It’s all about the bloodshed, baby

In Romans 15:33 Paul speaks of “…the god of Peace.” And Christians refer to Jesus as the Prince of Peace. But Jesus himself said in Matt 10:34 “…I came not to send peace, but a sword.” And in the Old Ex 15:3, God is described thusly, “The Lord is a man of war”

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7 Responses to “It’s all about the bloodshed, baby”

  1. Michael,

    Thank you for taking the time to comment on my site. However, I must take issue with your repeated “context” complaint. It is a lazy and typical complaint from Christians when a non-believer uses passages from the bible to reveal the ugliness of the Christian religion. It’s clear that theists (god worshipers) are MASTERS at picking and choosing which passages from their holy books they want to follow/accept. But then I’m pretty adapt at ‘picking and choosing’ the ones I think are most revelatory of the contemptibility of their god and belief systems. Now I would argue that their selective preferences are the result of a careful, stubborn, WILLFUL naivety, while mine are the result of a determined desire to reveal the REST of what their holy books have to say. In other words, I wish to bring to light all the ugly stuff they purposefully ignore or even refuse to acknowledge/accept. So the out of context argument never holds any weight with me. I VERY CAREFULLY choose passages that were blatant, obvious and as black and white as they could be. Nothing written before or after could possibly ‘redefine’ what they were saying. But Christians just HATE it when you confront them with the undeniable truth that their holy book clearly depicts a god that can only be described as a bigoted, petty, vile, cruel, merciless, brutal, bloodthirsty, depraved, petulant, monster Yes, There are many beautiful passages in the bible as well, but I REFUSE TO IGNORE the ugly parts. I just wish more Christians would take a more honest look at this particular book. Especially if they are going to dedicate their whole lives and every decision they make in their lives on its words. I take the bible literally. I believe it must be either accepted as the genuine word of God or dismissed as a fairy tale. The concept of God, any god, is ALWAYS a personal one shaped by personal desire. Depending on the issue your god may be all goodness and light or vengeance and wrath. But how do you keep your own personal desire to view him one way or the other from shaping him? Those who find the bible loathsome need not take anything out of context to support their position. Only those who defend it need do so.

    So I ask that you don’t simply comment with this single word but with a full explanation of how these passages could mean anything else. To simply state that what something means is actually NOT what it means and offer NO details to enlighten our sad, confused minds serves no purpose at all.

    Take Care,

    DoubtingThomas

  2. Well, let me help Micheal out a bit… why don’t you tell us, from the context of each verse, why you find them contradictory? After all, if “[you] VERY CAREFULLY choose passages that were blatant, obvious and as black and white as they could be” then surely you’d be able to do more than just blankly quote verses and say, “Ah ha, a problem!”

    So, tell us, what’s the problem, given the context and meaning of each passage?

    P.S. I don’t think this one is a black and white case where nothing can define what was wirtten. My rule is scripture interprets scripture, because I beleive it is internally consisitent. You don’t – so let’s make this a discussion about that. Your explanation of the context please.

    I await.

  3. The point is that the above passages are so blatantly contradictory as to require no further explanation.

  4. So would you accept an explanation were there one?

  5. I will take the verses one at a time and look at each in context to see what the Bible is saying. Also, one other note. I realize that you and many others don’t believe in the events that I am going to talk about. That is not the point. My goal is to show that these three verses do not contradict one another in the literature in which they are contained. I am not sure if you have discussed the many difficulties of the Exodus on your site, but that is another issue. My goal is to show that these verses do not contradict each other within the literature where they are contained, whether one thinks they are fact or fiction.

    Short answer: physical verses spiritual. Keep reading for the long answer.

    First, Exodus 15:3 is one verse taken from a longer poetic piece. The first 18 verses of chapter 15 is a song that Moses and the people sang to God. This context is immediately after the Egyptian army is drowned pursuing the Israelites who have escaped from captivity. Had not God intervened, the Israelites would not have escaped. So they are praising him as the one who defeated their enemies in battle. Thus the proclamation that God is a “man of war.” In the context, God is acting as a warrior on behalf of the Israelites.

    Second, Romans 15:33 is part of the benediction of the letter that he is writing to the Roman church. Now, it would be easy to say, “Well, that is no different than someone saying ‘God bless you’ when someone sneezes. Just a figure of speech.” I have heard that before, but I think it’s more than that. Paul uses the word peace 10 times in the letter to the Romans. Four of those are used either in opening salutation or closing remarks. These uses usually don’t give us much in the way of how Paul is using the word. The other six uses are more theological in nature, and give us a clue as to what Paul means. I will be happy to respond if necessary with a detailed analysis of each verse if necessary, but this is already getting long. So, let me summarize Paul’s usage of the word peace: All but one of these usages (14:19) describe a state for the believer who is in a right relationship with God. Therefore, when Paul uses God of peace, he is referring to the fact that it is God alone who can give this state to a person, and the state of peace is one of a spiritual nature. Instead of being an enemy of God, those who trust in Chrsit are now at peace with him.

    Third, Matthew 10:35 is part of a long discourse in chapter 10 that is often referred to as the “Cost of Discipleship Discourse” or “The Discourse on Discipleship.” He is giving them instruction before sending them out to preach and teach in his name. I am not sure what the 12 disciples envisioned when they signed up, but Jesus wants to make it clear what they will experience. He doesn’t want to be accused of bait and switch with these guys. The common hope for the Messiah in those days was one who would deliver them from Rome: “a man of war” so to speak in keeping with the Exodus 15 passage. Jesus clarifies the results of being a Christ-follower in these verses. The Jews were hoping for physical peace after kicking the Romans out. Jesus says that those who follow him will not experience that kind of peace here on earth. In fact, being a Christ follower will likely result in more trouble. When people see others associating with Christ, they will turn against them, including people in their own family. In many parts of the world, this is the case when someone turns to Christ.

    So, these three verses are referring to widely different things and are no more contradictory than if I said “George Bush is a man of war.” and “George Bush enjoyed a peaceful evening at home.” Both can be true.

    Thanks for the conversation,

    Michael

  6. Michael,

    First, thank you for your willingness to take the time to explain your position in such a civilized way. I can’t stand it when the Theist comes on my site and just regurgitates scripture and repeats comforting dogma and preaches at me instead of offering considered answers. Even if I don’t agree, I appreciate it when the believer makes an actual effort. Having said that, you must still see how the above examples would easily be viewed as contradictory, even by the believer. I understand your position, but it must be said, you are stating your opinion of what these parts of the bible are saying. When so much of the bible can’t be taken literally it will, of course, inevitably lead to multiple, biased interpretations. Hence the massive division and destructive fracturing in the Christian religion. I get that you aren’t one of those who believes that the entire bible should be taken literally, but it seems that those who don’t must therefore follow someone else’s interpretation or come up with one of their own. I’m not sure which is worse.

    Thanks again for explaining why you don’t find the cited passages as contradictory.

    DoubtingThomas

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