Why do christians keep the old testament if they really don't follow it? They should just drop it, it really is a ridiculous book. I ask this question here on TA because I can't get an intelligent answer anywhere else. I always hear the same things in defense of the OT; only god knows the reasons, have faith that he knows what's best, things were different back then. And then, they don't even follow the rules clearly outlined. I found this letter and had to share it.
On her radio show, Dr Laura Schlesinger said that, as an observant Orthodox Jew, homosexuality is an abomination according to Leviticus 18:22, and cannot be condoned under any circumstance. The following response is an open letter to Dr. Laura, penned by a US resident, which was posted on the Internet. It's funny, as well as informative:
Dear Dr. Laura:
Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God's Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination... End of debate.
I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some other elements of God's Laws and how to follow them.
1. Leviticus 25:44 states that I may 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?
2. I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?
3. I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanliness - Lev.15: 19-24. The problem is how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.
4. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord - Lev.1:9. The problem is, my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?
5. I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath.Exodus 35:2. clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or should I ask the police to do it?
6. A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination - Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don't agree. Can you settle this? Are there 'degrees' of abomination?
7. Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle- room here?
8. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die?
9. I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?
10. My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev.19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? Lev.24:10-16. Couldn't we just burn them to death at a private family affair, like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)
I know you have studied these things extensively and thus enjoy considerable expertise in such matters, so I am confident you can help. Thank you again for reminding us that God's word is eternal and unchanging.
Your adoring fan.
James M. Kauffman, Ed.D. Professor Emeritus Dept. of Curriculum,
Instruction, and Special Education University of Virginia
Well and of course Jesus said in his sermon on the mount that not one jot or tittle from the OT or any of it's prophets insanity will be redacted by him until Harold Camping will finally be proven right. (Matthew 5:17-18)
Paraphrasing of course LOL very good
Along with citing the OT about prophesies, Jesus also mentions that the laws of the OT aren't null because of him. Also, there are numerous warnings in both the OT and NT against adding to or taking away from the bible (which is kind of funny when you think about how many times it's been rewritten).
Great article, I asked my christian aunt the same thing. Because I too have been wondering this exact same question lately. She said that it is because we need to know what god will do to people who dont obey him basically. I didnt really have anything to say after that I just said thanks for the answer and went about my day.
I find Paul to be the first Ted Haggard, Pat Robertson, Jimmy Swaggart, Peter Popoff of the xainity. To spread the word to the gentiles he came up with an easing of the rules to make the job easier on him, and well the gentiles also because they were not crazy about the idea of circumcision.
Xians rely on the letters of Paul to make it easier to disregard the OT and jesus's "don't change any of the laws" command.
Christianity should be more accurately called Paulinianism
He also had some really screwed up ideas about human sexuality and other things. It seems the core theology of Christianity was made up by some very dysfunctional people.
As an ex-theology student, much of this has frustrated me just because I hate misinformation. The fact that Christians in general are so lazy that they do not take the time to learn their holy text makes it all the more difficult for people outside of that belief system to understand what it is that they believe.
Furthermore, the transitions that have occurred in Christian theology complicate everything. Western Christian theology is very different in orientation than that of the earlier types as represented by Eastern and Oriental Orthodoxy.
The role of the OT in the bible is pretty clearly laid out in the text and is adherent to both Greek and Jewish concepts. The example Paul uses is actually from Plato's Republic and it is commonly known as Plato's Cave. For those not familiar with the story, it is a hypothetical about there being a archetypal world of which everything here is simply a shadow of that greater reality, but it is also a criticism of politics and media in ancient Greece.
The NT is pretty clear about the OT being a shadow form of a greater reality. That is specifically referenced in a few places in the NT. The works of Justin Martyr no later than AD 160 specifically the dialogue with Trypho confirm this. Some works that took this to excess can be the pseudopigraphal work like the epistle of Barnabas, which argues that everything ought to be taken figuratively and that an evil angel mislead the Jews to ever read the law of Moses literally.
For most practical reasons, Christians today believe the OT experiences a fuller reality in the NT, however many do not see it as those in the time of Justin Martyr or Paul. They separate the OT into the ceremonial law and the moral law. The moral law is that which is to be enforced still and is in full effect, while the ceremonial law is only for the Jews.
The book of Acts chapter 15 has a section speaking about a conflict concerning what laws Gentile Christians were to follow. The only ones carried over after that council in the book of Acts is Jewish laws regarding sexual immorality, eating strangled animals, and abstaining from blood. Any other OT ceremonial law is rendered non-applicable in the book of Acts. This leads to other problems because some Christians argue there are no laws, antinomians, and some that there are still moral, and others say we are back to laws outlayed to Noah. I hope I included most...
What a hilarious, on-the-nose put down of one of the most vile, ignorant bigots on the radio.
It does seem odd to retain the Hebrew Testament alongside the Greek Testament. But religions tend to base their beliefs at least partially on previous religion and this mythical Jesus was, after all, supposed to have been a Jew and a practitioner of the laws.
Paul, oddly enough, seems to have begun the paganization of the Jesus religion. He introduces elements that would have little meaning in a Jewish context, such as the bathing in blood. Great for Mithrains, bad for Jews. But Paul seemed to know little of Jesus. No birth story, no parentage, no mission, no passion.
Then Mark invents a human Jesus using snippets from the OT and writing around them, often getting things wrong, such as the well-known mistranslation from the Septuagint regarding the difference between a virgin and a young woman. The other canonical gospel writers copy from him, and why would Luke need to copy from someone else if he were actually a companion of someone so close to the event?
Add to this the complication that the writers were all educated in Greek and not at all like the early Xtians who were crude writers at best. And also, there was the huge variety of beliefs that were widespread but weeded out as the religion became more common among the higher-class Romans. By the time the Empire took over the religion it would have been near to impossible to take out the essence of the origins of the religion.