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Ch. 4: Unforgiving 
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 Ch. 4: Unforgiving
Please use this thread to discuss Ch. 4: Unforgiving.



Fri Aug 19, 2016 10:00 pm
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Post Re: Ch. 4: Unforgiving
Forgiveness
Barker notes that Biblical forgiveness is conditional upon sorrow. That means there is no unconditional forgiveness. Unlike love and grace, which God is said to give to all without any reciprocity, forgiveness requires repentance.

While Barker does not like this moral economy, it makes sense. We don’t usually forgive criminals who continue to exult in their evil deeds, but rather consider such people as unforgivable pathological monsters. But it seems Barker sees things differently, implying that if God was good he would provide unconditional forgiveness, even where people do the wrong thing, fail to understand that what they have done is wrong, and persist in their traumatising delusion.

His main example of why God is wicked for being so unforgiving is the story of Adam and Eve. In fact, if you consider this story of the fall from grace in context (something that Barker systematically avoids), it is about the eventual redemption of humanity, about how the mistake of the fall from grace can be repaired.

The Apocalypse explains that this atoning redemption for the world will occur with a ‘new heaven and new earth’. I don’t at all think we should infer anything unscientific in this prophetic image, but rather just see it as an explanation of how according to the Bible, Adam’s sin is forgiven through Jesus, a core teaching which Barker just ignores in his focus on examples where God is described as unforgiving.


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Post Re: Ch. 4: Unforgiving
When the Old Testament was compiled, the New Testament didn't exist and would not for many centuries in the future. As a historical document considered sacred by Jews and Christians, the OT must stand on its own.

Most forgiveness from the Lord required the death of an animal. Certain types of forgiveness are granted only after 3 to 10 generations of good behavior by descendants not involved. About a dozen verses are quoted listing instances where forgiveness will never be granted. Indeed the fall of Eve and Adam is one of these.
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By the way, notice that there is no mention of eternal life in this story of the fall of the human race. No hell or heaven. Adam is considered a material being - "the ground from which you are taken" - and his death is a physical degradation - "for dust you are and to dust you will return" - as if humans were simply biological organisms. The concept of eternal Hell, a truly infinite lack of forgiveness, does not occur until the New Testament, thanks to Jesus.

But let's stick with the Old Testament. I'll talk about Jesus in Chapter 28.
p. 47


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Mon Oct 31, 2016 6:53 pm
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Post Re: Ch. 4: Unforgiving
LanDroid wrote:
When the Old Testament was compiled, the New Testament didn't exist and would not for many centuries in the future. As a historical document considered sacred by Jews and Christians, the OT must stand on its own.
In studying such material we can all learn something, and in this case, one thing well worth considering carefully is the role of the New Testament and of Jesus Christ as the central character of Christianity. Traditionally, the Old Testament does not “stand on its own”, but rather is explained as preparing the way for God’s redeeming presence in the world revealed in Jesus, as explained in the New Testament. We don’t usually read half a book and then complain that it lacks a conclusion. Nor should we try to make any comment about Christianity in its doctrinal form by reading the Old Testament in isolation and leaving out the main character of the religion. It is fine to try to criticise Iron Age thinking as it stands on its own, but later work has to take into account later thinking, since it is part of a steady process of social evolution.
LanDroid wrote:
Most forgiveness from the Lord required the death of an animal.
That is a great example of how a criticism of Iron Age thinking does not apply to Christianity. In fact in the New Testament, forgiveness from God is conditional upon repentance, meaning that you can only be forgiven if you understand that what you did was wrong and are sorry for doing it. That line is explained in the very first chapter of Mark, the first gospel, where John the Baptist preaches a gospel of forgiveness for repentance. The Epistle to the Hebrews expands, saying that Jesus is the sacrificial lamb taking the place of the former practice of sacrificing animals. Prophets such as Amos had prepared for this evolution of thinking by saying that sacrifice of animals does not produce forgiveness when it is used as a cover to justify oppression.
LanDroid wrote:
Certain types of forgiveness are granted only after 3 to 10 generations of good behavior by descendants not involved. About a dozen verses are quoted listing instances where forgiveness will never be granted. Indeed the fall of Eve and Adam is one of these.
Again, you are ignoring how Christianity depends on the New Testament. The fall of Adam is repaired by the resurrection of Christ, as a central teaching of Saint Paul. This is part of a cosmology that points to an eventual repair of human life through the dissolving of corruption by merciful grace. Nothing is totally irredeemable, even if the redemption of deeply entrenched trauma may take generations, as in the example of America’s peculiar institution.


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Wed Nov 09, 2016 5:33 am
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Post Re: Ch. 4: Unforgiving
This discussion is not working. Since you don't want to discuss the Old Testament on its own, we might as well just skip the rest of the book and go to the final Chapter 28 "What about Jesus?" and see how that goes... Thumbing ahead...

Unless someone else wants to join in... :chatsmilies_com_92:


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When you spread out your hands in prayer, I will hide My eyes from you; even though you multiply your prayers, I will not listen. Your hands are covered with blood.
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But if there is serious injury, you are to take life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise.
Exodus 21: 23 - 25


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Post Re: Ch. 4: Unforgiving
LanDroid wrote:
This discussion is not working. Since you don't want to discuss the Old Testament on its own, we might as well just skip the rest of the book and go to the final Chapter 28 "What about Jesus?" and see how that goes... Thumbing ahead...

Unless someone else wants to join in... :chatsmilies_com_92:


I am happy to discuss the Old Testament on its own, just not to accept Barker's false inferences about what it says about Christianity. There are a lot of fundamentalist Christians who ignore the teachings of Jesus because they prefer the ethics coming out of the Old Testament. This is a problem of Christian hypocrisy, which it would be good for Barker to understand, but like many atheists he has a severe emotional and irrational chip on his shoulder about religion so he preaches to the atheist choir. It is a shame that he doesn't want to promote serious dialogue about theology since it is an important topic. Instead Barker insists on promoting his false theories about how faults in the Old Testament condemn religion as a whole.


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Post Re: Ch. 4: Unforgiving
Well you haven't made any effort to discuss the OT on its own. Barker discusses characteristics of the god of the OT - he hasn't made any inferences about Christianity or religion as a whole, so that reasoning doesn't hold up.

Anyway, onward to the final chapter...


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When you spread out your hands in prayer, I will hide My eyes from you; even though you multiply your prayers, I will not listen. Your hands are covered with blood.
Isaiah 1:15

But if there is serious injury, you are to take life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise.
Exodus 21: 23 - 25


Fri Nov 11, 2016 6:42 pm
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