: My book is Understanding the Bible by Stephen
: Harris. If you get a new copy of the latest edition,
: it's quite expensive. I got a used copy of the last
Expensive to be sure. I saw it in a used bookstore yesterday. It was $28 for a roughly used copy, so I didn't buy it.
: The alleged contrast between the OT's legalistic,
: judgmental Diety, and the NT's merciful God of grace
: does not bear up under scrutiny.
I'm not sure I can agree with that, but a lot depends on whether you equate the teachings of Jesus with the will of God. I grew up in a church that believed that Jesus and God were one. "God robed Himself in flesh..." is a common phrase. So if it is God saying "Love thy neighbor" and "Turn the other cheek" how can this be reconciled with God in the Book of Joshua saying, essentially, "Exterminate the Canaanites to the last man, woman and child lest their seed pollute your bloodlines, and if you don't I'll punish you for showing mercy"?
The chapters of the O.T. after the Pentateuch seem to have been written from a polytheistic point of view. "God" is the god of the Israelites only, and doesn't care beans about the other peoples. They have their own gods. It's all about "My god's stronger than your god and hooray for our side!" Morality doesn't enter the picture, just obedience.
: A couple years ago, David Plotz on Slate.com read and
: blogged about the OT. I enjoyed reading that.
This is a great reference. He points out inconsistencies and pure silliness that I thought was just misreading on my part.
: There's a nice article on Slate now that calls for a
: new Agnosticism. http://www.slate.com/id/2258484/
They're making a complex issue out of what I thought was a simple distinction. An atheist, in my view, doesn't believe in any divine directive force, nor is he interested in attaining such a belief. Whether or not science will eventually tell us all we would like to know about the universe is immaterial. My definition of an agnostic is someone who feels he must become more certain than he is now about whether there is, or is not, a god.
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