I’m trying to understand…

Where and how Jesus rules the Old Testament and laws of the covenant obsolete.

A lot of the apologetics argue that Jesus “fulfils” the laws so they are no longer necessary:

From Matthew:

5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
5:17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.
5:18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
5:19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
5:20 For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.

But this directly contradicts many of the assertions of the Old Testament that the laws were eternal and perfect (and thus wouldn’t need to be changed or abandoned):

Psalms 19:7
The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.

Psalms 119:160
Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments(laws) endureth for ever.

And furthermore:

Psalms 119:1-4
Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the LORD.
Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart.
They also do no iniquity: they walk in his ways.
Thou(God) hast commanded us to keep thy precepts diligently.

Furthermore, it’s pretty clear that in the Old Laws God did not want people eating certain foods (they were unclean), but Jesus saw fit to not ‘fulfil’ those laws, but was more willing to just ignore them and taught his disciples as such:

Lev 11:42-44
Whatsoever goeth upon the belly, and whatsoever goeth upon all four, or whatsoever hath more feet among all creeping things that creep upon the earth, them ye shall not eat; for they are an abomination.
Ye shall not make yourselves abominable with any creeping thing that creepeth, neither shall ye make yourselves unclean with them, that ye should be defiled thereby.
For I am the LORD your God: ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and ye shall be holy; for I am holy: neither shall ye defile yourselves with any manner of creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

Mark 7:18-19
And he saith unto them, Are ye so without understanding also? Do ye not perceive, that whatsoever thing from without entereth into the man, it cannot defile him;
Because it entereth not into his heart, but into the belly, and goeth out into the draught, purging all meats?

There’s also  several points when Jesus pisses off the Jews by failing to observe the Sabbath, but it’s very clear in Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus etc. that one who doesn’t observe the Sabbath is to be put to one of a couple serious punishments (since the Old Testament specifies several) – in this law Jesus didn’t really fulfil it, but merely decided to ignore it.

So I pose the question, because I’m not a Theologian, or even a decent expert in the Bible, where am I wrong, and where does it explicitly say that Jesus cancelled the Old Laws?

I’m trying to understand…

Where and how Jesus rules the Old Testament and laws of the covenant obsolete.

A lot of the apologetics argue that Jesus “fulfils” the laws so they are no longer necessary:

From Matthew:

5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
5:17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.
5:18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
5:19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
5:20 For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.

But this directly contradicts many of the assertions of the Old Testament that the laws were eternal and perfect (and thus wouldn’t need to be changed or abandoned):

Psalms 19:7
The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.

Psalms 119:160
Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments(laws) endureth for ever.

And furthermore:

Psalms 119:1-4
Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the LORD.
Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart.
They also do no iniquity: they walk in his ways.
Thou(God) hast commanded us to keep thy precepts diligently.

Furthermore, it’s pretty clear that in the Old Laws God did not want people eating certain foods (they were unclean), but Jesus saw fit to not ‘fulfil’ those laws, but was more willing to just ignore them and taught his disciples as such:

Lev 11:42-44
Whatsoever goeth upon the belly, and whatsoever goeth upon all four, or whatsoever hath more feet among all creeping things that creep upon the earth, them ye shall not eat; for they are an abomination.
Ye shall not make yourselves abominable with any creeping thing that creepeth, neither shall ye make yourselves unclean with them, that ye should be defiled thereby.
For I am the LORD your God: ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and ye shall be holy; for I am holy: neither shall ye defile yourselves with any manner of creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

Mark 7:18-19
And he saith unto them, Are ye so without understanding also? Do ye not perceive, that whatsoever thing from without entereth into the man, it cannot defile him;
Because it entereth not into his heart, but into the belly, and goeth out into the draught, purging all meats?

There’s also  several points when Jesus pisses off the Jews by failing to observe the Sabbath, but it’s very clear in Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus etc. that one who doesn’t observe the Sabbath is to be put to one of a couple serious punishments (since the Old Testament specifies several) – in this law Jesus didn’t really fulfil it, but merely decided to ignore it.

So I pose the question, because I’m not a Theologian, or even a decent expert in the Bible, where am I wrong, and where does it explicitly say that Jesus cancelled the Old Laws?

I’m trying to understand…

Where and how Jesus rules the Old Testament and laws of the covenant obsolete.

A lot of the apologetics argue that Jesus “fulfils” the laws so they are no longer necessary:

From Matthew:

5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
5:17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.
5:18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
5:19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
5:20 For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.

But this directly contradicts many of the assertions of the Old Testament that the laws were eternal and perfect (and thus wouldn’t need to be changed or abandoned):

Psalms 19:7
The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.

Psalms 119:160
Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments(laws) endureth for ever.

And furthermore:

Psalms 119:1-4
Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the LORD.
Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart.
They also do no iniquity: they walk in his ways.
Thou(God) hast commanded us to keep thy precepts diligently.

Furthermore, it’s pretty clear that in the Old Laws God did not want people eating certain foods (they were unclean), but Jesus saw fit to not ‘fulfil’ those laws, but was more willing to just ignore them and taught his disciples as such:

Lev 11:42-44
Whatsoever goeth upon the belly, and whatsoever goeth upon all four, or whatsoever hath more feet among all creeping things that creep upon the earth, them ye shall not eat; for they are an abomination.
Ye shall not make yourselves abominable with any creeping thing that creepeth, neither shall ye make yourselves unclean with them, that ye should be defiled thereby.
For I am the LORD your God: ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and ye shall be holy; for I am holy: neither shall ye defile yourselves with any manner of creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

Mark 7:18-19
And he saith unto them, Are ye so without understanding also? Do ye not perceive, that whatsoever thing from without entereth into the man, it cannot defile him;
Because it entereth not into his heart, but into the belly, and goeth out into the draught, purging all meats?

There’s also  several points when Jesus pisses off the Jews by failing to observe the Sabbath, but it’s very clear in Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus etc. that one who doesn’t observe the Sabbath is to be put to one of a couple serious punishments (since the Old Testament specifies several) – in this law Jesus didn’t really fulfil it, but merely decided to ignore it.

So I pose the question, because I’m not a Theologian, or even a decent expert in the Bible, where am I wrong, and where does it explicitly say that Jesus cancelled the Old Laws?

Sharia Law

Sharia law is the Islamic way of providing rule and justice. It is based solely off of the Quar’an and for that reason it is unjust and should not be practised in Canada.

Modern Western law has evolved from religious inspired doctrines of the middle ages, to reviving some of the old Greek ideas of democracy, to a modern secular and philosophical form.

Allowing for law from books of revelation, even within small communities leaves people open to persecution, discrimination, and hate crimes.

The Old Testament features many laws which do not hold today – from not eating shellfish, to stoning and death sentences for many crimes. By Old Testament standards slavery and the subjugation of women would be allowed and promoted. Even the New Testament features passages that do not apply to modern law.

One only needs to listen to stories from the Islamic states to hear the sheer appalling gory of Sharia law in action: a British teacher sentenced to forty lashes for allowing her 7-8 year old students to name a teddy bear Mohamed in Sudan, a woman in Saudi Arabia is sentenced to 200 lashes and 6 months in jail for being in a car with a non-relative man – she was also gang raped that night (the attackers got 2-9 years in jail), and that’s just what I’ve heard in the past couple weeks.

And some feel it’s okay to allow this sort of legal system to be practised in Canada? (The move in Ontario in 2005 was squashed by Premier McGuinty).

Religious law is a 1000-year backwards step for a society.

Richard Dawkins is no astrologer

How dare Dakwin’s insult astrology in his documentary Enemies of Reason.  He has not spent years studying astrology, he does not know the exact meaning of each of the planets and what it means for Uranus to oppose Venus, or the significance of each equinox.  Why it’s as though one would think he’d have the gusto to insult religion without being a trained theologian.

My point here is pretty obvious (I hope), it’s about as appropriate to say someone cannot criticize religion without being a trained theologian as one cannot criticize astrology without being a trained astrologer. I realized this one evening in bed, but later realized that it was a repeat with a different punchline (and not as eloquent) as PZ Myers spoof.

Here’s a brief reference of articles (from this great anti-astronomical pseudo-science resource) that discredit those who believe astrology is something more and may disagree with me (these of course tend to be scientists published in science journals, and if you have a problem with that relearn the scientific method as it stands today):

Abell, G. “Astrology — Its Principles and Relation and Nonrelation to Science” in The Science Teacher, Dec. 1974, p. 9. An early debunking article.

Bok, B., et al. “Objections to Astrology” in The Humanist, Sep/Oct. 1975. A special issue devoted in large part to this subject.

Carlson, S. “Astrology” in Experientia, vol. 44, p. 290 (1988). A clear review.

Carlson, S. “A Double Blind Test of Astrology” in Nature, vol. 318, p. 419 (5 Dec. 1985). A technical paper describing a good experiment examining whether astrology works.

Dean, G. “Does Astrology Need to be True?” in Skeptical Inquirer, Winter 86-87, p. 116; Spring 1987, p. 257. An important examination of tests about astrology.

Dean, G. & Kelly, I. “Does Astrology Work: Astrology and Skepticism 1975-2000” in Kurtz, Paul, ed. Skeptical Odysseys. 2001, Prometheus Books.

Dean, G., et al. “The Guardian Astrology Study: A Critique and Reanalysis” in The Skeptical Inquirer, Summer 1985, p. 327.

Dean, G., et al. “Astrology” in Gordon Stein, ed. The Encyclopedia of the Paranormal. 1996, Prometheus Books, p. 47-96. Long readable introduction.

Fraknoi, A. “Your Astrology Defense Kit” in Sky & Telescope, Aug. 1989, p. 146. An introductory article with some basic skeptical questions about astrology. (Available on the web at:
http://www.astrosociety.org/education/astro/act3/
astrology3.html#defense
)

Fraknoi, A. “Astrology Versus Astronomy” in Astronomy, Jan. 1999, p. 102. Concise note.

Kelly, I. “Modern Astrology: A Critique” in Psychological Reports, vol. 81, p. 1035 (1997). An excellent review. (An expanded version can be found on the first web site recommended below.)

Kelly, I.” Why Astrology Doesn’t Work” in Psychological Reports, vol. 82, p. 527 (1998).

Kelly, I. “The Scientific Case Against Astrology” in Mercury, Nov/Dec. 1980, p. 135.

Kelly, I. “Astrology and Science: A Critical Examination” in Psychological Reports, vol. 44, p. 1231 (1979).

Kruglak, H. & O’Bryan, M. “Astrology in the Astronomy Classroom” in Mercury, Nov/Dec 1977, p. 18.

Kurtz, P. & Fraknoi, A. “Scientific Tests of Astrology Do Not Support Its Claims” in Skeptical Inquirer, Spring 1985, p. 210.

Kurtz, P., et al. “Astrology and the Presidency” in Skeptical Inquirer, Fall 1988, p. 3. A good summary of the controversy concerning astrology in the Reagan White House.

Lovi, G. “Zodiacal Signs Versus Constellations” in Sky & Telescope, Nov. 1987, p.507.

Mc Gervey, J. “A Statistical Test of Sun-sign Astrology” in Skeptical Inquirer, Spring/Summer 1977, p. 49.

Nienhuys, J. “The Mars Effect in Retrospective” in Skeptical Inquirer, Nov/Dec. 1997, p. 24. Good summary of the current research on what seemed to be one lone test confirming astrology. (see also, Dean, G. “Is the Mars Effect a Social Effect” in Skeptical Inquirer, May/June 2002, p. 33.)

Rotton, J. “Astrological Forecasts and the Commodity Market” in Skeptical Inquirer, Summer 1985, p. 339.

Basically my main point here is as follows: “it is entirely fair to discredit something even if you aren’t formally trained in it, so long as you can legitimately question the foundations of the belief.”  Knowing the ins and outs of every verse of the New and Old Testaments can’t demonstrate whether or not god exists, in the same way knowing each of the meanings associated with the planets (or remembering all the “rules of correspondence” for the stars and planets).

So don’t discredit atheist authors for denying god because they aren’t theologians.  If you do want some atheists trained in the bible try Dan Barker, and others.

Tales from Exodus

So I finished book two from the Old Testament a few days ago, and am going to continue writing my perspectives on the Bible (see Genesis here).

The main focus of Exodus is the life of Moses. He was a Hebrew born in Egypt at a time when all of the Sons of Israel were under heavy persecution. His mother did not want him to grow up a slave, so she set him down the river in a wicker basket, and he was luckily picked up by the Pharaoh’s daughter.

So Moses grows up lavishly in the care of the Pharaoh’s daughter, but he felt bad for all the Hebrew’s slaving for the Egyptians. At one early point he sees an Egyptian strike a Hebrew and he

Ex 2:12 So he looked this way and that, and when he saw there was no one around, he struck down the Egyptian and hid him in the sand.

Already Moses is fighting for a cause he believes in (this is before God started talking to him). So we see very early that Moses is passionate about saving his people, and likely would fight for there freedom with or without God’s directions.

So Moses flees Egypt so he doesn’t get murdered for killing the Egyptian, and while he’s on the lam God speaks to him through the ‘burning bush’ (later in this book he’s more direct).

Ex 3:14 God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM”; and He said, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’ “

So God has chosen his favourite peoples and decided that Moses needs to stand up for them and free them from the oppression. To convince the people that he is a prophet, God gives Moses some powers (the first human to get supernatural abilities).

Specifically, Moses’ staff turns into a serpant when thrown to the ground, his hand turns lepourous when touched to his chest, and when Moses takes water from the Nile and pours it on the ground it will turn to blood.

And then Moses claims he isn’t a good enough public speaker to represent God, so God tells him to recruit his brother (remember that Moses was an orphan, so I don’t know how he knows his Hebrew brother) Aaron to help him in his tasks. I knew the general story of Moses before, but I had never heard mention of Aaron, but I guess its okay because he dissapears from the story later in Exodus.

Then follows Moses (and Aaron) quickly convincing the Israelites that they are sent by God (the ability to cast miracles would help), and then setting to demand from the Pharaoh that all the Sons of Israel be free to leave Egypt. The Pharaoh is dead-set against this and God intercedes with increasing levels of plagues.

An interesting passage before the plagues begin is Exodus 7:1

Then the Lord said to Moses, “See, I make you as God to Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron shall be your prophet.”

Basically God sets out that he can elevate Moses to the level of a God, which contradicts later in the Ten Commandments where he states that one should not raise idols, but I guess God is exempt from His laws for us.

Now for the plagues and proofs to the Pharaoh: Moses does the staff-snake trick, the Nile to blood trick (in fact he turns all of the water in Egypt to blood), all the fish in the Nile are killed, frogs swarm from the Nile and cover the people’s land, gnats (lice) spread through Egypt, swarms of flies, killed all of the livestock (only of the Egyptians), boils and soars break out on man and beast (God doesn’t kill everyone so that they may exist to know and fear him – Ex 9:16), a heavy hail-fire storm (which kills every living thing caught outdoors), locusts (most of Egypt is in ruins by this point), and as a finale all the firstborns of Egypt shall die (including of the slaves and the cattle – even though he already killed all of the livestock).

Now God didn’t want to kill the Israelites firstborns (and He wasn’t sure which ones they were, even though He favoured them heavily), so He had them slaughter a lamb, and spill its blood on their steps so He would know which houses to “Passover.” Passover would then have to occur every year from then on. There were several other rules to Passover (no leftovers), but I won’t cover them here (God is really anal in this book).

So once all the firstborns are killed by God, the Isrealites head out of Egypt, but the Pharaoh chases after them. Then Moses reaches the Red Sea and God gives him the power to part the sea and cross through, then dropping the sea on the Egyptian soldiers.

Eventually the Isrealites escape the Egyptians and Moses goes up Mount Sinai to recieve the first set of the Ten Commandments.  Exodus 20:3-17

“You shall have no other gods before Me.

“You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth.

“You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquit of the fathers on the children, on the third and fourth generations who hate Me,

but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.

“You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain.

“Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.

“Six days you shall labor and do all your work.

but on the seventh day is a sabbath of the Lord your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you.

“For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day and made it holy.

“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the Lord your God gives you.

“You shall not commit murder.

“You shall not commit adultery.

“You shall not steal.

“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife or his male servant or his female servant or his ox or his donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”

Number four there, the do not work on the sabbath, that becomes an important one, as was already emphasized in Genesis.  Repeatedly it’s stated that those who work on the Sabbath are to be banished and/or stoned (take your pick, there’s passages stating both).

Also note, there’s no Hell yet, basically follow these rules so you don’t get stoned to death.

Then the story goes into some specifics of slave ordinances, property rights, sundry laws, and setting up a representative legal system (judges representing Moses who represents God).  Kind of interesting, but most of the laws deal with oxen, slaves, and things that we’d have to extrapolate to put into practice today.  Even still our current legal systems are much more detailed then the few short chapters mentioned in Exodus.

Basically the last half of the book of Exodus talks about God describing the Ark of the Covenant and the dress and conduct of the priests.  It’s really dry and seems like God is being really assinine in commanding His people to build this.  I guess if they’re true believers they won’t question Him, and will do their utmost to build a temple and ark to his exact specifications.

The next book is Leviticus, which hosts some of the famous passages that fanatics use to call homosexuality an abomination, but many other lesser known rules as well.

Why can’t I own a Canadian?

This question was posted by a man named “Jim” in 2002, in response to a radio personality who repeats Leviticus 18:22 as the reason homosexuality is amoral and apprehensible.  The following letter is the reply, with some funny lines in it.

Lev. 25:44 states that I may indeed possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can’t I own Canadians?

…this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die?

I know you have studied these things extensively, so I am confident you can help. Thank you again for reminding us that God’s word is eternal and unchanging.

Remember that just because someone wrote it in a book doesn’t make it true.

Why can’t I own a Canadian?

This question was posted by a man named “Jim” in 2002, in response to a radio personality who repeats Leviticus 18:22 as the reason homosexuality is amoral and apprehensible.  The following letter is the reply, with some funny lines in it.

Lev. 25:44 states that I may indeed possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can’t I own Canadians?

…this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die?

I know you have studied these things extensively, so I am confident you can help. Thank you again for reminding us that God’s word is eternal and unchanging.

Remember that just because someone wrote it in a book doesn’t make it true.