Would you stone the man described in Numbers 15?

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Mithrae
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Post by Mithrae »

marco wrote:Jesus may well have been martially inclined, since he admitted he had come not to bring peace but to initiate hostilities. I think Mars might have made the same speech.
  • Matthew 10:32 “Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven. 33 But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven. 34 Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; 36 and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household.

    Luke 12:49 “I have come to cast fire upon the earth; and how I wish it were already kindled! 50 But I have a baptism to undergo, and how distressed I am until it is accomplished! 51 Do you suppose that I came to grant peace on earth? I tell you, no, but rather division; 52 for from now on five members in one household will be divided, three against two and two against three. 53 They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.
Modern readers, particularly modern critics of Christianity, seem to have a tendency of assuming that Jesus was here disabusing the notion that he'd come with a message of peace. It's a rather strange assumption, since the gospel Jesus obviously and repeatedly did preach peaceful things like "love your enemies" and "turn the other cheek." It's even stranger in that such an assumption more or less requires ignoring the context of the verse altogether: In both Matthew and Luke it's talking about the cost, potentially up to martyrdom, for Jesus and others who preach his message and conflict not between nations or factions but within households.

Jewish hearers of Jesus who thought he might be the Messiah would naturally enough assume that he had come to bring peace to them; to sit on the throne of David over a mighty if not worldwide kingdom. Somehow, modern critics seem to be reading into the passage precisely the notion of earthly conquest which Jesus was explicitly rejecting!

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Re: Would you stone the man described in Numbers 15?

Post by Hawkins »

Jagella wrote: Consider this story from Numbers 15:32-36(NRSV):
When the Israelites were in the wilderness, they found a man gathering sticks on the sabbath day. Those who found him gathering sticks brought him to Moses, Aaron, and to the whole congregation. They put him in custody, because it was not clear what should be done to him. Then the Lord said to Moses, “The man shall be put to death; all the congregation shall stone him outside the camp.� The whole congregation brought him outside the camp and stoned him to death, just as the Lord had commanded Moses.
Question for Debate: If you were there with these Israelites, would you stone this man in obedience to Moses and to Yahweh?

Keep in mind that this man may have been gathering sticks to build a fire to cook for for his family and to keep them warm. After the Bible god had him killed, any wife he had would be left a widow and any children he had would be left without a father to provide for them. They would be left cold, hungry, and facing poverty. Any friends he had among the Israelites would be obligated to kill their friend.

Despite these consequences of Yahweh's order to stone the man to death, all the Jews and by extension all Christians coming later must obey the Bible god. Any objections you have to this cruel act are nothing to Yahweh and may even result in a similar punishment for disobedience to him. You have a god you must believe in and obey without question and without reason.

I predict that few if any of the Christians here will answer this question honestly and sensibly. To post such an answer is to expose Christian beliefs for what they are.
Mosaic Law is a consequence of men lost godly conscience. That's why a set of black and white requirements are set forth for the Jews to obey.

The Jews are God's people thus they are trained to obey God through Moses instead of applying their moral judgment for the moment. This is so because God has a different base of morality that His people, the Jews need to implement His will such that salvation will extend to save today's souls.

If on the other hand, when you have to apply humans' morality which is different from God's then God's will for human salvation won't last till today. The Jews will have their judgment above that of God's and human decision will override God's and naturally salvation won't be able to reach today's humans. Any failure in soul-saving is against God's morality.

To put it another way, men's morality is based off physically bodies (that's why stoning may be referred to as cruel), however God's morality is based off souls. If the disobedience of His chosen people the Jews will result in less souls to be saved, or the failure of carrying forward God's messages then it's God's morality to be questioned.

Under that circumstance, it means God asks the Jews to kill whoever, they need to do as instructed as it's out of human evaluation on how many souls are affected in human history by not to obey so! On the other hand, the Jews are trained so that's why they are good message carriers. The Jews are the only ethnic group which can keep their custom and religion after 2000 years of exile without their own homeland. This characteristic contributes to how God's message of salvation conveys to reach today's humans.

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Re: Would you stone the man described in Numbers 15?

Post by Jagella »

[Replying to post 271 by Hawkins]

Well, I can see how your religious beliefs can lead to violence and killing. Salvation is of the utmost importance, and human life and welfare are a distant second. I will keep in mind your comments for future debates whenever issues of religious violence are raised. The fact is that religious belief very often has a violent basis and can end in tragedy. I want that fact to be known to everybody.

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Post by marco »

Mithrae wrote:
Modern readers, particularly modern critics of Christianity, seem to have a tendency of assuming that Jesus was here disabusing the notion that he'd come with a message of peace. It's a rather strange assumption, since the gospel Jesus obviously and repeatedly did preach peaceful things like "love your enemies" and "turn the other cheek." It's even stranger in that such an assumption more or less requires ignoring the context of the verse altogether: In both Matthew and Luke it's talking about the cost, potentially up to martyrdom, for Jesus and others who preach his message and conflict not between nations or factions but within households.

I disagree. You ignore a purpose clause in the following:


"Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; 36 and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household."


He came IN ORDER TO set man against father etc. This is different from suggesting an unhappy consequence of his teaching was that there would be strife and martyrdom. His PURPOSE was to cause strife, according to the quoted passage.


As for contradictions in his message, they may arise from his maintaining confidence in the harsh biblical God while trying, at the same time, to propagate love. We have stark contradictions in such statements as: "God so loved the world that he allowed his son to be tortured and crucified." Love usually recoils from allowing torture, especially if love has the power to prevent it.

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Re: Would you stone the man described in Numbers 15?

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[Replying to post 271 by Hawkins]
If on the other hand, when you have to apply humans' morality which is different from God's then God's will for human salvation won't last till today. The Jews will have their judgment above that of God's and human decision will override God's and naturally salvation won't be able to reach today's humans. Any failure in soul-saving is against God's morality.
So what you're saying is...is that if humans didn't bash each other's skulls in with heavy rocks because one person picked up sticks on the wrong day of the week, then the good thing God wants to happen to and for humans, won't happen at all.
To put it another way, men's morality is based off physically bodies (that's why stoning may be referred to as cruel), however God's morality is based off souls. If the disobedience of His chosen people the Jews will result in less souls to be saved, or the failure of carrying forward God's messages then it's God's morality to be questioned.
Here's a question for you. Apply the same quote unquote logic you have here to the Aztecs and their beliefs regarding sacrificing humans and cutting out their hearts. Your quote unquote logic means that ANY and ALL practices, no matter how despicable, can be morally justified as long as one posits some sort of invisible god is involved (nevermind the burden of evidence, that doesn't apply here cuz reasons)
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Post by William »

[Replying to post 273 by marco]
He came IN ORDER TO set man against father etc. This is different from suggesting an unhappy consequence of his teaching was that there would be strife and martyrdom. His PURPOSE was to cause strife, according to the quoted passage.
I don't buy into everything which is attributed to supposedly having been spoken by Jesus but I agree with Mithrae in regard to Jesus overall teaching was not for the purpose of arming humans to fight one another.

Perhaps that became popular or was added to the mix later on down the line after Christendom became an established Roman device, and further down the line, useful for drumming up manpower to crusade for the occupation of Jerusalem, but in relation to Jesus' overall teaching of peace and goodwill etc, taking the phrase out of context isn't exactly an honest argument - more a popular strawman non-theists use to poke and prod at a safe distance rather than having to get close up and personal.

I myself have always regarded the phrase in context with the rest of the underlying message Jesus is supposed to have spoken that Jesus was warning would-be followers that the price for peace and love would be the complete disruption of family, friends relationships etc because those into hate, warfare and other forms of violence would make it very clear that they do not want peace and love, and will - at the very least - symbolically fight against that and oust the unrepentant offenders.

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Post by Mithrae »

marco wrote:
Mithrae wrote: Modern readers, particularly modern critics of Christianity, seem to have a tendency of assuming that Jesus was here disabusing the notion that he'd come with a message of peace. It's a rather strange assumption, since the gospel Jesus obviously and repeatedly did preach peaceful things like "love your enemies" and "turn the other cheek." It's even stranger in that such an assumption more or less requires ignoring the context of the verse altogether: In both Matthew and Luke it's talking about the cost, potentially up to martyrdom, for Jesus and others who preach his message and conflict not between nations or factions but within households.
I disagree. You ignore a purpose clause in the following:
"Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; 36 and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household."

He came IN ORDER TO set man against father etc. This is different from suggesting an unhappy consequence of his teaching was that there would be strife and martyrdom. His PURPOSE was to cause strife, according to the quoted passage.
An interpretation which heavily depends on a particular word or phrase at the expense of immediate context and contradicting the author's broader message is not a very good interpretation. I quoted both relevant passages, and one of them does not have that same specific phrasing nor support your contention, while more broadly 'Matthew' clearly and unequivocally has Jesus teaching love for enemies, turning the other cheek etc. Luke's version of the passage has Jesus saying "I have come to cast fire upon the earth; and how I wish it were already kindled," which seems reminiscent of another Q passage (this one identical in both gospels):
  • Matthew 3:11 “As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 12 His winnowing fork is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clear His threshing floor; and He will gather His wheat into the barn, but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.â€�
That's reflected in Matthew 10:33 ("whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him...") also. In both general terms and specifically in the passage we're talking about the authors obviously viewed Jesus as coming to judge and divide between the faithful and unfaithful (his message and his purpose), and in both this passage and others they also clearly expected the unfaithful to often hate or persecute his followers even within a family (an effect of his message and obedience to it). Your emphasis on the precise wording of Matthew 10 leads to conflation of those two related but distinct types of division. Matthew's phrasing arguably is confusing, but by analogy, if some folk were naively expecting a big wind farm to improve their local environment because it's a 'green' initiative, a fairly blunt way of disabusing them of that notion would be to say "No, they've come to clear a bunch of land and destroy local habitats"; yet it would still be incorrect to fixate on that precise phrasing as proof that habitat destruction is their purpose rather than a necessary consequence.

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