Thursday, September 11, 2008

Distressing Thoughts

I am having great difficulties trying to reconciliate the huge differences between the God of the Old Testament and Jesus. While it's easy to see the divinity in Christ's wisdom and acts, I find it tough to see Christ's humility and compassion in the God of the Old Testament.

While I can understand a God who abhors evil and wants only the best for the people, I just can't bring myself to accept a God who intentionally breaks down the unity of Mankind at the height of their humanistic achievement in the construction of Babel; A God who humiliate another faith's adherents by showing off his powers - casting flames down from the heavens; A God who sanctioned a community of people to conquer another nation's land; A God who commanded his people to perform ethnic cleansing and various genocides.

As much as it causes me distress to list them all down, these troublesome thoughts have been plaguing me for months. While I proudly strive to imitate Christ, I am gradually accumulating my perplexity (and God forbid, disatisfaction) towards the God of the Old Testament. I really don't know what am I to do with these... excess baggages.


Timothy said...

I know exactly what you mean. If the Old Testament was released today, and Christians viewed it without bias or emotional baggage, I sincerely hope that most of them would find severe difficulties with its portrayal of God.

For me, it is one of the largest perplexities that confound my theology. On the one hand you have Jesus saying that "if you know me you know my father", and that not one letter of the law will be abolished. But on the other, he offered an interpretation of Jewish law that was so radical that it got him killed. Often turning heartless practices into amazing gestures (one example being the adulturess who was saved from being stoned by Jesus). What's more, the Jesus portrayed in the Gospels mentions no criticism of the ethnic cleansing (sometimes involving babies/children), and the earliest of Christians used the septuagint as their 'bible' so to speak.

How can we reconcile such a stark contradiction?! It might be easy for the politically extreme who don't mind 'evil' nations being bombed/slaughtered, but as a liberal who interpreted Jesus message to include pacificsm and non-violent resistance, it's really hard.

edward said...

Perhaps we get too caught up in our "literal" translations of the English Bible? I know I am rewriting "scripture" when I say this, but perhaps much of it, especially the old testament, was written by men who sought a way to use God/Creator as the author or culpable one of all man's evil ways. Perhaps God DID create us with free will even to the extent that free will allows us to place God at the center of all the world's historic evil and wrong doing. Perhaps HE really had nothing to do with it.

OK...I know I'm being blashphemist to most fundamentalists both Christian and Jew...but how else can you explain some of these perplexities of the faith gentlemen?