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Guest Elizabeth K

Should the Bible be Taken Literally?

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Guest Elizabeth K   
Guest Elizabeth K

This is not intended to be disrespectful to the Bible - but rather to show there are potential problems with it's interpretations. These horribly misinterpreted examples can be useful in combating someone quoting Bible and Verse without thinking what is being said. Taking verse out of context can really be deceptive. From the internet - and this has be around for a long time.

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, written by a US resident, and 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.24:1016. 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’m 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

PS (It would be a damn shame if we couldn’t own a Canadian)

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KarenLyn   
KarenLyn

OMG! I've read this before and it's always a hoot! Oh, and I can clarify one thing for you. Your friend is wrong. It is allowed to own a Canadian though they tend to be much more expensive. ;)

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Donna Jean   
Donna Jean

.

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?

Ok...this one kinda sux.......

I mean......I live in New Orleans and we eat lots of mudbugs (crayfish)...

That isn't considered "Shellfish" is it?

That would suck out loud because we'd have to cancel a load of festivals this year....

How about pork rinds?

'

Dee Jay

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Jenny C   
Jenny C

For me, the old testament is outdated... it is old.

And more than that, when I was young, we sometime played the phone game... A chain of children would have to convey a message... At the end of the chain, the message was always transformed... And could not be taken literally... As are translation or transcription made sometime centuries after the actual events...

Truth is in the eye of the beholder... So truth is relative... and can be transformed...

There is only one message in the bible... Love and acceptance of God. The rest is a cream on a cake that has receive dust for centuries...

Sorry if I am direct !!! I do not wish to offend anyone but just express my opinion.

Love,

Jenny

P.S Can someone tell me what is the signification of the expression : "to own a canadian" ?

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Guest Elizabeth K   
Guest Elizabeth K

P.S Can someone tell me what is the signification of the expression : "to own a canadian" ?

Leviticus 25:44 states that I may possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. In some people's case - Canadian's - they can own a Yankee.

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Jenny C   
Jenny C

Sorry I understood all wrong... This time my language was really a barrier to my understanding...

Love,

Jenny :wacko:

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~Brenda~   
~Brenda~

Oy Vey Leviticus was a little too wound up :)

You want to read a very intriguing book of the Bible? Read Ezekiel.

Brenda

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VickySGV   
VickySGV

That one has been around for a while, and yes it is funny as all get out. It was also aimed at a good target for that sort of stuff. The nice thing is that there are people who know more than the know-it-alls who populate the entertainment media.

Homosexuality as we know of it today does not appear in the Tanakh (Old Testament) and therefor is not prohibited nor is it a real issue. Leviticus is a handbook for the Jewish clergy (Levite's a priest tribe = Leviticus) and not for the general public, and J or E (depending on your point of view) did not want them acting like the other churches and their clergy down the proverbial block. "The other diety's priests do this type of thing, and I won't take that from you guys." "Try it and I'll fire you and take away your health care plan and your retirement benefits!!"

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Carolyn Marie   
Carolyn Marie

Yes, its very funny, and I laughed.

What's not so funny is that real people the world over murder, and are murdered, for taking their beliefs to their logical extremes.

That's why I gave up organized religion over 40 years ago, when I realized that there wasn't a whole lot of difference between the practices of pre-literate indigenous people and the stuff I learned in Hebrew school, based on 5,000 year old texts. Superstition is superstition. The difference is that one is passed on through spoken language and the other is written.

Sorry for the downer. My fault. But yeah, it is a funny piece.

Carolyn Marie

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Tamar   
Tamar

Oh dear,Lizzy. (smothers grin)

Thanks for sharing :)

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RoxannaBell   
RoxannaBell

LOL!!! I take great offense to this post, miss Lizzy... not as a Christian, but as a Canadian! ;)

Just try to own me! I dare ya!

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Guest ZensandT   
Guest ZensandT

To me, the question should be either, "Should the bible be taken seriously?" or "Should be bible be taken as truth?" Personally, I say no to both of those. But anyways, it doesn't matter if it's old testament or not, the god of the bible is unchanging, so you can't discard it.

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~Brenda~   
~Brenda~

We all need to remember that the bible as we know it is a collection of books voted on by comittee to become the bible. In reality, humans were involved from the beginning in the formation of the bible.

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Guest Stuck   
Guest Stuck

I wonder if that was the source of inspiration for the scene from the West Wing, or if the letter is based on dialogue from the show. For anyone who hasn't seen it, youtube "West Wing Bible Lesson"... it is a very well spent 3-4 minutes.

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amanda_s   
amanda_s

Canadians are not more expensive theres just a mark up coming from the States

Amanda

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gennee   
gennee

When studying the bible, there are many factors to be taken into consideration. I've spent much time studying Lev. 18:22. What is to be considered is who the message is for, why was it spoken to these folks, the people and culture surrounding them; the political, social, and spiritual climate during that period. While it applied to that particular time, it does not apply to today.

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Guest winterangel   
Guest winterangel

That was humorous, Elizabeth; it gave me a good laugh. :P

I would like to more deeply analyze this all, but I think that'd simply result in me being chased off with torches and pitchforks. :lol:

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Guest pockychaser   
Guest pockychaser

Before I start, I really mean no offense to anyone. From the moment I joined you all, I've been wrapped with love and warmth, and I cherish that. I'm a Christian, myself, and I wanted to share in the appropriate forum. *deep breath* Okay, here goes.

--

Personally, I believe that yes, the Bible should be taken literally, and that it is God's Word, conveyed by human authors He inspired. -But- I also believe that the whole Bible points to Jesus, including the Old Testament. I definitely agree with Gennee here. Jesus' parables, for instance, were told in terms familiar to every one of His listeners. The Old Testament is filled with signs to the Israelites of their Messiah that are later fulfilled by the New Testament (including the fact that His own people wouldn't know Him), something that Jesus explicitly points out in Matthew 5:17. The New Testament, after the Gospels, is a series of letters to the Gentile churches and, by extension, today's believers. The Old Testament is geared toward the Israelites. They're both the Bible, though, and if you look at the Old through the lens of the New, a lot of new meanings start popping up everywhere! For instance, the sacrifice of the spotless lambs, looked at from a NT perspective, it becomes a sign of the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross. And of course, there's also Acts 10:9-19 to consider. Essentially, "Don't call unclean what I have made clean". That right there anulls the dietary laws, ne? (Another thing that someone pointed out to me a long while back is that a lot of the Old Testament laws are common sense precautions. I mean, can you imagine how devastating something as simple as a salmonella outbreak would have been back then? Ick! I assume that by the time of the New Testament, though, they'd heard of the concept of "thorough cooking".)

Ehehe, that's all I can think of for now. Apologies. I'm not trying to preach here, just share my views, as I said, along with the 'why's for them (though I admit that even Wikipedia, with its impartial presentation of Christian beliefs, does a pretty good job of being persuasive anyway, in my opinion). ^^;

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Robin Winter   
Robin Winter

OMG! I've read this before and it's always a hoot! Oh, and I can clarify one thing for you. Your friend is wrong. It is allowed to own a Canadian though they tend to be much more expensive. ;)

We're harder to break too, we're such a willfull people!

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VickySGV   
VickySGV

For people living in the 5th to 3rd centuries BC (or BCE) the people who can read must take the books written then literally or get the heck into some other non-jewish culture fast to save their skins. (I have a serious doubt any of them are living now, but if you are, better knuckle down, its the law.)

Likewise for any person living in the second through fourth centuries AD (or CE) IF your particular sect of "Christians" has adopted the books of scripture that were adopted by the Council Of Nicea, then they get taken literally so far as the other scriptures that your group used will allow. At the Council Of Nicea, literally hundreds if not thousands of proto orthodox scriptures were abandoned, denounced, burned or declared demonic or worse (the posession of some of the proto orthodox scriptures was the basis for a death sentence in the years following that Council.) Does anyone alive remember those fun times?

Or fast forward to the 12th to 15th centuries with their roasty toasty good times on Biblical literality.

Fast forward to today, what does the neighbor with a shot gun to your head believe in biblical literality? You better believe it literally!!

I love the Bible, all 50 of the different versions I have in print or in digital media, and I am a lay reader in my church who tries to vocally interpret the scriptures by voice inflection and attention to pucntuation, and a couple of good commentaries on the Jewish and Greek interpretations of some equivocal passages. Good honest translators come out with different readings, literally hundreds of times, and most hard passages in modern languages are committee efforts and we know what those do. There are also words that only occur in the Bible's most ancient manuscripts which people have fun bending to their own meaning, but we can't go back and ask, "hey bub, what WEREE you really talking about>).

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Guest pockychaser   
Guest pockychaser

Hi again, everyone. I wanted to expand a bit on my earlier thoughts. I mentioned that the Old Testament should be read through the lens of the New. Hebrews especially is good for this, as it references the Old Testament laws -a lot-. (It was, after all, written to Jewish believers.) It also mentions that the New Covenant was given to replace the Old, meaning that we as believers no longer have to rely on it for salvation, but in Jesus. The laws remain, but can now be interpreted for their moral doctrine rather than being necessarily strictly binding. Also, when I think of "taking the Bible literally", I think of 2 Timothy 3:16: "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness". The Bible is the literal Word of God. The key, I believe, is context, like Gennee mentioned. What needs to be asked is, "In light of 2 Timothy 3:16, why did God choose to include this in His Word, and what can I learn from it?" That's where devotions come in. That, though, is a topic for another time.

Love you all!

~Mel

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Guest ZensandT   
Guest ZensandT

Just posting a link to a video on YouTube, all hail the infallible and non-contradictory and inspired word from god. /watch?v=RB3g6mXLEKk

Every question asked in the video has answers with the corresponding passage the answer goes to, should you wish to look it up.

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