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Divine Insight
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 21, 2019 1:28 pm  The Prodigal Son for debate Reply with quote

I just watched the video posted by Otseng in the Holy Huddle forum. It's a story I'm well familiar with.

However there appears to be a grave contradiction in this story. The obedient son who had become jealous at the end of the story was supposedly upset that his father had killed the fatted calf to celebrate the return of the prodigal son.

Buy then the father turns to is righteous son and says, "Everything I have is yours".

How is this not a contradiction? According to the story the righteous son was upset because his father wouldn't even give him a goat to share with his friends. (see video @ 3:15) But now the father is claiming that everything he has also belongs to his righteous son.

Is the son only just now being told that everything his father has is also his free for the taking? If that's true then what's up with him complaining that his father never gave him so much as a young goat?

These are the kinds of self-contradictions that tend to always plague the Biblical stories.

Sure, from a purely moral perspective, we can make some kind of moral justification for this tale as being nothing more than a moral parable. However, that doesn't change the fact that the parable contains serious contradictions.

The righteous Son in this story apparently felt that his father would not permit him to take a young goat and share it with his friends. In fact, the mere fact that the righteous son was so upset about this implies that the son had actually requested this in the past only to have his father deny him.

So the story appears to me to have some serious self-contradictions associated with it.

Question for debate: How is this parable not self-contradictory?

Note to Otseng: Great video production by the way. It's not your fault that the original story contains these contradictory inconsistencies. If what the father claimed was true (that he would deny nothing from the righteous son), then why would the righteous son have any reason to be jealous of the prodigal son?

The story shoots itself in its own foot with this extreme contradiction concerning the righteous Son. He was upset about something that supposedly didn't even exist. Supposedly he could have had a young goat to share with his friends anytime he wanted and apparently just didn't know. This seems a bit problematic to me.
Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 11: Sat Jun 22, 2019 2:28 am
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otseng wrote:

The point was that he was complaining the father threw a massive party for his "sinful" son, but wouldn't even recognize the "righteous" son with even a small picnic.


Sounds like a legitimate complaint to me. Why would a father throw a party for the sinful son and not for the righteous son? I mean, it was great that the sinful son recognize the error of his ways. But that doesn't justify celebrating his behavior.

Both this, and the stories in Matthew 18 and Luke 15 seem to suggest that God doesn't get very excited about righteous people and pretty much takes them for granted, but is someone goes out and sins and then returns to say that it wasn't such a great experience, there is great rejoicing in heaven. Seems to me that as a moral parable this actually encourages the latter experience. This appears to please this God more than righteous people do.

So this is basically telling us that if we really want to make God happy the best thing we can do is go out and sin and then come back and say, "You're right God, sinning isn't much fun". Apparently this really tickles God's fancy.

otseng wrote:

I'm not sure what you mean by "infinitely wise". Is that a description of Jesus from the Bible or from man?


Well doesn't the Bible claim that Jesus was the divine Son of God, and even describes him as "The Word Made Flesh"? In fact, being a monotheistic religion they even had to make Jesus part of the divine "Trinity".

So yes, I would suggest that it is the description of Jesus in the Bible that justifies expecting Jesus to be "infinitely wise", or at the very least far wiser than any mortal man.

When we need to start giving Jesus the same excuses we give to mortal men we instantly reduce him to being no better than a mortal man.

otseng wrote:

Actually, I don't believe the parable would have been made up by a typical mortal human. The parable is a demonstration of an extreme level of grace that is rarely found or contemplated by anyone.


I would strongly disagree with this. In fact, I know a lot of mortal parents who have forgiven their children for far worse crimes than just spending money unwisely. I don't see any extreme level of grace in this story at all. In fact, I personally wouldn't think very highly of any parent who wouldn't forgive the son in this particular parable.

For crying out loud all he did was make some extremely stupid choices and was even begging for forgiveness sobbing on his knees when he came back home. Who wouldn't forgive their child for having made such a stupid mistake?

This prodigal son didn't even commit any serious atrocities. I wouldn't think much of any parent who wouldn't be thrilled to see that he finally wised up.

otseng wrote:

Well, why assume the older son asked for a party and the father denied it when it's not in there? We are both interpreting the story, not rewriting the story.


Well, we must certainly conclude that the older son at least believed that his father wouldn't allow him to have one. Something isn't right here.

Also, his father didn't reply to him that he would have gladly given the older son a young goad had the son simply asked for it. He simply told him at that point that everything that is the father's is also the son's. And this brings up the confusing question of why the older son didn't already know this?

otseng wrote:

Yes, the older son acted righteous and thought he was righteous. The older son believed that if anyone deserved a feast, it was him. He was the one who never disobeyed the father. He was the one who stayed away from sin. He was the one who never ran away. We all think this is the son that deserves the best treatment and highest recognition. But, Jesus turns it all around in this story.


I'm really glad you brought this up, because this is another extreme problem I have with almost all the stories and parables in the Bible. None of them ever seem to apply to me. I wouldn't consider either of these two sons to be representative of me. So there's nothing in this story that would even apply to me.

I've never been one to waste resources on foolish things. So I'm certainly not represented by the prodigal son. And at the same time if I had a brother who did go out and foolishly waste money my parents had given him I wouldn't be jealous when he came home in a desperate state of repentance and my parents threw a party for him. To the contrary I'd be glad to attend that party and rejoice at my brother's realization of his previously stupid behavior. And I personally wouldn't even think of his previous behavior as having been sinful or evil at all. As far as I'm concerned it was just plain stupid. Period.

otseng wrote:

The story really speaks to me because most all of us religious folks are like the older son. We think God deserves to reward us for not sinning, going to church every Sunday, and obeying all the commandments. If we take this story seriously, then the father is not impressed with any of it.


Well, there you go. You're identifying with one of the characters in the story. So apparently you'd be jealous when your brother came home. Apparently you can identify with the motivations for jealousy here.


So since you identify with one of the characters in the story the story appears to you to make some sort of sense. But to me it makes no sense at all because I don't identify with either of these two sons.

In fact this sort of thing seems to be the case with the vast majority of stories in the Bible. I always feel left out because they never offer an option that fits how I would behave.

In fact, when I read though the Bible the only three characters I ever truly identified with were Moses, Noah, and Jesus. And even all three of them ultimately had negative aspects associated with them that I would object to. So even the best characters the Bible has to offer fall short of reflecting my position on much of anything.

Even Jesus let me down on a lot of things he did. I can point to a lot of things that Jesus supposedly did according to the Gospels that I would have done quite differently.

So in truth, there really aren't any characters in the Bible I can identify with including Jesus.

otseng wrote:

I think we have to take a step back here. If the expectation is that God, Jesus, the Bible are all infinitely perfect, then I agree with you, such a God cannot exist.


It's good to hear that we can agree on some things. That's can be a potential start for gaining mutual understanding.

otseng wrote:

But, I think this view is more a result of man's thinking than what is described in the Bible. Christians like to describe God and the Bible with superlatives that might seem correct, but I think it's more influenced by philosophy than the Bible. Yes, some might brand me a heretic for saying these things. But, actually I believe this is the more Biblical position.


Well, as I have stated stated above, we clearly have different perspectives on this.

You seem to be open to accepting the older son in the Prodigal Son story as being a fair representation of your view of things. Apparently you have no problem imagining yourself becoming jealous in this situation. Otherwise why would you accept that the older son fairly represents you?

This is one of the greatest problems for me concerning these biblical stories. I'm instantly thinking, "But wait, where am I in this story? I'm neither they older son nor the younger son". There's nothing in this story that I can identify with. I mean, sure I'm fully aware that both types of people these sons represent exist, but what does that have to do with me?

And this wouldn't be a problem if this only occurred in a few parables. But this seems to be the case the whole way through the entire Bible, both the OT and the NT.

Like I say, I can never identify with any of these characters. The closest I can get to identifying with Biblical characters are Moses, Noah, and Jesus. All even all three of them fall short.

So for me the entire Bible appears to be a collection of totally made-up characters and parables that are obviously man-made stories. Do they reflect many of the flaws of human character? Sure. But they fail to recognize the best in humans as well. In fact, not only do they fail to address the best in humans, but this religion doesn't even allow for "best humans" to exist.

For example, do you really need Jesus to tell you not to stone to death an adulteress?

I certainly didn't.

In fact, would you have obeyed a God who commanded you to do such a thing in the first place?

I certainly wouldn't.

So here's probably the greatest irony in the whole Biblical Saga.

I would be a great "sinner" for refusing to obey God when commanded to stone to death an adulteress. Refusing to obey God's command is a sin.

But lo and behold, Jesus comes along in the NT and let's me off the hook. Now under Jesus I no longer need to stone adulteresses to death. Very Happy

But wait a minute?

Who's idea was it to not stone adulterers to death? From my perspective that was my idea. All Jesus did was come along and agree with me. Jesus took my side over the side of Yahweh.

And obviously that's extremely problematic. From my perspective I have no choice but to see Jesus himself rebelling against his own father's commandments. How could Jesus be the son of Yahweh when Jesus doesn't even agree with Yahweh?

Jesus apparently agrees with me. Don't be stoning adulteresses to death just because Yahweh commanded you to do it.

But this makes for an inconsistent and self-contradictory theology. From my perspective all I see is a religion that was changed by men. Whether some actual Jesus had anything to do with this or whether Jesus was a totally fabricated character doesn't even matter to me. The bottom line is that Jesus could not be Yahweh incarnate. And if Jesus wasn't Yahweh incarnate, then the whole theology crumbles to the ground as an obviously failed mythology.

I just don't see any way the theology could be saved at that point. You have Jesus and Yahweh disagreeing on what they expect humans to even do.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 12: Sat Jun 22, 2019 10:38 am
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...if Jesus claims to be associated with God then he should be praising the righteous, and not the sinners.

I would contend that the elder brother whose life looked righteous was in fact self righteous depending on religious observance and exactitude to gain favour with GOD who demands mercy not sacrifice.

I agree that the story is against the false, superficial, righteousness of the Pharisee as much as it is about GOD's love for the repentant sinner: Matt 23:25 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. 26 Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, so that the outside may become clean as well. 27 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside, but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and every impurity.…

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 13: Sat Jun 22, 2019 11:14 am
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ttruscott wrote:

I would contend that the elder brother whose life looked righteous was in fact self righteous depending on religious observance and exactitude to gain favour with GOD who demands mercy not sacrifice.

Perhaps true.

It seems as though modern Christians are not immune to (or may be prone to) self-righteousness and claims of piety.

Opinions in Christendom seem to vary concerning what "God demands".

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 14: Sat Jun 22, 2019 6:04 pm
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[Replying to post 9 by otseng]

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Actually, I don't believe the parable would have been made up by a typical mortal human.



Please give us the name of your implied non-mortal source.


(Remembering too, if you will, that all gods have names, and the word "god" is not a name).


And then - if you don't mind - just a passing whiff of evidence that the parable DID emanate in any way at all from this non-mortal source.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 15: Sat Jun 22, 2019 6:15 pm
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otseng wrote:

Divine Insight wrote:
In the story, the father himself was in agreement that the righteous son was indeed righteous.

Why do you say the father was in agreement the older son was righteous?

SallyF wrote:

I thought the righteous son had every right to be miffed. I thought the prodigal son should have been accepted back at a much lower status.

Most people, including me, would also have this view.

Quote:

I think this tale, however, gives that wonderful Christian message of: "Repeat sinners are repeatedly forgiven".

No matter what you do, just get Jesus on the line, and you'll still win your robe and crown and dodge the pit where the fire is never quenched.

I think the message is much more than simply a "get out of jail free card".


It's the points I make that AREN'T addressed by respondents that speak the loudest to me ….

Nonetheless, it was a "get out of Hell free card" I was referring to.

The concept of Hell is one of the many unmarketable, embarrassingly unbelievable religious concepts that has been recently swept under the altar in the severely diluted quasi-belief system that passes for Christianity in certain circles.

Including the supernatural source and the moral messages of this parable.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 16: Tue Jun 25, 2019 4:39 am
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Re: The Prodigal Son for debate

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Divine Insight wrote:

...
The righteous Son in this story apparently felt that his father would not permit him to take a young goat and share it with his friends. In fact, the mere fact that the righteous son was so upset about this implies that the son had actually requested this in the past only to have his father deny him.

So the story appears to me to have some serious self-contradictions associated with it.

Question for debate: How is this parable not self-contradictory?...


The "contradiction" seems to appear only with your interpretation or assumption. It is possible that the son just thought wrongly that he has not the right.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 17: Tue Jun 25, 2019 9:01 am
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1213 wrote:

Divine Insight wrote:

...
The righteous Son in this story apparently felt that his father would not permit him to take a young goat and share it with his friends. In fact, the mere fact that the righteous son was so upset about this implies that the son had actually requested this in the past only to have his father deny him.

So the story appears to me to have some serious self-contradictions associated with it.

Question for debate: How is this parable not self-contradictory?...


The "contradiction" seems to appear only with your interpretation or assumption. It is possible that the son just thought wrongly that he has not the right.


In that case he has a father who has serious communication problems.

Why not face it, it's just a bad parable. Why continually make endless excuses for a theology that requires more excuses than anything else.

All we see from the theists of this religion are apologies and excuses. There doesn't appear to be any clarity on anything. And the theists might have an argument if they were all on the same page and the ambiguity only existed between theists and non-theists. But just look around, theists can't even convince each other of their apologies and excuses. They all have different excuses, if this wasn't the case there wouldn't be so many disagreeing sects and demonstration.

Christianity itself is a house divided against itself. The division between Catholicism and Protestantism is the great rift of Christianity. But even the myriad of disagreeing Protestantisms are divided against themselves as well. In fact, to continue to even pretend that there exists a meaningful Christianity at this point is futile.

And we really can't even stop there. Before the Catholicism/Protestantism rift even existed, we have the Judaism/Christianity/Islam rifts. These are all based on the very same original God mythology. Yet no one seems to have a clue what they are talking about. Their only consistency is that this is a jealous God who will become angry with anyone who refuses to worship, love, and obey him.

By the way, when did it ever make sense that anyone (even a God) could obtain love by commanding that you must love him?

Right there we also see a huge neon sign screaming "Fake Religion Here!"

Only men could create a God who demands to be loved. How sad would such a God truly be if he had to command people to love him lest he'll cast them into hell.

I mean, let's face it, this religion can't possibly have anything to do with an intelligent God because the things it demands of this God simply aren't intelligent.

Yet all the theist seem to be able to do is make excuse after excuse after excuse for why this religion supposedly makes sense. The problem is that their excuses for this religion aren't any better than the religion itself.

Besides, what kind of a God would need to be constantly apologized for?

Why we are even debating this religion in 2019 is beyond me. This religion should have been dismissed as obvious false mythology millennia ago.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 18: Wed Jun 26, 2019 7:05 am
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Divine Insight wrote:
Why not face it, it's just a bad parable.


Sorry, I think it is good parable, if people don’t add own meanings to it. Without your additions there would really be no reasons for “excuses”.

Divine Insight wrote:
There doesn't appear to be any clarity on anything.


For me, Bible is clear. I am sorry, if you don’t understand it.

Divine Insight wrote:
theists can't even convince each other of their apologies and excuses.


Nice thing is that it is only people’s own interpretations and doctrines that is the problem. If one takes directly what the Bible tells, it is clear message.

Divine Insight wrote:
Their only consistency is that this is a jealous God who will become angry with anyone who refuses to worship, love, and obey him.


But where is that said in the Bible?

Divine Insight wrote:
By the way, when did it ever make sense that anyone (even a God) could obtain love by commanding that you must love him?


I think in this case it would be good to know what Bible means with “love God”. It is said here:

For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. His commandments are not grievous.
1 John 5:3

So, love God means that we keep His commandments. And according to the Bible His commandments are in “love your neighbor as yourself”.

But why demand it? I think it is not really commanding, it is condition for something. Bible gives the Law and promises, if person keeps the Law he can have what is promised. You are free to do whatever you want, but then the promises are not for you.

And why it is about love? If one loves, he does the right things because he cares, not because he tries to gain something. Love is higher level of doing things. It shows person has right understanding, which can be counted righteousness. Love can’t be faked, like some good works can be done with evil motives. And by what the Bible tells, God wants righteous people, who do good, because they understand it is good and right and care about others. Not people who are unrighteous and evil and do good things only if there is some benefit for them.

Divine Insight wrote:
Only men could create a God who demands to be loved. How sad would such a God truly be if he had to command people to love him lest he'll cast them into hell.


I think that atheists don’t understand what the Bible shows it is not from people. Also the “demands” are in higher level than people seem to develop on their own. Men would demand them to be loved, they would declare themselves gods, men would demand that people pay taxes for them (work and serve them). Men are commonly selfish and evil, by my experience, that is why I think Bible is not from men purely.

Divine Insight wrote:
Besides, what kind of a God would need to be constantly apologized for?


Who says God needs to be apologized for? I don’t think that is really true.

Divine Insight wrote:
Why we are even debating this religion in 2019 is beyond me.


Are you really saying that you don’t know why you are here debating?

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 19: Wed Jun 26, 2019 8:18 am
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1213 wrote:

Divine Insight wrote:

Why not face it, it's just a bad parable.

Their only consistency is that this is a jealous God who will become angry with anyone who refuses to worship, love, and obey him.


But where is that said in the Bible?


Exodus 20:5 "You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me"

And a dozen more at https://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/God,-Jealous

Glad to help those who 'understand the Bible'

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 20: Wed Jun 26, 2019 10:13 am
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1213 wrote:

For me, Bible is clear. I am sorry, if you don’t understand it.


To not understand it is not an option. This religion is supposed to be about people knowingly rejecting this God because of their own free will choice. It's not supposed to be about a God who is so utterly stupid that he can't even communicate clearly with the objects of his own creation.

Therefore there is no room for me to not understand the Bible. That's simply not possible.


1213 wrote:

Nice thing is that it is only people’s own interpretations and doctrines that is the problem. If one takes directly what the Bible tells, it is clear message.


Is this why the Jews, Christians, and Muslims can't agree on anything? Think

And is this why even those three groups can't even agree with each other internally?

You seem to be ignoring the fact that Christendom itself is in a state of extreme disagreement and confusion. So theists are in no position to be claiming that the Bible has a clear message when they can't even agree on what it says among themselves.

1213 wrote:

Divine Insight wrote:
Their only consistency is that this is a jealous God who will become angry with anyone who refuses to worship, love, and obey him.


But where is that said in the Bible?


"Thou shalt not have any other Gods before me".

I thought you said the Bible was clear? Why are you confused about this?

1213 wrote:

Divine Insight wrote:
By the way, when did it ever make sense that anyone (even a God) could obtain love by commanding that you must love him?


I think in this case it would be good to know what Bible means with “love God”. It is said here:

For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. His commandments are not grievous.
1 John 5:3

So, love God means that we keep His commandments. And according to the Bible His commandments are in “love your neighbor as yourself”.


Is that for when you aren't stoning them to death for being sinners? Rolling Eyes

1213 wrote:

But why demand it? I think it is not really commanding, it is condition for something. Bible gives the Law and promises, if person keeps the Law he can have what is promised. You are free to do whatever you want, but then the promises are not for you.


I thought the commandment to love God is the greatest commandment of all?

1213 wrote:

And why it is about love? If one loves, he does the right things because he cares, not because he tries to gain something. Love is higher level of doing things. It shows person has right understanding, which can be counted righteousness. Love can’t be faked, like some good works can be done with evil motives. And by what the Bible tells, God wants righteous people, who do good, because they understand it is good and right and care about others. Not people who are unrighteous and evil and do good things only if there is some benefit for them.


But that's not what Christianity claims. To the contrary in Christianity no one can be righteous save for Jesus. If God wants righteous people he's out of luck. The only people eligible for heaven in Christianity are sinners who are willing to accept Jesus as their penal substitute so that they, as sinners, can be allowed into heaven even though they don't deserve to be there.

1213 wrote:

Divine Insight wrote:
Only men could create a God who demands to be loved. How sad would such a God truly be if he had to command people to love him lest he'll cast them into hell.


I think that atheists don’t understand what the Bible shows it is not from people.


I'm not an atheist. I'm a Christian who realized that I was being duped by a false religion that isn't even a model of morality.

1213 wrote:

Also the “demands” are in higher level than people seem to develop on their own. Men would demand them to be loved, they would declare themselves gods, men would demand that people pay taxes for them (work and serve them). Men are commonly selfish and evil, by my experience, that is why I think Bible is not from men purely.


Speak for yourself. I'm none of the things you've listed. And I know a lot of other people won't don't fit your accusations either.

1213 wrote:

Divine Insight wrote:
Besides, what kind of a God would need to be constantly apologized for?


Who says God needs to be apologized for? I don’t think that is really true.


But that's what you are trying to do right now, and you're not succeeding either.

1213 wrote:

Divine Insight wrote:
Why we are even debating this religion in 2019 is beyond me.


Are you really saying that you don’t know why you are here debating?


I'm not the one who is trying to defend an obviously false an immoral ancient barbaric mythology.

I wouldn't be here at all if people weren't arguing for this immoral religion. In fact, I don't really come here as often as you might think. For example, today I've done too many things to mention this morning before finally sitting down to take a break a check these forums just to see what kind of failed apologies the theists came up with today. In some ways it's actually a quite interesting to study people who continually defend this obviously failed mythology day after day even in the face of such profound evidence against it.

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