well. Should I stop praying to God for His wisdom then?

The Liturgy emphasizes God's love and mercy that it seems so different from the way he's described in the Bible.

I dont get it...Im confused. What am I reading?
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« Reply #1 on: June 11, 2014, 12:53:50 AM »

There are human elements in the Bible, as there are divine elements.

The Orthodox Church allowing divorce doesn't mean that it endorses divorce.

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Jesus says that if any part of your body causes you to sin, remove it! Since we're all sinners, we shouldve cut off our body parts a long time ago. Elsewhere, Jesus says that if a man looks at a woman with lust, he has already committed the sin of adultery in his heart. I doubt those guys oogling at those hot girls walking by would want to gouge their eyes out like Jesus said that if they sin, then remove such a body part.

Yeah, don't do that. Jesus was talking metaphorically there.

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The Old Testament says something about seeing the face of God, yet In the New Testament it says that nobody has seen the face of God.

Quote from: John 1:17-18
For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ. No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.

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Parts of the Bible say to seek the wisdom of God and that wisdom is one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit (?) yet other parts of the Bible says that this is folly and futile because God will destroy those with wisdom and the righteous shall laugh at the sinners, yet God will destroy the righteous as well. Should I stop praying to God for His wisdom then?

The wisdom of God, and not the wisdom of the world.
« Last Edit: June 11, 2014, 12:54:55 AM by xOrthodox4Christx » Logged

"[The Lord] shall judge between many peoples, and shall decide for strong nations far away; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore." (Isaiah 2:4, Micah 4:3)
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« Reply #2 on: June 11, 2014, 04:05:45 AM »

Quote
Atheists would usually pull out a list of contradicting Bible verses. I will not attempt to list them all but it's still something I question. I cannot reference them all right now because Im about to go to sleep.  For instance, The Old Testament talks about God being vengeful and destroying without mercy and pity, yet in other parts of the Old Testament, it says that God is merciful,to all. The New Testament says God is love, etc.

God is many things; it is impossible for us to define God in human terms. God is both what He is in the Old Testament and what He is in the New Testament. As human beings, we cannot possibly begin to understand God’s judgment or God’s mercy. These things are mysteries; to describe them in human terms is to fall completely short.

I know a few atheists that have tried to argue with me about God’s judgments in the Old Testament, saying that He was cruel or evil for doing the things that He did. The truth is, as human beings we cannot possibly begin to understand God’s reasons for anything that He does.

Furthermore, the people that often use the Old Testament imagery of God’s judgment are cherry-picking. There are plenty of examples in the Old Testament where God shows great mercy to people, and there are examples in the New Testament where God has judged people.

Quote
The Bible equates divorce to adultery (somewhere in Matthew...I dont know where but it says it there) yet the Orthodox Church allows divorce and there are plenty of Christians that get divorced everyday.

You’re thinking of Matthew 19:9: “And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.”

In answer to your question, people are sinners. Divorce is wrong, but sometimes because of our humanity it is an unavoidable consequence of our actions. Marriages and relationships fall apart because people aren’t perfect. The Church allows divorce in some circumstances, but by no means does that mean that the Church endorses and encourages it. Quite the opposite: divorce is discouraged and strongly advised against. Nonetheless, people are sinful and it is our sinfulness that will cause relationships to fall apart sometimes. It’s not right, but that doesn’t stop it from happening.

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The Old Testament says something against marking your bodies with cuts or marks (i.e. tattoos). Im sure there are plenty of Orthodox Christians out there who have tattoos. Many of my Christian friends have tattoos.

Leviticus 19:28: “Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the LORD”

I have one tattoo on my left ring finger as a wedding ring. It’s a small line that is easily concealable. Tattoos are a very controversial subject, and there are many different opinions from many different people about whether it is a sin or not. I’m not really going to get into the debate about it here. 

This is something that Orthodox Christians usually defer to their spiritual father about.

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Jesus says that if any part of your body causes you to sin, remove it! Since we're all sinners, we shouldve cut off our body parts a long time ago. Elsewhere, Jesus says that if a man looks at a woman with lust, he has already committed the sin of adultery in his heart. I doubt those guys oogling at those hot girls walking by would want to gouge their eyes out like Jesus said that if they sin, then remove such a body part.

Obviously, if we all followed this to the letter, we’d be horribly maimed and completely unable to actually function in the world. Most of us would die very early deaths from the sheer amount of physical trauma. I’m pretty sure Jesus wasn’t telling us to kill ourselves if we sin, so we can extrapolate that He was probably speaking metaphorically.

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The Old Testament says something about seeing the face of God, yet In the New Testament it says that nobody has seen the face of God.

I’m not sure what you’re talking about here. The Old and New Testament both say that there is no one that has seen the face of God and lived; I can’t think of any Biblical account that details someone seeing the face of God the Father and living to tell the tale.

Quote
Parts of the Bible say to seek the wisdom of God and that wisdom is one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit (?) yet other parts of the Bible says that this is folly and futile because God will destroy those with wisdom and the righteous shall laugh at the sinners, yet God will destroy the righteous as well. Should I stop praying to God for His wisdom then?

The wisdom of God versus the wisdom of man. God’s wisdom is a gift from the Holy Spirit, while man’s wisdom is created by man and is futile. Pray to God that He will give you His wisdom, this is a good prayer. Solomon asked God for wisdom, and look how much God blessed him!

Quote
The Liturgy emphasizes God's love and mercy that it seems so different from the way he's described in the Bible.

I dont get it...Im confused. What am I reading?

God’s love and mercy are found all throughout the Bible. I encourage you to read for yourself and study about it instead of taking the accounts of some angry atheists that might cherry-pick certain parts that they don’t think make sense.
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« Reply #3 on: June 13, 2014, 02:22:08 AM »

Listening to someone who just wants to destroy something isn't going to create a very good picture of it in one's mind. Atheists aside, however, the Bible is actually many books written by many different men from dozens of eras and cultures. If you want a good picture of what the writer of one of these books was trying to say, you should approach it full of sympathy for his perpective and read the whole thing before concluding much about it. And it is by no means necessary to start with one of the books of complex legal codes or ancient history that experts struggle to unravel.

The Orthodox know that the Bible is only a part of the knowledge God has given us. Whole knowledge is found only in the Logos, but the traditions of the Church comprise much of His wisdom.
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Laird
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« Reply #4 on: June 13, 2014, 08:57:01 AM »

Parts of the Bible say to seek the wisdom of God and that wisdom is one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit (?) yet other parts of the Bible says that this is folly and futile because God will destroy those with wisdom and the righteous shall laugh at the sinners, yet God will destroy the righteous as well. Should I stop praying to God for His wisdom then?

There is the wisdom of God and then there is the wisdom of man:
Quote
13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. 15 This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. 16 For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. 17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. 18 Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. - James 3:13-18

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The Old Testament says something about seeing the face of God, yet In the New Testament it says that nobody has seen the face of God.

I’m not sure what you’re talking about here. The Old and New Testament both say that there is no one that has seen the face of God and lived; I can’t think of any Biblical account that details someone seeing the face of God the Father and living to tell the tale.

Moses (Exodus 33:11; Numbers 12:6-8), Jacob (Genesis 32:20), Moses, Aaron, and 70 elders (Exodus 24:9-11), Manoah & his wife (Judges 13:22).
« Last Edit: June 13, 2014, 09:05:38 AM by Laird » Logged
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« Reply #5 on: June 13, 2014, 09:23:08 AM »

Personally I will always find some of the OT confusing; I also find much of it invaluable. The great prayer of Solomon in 1st Kings 8 & 2nd Chronicles 6, Ecclesiastes, Isaiah 53, Ezekiel 18, 33, 34, Daniel etc. One thing to remember is that most of the original Christians did not have literacy or Bibles (let alone a finalized canon). Christ summed up the law & prophets in the golden rule (Matthew 7:1-12) & the 2 great commands (Matthew 22:36-40). The Didache seems to be a  primary snapshot of the basic faith held & orally understood by the early laity.

Most laity are presently literate;some really want to read the Bible as part of their living faith. This is a great thing & if carefully applied, can further greater lay expression of Orthodoxy. I tend to think that such expression is sparsely charted territory within Orthodoxy. If it is done properly within the faith held by the church, an uncommon, but vibrant example of living faith could flower.
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