Challenging The Old Testament

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When I first read it I couldn’t believe how much violence was in it. And yeah, I was questioning why is our “loving” God so bent on war. Then it clicked that upon the creation of Adam and Eve these two were equals. It was Eve, before Adam, who gave into temptation and disobeyed their Father. It’s really no different than a kid disobeying their own parent. They were punished and from that point forward society has had more than it’s fair share of ups and downs. God said it himself that he is a jealous god. As vain as that may sound think about it. If you created something, loved it, nurtered it and wanted nothing but the best for it, would you not want that creation to at least appreciate you for it? Again, it’s like parents having kids and doing everything for them to help them grow into ideal adults in their eyes, but their kids rebel and do everything opposite and clearly show they do not love them at all.
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Throughout the history of the bible what you see are examples of how people embraced unethical behavior (sinning) and drifted further and further away from what can make a human being a truly awesome creation. From Genesis to the New Testament you see God working with man to keep the evil out. Not every victory has been violent, but since people respond to violence far more than they do to mere words it is a necessary tactic in order to achieve what is required to restore humanity back to where it should be; a peaceful nation sharing the land as one.
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God wants unity, not division. In the old testament the battles fought were to root out those who chose an unethical, sinful way of life as opposed to one that was more honorable. God wasn’t interested in murder. He was interested in restoration.
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Think about this from a parent’s point of view. There was a time if a child misbehaved he’d be punished for it. If scolding wasn’t enough then a spanking was the next (and necessary) step to ensure that child was steered back on course to go through life as a better person. Most of the time it worked. However, there’d be some who’d remain defiant and uncontrollable. Quite often such a person becomes such a miserable human being that he becomes much more than just a mere headache to his family, but a menace to society. His behavior inflicts wounds upon the society and unless it’s rooted out will act like a cancer and change society into something they were never meant to be.
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So, if God is such a caring parent, then why doesn’t he deal with the sinners himself?  Why send in good people to do his battles for him?  He did at first, but he wanted his children to learn how to do this for themselves too.  This is why, upon Exodus, he placed specific instructions on how mankind was to settle any form of disputes, including injustice.  They weren’t difficult instructions to follow, but somewhere along the way corruption set in and the children became confused.  Over time they became more and more divided, which was not what God wanted at all.
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As a parent, do you like to see your kids fighting?  Do you want to see your son strike your daughter for no good reason and get away with it?  No, of course not!  The same can be said if your daughter runs around telling strangers that your son is an abuser towards animals when the truth of the matter is he is not.  Responsible parents who see abusive behavior amongst her children will be deeply grieved and will try to put a stop to it.  If they can, great.  If they cannot, then there is the risk of the problem between her siblings becoming much worse and drastic measures are required.
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In the case of Cain & Abel, Cain slew Abel out of rage and jealousy.  Because of his crime he was cast off to live the rest of his life elsewhere.  A third son, Seth, was born and it was through him that God’s hope for mankind would rest upon.
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It should be pointed out from this moment forward, Cain belonged to Satan because he favored sin over obedience, just like Adam and Eve did.  However, he lost Adam and Eve back to God once they realized the wrong they did and were eager to go back to him.  He needed a new puppet, so Cain became his top choice and those two have had a pact ever since.  This isn’t mentioned so directly in the bible, but as the rest of it’s pages are carried out it’s pretty evident that each time God would have a direct involvement with something it always seemed to be God’s people going up against those who openly defied God and without any true sign of remorse.
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Through Seth’s bloodline we learn about Noah.  By Noah’s time the world had become so corrupt that God reached the point where he believed the world needed to be cleansed.  However, it wasn’t as brutal as some may think.  It’s not like God wanted to wash out the world, but he knew the world could not continue the course it was going and that drastic measures were required.  It’s not like God didn’t try to reach out to anybody other than Noah.  It may not be written in the bible, but God doesn’t strike me as someone who’d just talk to one person and flatly give out on everyone else without at least trying to reach them.
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Again, think about this from a parental point of view.  You try to reach out to your kids.  One of them listens to you, but the others don’t.  The others go out and party, commit horrific acts of cruelty, sexual absurdities, and show zero regard for anything other than their own sick pleasures.  As a parent, what would you do?  Would you stop loving them?  No.  But, as a parent, you’d realize sooner or later you have to come to grips that those particular children are so lost to you that you have to let them go and have them face whatever fate they’re laying out for themselves.  As for the child who remains close to you and loves you every bit as much as you love them, you will do anything for them.  This will include banishing and harshly deaing with all the other children that threaten to do that one loving child of yours harm.
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I am aware no parent should encourage their children to fight each other, but at the same time no caring parent would allow the injustice of several disobedient children continue to mock and bully the one child that is proving to be the good one.  However, doing all that battles for that good child teaches that child nothing.  That child needs to learn how to fight back and to defend himself.
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So, look at this from God’s point of view now.  He has children that do obey him and love him.  They want to live a good life and prove to their Father that they’re all worthy of his love.  However, there’s another handful of God’s children that are the polar opposite.  They mock, bully and destroy everything in their path.  They couldn’t care less about love.  Greed, vanity, lust, sloth, glutony, jealousy and pride are all they care about.  All this type of behavior is destructive and not just towards themselves, but to everything they touch.  Even good old fashioned common sense is enough to tell you that this cannot continue.  It must be stopped.  However, the most effective way to do this is to strengthen the good people who are obedient and loving to learn how to fight back and root out those who prefer the evil way of life.  If God always fought the battles for the good guys then the good guys remain weak.  They will become lazy and wind up just like the disobedient kids.
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Throughout the pages of the bible you see this time and time again.  Does this make God murderous?  Does this make God hateful?  Does this make God evil?  In the eyes that fail to understand the true meaning behind the books within the bible, yes it does.  In the eyes of those who make the effort to understand and see it for more than just a bunch of stories slapped together then no it does not.
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In my eyes, God is indeed a loving god.  God is also a jealous god and rightfully so.  We are his creation and we should love and appreciate him for it.  If we’re out of line then he is within his right to steer us back to where we need to be.  It doesn’t mean we’re slaves.  It doesn’t mean we’re petty subjects that aren’t worth anything.  Slaves and worthless subjects are punished with cruelty and it often pleases the person doing the punishing.  People who are punished for wrong doings will feel like it’s cruelty done unto them, but it’s no worse than waht they have done unto others and so therefore the punishment is just.  The person in that case is not happy to do the punishing and often feels tarnished from within because, like any parent punishing a child, does not want to see him suffer by any means.
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I was punished as a kid.  I got spankings and treatment that I know I deserved.  At the time I was not happy about it, but now as an adult I’m rather grateful that my parents cared enough about me to do whatever they felt was necessary to keep me true to myself and to stay as good of a person as I can be.  I’m not a perfect person and I still do wrong from time to time, but you will never see me deliberately hurt another person for my own personal gain.  My parents have taught me how to stand up for myself and how to fight back when I need to do so.  My parents taught me the difference between right and wrong and I love them for it.
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So if God behaves like any parent normally would against a defiant child then how is he cast as evil?  Evil encourages bad behavior and delights in the destruction it leaves behind.  God is the opposite.  God discourages bad behavior because he knows the destruction left behind is not worth it.  Evil destroys, which is Satan’s goal.  Satan despises everything God has created because he is jealous of the fact that he is not God himself and can never achieve all that God has achieved.
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So, in spite, Satan has done what any jealous jerk would do.  He pretends to be something he is not (a creator) and manipulates all in his path to follow him.  Even those who think they’re doing good wind up following him because he’s allowed them to think that way and encourages it.  Satan wants what God has; followers.  Satan wants his world, which is no world at all.  He wants absolute destruction because this is not what God wants.  God wants a world that’s filled with love and joy.
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I sometimes believe God himself is a manifestation of an old, forgotten realm that was destroyed because of someone like Satan.  It became nothingness.  Remember, in Genesis God created something out of nothingness.  What do you think Satan is after?  Nothingness.
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It says in Genesis that God created man in his own image.  So, is it possible to conceive that mankind existed once before, but in a different manner and God was part of that existence?  He lived a world that started out pure and simple, but became corrupt and wound up destroying itself.  Seeing this coming, God in his day was a revolutionary and struggled to find a way to save humanity.  He found it and went for it.  When the nothingness came he survived and vowed to restore all that was lost to the best of his ability.  Is it possible in this reality that he created all that he did in order to avoid nothingness again?  However, in so doing he realizes evils need to be put into place in order to make man something that perhaps wasn’t during his day and why he was the sole survivor.  I know it seems like I’m reaching and I probably am, but it’s how I can best wrap my head around the existence of God and why the bible is the way it is and why our world is the way it is today.
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I don’t know if any of this makes sense to you, but it somehow does to me.  I sometimes think mankind is caught in a loop.  God knows all and the best way I can wrap my head around that one is because he’s been down this road before.  He’s been where we are now and he knows what’s going to happen.  Mankind is caught in a loop and it will remain that way until Satan is kicked out of the picture completely.  God knows this and is striving for this.  The least we can do is strive for it too and work with him.  Then and only then will we see that dream world I know we all want deep down inside because it’s the same world God wants.
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It’s not about women not being equal to man.  It’s not about one religion being better than the other.  It’s about working together as members of the human race, a race which God created in great, complex detail.  He doesn’t want us to be a lazy race, which is why we live in a world where it’s a constant battle of good against evil.  Lazy good is no better than aggressive evil and this is the world we’re in right now.  God needs (we need) a strong world that’s good from within and will not waver until all evils are rooted out.  He knows we cannot do this on our own and that is why Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit are in on this fight with us.  However, they’re not going to do all the work for us.  We have to jump in and do it too.  This is what the Old Testament is all about and this is what the New Testament talks about.
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