Journal of Heresies

My search for truth in a world of deceit.

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Location: United States

I have what is probably an insatiable desire to search out the answers to what may be impossible questions.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Bible Study Challenge #3

There are many stories in the Bible where God appeared to someone and asked that person to perform radical and sometimes violent tasks in His name. According to the Bible, God even commanded that the people of Israel destroy all the inhabitants of the promised land which He told them to take and possess. The Israelites did enter the land, but they did not destroy every man, woman and child of the inhabitants. Their disobedience in this matter made God very angry at them and led to various afflictions.

Imagine that God (or His angel) appears to you in some way. God tells you He has chosen you and makes a great promise to you and your children and your children's children. To receive the promise He tells you that you must wipe out the family down the street and take possession of their property in His name. He also tells you not to be afraid because He will go with you and will help you complete this task. Doing so will demonstrate to all the world that He alone is God. If you believe this and do this, it will be accounted to you as righteousness and He will bless you and your descendants.

Knowing it was God who asked it, would you obey the instruction of God? Explain your answer.

If you want to participate in this Bible Study Challenge, please review the simple guidelines here before submitting your first comment.

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9 Comments:

Blogger Dr. Claude Mariottini said...

Fencekicker,

God would never ask anyone to do what you wrote in your question. Your question demonstrates that you do not know the God who revealed himself in Jesus Christ. Your question also demonstrates that you do not know the God of the Old Testament. The problem is that it seems that you only read passages out of its context in order to prove a point or to make the God of the Bible to be a savage God.

What you need to do is read a good book dealing with the theology of the Old Testament, one which seeks to present the message of the Bible as an integral whole. Your questions reflect that you are in search of understanding, and this is good. However, in your search for knowledge, I will never be able to convince you that the God of the Bible is a good God. The heart determines whether God is good or evil. When you gain a true understanding of who this God is, you will discover that he is not the God of the philosophers, a God of speculation, but that he is the God of revelation, a God who truly wants to redeem fallen humanity.

Your questions are not very helpful because they are not Bible study questions. These questions reflect the struggle that is going on inside of you and it does not matter what my answer is, you will reject it because you are already predisposed to reject the answer.

I recommend that you take some time to read books that deal with the issues with which you are struggling, then, become reacquainted with God and God’s work in the world. When you do so, I can guarantee that you will never ask this same question again.

Claude Mariottini

3:04 PM, December 18, 2007  
Blogger fencekicker said...

Dr. Mariottini,

I did not say that God is a savage God. I asked what you would do if you thought He asked you to do these things.

I think this is a very legitimate question to consider. The people of the Bible did things in faith that in our eyes today would seem outright evil.

For example, the Bible says that God commanded Abraham to take his son, build an alter and make a sacrifice... a sacrifice that Abraham believed would be his own son. Abraham would have done so if God had not stopped him. If you thought that God were asking you to sacrifice your son under a knife on an alter and burn his body over a fire, would you do what Abraham did?

You are right that this is a question about faith, and it is a question about knowing the voice of God. From your answer it appears that you would not do it, because you don't believe God would ask it.

This is also a question about interpretation. Abraham thought that God commanded him to sacrifice his son because that is how he interpreted God's message. He was willing to sacrifice his son because he believed it was a command from God. What else have people done because they mis-interpreted the message?

7:23 PM, December 18, 2007  
Blogger Mozzy said...

mariottitini, you sound very defensive about such a straight forward question as that. there was nothing confusing about it at all. it sounds like you've heard that asked so many times that you're the one that's convinced yourself of your own truth. fencekicker didn't say one way or the other whether or not god was good or bad, it was you that made that assumption and you're taking out frustration on everyone that wanted to hear people's honest answers to that question. i think it's a great question and it's very clear no matter what context you put it in.

personlly i would say if "god" appeared to me i would probably do whatever he said up to and including eating my laptop. unless he made himself appear not very intimidating. then maybe i'd just think about it then ignore it later.

4:47 PM, July 24, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would never sacrifice my child.

2:56 AM, May 01, 2010  
Anonymous Milan said...

There is not a simplistic answer as to why God asked Israel to exterminate the Canaanites. Here are some thoughts.
1) We are looking at this event with 21st century eyes. Not so long ago people thought it was a good thing to have slaves or exterminate Native Americans.
2) The Canaanites were wicked and deserved judgment. At the Second Coming the whole world will receive a judgment. The God of mercy is also the God of justice.
3) The failure of the Isrealites led to the Canaanites corrupting Israel. See the Book of Judges.
4) During the Exodus, God said he would drive them out by hornets but their continued lack of faith led to that idea being dropped.

4:52 AM, August 06, 2011  
Blogger Dr. Claude Mariottini said...

Fencekicker:

I came back to your page because I received a note that Milan had placed a comment on your blog.

I miss our dialogue. Will you ever comeback?

My blog has moved to WordPress. Visit the new site of my blog, read my post today, then subscribe to my blog and receive all my posts as they are published. My new site is Dr. Mariottini.

9:17 AM, August 29, 2011  
Blogger fencekicker said...

Dr. Mariottini,

Thank you for asking. My life has undergone a lot of changes over the past five years. With three children and full-time employment, I don't have much spare time to devote to keeping a blog. However, I will consider your request. I was actually considering it after Milan's post, before you asked, but decided against it. I will give it some more thought.

Best Regards,
fencekicker

7:45 PM, September 02, 2011  
Blogger Rex Peterson said...

Knowing it was God who asked it, would you obey the instruction of God? Explain your answer.

I have asked this question to myself and others getting into
a great deal of trouble when I have brought the subject up to others. It seems to provoke the thought that in them that I am saying God is evil! I am not saying this at all. God is God, and whether he creates good or evil He is still God. I have to say I would do to the best of my ability what God has for me to do, it is from God my creator, He knows how to handle the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, where when man ate of this tree all he produced from it was death.
I noticed this blog hasn't been frequented that much lately. I am very much interested so far by what is discussed here. It is a help to me , because there I are questions asked here that I have asked at one time or another. I usually get shunned and reprimanded by my peers for doing so. So, I hope you guys come back.

Rex

11:40 AM, September 08, 2013  
Blogger fencekicker said...

Rex,

Thank you for leaving some comments and taking an interest in what I wrote.

Something that I always believed was that the Truth could not be disproved no matter what questions were asked. I was not afraid to ask hard questions because I had faith, not because I lacked it. As I learned new things, I altered my behaviors, even the holidays that I celebrated, to reflect my evolving understanding of what God wanted. That journey is a deep and personal one, and a painful one.

People will shun and reprimand out of fear. Knowing what I have gone through in my own journey, those reactions are understandable. As certain tenants of my faith were lost, I grieved very deeply, not just for those tenants, but for all the decisions made based on those tenants, and for the loss of trust and security and of family and friends who could not understand. While in this depths of grief, there where those who said they loved me who then turned and attacked me and told me I was under demonic influence.

We are born into a world with a set of beliefs which we accept as children without question. Those beliefs and the rituals we keep unite children to parents and friends as a family, a people, a nation. They also divide people and set those of differing views as outsiders, even as enemies. Many people fear what they do not understand, and they fear stepping out alone and finding themselves outside of all they ever knew and loved. Knowing what that feels like, that fear is a very legitimate one.

I feel in my journey that I have been re-born. With testing, the construct in which I believed and trusted fell down and washed into the sea. I was left naked, alone, bruised and battered, and crying on the shore.

Despite the loss and the loneliness, I have endeavored to find the bedrock in life on which I can rely, and to set my anchors there. There is peace inside me now, and most of my wounds are healed. Despite being shunned and told that I am possessed by demons, I have even recovered some of those lost relationships.

I stopped writing in this blog in part because the pain I felt was so deep that it was too hard to talk about. Writing here was an invitation to more attacks. What I needed at that time was love and understanding, not more anger, not efforts to change me.

Over the past six years, I have recovered from my grief and am again able to talk about spiritual and religious topics. I don't generally seek out those conversations, but if they find me, I can participate.

As for my current beliefs, in the eyes of most churches, I am very much a heretic and apostate. While that tends to bother Christians, it no longer bothers me. At the same time, I now feel a closer kinship to Christ than I ever did as a Christian.

I wish you well in your search for Truth. I hope your journey will be less painful than mine was.

fencekicker

6:45 PM, January 26, 2014  

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