Why should we believe the Israelite mythology? as basis for our faith?

Hi. As much as I love the rich legacy of the Jewish Old Testament, much of it seems based in tribal mythology. The story of Adam and Eve strikes me as just another ancient creation story, attempting to explain a mysterious world in a pre-scientific era.

Then, as the Old Testament progresses, many stories seem to be a one-sided explanation of the story of the 12 tribes of Israel as they marched through history. They have the one true God who instructs them to wipe out enemies, gives them a sometimes nonsensical set of laws, and institutionalizes a Patriarchal system of society that, by our modern standards, was grossly lacking in civil rights for women and the underclass.

The Jews, being a vibrant and gifted group of people manage to create an extensive written document that, then, becomes the foundation for the Christian faith.

This is not to say that there isn’t greatness and wisdom in the Bible. And, Jesus brought things to such a higher level of spiritual teaching, bringing the faith to such a wider circle of humanity. Yet, there is also rich spirituality in other faiths. They all have strengths and weaknesses.

Well, not really—He reinforced and re-emphasized the high level of spirituality that was already there.

The writers of the NT quote the OT so much of the time, that without the OT the context and meaning of the NT can be almost impossible to wade through. Hence the many different Christian churches. Much of this is related to a divorce of the OT from NT.

My favorite line about Genesis, which can also be applied to the Old Testament in general:

Genesis is 100% real, and some of it actually happened.

Meaning, while Genesis is not an historical account, some parts are true to history while others are spiritually important. The entire book has this reality of spiritual importance, with bits of being historically accurate. The spirituality does not undermine the history, and the history does not undermine the spirituality. The two work together.

This concept, can, I think be applied to the entirety of the Old Testament, but perhaps that is too much of a reach. i don’t know.

For the record, the above line is not my own, I don’t claim credit; I just forgot where I picked it up.

The New Testament (that is to say Jesus) is rooted in the Old Testament. If you read the Bible, even the NT, at all you’d see that. Do away with the OT and you do away with the very reason Jesus was born.

Jesus (God) chose to come to Earth and teach from the Jewish Scriptures.

He didn’t come to Elaborate Buddha’s teachings. He didn’t come and teach from the Bhagavad Gita.

He taught from the Old Testament.

So I say that’s why.

This sort of idea-set is rather common. There is only one God. The Bible is free from error in all its parts. And science has nothing to say about God, the soul, or the validity of Divine Revelation, since, by its own rules, it cannot study such things. There is some truth in other faiths but spirituality without knowing who God is is incomplete. Claims of spirituality are not the same as the true claims given in the Bible, Tradition and from the Teaching Authority of the Church. Scripture has one source:

biblehub.com/2_peter/1-21.htm

There is also the idea that the ancient writers borrowed ideas from other sources:

catholic.com/tracts/is-catholicism-pagan

The patriarchal system is a modern notion based on a Marxist class warfare pattern. In the Bible, God acted as God, not man.

And Adam and Eve?

"Adam and Eve: Real People

“It is equally impermissible to dismiss the story of Adam and Eve and the fall (Gen. 2–3) as a fiction. A question often raised in this context is whether the human race descended from an original pair of two human beings (a teaching known as monogenism) or a pool of early human couples (a teaching known as polygenism).”

There is a type of spirituality which is currently in vogue but it is vague.

"Pope Benedict XVI goes on to say:

"We are moving toward a dictatorship of relativism which does not recognize anything as for certain and which has as its highest goal one’s own ego and one’s own desires. The church must defend itself against threats such as “radical individualism” and “vague religious mysticism”. [emphasis added]"

In order to dismiss the claims of the Church, the Divine Revelation it teaches and the words of the Bible must be lumped into the claims of other religions, which all came from the same source: primitive attempts to explain reality without the scientific knowledge we have today. And while some wisdom is conceded, Jesus Christ is just counted among other teachers as opposed to being the Son of God. Man is the center of all things. Man created religion, but it’s time to move past that.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Peace,
Ed

This is logically inaccurate. Since God created the universe, and science studies the natural laws of creation, science, while perhaps not explicitly naming it, indirectly studies the fruits of God’s creation, which can tell us something about God. Science attests to truth of creation and of God. Properly understood, science is evidence of God. St. Pope John Paul II and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI were very clear on this.

I have often asked that same question (including on these forums) - the Old Testament is totally incompatible with the New Testament - I don’t understand how anyone can believe in both.

The Old Testament talks about a jealous, angry, violent God, the New Testament talks about a loving God

The OT says take eye for an eye, the NT says turn the other cheek

In the OT everyone who is outside your tribe is an enemy to be killed (often every man, woman child), the NT says you should love your enemies.

In the OT, God discriminates amongst peoples and chooses one over the others, in the NT he loves everyone.

I don’t see how anyone can believe that it is the same God that is described in both

You completely misunderstand the Old Testament.

For example, it was written to them. “An eye for an eye” this was a regulation to a culture who did far worse. At that time if I stole from one family, they wouldn’t just come after me they would kill me and my entire tribe. Therefore an eye for an eye is a strict regulation of such behavior. It is a movement in the right direction that was all the people could handle to learn. If you read the Old Testament (actually read it) you will see a clear progression to the culminating New Testament message.

Aren’t you proposing moral relativism here Jon?

:slight_smile:

I’d appreciate a few quotes. In the many quotes I’ve read from the non-religious and anti-religious, science is god, the revealer of all truth. The soul? How does science study one? Most of the comments I’ve read refer to religion as superstition and/or some kind of mechanistic need man developed to help him survive. It doesn’t have any peer-reviewed papers revealing God in creation. Creation created itself.

Regards,
Ed

Mythology? Don’t you think people could think up better more satisfying stories if this was only mythology??? It’s just brutally honest in certain places. I guess you just had to BE there to understand, and since none of us was… it takes the hand of the Holy Spirit to direct us.

No not at all.

What was commanded by God was absolute. God can and does change what he tells us. For example, it’s not moral relativism to say animal sacrifice is no longer needed.

God tells us what we can handle.

The truth is that God is love and wants us to love our neighbors. What was taught to the ancient Israelites was to love their neighbors.

In that case you are saying that the Old Testament is not the word of God merely a description of the culture and history of a people that started pretty nasty and eventually got better until the coming of Jesus.

Or are you suggesting God started kind of mean, violent and vicious, but progressively got nicer and kinder until he culminated into a loving God by the time of the New Testament?

I’m sure it is cheesy but Scott Hahn really decimates this mean vs nice God theory.

salvationhistory.com/studies/courses/audio/feasts_of_faith

No,

God could have come down and taught them how to build a nuclear reactor. It doesn’t mean they were capable of doing so.

Same too with moral issues.

God could tell them to turn the other cheek and they would have dismissed it , or been wiped out by surrounding barbaric tribes and not able to pass on the message.

So God taught them to be kinder and more just than they were.

Later when they gained more capabilities he taught them the fullness of truth he wanted them to know.

Yeah not to mention these people look at a few “mean God verses”

And ignore the thousands of verses that show God’s goodness.

Such as the Old Testament verse,

Micah 6:8,

"And What does The Lord require if you?

To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God."

How is “an eye for an eye” equated to loving thy neighbour?

.

If the common practice is to go and kill your neighbor and his entire family and village and pillage and take the women and slaves. If that is the common practice in your town when someone wrongs you

And instead you say

No, I am going to seek justice, but not like that God says if he steals from me, I just get my money back, if he kills my goats I kill only an equal number of his goats.

It is just just punishment for criminal behavior.

You need to stop looking at it through a modern eye.

But that said, nothing in the New Testament requires one to be a doormat. There is nothing wrong with just laws and courts and just punishment for wrong actions.

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