The Agora Movie is Wonderful Food for Thought

The 2009 movie titled Agora is one I recommend very highly. It takes place in Alexandria around 391 CE, and portrays Christians like we picture the Taliban today. The city's Christians gain political power and burn the great books of the Library of Alexandria. Then a few years later Christians enforce their so-called morality. First the Jews are their obstacle, then women. From the Boston Globe: "Fanaticism, no matter who’s doing the preaching, is this movie’s gravest sin, against which the enlightenment of science and learning has always struggled and always will." There is much food for thought here. As you watch the movie ask yourself how Christians actually conquered the minds of people. No, really. Ask yourself. Do you think whole cities of people change their minds that easily in a few decades without being forced to do so? That means people were killed for Jesus. Ask yourself how Christians argued in those days when it came to science. No, really, ask yourself. You'll see the same arguments used today in the face of science. The difference is that you'll recognize how bogus that type of reasoning is when Christians defend the Ptolemaic solar system by deferring to their God to solve the problem of planetary epicycles. Ask yourself how literate these people were too. You know the masses could not have copies of the Bible, nor read it. They had to depend on what church leaders told them it said. This is very interesting to me even though the movie takes poetic license with some of the facts. If you think about it though, this movie makes some pretty good conjectures. Fascinating stuff.

51 comments:

B.R. said...

Sounds interesting. It also sounds like something that will move Christians to pass out Chick tracts at the doors of every theater showing it.

Solipsister said...

In grade school, hearing the story of Hypatia marked one of the first nails in the theism coffin for me.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the recommendation John, I'll watch that movie soon.

You say Christians Killed for Jesus. Well you know now brother John, they were not behaving like true Christians. They were not following the real teachings of Jebus.

Of course that is one of their lame answers. So then you ask them why did Christians put blocks on people and drown them because they had a different view of baptism? They would do it again today if they could.

Lvka said...

You're... very good at narrating the plot of the movie. Which is indeed inspired by true events. In this case, the murder of the pagan philosopher Hypatia. Which was indeed done by Christians. Who wrongly thought she was linked to the instigation of the Jewish revolt of Alexandria. Which took the lives of hundreds of innocent Christians.

As for heliocentrism (?), atheism (?), talibanism (?), and the burning of the Great Library of Alexandria by Christians (?)... well, as I said: "inspired" by true events, not "dictated" by them (and the Holy Ghost)...

DiBattista said...

It's next on my Netflix queue

David B Marshall said...

This almost merits description as self-satire.

Yes, whole cities changed their minds, not in a few decades, but in centuries. As Stark shows, what occurred in the 4th Century simply followed the same exponential growth path that Christianity had followed when it was being persecuted.

For those not familiar with how exponential growth can change things, watch China's economic growth. Or the Korean church, until about 1990.

As I show in my response to Richard Carrier, (see "Did Christianity Spread by the Sword?", discussion forum following Carrier's Sense and Goodness Without God), the answer is "No, it seldom did spread by the sword, and force does little to explain its conquest of the Greco-Roman world."

The Library of Alexandria thing has been debunked so often, you'd think even atheists would get a clue by now.

Yeah, "poetic license," right.

Not that you couldn't make an honest film protesting about Christians forgetting their own first principals, which they did way too often, for sure. What such propaganda shows is that violating first principals is not unique to Christians.

Anonymous said...

David I have not read Stark's book. What I do know is that you will accept whatever it takes for you to believe. What I do know is that there had to be a time in the city of Alexandria where there was a critical mass of Christians versus pagans. What I do know is that these Christians did not believe in the freedom of speech, democracy, or the freedom of religion. What I do know is that a Christian mob killed Hypatia, a pagan philosopher.

Until you can show any one of these things are false there was violence in the spread of Christianity. There was brute force. There was book burning.

David B Marshall said...

John: If you'd stuck to what you do know (anachronistic as some of it be), you'd have written a better OP.

Except, of course, for the silly ad hom:

"What I do know is that you will accept whatever it takes for you to believe."

Bull. What I said was true, and you don't even dispute it. How can you build a decent slur against my alleged credulity when you don't even dispute what I am allegedly credulous about? If it turns out something I said was false, I'll be happy to change my mind about it.

98percent said...

David,

Allow me to introduce one of the most important people (and one of the most important dates) in the history of Christianity.

In 381 the dear old Roman emperor 'Theodosius' issued an edict against all heretics, in favour of what was to become the orthodox church.

In it he tells the regional governor of Illricum - which is near the Danube (thats Germany) to deal harshly with all
'demented heretics'.
Theodosius originally tried to enforce the rule of law over what happened as the implications of this edict spread across the empire. Initially the church was to be held accountable for any atrocities it committed, however...


In 388 The Bishop of Milan, Ambrose demanded toleration from the state be given to a group of Christians – led by their Bishop - who had sacked (destroyed) a Jewish synagogue. Theodosius was initially in support of his local governor; he was to tell the Bishop that he was responsible for the cost of restoring the building. However after Ambrose had pointed out that to do so would be the same as asking the Bishop to betray his faith the whole thing was hushed up!

The spread of Christianty in the fourth century was state sponsored ethno/religious cleansing.
More specifically the spread of Nicene (trinitarian) christianity as this was the brand supported by Theodosius and against everyone and everybody else christian and pagan.

No amount of Theological jerrymandering can escape the cold, unemotional account of history.

Anonymous said...

David, check this book out.

Anonymous said...

...and this one too.

matt the magnificient said...

"Did Christianity Spread by the Sword?"

The muslims, the Olmec, the Toltec, the Teotihuacan, the Zapotec, the Maya and the Aztec would probably dissagree with that statement.

1452 (June 18) Dum diversas pope Nicholas V Authorized Afonso V of Portugal to reduce any Muslims, pagans, other unbelievers to perpetual slavery.

1455 (January 5) Romanus Pontifex pope Nicholas V Sanctified the seizure of non-Christian lands discovered during the Age of Discovery and encouraged the enslavement of natives.

in 1249 Spain had successfully taken the Iberian peninsula from the Muslim Moors after nearly eight hundred years of conflict. This victory was referred to as the 'reconquista'. The conflict with the Muslim Moors had been seen as a continuation of the Medieval Crusades. The crusades were a series of religious Holy Wars which had been given the blessing of the Pope. They were fought by Roman Catholic soldiers. The Spanish explorers / soldiers saw their mission to conquer new lands as a natural extension of the Medieval crusades. Roman Catholic Priests and Friars always accompanied the Spanish explorers who were expected to convert heathen natives to Christianity. The explorer / soldiers who travelled to the New World adopted the name 'Conquistadors'.

The people of Spain adhered to the Catholic religion. Many were fanatical about their religion - the Spanish Inquisition was an example of this. The idea of spreading the Catholic faith to heathen races was seen as a primary reason for the Spanish Conquistadors to undertake voyages of discovery.

sounds like Christianity WAS spread by the sword, quite frequently and vigorously across the world. Definatley in Portugal and the Americas.

Rob R said...

What I do know is that there had to be a time in the city of Alexandria where there was a critical mass of Christians versus pagans.

In other words, true and consistent to the scriptures, in every age, there are people designated as God's people even legitimantly so at some point who fail and turn out to be horribly faithless and do not follow in the footsteps of the faithful.

No surprise here. No failure of Christianity has been demonstrated. We only see that what our very own scriptures have warned us of is still very much at work.

B.R. said...

Except for one thing, Robr. You're saying that these people were not True Christians(TM), yet according to the laws of the Old Testament, they were well within their "rights" to massacre pagans.

98percent said...

Rob,

No failure of Christianity?
You must of course be correct!

State (and God) endorsed violence in the OT is of course merely a means to end and 'God is Good' after all.

State (and God) endorsed violence in the 300's, and throughout Christian history, must simply show that God is indeed the same yesterday, today, forever!

Do you not see the problem here? Rob at least recognise the bubble that you are viewing and commenting on everything through!

As for using the words true, consistent and scriptures in the same sentence - fantastic!! ROFLMAO!

Rob R said...

Except for one thing, Robr. You're saying that these people were not True Christians(TM), yet according to the laws of the Old Testament, they were well within their "rights" to massacre pagans.

I suppose some of them were true Christians and some of them weren't. Scripture demonstrates that there are both failures among the faithful and there are people who claim to have faith but are are in fact traitors and hypocrites. In both cases, the failure is thier's, not God's and not his scriptural guidance.

No, there was no scripture mandate to masacre the pagans. You will never support that biblically, there was ever an open command to exterminate all pagans. Indeed God did command the people of israel to wipe out specific pagan tribes in a specific region for their desperate evil. But that doesn't justify what happened in Alexandria in the slightest.

Furthermore, what is in the old testament was for that period. It has nothing to do with scripture as a whole where the covenant has developed. You are ignoring that develpment in the covenant and you're criticism fails on that level as well given Christ's new command against violence and love for enemies.

Jim said...

Rob R,

What biblical exegesis was the Inquisition using when it burned "heretics" at the stake? Or burned witches at the stake?

If you were alive back then and stood up to the Catholic church and told them they do not have the proper "message" from Jesus, how long do you think they would let you live?

Would you go defiantly to your death proclaiming that YOU have the proper exegesis of the bible?

B.R. said...

There was nothing wrong with God's scriptural guidance, eh? Okay. I can buy that. Now please excuse me while I go sell my daughter as a sex-slave(Exodus 21;7) and beat my slave to death(but so that he'll die tomorrow, not today, thus freeing me of any wrong-doing. Exodus 21;20-21.).

No, as far as I know, there was no mandate to wipe out all pagans, but the commands for genocide are still there, in the section of the bible that few people read. "...desperate evil..."

Making rival tribes out to be evil is a great way to justify mass murder. And if the Israelites were so goody-goody, then why did they murder every living inhabitant? I somehow doubt that the pregnant women and children had anything to do with the "desperate evil" of their authority figures.

"But that doesn't justify what happened in Alexandria in the slightest".

Just as how all those inflammatory verses about homosexuality in Leviticus and Deuteronomy are not used to justify persecution of gayfolk, right?

"Furthermore, whatever is in the old testament was for that period."

Oh, so the perfect loving god who cannot tolerate any type of sin or evil(which leads him to throw non-Christians into hell, according to apologists) can't stand people who don't worship him, but can tolerate genocide, polygamy, and slavery?
So much for that "objective morality" crap Christians are always slinging around.
Now let me take a leaf out of your book. Mein Kamph was written in and for a completely different time culture, and you're just ignoring the progress made by the Master Race since then by focusing on the bad stuff.
I'm not quite delusional enough to ignore the barbarism displayed by the despicable blood god of the O.T. by focusing on the love shown by Jesus, whose divinity has never been proven.

Corky said...

What I do know is that you will accept whatever it takes for you to believe.

And, I might add, there is no end to the excuses that will be invented.

As with any addiction, there's always an excuse to remain addicted. Believers not only live in denial, they live for it.

GearHedEd said...

Rob R said,

"...Indeed God did command the people of israel to wipe out specific pagan tribes in a specific region for their desperate evil."

Those evil pagan tribes weren't wiped out because they were "evil". They were wiped out because the delusional leadership of the ancient Hebrews believed their Tribal war god YHWH had promised that land to them (ever heard of "The Promised Land"?), and Oh, crap! There's already PEOPLE living there!

Well, we'll just have to wipe them out then, because if we leave any alive, they'll conspire to kill us back (this is the reason YHWH commanded genocide: because the Israelites would not be safe unless they did this).

GearHedEd said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
GearHedEd said...

"Furthermore, what is in the old testament was for that period. It has nothing to do with scripture as a whole where the covenant has developed. You are ignoring that develpment in the covenant and you're criticism fails on that level as well given Christ's new command against violence and love for enemies."

So Jesus gets to pardon YHWH's atrocities in the OT with a wave of his hand?

Conflict of interest there! Jesus should have recused himself!

When are Christians going to see that defending the actions of YHWH in the OT (giving him what amounts to a free pass to do ANYTHING, and call it "good") makes them look less like Jesus and more like Stalin?

"...for that period..."

The only thing "different" about that period is based on the magical claims in the Bible, which are still in dispute, NOT proved.

B.R. said...

@Corky; unless they are an apologist, in which case they depend upon it.

Corky said...

B.R. said...
@Corky; unless they are an apologist, in which case they depend upon it.

Yes, "it's a living", as they say. Some of the pushers make a really, really good living off the addiction too.

Papalinton said...

The last christian died on the cross.

Papalinton said...

The last christian died on the cross.
The rest is 'MYTHTORY'.

Papalinton said...

The last christian died on the cross.
The rest is 'MYTHTORY'.
Or should christian theology be renamed 'Mythstory', an imaginative blend of mythology inveigled into a an historical context particularly after 381CE.

Sheesh Rob R, ...."We only see that what our very own scriptures have warned us of is still very much at work."

Or put another way; the self-fulfilling prophecy or fortune-telling, or crystal-ball gazing, or a conspiracy theory, or satan at work, or the actions of the devil, or part of the eschatological process signaling the beginning of the end towards ultimate doom.

Simply astounding and incredible.

Rob R said...

Jim,

What biblical exegesis was the Inquisition using when it burned "heretics" at the stake? Or burned witches at the stake?

Certainly not the apostle Paul's who said we are no longer under the law from which they could get even slightly close to some procedure for burning heretics, nor Jesus who had no sanction whatsoever who did not raise a hand against the pharisees but took his own teachings to it's ends to death at the cross at the hands of who were the equivalents of heretics in his day who countered his teaching.

Would you go defiantly to your death proclaiming that YOU have the proper exegesis of the bible?

I hope I wouldn't have to but I certainly hope that if I was faced with the choice of death over my faith, that I would as many Christians have done through the past and multitudes do to this very day all throughout the world, remain steadfast to the message of Christ not only in the face of persecution but death.

BR,

Masacres and the use of force are not in line with the New testament and what I said remains. Now I know you can come up with a million other moderately relevent criticism of scripture, but I'm sticking to what John brought up. I've already discussed the things you brought up here many times before and I will probably discuss them again. But the contant expectation I receive over and over again from skeptics to hop around from tangent to tangent and virtually offer a complete apologetic for the Christian faith is not truely a realistic expectation nor is it rational.

As to what you said that is still in line with the topic where John took it and I responded:

Making rival tribes out to be evil is a great way to justify mass murder.

If it's justified, it's not murder is it. And your implication that they weren't so evil is just your anti-Christian faith based unsupportable bias. Now there are a few things we could say to support that they were indeed so evil if not prove it (for example, they engaged in child sacrifice). But of course, I admit that I am biased to believe that any unsubstantiated evil was indeed truly there. Considering though that you have no witness to the contrary and I see no reason to question the biblical witness, you have the burdon of proof which you fail.

So much for that "objective morality" crap Christians are always slinging around.

Indeed! So much for it! Because morality is not objective but concerns subjects and subjective experiencers, and without subjective experiencers, morality is meaningless. If it were not so, we could be morally horrified at the carnage of the battle bots.

Papalinton said...

Hi Rob R
"Because morality is not objective but concerns subjects and subjective experiencers, and without subjective experiencers, morality is meaningless."

So, you see morality at relativistic, in other words there must be a social context in which questions of morality can be actualised, right?

At least you step in the right direction in setting aside the silly notion of morality being absolute, as absolute is an identifier of an objective moral character, because morality to be absolute is to accede there is no room for subjects, subjectivity and subjective experiences.

Within an absolutist moral code no one can feel or express morality as it should be experienced at the personal level as its formulation is externalised from the thought, assessment, judging and processing functions in each person's mind.

A good step in the right direction.

Cheers

David B Marshall said...

98%: Your comments are anachronistic. If Stark is right, much or most of the Roman empire would have converted to Christianity already by 388 AD through natural growth.

Nor do I need to be introduced to Theodosius, of whom I am no great fan. But demographically, it was already a fait accompli.

David B Marshall said...

John: Thanks for the book recommendations, but see my last note. I'm not a fan of the 5th Century church -- far too argumentative, they even dissed Origen, whom I admire -- but the Christianization of most the Roman empire had been an accomplished fact for some time by then.

Oddly, we may actually be in substantial agreement here. I, along with many other Christians, think the joining of Church and State under Theodosius et al was a big, big, mistake -- more harmful to Christianity than a sack full of snakes tossed from the belfry.

98percent said...

Ahh,
anachronism.......have you noticed that ones mans anachronism is anothers holy scriptures!

Rob, once you have convinced yourself that killing innocent children and babies who still retain the potential of a moral life is OK then the game is over.
When I was still brow beating the masses from the pulpit of such certainty, I could just about manage to OK death for the adults. After all they could all be counted as evil if God had indeed considered their lives and come to judgement as he is so fond of doing. However, I struggled using this consideration with the kids. You should too.

And David, you were not there any more than I was. To make such certain statements is foolish as I am sure you are aware! There are enough writings from all sources to suggest that what had spread all over the empire was a typically Romano-Greek way of integrating the new religion/culture with the old. The ideas of trinity, god-sacrifice, what became communion were all common to the religious of the age, long before Christianity cam along.

Theodosius whilst you may not be a fan at least ensured that Christianity continued to exist. Exist in a single unified form - nicene trintarianism- at the point a sword and massive state support. If the good emperor had not taken a hand, have no doubt that what would have survived, if indeed it would of, would have been far, far more multicultural, liberal and probably not worth opening a blog on!!

GearHedEd said...

B.R. said, "...Making rival tribes out to be evil is a great way to justify mass murder.

Rob R replied: "...If it's justified, it's not murder is it? And your implication that they weren't so evil is just your anti-Christian faith based unsupportable bias. Now there are a few things we could say to support that they were indeed so evil if not prove it (for example, they engaged in child sacrifice). But of course, I admit that I am biased to believe that any unsubstantiated evil was indeed truly there. Considering though that you have no witness to the contrary and I see no reason to question the biblical witness, you have the burdon of proof which you fail."

@ Rob R:

The Nazis "justified" the extermination of the Jews, therefore it was not murder, by YOUR argument. The Nazi propaganda machine demonized the Jews, called them subhuman, money-grubbing filth. Or "evil", if that fits better. Are you going to defend the Jews and say that they're not evil? What about that whole Jesus incident?

(paraphrased)

"If it's justified, it's not murder is it? And your implication that the Jews weren't so evil is just your anti-Nazi faith based unsupportable bias. Now there are a few things we could say to support that they were indeed so evil if not prove it (for example, there ARE a disproportionate number of wealthy Jews). But of course, I admit that I am biased to believe that any unsubstantiated claim that ALL Jews are rich bastards was indeed truly there. Considering though that you have no witnesses to the contrary and I see no reason to question the Nazi propaganda, you have the burden of proof which you fail."

Therefore I, Rob R, say that the holocaust (if it even happened) was justified.

Anonymous said...

@David

You wrote
Bull. What I said was true, and you don't even dispute it. How can you build a decent slur against my alleged credulity when you don't even dispute what I am allegedly credulous about? If it turns out something I said was false, I'll be happy to change my mind about it.

LMAO
Ya, sure, you will change your mind. This just proves your self delusion.

The same old hog-wash remarks from moronic Christians. “Oh, that was the O.T. and we are in a different time period now.

Or blame it on the Catholics not being true Christians, never mind the sword of John Calvin’s Geneva, or John Knox. Never mind the hatred that spewed from Luther about burning the books of Jews and calling them dogs and Christ killers.

So RobR and David, let’s here your delusional rants about Calvin and Luther.

B.R. said...

*sigh*

Well, right off the bat, you're being obtuse. I was not trying to make an attack on the whole Jewish Sky Zombie Cult, I was providing an argument against your claim that these people had no biblical justification for their actions. You're just playing the typical Christard word-game, where you evade the issues brought up so you can make imbecilic blanket statements about non-Christards. If massacres are not consistent with the N.T., then why does Jesus Himself command Christians to obey every single jot and tittle of the Law? Oh, because that's inconvenient for apologists and Christards in general prefer to listen to Paul's take on the Law.

Who do you think was in charge of the sacrifices? Here, let me answer; the high priests(religious leaders) and authority figures. Not every living inhabitant. Not by a long shot. So if the Hebrews were truly acting on the divine authority of a perfect, loving God, who would they have killed? Eh?

Of course you see no reason to question the biblical witness; you're a superstitious, delusional, brainwashed Christian(TM). Questioning the Sky Zombie is anathema.

Stop playing semantics. It's pretty obvious that Christianity is bogus because since Christians claim that their God is perfect and unchanging, it's pretty bad for them when his morality runs the gamut from Fair to Depraved, and from Loving to Oppressive.

B.R. said...

@exreformed; indeed. And afterwards, please enlighten us as to your opinion of Pope Innocent III, King Richard the "Lionheart", and one Thomas de Torquemada. And stop stealing "Indeed!" from Lo Pan; nobody but official "Big Trouble in Little China" fans are allowed to do that.

Anonymous said...

@B.R.

LOL

Breckmin said...

The atrocities of the many are too often blamed on the innocence of the few...or the One.

Does Christianity teach that we should KILL (and eternally send to hell) those who do not yet agree with the need for salvation???

Or do misled rulers over step themselves (thinking (but not really thinking) they are doing God's work when in reality sending people into eternity before they are personally ready?

How can you spread a message of love and salvation by killing those who disagree with you?

Question everything.

Question whether or not a person NOT following Jesus' teachings is a Christian (Jesus follower) at such a moment of action.

David B Marshall said...

Ex-Reformed: ¨Ya, sure, you will change your mind. This just proves your self delusion.¨

So if I don't claim to change my mind based on evidence, that proves I'm self-deluded. But if I claim to sometimes change my mind based on evidence, that proves a fiorti just how self-deluded I must be.

Wow!

Some day, ER, maybe I'll learn to be as open-minded as you.

Is there an ¨ignore¨ button here somewhere?

Rob R said...

papalinton,

So, you see morality at relativistic, in other words there must be a social context in which questions of morality can be actualised, right?

Discussing morality without a social context is like discussing morality without humans. We are necessarily social and that is the object of most if not all moral considerations.

Problem with the distinction between relativism and absolutism is that they are meaningless terms. Of course in morality, what we are thinking about is relationships. And there are absolutes relative to the situations when you have those situations defined well enough with enough knowledge. What the absolutists want to get at that is legitimate is that morality isn't something you can decide on a whim or based upon your opinion. What the relativists want to get at that is legitimate is that there is a degree of malleability in morality and it is deeply related to our social natures (after all, morality is primarily ABOUT certain kinds of social interactions). But the dichotomy is otherwise poorly thought out.

It's not that we can't talk about morality objectively, and perhaps we should. But that objectivity is founded upon the subjective. It's like a phrase that we can consider objectively true, that Floyd loves myrtle. It could be objectively true for everyone everywhere that Floyd loves myrtle, but that cannot be true unless there is a subjective experiencer with the unique perspective of being floyd and affirming the proposition as true that "I love myrtle".

Wade Anes said...

" No failure of Christianity has been demonstrated."

Christianity Refutes Itself

"No, there was no scripture mandate to masacre the pagans. You will never support that biblically, there was ever an open command to exterminate all pagans."


Wrong. I think these would qualify nicely.

Suppose you hear in one of the towns the LORD your God is giving you that some worthless rabble among you have led their fellow citizens astray by encouraging them to worship foreign gods. In such cases, you must examine the facts carefully. If you find it is true and can prove that such a detestable act has occurred among you, you must attack that town and completely destroy all its inhabitants, as well as all the livestock. Then you must pile all the plunder in the middle of the street and burn it. Put the entire town to the torch as a burnt offering to the LORD your God. That town must remain a ruin forever; it may never be rebuilt. Keep none of the plunder that has been set apart for destruction. Then the LORD will turn from his fierce anger and be merciful to you. He will have compassion on you and make you a great nation, just as he solemnly promised your ancestors. "The LORD your God will be merciful only if you obey him and keep all the commands I am giving you today, doing what is pleasing to him." (Deuteronomy 13:13-19 NLT)

If your own full brother, or your son or daughter, or your beloved wife, or you intimate friend, entices you secretly to serve other gods, whom you and your fathers have not known, gods of any other nations, near at hand or far away, from one end of the earth to the other: do not yield to him or listen to him, nor look with pity upon him, to spare or shield him, but kill him. Your hand shall be the first raised to slay him; the rest of the people shall join in with you. You shall stone him to death, because he sought to lead you astray from the Lord, your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, that place of slavery. And all Israel, hearing of this, shall fear and never do such evil as this in your midst. (Deuteronomy 13:7-12 NAB)

Suppose a man or woman among you, in one of your towns that the LORD your God is giving you, has done evil in the sight of the LORD your God and has violated the covenant by serving other gods or by worshiping the sun, the moon, or any of the forces of heaven, which I have strictly forbidden. When you hear about it, investigate the matter thoroughly. If it is true that this detestable thing has been done in Israel, then that man or woman must be taken to the gates of the town and stoned to death. (Deuteronomy 17:2-5 NLT)

Rob R said...

Rob, once you have convinced yourself that killing innocent children and babies who still retain the potential of a moral life is OK then the game is over.

Yes, cause remove the parents, and you still have child services left or at least an orphanage system.

Wait, didn't you just mention anachronism?

If a society is evil enough to completely wipe out a chance for redemption because of tenacious corruption, the dependents who are no less unfortunate to belong to that society to begin with as they are to be wiped out with it are going to follow.

And it is quite possible that children raised in such a situation would not have a chance to escape the moral corruption of their society.

However, I struggled using this consideration with the kids. You should too.

Of course it is horrid. I benefit from the developed value for the individual and the context of grace which is greater in our period than it was back then that is the result of God working with his people among other things. What was beyond redemption then is redeemable now with the free outpouring of the Holy Spirit that wasn't available then. In that context, to destroy children with the parents is as mistaken as it is personally horrifying and tragic to us. But it wasn't a mistake for them because they didn't life in the context we do. Let's not be morally anachronistic here!

98percent said...

Rob, Rob, Rob,

Please listen to yourself. You are suggesting that life in that place at that time was harsh and therefore the treatment of those folk is harsh as well. That may well be true.
I suspect that it is in fact.

However the problem for your good self is that God, immutable unchangeable, omniscient, perfect, Be holy as I am holy is involved.

To this guy a day as as a thousand years and a thousand years as a day. The same yesterday today and forever.

The problem I and many others who have left the pulpit or the study group have, is that Jesus is either the same and holds the same characteristics or he is not?
If he is (and in his defense of the law, his use of such specific verses as “Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.” suggests so) Then somehow grace needs to be interwoven with this less than palatable conclusion.

If he is not then Marcion probably had a point.

Grace does not wipe out what God in the past has decreed as truth and righteous. For truth is truth is truth. Grace in no means by any interpretation I have ever heard implies that stuff God did/commanded/enjoyed etc in the past he would not do now??? All that awkward, bloodthirsty stuff in the past is the pattern/tempo/rhythm/heartbeat of God and it is that which as a follower of him; I in the past and you in the present should be seeking to emulate and follow.

Grace is about us being given a chance to be redeemed when we do not deserve it. It is nothing to do with God being able to change his character or his past actions, I suggest that flighty or hypocritical are more appropriate words than Grace in that circumstance.

Last time I checked, God (by my understanding of him- past and present) is simply not capable of making mistakes.

Hypatia being killed by a Christian mob is well within that rhythm. Therefore well within Gods will and arguing GRACE simply causes more problems than it solves.

To be honest such wriggling around by my senior church leaders, as you have shown - however well intentioned and caring that may be-that largely led to my lack of faith.

Rob R said...

wade,

"No, there was no scripture mandate to masacre the pagans. You will never support that biblically, there was ever an open command to exterminate all pagans."


Wrong. I think these would qualify nicely.


No, they wouldn't qualify.

As I said, there is no OPEN ended madate to MASSACRE pagans as one would think was behind John's example of agora.

Executions for individuals who'd lead the people of God away from the covenant isn't the same as massacring a people.

And when it does tell the Israelites to destroy another people, it is specific and local.

It seems to me that there is no criterion in scripture for what peoples should be wiped out except for the very vague description that they had become very evil. If so, it's because such a determination was to be made only by God.

And you have skipped over the fact that the any call for execution even of pagans who would lead God's people astray is for the old covenant. It did not apply to the alexandrians whom were given a new approach to outsider's of the covenant by Jesus himself.

Rob R said...

98

Please listen to yourself. You are suggesting that life in that place at that time was harsh and therefore the treatment of those folk is harsh as well. That may well be true.
I suspect that it is in fact.


I'm suggesting that God's grace and means of redemption against the worst kinds of evil as well as all evil was not as full as it is in the new covenant. And furthermore, the value of the individual wasn't as thoroughly developed either.

However the problem for your good self is that God, immutable unchangeable, omniscient, perfect, Be holy as I am holy is involved.

yes, yes, God is immutable and perfect with respect to his goodness. But we are not, and the biblical picture the real biblical picture (not that classical view that would be expressed with your claim, I am an open theist by the way), is that God responds and adjusts his response to his changing creation.

The problem I and many others who have left the pulpit or the study group have, is that Jesus is either the same and holds the same characteristics or he is not?

The problem I have is that this is overly simplistic all or nothing thinking that just isn't mandated by reasoning (nor the biblical text)

If he is not then Marcion probably had a point.

And a lot of unnecessary baggage with whatever good points he had.

Hypatia being killed by a Christian mob is well within that rhythm.

Oh yes, they really followed Jesus command to love the enemy.

B.R. said...

Robr; all Christians are required to obey every jot and tittle of the O.T., on pain of damnation. I'm assuming that that also includes the laws for mass murder. And listen to yourself. Do you really think that the kids involved in this were "evil"? And what about the pregnant women? What did their unborn children do to deserve death? Being conceived in the wrong place at the wrong time? And what about the animals and pets? Or people who just happened to be in town visiting family on the day the Hebrews struck? I wonder what you'll say next to justify mass murder...

Rob R said...

Robr; all Christians are required to obey every jot and tittle of the O.T., on pain of damnation.

hmm. ever read the new testament?

Every jot and tittle has been fulfilled by Jesus through the cross which also inagurated a new covenant. Read Paul, Read Romans, even the gospels show Jesus' wisdom superceding the law.


From Romans 3

21 But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify... For we maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law.

The fact is, the passing from the old law to the law of Christ is a major theme of Paul's who argued against the very thing you suggest by some Christians, the "Judaizers" that we need to become Jewish (as in follow the Mosaic Law) in order to follow Jesus.


And listen to yourself. Do you really think that the kids involved in this were "evil"?

ah, but listen to yourself. I never implied that they were evil. But they share in the earthly fate of the parents because they are dependent upon them. This is tragic. But it is the failure of their parents that is at fault, not those who bring their whole culture to Justice. And though they share in their earthly consequences of the parents who failed them through the worst depravities, why would they share the eternal consequences. All things will be made right and God has promised us this. That includes the plight of children who suffered the consequences of their parents sins unto their demise.

Anonymous said...

@Breckmin
Breckmin
How can you spread a message of love and salvation by killing those who disagree with you?

Gee, I don’t know, why don’t you ask Calvin, Luther, and all the moronic Christians that followed your little fairy tale bible when they were killing people?

Anonymous said...

@DavidMarshal

You didn't answer the questions about Calvin and Luther.

You also said
So if I don't claim to change my mind based on evidence, that proves I'm self-deluded. But if I claim to sometimes change my mind based on evidence, that proves a fiorti just how self-deluded I must be.

My reply
That is why you are self delusional. You claim that you will change your mind based on evidence. However, when the over whelming evidence (like science vs. Noah’s ark) crushes your belief, you still continue to believe. So you lie to yourself and convince yourself that it is the holy spirit.

David B Marshall said...

Exreformed: You obviously have no idea who I am or what I think. Yet you have the gaul to lambast me for imaginary thought-crimes you cut and paste from some warehouse of cartoonish stereotypes in your mind, and accuse me of dishonesty and all kinds of silly things.

It is a waste of time talking to people who act that way. I will not be reading any more of your posts. That should not matter to you, since you seem to be talking to images in your own head, anyway.

98percent said...

Rob,

I had no idea you were an open theist, I would not have expected anything less from open theism.

When, in any theism, man effectively controls and manipulates God; then God can of course change his spots, socks and underwear as often as he/she/it chooses - or rather as often as man redefines him/her/it!

On this basis I can of course see that God can at one moment be a monster (as he appears to be in the OT on many well known and not worthy of repeating occasions)then turn up as Jesus a few years later.
(That's if he was Jesus, to begin with, and we did not change his mind for him after Jesus died at which point he became God - a sort of posthumous godhood?)

Whatever God says is largely down to what we interpret it to be. Obviously it is not important enough to God that we actually get it right as when we get it wrong (then claim we have it right) he simply changes his game plan to accommodate us.
This explains completely Jesus himself getting it wrong about when he was due to come back (those pesky kids changing my plans again!)trinity and all the nasty things that church have done as they have earnestly sought to get it right.

I am so relieved - sounds an awful lot 'like make it up as I go along'.
Sorry - holy and God endorsed flexibility.

On that basis it would seem that debating your good self about anything is going to resemble someone trying to pick up an oily fish made of soap, writhing in a bath full of oil. Lots of fun but ultimately pointless!

I am of course willing to stand corrected.