The moral relativism of Christianity

ChainsHere comes another old favourite. Atheism, apologists claim, inevitably leads to moral relativism (assumed, but not demonstrated to be a bad thing), while Christianity has an objective and unchanging moral basis. Because Christianity has God’s teachings in the Big Old Book of Middle Eastern Tribal Behaviour, which opens a window directly onto the only true, objective basis for morality. That’s why we stone adulterers, keep slaves, sell our children… hang on!

Well, isn’t that strange? The Bible doesn’t just permit certain things we find abhorrent, or look the other way – these are apparently direct commands from God, the ultimate arbiter and source of the objective morality that’s so very important. So when people describe Christian morality as objective, does that mean they actually do all this stuff? Occasionally, you get some nut who really does believe in some of this, but they’ll always be wearing mixed fibres, and won’t say no to a bacon butty. It all looks rather – dare I say – relativist.

It’s obvious that there are some pretty huge gaps between the general moral principles in the Bible and the practical application of those principles (which doesn’t exactly help in an apparently objective basis for morality), but if even a direct command ends up being contradicted and ultimately ignored, what does that leave? Nothing of any great value, and certainly nothing objective.

And here come the objections, all entirely predictable. In no particular order:

“That was the old covenant, it doesn’t count” – Bzzzt! Sorry, that won’t fly. Even apart from the support for slavery in the New Testament from the man who could be argued to have founded the church, God’s still meant to be the same person, Marcionism having been condemned as heresy. He’s fully entitled to differentiate between groups and apply idiosyncratic situational ethics if He likes (even to the point of commanding the slaughter of people He later decides He loves after all), but there’s a word for that. Begins with an R.

“People then weren’t as advanced, so God took things slowly” – Took it slowly, as in ordering the Israelites to slaughter entire tribes, and punishing anyone who disobeyed? I’m having difficulty seeing that as baby steps towards a glorious moral future. In any case, it’s still unquestionably relativism, and if this is the case, who’s to say we’re not still on that journey? Why do our current moral understandings always end up being the last word on the matter?

Bible Black“God never really commanded those things” – This is a bold one. Arguing that the very book that you’re claiming as an objective source of morality is actually full of errors requires some pretty nifty tap-dancing. In fact, it runs the very serious risk of creating a singularity that ends up sucking all supposed divine commands and/or morality into it. The only way to avoid such a fate is to have some criteria to discern which things God really said. To which I respond “What’s the objective basis for this distinction?”

“People misunderstood” – See above

“Some things were important at that time, but not now” – Explain how wiping out entire cities of people whose only crime was to be living in the wrong place can ever be important to a God who makes a big deal about love and peace. Explain the moral imperative to stone people to death for trivial offences. Explain how it can ever be important to force a woman to marry her rapist.

“That’s ceremonial and purity law, not moral law” – A common explanation, but it’s hard to see slave ownership, forcible marriage, public stonings and the like as ceremonial issues. Once again, there appears to be no objective basis for this distinction, just a desire to explain away awkward facts. These things do, however, have a very obvious moral dimension, which is still in direct opposition to other Biblical instructions and present day practices.

No, there’s no way of turning the Bible into any kind of source of objective morality. Even if you take the extreme approach and live it all (not that anyone does), you still have problems where it contradicts itself. The best you can do is to pick out the bits you like (some of them are quite good in isolation) and find an excuse for ignoring the rest. But the selectivity of this approach guarantees that whatever you end up with, it isn’t objective.

Images courtesy of surely and deboer, used with permission

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About Recovering Agnostic

I'm Christian by upbringing, agnostic by belief, cynical by temperament, broadly scientific in approach, and looking for answers. My main interest at the moment is in turning my current disengaged shrug into at least a working hypothesis.

26 responses to “The moral relativism of Christianity”

  1. mgm75 says :

    Excellent piece. I’d be very interested to see how some of the Christians who come to your page are going to explain this one away.

  2. dpatrickcollins says :

    I have never heard anyone state that atheism leads to moral relativism. Carried to its logical conclusion, it leads to nihilism. If God, or rather any divine or metaphysical moral standard, does not exist, then there is really nothing right or wrong. We can use those words and even state that something is wrong or right, even passionately (which you have done concerning the actions of the Christian God), but they do not mean anything. It just means you do not like slavery or God bringing judgment upon a people.

    Nihilism is broader than morality, of course. It means ultimately everything is meaningless. We can choose to create meaning, but in the end we are just pretending.

    Cheers

    • Recovering Agnostic says :

      If you’ve never heard anyone say atheism leads to moral relativism, I can only assume you’ve led a very sheltered life. Here are a couple of very quickly grabbed examples:

      http://www.equip.org/articles/atheists-and-the-quest-for-objective-morality/

      http://rdtwot.wordpress.com/2011/04/18/way-to-make-my-point/

      Nor can I see any grounds for complaint, seeing that your comment attempts to upgrade the claim from moral relativism to a complete absence of morality. But you’ll be pleased to know that I’m also working on a post specifically about why I am perfectly entitled to criticise Christianity in just these terms.

      • dpatrickcollins says :

        Thanks RA for your response. I believe however you have missed the point of the article whose link you provided (I refer to the first). Though it mentions moral relativism, it does not state atheism leads to moral relativism. Its main point is that an atheist has no basis for his or her moral beliefs. Simply put, it is difficult to say, “there is nothing beyond the material world” and yet say, “x is not right” or “y is wrong.” Right and wrong are metaphysical concepts. In this sense, moral relativism is just one of many suits the atheist may try on for size but ultimately find it does not fit.

        I look forward to your upcoming article.

      • Recovering Agnostic says :

        I believe you’ve missed the entire point of the post with your overly pedantic obsession with a precise meaning of moral relativism, but there you are. As I said, I quickly grabbed a couple of examples of what I was talking about. If you don’t like them, or at least the one you felt like dismissing, I really can’t be bothered to keep playing this game.

        Why this matters to you is a mystery to me, as it has nothing to do with the substantive point I’m making, which would be the same whether atheism is accused of leading to nihilism (as you said earlier), moral relativism, or simply having no basis for morality. If I substitute “no fixed basis for morality” for “moral relativism” (both of which seems to me to be indistinguishable), will that satisfy you?

      • mgm75 says :

        dpatrick – experts on evolutionary theory have explained and demonstrated time and time again the case for morality having an evolutionary origin. Animals who “play badly” or otherwise demonstrate cheating in their social groups are ostracised and punished. Good behaviour for the greater good is rewarded within the social group. Individuals risk their own lives to save their kin.

        Do you mean to say that without your god you wouldn’t know that it was wrong to kill somebody?

      • Recovering Agnostic says :

        Do you mean to say that without your god you wouldn’t know that it was wrong to kill somebody?

        This also opens up the good old Euthyphro Dilemma. If God commands it because it’s good, that must make morality independent of God. If it’s good because God commands it, there’s nothing superior about God-given morality – it’s just abdicating moral responsibility to someone else.

      • dpatrickcollins says :

        RA: It appears I have inadvertently offended you by my probing questions. Was not my intention. I found your post interesting and the statement “Atheism, apologists claim, inevitably leads to moral relativism” caught my attention. Simply put, I like engaging in discussion concerning philosophical topics. I will be most satisfied with an exchange of ideas both of us find fulfilling.

        I will respond to mgm75 and cheers.

      • dpatrickcollins says :

        mgm75: Thanks for the response. To your question: “Do you mean to say that without your god you wouldn’t know that it was wrong to kill somebody?” the answer is no, that is not what I mean. I have heard philosophers say the question is not one of epistimology but ontology. That is, the question is not “how can I KNOW whether something is right or wrong” but rather “IS there such a thing as right or wrong?”

        And by that, I do not mean whether we use the words, but whether they really have any meaning.

        For example, if our sense about right and wrong is no more than a herd instinct resulting from blind and random evolutionary forces, as you suggest, then saying “Rape is wrong” is no different from saying “I personally find rape unappealing based on my evolutionary programming.” But if our sense of right and wrong is no more than an evolutionary hangup, there is nothing REALLY wrong with rape, because right and wrong do not REALLY exist.

        But the issue is not with evolution, or even with not believing in the Christian god, as it is denial of the supernatural, i.e. the metaphysical. If I believe the only thing that is real is the physical world we inhabit but in the same breath claim “This is not right,” then I am appealing to a standard that does not exist. It is of course possible to deny the existence of God but still affirm the metaphysical, but such atheists are rare, and their foundation for such a belief, less certain.

        Cheers

      • mgm75 says :

        For example, if our sense about right and wrong is no more than a herd instinct resulting from blind and random evolutionary forces

        Logical fallacy

        Evolution is the non-random selection of randomly occurring changes. In other words, those random changes that have a benefit for an organism take hold in the gene pool and propagate. If it is a benefit for an organism to work together with its kin, then it will eventually overtake selfish behaviour – become the norm and eliminate the selfish organisms within a herd, thus we see the birth of the “gentleman’s agreement” so to speak (an unwritten moral code). You need to read Dawkins’ The Selfish Gene for a more thorough explanation.

        If you want to see some examples of morality in the animal kingdom (creatures that have no organised religion) I would be happy to share.

        The rest of your post continues to push you lack of understanding of the evolutionary theory behind altruism (and consequently morality) so it isn’t worth addressing.

      • dpatrickcollins says :

        mgm75:

        I am okay if you do not wish to engage further in discussion. However, since your main concern seems to be my apparent lack of understanding concerning evolutionary theory, I wish to address that specifically:

        First, I am pretty sure more or less I received the same instruction you did concerning evolution, from secondary school through university. This would include explanations around how the origin of moral conduct is accounted for from an evolutionary perspective, as you have described. As much as I would like to say you finally opened my eyes to how moral instinct is accounted for by evolution, I can’t. I am already familiar.

        Second, I am also familiar with the basic mechanism of natural selection as you have described it. I must admit, I am scratching my head a bit as to what you found really that objectionable regarding my description. You claim “Logical Fallacy” but cite none. You object to my use of the term “random” but use it yourself. And when I read yours I say, “Yep, that is pretty much what I meant.” So rest assured: We are on the same page here.

        Third, you seem to think my point is that evolution cannot account for why we have this inborn sense of right and wrong. I do not see anywhere in my comments I make such a claim or argue such a point.

        I must be honest: I have observed that often when people begin to say, “Your point is not worth addressing” (usually accompanied by some condescending insult), it is usually because they do not have an answer. But I am okay with that, too 🙂

      • mgm75 says :

        You claim “Logical Fallacy” but cite none.

        I thought it was pretty clear? Your logical fallacy was that evolution is random. That’s only half the story. You left the other half out – the non-random selection of those mutations the prove beneficial within a given population.

        I can’t. I am already familiar.

        Yet you dismiss it in favour of supernatural means.

        I do not see anywhere in my comments I make such a claim or argue such a point.

        Really? Yet you so readily dismiss all morality not borne from supernatural means as nihilistic and “a pretense”.

        And why immediately assume we are / will insult you? At least wait to be attacked before pulling the victim complex stunt.

      • dpatrickcollins says :

        mgm:

        it truly appears we are having a “what” argument as my daughter likes to say: We are arguing about what we are talking about 🙂

        Last attempt to salvage our misunderstanding:

        Logical Fallacy

        Logical Fallacy means a failure in the way the logic of an argument is constructed, not in the truth of one of its propositions.You cited one of my propositions as false, not the logic.

        “Yet you dismiss it in favour of supernatural means.”

        You do not even know whether I believe in evolution or not. Why would you assume I dismiss it? Rather, I was redirecting to my main point (which seems to be a bear to establish sheesh).

        “Yet you so readily dismiss all morality not borne from supernatural means as nihilistic and “a pretense”

        Hmm. First, I would not say I dismiss anything readily. The word that comes to mind is “thoughtfully” But it is not morality I dismiss. Even Nietzche, the avowed atheist philosopher, understood that once belief in God is lost, all basis for morality is lost with it. I am simply agreeing with that position. Not my original thought, not exclusive to “those apologists”, and pretty widely accepted by many professors of philosophy.

        If you have any energy left in you, I am thinking it may be best to approach this differently so I am not beating the same drum and being misunderstood. Would you be willing to answer these questions: a) are you are an atheist, b) if so, do you believe in right and wrong, c) if so, give one example of something that you believe is wrong, and d) as an atheist, explain whether by “wrong”, you mean you just don’t like it, or you mean something else and what that difference is. I am okay if this goes unanswered.

        And why immediately assume we are / will insult you?

        🙂

      • mgm75 says :

        Logical Fallacy means a failure in the way the logic of an argument is constructed, not in the truth of one of its propositions.You cited one of my propositions as false, not the logic.

        Yes, your argument was poorly constrcuted based on the false premise about evolution that you presented.

        Even Nietzche, the avowed atheist philosopher, understood that once belief in God is lost, all basis for morality is lost with it.

        Please provide the exact quote where he states this.

        Why should I answer any of your questions when you’ve answered none of mine?

      • dpatrickcollins says :

        Why should I answer any of your questions when you’ve answered none of mine?

        If that were true, I can think of one: Because you find exchange of ideas enjoyable. Another is that, assuming you have a superior grasp of the truth, you find satisfaction in sharing your knowledge with those around you. I may be mistaken about your motives, however.

        Please provide the exact quote where Nietzsche states [the basis for morality is lost with the belief in God

        I am not sure whether you are asking for a quote because you are unfamiliar with Nietzsche or whether you hold a different opinion about his philosophy. Either way, here are 3 sources, one secular, one by a professor and theist who holds a PhD in Philosophy, and one by Nietzsche himself:

        “We moderns, [Nietzsche] argues, have found our way through the Enlightenment and can no longer buy into the old value system [i.e. morality], predicated as it is on religious superstition. If we have no value system, then we really are doomed, lost in a nihilistic sea.”
        — 30 Second Philosophies, Barry Loewer, Editor.

        Nietzsche believed that there was no meaning in life (in and of itself) except the meaning that man gives to it himself . . . and since God-given values were dead, it was up to humans to create their own values.”
        — Norman Geisler, Unshakeable Foundations.

        “Since there is no God to will what is good, we must will our own good. And since there is no eternal [i.e. objective] value, we must will the eternal recurrence of the same state of affairs.”
        — Nietzsche, The Gay Science in The Portable Nietzsche, p. 95

        I would be happy for you to provide an alternate opinion concerning Nietzsche if you think I am uninformed. Or even having you put forth your own understanding of how it is possible for atheism to hold to the concept of objective morality. I would enjoy being educated, which is one of the things i like about these forums.

        Cheers

    • mgm75 says :

      I was asking about Nietzsche purely because I wanted you to provide a quote where you believed he said what you were claiming he said. Two of your quotes are not by him so can be disregarded when we are supposed to be discussing actual quotes.

      As for his actual quote. I fail to see how he says “all basis for morality is lost”. He says in that quote – “There is no god so we must create morality for ourselves from our own experiences.” This is sort of mirrored in the two quotes you provided that were not provided by him.

      1) Why do you find this stance objectionable in the first place?
      2) How have you come to your previous conclusion about that statement?

      Or even having you put forth your own understanding of how it is possible for atheism to hold to the concept of objective morality.

      I don’t recall ever claiming that. I don’t defend positions that I do not hold. Our morality – like yours – is subjective.

      • dpatrickcollins says :

        Thanks mgm. i think I see light at the end of this tunnel for both of us.

        I was asking about Nietzsche purely because I wanted you to provide a quote where you believed he said what you were claiming he said.

        You would be right if I had in fact claimed that is what he said, especially if I was claiming what he literally said. But if you look back, my claim is what Nietzsche understood, i.e. what he believed. This is also why i provided quotes not only on what he himself stated about what he believed but also what authorities claim he believed based on his writings. Hope that clears things up a bit.

        This should also answer your number 2) question but let me know otherwise.

        1) Why do you find this stance objectionable in the first place?

        I do not necessarily find the stance objectionable. As I mentioned to RA, I like discussing things of a philosophical nature and was contributing to the discussion. I was making an observation.

        I do find moral pronouncements from an atheistic perspective intriguing because it seems inconsistent to me. If I believed there was no God, nothing beyond the hard cold facts of matter and space, I personally would not believe there was such a thing as right and wrong in any objective sense. As a result, I would imagine myself being less “This is so wrong” because, as I have heard someone else put it, “the Universe does not care.” And by doing so, I would be saying things I believed were ultimately meaningless. I think I would find better ways to spend my time.

        I like what RA did in his latest post which was to point out the internal inconsistency of Christianity. But even so, as an atheist, why would I care? The world is no more that a complex interaction of particles. So what if Christianity is inconsistent? What if my neighbor is a mass murderer? I may not like either, but I certainly would not find them morally objectionable. But that is just me.

        All of this to say, I do not find the lack of a moral basis for atheism objectionable. On the contrary, I find it completely consistent.

        I don’t recall ever claiming that.

        And I agree. My request was not an implication of your believes. It harkens back to my previous request that if you are an atheist and if you believe there still exists an objective basis for morality, to please explain how that works.

        Considering it did take us this long to discover we share the same position (you have stated morality is subjective, i.e. has no objective basis), it did seem you were defending the opposite position for a while. Alas, communication is an imperfect process.

        Thanks again for the dialogue.

      • mgm75 says :

        Apologies for taking so long to come back to you, I’ve only just spotted this.

        I do find moral pronouncements from an atheistic perspective intriguing because it seems inconsistent to me. If I believed there was no God, nothing beyond the hard cold facts of matter and space, I personally would not believe there was such a thing as right and wrong in any objective sense.

        Yes… you – that is the persistent issue here: your lack of understanding and perhaps inability (or unwillingness?) to step outside of your own box. There is no reason for you to assume that everyone else does or ought to hold this viewpoint and it is pompous of you to continue to do so.

        “the Universe does not care.”

        No, the universe does not care but that’s no reason that we should not. In order to understand the atheist mind-set you need to stop prejudging us by your own standards. Forgive me as I cannot find the exact quote but Einstein once said that morality is important for our own humanity. And what’s wrong with that? Does there need to be a grand scheme? Does there need to be a judgemental figure to run to at the end of your life to say “look, I gave XXXX amount of money to the poor, I rescued a puppy… aren’t I great? Can I get into heaven now?” What is wrong with doing good for its own sake? If the only reason a person does good is so they can look good to a potential god or avoid eternal punishment, then they are not a moral person – they are selfish in the first instance and suffering a form of terrorism in the second.

        So what if Christianity is inconsistent? What if my neighbor is a mass murderer? I may not like either, but I certainly would not find them morally objectionable. But that is just me.

        Yes it is just you – please see above. There is not a moral system on this planet that justifies mass murder – whether you believe in a magical being such as the Abrahamic deity or another one or none at all. Belief in any god is not a requirement to believe that murder is wrong. I find this a bizarre statement considering the bloodthirsty history of Christianity anyway.

      • dpatrickcollins says :

        Thanks, mgm. So much for light at end of tunnel 🙂

        I am about to board a plane for a business trip most of this week so I will try to keep this brief.

        Belief in any god is not a requirement to believe that murder is wrong

        Agreed. To repeat: We are in agreement here. The question is not “Do I need a god to know something is wrong?” If that were my argument, I would be deserving of all the statements you have made as it pertains to me. But the question is: Is this knowledge of right and wrong — more than whether x is right or y is wrong, but knowledge that right and wrong exist — completely an evolution-based illusion, or something else.

        I am hoping you can see that the moment one concludes, “morality is just a product of evolution, no more no less,” that saying “murder is wrong” — whether I really FEEL it is wrong or not — becomes less meaningful. The question arises, “Why is it wrong? Just because I feel it is wrong? Just because we all agree it is wrong? It is perfectly okay to both feel and agree. But in my quiet moments I would have to be honest with myself and say, “Of course, despite how I feel or what others feel, murder is no more wrong than say, jumping out in front of a bus: It is just my evolutionary programming telling me so.”

        Lastly, the tie-in with Christianity is not “I need to feel terrified to know something is wrong” but rather, “I feel something is wrong because there actually is a right and wrong; it isn’t just an evolutionary hang-up. It is just as real as 1+1=2 is wrong. If people feel they must be terrified in order to do the right thing, then they are denying the very sense of right and wrong already within them. At any rate, this has little to do with true Christianity.

        Cheers

      • mgm75 says :

        but knowledge that right and wrong exist — completely an evolution-based illusion, or something else.

        I am arguing that it is part of our evolutionary hard-wiring. Whether certain ingrained morals are relevant or productive to us today however is another matter – such as suicide. In a time when populations are critically low you can understand strictures against it. However, in a world where humanity is abundant, we don’t have to worry about humanity’s survival and we can (or some of us can) allow terminally ill patients to die with dignity at a time and place of their choosing.

        Why is killing somebody wrong?

        We could argue about that for days and we’ll always come up against exceptions: self defence being the most agreeable and even then there will always be a “but…”

        becomes less meaningful.

        I don’t recall agreeing to discuss meaning. Our discussion I thought was about the source of morality.

        It is just my evolutionary programming telling me so.”

        Most probably and I fail to see how accepting this is “nihilism” you referred to in your original post.

    • Dan Courtney says :

      The problem with nihilism is that it attempts to remove the concept of meaning from the context in which it has relevance. Meaning has relevance in respect to a goal, and therefore it is nonsensical to speak of meaning outside of conscious intent. To say “ultimately everything is meaningless” is an attempt to apply meaning to existence (or the universe) itself that has no conscious intent. This is also the fallacy of division in which the whole (the universe) lacks an attribute, in this case meaning, and therefore everything in the universe, such as people, have no meaning.

      It is objectively true that people seek to survive, and therefore the goal of survival, in the broadest sense, is the objective basis for meaning.

  3. Karin says :

    As you know there are many groups and sub groups who claim to be Christian and they differ to some degree or other in their beliefs. Some centre on the teachings of Jesus and some prefer to look at the pre-Christian Old Testament for guidance and there are many ways of interpreting what is written in both the Old and New Testaments, so the term ‘Christianity’ is something of a generalisation.

    I agree with you that the Old Testament in particular, but even the New Testament, give out mixed messages about how God wants us to live, IF you read it literally, and especially if you think every word of it comes direct from God to teach us how to live.

    Now, as you know, I do believe in God, and so I do believe that there are glimpses of God in the Bible, but the Old Testament is a collection of writings expressing several strands of opinion. The general consensus among Bible scholars seems to be that the majority of the OT was put together around the time of the Babylonian exile in order to unite the people who had come out of Palestine. As a result the Bible seems to contain traditional narratives from various geographical and/or ethnic groups within the ‘people of Israel’ (Karen Armstrong has something to say about this, I think in her book “The Bible, a biography”).

    By the nineteenth century Bible scholars had developed the idea that the books of the Torah and the book of Joshua, which continues the story of the Israelites begun in the first five books, are comprised of four main sources or documents, which were edited or redacted together.

    These sources are known as J, E, P and D typified by vocabulary, literary style and theological perspective.

    •’J’ calls God Yahweh, or ‘Jahwe’ in German, often translated as ‘LORD’ in English.
    •’E’ refers to God as ‘Elohim’, a generic term for God or gods.
    •’P’ stands for the priestly material, which also uses the term ‘Elohim’ for God
    •and ‘D’ refers to the material chiefly found in Deuteronomy.

    Personally, I think that ‘E’ tends to have a more generous approach while ‘P’ seems more interested in regulating things and perhaps controlling people.

    So, overall, I see the Old Testament as a collection of writings, many of which are about making sense of the world, Israel’s place in the world and where God fits into that. Israel was a small, weak nation, but many of the writings appear to be attempts to elevate Israel’s importance and power. Indeed, it is hard to prove that the so called historical narratives are totally accurate historically.

    Other parts of the OT seem to be encouragements for a more personal relationship with God and hand in hand with that the pursuit of a life lived with justice and the well-being of others in mind.

    The New Testament can be seen as a collection of writings trying to make sense of ‘the Christ Event’ and so the gospels cannot be seen as reliable biographies.

    So, I see God in the Bible, as I suspect he/she can be detected in most, if not all, holy scriptures of ancient world religions, but I don’t believe that every word of the Bible shows us God or sets us an example of how God wants us to live.

    I also believe that God guides all people, whatever they believe, how to live, giving them a conscience and an inner compass to guide them. In some people these instruments may be damaged, just as some people can be born with other disabilities or can become disabled through injury. In many people it is often a matter of whether they listen more to their basic instincts or to the call of God (the Source of Life) to be more concerned with the welfare of others. This attitude will influence the way we read the Bible and other holy scriptures.

    So, yes, the Bible does not prevent moral relativism, and Christians being human are as prone to that as anyone else.

    As I understand it, the Jewish attitude to their holy scriptures is to question it and wrestle with it in prayer asking such questions as ‘Can you really have approved of that, God?’ and ‘Do you really want us to do that today?’ This seems to me a sensible way to read the Bible, which describes a wide range of human behaviour and attitudes. This way encourages serious meditation of which ways are the best, most life-giving ways to live.

    • mgm75 says :

      but many of the writings appear to be attempts to elevate Israel’s importance and power. Indeed, it is hard to prove that the so called historical narratives are totally accurate historically.

      Hi Karin. Have you read “The Bible Unearthed” by Finkelstein and Silberman? Two of the top names in Levantine archaeology investigate the historical claims in the OT… well let’s say the results are not pretty. It created a stir in their native Israel but is considered a seminal work in archaeology. It’s release also came as a relief for those who had come to the same conclusions but dared not publish their data for fear of accusations of anti-semitism.

      Anyway, excuse my aside but if you want to hop on over to my blog to discuss this issue so we don’t clog up this discussion with an irrelevant aside, I have posted a book review here.

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