: 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 copy I got through Amazon was around $17 with shipping.
: 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"?
I agree that seems dodgy, but I haven't come to his discussion of the NT yet, so I don't know what case he makes for it there. I think what happens is that the loving forgiving business gets lost in the violence of the OT and a bit of harshness gets lost in the mildness of the NT. Love thy neighbor as thyself is an OT commandment from Leviticus. There's a good practical reason for the change in tone in the NT. In the OT, the Jews are a small nation fighting with small nations. They have a chance to win. In the NT, they're dealing with the Roman empire. It's in their best interest to turn the other cheek.
: 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.
Yeah, the OT does seem to recognize other gods as more than just ideas. Or rather, perhaps, it seems to make clear that it's the book of the god of Israel only, thus suggesting that other people might have other gods. Harris points out that El, which is sometimes used as a name for the Hebrew God in phrases like El Shaddai, is the name of the chief god of the Canaanites, and that Baal, who figures as the main forbidden god, is actually the son of El.
Perhaps the talk of science is in response to what's called the new atheism. I don't know what new atheists claim. I think atheists deny the possibility of the existence of any god, and agnostics, as said in the article, say they just don't know. A firm agnostic might say it's unknowable. I don't know and you don't either.
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