Believers would be better served to simply say that they believe because they believe rather than trying to tell those that don’t that they are simply either too stupid or too jaded to understand.
The questions asked of believers are not that out of bounds, and come with plenty of thought and logic behind them. When they are dismissed as the stupid questions of the unwashed masses, it makes believers look like they have no real answer to the question.
Or if they could simply say “I dont know”. I mean, you have one person here saying it takes years and years of Hebrew studies to understand the Bible. Then says its easy. Then says you shouldnt add or subtract from what the bible says. Then picks and chooses what to take literally. It’s literally a constant stream of contradictory rationalization and obfuscation. Instead of just admitting it makes no sense and saying “good question”. Instead its, I can answer everything and your too stupid or annoying or you have personal “hate” problems. Then two sentences later its God is too big to understand! Round and round we goooooo
On Passover, did the Devil get all the first born that God murdered? Or did they get a special pass into Heaven? If they did, how come they didn’t have to live a life here on Earth in order to learn how great Heaven is?
Why did people have to mark their doors with lamb’s blood? Wouldn’t it seem reasonable that God could have figured out who got to keep their kid and who didn’t?
What if somebody was out in the field and didn’t get the word? Did their kid die?
What if they didn’t have a door post? Maybe they could smear the blood on a stick?
Perhaps the culture of the time might interest you. Egyptians, as a whole, considered sheep unclean. When the Hebrews were taken as slaves, they were permitted to have a herd away from the population and also tend the Egyptians sacred herds, a job most Egyptians found unworthy for themselves.
Ironically, Egyptians also considered the Ram as sacred, and revered him as such–versus the Hebrews who used the one year old male sheep as a sacrifice to their God.
At a time when the Hebrews insisted that the Egyptians let them go, there was was famine and ongoing plagues. The custom of the day were that the wealthy and the first born got to partake first–and as much as they wanted before what was left was divided among the rest of the clan.
The theory is that in a time of famine and plague, fungus got into the grain supply, a fungus or bacteria that became fatal when too much was consumed. Those who consumed too much grain (i.e., the first born) began dying off. Meanwhile, the Hebrews had had enough already. Imagine the anger of the Egyptians when they woke one morning to find that the Hebrews had not only slaughtered the rams (which were sacred), they had also defiled (made unclean) their dwelling places so that the Egyptians could not use or enter into them.
Talk about using the middle finger when the Egyptian population was already weak and under siege from famine and plague. The Hebrews fled and escaped, while infuriated Egyptians chased after them to their further loss and destruction.
This, then was the foundation of the story in Exodus, with the author giving all credit to God for how they were able to finally escape the Egyptians. They saw God as the source of everything–including natural disasters. And within the disaster, they also saw how God also worked for their good.
To the population of this time, there was no story about people getting into heaven or being sent to hell. In the story, no thought is given to the afterlife. It is simply a story of how the Hebrews found blessings in hard times here on earth. Earthly hard times is the focus–not the afterlife.
You said you wanted to know how believers think. We don’t believe in myths. Nor are we adverse to a good story as opposed to a mind-numbing presentations of facts. We are back in the days where paper, ink, and literacy (not to mention computers) were scarce. Before Encyclopedias and computers came on the scene, we had stories–stories that were understood much differently then than some modern humans may view them in the days of the Internet.
Yesteryear’s authors paint a picture easily understood by the people of yesteryear (but not so much today). They paint a panorama of what was going on in the world. The natural disasters inherent on this planet were often a source of hardship. People tell of their experiences of God today have this in common with those of earlier eras. They are in the midst of a problem or hardship, when they either experience God, Himself, or they see the Hand of God at work in the chaos. I think everyone of us–at some point–have seen goodness emerge from a very bad thing–usually in the form of a helping hand from a sentient being, often human. People are often kind and good.
Sometimes we are surprised by goodness that does not come from a human, and can’t be credited to nature either. This higher power is what we call God.
Today you are seeing stories as that of a very bad God and devils. The original intent of thee stories were to describe are hard times and how people saw God and the blessings God was creating for them out of chaos. (Reminiscent of how God created the Earth and mankind out of chaos. We see God’s work as ongoing.)
If all some people see is a cycle of life and its seasons, that is fine. What others of us see or have experienced is an intelligent, loving, sentient being at the foundation of the world and of our lives.
Then it would follow that Jesus was was a real person and not the actual “Son of of God”. The stories about the miracles he performed are exaggerations made by Iron Age people in order to tell a story.
Technically, people in that area of the world were already in the Roman period. If it matters–and I am not sure it does. The Gospels, specifically Matthew and John are interesting studies. Jesus did consider himself one with the Father, and that the Father had a specific purpose for him. He spoke about obedience to the will of he Father; that sins are forgiven; of God’s love for sinners.
These messages annoyed Temple officials (they threatened Temple revenues); then there was the issue of people wanting to make Jesus king, despite his insistence that his kingdom was not an earthly one.
This is why Jews reject Jesus as the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecy of a Messiah–who was to be an earthly ruler like David. The Jewish Messiah hoped for was one who would overthrow Roman rule and set up the Jewish nation as the nation all other nations on earth would emulate.
Okay here is the truth. The angle Gabriel could not find God for six days. Then on the seventh day he saw God and asked him where he has been. God pointed down and said look what I created. Wow said the angel what is it . It is the planet earth God replied. Godpointed to northern Europe and said there I will create smart white humans. The angel replied really. Yes and he pointed to southern Europe where I will create smarter white humans so there is balance. There must be balance. The angel said you are amazing God. I am not done as he pointed to Africa and said there I will create smart black humans you must have balance/. God what is that place with the rivers and water falls. That will become the western United States. there I will create the smartest most faithful and honest humans on the entire earth. But God what about balance? as God points down he say there is where the most unfaithful, dishonest humans on the entire earth. The angel asked what will be called. Gods reply–Washington dc
[quote=“AZslim, post:708, topic:12750, full:true”]
On Passover, did the Devil get all the first born that God murdered? Or did they get a special pass into Heaven? If they did, how come they didn’t have to live a life here on Earth in order to learn how great Heaven is? [/quote]
They were judged by how well they kept what was written on their hearts. At least that was what Paul’s gospel taught back in his day.
I am sure there is a Jewish perspective that I am not getting right but it was an outward action demonstrating their inward belief in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The act of applying blood to the doorpost and lintel had many layers from breaking away from the idolatry of the Egyptians to identifying those inside as separate from those that refused.
They would not have had a door either. They would have been screwed… or at a neighbor’s with door posts and a lentil.