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Why does god want us to believe?

 
 
Francis
 
  0  
Reply Wed 7 Jan, 2009 03:10 pm
@Robert Gentel,
On the other hand, if Polonius have asked Laertes if "I" believed in god, I would have asked if Shakespeare was pulling my leg..

[What is't, Robert, be hath said to you?)
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 7 Jan, 2009 03:14 pm
Bishop Burnet is a major source for the period of the restoration of the monarchy in England in 1660 and after. He once wrote to a friend that "the King has a strange notion of God's love" (the King being Charles Stuart II--i feel rather confident that the good Bishop had a long list of the things which God hates). He reported that Charles had said:

"The only things that God hates are that we be wicked, and that we design mischief."
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Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Wed 7 Jan, 2009 03:15 pm
@LordStorm,
LordStorm wrote:
Later I was wondering Why would god care if we believed or not?


I forgot this part. The only things I remember about this in the Bible is that it says that God is a jealous god (which appears multiple times such as in the below examples).

Quote:
Exodus 34:14
14For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God:


Quote:
2 Corinthians 11:2

2For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.


You also asked about why god would want us to be decent to each other. It sounded a lot like the Golden Rule you were speaking of which is touched on in regard to "old law"/"new law" debates in passages like this:

Quote:
Luke 10:25-28

25And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?

26He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou?

27And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.

28And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.


As far as I remember, no specific reason is given for treating others how you want to be treated, but it seems pretty obvious to me as a basic ethic of reciprocity that many religions share. In short, if you like not being beaten then having a social contract with your community not to beat each other is a fairly good idea in order to help prevent being beaten yourself.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 7 Jan, 2009 03:25 pm
That still does not answer why--it doesn't say why this god is a jealous god. It is also an interesting view on the theological situation with the ancient Jews--god would have nothing to be jealous of unless it were adherence to some other god, and that would inferentially be an acknowledgement that the Jewish religion was not actually monotheistic (and many scholars consider that it wasn't). The biggest problem the Jawists (those who promoted the worship of Jehovah, or Yaweh, monotheistic or not) had originally was the popularity of the cult of Baal/Moloch. Some scholars consider that in fact the worship of Moloch was more popular among the Jews until the return from the Babylonian Captivity. It is noteworthy that the story is that when that old boy Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the tablets, he found the Jewish boys and girls worshipping a golden calf, one of the prominent attributes of Moloch.
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LordStorm
 
  1  
Reply Wed 7 Jan, 2009 03:28 pm
@Green Witch,
Thank you, its ok I would rather have it more heated as opposed to just everyone agreeing with everyone else.
Green Witch
 
  1  
Reply Wed 7 Jan, 2009 03:36 pm
@LordStorm,
Stick around - we specialize in heat.
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 7 Jan, 2009 03:41 pm
Although not necessarily in light . . .
Francis
 
  1  
Reply Wed 7 Jan, 2009 03:43 pm
@Setanta,
I specialize in light matters...
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 7 Jan, 2009 03:44 pm
And a valuable contribution you make, too, Mon Vieux . . .
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patiodog
 
  2  
Reply Wed 7 Jan, 2009 03:58 pm
Watched an episode of Nova recently in which they rehashed some of the more recent work in biblical archeology. Line of thinking, at least in the camps they were talking to, seems to be that the people from whom we get the books of the Old Testament/Tanakh/etc. actually grew out of a polyglot of groups living in Canaan who found themselves at the fringes of influence of both Egypt and Babylon, but not firmly under the thumb of either. The evidence they presented seemed compelling, but, then, I'm not privy to nor inclined to look for verification of the evidence or contradictory evidence.

At any rate, the argument was that their emerging monotheology was part of cobbling together a cohesive identity in spite of disparate roots, and that the stories of the founders of the Abrahamic faiths (starting, of course, with Abraham) was woven from elements of the disparate peoples who found themselves in Canaan those 3 or so millennia ago.

If that was the case, there would have been not only the threat of encroachment by neighboring gods, but the necessity for the cutting of ties with the gods of one's own ancestors. Naturally this would have to be an angry and jealous God -- an easy-going, laissez-faire, Jesusy kind of God probably wouldn't get the job done, not againts the various salty gods of the fertile crescent.

Or sumthin.
Green Witch
 
  1  
Reply Wed 7 Jan, 2009 04:01 pm
@patiodog,
I saw that too, patiodog. I thought the part about Moses was really interesting. It seems he was created as a sort of superhero to give hope to the Jews during the Babylon captivity. It would explain why the Egyptians never mention anything about the Exodus.
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 7 Jan, 2009 04:20 pm
There are a great many stories by the Jews which don't show up in anybody else's history. The Jews were basically hillbillies who lived across an important trade route, and tended to overrate their own significance.
patiodog
 
  1  
Reply Wed 7 Jan, 2009 04:34 pm
@Setanta,
Hayseeds watered by Roman aqueducts, if you prefer.

Though naturally the mythology is occasionally but significantly antagonistic toward agrarians...
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Green Witch
 
  2  
Reply Wed 7 Jan, 2009 04:51 pm
@Setanta,
Quote:
The Jews ...tended to overrate their own significance.


Don't we all?
patiodog
 
  1  
Reply Wed 7 Jan, 2009 05:11 pm
@Green Witch,
Well, the underdog status kind of demands a sort of "Team of Destiny"/"Chosen People."

And then Jesus came along offering Superfan status...
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 7 Jan, 2009 06:41 pm
Definitely cultures have myths about their significance--some times it's so, sometimes it ain't. What most amuses me are the stories cultures tell to cover the embarrassment of defeat, or submitting to superior force. After the Romans threw out their kings, they were attacked by a Tuscan force commanded by Lars Porsenna, the greatest Tuscan (or Etruscan, if you prefer) "King" of whom we have a record. Two great Roman myths derive from this, one being Horatius at the Bridge, and the other being the story of Mucius Scaevola. Horatius at the Bridge, of course, creates a Hero story which the Romans can celebrate while resolutely ignoring their defeat at the hands of the Tuscans and having been driven into their city walls and besieged.

The story of Mucius Scaevola is that Muscius, a brave and patriotic young Roman, managed to sneak into the camp of Lars Porsenna on the Janiculum (the hill across the river from Rome) with the intention of assassinating the King. According to the story, it was pay day, and Mucius attempted to kill the man on the dais who was handing out the cash--the paymaster--mistaking him for the King (which doesn't speak very highly of his discernment). Taken before Porsenna, who demanded an explanation (what, Kings don't know the meaning of an assassination attempt ? ! ? ! ?), Mucius told him that he was just one of 300 Roman youths sworn to kill him, and then thrust his right hand into a burning brazier to show his resolve. According to the tale, Porsenna became so alarmed that he lifted the siege and retreated to Etruria. Yeah . . . right. Mucius returns to Rome a hero, and is given the cognomen Scaevola, "the Left-Handed."

The alleged Kings of Rome had been the Tarquins--which is a suspicious name, since Tarquinia had been at one time the dominant city-state in southern Etruria, and before the days of Lars Porsenna had dominated the Etruscan League. The odds are pretty good to my mind that the Tarquins were not actually a royal dynasty, but a series of satraps, or client kings, placed over the Romans by the Tuscans of Tarquinia. The last Tarquin "King," Tarquinius Superbus (Tarquin the Proud) had been driven out, and had sued for assistance with the cities of the Etruscan League. The fact that Tarquinia did not simply launch an attack on Rome is good evidence of their decline. What is most probable is that Lars Porsenna took on the job to enhance his personal prestige and his power within the Etruscan League. Having defeated the Romans in open battle, and driven them within their walls, he took up a dominating position on the Janiculum, but wasn't foolish enough to risk his army in an assault attempt which involved crossing a wide and deep river before attacking a walled city.

The fact that he had not surrounded the city and commenced a siege by regular approaches also suggests that the Romans had retained a formidable military potential, and that Porsenna was wise enough to compound with them. There would have been no reason for Porsenna to risk his army (armies are an expensive affair, and as was common in the ancient world, were comprised of middle-class men doing their military service, who would not have had much enthusiasm for a pitched battle guaranteed to be bloody). I suspect that he came to terms with the Romans, to cut them down to size (he'd already defeated them in open battle) and that they were obliged to pay some sort of compensation, and probably were required to regularly pay tribute--something the Tuscans would not have been able to enforce after the death of Porsenna. It is obvious that the Romans absolutely refused to accept the return of Tarquin, and there would be no good reason for Porsenna to go to any expense to the advantage of Tarquinia, a rival city state now in decline. He would have had no reason to insist on the reinstatement of Tarquin.

The story of Coriolanus is probably also a story which covers a significant defeat of Roman arms in their attempt to conquer Campania. That story was probably cobbled together entirely from whole cloth, because few things would have been more embarrassing to the Romans than that they had exiled one of their best generals, who then lead an enemy army against them to victory. So they come up with the entire improbable story of his mother, wife, children and a train of Roman matrons appealing to his patriotism, leading him to retreat from the gates of Rome with his theretofore victorious army. Let me repeat myself--Yeah . . . right. The entire story is very likely aprocryphal, and it is doubtful that Coriolanus even existed. If the Volscians had badly defeated the Romans, it would have gone down easier in their historical legends if it were asserted that a Roman general were leading the enemy army. Although Livy and Plutarch retell the tale, Gaius Marcius Coriolanus does not appear in the lists of Roman Consuls, and at that time, large Roman armies were only ever consular armies, and were only ever commanded by Roman Consuls. It is also highly unlikely that an enemy would entrust their main army to a citizen of an enemy state, who had just betrayed his native city--although if they got their hands on a traitor, they probably would have pumped him for military advice. But as a moralistic tale, it's great--a real soap opera. What is more likely is that they invaded Campania, and the Volscians handed them their military ass--after which they came up with a nifty story they could tell their grandchildren to cover their embarrassment.

The Anglo-Saxon chronicles tell a tale of invading Somerset--to this day, the richest farmland and pasturage in the island--with the help of the Jutes from Kent. The story runs that they defeated the British, anihalated their army, and laid waste the countryside. Fifty years later, the AS Chronicle notes that the Saxons successfully invaded and occupied Somerset. Why would they have invaded Somerset if they had conquered it fifty years earlier? The likely explanation is that they attempted the invasion of Somerset, and either were defeated by the British, or failed to bring them to battle in a reasonable period of time, at which point their Jutish allies deserted them. The claim that they laid waste such valuable land is suspect, too. The Saxons were no Vikings, they came to take land and settle, and it is improbable that they would put to the torch the fields and farms which they intended to make their own. The later entry is more in line with the usual laconic entries in the Chronicles which record Saxon conquests.

I suspect that many of the stories (not history) recorded in the Bible are of a similar character. Their stories would have tended to glorify themselves, and to hide accounts of defeats or other embarrassments. In addition, it is important to remember that the Torah was a Yawist document, and intended to glorify those who worshipped Yaweh, at a time when they were in a propaganda war with the adherents of Baal/Moloch. As history, it really sucks, and i never developed sufficient interest to look closely at the stories to see if they are candidates for the typical kind of tall tale that people tell about their own histories. The Pentateuch was completely revised when the Jews returned from the Babylonian Captivity, and a great many of the their theistic stories run suspiciously close to the tales surrounding the worship of Ahura Mazda, the "Lord of Wisdom" of the Medes and Persians, who released the Jews from the Babylonian Captivity shortly after they had defeated the Akkadians and taken the city of Babylon.

This sort of thing is far more interesting than a credulous belief that the bible records every jot and tittle of the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
Fountofwisdom
 
  1  
Reply Wed 7 Jan, 2009 11:08 pm
@Setanta,
I think a similar process is happening with AL QAEDA. It was an organisation no one had heard of ten years ago. Now it is apparently a worldwide conspiracy that ran Afghanistan and Iraq. Still runs Iran apparently.
The Americans have captured scores of "high value targets" but not the elusive Bin Laden. Who seems to have outsmarted them. In fact every time an " important Islamic militant ringleader" is killed I've never previously heard of him.
The "master of disguise" Sadam Hussein in fact grew a beard and hid in a neighbours house.
No one seems to accept the most likely explanation of 9 -11 and that is all the people who planned and executed it also died on the same day.
The "Patriot Act" is the most Orwellian document. I think it won't be long before this world wide conspiracy, will become supernatural in nature, with members who can vanish at will.
I think history will judge Guantanamo and America harshly. In the same way as McCarthyism and Vietnam. And Salem.
0 Replies
 
CVeigh
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 Aug, 2016 11:46 am
@Francis,
Francis, Palestine might get a laugh for you but it isn't funny.
0 Replies
 
CVeigh
 
  1  
Reply Sun 14 Aug, 2016 12:15 am
@LordStorm,
Because He is Our Father and they are our siblings.
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CVeigh
 
  1  
Reply Sun 14 Aug, 2016 12:16 am
@Francis,
You will infuriate people if you keep making fun of suffering Palestinians.
Not smart to do at all.
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