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  1. #111
    desert pelican Owl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peguy View Post
    I don't see how my argument is refuted. Cain worked the land, while Abel hunted. I don't get the impression God looks more favorably upon the latter per se rather than the former.

    Also many Jewish commentaries have noted that Cain didn't offer up the best fruits of his labour as the reason why God rejected it.
    If I may...

    At the end of Gen 3, God clothes Adam and Eve in coats of skin, replacing the garments of leaves they'd sewn for themselves in order to cover their shame. Day in and day out, as they wore the coats of skin, what did they think prompted God to clothe them so? Did they miss the fact that skinning an animal results in the death of the animal? Did they fail to realize that the covering God provided required the death of another?

    Gen 4 begins with the account of Cain, Abel, and their sacrifices. As Substitute mentioned, ritual is symbolic representation of theology. What is the theological significance behind killing an animal, and how does it differ from killing a plant? Is it fair to say that Abel's sacrifice is a symbol of the death of another, but Cain's sacrifice isn't? I think so. As Jennifer suggested, the spilling of blood is essential, for it's a clear symbol of the terrible nature of death. Abel's sacrifice shows that he understood that justification is made possible by the death of another, and Cain's sacrifice shows that he didn't understand this.

    thoughts?

  2. #112
    Senior Member substitute's Avatar
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    my instant thought is that the blood redemption idea has infliltrated christianity via its first converts having been Jewish, but I don't think it necessarily had to...

    I find it sorta offensive to think of the God I know as Christ, creating beings with perfect foreknowledge and power to create them any way he pleased, and then punishing them so bad for simply behaving as the nature he gave them allowed them to, punishing generations and generations of these beings for the sins of others of their kind and requiring arbitrary killing of other, entirely innocent beings in order to be appeased.

    To me, if you're gonna follow that kind of theology you might as well be, I dunno, a cannibal burning maidens to appease the gods and bring a good harvest...
    Ils se d�merdent, les mecs: trop bon, trop con..................................MY BLOG!

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    I will help you if I can" - Leonard Cohen

  3. #113
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by substitute View Post
    And if I catch the person who tagged this thread 'sub is a cutie pie' I shall tan their behind!!
    Is, um, that a threat or a promise?
    (It will change my response.)
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  4. #114
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by substitute View Post
    Jennifer, what you say calls to mind something a certain Te-primary friend of mine said a while ago: "sometimes I can get so absorbed into reading theological literature and spend days and days thinking I'm so holy and spiritual because I devote all this time to understanding an obscure Hebrew passage... and then I realize that I've done all this at the expense of living the life, of walking the walk, and have missed the point entirely."
    That was insightful -- I think that's one of those positive turns on the spiritual path. I remember standing there myself and realizing it at one point... and still being scared to change and not sure how.

    But that's the other problem I have with it - not just what you describe as the control freakery, but that it's an easy thing for some people to hide behind rather than face actually changing their lives and the way they interact with other people... often the best theologians I've known in the past have been the most stubborn, belligerent, insensitive and arrogant people, sadly. It doesn't have to be the case and isn't always, but it's sad that it sometimes is...
    I agree that lots of times the religious zeal each of us all might feel could be the result of avoiding making more difficult changes in our lives. It's easy to build and argue an opinion on something, it's harder to commit to shaping your life in a sacrificial way, when you don't feel like it sometimes, in order to mold yourself. That is why growth often occurs involuntarily -- we are not really looking for the life lessons and would be happy not to find them, if we looked deep inside ourselves. But events in life force us to grow (or shatter).

    I know I've been that way. It was easier to understand, explain, and argue an idea than to deprive myself of something I wanted for the sake of another.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  5. #115
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by substitute View Post
    my instant thought is that the blood redemption idea has infiltrated christianity via its first converts having been Jewish, but I don't think it necessarily had to...

    I find it sorta offensive to think of the God I know as Christ, creating beings with perfect foreknowledge and power to create them any way he pleased, and then punishing them so bad for simply behaving as the nature he gave them allowed them to, punishing generations and generations of these beings for the sins of others of their kind and requiring arbitrary killing of other, entirely innocent beings in order to be appeased.
    I don't know.

    All I know (and I know you know too) is that life is messy and doesn't follow logically.

    I incorporate other views of Jesus besides pure Atonement theory into my understanding of him, from a philosophical view I have a similar feeling, but you can't really ignore it either. The pattern and verses are there in the text.

    I guess it also comes down to considering Paul and his observations, as someone steeped in Jewish tradition and yet aware of Jesus, and the connections he made that have now persisted for 2000 years.

    I do think that people associate different value to animals rather than plants. Plants could be slashed, burned, removed, mowed down, whatever, and it's not really thought about as "killing." Animals at least in the human mind are much more firmly related to people, and when they're killed, we recognize it as a death. The meat market industry currently divorces most of society from the necessity of death for their culinary satisfaction, so I think we have forgotten that; but one hundred years ago or more, when people had to hunt for their own food, it was quite clear that for people to live, animals had to die, and people saw themselves as part of the natural cycle.

    It might seem harsher for us, divorced as we are from that process, than it was for the Israelites.

    To me, if you're gonna follow that kind of theology you might as well be, I dunno, a cannibal burning maidens to appease the gods and bring a good harvest...
    charyou tree!
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  6. #116
    desert pelican Owl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by substitute View Post
    my instant thought is that the blood redemption idea has infliltrated christianity via its first converts having been Jewish, but I don't think it necessarily had to...

    I find it sorta offensive to think of the God I know as Christ, creating beings with perfect foreknowledge and power to create them any way he pleased, and then punishing them so bad for simply behaving as the nature he gave them allowed them to, punishing generations and generations of these beings for the sins of others of their kind and requiring arbitrary killing of other, entirely innocent beings in order to be appeased.

    To me, if you're gonna follow that kind of theology you might as well be, I dunno, a cannibal burning maidens to appease the gods and bring a good harvest...
    I'm not sure if you're using "blood redemption" in a technical way I'm not familiar with, but if that view entails the whole middle part of your post, I assure you I don't subscribe to it.

    It's not the blood per se that makes justification possible. The blood is a sign, and a sign is not the reality, and the sign needn't be accompanied by the reality. However, signs are necessary for communication; e.g., words are signs, and if I weren't typing any words, then you wouldn't know what's on my mind, and thus you'd have no knowledge of me as a person. (I suppose I could hit the "Quote" button, followed by the "Submit Reply" button, without typing anything, and that would allow you to know something about me as a person, namely, that I like to press buttons, but actions are also signs that reveal the underlying, invisible substance that gives rise to the action; indeed, my typing words is a proper subclass of actions that are signs that serve to make known the type of thing that I am).

    Your post addresses many fundamental concepts of Christian doctrine such as: what is the nature of God; what is the nature of man; what is the nature of sin; and what are the consequences for sin? The way one answers these questions will have widespread implications for the rest of his faith--the faith you outline above would be, I contend, inconsistent upon examination and therefore ought not to be believed. (probably why you find it offensive).

    What I'm driving at is that it is possible to affirm this view of creation as revelation and consistently reject the nasty form of Christianity you outline.

  7. #117
    Senior Member substitute's Avatar
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    having read your posts Jennifer I'm still partly distracted from the substance of them by admiration at your gift for lucid expression lol

    But yeah, I'm with you on most of what you say, main difference for me being that being 'in the text' just doesn't mean as much to me, I don't ascribe the same significance to the text - any text - that most do. I just quite simply don't see it as anything particularly authoritative...

    Owl - depends what you define as a sign, and I suspect people have hugely varying criteria for judging what is and isn't a sign and what the sign means. Being of a 'divinity within' sorta school of thought I tend to feel that it's in meditative and prayerful communion with my own inner self that I receive revelation and communication from what I think of in my head as God, as revealed in Christ (as far as I can tell). But I've found Buddhist sutras and Hindi Upanishads of more use to me in my journey than the Bible...
    Ils se d�merdent, les mecs: trop bon, trop con..................................MY BLOG!

    "When it all comes down to dust
    I will kill you if I must
    I will help you if I can" - Leonard Cohen

  8. #118
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Owl View Post
    It's not the blood per se that makes justification possible. The blood is a sign, and a sign is not the reality, and the sign needn't be accompanied by the reality. However, signs are necessary for communication; e.g., words are signs, and if I weren't typing any words, then you wouldn't know what's on my mind, and thus you'd have no knowledge of me as a person. (I suppose I could hit the "Quote" button, followed by the "Submit Reply" button, without typing anything, and that would allow you to know something about me as a person, namely, that I like to press buttons, but actions are also signs that reveal the underlying, invisible substance that gives rise to the action; indeed, my typing words is a proper subclass of actions that are signs that serve to make known the type of thing that I am).
    That's a good description of the "sign" and realistically how they function. Like it or not, without the sign or indicator, communication is impossible; ideas, feelings, and beliefs don't just travel through osmosis, they are embodied in the packet or sign although the sign is NOT the idea, feeling, or belief itself but merely a representation of it.

    I remember growing up in the Lutheran tradition that pushed transsubstantiation, though, and insisted that something mystical but unexplainable happened during communion, where the bread and wine literally became the body of Christ. For a long time, I thought about that and tried to understand the ramifications of what that means; I mostly do not believe that now, I just see blood as a sign -- albeit a very powerful one -- and not as a literal magical substance. It just represents something far bigger. But some traditions still believe there is something mystical that occurs and the blood is more than a signifier or sign.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  9. #119
    Sniffles
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    Quote Originally Posted by Owl View Post
    If I may...

    At the end of Gen 3, God clothes Adam and Eve in coats of skin, replacing the garments of leaves they'd sewn for themselves in order to cover their shame. Day in and day out, as they wore the coats of skin, what did they think prompted God to clothe them so? Did they miss the fact that skinning an animal results in the death of the animal? Did they fail to realize that the covering God provided required the death of another?

    Gen 4 begins with the account of Cain, Abel, and their sacrifices. As Substitute mentioned, ritual is symbolic representation of theology. What is the theological significance behind killing an animal, and how does it differ from killing a plant? Is it fair to say that Abel's sacrifice is a symbol of the death of another, but Cain's sacrifice isn't? I think so. As Jennifer suggested, the spilling of blood is essential, for it's a clear symbol of the terrible nature of death. Abel's sacrifice shows that he understood that justification is made possible by the death of another, and Cain's sacrifice shows that he didn't understand this.

    thoughts?
    I just got reminded of why I often hate discussing the Bible. This and the Church vs State discussion has really tired me out mentally.

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