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Author Topic: Leviticus: What's still relevant?  (Read 4866 times)

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Offline SabbyTopic starter

Leviticus: What's still relevant?
« on: December 15, 2010, 08:07:10 AM »
Every time I hear a Christian pander the anti-gay opinion, they always quote Leviticus. I don't know the Bible, I only have Bible readers to go by, and then, I only get the ones retarded enough to end up on TV. So, I'm aware I get a very skewed view of this matter.

CNNNN: Holy Homosexuals

While it's pretty funny, it did raise some valid questions. There was another where he asked a woman if she believe's the Bible is 100% true, and when she answered yes, he introduced her to his son, and asked her to help him kill him for cursing him.

Offline Xenophile

Re: Leviticus: What's still relevant?
« Reply #1 on: December 15, 2010, 09:06:14 AM »
There's quite a few things in the Bible that isn't relevant today.

For crying out loud, it has it's origins in the bronze age, and the volume of text in contains has only been added to since then, not removed, and hardly revised.*
The Bible,  both the Old and New Testament, make sense in the time and place they where written in (or in the case of the New Testament, in the time and place the originate from, 1st-2rd century Galilee). The teachings that the texts teach are made in those times, places and conditions in mind. They where written to guide those people in those times, facing the problems that they would face. It's a different world now, and those values where the values of those peoples. To think that those values would apply to all Christians (or all peoples) in the world would be to say that we all live in mud huts in the desert with a pastoral lifestyle with our extended family, their livelihood and health threatened by their neighbours. That just isn't true.

* Yes, I know about the council of Nicea and the centuries of editions and changes, but the Old Testament values and lessons are still preserved from those old times, which was a time almost unimaginably different from today.

I hope this was relevant to the discussion of this thread. I'd hate to rant about something off-topic.

Offline SabbyTopic starter

Re: Leviticus: What's still relevant?
« Reply #2 on: December 15, 2010, 09:15:42 AM »
That's something I've thought of to, but to hear people talk about it, they seem to believe the Bible is, always has, and always will be one unchangeable document. It makes more sense for the bible to be periodically altered, and judging by your post, it has been changed now and then, but there seems to be a lot of resistance.

Offline Xenophile

Re: Leviticus: What's still relevant?
« Reply #3 on: December 15, 2010, 09:38:44 AM »
That's something I've thought of to, but to hear people talk about it, they seem to believe the Bible is, always has, and always will be one unchangeable document. It makes more sense for the bible to be periodically altered, and judging by your post, it has been changed now and then, but there seems to be a lot of resistance.

The great amount of changes that where made where in the dawning years when Christianity was becoming an established religion instead of a small cult around 300 AD. Those changes where made to try and standardize and streamline the religion into one single interpretation of the Word of God. The reason was part to find the "truth" instead of allowing so many version to flourish which threatened to spread falsities. Another reason was to stamp out undesirable cults, but the biggest reason was to make the Bible easier to read, and to understand (and thus the Bible actually lost the more interesting philosophical and existential sections).

And there has been resistance. Just look at Arianism and how those guys fared at the Council of Nicaea.

I personally feel bothered when people say that the Bible is some kind of holy and unchanged document directly derived from God. Anyone who's read an ounce of Christian history would know that Christian values has changed, and so has the Bible.

Offline Oniya

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Re: Leviticus: What's still relevant?
« Reply #4 on: December 15, 2010, 09:39:22 AM »
The laws written in Leviticus were written with the intent of keeping a small, nomadic tribe (the Israelites) alive in a hostile territory with little to no food preservation methods, no understanding of germs and parasites, and very few resources.  Many of them can be explained by modern science, but the need for them isn't as crucial in an over-populated, technologically advanced culture that is not in danger of being overrun by its neighbors any time soon.

The laws for keeping kosher, in particular, have been shown to prevent cross-contamination and minimize exposure to certain harmful organisms (very specifically, Trichinosis, Salmonella, and something common in undercooked shellfish), although they do so with a broad brush of 'unclean', rather than 'safe if properly handled'.  Many of the 'leprosy' laws have to do with either other infectious diseases (not Hansen's disease at all), or hazardous molds (in the case of 'leprosy of fabric and buildings'). 

The bits about new patches on old wineskins and mixing fabric types has to do with the fact that the natural fibers have different shrinkage rates - a garment or container of 'mixed type' would distort or even rupture, causing waste of both the material used to make it, and whatever it was containing.  Modern blends involve synthetics that are spun together at the individual fiber level, which couldn't be accomplished with the existing tech, not to mention the fact that polyester, rayon and nylon are long, continuous fibers, instead of the myriad short fibers you get with wools and cotton. 

The laws of sexual conduct are to maximize the survival of the tribe:  Lots of children, genetic diversity (including a weird thing about a childless widow going to her deceased spouse's brother - it keeps the Y-chromosome in the mix, but it's still freaky by today's standards), and actively avoiding things that won't 'produce issue'.  At the time, they didn't seem to recognize that women contribute to the makeup of the child, so lesbianism isn't really touched on, interestingly enough.  The 'sin of Onan' wasn't masturbation, but 'pulling out early', which jeopardized the continuation of his brother's family (one of those childless widow things). 

The bits about curses, 'witches' (the actual Hebrew translates as 'brewer of potions', aka, a poisoner), and the like are more of the BCE* equivalent of 'no flame wars, kthnx!' - if you've got people in a small group throwing curses and poisons at each other (considering that people believed in curses at the time), then the small group is going to fragment, and be more vulnerable to the environment.  A good portion of the Ten Commandments (okay, that's Deuteronomy) can be summed up with 'be nice to each other'.

It's been a while since I've sat down with Leviticus in-depth - these are the ones I can remember off the top of my head.

*BCE = Before Common Era - used by archaeologists and historians in place of the religiously slanted 'Before Christ'.
« Last Edit: December 15, 2010, 09:40:49 AM by Oniya »

Offline Xenophile

Re: Leviticus: What's still relevant?
« Reply #5 on: December 15, 2010, 09:49:10 AM »
Now that the Israelites are mention in depth, I cannot help but be reminded of an interesting thing I head about the Torah.

I've never read it, so I'm just retelling what other more learned people have said (Jared Diamond, specifically). At the end of the Torah, there is a section where Rabbi's and learned peoples have added their own commentaries of the holy text. One such text described a hypothetical situation:

If there is a heathen in a group of people, and you throw a rock at the group to hit and kill the heathen but you miss and kill another Jewish (I can't remember the exact term, but basically it was a man who was following the true faith, i.e not jewish) man by accident, you can escape the death sentence by claiming that you where aiming at the heathen.

Israelites, as tribal societies go, where very hostile against other groups of people. That goes to show how defensive they where, but would we say that this lesson is relevant today?

Offline Oniya

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Re: Leviticus: What's still relevant?
« Reply #6 on: December 15, 2010, 10:02:11 AM »
Now that the Israelites are mention in depth, I cannot help but be reminded of an interesting thing I head about the Torah.

I've never read it, so I'm just retelling what other more learned people have said (Jared Diamond, specifically). At the end of the Torah, there is a section where Rabbi's and learned peoples have added their own commentaries of the holy text. One such text described a hypothetical situation:

If there is a heathen in a group of people, and you throw a rock at the group to hit and kill the heathen but you miss and kill another Jewish (I can't remember the exact term, but basically it was a man who was following the true faith, i.e not jewish) man by accident, you can escape the death sentence by claiming that you where aiming at the heathen.

Israelites, as tribal societies go, where very hostile against other groups of people. That goes to show how defensive they where, but would we say that this lesson is relevant today?

It's hard to comment on Leviticus without bringing up the Israelites, as it is one of the five books of the Pentateuch (along with Genesis, Exodus, Deuteronomy, and Numbers).  We're talking serious Old-Old Testament here, which is why it sort of amuses me that it's typically ultra-conservative Christians who quote it, usually to justify something that conflicts with 'Love your neighbor as yourself'.  Seriously, I don't think I've ever heard a Jewish person reference anything more than the dietary laws.

Offline Avi

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Re: Leviticus: What's still relevant?
« Reply #7 on: December 15, 2010, 10:19:32 AM »
To take a slightly more religious angle on this question, I know that, as a Christian, the legal codes laid out in Leviticus, Numbers, etc. are no longer considered legally binding.  For Christians, when Christ died to save the faithful, he negated the Old Law laid down by Moses.  In fact, one of the earliest debates faced by the Church was whether Christians were expected to continue living under the Mosaic Law, and both Peter and Paul answered with a resounding "No".

That being said, there are plenty of bits taken from the old law that are still good advice for how to live, but the punishments and such laid out for violating those tenets aren't the status quo anymore.  So, for example, for a Christian to advocate the stoning of a child for disobeying their parents is to live in the way that Jesus and the Apostles both clearly said was not the proper way.

Offline Xenophile

Re: Leviticus: What's still relevant?
« Reply #8 on: December 15, 2010, 10:20:20 AM »
It's hard to comment on Leviticus without bringing up the Israelites, as it is one of the five books of the Pentateuch (along with Genesis, Exodus, Deuteronomy, and Numbers).  We're talking serious Old-Old Testament here, which is why it sort of amuses me that it's typically ultra-conservative Christians who quote it, usually to justify something that conflicts with 'Love your neighbor as yourself'.  Seriously, I don't think I've ever heard a Jewish person reference anything more than the dietary laws.

I guess that's one of the reasons why Christianity has been such a successful religion. It is so contradictory, that if you want to spread Christianity, you can choose one out of many messages and lessons to sucker them in. I guess that's why it is such a "powerful" tool in domestic issues too. Christianity can be used to protest against violence, but it can also be used to propagate violence.

Hearing both "Turn the other cheek" and "Tooth for a tooth" will confuse you, but as far as Christians are concerned... They can say whatever they want, and they'll still be right.

Offline Oniya

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Re: Leviticus: What's still relevant?
« Reply #9 on: December 15, 2010, 10:24:40 AM »
There are contradictory messages in most religious texts, not just the Bible.  The ones that want to pick a fight are going to pick out the sections that appeal to them and cut down their opponent.  It's less an issue with Christianity and more an issue of 'I'm going to be right, no matter what part I have to quote'.

Offline Avi

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Re: Leviticus: What's still relevant?
« Reply #10 on: December 15, 2010, 10:29:44 AM »
There are contradictory messages in most religious texts, not just the Bible.  The ones that want to pick a fight are going to pick out the sections that appeal to them and cut down their opponent.  It's less an issue with Christianity and more an issue of 'I'm going to be right, no matter what part I have to quote'.

Exactly.  To single out Christians, and I use that term loosely, at best, in this case... is unfair, because different factions of Islam, different factions of Judaism... they argue over scripture and whether certain parts are relevant.  Some of the greatest Flame Wars I have ever seen have come from these "debates".

Offline Xenophile

Re: Leviticus: What's still relevant?
« Reply #11 on: December 15, 2010, 10:33:14 AM »
There are contradictory messages in most religious texts, not just the Bible.  The ones that want to pick a fight are going to pick out the sections that appeal to them and cut down their opponent.  It's less an issue with Christianity and more an issue of 'I'm going to be right, no matter what part I have to quote'.

I guess that's a flaw in societies where discussions can be made, new editions are made, new content is added, but there original text is so sacred that it cannot be removed. That just creates a jumbled mess of constantly more and more content being added without any corrections being added.

But now I'm veering dangerously off-topic, so I'll make it up with a link to an hour-long lecture given by the author of "Guns, Germs and Steel" about the role organized religion has had in ancient societies, modern societies, and it's role and relevance today. It might just be relevant to this discussion!

The Evolution of Religions

Offline Xenophile

Re: Leviticus: What's still relevant?
« Reply #12 on: December 15, 2010, 10:36:10 AM »
Exactly.  To single out Christians, and I use that term loosely, at best, in this case... is unfair, because different factions of Islam, different factions of Judaism... they argue over scripture and whether certain parts are relevant.  Some of the greatest Flame Wars I have ever seen have come from these "debates".

It may be true that it's unfair to single out Christians, but it's a topic that is most relevant to us (I may be assuming out of my ass here) but most of us in this thread are from predominantly Christian communities. It's closest to our home turf, so to speak, so it's only natural we single that out.

And honestly, if we start to criticize Jews and Muslims, we'll get a big fat chance of being called "Anti-Semites" and "racists", and nobody wants that  ;)

(Not to mention that the OP singled out Leviticus, so discussing the Bible is sort of just following the 'guidelines' anyway.)
« Last Edit: December 15, 2010, 10:39:15 AM by Xenophile »

Offline Oniya

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Re: Leviticus: What's still relevant?
« Reply #13 on: December 15, 2010, 10:47:36 AM »
That may be true - but I've also seen these sorts of threads degenerate rather quickly into a 'Why do you all hate Christians?' situation, so I try to put up a more balanced point of view.  (For the record, I was born and raised Catholic, and discovered Paganism in college.  Mr. Oniya was born and raised Jewish, and has referred to himself as an orthodox Druid, among other things.  It makes it entertaining when the doorbell-ringers make their rounds.)  Interestingly enough, apparently the discussions between the various factions of Judaism are looked at as sort of an intellectual exercise, more like a Zen thing, rather than a 'one side versus the other' situation - at least at the rabbinical level.  I'm sure there are flame-baiters out there.

Offline Xenophile

Re: Leviticus: What's still relevant?
« Reply #14 on: December 15, 2010, 10:54:41 AM »
That may be true - but I've also seen these sorts of threads degenerate rather quickly into a 'Why do you all hate Christians?' situation, so I try to put up a more balanced point of view.  (For the record, I was born and raised Catholic, and discovered Paganism in college.  Mr. Oniya was born and raised Jewish, and has referred to himself as an orthodox Druid, among other things.  It makes it entertaining when the doorbell-ringers make their rounds.)  Interestingly enough, apparently the discussions between the various factions of Judaism are looked at as sort of an intellectual exercise, more like a Zen thing, rather than a 'one side versus the other' situation - at least at the rabbinical level.  I'm sure there are flame-baiters out there.

That is interesting, I've heard the same thing! If I got it right, the discussion of the nature of God and the relationship between God and Man is common in Jewish congregations (or maybe I've misunderstood that, and it is like you said, reserved for the Clerical Elite).

It's almost funny how there's such difference between those kind of debates within Jewish circuits and Christian (or some Christian) circuits. I guess I have to blame the Papacy/Clericalism in general for that one.

Offline Oniya

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Re: Leviticus: What's still relevant?
« Reply #15 on: December 15, 2010, 12:01:32 PM »
From what I know, it's reasonably common among the congregations.  (There's a nice thread over in the Discussions forum that chats about this a bit.)  I'm also fairly certain that as long as there's an actual Rabbi involved somewhere, that it's all rather civil and intellectual (Rabbi means teacher, so I guess I shouldn't be surprised at that).  What I'm not certain about is whether there are isolated die-hards that get ramped up in the same way that I've seen in intra-doctrinal (i.e., Christian faction v. Christian faction, or Muslim faction v. Muslim faction) debates with other faiths.

Offline Xenophile

Re: Leviticus: What's still relevant?
« Reply #16 on: December 15, 2010, 12:23:56 PM »
I'm sure there are furious debates everywhere. But it'll probably depend on just how violent religious debaters are treated.

Religion critics however are without a doubt facing quite some violent repercussions where ever they are. Provided it is in religious areas, of course.

Offline Lio

Re: Leviticus: What's still relevant?
« Reply #17 on: December 17, 2010, 09:41:57 AM »
Having friends with Orthodox jewish background I've also found that debating is quite a big thing for them. Perhaps not so much a common thing but once a week they meet at the Synogogue purely to discuss. However they always discuss from taking that what's said in the Torah is fact, it does mean they have something to build up on but it also keeps the discussion purely with jews because not everyone will believe the Torah is fact. The only christian debating I've come across is when I was on the 'Alpha course' when I was twelve, I wasn't very impressed with their answers but I was young and may have been missing things. None of my muslim friends have mentioned a discussion of Islam, they teach it but...well I probably have too small a sample for there to be anything in it. Discussion of religion is something I think is very important, blindly following it I think is the reason people still think some parts are relevant.

Relating back to the first post, the woman who was asked whether everything in the bible was 100% true, perhaps she was led to that since saying any of it is untrue is to question god. But if she had been educated in her religion she could have had a better understanding of what she 'believes' in. She could have said that some things were no longer relevant, somethings were not meant litterally. (Although you would have thought since he's supposed to be all powerful god could have written his book to be eternally relevant and without room for interpretation and misuse...but that's just a side thought and perhaps for another discussion).

The point I'm trying to make, linking everything together, is that perhaps if they would just sit down and discuss it within their religion the face of religion would change, the laws that were only relevant to our ancestors (the ones that couldn't cook shellfish properly and that sort of thing) would be noted as such. "Thou shalt not kill" and all the "thou shalt just be nice to people OK?!" rules I think we'll agree still apply.
Thing is, I think if there is a God who created us...he gave us the mental capacity to see past certain things, the universe wasn't created in six days, humans evolved from other animals before them and not from dust, women were born...not made from a rib (unless perhaps some aliens came and cloned her from Adams DNA....from his rib...lets just go with it wasn't a rib)...but if God gave you the ability to see these things when we had matured as a species and he gave us a book when we were in our infancy...are you not just insulting God by not using the ability he's given you? Surely following the book that was given to the human race when it needed some sort of backbone to its society and a common ground for people and laws that were set down that could not be argued with (a higher judgement if you like)...surely he can't have given us the ability to see past the book as a litteral timeless book of relevance and still want us to follow it as such.

However I have a habit of missing huge chunks once I get started, feel free to point them out :).


Offline Serephino

Re: Leviticus: What's still relevant?
« Reply #18 on: December 17, 2010, 08:06:22 PM »
I think you made a very good point.  Most of those rules may have been useful to keep desert dwellers with primitive technology in line, but we don't live that way anymore.  I've always found it odd that churches dwell more on the Jewish history than the teachings of Christ, the person they're supposed to believe in.  At least the churches I have been to did this.  It annoyed me.

 We know better now, but I think for some people scripture is just something to hide behind.  In my experience, there are two types of people who take the Bible literally.  The first kind are hateful assholes.  You being a sinner gives them justification to think they're better than you, and to hate you.  They don't have to change because they're only following God's law.  The second kind are a special kind of moron with a very empty life that needs something to cling to.  It fills a hole in their lives, so they swallow every word spoon fed to them by the hateful assholes, because you know, just being hateful isn't enough.  They need underlings to hang onto their every word.  Some of them are a mix of the two.

Keep in mind though that I said in my experience because those are the types of people I have dealt with personally.  I've also met intelligent Christians who think for themselves that I don't mind being around.  They don't make me want to choke them.     



Offline Oniya

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Re: Leviticus: What's still relevant?
« Reply #19 on: December 17, 2010, 08:42:43 PM »
Well, there's a very blatant dichotomy between the God of the Old Testament and the God of the New Testament.  The New Testament is 'Love one another', for the most part.  (I tend to ignore a lot of Paul, though.  He seems to be a favorite among the evangelicals.)  The Old Testament is the whole 'fire and brimstone' thing, where the only reason that He hasn't wiped us out already is because it would look bad for Him to destroy all his Chosen people.  But wandering around in the desert for 40 years is just fine.

When the hate-mongers want to find a quote that says how terrible those people are that don't believe in their point of view, they pretty much have to go back to the Old Testament.

Offline Lio

Re: Leviticus: What's still relevant?
« Reply #20 on: December 18, 2010, 07:06:19 AM »
Well, there's a very blatant dichotomy between the God of the Old Testament and the God of the New Testament.  The New Testament is 'Love one another', for the most part.  (I tend to ignore a lot of Paul, though.  He seems to be a favorite among the evangelicals.)  The Old Testament is the whole 'fire and brimstone' thing, where the only reason that He hasn't wiped us out already is because it would look bad for Him to destroy all his Chosen people.  But wandering around in the desert for 40 years is just fine.
As far as I know there is still some stuff about God loving his chosen people in the old testament, he makes them wander in the desert because he doesn't think they're ready to enter their holy land and only the next generation may enter...or something like that. But there is a big difference between the two versions of god, I'd hazard a guess and say God didn't really change and it's more a PR stunt than anything (if they are the same god). However Jews don't believe in a hell (or heaven)...well, I say they don't believe, I mean it isn't expressly said that there is one in the old testament and so there isn't a 'You will be sent to eternal damnation' sort of view from there.
Quote
When the hate-mongers want to find a quote that says how terrible those people are that don't believe in their point of view, they pretty much have to go back to the Old Testament.

There's plenty of harvest for hate mongers in the new testament, jesus says something about not bringing peace but a sword....I'm not sure of the context but regardless that's pretty good place for them to start. There's a lot of stuff about trees that bring forth bad fruit being burnt with eternal fire and that if there's a bad tree the fruit can't be good. There's a lot of stuff there to take out of context....or it might even be in context...I'm not sure.

http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/int/nt_list.html
That's where I looked.

But it doesn't matter which books they have to use, I think it all needs trimming down, bringing more up to date.

Christianity takes more from the new testament I thought, but I could be wrong. I just thought they saw the old testament as a sort of prologue.

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Re: Leviticus: What's still relevant?
« Reply #21 on: December 18, 2010, 09:11:52 AM »
I think that what has been lost in this particular discussion is that in the New Testament Jesus basically wipes away all of those "laws" and declares that love is superior to everything else. Therefore anyone who focuses on Old Testament teachings and claims to be fully Christian is missing the point entirely of what the "New Testament" means.

And, of course, on the flip side everything in the Old Testament is not all there is about present day Judaism, so keep that in mind as well.

*Just my two cents worth- promptly flees the religion section*

Offline MasterMischief

Re: Leviticus: What's still relevant?
« Reply #22 on: December 18, 2010, 03:25:58 PM »
Matthew 22:34-37
34 Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. 35 One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
 37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’  38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”


It seems pretty clear to me Jesus was explicit about what was important.

Offline dominomask

Re: Leviticus: What's still relevant?
« Reply #23 on: December 20, 2010, 11:39:01 AM »
Well, there's a very blatant dichotomy between the God of the Old Testament and the God of the New Testament.  The New Testament is 'Love one another', for the most part.  (I tend to ignore a lot of Paul, though.  He seems to be a favorite among the evangelicals.)

There's an interesting book called "What Paul Meant" that talks about the situation he was writing from, and where he was probably edited.  The book of Paul is taken from his letters to various groups of early Christians, many of them not the first letter of the exchange.  In addition, he was something of a loose cannon (or loose canon, if you wanna get punny) and did not always check back with the central council in his travels, though his history was later edited to imply that he checked back in them regularly.

So, imagine for a second that you're on this interminable business trip for a cause you believe passionately in and for which you are enduring crappy accommodations, and you're engaged in more than one heated-debate-verging-on-flame-war via e-mail with friends and family and adjuncts of your organization that don't get what you're trying to tell them.  You become more and more emphatic and extreme in trying to get your point across.  Now imagine a biographer several generations later only has access to some of the intermediate e-mails from which to gather an idea of what you believed.  Do you think they'd get a good idea of the principles you started writing from, or would you maybe wish you could go back and edit some things you said in the heat of stress and rhetoric?  Would it make a difference that they didn't have access to the e-mails where you eventually mended fences, or the e-mails where they threw some really low blows at you that you couldn't resist answering?

And speaking of editing, Paul's personal gnosis was definitely edited to make it jive better with the opinions of the home office.  His views on the rights of women to teach and prophesy, for example, change from "a woman should cover her head when prophesying in the square" to "women should not prophesy" in practically consecutive verses.  If you've ever been in a even-slightly-fractious principle-based volunteer organization, reflect on what would happen if your superiors took it upon themselves to explain YOUR views to others so as to make the group seem more together than it really is.

Paul was a passionate guy.  He was the author of 1 Corinthians 13, after all, one of the most poetic and direct defenses of Jesus' message of love.  http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Corinthians+13&version=NIV

So yeah, if someone hateful quotes Paul, counter with Paul.
« Last Edit: December 20, 2010, 11:46:35 AM by dominomask »

Offline alxnjsh

Re: Leviticus: What's still relevant?
« Reply #24 on: December 20, 2010, 08:09:12 PM »
The phrase you may be searching for is Biblical inerrancy. Biblical innerancy is the concept that the Bible is free from error. As I tend to view the world in shades of gray and as such put them on a continuum, I think of it in this way (supported by a reference below):

Absolute innerancy - Limited innerancy - No innerancy

Absolute = Bible is without any error. It was written with inspiration from God and as such is the word.

Limited = The Bible is full of important moral, ethical and spiritual guidelines. However, it's context was the Bronze Age and as such social and other cues are not relevant.

No = The Bible is mostly allegory or myth and we should use it mostly as fables from which we can learn lessons.

The point being that no one really agrees on how much of the Bible is interpreted from story and how much of it is the Word of God.

Source: http://www.religioustolerance.org/inerran1.htm