There is a reason the old testament, and thus the covenant between Jehovah and man, was replaced with the new testament. Sacrifices were no longer needed because Jesusí blood sufficed, thus cute and cuddly lambs and hulking bulls were saved as much as man was. All of the old testament eye for an eye crap and warmonger in his name were replaced because Jesusí message was a message of love and tolerance (except for those in the temple).
The problem here is that the Old Testament wasn't
replaced with the New Testament. It may have been intended to be
, the New Testament may have said
it was, but even the most cursory glance at the landscape of fundagelical Christianity will show you that (EDIT: some) Old Testament morality is very much alive and well.
As was pointed out above, a lot of the laws in the old testament were there for a reason but are not relevant now and really shouldnít be used for more than a history lesson on what life was like during that time.
Trying to say the whole of the religion is bad based on text that isnít even relevant anymore is, well, silly. Especially when all it takes is a little research to find out that the books in the bible were not chosen by Jehovah. Matter of fact, there are quite a number of gospels that are not included in the bible. It was the council of Nicea that chose which books would go in the bible and become ícanoní so christians arenít even getting the full picture (though Iíd not recommend trying to tell them that).
Here's the thing, though: thesunmaid never said that the whole religion was bad. She said that people should stop following specific demonstrably faulty
moral guidelines. Whiile I do not speak for her, I would be extremely
surprised if she had any particular issue with, say, Fred Clark's
brand of Christianity.
I do get it about getting upset at having someone elseís beliefs pushed on you. I live in the bible belt, I hear it all the time. But I still do not understand the stance of absolute hate - and yes, that is exactly what comes across in rants like this. Not aggravation with a situation. But unadulterated hate for something that is not agreed with. Yes, some followers go way above and beyond to make life miserable for others. But for every one of those kinds of people there are hundreds that donít. The comments of saying that people should stop following the bible because of irrelevant books in the bible totally ignores the absolutely beautiful messages of the second half of the book - you know, the parts of the book that says love everyone, help those around you. Show kindness and compassion. Live an honest life. The things we as humans SHOULD be doing.
The only reason I can see that "absolute", "unadulterated hate" might come across in thesunmaid's posts is because you are unprepared to see an atheist's position any other way. There is frustration there, yes. There is condemnation of frankly shitty morals. But you seem to be forgetting that she explained, at length in the opening post
, that she had no particular problem with religion that was not hateful and intrusive.
(There is an interesting discussion on the basically agreeable moral principles of the New Testament and whether it actually contains a good moral code, but that is a separate topic.)
These are the kinds of arguments I love to see in a debate :)
Gushes aside, it could also be argued that particular clothing or hairstyles were for practical as well as for ritual. If you're wandering around in the desert for 80 years (remember, the Israelites, upon leaving Egypt, took forty years to reach the borders of Canaan but were then ordered back into the desert for another forty years), you want to be wearing clothing that will a) keep the sand from getting into your body because that is just uncomfortable, and b) not make you too hot. Tassels can help hold garments down during a sandstorm (a weak argument I know, but bear with me). Styling your hair a particular way can make it less of an inconvenience during a sandstorm and also help manage such nasties as lice and ticks, which love to live in our hair.
This strikes me as a weak position. Tassels are ornamental; straps allowing clothing to quickly and easily be cinched tight, and especially
scarves that could easily cover the nose and mouth, are the sorts of things I would expect to see from people optimizing for a sandstorm. Similarly, short hair, not long curly sidelocks and a full beard, is more conducive to hygiene and less conducive to whipping in the wind.
Strip away the visions of God and the apparent 'higher purpose' of the Israelites, and the Old Testament is essentially a History Textbook with a social code attached Most of the stories are probable even if unproven for the most part. And like the Greeks, the Romans, the Egyptians, the Persians etc, the Israelites associated many of these stories with the being(s) that they believed to be in charge of the universe, adding a moral/purpose to each tale for good measure so that the story instilled in its students the need to behave according to the ideals set out in the aforementioned code.
Ehhh... not as much as you think. The accuracy of the names attached to the stories is spotty, never mind the stories themselves, and last I heard there was a simmering debate among historians of the era as to whether Jesus of Nazareth's existence could even be confirmed from primary sources.
This is not to say that the books contain no truth (there is truth in them, and not all of it about things that happened), but that there was no real division between "history" and "myth" back then, which means we can't really trust them to paint an accurate picture.