Quote of the Day: Volnaiksra on Trying to Smooth Over the Bible’s Hard Passages

On his blog, The Dubious Disciple, Lee Harmon has a book review of Paul Copan’s book, Is God a Moral Monster?  Lee was not particularly convinced by Copan’s attempt to smooth over some of the troubling passages of the Bible, such as the Israelite conquest of Canaan, which entailed (in some parts of the Bible) Israel being commanded by God to kill every man, woman, and child among the Canaanites.

Volnaiksra left the following comment under Lee’s post (and you can read Volnaiksra’s blog here):

“It’s always a little bit heartbreaking when apologists try to take the super-positive message of modern of Christianity (God is love; you’re his treasured creature; the Christian God is above all human pettiness and can be trusted to give us peace and justice; Christianity is all good news, etc.) and transpose it back onto the Bible.

“The backpeddling and philosophical gymnastics they need to employ to twist the Bible’s assorted nastiness into something that approximates holiness are so athletic and creative that you kind of want to root for them. And when they finally exclaim triumphantly ‘see? The Bible is wonderful!’ from atop the arguments they’ve lovingly constructed, you almost don’t have the heart to point out that they’re standing on a tangled web of sticky-tape, plastic and holes that’s about to collapse into a sorry mess.

“Once, while [perusing] the religion section of my local bookstore, I came across a book called something like ‘The Problem verses’. The mission of the book was to try and catalog, and briefly explain, all those tricky passages of the Bible that seemed offensive, unfair, or cruel. I guess it was meant as a reference for newcomers to the Bible who were a bit alarmed by what they saw in it, and was intended to help them see those verses in a more palatable light.

“It was one of the thickest books I’ve ever seen in my entire life, and was a good 50% thicker than the Bible itself. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.”

About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting. I have degrees in fields of religious studies. I have an M.Phil. in the History of Biblical Interpretation from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio. I also have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University.
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1 Response to Quote of the Day: Volnaiksra on Trying to Smooth Over the Bible’s Hard Passages

  1. truthceeker says:

    One teaching I remember on this passage was that we can not understand this. It is akin to why we ask questions such as why is there suffering in the world. It is a hard thing for thinkers to accept a God who takes actions such as this. I myself have not studied the matter enough to ellaborate on it, but my quickest answer off the cuff is that the Lord has proved His character by consistent behavior through the ages. Even if I cannot explain the seemingly visable crulty, I know that the Lord is above all a God of Love, and there are some truths that my heart is not swayed by due to a few difficult passages in the Bible. Most of my hardest Biblical questions have been answered more recently but I suppose there are some which I will never answer until I see the Lord.


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