929

thanks rebecca :-)

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About jonbirch

animator, illustrator, character designer, graphic designer. music producer/recording musician. co-owner of PROOST. proost.co.uk
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53 Responses to 929

  1. =D

    I am always disturbed by the sacrifice passage.

    I liked Steve Chalke’s take on it. Abraham was doing what he knew. All of the local god’s demanded sacrifice. So sacrifice it will be.

    God is different. Be different because God is different.

  2. Graham says:

    My 9 year old son saw that and laughed like a drain.

    Can you do a kiddie asbo site?

  3. Wulf says:

    I guess that’s why God told Abraham to sacrifice Isaac in the mountains and not on high street.

  4. Si Hollett says:

    Changing Worship – do you even know the God who reveals himself in the Bible, or have you created a sky fairy who fits your expectations? Yes God is different from all those local idols, but no, he does demand a sacrifice. He very much demands a sacrifice, but he provides it – it’s himself! That’s the difference.

    The sacrifice passage is only disturbing (at this end of it – it would have been very disturbing for Isaac on that wood!) if you a disturbed by the idea that we deserve death and that Jesus pays that price for us.

    I love the Genesis 22 sacrifice passage. You have all the “your son, your only son” stuff in Gen 22 for a reason (after all, Ishmael is Abraham’s son as well, but not wrt the promise), and all the “The LORD will provide” stuff.

    The fire and knive suggests that the burnt offering is like the sin offering in Lev 4. The LORD providing a sin offering on that mountain – The Father’s Son, his only Son, the true Lamb with thorns on his head – we know that happened, we’re nearly 2000 years after the event. What a great God we have!

    Abraham looked forward to that day, when the LORD would provide the offering, saw it and was glad (Jn 8:56) We can look back, and see when God promised to Abraham to provide a sacrifice, see it and be glad too.

    Hebrews 11:17-19 talks of Abraham’s faith in God’s promises as being a vital theme in this passage:

    “By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had received the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.” Abraham reasoned that God could raise the dead, and figuratively speaking, he did receive Isaac back from death.”

    Interestingly, it’s on the third day that Abraham gets Isaac back from the dead…

  5. jonbirch says:

    “do you even know the God who reveals himself in the Bible, or have you created a sky fairy who fits your expectations?”… hmmm, si… couldn’t you have made that sentence a bit more patronising? i tried, but failed. :?:
    “The sacrifice passage is only disturbing if you are disturbed by the idea that we deserve death and that Jesus pays that price for us.” no, that’s not what makes it disturbing… it’s disturbing because a parent is about to carve his kid up!

    graham… thanks! …i thought this was the kiddie asbo site! :lol:

  6. Fraser says:

    Personally I don’t think it’s a case of “Abraham doing what he knew” it’s Abraham doing what God told him to do.

    I can’t read Genesis 22:2 and think it’s anything other than what God has told him to do?

  7. what!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! a bizzie doing his Job, wonders will never cease.

  8. subo says:

    thanks folks, for this thought provoking discussion

    I’d just have never guessed just how much God might challenge me, until the last few years, – yep, crazed up as a kid in an emotionally abusive hell, yet thought somehow God would bring me out of there. he did, and yet trying to follow his leading has been the hardest thing I’ve ever tried, well – and the most rewarding

    oh, dennis, we had the biz out in full, armoured, force this wk, on my street – impressive and dumb at the same time, they did manage to stop a bloke getting pulverised to death

  9. dgsinclair says:

    This is one passage that antitheists like to bring up – if God told you to kill your child, would you do it?

    The answers to this objection are many, including:

    1. This story is not prescriptive, but a one time event in which God foreshadowed the death of His only son through the first man of faith, so to speak.

    2. Now that we have the scriptures, we can fairly clearly see that such commands, as well as others like committing adultery, are contrary to the revealed will of God. Abe did not have that.

    3. His mama was so fat, when she jumped up in the air, she got stuck.

  10. Kim says:

    are the comments becoming more surreal lately, or is it just that I’m reading it late at night and should go to sleep now?

  11. Peter Parslow says:

    “if God told you to kill your child”. It’s still one of several passages in the bible that make it difficult to be prescriptive about guidance. According to these passages, God does (sometimes) give specific instructions that go against his general ones.

  12. Miriworm says:

    If God told you to kill Asbo Jesus would you do it? Hmmm I wonder!

  13. Caroline TOO says:

    We can read the Abraham and IsaaK story as a detailed blow by blow account of the conversations
    between God and Abraham

    In which case, God appears to be a thoroughly unpleasant, testing, teasing god…

    and that doesn’t fit with what the rest of the bible, so

    we could also read the story as a bronze age man trying to makes sense of a God who comes close to
    him, promises him things, confides in him…. at the same time that the gods around that bronze age
    man are huge, terrifying and warlike (or sexual and about fertility)

    that reading makes more sense to me

    As I read other parts of the bible, I see clear cases of godly folk mishearing and
    misunderstanding God (most of Judges seems to be like that), to to read this story as one where
    Abraham misunderstands what he hears God saying to him works for me.

    by the way, as I look forward in the story of Isaac to his disfunctional family relations
    with wife and two sons, I just start to wonder if this traumatic event had some serious and sad
    consequences for him and his family, that kept going on for generations….

  14. Fraser says:

    But to read this story as one where Abraham misunderstands is the same to me as saying this part of the bible is incorrect?

    “Genesis 22

    1 “Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!”
    “Here I am,” he replied.

    2 Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about.” ”

    So if this isn’t what happened do we not end up on shaky ground trying to work out which parts we do agree are accurate and which we don’t?

    If God didn’t say what he said in v2 then can we rely on anything else?

    Not trying to cause argument just trying to figure it out for myself too.

  15. jonbirch says:

    hi fraser… not sure that it’s to do with ‘incorrect’ or ‘inaccurate’… more to do with interpretation and understanding i think. i do think the whole bible needs to be read to be understood in the context of its place in history. i’m not saying that’s the only way to read it (some bits drop straight in your lap, like ‘love your neighbour’ etc). some bits are undoubtedly difficult though… like this story. anywhere else in history we’d treat this as abuse… from the mayans to the nt… so it is tricky. people have been committing genocide for thousands of years saying ‘god told them to’.
    these things are not easy to grasp.

  16. Fraser says:

    Hi Jon

    I agree entirely that these things are not easy to grasp. This passage and so many others seem beyond me at times.

    However from my point of view I don’t want to explain away the difficult parts by interpreting it as a ‘misunderstanding’

    I’ll keep mulling it over!

  17. Caroline TOO says:

    …or Fraser (#15) we see a text written long after the events by
    editors who wanted to tell a truth of and involved, mighty God…

    editors who wrote down their stories as told by storytellers;
    stories that were embedded in the aural traditions of their time and
    geography… told within the political and ethnic interests of
    their times….

    to do this is not to cheapen the authority of scripture but to to
    see it as 2-3 thousand year story of man-pursuing-god-pursued-by-God

    to fixate on precise wordings renders the bible as a textbook,
    not a living word of God.

    to see how God loved and related and trusted flawed men and women
    like Abraham, Isaac, David, Sarah, Rachel etc., to see how these
    flawed farmers, warriors, politicians and poets reached out to God who was beyond their
    comprehension and who were reached by that God…

    now that helps me say “They’re like me! they got things wrong!
    and, wonder of wonders, God hung around them faithfully…

    Golly, that’s a God who’s faithfulness I can trust…

    and that book is a book I can trust to open up the confused
    depths of humans relating to an infinite God…

    phew, I might even have to worship!

  18. jonbirch says:

    caroline too… wish i’d said that. :-)

  19. subo says:

    a very spiritual person tried to get me to understand that my husband didn’t actually ‘belong’ to me, she wanted me to understand that if God wanted, I’d need to accept that we might separate

    despite the challenge of this conversation, I think I learnt to feel a little humbler, to respect my husband a little more, and to value the good things I received, to which end it seems I’ve become a lot happier

    plus my husband spends much of the day driving, and I can’t do anything to make sure he’s safe, so it’s helpful to me to acknowledge it’s God’s job to care for him completely, and mine only to care the way I can

    it’s just been so useful to me, to find someone like my friend to talk to, getting things in the right order has bought so much joy into my life

    anyhow, I sometimes think God’s challenge to Abraham was about acknowledging Isaac belonged to God, and was trusted to Abraham as a son.

    please ignore this comment if you don’t relate to this stuff

  20. Si Hollett says:

    jonbirch said: “hmmm, si… couldn’t you have made that sentence a bit more patronising? i tried, but failed.”

    I couldn’t think of much more patronising to God than ‘you know, I don’t think you did that – I think you are different to how you say you are.’ That I was responding to. It’s the Pharisaical ‘We know what God’s like, he can’t do that’ that Jesus was very bluntly against – saying stuff like “you are children of the devil, not Abraham” in response. Wow, that sounds a lot more patronising than what I said.

    “it’s disturbing because a parent is about to carve his kid up!”
    In the full knowledge that God will provide the sacrifice? In the full knowledge that he’d receive Isaac back from the dead? The person who trusts in God’s promises is like Abraham here, surely, knowing that no harm will come to Isaac, or that that any harm will be undone. It is only disturbing if you don’t know and trust God to keep his promises or you’ve seriously misinterpreted the passage.

    If it was Ishmael (who wasn’t the child through which the blessing came) that Abraham was about to stab, it would be very disturbing. Likewise the Judge that foolishly ends up sacrificing his daughter (and child sacrifice is something that God is massively against in the law and prophets) rather than break a vow he made to God is very disturbing. But Abraham trusting God to keep his promises is challenging, not disturbing.

    The cartoon is right though – it disturbs non-Christians – they’d want to call the cops. He’s going to kill his son. But Abraham knows his son won’t die (at least permanently) from this action. Oh, and it’s very much a non-prescriptive thing – God isn’t saying to us “go and kill your sons” – the promise being through Isaac, and only Isaac is essential for beginning to understand this passage.


    CarolineTOO:

    Given Hebrews 11, and the Gen 22 text itself, this is NOT a place where Abraham mucks up (though there are many places in the chapters around – and Isaac has bits too, and everybody mucks up, though the Bible might miss them out). Even if you take just the sense of what was going on here, ignoring precise wordings, you cannot escape that God told Abraham to do it, testing him.

    Yes, historical context can play it’s part here – this passage does say that God is different from the local idols – he provides the sacrifice. But historical context isn’t the only key and what the Bible says in and on the passage is the trump card.

    Rather than having your view of God shaped by his word, you shape the word by your view of God. You kill the word, blunt it’s edge – it can’t challenge you, as you impose you expectations on it.

    Scripture isn’t the story of man pursuing God – it’s the story of God pursuing man, who are running away from Him, and turning them around – look at Jacob, look at the prophets on Israel. It’s not a Tower of Babel, trying to reach God, trying to explain him. It’s God, through man, reaching us, explaining the real him.

    This passage screams that God is faithful – he does provide the sacrifice, and we can look back to that hill umpteen centuries later, doing just that – he’s the sacrifice. Abraham, just like anyone, deserved the penalty of death for his rebellion against God, yet God pours out his wrath onto himself, rather than us. So much more glorious than “God puts up with people who get things wrong” – it’s God suffers for the sake of rebels against him. He pursues those who don’t want him, and shows them that they do want him, and can have him.


    Frazer – keep asking the Spirit to enlighten you on what the word is saying, keep being under them, letting them change you, rather than over them, changing them.

  21. jonbirch says:

    “‘you know, I don’t think you did that – I think you are different to how you say you are.’ ” no, it’s just that it may be god isn’t always what people say he is.

    “In the full knowledge that God will provide the sacrifice?” yes, in the knowledge that isaac is to be that sacrifice.

    “It is only disturbing if you don’t know and trust God to keep his promises.” no, it’s disturbing anyway, whether or not god keeps his promises. i find the cross disturbing as much as i do victorious. i don’t live in a bloody and oppressive time or place in the world. of course it disturbs me.

    “This passage screams that God is faithful”… yes, it does, i do believe that is the message we are supposed to get from this passage.

    glad i finished on a more agreeing note. :-)

  22. Rick says:

    As I read this story, it is appalling that someone might sacrifice their own child – even more appalling that God would tell them to. I think part of the point of the narrative is that we should feel righteous indignation at how unjust, violent, and disconcerting child sacrifice is.

    Then 2,000 years later it helps us understand how unjust, violent, and appalling it was that God actually did sacrifice God’s own son.

    It doesn’t make sense. We should be appalled. And we should be grateful.

    Thanks Jon for continuing to challenge through your art.

  23. dgsinclair says:

    >> CAROLINE: In which case, God appears to be a thoroughly unpleasant, testing, teasing god…

    I don’t think that your conclusion follows. Testing is not done to tease or punish, but to mature and liberate. When we love what God has given us more than God, our idolatry is a type of emotional and spiritual slavery.

    >> CAROLINE: to fixate on precise wordings renders the bible as a textbook, not a living word of God.

    There are two opposite errors here – one is to fixate on jot and tittles (though Jesus seemed to think that even those would be fulfilled, and so are somehow important), acting like the Pharisees to whom Jesus said “you search the scriptures, thinking that in them you have eternal life, but you are unwilling to come to ME.”

    But the other is to think that the individual words and grammar are somehow unimportant in getting a clear understanding of what the scriptures mean. Being lazy in such things can lead us to bad misunderstandings.

  24. rebecca says:

    Since I sparked this cartoon off, I feel obliged to comment on it, but it’s obviously causing passions to run high among some contributors, so I’m not sure quite what to write.

    I remember discussing this story at university — we considered such important matters as the effect this near-sacrifice had on Isaac’s relationship with his father. But something I didn’t really appreciate at the time is that in Old Testament times family relationships were not valued like they are today — everyone was far more concerned about preserving their bloodlines. There are some Old Testament laws, such as those on rape, which indicate that. And in a context where family relationships were regarded in a way we now find alien, might not the same apply to human sacrifice?

    But that doesn’t excuse this story — I still find it very disturbing. I always consider that there is something wrong if we attribute behaviour to God which, if a human did it, would have Amnesty International after them. (This story isn’t the most extreme example — I consider that to be the parable of the unforgiving servant. The master threatens to sell the servant’s children as slaves, and subsequently tortures the servant — serious breaches of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights!!!!!!!) And I don’t want to get round the problem by saying that God is completely different from us and is completely outside human notions of morality (an argument I once heard somebody use to justify sexual discrimination in the church), because that’s just fudging the question. Where do we get our notions of morality from in the first place? And what does it mean to be made in God’s image? There’s a topic for another discussion.

  25. jonbirch says:

    thanks for stimulating the grey matter, rebecca. (btw. is there any way i can get uk english spell check for wordpress? i know the rest of the world probably spells ‘grey’ with an ‘a’, but here in the land of shakespeare we still use an ‘e’). :-) back to what i was saying. thanks rebecca… i do think this is a very difficult passage and out of its bronze age culture impossible to understand. i find myself in agreement with you.

  26. beckyw says:

    From reading this thread, I can’t help but think that God tells us to be humble and to learn. I think we can be fully confident in what we do believe God is saying or how we have interpreted the Bible whilst at the same time acknowledging that we might have got it wrong and listening to others openly in case they can teach us from their interpretation. I feel like we sometimes say things in cyberspace that we wouldn’t dare speak out loud to someone in front of us. I love this community around ASBO Jesus (thanks so much for your gift Jon) especially because people challenge me with their thoughts (and often make me laugh). Please can I encourage people to say things gently…(sorry, since I’ve had a child, I even cry at x-factor – turned into a total softy!).

  27. jonbirch says:

    thank you beckyw. :-)
    please listen to what becky’s saying people (i include myself)… she is absolutely right.

  28. Rachel says:

    (…long-time lurker)

    A Jewish friend gave me a really helpful interpretation of this passage. She said that Abraham failed the test right at the start, when he set off to sacrifice Isaac.

    I guess that interpretation makes sense to me because it emphasises that we should never prioritise what we think God says, above love and care for each other. When we follow our religion at the expense of others, we are failing.

  29. Si – Thanks for reminding me why I recently stopped commenting on threads.

  30. Bryan says:

    So God provided a pig rather than a ram? Hmmmm profound in so many ways.

    (Here in the states, pig is an euphemism for the police)

  31. Gurdur says:

    This one cited in my Sunday/Monday blogs round-up – 26 September 2010.

    Regards,
    Gurdur

  32. Pingback: Sunday/Monday blogs round-up - 26 September 2010 - blog by Gurdur - Blogs on the Heathen Hub

  33. justpassinthru says:

    “A Jewish friend gave me a really helpful interpretation of this passage. She said that Abraham failed the test right at the start, when he set off to sacrifice Isaac.”

    Given that they’re the ones who wrote the book in the first place, and know what it actually says (unlike King Jimmy’s “translation” of a poor Xerox of a fanfiction version of what he wanted it to say, so he could marry his second wife), I’m much more inclined to see the Jews’ interpretation of their own holy scripture as correct, much less troublesome, and a much less angry/vengeful/monstrous god than the Christians like to make out the Judaic god to be.

    Do I think the “Old Testament” (which is neither) has anything at all in common with Christianity? Nope. The “New Testament” authors even got the LXX “prophecy” references wrong.

  34. dgsinclair says:

    >>>JPT: Given that they’re the ones who wrote the book in the first place, and know what it actually says

    Not necessarily. In fact, it was the Jews who, according to Christian theology, missed their own Messiah because they misunderstood the passages about him. And, arguably, this entire scenario with Abraham – his ‘only’ son, carrying the wood (cross) on his back to be the sacrifice, all of this is Messianic foreshadowing.

    So it is actually, from the Christian perspective, quite likely that Jews would not understand this, at least in Messianic light.

  35. Fraser says:

    “A Jewish friend gave me a really helpful interpretation of this passage. She said that Abraham failed the test right at the start, when he set off to sacrifice Isaac.”

    As has been suggested somewhere earlier in the comments is it not hard to see that angle if you put it alongside Hebrews 11:17-19?

  36. duttyo says:

    wow!

    It’s amazing what people will say to someone they’ve never met over the internet

  37. dgsinclair says:

    A good student of human nature will cease to be amazed at both the goodness and treachery of the human heart.

  38. dgsinclair says:

    CHANGING WORSHIP:

    You found Si’s comment so offensive that it reminds you of the trolls out there? I mean, besides his ‘keep asking God to enlighten you’ passage which sounds patronizing and arrogant, the rest of his comments were merely informative, they weren’t abusive or name calling, and seemed reasonable even if you disagree with them.

    I’m glad to see that you are trying to be innovative and genuine in your Christianity (I visited your blog), and despite the creepy imagery and association with the somewhat theologically liberal ‘emerging’ church, I suspect you might be a genuine believer ;)

    Don’t be so open minded that you are closed minded to simple orthodox biblical exegesis.

  39. jonbirch says:

    yes duttyo. sorry. :-(

  40. jonbirch says:

    dgsinclair… i found it offensive too to be fair. it started at “do you even know the God who reveals himself in the Bible, or have you created a sky fairy who fits your expectations?”… just a bit harsh and then patronising when you do not know someone or out of what their comment might come. the tone of this blog is important to me. differences are cool, but courtesy is my one and only demand. i hope that makes sense. :-)

  41. DSSINCLAIR

    To be honest, I find it amusing that Si managed to write a whole host of assumptions about me on the basis of the handful of words I used to start the conversation. That tends to be the nature of conversation. I humbly suggest that entering dialogue by suggesting that a stranger doesn’t have a relationship with God based on a few brief words is going to facilitate the onlookers in their process of forming an opinion about an individual.

    I’m also amused that I am placed into a sentence with “creepy” and “theologically liberal”. I usually stand accused of being part of the established church. My heart is strangely warmed by the assertion that I may be a genuine believer.

    “Don’t be so open minded that you are closed minded to simple orthodox biblical exegesis”

    Again I point out that you don’t know me. You don’t know how open minded or closed minded I am. You have no idea what my view of “simple orthodox biblical exegesis” may be.

    As Duttyo pointed out earlier, “It’s amazing what people will say to someone they’ve never met over the internet”.

  42. Caroline TOO says:

    hmm, guess that I’m glad that I ducked out of this conversation…

    I guess that when seeking to learn of the infinite God that I worship,

    I just don’t want to argue in a way that becomes a contest where a position is taken, which I must then attack, only for my position to be attacked and my “adversary’s” position re-defended

    In some contexts I quite enjoy that sort of adversarial contest, but not in my search through the infinity of God

    I’ve found that ‘positions’ just don’t work with God, certainly not in terms of helping me as a disciple

    I suspect that DGS and Si will be appalled to learn that I am an evangelical,

    it is not their theology that I find unhelpful but their conversational style…

  43. Hey Caroline –

    “I suspect that DGS and Si will be appalled to learn that I am an evangelical”

    Odd that. So am I.

    I find it bizarre that I’m not defending a theological position I hold but rather myself and my integrity as a person. I wasn’t expecting to have to do that.

  44. jonbirch says:

    what i find wonderful, beautiful, inspiring etc… and i have learned from doing this blog… is that, if people are allowed/given space, you can get to really appreciate all sorts of things about them. i feel like i have met some rich people here and am honoured that some are friends now. but this only ever happens in a spirit of acceptance, listening and not prejudging. and before anyone jumps on the case, i simply mean acceptance of people, not necessarily all views held. we are entitled to our different views. differences can only ever be dealt with through relationship, never ever through conflict if the human race is to grow up. history bares this out and the future will too… that is all too clear.
    a wise friend said to me the other day (can’t remember who originally said it) that a liberal should become best friends with a conservative etc. etc. so our ‘positions’ are always challenged.
    i agree with caroline too when she says she does not find ‘positions’ helpful in her search of the infinite god. neither do i. although i too can enjoy a debate.
    on a final note. there is already enough conflict in the world. nuff said.

  45. dgsinclair says:

    >> CHANGING WORSHIP: I humbly suggest that entering dialogue by suggesting that a stranger doesn’t have a relationship with God based on a few brief words is going to facilitate the onlookers in their process of forming an opinion about an individual.

    I agree. I admit, I think I missed some of the more ‘offensive’ parts of Si’s comments because I skimmed them ;)

    But I don’t think I make that mistake, do I?

    >> CW: I suspect that DGS and Si will be appalled to learn that I am an evangelical

    Um, I didn’t even consider it. I was just saying that there are two theological extremes that need to be avoided (hyper-literalism and hyper-metaphorism), and implied that you might be near one of those extremes. I’ve seen both extremes, of course, within evangelicalism.

    >> CW: I find it bizarre that I’m not defending a theological position I hold but rather myself and my integrity as a person. I wasn’t expecting to have to do that.

    Time to come out of the safety of the cocoon to where you may be challenged ;). Admittedly, Jon is trying to create a safe and diverse place, which I appreciate. However, I am more used to (and enjoy) theological debate (I am half Jew ;), and spend a lot of time with atheists who can be adversarial. I’m sorry if I’ve brought that here, I don’t mean to.

    Cheers.

  46. I think I may have to draw a line under this. Clearly we’re not going to be happy until I post my address and we have a vote for who is going to come and pat me on the head.

    Years of robust debate and theological education and I’m reduced to “living in the safety of a cocoon”.
    :roll:

  47. jonbirch says:

    believe me dgs… changing worship is no man for the cocoon. quite the opposite frankly. to be honest, i don’t think we need to worry about atheism, we should be focusing on a few common courtesies amongst our christian brothers and sisters.

  48. dgsinclair says:

    Well, I was trying to understand the naivete of the statement ‘I find it bizarre that I’m not defending a theological position I hold but rather myself and my integrity as a person.’

    Spend 5 minutes anywhere talking about religion or politics and you’re bound to realize ad hominems are common.

    Again, I don’t THINK I made any unfair comments (I mean, besides the cocoon one :) – I just don’t want what I see as unbalanced liberal approaches to scripture to go unchallenged, nor defended by such sidesteps as ‘you’re just being legalistic, argumentative, uncharitable, dogmatic, fundamentalist.’

  49. “Well, I was trying to understand the naivete of the statement ‘I find it bizarre that I’m not defending a theological position I hold but rather myself and my integrity as a person.’”

    “I’m glad to see that you are trying to be innovative and genuine in your Christianity (I visited your blog), and despite the creepy imagery and association with the somewhat theologically liberal ‘emerging’ church, I suspect you might be a genuine believer“.

    Glad I may pass muster as a human being. The soft cussions didn’t hurt too much, even with the stuffing all up at one end. Thank you for challenging my unballanced liberal approach to the scriptures in a non legalistic, non judgemental, charitable, undogmatic and non fundamentalist manner. I have seen the errors of my ways and returned to the heart of orthodoxy.

    I am still perplexed as to the need for personal attack for suggesting that Abraham lived in a world where the local gods demanded human sacrifice and that Yahweh does not. But I do now understand that this is a clear heresy and I have narrowly escaped.

    I better go and feed bubbles the cat and give my horse some carrots.

  50. Pat says:

    “Time to come out of the safety of the cocoon to where you may be challenged”

    er….‘sauce for the goose’ DGS?

  51. justpassinthru says:

    “In fact, it was the Jews who, according to Christian theology, missed their own Messiah because they misunderstood the passages about him.”

    Yeah, I don’t agree with that. But then, I’ve read the Jewish requirements for Messiah. Zombie three-in-one god-boy just don’t make the cut. He pretty much failed spectacularly, right out of the gate.

    Of course, the “Christians” choose to disagree…but modern Xianity is absolutely nothing like “the little cult that could” in the Middle East, give or take a couple thousand years.

    For more thoughts on “the Old Testament” (and why it is neither), read this. If you dare….

  52. Andy M says:

    There is a whole lot more going on in the comments here than what I will refer to, but in a quick run through I didn’t see this perspective of Abraham’s actions.

    We could assume that Abraham was lieing to Isaac when Isaac asked about the sacrifice and Abraham told him that God would provide, just so that Isaac would not know what was going on.

    We could assume that Abraham trusted that God would raise Isaac from the dead, though I personally think that the idea of resurrection was unlikely to be a factor.

    OR, maybe we could see the possibility that Abraham trusted that God actually would provide a sacrifice other than his son, and so his statement to Isaac was a declaration of faith. He just had to act upon God’s command, but God would keep his promise.

    It must be taken into account that child sacrifice was common in ancient religions, and so it is possible that Abraham was not so surprised at God’s command, other than it would seem to contradict God’s promise to Abraham.

    This could be right or wrong, but it is another perspective. I had not heard of the Jewish point of view mentioned above before, and that is another possibility. But I think that this perspective of Abraham’s actions is consistant with the scripture’s description of Abraham’s faith in God, and with God’s love.

    Also, I know this is an old post, but I couldn’t help commenting if it might help someone look at this biblical event in a different way.

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