Old Testament Quotes

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The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.
Richard Dawkins (The God Delusion)
It is said that the darkest hour of the night comes just before the dawn.
Thomas Fuller (A Pisgah Sight Of Palestine And The Confines Thereof: With The History Of The Old And New Testament Acted Thereon (1869))
Computers are like Old Testament gods; lots of rules and no mercy.
Joseph Campbell (The Power of Myth)
Women were created from the rib of man to be beside him, not from his head to top him, nor from his feet to be trampled by him, but from under his arm to be protected by him, near to his heart to be loved by him.
Matthew Henry (An Exposition of the Old and New Testament Volume 6)
You should approach Joyce's Ulysses as the illiterate Baptist preacher approaches the Old Testament: with faith.
William Faulkner
Mene mene tekel upsharin,' Jace said with a faint smile. 'You don't recognize it? It's from the Bible, vampire. The old one. That's your book, isn't it?' Just because I'm Jewish doesn't mean I've memorized the Old Testament.' It's the Writing on the Wall. "God hath numbered thy kingdom, and brought it to an end; thou art weighed in the balance and found wanting." It's a portent of doom--it means the end of an empire.
Cassandra Clare (City of Glass (The Mortal Instruments, #3))
If a man would follow, today, the teachings of the Old Testament, he would be a criminal. If he would follow strictly the teachings of the New, he would be insane.
Robert G. Ingersoll
By the way, if you get mad at your Mac laptop and wonder who designed this demonic device, notice the manufacturer's icon on top: an apple with a bite out of it.
Peter Kreeft (Jesus-Shock)
You know, the New Testament is pretty old. I think they should call them the Old Testament and the Most Recent Testament.
Steven Wright
I was never really on my side in any argument. I liked the Old Testament spitefulness of the phrase got what she deserved. Sometimes women do.
Gillian Flynn (Sharp Objects)
A proverb in the Old Testament states: 'He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city'. It is when we become angry that we get into trouble. The road rage that affects our highways is a hateful expression of anger. I dare say that most of the inmates of our prisons are there because they did something when they were angry. In their wrath they swore, they lost control of themselves, and terrible things followed, even murder. There were moments of offense followed by years of regret. . . . So many of us make a great fuss of matters of small consequence. We are so easily offended. Happy is the man who can brush aside the offending remarks of another and go on his way.
Gordon B. Hinckley
For he that diligently seeketh shall find; and the mysteries of God shall be unfolded unto them, by the power of the Holy Ghost, as well in these times as in times of old as in times to come; wherefore, the course of the Lord is one eternal round" - 1 Nephi 10:19
Joseph Smith Jr. (The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ)
Today’s events are reminiscent of the Old Testament story of how the Israelites demanded a king over God’s objection. They believed that a king would give them peace and security. The results proved otherwise.
Ron Paul (Liberty Defined: 50 Essential Issues That Affect Our Freedom)
All the tales of miracles, with which the Old and New Testament are filled, are fit only for impostors to preach and fools to believe.
Thomas Paine (The Writing of Thomas Paine)
Reading list (1972 edition)[edit] 1. Homer – Iliad, Odyssey 2. The Old Testament 3. Aeschylus – Tragedies 4. Sophocles – Tragedies 5. Herodotus – Histories 6. Euripides – Tragedies 7. Thucydides – History of the Peloponnesian War 8. Hippocrates – Medical Writings 9. Aristophanes – Comedies 10. Plato – Dialogues 11. Aristotle – Works 12. Epicurus – Letter to Herodotus; Letter to Menoecus 13. Euclid – Elements 14. Archimedes – Works 15. Apollonius of Perga – Conic Sections 16. Cicero – Works 17. Lucretius – On the Nature of Things 18. Virgil – Works 19. Horace – Works 20. Livy – History of Rome 21. Ovid – Works 22. Plutarch – Parallel Lives; Moralia 23. Tacitus – Histories; Annals; Agricola Germania 24. Nicomachus of Gerasa – Introduction to Arithmetic 25. Epictetus – Discourses; Encheiridion 26. Ptolemy – Almagest 27. Lucian – Works 28. Marcus Aurelius – Meditations 29. Galen – On the Natural Faculties 30. The New Testament 31. Plotinus – The Enneads 32. St. Augustine – On the Teacher; Confessions; City of God; On Christian Doctrine 33. The Song of Roland 34. The Nibelungenlied 35. The Saga of Burnt Njál 36. St. Thomas Aquinas – Summa Theologica 37. Dante Alighieri – The Divine Comedy;The New Life; On Monarchy 38. Geoffrey Chaucer – Troilus and Criseyde; The Canterbury Tales 39. Leonardo da Vinci – Notebooks 40. Niccolò Machiavelli – The Prince; Discourses on the First Ten Books of Livy 41. Desiderius Erasmus – The Praise of Folly 42. Nicolaus Copernicus – On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres 43. Thomas More – Utopia 44. Martin Luther – Table Talk; Three Treatises 45. François Rabelais – Gargantua and Pantagruel 46. John Calvin – Institutes of the Christian Religion 47. Michel de Montaigne – Essays 48. William Gilbert – On the Loadstone and Magnetic Bodies 49. Miguel de Cervantes – Don Quixote 50. Edmund Spenser – Prothalamion; The Faerie Queene 51. Francis Bacon – Essays; Advancement of Learning; Novum Organum, New Atlantis 52. William Shakespeare – Poetry and Plays 53. Galileo Galilei – Starry Messenger; Dialogues Concerning Two New Sciences 54. Johannes Kepler – Epitome of Copernican Astronomy; Concerning the Harmonies of the World 55. William Harvey – On the Motion of the Heart and Blood in Animals; On the Circulation of the Blood; On the Generation of Animals 56. Thomas Hobbes – Leviathan 57. René Descartes – Rules for the Direction of the Mind; Discourse on the Method; Geometry; Meditations on First Philosophy 58. John Milton – Works 59. Molière – Comedies 60. Blaise Pascal – The Provincial Letters; Pensees; Scientific Treatises 61. Christiaan Huygens – Treatise on Light 62. Benedict de Spinoza – Ethics 63. John Locke – Letter Concerning Toleration; Of Civil Government; Essay Concerning Human Understanding;Thoughts Concerning Education 64. Jean Baptiste Racine – Tragedies 65. Isaac Newton – Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy; Optics 66. Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz – Discourse on Metaphysics; New Essays Concerning Human Understanding;Monadology 67. Daniel Defoe – Robinson Crusoe 68. Jonathan Swift – A Tale of a Tub; Journal to Stella; Gulliver's Travels; A Modest Proposal 69. William Congreve – The Way of the World 70. George Berkeley – Principles of Human Knowledge 71. Alexander Pope – Essay on Criticism; Rape of the Lock; Essay on Man 72. Charles de Secondat, baron de Montesquieu – Persian Letters; Spirit of Laws 73. Voltaire – Letters on the English; Candide; Philosophical Dictionary 74. Henry Fielding – Joseph Andrews; Tom Jones 75. Samuel Johnson – The Vanity of Human Wishes; Dictionary; Rasselas; The Lives of the Poets
Mortimer J. Adler (How to Read a Book: The Classic Guide to Intelligent Reading)
Myths are public dreams, dreams are private myths. We must be willing to get rid of the life we planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us. I have bought this wonderful machine — a computer ... it seems to me to be an Old Testament god, with a lot of rules and no mercy.
Joseph Campbell
...my soul always reverts to the Old Testament and to Shakespeare. There at least one feels that it's human beings talking. There people hate, people love, people murder their enemy and curse his descendants through all generations, there people sin.
Søren Kierkegaard (Either/Or: A Fragment of Life)
The only people you have to look out for in life are the people that don't care about anything or anyone. These are the people that end up teaching your children.
Shannon L. Alder
It’s all right,” she said. “You’re through.” “Jesus,” he finally managed, pushing water off his face. “Jesus Christ and John the Baptist. For that matter, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John.” Still not enough. He needed to reach back to the Old Testament for this. “Obadiah. Nebuchadnezzar. Methuselah and Job.” “Be calm,” she said, taking him by the shoulders. “Be calm. And there are women in the Bible, you know.” “Yes. As I recall it, they were trouble, every last one.
Tessa Dare (A Week to Be Wicked (Spindle Cove, #2))
To believe in God is a good thing, a right thing. But when you reinforce your belief with words you take from the Old Testament that you seek out, and interpret in the ways that suit your needs best, that is hypocrisy,
V.C. Andrews (Flowers in the Attic (Dollanganger, #1))
If God rewards us on earth for good deeds—the Old Testament suggests it’s so, and the Puritans certainly believed it—then maybe Satan rewards us for evil ones.
Stephen King (Full Dark, No Stars)
Let other complain that the age is wicked; my complaint is that it is paltry; for it lacks passion. Men's thoughts are thin and flimsy like lace, they are themselves pitiable like the lacemakers. The thoughts of their hearts are too paltry to be sinful. For a worm it might be regarded as a sin to harbor such thoughts, but not for a being made in the image of God. Their lusts are dull and sluggish, their passions sleepy...This is the reason my soul always turns back to the Old Testament and to Shakespeare. I feel that those who speak there are at least human beings: they hate, they love, they murder their enemies, and curse their descendants throughout all generations, they sin.
Søren Kierkegaard (Either/Or: A Fragment of Life)
I regard the Bible, especially the Old Testament, the same as I do most other ancient books, in which there is some truth, a great deal of error, considerable barbarism and a most plentiful lack of good sense.
Robert G. Ingersoll
As a child abuse and neglect therapist I do battle daily with Christians enamored of the Old Testament phrase "Spare the rod and spoil the child." No matter how far I stretch my imagination, it does not stretch far enough to include the image of a cool dude like Jesus taking a rod to a kid.
Chris Crutcher (King of the Mild Frontier: An Ill-Advised Autobiography)
...Whilst on board the Beagle I was quite orthodox, and I remember being heartily laughed at by several of the officers... for quoting the Bible as an unanswerable authority on some point of morality... But I had gradually come by this time, i.e., 1836 to 1839, to see that the Old Testament from its manifestly false history of the world, with the Tower of Babel, the rainbow at sign, &c., &c., and from its attributing to God the feelings of a revengeful tyrant, was no more to be trusted than the sacred books of the Hindoos, or the beliefs of any barbarian. ...By further reflecting that the clearest evidence would be requisite to make any sane man believe in the miracles by which Christianity is supported, (and that the more we know of the fixed laws of nature the more incredible do miracles become), that the men at that time were ignorant and credulous to a degree almost uncomprehensible by us, that the Gospels cannot be proved to have been written simultaneously with the events, that they differ in many important details, far too important, as it seemed to me, to be admitted as the usual inaccuracies of eyewitnesses; by such reflections as these, which I give not as having the least novelty or value, but as they influenced me, I gradually came to disbelieve in Christianity as a divine revelation. The fact that many false religions have spread over large portions of the earth like wild-fire had some weight with me. Beautiful as is the morality of the New Testament, it can be hardly denied that its perfection depends in part on the interpretation which we now put on metaphors and allegories. But I was very unwilling to give up my belief... Thus disbelief crept over me at a very slow rate, but was at last complete. The rate was so slow that I felt no distress, and have never since doubted even for a single second that my conclusion was correct. I can indeed hardly see how anyone ought to wish Christianity to be true; for if so the plain language of the text seems to show that the men who do not believe, and this would include my Father, Brother and almost all of my friends, will be everlastingly punished. And this is a damnable doctrine.
Charles Darwin (The Autobiography of Charles Darwin, 1809–82)
The Old Testament is responsible for more atheism, agnosticism, disbelief—call it what you will—than any book ever written; it has emptied more churches than all the counterattractions of cinema, motor bicycle and golf course.
A.A. Milne
The most classic horror tale of this latter type is the Old Testament story of Job, who becomes human Astro-Turf in a kind of spiritual Superbowl between God and Satan.
Stephen King (Danse Macabre)
And when this happens, when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!
Martin Luther King Jr. (A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches)
Give your false prophet a message for me. Tell him Jesus befriended the whores and the thieves and the sinners. Tell him his Old Testament God is dead. God doesn't punish the wicked and save the righteous. God is love.
Jennifer Bosworth (Struck (Struck, #1))
If the Old Testament were a reliable guide in the matter of capital punishment, half the people in the United States would have to be killed tomorrow.
Steve Allen
Christians . . . ought not to be threatened by fantasy and imagination. Great painting is not "photographic": think of the Old Testament art commanded by God. There were blue pomegranates on the robes of the priest who went into the Holy of Holies. In nature there are no blue pomegranates. Christian artists do not need to be threatened by fantasy and imagination, for they have a basis for knowing the difference between them and the real world "out there." The Christian is the really free person--he is free to have imagination. This too is our heritage. The Christian is the one whose imagination should fly beyond the stars.
Francis A. Schaeffer (Art & the Bible)
Where is the graveyard of dead gods? What lingering mourner waters their mounds? There was a time when Jupiter was the king of the gods, and any man who doubted his puissance was ipso facto a barbarian and an ignoramus. But where in all the world is there a man who worships Jupiter today? And who of Huitzilopochtli? In one year - and it is no more than five hundred years ago - 50,000 youths and maidens were slain in sacrifice to him. Today, if he is remembered at all, it is only by some vagrant savage in the depths of the Mexican forest. Huitzilopochtli, like many other gods, had no human father; his mother was a virtuous widow; he was born of an apparently innocent flirtation that she carried out with the sun. When he frowned, his father, the sun, stood still. When he roared with rage, earthquakes engulfed whole cities. When he thirsted he was watered with 10,000 gallons of human blood. But today Huitzilopochtli is as magnificently forgotten as Allen G. Thurman. Once the peer of Allah, Buddha and Wotan, he is now the peer of Richmond P. Hobson, Alton B. Parker, Adelina Patti, General Weyler and Tom Sharkey. Speaking of Huitzilopochtli recalls his brother Tezcatlipoca. Tezcatlipoca was almost as powerful; he consumed 25,000 virgins a year. Lead me to his tomb: I would weep, and hang a couronne des perles. But who knows where it is? Or where the grave of Quetzalcoatl is? Or Xiuhtecuhtli? Or Centeotl, that sweet one? Or Tlazolteotl, the goddess of love? Of Mictlan? Or Xipe? Or all the host of Tzitzimitl? Where are their bones? Where is the willow on which they hung their harps? In what forlorn and unheard-of Hell do they await their resurrection morn? Who enjoys their residuary estates? Or that of Dis, whom Caesar found to be the chief god of the Celts? Of that of Tarves, the bull? Or that of Moccos, the pig? Or that of Epona, the mare? Or that of Mullo, the celestial jackass? There was a time when the Irish revered all these gods, but today even the drunkest Irishman laughs at them. But they have company in oblivion: the Hell of dead gods is as crowded as the Presbyterian Hell for babies. Damona is there, and Esus, and Drunemeton, and Silvana, and Dervones, and Adsullata, and Deva, and Bellisima, and Uxellimus, and Borvo, and Grannos, and Mogons. All mighty gods in their day, worshipped by millions, full of demands and impositions, able to bind and loose - all gods of the first class. Men labored for generations to build vast temples to them - temples with stones as large as hay-wagons. The business of interpreting their whims occupied thousands of priests, bishops, archbishops. To doubt them was to die, usually at the stake. Armies took to the field to defend them against infidels; villages were burned, women and children butchered, cattle were driven off. Yet in the end they all withered and died, and today there is none so poor to do them reverence. What has become of Sutekh, once the high god of the whole Nile Valley? What has become of: Resheph Anath Ashtoreth El Nergal Nebo Ninib Melek Ahijah Isis Ptah Anubis Baal Astarte Hadad Addu Shalem Dagon Sharaab Yau Amon-Re Osiris Sebek Molech? All there were gods of the highest eminence. Many of them are mentioned with fear and trembling in the Old Testament. They ranked, five or six thousand years ago, with Yahweh Himself; the worst of them stood far higher than Thor. Yet they have all gone down the chute, and with them the following: Bilé Ler Arianrhod Morrigu Govannon Gunfled Sokk-mimi Nemetona Dagda Robigus Pluto Ops Meditrina Vesta You may think I spoof. That I invent the names. I do not. Ask the rector to lend you any good treatise on comparative religion: You will find them all listed. They were gods of the highest standing and dignity-gods of civilized peoples-worshiped and believed in by millions. All were omnipotent, omniscient and immortal. And all are dead.
H.L. Mencken (A Mencken Chrestomathy)
We drank our whiskeys. It was the good stuff and it tasted of salt, sea, rain, wind and the Old Testament.
Adrian McKinty (The Cold Cold Ground (Detective Sean Duffy, #1))
Utter trash. —the Greek intellectual Celsus evaluates the Old Testament
Catherine Nixey (The Darkening Age: The Christian Destruction of the Classical World)
Women are also property in our bible; adultery is a property crime in the Old Testament, not a sex crime.
Bill Maher (When You Ride Alone You Ride With Bin Laden: What the Government Should Be Telling Us to Help Fight the War on Terrorism)
When God creates Eve, he calls her an ezer kenegdo. 'It is not good for the man to be alone, I shall make him [an ezer kenegdo]' (Gen. 2:18 Alter). Hebrew scholar Robert Alter, who has spent years translating the book of Genesis, says that this phrase is 'notoriously difficult to translate.' The various attempts we have in English are "helper" or "companion" or the notorious "help meet." Why are these translations so incredibly wimpy, boring, flat...disappointing? What is a help meet, anyway? What little girl dances through the house singing "One day I shall be a help meet?" Companion? A dog can be a companion. Helper? Sounds like Hamburger Helper. Alter is getting close when he translates it "sustainer beside him" The word ezer is used only twenty other places in the entire Old Testament. And in every other instance the person being described is God himself, when you need him to come through for you desperately.
Stasi Eldredge (Captivating: Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman's Soul)
If the Holy Bible was printed as an Ace Double it would be cut down to two 20,000-word halves with the Old Testament retitled as ‘Master of Chaos’ and the New Testament as ‘The Thing With Three Souls.
Terry Carr
We can't fully appreciate the sweetness of the New Testament without the savory of the Old Testament.
Jen Wilkin (Women of the Word: How to Study the Bible with Both Our Hearts and Our Minds)
Everything bad in the Old Testament (and there's a lot) is there to point out our sin, while everything good in the Old Testament is there to point us to our Savior.
Martin Luther
Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.
Anonymous (Holy Bible: New International Version)
(We) consist of everything the world consists of, each of us, and just as our body contains the genealogical table of evolution as far back as the fish and even much further, so we bear everything in our soul that once was alive in the soul of men. Every god and devil that ever existed, be it among the Greeks, Chinese, or Zulus, are within us, exist as latent possibilities, as wishes, as alternatives. If the human race were to vanish from the face of the earth save for one halfway talented child that had received no education, this child would rediscover the entire course of evolution, it would be capable of producing everything once more, gods and demons, paradises, commandments, the Old and New Testament.
Hermann Hesse (Demian)
Many times in the Old Testament, God refers to human beings as His beloved. But when God called Jesus His beloved, Jesus did something truly remarkable: He believed Him. And He lived every moment of His life fully convinced of His identity.
Jonathan Martin (Prototype: What Happens When You Discover You're More Like Jesus Than You Think?)
There is no doubt that the Old Testament is a physiological and anatomical textbook to those capable of reading it from a scientific viewpoint.
Manly P. Hall (Occult Anatomy of Man & Occult Masonry)
Some Christian lawyers—some eminent and stupid judges—have said and still say, that the Ten Commandments are the foundation of all law. Nothing could be more absurd. Long before these commandments were given there were codes of laws in India and Egypt—laws against murder, perjury, larceny, adultery and fraud. Such laws are as old as human society; as old as the love of life; as old as industry; as the idea of prosperity; as old as human love. All of the Ten Commandments that are good were old; all that were new are foolish. If Jehovah had been civilized he would have left out the commandment about keeping the Sabbath, and in its place would have said: 'Thou shalt not enslave thy fellow-men.' He would have omitted the one about swearing, and said: 'The man shall have but one wife, and the woman but one husband.' He would have left out the one about graven images, and in its stead would have said: 'Thou shalt not wage wars of extermination, and thou shalt not unsheathe the sword except in self-defence.' If Jehovah had been civilized, how much grander the Ten Commandments would have been. All that we call progress—the enfranchisement of man, of labor, the substitution of imprisonment for death, of fine for imprisonment, the destruction of polygamy, the establishing of free speech, of the rights of conscience; in short, all that has tended to the development and civilization of man; all the results of investigation, observation, experience and free thought; all that man has accomplished for the benefit of man since the close of the Dark Ages—has been done in spite of the Old Testament.
Robert G. Ingersoll (About The Holy Bible)
So they trust in the deity of the Old Testament, an incontinent dotard who soiled Himself and the universe with his corruption, a low-budget divinity passing itself off as the genuine article. (Ask the Gnostics.) They trust in Jesus Christ, a historical cipher stitched together like Frankenstein's monster out of parts robbed from the graves of messiahs dead and buried - a savior on a stick. They trust in the virgin-pimping Allah and his Drum Major Mohammed, a prophet-come-lately who pioneered a new genus of humbuggery for an emerging market of believers that was not being adequately served by existing religious products. They trust in anything that authenticates their importance as persons, tribes, societies, and particularly as a species that will endure in this world and perhaps in an afterworld that may be uncertain in its reality and unclear in its layout, but which states their craving for values "not of this earth" - that depressing, meaningless place their consciousness must sidestep every day.
Thomas Ligotti (The Conspiracy Against the Human Race)
Why do you think the Bible has survived thousands of years of tumultuous history Why is it still here Is it because its stories are such compelling reading Of course not...but there is a reason. There is a reason Christian monks spend lifetimes attempting to decipher the Bible. There is a reason that Jewish mystics and Kabbalists pore over the Old Testament. And that reason Robert is that there exist powerful secrets hidden in the pages of this ancient book...a vast collection of untapped wisdom waiting to be unveiled.
Dan Brown (The Lost Symbol (Robert Langdon, #3))
... به همین خاطر است که جان من پیوسته به سوی عهد عتیق و شکسپیر باز می گردد: آن جا حداقل احساس می کنی که موجودی انسانی سخن می گوید؛ آن جا مردم نفرت می ورزند، عشق می ورزند، مردم دشمنانشان را به قتل می رسانند و فرزندانشان را نسل بعد از نسل نفرین می کنند؛ آن جا مردم گناه می کنند.
Søren Kierkegaard (Either/Or: A Fragment of Life)
The problem with a lot of people who read only literary fiction is that they assume fantasy is just books about orcs and goblins and dragons and wizards and bullshit. And to be fair, a lot of fantasy is about that stuff. The problem with people in fantasy is they believe that literary fiction is just stories about a guy drinking tea and staring out the window at the rain while he thinks about his mother. And the truth is a lot of literary fiction is just that. Like, kind of pointless, angsty, emo, masturbatory bullshit. However, we should not be judged by our lowest common denominators. And also you should not fall prey to the fallacious thinking that literary fiction is literary and all other genres are genre. Literary fiction is a genre, and I will fight to the death anyone who denies this very self-evident truth. So, is there a lot of fantasy that is raw shit out there? Absolutely, absolutely, it’s popcorn reading at best. But you can’t deny that a lot of lit fic is also shit. 85% of everything in the world is shit. We judge by the best. And there is some truly excellent fantasy out there. For example, Midsummer Night’s Dream; Hamlet with the ghost; Macbeth, ghosts and witches; I’m also fond of the Odyessey; Most of the Pentateuch in the Old Testament, Gargantua and Pantagruel. Honestly, fantasy existed before lit fic, and if you deny those roots you’re pruning yourself so closely that you can’t help but wither and die.
Patrick Rothfuss
Yet, if the world were bettered by My death or story left untold, I would condemn myself to die For misdemeanours manifold: I bring no harm to young or old Alive or dead, in either case: A man so needy never rolled A mountain from its resting place.
François Villon (Poems of Francois Villon)
Is that a nautilus?” he asked. “Close, but no. It’s an ammonite.” “An ammonite? What’s an ammonite? Sounds like an Old Testament people overdue for smiting.” “Ammonites are not a biblical people,” she replied in a tone of strained forbearance. “But they have been smited.” “Smote
Tessa Dare (A Week to Be Wicked (Spindle Cove, #2))
We are sometimes told that we are not a biblical church. We are a biblical church. This wonderful testament of the Old World, this great and good Holy Bible is one of our standard works. We teach from it. We bear testimony of it. We read from it. It strengthens our testimony. And we add to that this great second witness, the Book of Mormon, the testament of the New World, for as the Bible says, "In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall [all things] be established" (2 Cor. 13:1)
Gordon B. Hinckley
The negative penalties of the Old Testament case laws were not harsh but just, not a threat to society but rather the necessary judicial foundation of civic freedom… the Old Testament was harsh on criminals because it was soft on victims.
Gary North (Victim's Rights: The Biblical View of Civil Justice)
There is a tension in the Bible between justice and mercy, between the Old Testament and the New Testament. And the New Testament says you can never be good enough: goodness is the thing, and you can never live up to it. The main message of Jesus, I believed, is that mercy trumps justice every time.
Paul Kalanithi (When Breath Becomes Air)
[T]he Old Testament, [...] if considered as a general rule of conduct, would lead to consequences destructive of all principles of humanity and morality.
David Hume
Job learned about the vanity of this world by losing it all; the Teacher {Qoheleth} saw it by having it all." (The Message of the Old Testament, p. 536)
Mark Dever
We can always be sure of one thing—that the messengers of discomfort and sacrifice will be stoned and pelted by those who wish to preserve at all costs their own contentment. This is not a lesson that is confined to the Testaments.
Christopher Hitchens (Love, Poverty, and War: Journeys and Essays)
...the moment you begin to believe you're worthy of the good things in your life - God gets all Old Testament on your ass and does something vicious, something insane, something totally uncalled for. He gives you lupus or He allows Satan to slaughter your children and cattle or He delivers Ohio to George W. Bush.
Dan Savage (The Commitment: Love, Sex, Marriage, and My Family)
I found it (the word 'mercy') occurs 261 times in the Bible-and seventy-two percent of them are in the Old Testament. That's a three-to-one ratio. Then I studied the word 'love' and found it occurs 322 times in the Bible, about half in each testament. So you have the same emphasis on love in both.
Norman L. Geisler
Mother says that people like me just become intellectual old maids,' I told him. 'I don't see why,' he protested. 'Oh, well, it's probably true!' I said, rather sharply, for misery had as usual made me irritable. 'After the War there'll be no one for me to marry.' 'Not even me?' he asked very softly. 'How do I know I shall want to marry you when that time comes?' 'You know you wouldn't be happy unless you married an odd sort of person.' 'That rather narrows the field of choice, doesn't it?' 'Well--do you need it to be so very wide?
Vera Brittain (Testament of Youth)
May God deliver us from the one-sided Christian who reads only the New Testament and talks against the Old!
Dwight L. Moody (Pleasure And Profit In Bible Study And Anecdotes, Incidents And Illustrations)
A headache, I get the kind of headache God would smote you with in the Old Testament.
Chuck Palahniuk (Invisible Monsters)
The Old Testament is crap. It’s full of misogyny, torture and inconsistencies. Jesus preached about love. All love.
C.J. Tudor (The Burning Girls)
Have you noticed the words which Old Testament people use when someone important calls them by name? They don't say "What?" or "Yes?" They answer with the curious sentence, "Here I am". So much is in that sentence: readiness to respond, a willing servitude, an offering of oneself to the other.
Walter Wangerin Jr. (As For Me And My House: Crafting Your Marriage To Last)
Older forms of indentured servanthood and the bond-service of biblical times had often been harsh, but Christian abolitionists concluded that race-based, life-long chattel slavery, established through kidnapping, could not be squared with biblical teaching either in the Old Testament or the New.
Timothy J. Keller (The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism)
We think ourselves possessed, or at least we boast that we are so, of liberty of conscience on all subjects and of the right of free inquiry and private judgment in all cases, and yet how far are we from these exalted privileges in fact. There exists, I believe, throughout the whole Christian world, a law which makes it blasphemy to deny, or to doubt the divine inspiration of all the books of the Old and New Testaments, from Genesis to Revelations. In most countries of Europe it is punished by fire at the stake, or the rack, or the wheel. In England itself, it is punished by boring through the tongue with a red-hot poker. In America it is not much better; even in our Massachusetts, which, I believe, upon the whole, is as temperate and moderate in religious zeal as most of the States, a law was made in the latter end of the last century, repealing the cruel punishments of the former laws, but substituting fine and imprisonment upon all those blasphemies upon any book of the Old Testament or New. Now, what free inquiry, when a writer must surely encounter the risk of fine or imprisonment for adducing any arguments for investigation into the divine authority of those books? Who would run the risk of translating Volney's Recherches Nouvelles? Who would run the risk of translating Dupuis? But I cannot enlarge upon this subject, though I have it much at heart. I think such laws a great embarrassment, great obstructions to the improvement of the human mind. Books that cannot bear examination, certainly ought not to be established as divine inspiration by penal laws... but as long as they continue in force as laws, the human mind must make an awkward and clumsy progress in its investigations. I wish they were repealed. {Letter to Thomas Jefferson, January 23, 1825}
John Adams (The Adams-Jefferson Letters: The Complete Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson and Abigail and John Adams)
As a convinced atheist, I ought to agree with Voltaire that Judaism is not just one more religion, but in its way the root of religious evil. Without the stern, joyless rabbis and their 613 dour prohibitions, we might have avoided the whole nightmare of the Old Testament, and the brutal, crude wrenching of that into prophecy-derived Christianity, and the later plagiarism and mutation of Judaism and Christianity into the various rival forms of Islam. Much of the time, I do concur with Voltaire, but not without acknowledging that Judaism is dialectical. There is, after all, a specifically Jewish version of the eighteenth-century Enlightenment, with a specifically Jewish name—the Haskalah—for itself. The term derives from the word for 'mind' or 'intellect,' and it is naturally associated with ethics rather than rituals, life rather than prohibitions, and assimilation over 'exile' or 'return.' It's everlastingly linked to the name of the great German teacher Moses Mendelssohn, one of those conspicuous Jewish hunchbacks who so upset and embarrassed Isaiah Berlin. (The other way to upset or embarrass Berlin, I found, was to mention that he himself was a cousin of Menachem Schneerson, the 'messianic' Lubavitcher rebbe.) However, even pre-enlightenment Judaism forces its adherents to study and think, it reluctantly teaches them what others think, and it may even teach them how to think also.
Christopher Hitchens (Hitch 22: A Memoir)
Ever notice how Christians quote the Old Testament more then the New Testament? That's so they can say mean things, talk bad about the queers and such. New Testament, that's the Christian book. The stuff in red, that's Jesus talk. That's what they're supposed to live their life by, but, no, they like the God of the Old Testament, the mean, judgmental one, before he was on Zoloft.
Joe R. Lansdale
A true and safe leader is likely to be one who has no desire to lead, but is forced into a position of leadership by the inward pressure of the Holy Spirit and the press of the external situation. Such were Moses and David and the Old Testament prophets. I think there was hardly a great leader from Paul to the present day but that was drafted by the Holy Spirit for the task, and commissioned by the Lord of the Church to fill a position he had little heart for. I believe it might be accepted as a fairly reliable rule of thumb that the man who is ambitious to lead is disqualified as a leader. The true leader will have no desire to lord it over God's heritage, but will be humble, gentle, self-sacrificing, and altogether as ready to follow as to lead, when the Spirit makes it clear that a wiser and more gifted man than himself has appeared.
A.W. Tozer
I don’t care that it has been going on since the Old Testament. Rape is wrong and I will keep fighting violent men. Everything starts with one person and the determination to see it through. Nora Hawks from One Bullet Beyond Justice.
Dennis R. Miller
Lukewarm people feel secure because they attend church, made a profession of faith at age twelve, were baptized, come from a Christian family, vote Republican, or live in America. Just as the prophets in the Old Testament warned Israel that they were not safe just because they lived in the land of Israel, so we are not safe just because we wear the label 'Christian' or because some people persist in calling us a 'Christian nation.
Francis Chan (Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God)
I would ask what it is you think you're doing, but... you are a teenager. I should have known better than to leave you in the car unattended. Next time, I'll seal you in there...probably with bricks. Maybe even mortar." Nick ignored his dry tone. "Just so long as you make sure nothing can get inside to kill me, I'm good with that." Ash frowned. "What are you talking about?" "The kid dead on the ground. Fourteen, Ash. Fourteen. I'm fourteen." "Yeah..." "Ash, I'm fourteen" "Got it. You're fourteen. I'm so proud you can count that high. It's a testament to the modern American educational system. But I should probably point out that you're no the only one. I'm told you go to a school with a whole class of -get this- kids who are fourteen." Nick rolled his eyes at the sarcasm. No wonder his mom wanted to hurt him for it. He finally understood. "Yeah, but they're not dead. Someone's killing fourteen-year-old boys, which I happen to be one. The cops said so. This is the second one in a day who's been murdered." "Yeah well given the lippiness of the average teenager, I can understand the urge" "You're not funny." "And you need to calm down. The only person you need to fear killing you when I'm around is me.
Sherrilyn Kenyon (Invincible (Chronicles of Nick, #2))
God is not glorified when we keep for ourselves (no matter how thankfully) what we ought to be using to alleviate the misery of unevangelized, uneducated, unmedicated, and unfed millions. The evidence that many professing Christians have been deceived by this doctrine is how little they give and how much they own. God has prospered them. And by an almost irresistible law of consumer culture (baptized by a doctrine of health, wealth, and prosperity) they have bought bigger (and more) houses, newer (and more) cars, fancier (and more) clothes, better (and more) meat, and all manner of trinkets and gadgets and containers and devices and equipment to make life more fun. They will object: Does not the Old Testament promise that God will prosper his people? Indeed! God increases our yield, so that by giving we can prove our yield is not our god. God does not prosper a man's business so that he can move from a Ford to a Cadillac. God prospers a business so that 17,000 unreached people can be reached with the gospel. He prospers the business so that 12 percent of the world's population can move a step back from the precipice of starvation.
John Piper (Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist)
The doctrine of the carnal Christian[32] has destroyed more lives and sent more people to hell than you can imagine! Do Christians struggle with sin? Yes. Can a Christian fall into sin? Absolutely. Can a Christian live in a continuous state of carnality all the days of his life, not bearing fruit, and truly be Christian? Absolutely not !—or every promise in the Old Testament regarding the New Testament covenant of preservation has failed, and everything God said about discipline in Hebrews is a lie (Heb 12:6)! “A tree is known by its fruit” (Luk 6:44).
Paul David Washer (Ten Indictments against the Modern Church)
Although some popular religious texts such as the New Testament, Quran, Bhagavad Gita, Tao Te Ching, or Tibetan Book of the Dead contain interesting insights and stories, it is the Jewish religious texts such as the Old Testament (Hebrew Scriptures) that contain valuable information on acquiring wealth.
H.W. Charles (The Money Code: Become a Millionaire With the Ancient Jewish Code)
When I was small and would leaf through the Old Testament retold for children and illustrated in engravings by Gustave Dore, I saw the Lord God standing on a cloud. He was an old man with eyes, nose, and a long beard, and I would say to myself that if He had a mouth, He had to eat. And if He ate, He had intestines. But that always gave me a fright, because even though I come from a family that was not particularly religious, I felt the idea of a divine intestine to be sacrilegious. Spontaneously, without any theological training, I, a child, grasped the incompatibility of God and shit... Either/or: either man was created in God's image-- and God has intestines!-- or God lacks intestines and man is not like him... Shit is a more onerous theological problem than is evil. Since God gave man freedom, we can, if need be, accept the idea that He is not responsible for man's crimes. The responsibility for shit, however, rests entirely with Him, the Creator of man.
Milan Kundera (The Unbearable Lightness of Being)
Still today the Old Testament book of Psalms gives great power for faith and life. This is simply because it preserves a conceptually rich language about God and our relationships to him. If you bury yourself in Psalms, you emerge knowing God and understanding life.
Dallas Willard (The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life In God)
Of an inanimate being, like a table, we say “What is it?” And we answer Dopwen yewe. Table it is. But of apple, we must say, “Who is that being?” And reply Mshimin yawe. Apple that being is. Yawe— the animate to be. I am, you are, s/he is. To speak of those possessed with life and spirit we must say yawe. By what linguistic confluence do Yahweh of the Old Testament and yawe of the New World both fall from the mouths of the reverent Isn’t this just what it means, to be, to have the breath of life within, to be the offspring of creation The language reminds us, in every sentence, of our kinship with all of the animate world.
Robin Wall Kimmerer (Braiding Sweetgrass)
Intellectualism is a poor master over passion
Twe Stephens (The Universes of God: The Chronicles of the Angels)
I know once you repent, Jesus himself isn't big on punishment, but according to all the Old Testament stories, I ever heard, his was not above it
Pearl Cleage (What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day (Idlewild, #1))
Everyone will have noticed how the Old Testament seems at times to ignore our conception of the individual.
C.S. Lewis (The Problem of Pain)
You didn't learn the Bible as a Fundamentalist. You learned fragments of Old Testament legalism mixed with Behaviorism & Nietzschean ethics
Jeri Massi
The greatest importance of the Dead Sea Scrolls...lies in the discovery of biblical manuscripts dating back to only about 300 years after the close of the Old Testament canon.
Philip W. Comfort (The Origin of the Bible)
Well, I’ll stick to the Old Testament, picking it to pieces usually doesn’t upset people quite so much.
Robert A. Heinlein (Stranger in a Strange Land)
He'd sit and listen to Nana's Jesus stories all day, but when she turned to the Old Testament prophets, Louis Valentine's little face would darken. He said, "I hate it when God is mean!
Donald McCaig (Rhett Butler's People)
God knew man would evolve. People think some of the Old Testament laws are absurd now because we live in a very different culture, a different time period. They had their problems and we have ours. God is constant but man is not, and he foreknew the ever-changing world his people would have to deal with; therefore, and if there is indeed an omniscient God, a Christ-like figure would be our only rational, possible connection to a constant, holy God throughout the evolution of culture and social law. The only answer that makes sense when it comes to relevance regarding religions and time periods is Christ, and the chances are slim that men could have invented it.
Criss Jami (Killosophy)
Does not the Old Testament promise that God will prosper His people? Indeed! God increases our yield so that by giving we can prove that our yield is not our god. God does not prosper a man’s business so he can move from a Ford to a Cadillac. God prospers a business so that thousands of unreached peoples can be reached with the gospel.
John Piper (Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist)
After Jesus showed up, the Old Testament basically became a way for Bible publishers to keep their word count up. Of course, just because Jesus replaces the Old Testament doesn't mean that you should necessarily skip it. That would be like skipping Batman and Robin just because the story starts over in Batman Begins. The important thing to realize is that both the old and new stories are about an all-powerful being trying to rid the world of evildoers, only in the new one The Batman can eat pork.
Stephen Colbert (I Am America (And So Can You!))
Magic is that paganistic reversal of the process of religion, in which man, instead of letting himself be used by God for the divine purpose, drags down his god to the level of a tool, which he uses for his own selfish purpose.
Geerhardus Vos (Biblical Theology: Old and New Testaments)
The past doesn’t change, does it?” “It’s still there, same as it ever was. But we see it differently as we get older.
Paul McAuley (Evening's Empires)
Ours is a historical faith, and to uproot the Bible from its historical contexts is self-contradictory.
Peter Enns (Inspiration and Incarnation: Evangelicals and the Problem of the Old Testament)
Pippin was crowned the first king of the Carolingian dynasty in the city of Soissons, in a brand-new sacred ceremony that involved anointing with holy oil in the manner of an Old Testament theocratic king.*
Susan Wise Bauer (The History of the Medieval World: From the Conversion of Constantine to the First Crusade)
I'm in no rush to patch up these questions. God save me from the day when stories of violence, rape, and ethnic cleansing inspire within me anything other than revulsion. I don't want to become a person who is unbothered by these texts, and if Jesus is who he says he is, then I don't think he wants me to either. There are parts of the Bible that inspire, parts that perplex, and parts that leave you with an open wound. I'm still wrestling, and like Jacob, I will wrestle until I am blessed. God hasn't let go of me yet.
Rachel Held Evans (Inspired: Slaying Giants, Walking on Water, and Loving the Bible Again)
I was taught in church that I am a child of God. I also read the Old Testament. There is a story in Kings where God has forty-two children dismembered by she-bears for insulting the prophet Elisha. It was not much of a stretch to believe that that God was my father.
M.E. Thomas (Confessions of a Sociopath: A Life Spent Hiding in Plain Sight)
But the Spirit was not limited to doing surprising and extraordinary things. He was present in the Old Testament period in giving civil rule and government ... moral virtues ... physical strength ... and intellectual abilities.
John Owen (The Holy Spirit)
The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.
Dan Barker (Life Driven Purpose: How an Atheist Finds Meaning)
Torture is like dancing: I’m too old for it. Let the younger ones practice their bravery.
Margaret Atwood (The Testaments (The Handmaid's Tale, #2))
Well how do you know we ain’t Negroes?” “Uncle Jack Finch says we really don’t know. He says as far as he can trace back the Finches we ain’t, but for all he knows we mighta come straight out of Ethiopia durin’ the Old Testament.” “Well if we came out durin’ the Old Testament it’s too long ago to matter.” “That’s what I thought,” said Jem, “but around here once you have a drop of Negro blood, that makes you all black.
Harper Lee (To Kill a Mockingbird)
I especially loved the Old Testament. Even as a kid I had a sense of it being slightly illicit. As though someone had slipped an R-rated action movie into a pile of Disney DVDs. For starters Adam and Eve were naked on the first page. I was fascinated by Eve's ability to always stand in the Garden of Eden so that a tree branch or leaf was covering her private areas like some kind of organic bakini. But it was the Bible's murder and mayhem that really got my attention. When I started reading the real Bible I spent most of my time in Genesis Exodus 1 and 2 Samuel and 1 and 2 Kings. Talk about violent. Cain killed Abel. The Egyptians fed babies to alligators. Moses killed an Egyptian. God killed thousands of Egyptians in the Red Sea. David killed Goliath and won a girl by bringing a bag of two hundred Philistine foreskins to his future father-in-law. I couldn't believe that Mom was so happy about my spending time each morning reading about gruesome battles prostitutes fratricide murder and adultery. What a way to have a "quiet time." While I grew up with a fairly solid grasp of Bible stories I didn't have a clear idea of how the Bible fit together or what it was all about. I certainly didn't understand how the exciting stories of the Old Testament connected to the rather less-exciting New Testament and the story of Jesus. This concept of the Bible as a bunch of disconnected stories sprinkled with wise advice and capped off with the inspirational life of Jesus seems fairly common among Christians. That is so unfortunate because to see the Bible as one book with one author and all about one main character is to see it in its breathtaking beauty.
Joshua Harris (Dug Down Deep: Unearthing What I Believe and Why It Matters)
Jerome then speaks of the unity of the sacred books. " Whatever, " he asserts, " we read in the Old Testament we find also in the Gospel; and what we read in the Gospel is deduced from the Old Testament. There is no discord between them, no disagreement.
Jerome (The Complete Works of Saint Jerome (13 Books): Cross-Linked to the Bible)
You sum up the whole of New Testament religion if you describe it as the knowledge of God as one’s holy Father. If you want to judge how well a person understands Christianity, find out how much he makes of the thought of being God’s child, and having God as his Father. If this is not the thought that prompts and controls his worship and prayers and his whole outlook on life, it means that he does not understand Christianity very well at all. For everything that Christ taught, everything that makes the New Testament new, and better than the Old, everything that is distinctively Christian as opposed to merely Jewish, is summed up in the knowledge of the Fatherhood of God. ‘Father’ is the Christian name for God. Our understanding of Christianity cannot be better than our grasp of adoption.
J.I. Packer (Knowing God)
Be sweet to one another. Stay in this beauty and brawl against the world's power of pulling apart. Recall Old Testament terminology: covenant, sacred, sacrifice. And mind always that Adam wasn’t a schlep fruitily duped by Eve. He turned his back on God because he knew that a paradise without her was no paradise at all.
William Giraldi (Busy Monsters)
The historical problems with Luke are even more pronounced. For one thing, we have relatively good records for the reign of Caesar Augustus, and there is no mention anywhere in any of them of an empire-wide census for which everyone had to register by returning to their ancestral home. And how could such a thing even be imagined? Joesph returns to Bethlehem because his ancestor David was born there. But David lived a thousand years before Joseph. Are we to imagine that everyone in the Roman Empire was required to return to the homes of their ancestors from a thousand years earlier? If we had a new worldwide census today and each of us had to return to the towns of our ancestors a thousand years back—where would you go? Can you imagine the total disruption of human life that this kind of universal exodus would require? And can you imagine that such a project would never be mentioned in any of the newspapers? There is not a single reference to any such census in any ancient source, apart from Luke. Why then does Luke say there was such a census? The answer may seem obvious to you. He wanted Jesus to be born in Bethlehem, even though he knew he came from Nazareth ... there is a prophecy in the Old Testament book of Micah that a savior would come from Bethlehem. What were these Gospel writer to do with the fact that it was widely known that Jesus came from Nazareth? They had to come up with a narrative that explained how he came from Nazareth, in Galilee, a little one-horse town that no one had ever heard of, but was born in Bethlehem, the home of King David, royal ancestor of the Messiah.
Bart D. Ehrman (Jesus, Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible & Why We Don't Know About Them)
I like how you call homosexuality an abomination." "I don't say homosexuality's an abomination, Mr. President, the bible does." "Yes it does. Leviticus-" "18:22" "Chapter in verse. I wanted to ask you a couple questions while I had you here. I'm interested in selling my youngest daughter into slavery as sanctioned in exodus 21:7. She's a Georgetown sophomore, speaks fluent Italian, always cleared the table when it was her turn. What would a good price for her be? While thinking about that can I ask another? My chief of staff, Leo Mcgary,insists on working on the sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly says he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself or is it ok to call the police? Here's one that's really important, cause we've got a lot of sports fans in this town. Touching the skin of a dead pig makes one unclean, Leviticus 11:7. If they promise to wear gloves, can the Washington Red Skins still play football? Can Notre Dame? Can West Point? does the whole town really have to be together to stone my brother John for planting different crops side by side? Can I burn my mother in a small family gathering for wearing garments made from two different threads?
Aaron Sorkin
Tell me something. Do you believe in God?' Snow darted an apprehensive glance in my direction. 'What? Who still believes nowadays?' 'It isn't that simple. I don't mean the traditional God of Earth religion. I'm no expert in the history of religions, and perhaps this is nothing new--do you happen to know if there was ever a belief in an...imperfect God?' 'What do you mean by imperfect?' Snow frowned. 'In a way all the gods of the old religions were imperfect, considered that their attributes were amplified human ones. The God of the Old Testament, for instance, required humble submission and sacrifices, and and was jealous of other gods. The Greek gods had fits of sulks and family quarrels, and they were just as imperfect as mortals...' 'No,' I interrupted. 'I'm not thinking of a god whose imperfection arises out of the candor of his human creators, but one whose imperfection represents his essential characteristic: a god limited in his omniscience and power, fallible, incapable of foreseeing the consequences of his acts, and creating things that lead to horror. He is a...sick god, whose ambitions exceed his powers and who does not realize it at first. A god who has created clocks, but not the time they measure. He has created systems or mechanisms that serves specific ends but have now overstepped and betrayed them. And he has created eternity, which was to have measured his power, and which measures his unending defeat.' Snow hesitated, but his attitude no longer showed any of the wary reserve of recent weeks: 'There was Manicheanism...' 'Nothing at all to do with the principles of Good and Evil,' I broke in immediately. 'This god has no existence outside of matter. He would like to free himself from matter, but he cannot...' Snow pondered for a while: 'I don't know of any religion that answers your description. That kind of religion has never been...necessary. If i understand you, and I'm afraid I do, what you have in mind is an evolving god, who develops in the course of time, grows, and keeps increasing in power while remaining aware of his powerlessness. For your god, the divine condition is a situation without a goal. And understanding that, he despairs. But isn't this despairing god of yours mankind, Kelvin? Is it man you are talking about, and that is a fallacy, not just philosophically but also mystically speaking.' I kept on: 'No, it's nothing to do with man. man may correspond to my provisional definition from some point of view, but that is because the definition has a lot of gaps. Man does not create gods, in spite of appearances. The times, the age, impose them on him. Man can serve is age or rebel against it, but the target of his cooperation or rebellion comes to him from outside. If there was only a since human being in existence, he would apparently be able to attempt the experiment of creating his own goals in complete freedom--apparently, because a man not brought up among other human beings cannot become a man. And the being--the being I have in mind--cannot exist in the plural, you see? ...Perhaps he has already been born somewhere, in some corner of the galaxy, and soon he will have some childish enthusiasm that will set him putting out one star and lighting another. We will notice him after a while...' 'We already have,' Snow said sarcastically. 'Novas and supernovas. According to you they are candles on his altar.' 'If you're going to take what I say literally...' ...Snow asked abruptly: 'What gave you this idea of an imperfect god?' 'I don't know. It seems quite feasible to me. That is the only god I could imagine believing in, a god whose passion is not a redemption, who saves nothing, fulfills no purpose--a god who simply is.
Stanisław Lem (Solaris)
The great unmentionable evil at the center of our culture is monotheism. From a barbaric Bronze Age text known as the Old Testament, three anti-human religions have evolved—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. These are sky-god religions. They are, literally, patriarchal—God is the Omnipotent Father—hence the loathing of women for 2,000 years in those countries afflicted by the sky-god and his earthly male delegates. —GORE VIDAL
Richard Dawkins (The God Delusion)
Do the standards of God’s moral law vary from time to time or from place to place? Does the New Testament abrogate the moral precepts of the Old Testament and establish new principles for regulating man’s conduct? The answer to both of these questions is no. God’s moral law remains constant from creation to consummation (and forever after), and governs all men, even to the uttermost parts of the earth. How could it be otherwise?
William O. Einwechter (A Conquering Faith: Doctrinal Foundations for Christian Reformation)
It was ever and always the plain offer of God to all the peoples of the earth through his elected servants of the promise-plan.
Walter C. Kaiser Jr. (Mission in the Old Testament: Israel as a Light to the Nations)
The book of Isaiah is a tract for our own times; our very aversion to it testifies to its relevance.
Hugh Nibley (Old Testament and Related Studies (The Collected Works of Hugh Nibley, Volume 01))
Almost everything that Jesus taught, all His ideas, had been set down before in the Old Testament. Then came the largest riddle of all. If Jesus were to return to the earth she was certain He would go to a synagogue rather than a church. Why could people worship Jesus and hate His people?
Leon Uris (Exodus)
You can see the same immorality or amorality in the Christian view of guilt and punishment. There are only two texts, both of them extreme and mutually contradictory. The Old Testament injunction is the one to exact an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth (it occurs in a passage of perfectly demented detail about the exact rules governing mutual ox-goring; you should look it up in its context (Exodus 21). The second is from the Gospels and says that only those without sin should cast the first stone. The first is a moral basis for capital punishment and other barbarities; the second is so relativistic and "nonjudgmental" that it would not allow the prosecution of Charles Manson. Our few notions of justice have had to evolve despite these absurd codes of ultra vindictiveness and ultracompassion.
Christopher Hitchens (Letters to a Young Contrarian)
The rock, when one came to think of it, was the utmost expression of human need; even mere feeling yearned for it; it was the highest comparison of loyalty in love and friendship. Christ Himself had used that comparison for the disciple to whom He gave the keys of His Church. And the Hebrews of the Old Testament, always being carried captive into foreign lands,--their rock was an idea of God, the only thing their conquerors could not take from them.
Willa Cather (Death Comes for the Archbishop)
Paul wrote the book of Romans as a letter to the Christians in Rome. These Roman believers were mostly Gentiles who had received the Gospel, been born again, and were committed to following the Lord. However, they were being troubled by Jewish believers who were trying to mix the Old Testament law with Christianity.
Andrew Wommack (Grace: The Power of the Gospel)
...the cross of popular evangelicalism is not the cross of the New Testament. It is, rather, a new bright ornament upon the bosom of a self-assured and carnal Christianity whose hands are indeed the hands of Abel, but whose voice is the voice of Cain. The old cross slew men; the new cross entertains them. The old cross condemned; the new cross amuses. The old cross destroyed confidence in the flesh; the new cross encourages it. The old cross brought tears and blood; the new cross brings laughter. The flesh, smiling and confident, preaches and sings about the cross; before the cross it bows and toward the cross it points with carefully staged histrionics--but upon that cross it will not die, and the reproach of that cross it stubbornly refuses to bear.
A.W. Tozer (The Divine Conquest)
A Short Testament Whatever harm I may have done In all my life in all your wide creation If I cannot repair it I beg you to repair it, And then there are all the wounded The poor the deaf the lonely and the old Whom I have roughly dismissed As if I were not one of them. Where I have wronged them by it And cannot make amends I ask you To comfort them to overflowing, And where there are lives I may have withered around me, Or lives of strangers far or near That I've destroyed in blind complicity, And if I cannot find them Or have no way to serve them, Remember them. I beg you to remember them When winter is over And all your unimaginable promises Burst into song on death's bare branches.
Anne Porter (Living Things: Collected Poems)
Jesus entered the temple area and revealed that he was the perfect and final priest; even more, he was the entire temple. All the temple symbols suddenly came to life. He was the wash basin, the Water of Life. He was the bread of the Presence, the Bread of Life. He was the candlesticks, the Light of the World. He was the perfect priest, the Great High Priest who would offer the sacrifice, and he was the sacrifice itself, “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29). Everything in the Old Testament temple was gathered together and fulfilled in Jesus.
Edward T. Welch (Shame Interrupted: How God Lifts the Pain of Worthlessness and Rejection)
Kit, you know the key to relating to your parents now? It’s mercy. Children, when they become teenagers and then young adults, grow unforgiving. Anything but perfection is pathos. Children are judgmental on an Old Testament level. All errors are unforgivable, as if a contract of perfection has been broken. But what if one’s parents are granted the same mercy, the same empathy as other humans? Children need more Jesus in them.
Dave Eggers (A Hologram for the King)
Are Christians victims of this post-Christian world? No. Sadly, Christians are coconspirators. We embrace modernism’s perks when they serve our own lusts and selfish ambitions. We despise modernism when it crosses lines of our precious moralism. Our cold and hard hearts; our failure to love the stranger; our selfishness with our money, our time, and our home; and our privileged back turned against widows, orphans, prisoners, and refugees mean we are guilty in the face of God of withholding love and Christian witness. And even more serious is our failure to read our Bibles well enough to see that the creation ordinance and the moral law, found first in the Old Testament, is as binding to the Christian as any red letter. Our own conduct condemns our witness to this world.
Rosaria Champagne Butterfield (The Gospel Comes with a House Key: Practicing Radically Ordinary Hospitality in Our Post-Christian World)
Call it the Human Mission-to be all and do all God sent us here to do. And notice-the mission to be fruitful and conquer and hold sway is given both to Adam and to Eve. 'And God said to them...' Eve is standing right there when God gives the world over to us. She has a vital role to play; she is a partner in this great adventure. All that human beings were intended to do here on earth-all the creativity and exploration, all the battle and rescue and nurture-we were intended to do together. In fact, not only is Eve needed, but she is desperately needed. When God creates Eve, he calls her an ezer kenegdo. 'It is not good for the man to be alone, I shall make him [an ezer kenegdo]' (Gen. 2:18 Alter). Hebrew scholar Robert Alter, who has spent years translating the book of Genesis, says that this phrase is 'notoriously difficult to translate.' The various attempts we have in English are "helper" or "companion" or the notorious "help meet." Why are these translations so incredibly wimpy, boring, flat...disappointing? What is a help meet, anyway? What little girl dances through the house singing "One day I shall be a help meet?" Companion? A dog can be a companion. Helper? Sounds like Hamburger Helper. Alter is getting close when he translates it "sustainer beside him" The word ezer is used only twenty other places in the entire Old Testament. And in every other instance the person being described is God himself, when you need him to come through for you desperately.
Stasi Eldredge (Captivating: Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman's Soul)
‎A careful reading of the Old and New Testaments shows that idolatry is nothing like the crude picture that springs to mind of a sculpture in some distant country. The idea is highly sophisticated, drawing together the complexities of motivation in individual psychology, the social environment, and also the unseen world. Idols are not just on pagan altars, but in well-educated human hearts and minds
Richard Keyes
Curiously, growing Papaver somniferum in America is legal—unless, that is, it is done in the knowledge that you are growing a drug, when, rather magically, the exact same physical act becomes the felony of “manufacturing a controlled substance.” Evidently the Old Testament and the criminal code both make a connection between forbidden plants and knowledge.
Michael Pollan (The Botany of Desire: A Plant's-Eye View of the World)
Who am I to put boundaries on God’s forgiveness? If God had put boundaries on His grace and mercy to me, when would enough have been enough?
Teresa Schultz (The Bible In Poetry, (Volume One: The Old Testament))
We must be compelled to hold this doctrine to be false, and the old and new law called the Old and new Testament, to be impositions, fables and forgeries
Thomas Paine (The life and writings of Thomas Paine)
Jews are just like everyone else, only more so.
Lionel Blue
The New Testament picks up from the Old the theme that God intends, in the end, to put the whole creation to rights.
N.T. Wright (Simply Christian: Why Christianity Makes Sense)
The atheist philosopher of science Michael Ruse says that Dawkins’s arguments are so bad that he’s embarrassed to call himself an atheist.10
Paul Copan (Is God a Moral Monster?: Making Sense of the Old Testament God)
No horoscope matches this accuracy. No theory of human causality, Freudian, Marxist, Christian or animist, has ever been so precise. No prophet in the Old Testament, no entrail-grazing oracle in ancient Greece, no crystal-ball gypsy clairvoyant on the pier at Bognor Regis ever pretended to tell people exactly when their lives would fall apart, let alone got it right.
Matt Ridley (Genome: the Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters)
The greatest love we feel for children, a spouse, friends, or family on earth amounts to a teaspoon of love compared to the oceans we will experience together for eternity. The Old Testament prophets foretold it, Jesus demonstrated it, and those who have had a peek behind the veil consistently say the same thing—God is love, and Heaven will be the greatest reunion ever.
John Burke (Imagine Heaven: Near-Death Experiences, God's Promises, and the Exhilarating Future That Awaits You)
Marcion, in his two brilliant books, explained how the God of the Jews was not the God of whom Jesus spoke. He provided many examples that show that the Jewish god is only a jealous tribal deity. The Old Testament contains some genuine wisdom. However, it is very clear that the Hebrew prophets and rabbis gradually destroyed all trace of the Divine Feminine and worshiped the Demiurge. The same applies to the other main patriarchal religions: Islam and Christianity.
Laurence Galian (Alien Parasites: 40 Gnostic Truths to Defeat the Archon Invasion!)
One great objection to the Old Testament is the cruelty said to have been commanded by God. All these cruelties ceased with death. The vengeance of Jehovah stopped at the tomb. He never threatened to punish the dead; and there is not one word, from the first mistake in Genesis to the last curse of Malachi, containing the slightest intimation that God will take his revenge in another world. It was reserved for the New Testament to make known the doctrine of eternal pain.
Robert G. Ingersoll
Initially, the God of the Old Testament might seem overwhelming and domineering to you, or tyrannical, or perhaps even evil, which is good. It is the first telling that God is indeed God, by sheer definition, and not some ear-tickling fairy by which one in his depravity is guaranteed to find another form of stale romanticism or love at first sight. For such a first impression as the latter would be problematic to the essence of Christianity. Therefore the Christians are right in saying that the nature of imperfect men cannot ultimately co-exist with the nature of a perfect God; and that the hope of each man is now desperately found in God's sending of Christ.
Criss Jami (Healology)
You can always somebody who is worse than you are to make you feel virtuous. It's a cheap shot: those awful terrorists, perverts, communists--they are the ones who need to repent! Yes, indeed they do, and for them repentance will be a full-time job, exactly as it is for all the rest of us.
Hugh Nibley (Old Testament and Related Studies (The Collected Works of Hugh Nibley, Volume 01))
What is 'camp'? A much misunderstood word, everyone has their own feel for it. Here is mine: Camp is not in rugby football. Camp is not in the Old Testament. Camp is not in St. Paul. Camp is not in Latin lessons, though it might be in Greek. Camp loves colour. Camp loves light. Camp takes pleasure in the surface of things. Camp loves paint as much as it loves paintings. Camp prefers style to the stylish. Camp is pale. Camp is unhealthy. Camp is not English, damn it. But … Camp is not kitsch. Camp is not drag. Camp is not nearly so superficial as it would have you believe. Camp casts out all fear. Camp is strong. Camp is healthy. And, let’s face it … Camp is queer.
Stephen Fry (Moab Is My Washpot (Memoir, #1))
The amusement she had drawn from their disapproval was a slavish remnant, a derisive dance on the north bank of the Ohio. There was no question of forgiving them. She had not, in any case, a forgiving nature; and the injury they had done her was not done by them. If she were to start forgiving she must needs forgive Society, the Law, the Church, the History of Europe, the Old Testament, great-great-aunt Salome and her prayer-book, the Bank of England, Prostitution, the Architect of Apsley Terrace, and half a dozen other useful props of civilization. All she could do was to go on forgetting them. But now she was able to forget them without flouting them by her forgetfulness.
Sylvia Townsend Warner (Lolly Willowes)
If you pray, “Oh God, please have mercy. Don’t pour out Your wrath!” you have just pushed the Lord aside and declared, “Jesus, I know You atoned for us and that You dealt with sin. The Word says that You are the only mediator, but I think I can help. It’s also going to take my pleading and interceding to make things right!” You’re trying to add to what Jesus has already done! Jesus + anything = nothing. Jesus + nothing = everything. By attempting to intercede the way Abraham and Moses did, the way others in the Old Testament did, you aren’t esteeming what Christ has done and you’re trying to become a mediator.
Andrew Wommack (Better Way to Pray)
The point is, if you pay attention to the women, a more complex history of Israel's conquests emerges. Their stories invite the reader to consider the human cost of violence and patriarchy, and in that sense prove instructive to all who wish to work for a better world.
Rachel Held Evans (Inspired: Slaying Giants, Walking on Water, and Loving the Bible Again)
The Bible is filled with discrepancies, many of them irreconcilable contradictions. Moses did not write the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Old Testament) and Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John did not write the Gospels. There are other books that did not make it into the Bible that at one time or another were considered canonical—other Gospels, for example, allegedly written by Jesus’ followers Peter, Thomas, and Mary. The Exodus probably did not happen as described in the Old Testament. The conquest of the Promised Land is probably based on legend. The Gospels are at odds on numerous points and contain nonhistorical material. It is hard to know whether Moses ever existed and what, exactly, the historical Jesus taught. The historical narratives of the Old Testament are filled with legendary fabrications and the book of Acts in the New Testament contains historically unreliable information about the life and teachings of Paul. Many of the books of the New Testament are pseudonymous—written not by the apostles but by later writers claiming to be apostles. The list goes on.
Bart D. Ehrman (Jesus, Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible (and Why We Don't Know About Them))
Indeed, to sacrifice seems as natural to man as to pray; the one indicates what he feels about himself, the other what he feels about God. The one means a felt need of propitiation, the other a felt sense of dependence.
Alfred Edersheim (Bible History Old Testament)
Edward was always a good listener, since his own form of self-expression then consisted in making uneartly and to me quite meaningless sounds on his small violin. I remember him, at the age of seven, as a rather solemn, brown-eyed little boy, with beautiful arched eyebrows which lately, to my infinite satisfaction, have begun to reproduce themselves, a pair of delicate question-marks, above the dark eyes of my five-year-old son. Even in childhood we seldom quarrelled, and by the time that we both went away to boarding-school he had already become the dearest companion of thos brief years of unshadowed adolescence permitted to our condemned generation.
Vera Brittain (Testament of Youth)
What if I told you Jesus came to abolish religion? What if I told you getting you to vote Republican really wasn’t his mission? What if I told you religious right doesn’t automatically mean Christian? And just because you call some people blind, doesn’t automatically give you vision. I mean, if religion is so great, why has it started so many wars? Why does it build huge churches, but fail to feed the poor? Tell single moms God doesn’t love them, if they’ve ever had a divorce? Yet God in the Old Testament actually calls the religious people whores.
Jefferson Bethke (Jesus > Religion: Why He Is So Much Better Than Trying Harder, Doing More, and Being Good Enough)
One need not believe in Pallas Athena, the virgin goddess, to be overwhelmed by the Parthenon. Similarly, a man who rejects all dogmas, all theologies and all religious formulations of beliefs may still find Genesis the sublime book par excellence. Experiences and aspirations of which intimations may be found in Plato, Nietzsche, and Spinoza have found their most evocative expression in some sacred books. Since the Renaissance, Shakespeare, Rembrandt, Mozart, and a host of others have shown that this religious dimension can be experienced and communicated apart from any religious context. But that is no reason for closing my heart to Job's cry, or to Jeremiah's, or to the Second Isaiah. I do not read them as mere literature; rather, I read Sophocles and Shakespeare with all my being, too.
Walter Kaufmann
God's Word will never pass away, but looking back to the Old Testament and since the time of Christ, with tears we must say that because of a lack of fortitude and faithfulness on the part of God's people, God's Word has many times been allowed to be bent, to conform to the surrounding, passing, changing culture of that moment rather than to stand as the inerrant Word of God judging the form of the world spirit and the surrounding culture of that moment. In the name of The Lord Jesus Christ, may our children and grandchildren not say that such can be said about us.
Francis A. Schaeffer (The Great Evangelical Disaster)
memories were tricky things…they weren’t stable. they changed with perception over time. …they shifted, and [she] understood how the passage of time affected them. the hard working striver might recall his childhood as one filled with misery and hardship marred by the cat calls and mae calling of playground bullies, but later, have a much more forgiving understanding of past injustices. the handmade clothes he had been forced to wear, became a testament to his mother’s love. each patch and stitch a sign of her diligence, instead of a brand of poverty. he would remember father staying up late to help him with his homework – the old old man’s patience and dedication, instead of the sharpness of his temper when he returned home – late- from the factory. it went the other way as well. [she] had scanned thousands of memories of spurned women, whose handsome lovers turned ugly and rude. roman noses, perhaps too pointed. eyes growing small and mean. while the oridnary looking boys who had become their husbands, grew in attractiveness as the years passed, so that when asked if it was love at first site, the women cheerfully answered yes. memories were moving pictures in which meaning was constantly in flux. they were stories people told themselves.
Melissa de la Cruz (The Van Alen Legacy (Blue Bloods, #4))
The sufferer who keeps looking for God has, in the end, privileged knowledge. ... She passes through a door that only pain will open, and is thus qualified to speak of God in a way that others, whom we generally call more fortunate, cannot speak.
Ellen F. Davis (Getting Involved with God: Rediscovering the Old Testament)
The suicide committed by Sampson was partly determined by the craftiness of Delilah and partly decided by the disobedience of Sampson. Satan uses crafty means to set traps for us, but by our obedience of the laws of God, the traps remain functionless.
Israelmore Ayivor
In the Old Testament…God is the owner of the vineyard. Here He is the Keeper, the Farmer, the One who takes care of the vineyard. Jesus is the genuine Vine, and the Father takes care of Him…In the Old Testament it is prophesied that the Lord Jesus would grow up before Him as a tender plant and as a root out of the dry ground. Think how often the Father intervened to save Jesus from the devil who wished to slay Him. The Father is the One who cared for the Vine, and He will care for the branches, too.
J. Vernon McGee (Thru the Bible Vol. 38: The Gospels (John 1-10))
New Rule: Just because a country elects a smart president doesn't make it a smart country. A couple of weeks ago, I was asked on CNN if I thought Sarah Palin could get elected president, and I said I hope not, but I wouldn't put anything past this stupid country. Well, the station was flooded with emails, and the twits hit the fan. And you could tell that these people were really mad, because they wrote entirely in CAPITAL LETTERS!!! Worst of all, Bill O'Reilly refuted my contention that this is a stupid country by calling me a pinhead, which (a) proves my point, and (b) is really funny coming from a doody-face like him. Now, before I go about demonstration how, sadly, easy it is to prove the dumbness that's dragging us down, let me just say that ignorance has life-and-death consequences. On the eve of the Iraq War, seventy percent of Americans thought Saddam Hussein was personally involved in 9/11. Six years later, thirty-four percent still do. Or look at the health-care debate: At a recent town hall meeting in South Carolina, a man stood up and told his congressman to "keep your government hands off my Medicare," which is kind of like driving cross-country to protest highways. This country is like a college chick after two Long Island iced teas: We can be talked into anything, like wars, and we can be talked out of anything, like health care. We should forget the town halls, and replace them with study halls. Listen to some of these stats: A majority of Americans cannot name a single branch of government, or explain what the Bill of Rights is. Twenty-four percent could not name the country America fought in the Revolutionary War. More than two-thirds of Americans don't know what's in Roe v. Wade. Two-thirds don't know what the Food and Drug Administration does. Some of this stuff you should be able to pick up simply by being alive. You know, like the way the Slumdog kid knew about cricket. Not here. Nearly half of Americans don't know that states have two senators, and more than half can't name their congressman. And among Republican governors, only three got their wife's name right on the first try. People bitch and moan about taxes and spending, but they have no idea what their government spends money on. The average voter thinks foreign aid consumes more twenty-four percent of our budget. It's actually less than one percent. A third of Republicans believe Obama is not a citizen ad a third of Democrats believe that George Bush had prior knowledge of the 9/11 attacks, which is an absurd sentence, because it contains the words "Bush" and "knowledge." Sarah Palin says she would never apologize for America. Even though a Gallup poll say eighteen percent of us think the sun revolves around the earth. No, they're not stupid. They're interplanetary mavericks. And I haven't even brought up religion. But here's one fun fact I'll leave you with: Did you know only about half of Americans are aware that Judaism is an older religion than Christianity? That's right, half of America looks at books called the Old Testament and the New Testament and cannot figure out which came first. I rest my case.
Bill Maher (The New New Rules: A Funny Look At How Everybody But Me Has Their Head Up Their Ass)
The first time the word worship appears in the King James Version of the Old Testament, it appears with appalling import. 'Abide ye here,' Abraham tells his servant, while 'I and the lad go yonder and worship.' The terrible offering of his son's life is what the Bible's first instance of 'worship' portends. In the New Testament, the word worship first appears again in conjunction with a costly offering. It is used in reference to the wise men, who 'worshipped' the Christ child by 'open[ing] their treasure' and 'present[ing] unto him gifts.' Worship, then, is about what we are prepared to relinquish--what we give up at personal cost.
Terryl L. Givens (The Crucible of Doubt: Reflections On the Quest for Faith)
With all due respect to the religions of the world, there is no other story like the Christian story. The god who thunders, the god who persecutes and condemns, the god who wreaks vengeance - yes, we know this god from the caricatures. We know this god from the old paintings. We know this god from hearing continual references to "the Old Testament God." But this is not who God is. "The Old Testament God" is the one who has come down from his throne on high into the world of sinful human flesh and of his own free will and decision has come under his own judgment in order to deliver us from everlasting condemnation and bring us into eternal life. He has not required human sacrifice; he has himself become the human sacrifice. He has not turned us over and forsaken us; he was himself turned over and forsaken. This is what the Old Testament prophet Isaiah says: Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that made us whole, and with his stripes we are healed. (53:4-5)
Fleming Rutledge (And God Spoke to Abraham: Preaching from the Old Testament)
The Old Testament tells us to love our neighbors, the New Testament to love our enemies. The moral rationale seems to be: Love your neighbors and enemies; that way you won’t kill them. But frankly, I don’t love my neighbors, to say nothing of my enemies. Better, then, is the following idea: Don’t kill your neighbors or enemies, even if you don’t love them. . . . What really has expanded is not so much a circle of empathy as a circle of rights—a commitment that other living things, no matter how distant or dissimilar, be safe from harm and exploitation. And
Paul Bloom (Against Empathy: The Case for Rational Compassion)
Lee’s hand shook as he filled the delicate cups. He drank his down in one gulp. “Don’t you see?” he cried. “The American Standard translation orders men to triumph over sin, and you can call sin ignorance. The King James translation makes a promise in ‘Thou shalt,’ meaning that men will surely triumph over sin. But the Hebrew word, the word timshel—‘Thou mayest’—that gives a choice. It might be the most important word in the world. That says the way is open. That throws it right back on a man. For if ‘Thou mayest’—it is also true that ‘Thou mayest not.’ Don’t you see?” “Yes, I see. I do see. But you do not believe this is divine law. Why do you feel its importance?” “Ah!” said Lee. “I’ve wanted to tell you this for a long time. I even anticipated your questions and I am well prepared. Any writing which has influenced the thinking and the lives of innumerable people is important. Now, there are many millions in their sects and churches who feel the order, ‘Do thou,’ and throw their weight into obedience. And there are millions more who feel predestination in ‘Thou shalt.’ Nothing they may do can interfere with what will be. But “Thou mayest’! Why, that makes a man great, that gives him stature with the gods, for in his weakness and his filth and his murder of his brother he has still the great choice. He can choose his course and fight it through and win.” Lee’s voice was a chant of triumph. Adam said, “Do you believe that, Lee?” “Yes, I do. Yes, I do. It is easy out of laziness, out of weakness, to throw oneself into the lap of deity, saying, ‘I couldn’t help it; the way was set.’ But think of the glory of the choice! That makes a man a man. A cat has no choice, a bee must make honey. There’s no godliness there. And do you know, those old gentlemen who were sliding gently down to death are too interested to die now?” Adam said, “Do you mean these Chinese men believe the Old Testament?” Lee said, “These old men believe a true story, and they know a true story when they hear it. They are critics of truth. They know that these sixteen verses are a history of humankind in any age or culture or race. They do not believe a man writes fifteen and three-quarter verses of truth and tells a lie with one verb. Confucius tells men how they should live to have good and successful lives. But this—this is a ladder to climb to the stars.” Lee’s eyes shone. “You can never lose that. It cuts the feet from under weakness and cowardliness and laziness.” Adam said, “I don’t see how you could cook and raise the boys and take care of me and still do all this.” “Neither do I,” said Lee. “But I take my two pipes in the afternoon, no more and no less, like the elders. And I feel that I am a man. And I feel that a man is a very important thing—maybe more important than a star. This is not theology. I have no bent toward gods. But I have a new love for that glittering instrument, the human soul. It is a lovely and unique thing in the universe. It is always attacked and never destroyed—because ‘Thou mayest.
John Steinbeck (East of Eden)
The Old Testament records the preparation for the coming of the Messiah. The Gospels record the coming of the Messiah, Jesus Christ our Lord. The book of Acts records the propagation of the gospel (the good news) concerning Jesus Christ. The Epistles (letters) explain the gospel and its implications for our lives. The book of Revelation anticipates and describes the second coming of Jesus Christ and the establishment of His eternal kingdom. From beginning to end, the Bible glorifies Jesus Christ and centers on Him. Its Christ-centeredness is one of its wonderful features.
Josh McDowell
At the end of that class Demian said to me thoughtfully: "There’s something I don’t like about this story, Sinclair. Why don’t you read it once more and give it the acid test? There’s something about it that doesn’t taste right. I mean the business with the two thieves. The three crosses standing next to each other on the hill are almost impressive, to be sure. But now comes this sentimental little treatise about the good thief. At first he was a thorough scoundrel, had committed all those awful things and God knows what else, and now he dissolves in tears and celebrates such a tearful feast of self-improvement and remorse! What’s the sense of repenting if you’re two steps from the grave? I ask you. Once again, it’s nothing but a priest’s fairy tale, saccharine and dishonest, touched up with sentimentality and given a high edifying background. If you had to pick a friend from between the two thieves or decide which one you’d rather trust, you most certainly wouldn’t choose the sniveling convert. No, the other fellow, he’s a man of character. He doesn’t give a hoot for ‘conversion’, which to a man in his position can’t be anything but a pretty speech. He follows his destiny to it’s appointed end and does not turn coward and forswear the devil, who has aided and abetted him until then. He has character, and people with character tend to receive the short end of the stick in biblical stories. Perhaps he’s even a descendant of Cain. Don’t you agree?" I was dismayed. Until now I had felt completely at home in the story of the Crucifixion. Now I saw for the first time with how little individuality, with how little power of imagination I had listened to it and read it. Still, Demian’s new concept seemed vaguely sinister and threatened to topple beliefs on whose continued existence I felt I simply had to insist. No, one could not make light of everything, especially not of the most Sacred matters. As usual he noticed my resistance even before I had said anything. "I know," he said in a resigned tone of voice, "it’s the same old story: don’t take these stories seriously! But I have to tell you something: this is one of the very places that reveals the poverty of this religion most distinctly. The point is that this God of both Old and New Testaments is certainly an extraordinary figure but not what he purports to represent. He is all that is good, noble, fatherly, beautiful, elevated, sentimental—true! But the world consists of something else besides. And what is left over is ascribed to the devil, this entire slice of world, this entire half is hushed up. In exactly the same way they praise God as the father of all life but simply refuse to say a word about our sexual life on which it’s all based, describing it whenever possible as sinful, the work of the devil. I have no objection to worshiping this God Jehovah, far from it. But I mean we ought to consider everything sacred, the entire world, not merely this artificially separated half! Thus alongside the divine service we should also have a service for the devil. I feel that would be right. Otherwise you must create for yourself a God that contains the devil too and in front of which you needn’t close your eyes when the most natural things in the world take place.
Hermann Hesse (Demian: Die Geschichte von Emil Sinclairs Jugend)
Anticipation lifts the heart. Desire is created to be fulfilled - perhaps not all at once, more likely in slow stages. Isaiah uttered his prophetic words about the renewal of the natural Creation into a wilderness of spiritual barrenness and thirst. For him, and for many other Old Testament seers, the vacuum of dry indifference into which he spoke was not yet a place of fulfillment. Yet the promise of God through this human mouthpiece (and the word "promise" always holds a kind of certainty) was verdant with hope, a kind of greenness and glory. A softening of hard-heartedness, a lively expectation, would herald the coming of Messiah. And once again, in this season of Advent, the same promise for the same Anointed One is coming closer.
Luci Shaw
Sometimes, I hear people talk about the different men and women of the Old Testament, and there is a hint of jealousy. They may say it, or just insinuate it, but here's what they communicate...'What would it have been like to hear God's voice and see him move in such powerful ways? I wish it was the same for us as it was for those whose stories we read about in scripture. When I get to heaven I can't wait to ask David, Elijah, or Moses what it was like.' But I think it will be just the opposite in heaven. Before we can ask David what it was like to slay a giant, to win the battles, he'll say, Tell me what it was like on earth to have the Holy Spirit inside of you, giving you strength when you are weak. We might say to Elijah, What was it like to call down fire from heaven before the prophets of Baal and to raise that boy from the dead? And I think Elijah might say, yeah, he actually ended up dying again. You tell me what it's like to have God living inside of you. What was it like to live life on earth with the Holy Spirit giving you joy when you're depressed or giving you the power to overcome that sin in your life? We might say to Moses, What was it like to follow the cloud by day and the fire by night? What was it like to meet with God on that Mountain? And Moses might say, I had to climb that mountain to meet with God. You tell me what it was like to have him dwell in you everyday. What was it like to have the Holy Spirit giving you directions when you didn't know what to do or where to go?
Kyle Idleman (Not a Fan: Becoming a Completely Committed Follower of Jesus)
The first grand federalist design...was that of the Bible, most particularly the Hebrew Scriptures or Old Testament... Biblical thought is federal (from the Latin foedus, covenant) from first to last--from God's covenant with Noah establishing the biblical equivalent of what philosophers were later to term Natural Law to the Jews' reaffirmation of the Sinai covenant under the leadership of Ezra and Nehemiah, thereby adopting the Torah as the constitution of their second commonwealth. The covenant motif is central to the biblical world view, the basis of all relationships, the mechanism for defining and allocating authority, and the foundation of the biblical political teaching.
Daniel J. Elazar
Many people in this world are always looking to science to save them from something. But just as many, or more, prefer old and reputable belief systems and their sectarian offshoots for salvation. So they trust in the deity of the Old Testament, an incontinent dotard who soiled Himself and the universe with His corruption, a low-budget divinity passing itself off as the genuine article. (Ask the Gnostics.) They trust in Jesus Christ, a historical cipher stitched together like Frankenstein’s monster out of parts robbed from the graves of messiahs dead and buried—a savior on a stick. They trust in the virgin-pimping Allah and his Drum Major Mohammed, a prophet-come-lately who pioneered a new genus of humbuggery for an emerging market of believers that was not being adequately served by existing religious products. They trust in anything that authenticates their importance as persons, tribes, societies, and particularly as a species that will endure in this world and perhaps in an afterworld that may be uncertain in its reality and unclear in its layout, but which sates their craving for values not of this earth—that depressing, meaningless place their consciousness must sidestep every day.
Thomas Ligotti (The Conspiracy Against the Human Race: A Contrivance of Horror)
I wonder if God cries. Or gets sad, even. Or happy. Or elated. Does he ever have a good belly laugh? Does he sense contentment? Does he feel pride or remorse? Is he stoic? We know from the Old Testament that he experiences bloodthirsty, murderous rage and fierce pride. He imbued mankind with all of these emotions, but it's hard to imagine him feeling any of these. It's almost a little embarrassing to think of him feeling jealousy. Of course he's WAY more advanced and evolved than we are. So I guess the ultimate stage of humanity is when we don't laugh or cry or experience emotion at all. God gave us laughter as a constant remind of what lesser-evolved beings humans are. Stupid humans!
David Cross (I Drink for a Reason)
Slow to anger.” The Hebrew phrase is literally “long of nostrils.” Picture an angry bull, pawing the ground, breathing loudly, nostrils flared. That would be, so to speak, “short-nosed.” But the Lord is long-nosed. He doesn’t have his finger on the trigger. It takes much accumulated provoking to draw out his ire. Unlike us, who are often emotional dams ready to break, God can put up with a lot. This is why the Old Testament speaks of God being “provoked to anger” by his people dozens of times (especially in Deuteronomy; 1–2 Kings; and Jeremiah). But not once are we told that God is “provoked to love” or “provoked to mercy.” His anger requires provocation; his mercy is pent up, ready to gush forth. We tend to think: divine anger is pent up, spring-loaded; divine mercy is slow to build. It’s just the opposite. Divine mercy is ready to burst forth at the slightest prick.
Dane C. Ortlund (Gentle and Lowly: The Heart of Christ for Sinners and Sufferers)
I believe that the phrase ‘obligatory reading’ is a contradiction in terms; reading should not be obligatory. Should we ever speak of 'obligatory pleasure'? Pleasure is not obligatory, pleasure is something we seek. 'Obligatory happiness'! [...] If a book bores you, leave it; don’t read it because it is famous, don’t read it because it is modern, don’t read a book because it is old. If a book is tedious to you, leave it, even if that book is 'Paradise Lost' — which is not tedious to me — or 'Don Quixote' — which also is not tedious to me. But if a book is tedious to you, don't read it; that book was not written for you. Reading should be a form of happiness, so I would advise all possible readers of my last will and testament—which I do not plan to write— I would advise them to read a lot, and not to get intimidated by writers' reputations, to continue to look for personal happiness, personal enjoyment. It is the only way to read.
Jorge Luis Borges (Professor Borges: A Course on English Literature)
Sunday morning came – next day the battalions would leave for the front; the church was filled; the volunteers were there, their young faces alight with martial dreams – visions of the stern advance, the gathering momentum, the rushing charge, the flashing sabers, the flight of the foe, the tumult, the enveloping smoke, the fierce pursuit, the surrender! Then home from the war, bronzed heroes, welcomed, adored, submerged in golden seas of glory! With the volunteers sat their dear ones, proud, happy, and envied by the neighbors and friends who had no sons and brothers to send forth to the field of honor, there to win for the flag, or, failing, die the noblest of noble deaths. The service proceeded; a war chapter from the Old Testament was read; the first prayer was said; it was followed by an organ burst that shook the building, and with one impulse the house rose, with glowing eyes and beating hearts, and poured out that tremendous invocation
Mark Twain (The War Prayer)
Human beings seem to have a perpetual tendency to have somebody else talk to God for them. We are content to have the message second-hand. One of Israel's fatal mistakes was their insistence on having a human king rather than resting on the theocratic rule of God over them. We can detect a note of sadness in the word of the Lord, 'they have rejected me from being king over them' (1 Sam. 8:7). The history of religion is the story of an almost desperate scramble to have a king, a mediator, a priest, a pastor, a go-between. In this way we do not need to go to God ourselves. Such an approach saves us from the need to change, for to be in the presence of God is to change.
Richard J. Foster (Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth)
Some may object that to speak of election or predestination is to limit the kingdom of God to a few. Does it make God a capricious tyrant? We must answer that such objections usually stem from a refusal to accept that we are faced here with a mystery that is not given to us to solve. There is also a radical misunderstanding which maintains that God's sovereignty in election removes man's responsibility. Such is not true. How divine sovereignty and human responsibility work together we cannot know. The Bible makes it clear that they do. // Let us remember that Jesus discriminated and limited the numbers of the saved: 'Small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it' (Matthew 7:13-14). This is in line with the Old Testament teaching that only a faithful remnant of Israel would be saved.
Graeme Goldsworthy (The Goldsworthy Trilogy: Gospel and Kingdom, Wisdom, and Revelation)
Does the Lord really expect us to be grateful when things aren't going well? Even though He said we should grateful "in all things," does that mean we should be grateful when we reach the end of our money before the end of the month? Yes. Does that mean we should be grateful when we suffer from loneliness and depression? Yes. Does that mean we should be grateful if our employer terminates us? Absolutely. Does that seem ridiculous? It might. But there are very valid reasons. It is not that God commands us to be grateful in all things to serve His own selfish purposes, but rather to bless our own lives. Learning to be grateful in all things promotes a measure of peace that we may never know otherwise. In the Old Testament, King David, who certainly had his share of adversity declared, "I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
Art E. Berg (The Impossible Just Takes a Little Longer: Living with Purpose and Passion)
Four impressionable years spent in a number of very different hospitals convinced me once for all that nursing, if it is to be done efficiently, requires, more than any other occupation, abundant leisure in colorful surroundings, sufficient money to spend on amusements, agreeable food to re-establish the energy expended, and the removal of anxiety about illness and old age; yet of all skilled professions, it is still the least vitalised by these advantages, still the most oppressed by unnecessary worries, cruelties, hardships and regulations.
Vera Brittain (Testament of Youth)
Pure, unadulterated, consistent love for God and pure, unadulterated, consistent love for others is the summation of all the law God has given us in both the Old and New Testaments. Of course, the problem is that we never obey these simple commands. We always love ourselves more than we love God or others. We are always erecting idols in our hearts and worshipping and serving them. We are always more focused on what we want and how we might get it than we are on loving Him and laying down our life for others. The law does show us the right way to live, but none of us obeys it. Not for one millisecond. Even though our children cannot and will not obey God's law, we need to teach it to them again and again. And when they tell us that they can't love God or others in this way, we are not to argue with them. We are to agree with them and tell them of their need for a Savior.
Elyse M. Fitzpatrick (Give Them Grace: Dazzling Your Kids with the Love of Jesus)
I spent months in research. I even dropped out of school for a time to study in the historically rich libraries of Europe. And I found evidence. Evidence in abundance. Evidence I would not have believed had I not seen it with my own eyes. Finally I could come to only one conclusion: If I were to remain intellectually honest, I had to admit that the Old and New Testament documents were some of the most reliable writings in all of antiquity.
Josh McDowell (More Than a Carpenter)
Humanity is an organism, inherently rejecting all that is deleterious, that is, wrong, and absorbing after trial what is beneficial, that is, right. If so disposed, the Architect of the Universe, we must assume, might have made the world and man perfect, free from evil and from pain, as angels in heaven are thought to be; but although this was not done, man has been given the power of advancement rather than of retrogression. The Old and New Testaments remain, like other sacred writings of other lands, of value as records of the past and for such good lessons as they inculcate. Like the ancient writers of the Bible our thoughts should rest upon this life and our duties here. "To perform the duties of this world well, troubling not about another, is the prime wisdom," says Confucius, great sage and teacher. The next world and its duties we shall consider when we are placed in it.
Andrew Carnegie (The Autobiography of Andrew Carnegie and the Gospel of Wealth)
Again, defenders of utility often find themselves called upon to reply to such objections as this—that there is not time, previous to action, for calculating and weighing the effects of any line of conduct on the general happiness. This is exactly as if any one were to say that it is impossible to guide our conduct by Christianity, because there is not time, on every occasion on which anything has to be done, to read through the Old and New Testaments.
John Stuart Mill (Utilitarianism)
Even the great Thomas Paine, a friend to Franklin and Jefferson, repudiated the charge of atheism that he was not afraid to invite. Indeed, he set out to expose the crimes and horrors of the Old Testament, as well as the foolish myths of the New, as part of a vindication of god. No grand and noble deity, he asserted, should have such atrocities and stupidities laid to his charge. Paine’s Age of Reason marks almost the first time that frank contempt for organized religion was openly expressed. It had a tremendous worldwide effect. His American friends and contemporaries, partly inspired by him to declare independence from the Hanoverian usurpers and their private Anglican Church, meanwhile achieved an extraordinary and unprecedented thing: the writing of a democratic and republican constitution that made no mention of god and that mentioned religion only when guaranteeing that it would always be separated from the state.
Christopher Hitchens (God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything)
My emotional range is limited. I can’t do grief, but rage is my friend. For instance, I hate death by sickness. It is nothing like Homer, the Old Testament, and Tolkien led me to expect. It is not noble and awe-inspiring. No one delivers a final soliloquy. It is as abrupt and banal as the flicking of a switch. The squiggly line on the monitor straightens out, the defibrillator doesn’t even go whomp, the epinephrine is useless, the nurse doing CPR looks up and even before the doctor pronounces the words, you know. This is not what death should be. Death, the reason for religion, the subject of great literature, the certainty we spend our lives warding off, the giant mystery that looms over everything we do, death should be spectacular, not pity-inducing, a bang and not a whimper. A huge ball of fire, a shower of sparks, a final charge into the ranks of your enemies, a terrific explosion, a backward dive into the fiery pit. Not. . . this.
Jessica Zafra (Tw7sted)
Ecclesiastes This is a book of the Old Testament. I don't believe I've ever read this section of the Bible - I know my Genesis pretty well and my Ten Commandments (I like lists), but I'm hazy on a lot of the other parts. Here, the Britannica provides a handy Cliff Notes version of Ecclesiastes: [the author's] observations on life convinced him that 'the race is not swift, nor the battle strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to the intelligent, nor favor to the men of skill; but time and chance happen to them all' (9:11). Man's fate, the author maintains, does not depend on righteous or wicked conduct but is an inscrutable mystery that remains hidden in God (9:1). All attempts to penetrate this mystery and thereby gain the wisdom necessary to secure one's fate are 'vanity' or futile. In the face of such uncertainty, the author's counsel is to enjoy the good things that God provides while one has them to enjoy. This is great. I've accumulated hundreds of facts in the last seven thousand pages, but i've been craving profundity and perspective. Yes, there was that Dyer poem, but that was just cynical. This is the real thing: the deepest paragraph I've read so far in the encyclopedia. Instant wisdom. It couldn't be more true: the race does not go to the swift. How else to explain the mouth-breathing cretins I knew in high school who now have multimillion-dollar salaries? How else to explain my brilliant friends who are stuck selling wheatgrass juice at health food stores? How else to explain Vin Diesel's show business career? Yes, life is desperately, insanely, absurdly unfair. But Ecclesiastes offers exactly the correct reaction to that fact. There's nothing to be done about it, so enjoy what you can. Take pleasure in the small things - like, for me, Julie's laugh, some nice onion dip, the insanely comfortable beat-up leather chair in our living room. I keep thinking about Ecclesiastes in the days that follow. What if this is the best the encyclopedia has to offer? What if I found the meaning of life on page 347 of the E volume? The Britannica is not a traditional book, so there's no reason why the big revelation should be at the end.
A.J. Jacobs
One of the great tragedies and errors of the way people have understood the Bible has been the assumption that what people did in the Old Testament must have been right ‘because it’s in the Bible’. It has justified violence, enslavement, abuse and suppression of women, murderous prejudice against gay people; it has justified all manner of things we now cannot but as Christians regard as evil. But they are not there in the Bible because God is telling us, ‘That’s good.’ They are there because God is telling us, ‘You need to know that that is how some people responded. You need to know that when I speak to human beings things can go very wrong as well as very wonderfully.’ God tells us, ‘You need to know that when I speak, it isn’t always simple to hear, because of what human beings are like.’ We need, in other words, to guard against the temptation to take just a bit of the whole story and treat it as somehow a model for our own behaviour. Christians have often been down that road and it has not been a pretty sight. We need rather to approach the Bible as if it were a parable of Jesus. The whole thing is a gift, a challenge and an invitation into a new world, seeing yourself afresh and more truthfully.
Rowan Williams (Being Christian)
Men speak of God’s love for man… but if providence does not come in this hour, where is He then? My conclusion is simple. The Semitic texts from Bronze Age Palestine of which Christianity is comprised still fit uncomfortably well with contemporary life. The Old Testament depicts a God capricious and cruel; blood sacrifice, vengeance, genocide; death and destruction et al. Would He not approve of Herr Hitler and the brutal, tribalistic crusade against Hebrews and non-Christian ‘untermensch?’ One thing is inarguable. His church on Earth has produced some of the most vigorous and violent contribution to the European fascist cause. It is synergy. Man Created God, even if God Created Man; it all exists in the hubris and apotheosis of the narcissistic soul, and alas, all too many of the human herd are willing to follow the beastly trait of leadership. The idea of self-emancipation and advancement, with Europe under the jackboot of fascism, would be Quixotic to the point of mirthless lunacy.
Daniel S. Fletcher (Jackboot Britain)
Genuine forgiveness and reconciliation are two-person transactions that are enabled by apologies. Some, particularly within the Christian worldview, have taught forgiveness without an apology. They often quote the words of Jesus, “If you do not forgive men their trespasses neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” Thus, they say to the wife whose husband has been unfaithful and continues in his adulterous affair, “You must forgive him, or God will not forgive you.” Such an interpretation of Jesus’ teachings fails to reckon with the rest of the scriptural teachings on forgiveness. The Christian is instructed to forgive others in the same manner that God forgives us. How does God forgive us? The Scriptures say that if we confess our sins, God will forgive our sins. Nothing in the Old or New Testaments indicates that God forgives the sins of people who do not confess and repent of their sins. While a pastor encourages a wife to forgive her erring husband while he still continues in his wrongdoing, the minister is requiring of the wife something that God Himself does not do. Jesus’ teaching is that we are to be always willing to forgive, as God is always willing to forgive, those who repent… While a pastor encourages a wife to forgive her erring husband while he still continues in his wrongdoing, the minister is requiring of the wife something that God Himself does not do. Jesus’ teaching is that we are to be always willing to forgive, as God is always willing to forgive, those who repent…
Gary Chapman (The Five Languages of Apology: How to Experience Healing in All Your Relationships)
I live in a time of fear and the fear is not of war or weather or death or poverty or terror. The fear is of life itself. The fear is of tomorrow, a time when things do not get better but become worse. This is the belief of my time. I do not share it. The numbers of people will rise, the pain of migration will grow, the seas will bark forth storms, the bombs will explode in the markets, and mouths fighting for a place at the table will grow, as will the shouting and shoving. That is a given. Once the given is accepted, fear is pointless. The fear comes from not accepting it, from turning aside one's head, from dreaming in the fort of one's home that such things cannot be. The fear comes from turning inward and seeking personal salvation. The bones must be properly buried, amends must be made. Also, the beasts must be acknowledged. And the weather faced, the winds and rains lashing the face, still, they must be faced. So too, the dry ground screaming for relief. There is an industry peddling solutions, and these solutions insist no one must really change, except perhaps a little, and without pain. This is the source of the fear, this refusal to accept the future that is already here. In the Old Testament, the laws insist we must not drink blood, that the flesh must be properly drained or we will be outcasts from the Lord. They say these rules were necessary for clean living in some earlier time. I swallow the blood, all the bloods. I am that outlaw, the one crossing borders. The earlier time is over.
Charles Bowden (Some of the Dead Are Still Breathing: Living in the Future)
What of it, if some old hunks of a sea-captain orders me to get a broom and sweep down the decks? What does that indignity amount to, weighed, I mean, in the scales of the New Testament? Do you think the archangel Gabriel thinks anything the less of me, because I promptly and respectfully obey that old hunks in that particular instance? Who ain't a slave? Tell me that. Well, then, however the old sea-captains may order me about- however they may thump and punch me about, I have the satisfaction of knowing that it is all right; that everybody else is one way or other served in much the same way- either in a physical or metaphysical point of view, that is; and so the universal thump is passed round, and all hands should rub each other's shoulder-blades, and be content.
Herman Melville (Moby Dick, or the Whale)
Exoneration of Jesus Christ If Christ was in fact God, he knew all the future. Before Him like a panorama moved the history yet to be. He knew how his words would be interpreted. He knew what crimes, what horrors, what infamies, would be committed in his name. He knew that the hungry flames of persecution would climb around the limbs of countless martyrs. He knew that thousands and thousands of brave men and women would languish in dungeons in darkness, filled with pain. He knew that his church would invent and use instruments of torture; that his followers would appeal to whip and fagot, to chain and rack. He saw the horizon of the future lurid with the flames of the auto da fe. He knew what creeds would spring like poisonous fungi from every text. He saw the ignorant sects waging war against each other. He saw thousands of men, under the orders of priests, building prisons for their fellow-men. He saw thousands of scaffolds dripping with the best and bravest blood. He saw his followers using the instruments of pain. He heard the groans—saw the faces white with agony. He heard the shrieks and sobs and cries of all the moaning, martyred multitudes. He knew that commentaries would be written on his words with swords, to be read by the light of fagots. He knew that the Inquisition would be born of the teachings attributed to him. He saw the interpolations and falsehoods that hypocrisy would write and tell. He saw all wars that would be waged, and-he knew that above these fields of death, these dungeons, these rackings, these burnings, these executions, for a thousand years would float the dripping banner of the cross. He knew that hypocrisy would be robed and crowned—that cruelty and credulity would rule the world; knew that liberty would perish from the earth; knew that popes and kings in his name would enslave the souls and bodies of men; knew that they would persecute and destroy the discoverers, thinkers and inventors; knew that his church would extinguish reason’s holy light and leave the world without a star. He saw his disciples extinguishing the eyes of men, flaying them alive, cutting out their tongues, searching for all the nerves of pain. He knew that in his name his followers would trade in human flesh; that cradles would be robbed and women’s breasts unbabed for gold. And yet he died with voiceless lips. Why did he fail to speak? Why did he not tell his disciples, and through them the world: “You shall not burn, imprison and torture in my name. You shall not persecute your fellow-men.” Why did he not plainly say: “I am the Son of God,” or, “I am God”? Why did he not explain the Trinity? Why did he not tell the mode of baptism that was pleasing to him? Why did he not write a creed? Why did he not break the chains of slaves? Why did he not say that the Old Testament was or was not the inspired word of God? Why did he not write the New Testament himself? Why did he leave his words to ignorance, hypocrisy and chance? Why did he not say something positive, definite and satisfactory about another world? Why did he not turn the tear-stained hope of heaven into the glad knowledge of another life? Why did he not tell us something of the rights of man, of the liberty of hand and brain? Why did he go dumbly to his death, leaving the world to misery and to doubt? I will tell you why. He was a man, and did not know.
Robert G. Ingersoll
It is a curious thing that at my age — fifty-five last birthday — I should find myself taking up a pen to try to write a history. I wonder what sort of a history it will be when I have finished it, if ever I come to the end of the trip! I have done a good many things in my life, which seems a long one to me, owing to my having begun work so young, perhaps. At an age when other boys are at school I was earning my living as a trader in the old Colony. I have been trading, hunting, fighting, or mining ever since. And yet it is only eight months ago that I made my pile. It is a big pile now that I have got it — I don't yet know how big — but I do not think I would go through the last fifteen or sixteen months again for it; no, not if I knew that I should come out safe at the end, pile and all. But then I am a timid man, and dislike violence; moreover, I am almost sick of adventure. I wonder why I am going to write this book: it is not in my line. I am not a literary man, though very devoted to the Old Testament and also to the "Ingoldsby Legends." Let me try to set down my reasons, just to see if I have any.
H. Rider Haggard (King Solomon's Mines (Allan Quatermain, #1))
When I looked around the neighborhood, I found out that kids wasn’t the only crooks. We was surrounded by crooks, and plenty of ’em was guys that were supposed to be legit, like the landlords and the storekeepers and the politicians and cops on the beat. All of ‘em was stealin’ from somebody. And we had the real pros, the old Dons from the old country, with their big black cars and mustaches to match. We used to make fun of them behind their backs, but our parents were scared to death of them. The only thing is, we knew they was rich, and rich was what counted, because the rich got away with anythin'.
Martin A. Gosch (Last Testament of Lucky Luciano: The Mafia Story in His Own Words)
Q (Quiller-Couch) was all by himself my college education. I went down to the public library one day when I was seventeen looking for books on the art of writing, and found five books of lectures which Q had delivered to his students of writing at Cambridge. "Just what I need!" I congratulated myself. I hurried home with the first volume and started reading and got to page 3 and hit a snag: Q was lecturing to young men educated at Eton and Harrow. He therefore assumed his students − including me − had read Paradise Lost as a matter of course and would understand his analysis of the "Invocation to Light" in Book 9. So I said, "Wait here," and went down to the library and got Paradise Lost and took it home and started reading it and got to page 3, when I hit a snag: Milton assumed I'd read the Christian version of Isaiah and the New Testament and had learned all about Lucifer and the War in Heaven, and since I'd been reared in Judaism I hadn't. So I said, "Wait here," and borrowed a Christian Bible and read about Lucifer and so forth, and then went back to Milton and read Paradise Lost, and then finally got back to Q, page 3. On page 4 or 5, I discovered that the point of the sentence at the top of the page was in Latin and the long quotation at the bottom of the page was in Greek. So I advertised in the Saturday Review for somebody to teach me Latin and Greek, and went back to Q meanwhile, and discovered he assumed I not only knew all the plays by Shakespeare, and Boswell's Johnson, but also the Second books of Esdras, which is not in the Old Testament and not in the New Testament, it's in the Apocrypha, which is a set of books nobody had ever thought to tell me existed. So what with one thing and another and an average of three "Wait here's" a week, it took me eleven years to get through Q's five books of lectures.
Helene Hanff
Why does God not declare himself as the God of Adam? For we know that Abraham sinned even as Adam did. Why then did He not call himself the God of Adam? Why did He not say the God of Abel, the seed of Adam? Why instead did He call himself the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob? Why according to the flesh was our Lord Jesus presented in the New Testament as having been born of the seed of Abraham? Why from among all men should God have called himself the God of these three particular persons? Wherein lies the difference between these three and other people? Well, apart from the fact that God had covenanted with these three men, He takes them up as representative personages. He chooses them to represent three types of men in the world. What type of man is Abraham? He is a giant of faith. He is rather uncommon; in fact, he is quite special. As the God of Abraham, God declares himself to be the God of excellent people. Yet, thanks be to God, He is not only the God of the excellent. Were He merely this kind of God, we would sink into despair because we are not persons of excellence. But God is also the God of Isaac. What type of person is Isaac? He is very ordinary. He eats whenever he can, and sleeps as he has opportunity. He is neither a wonder man nor a wicked person. How this fact has comforted many of us! Yet God is not only the God of the ordinary men, He is also the God of the bad men: He is the God of Jacob too, for in the Scriptures Jacob is pictured as one of the worst persons to be found in the Old Testament. Hence through these three persons, God is telling us that He is the God of Abraham the best, the God of Isaac the ordinary, and the God of Jacob the worst. He is the God of those with great faith, He is the God of the common people, and He is also the God of the lowest of men such as thieves and prostitutes. Suppose I am special like Abraham; then He is my God. Suppose I am ordinary like Isaac; then He is also my God. And suppose from my mother’s womb I have been bad like Jacob was in that I have striven with my brother; then He is still my God. He has a way with the excellent, with the common, and with the worst of humanity.
Watchman Nee (The Finest of the Wheat, volume 1)
For the first time I understood the dogma of eternal pain -- appreciated "the glad tidings of great joy." For the first time my imagination grasped the height and depth of the Christian horror. Then I said: "It is a lie, and I hate your religion. If it is true, I hate your God." From that day I have had no fear, no doubt. For me, on that day, the flames of hell were quenched. From that day I have passionately hated every orthodox creed. That Sermon did some good. In the Old Testament, they said. God is the judge -- but in the New, Christ is the merciful. As a matter of fact, the New Testament is infinitely worse than the Old. In the Old there is no threat of eternal pain. Jehovah had no eternal prison -- no everlasting fire. His hatred ended at the grave. His revenge was satisfied when his enemy was dead. In the New Testament, death is not the end, but the beginning of punishment that has no end. In the New Testament the malice of God is infinite and the hunger of his revenge eternal. The orthodox God, when clothed in human flesh, told his disciples not to resist evil, to love their enemies, and when smitten on one cheek to turn the other, and yet we are told that this same God, with the same loving lips, uttered these heartless, these fiendish words; "Depart ye cursed into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels." These are the words of "eternal love." No human being has imagination enough to conceive of this infinite horror. All that the human race has suffered in war and want, in pestilence and famine, in fire and flood, -- all the pangs and pains of every disease and every death -- all this is as nothing compared with the agonies to be endured by one lost soul. This is the consolation of the Christian religion. This is the justice of God -- the mercy of Christ. This frightful dogma, this infinite lie, made me the implacable enemy of Christianity. The truth is that this belief in eternal pain has been the real persecutor. It founded the Inquisition, forged the chains, and furnished the fagots. It has darkened the lives of many millions. It made the cradle as terrible as the coffin. It enslaved nations and shed the blood of countless thousands. It sacrificed the wisest, the bravest and the best. It subverted the idea of justice, drove mercy from the heart, changed men to fiends and banished reason from the brain. Like a venomous serpent it crawls and coils and hisses in every orthodox creed. It makes man an eternal victim and God an eternal fiend. It is the one infinite horror. Every church in which it is taught is a public curse. Every preacher who teaches it is an enemy of mankind. Below this Christian dogma, savagery cannot go. It is the infinite of malice, hatred, and revenge. Nothing could add to the horror of hell, except the presence of its creator, God. While I have life, as long as I draw breath, I shall deny with all my strength, and hate with every drop of my blood, this infinite lie.
Robert G. Ingersoll
First, if you are a homosexual or feel that inclination, keep yourself pure. If you are unmarried, you should practice abstinence from all sexual activity. I know this is difficult, but really what God is asking you to do is pretty much the same thing that he requires of all single people. That means not only keeping your body pure, but especially your mind. Just as heterosexual men should avoid pornography and fantasizing, you, too, need to keep your thought-life clean. Resist the temptation to rationalize sin by saying, “God made me this way.” God has made it very clear that He does not want you to indulge your desires, but to honor Him by keeping your mind and body pure. Finally, seek professional Christian counseling. With time and effort, you can come to enjoy normal, heterosexual relations with your spouse. There is hope.
William Lane Craig
Christian reformism arose originally from the ability of its advocates to contrast the Old Testament with the New. The cobbled-together ancient Jewish books had an ill-tempered and implacable and bloody and provincial god, who was probably more frightening when he was in a good mood (the classic attribute of the dictator). Whereas the cobbled-together books of the last two thousand years contained handholds for the hopeful, and references to meekness, forgiveness, lambs and sheep, and so forth. This distinction is more apparent than real, since it is only in the reported observations of Jesus that we find any mention of hell and eternal punishment. The god of Moses would brusquely call for other tribes, including his favorite one, to suffer massacre and plague and even extirpation, but when the grave closed over his victims he was essentially finished with them unless he remembered to curse their succeeding progeny. Not until the advent of the Prince of Peace do we hear of the ghastly idea of further punishing and torturing the dead. First presaged by the rantings of John the Baptist, the son of god is revealed as one who, if his milder words are not accepted straightaway, will condemn the inattentive to everlasting fire. This has provided texts for clerical sadists ever since, and features very lip-smackingly in the tirades of Islam.
Christopher Hitchens (God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything)
Because this is an urban church in a downtown neighborhood, it is not so easy to avoid the presence of the poor. We see them. I wonder if that is not part of our vocation, to see the poor, to be the Lord's eyes - because the Lord sees the poor, and he loves the poor, and he sends his people to serve the poor. That is a message that pervades the Scriptures from end to end. There is something seriously out of balance in American Christianity. I am personally opposed to abortion, but there is nothing explicit in the Bible about abortion. There is nothing explicit in the Bible about prayer in the public schools; there is nothing explicit in the Bible about the American flag or the right to have a gun. There are, however, thousands of explicit words in the Bible about justice and compassion for the poor. There are thousands of words in the Bible about defending those who are defenseless.
Fleming Rutledge (And God Spoke to Abraham: Preaching from the Old Testament)
The Book of Numbers relates that when the people murmured rebelliously against God, they were punished with a plague of fiery serpents, so that many lost their lives. When they repented, Moses was told by God to make a brazen serpent and set it up for a sign, and all those bitten by the serpents who looked upon that sign would be healed. Our Blessed Lord was now declaring that He was to be lifted up, as the serpent had been lifted up. As the brass serpent had the appearance of a serpent and yet lacked its venom, so too, when He would be lifted up upon the bars of the Cross, He would have the appearance of a sinner and yet be without sin. As all who looked upon the brass serpent had been healed of the bite of the serpent, so all who looked upon Him with love and faith would be healed of the bite of the serpent of evil.
Fulton J. Sheen (Life of Christ)
To begin with, there is an almost compulsive promiscuity associated with homosexual behavior. 75% of homosexual men have more than 100 sexual partners during their lifetime. More than half of these partners are strangers. Only 8% of homosexual men and 7% of homosexual women ever have relationships lasting more than three years. Nobody knows the reason for this strange, obsessive promiscuity. It may be that homosexuals are trying to satisfy a deep psychological need by sexual encounters, and it just is not fulfilling. Male homosexuals average over 20 partners a year. According to Dr. Schmidt, The number of homosexual men who experience anything like lifelong fidelity becomes, statistically speaking, almost meaningless. Promiscuity among homosexual men is not a mere stereotype, and it is not merely the majority experience—it is virtually the only experience. Lifelong faithfulness is almost non-existent in the homosexual experience. Associated with this compulsive promiscuity is widespread drug use by homosexuals to heighten their sexual experiences. Homosexuals in general are three times as likely to be problem drinkers as the general population. Studies show that 47% of male homosexuals have a history of alcohol abuse and 51% have a history of drug abuse. There is a direct correlation between the number of partners and the amount of drugs consumed. Moreover, according to Schmidt, “There is overwhelming evidence that certain mental disorders occur with much higher frequency among homosexuals.” For example, 40% of homosexual men have a history of major depression. That compares with only 3% for men in general. Similarly 37% of female homosexuals have a history of depression. This leads in turn to heightened suicide rates. Homosexuals are three times as likely to contemplate suicide as the general population. In fact homosexual men have an attempted suicide rate six times that of heterosexual men, and homosexual women attempt suicide twice as often as heterosexual women. Nor are depression and suicide the only problems. Studies show that homosexuals are much more likely to be pedophiles than heterosexual men. Whatever the causes of these disorders, the fact remains that anyone contemplating a homosexual lifestyle should have no illusions about what he is getting into. Another well-kept secret is how physically dangerous homosexual behavior is.
William Lane Craig
Here is an image. The young woman who lives in the Port Authority Bus Terminal has been a crack addict; she has lied, cheated, and stolen. She has learned to manipulate people. At twenty-six, she has wasted her education and lost several jobs. When she is asleep in her blanket on the floor, there is no way for a passerby to know whether or not she is trying to kick her habit and better herself. Yet, according to the article, she constantly finds that bus passengers put one dollar bill, two dollar bills, even a twenty-dollar bill into her blanket while she is asleep. Jesus stoops down to us in our miserable condition, bringing the gifts of new life. He does not ask us what we are doing to make ourselves better; he just gives the gift. He does not ask if we are working to turn ourselves around; he does not ask for a receipt; he puts redemption into our blanket.
Fleming Rutledge (And God Spoke to Abraham: Preaching from the Old Testament)
Of course the theologians fought the facts found by the geologists, the scientists, and sought to sustain the sacred Scriptures. They mistook the bones of the mastodon for those of human beings, and by them proudly proved that "there were giants in those days." They accounted for the fossils by saying that God had made them to try our faith, or that the Devil had imitated the works of the Creator. They answered the geologists by saying that the "days" in Genesis were long periods of time, and that after all the flood might have been local. They told the astronomers that the sun and moon were not actually, but only apparently, stopped. And that the appearance was produced by the reflection and refraction of light. They excused the slavery and polygamy, the robbery and murder upheld in the Old Testament by saying that the people were so degraded that Jehovah was compelled to pander to their ignorance and prejudice. In every way the clergy sought to evade the facts, to dodge the truth, to preserve the creed. At first they flatly denied the facts -- then they belittled them -- then they harmonized them -- then they denied that they had denied them. Then they changed the meaning of the "inspired" book to fit the facts. At first they said that if the facts, as claimed, were true, the Bible was false and Christianity itself a superstition. Afterward they said the facts, as claimed, were true and that they established beyond all doubt the inspiration of the Bible and the divine origin of orthodox religion. Anything they could not dodge, they swallowed and anything they could not swallow, they dodged. I gave up the Old Testament on account of its mistakes, its absurdities, its ignorance and its cruelty. I gave up the New because it vouched for the truth of the Old. I gave it up on account of its miracles, its contradictions, because Christ and his disciples believe in the existence of devils -- talked and made bargains with them. expelled them from people and animals. This, of itself, is enough. We know, if we know anything, that devils do not exist -- that Christ never cast them out, and that if he pretended to, he was either ignorant, dishonest or insane.
Robert G. Ingersoll
Leave all the ‘wise men to mock it or tolerate.’ Let them reach the moon or the stars, they are all dead. Nothing lives outside of man. Man is the living soul, turning slowly into a life-giving Spirit. But you cannot tell it except in a parable or metaphor to excite the mind of man to get him to go out and prove it. Leave the good and evil and eat of the Tree of Life. Nothing in the world is untrue if you want it to be true. You are the truth of everything that you perceive. ‘I am the truth, and the way, the life revealed.’ If I have physically nothing in my pocket, then in Imagination I have MUCH. But that is a lie based on fact, but truth is based on the intensity of my imagination and then I will create it in my world. Should I accept facts and use them as to what I should imagine? No. It is told us in the story of the fig tree. It did not bear for three years. One said, ‘Cut it down, and throw it away.’ But the keeper of the vineyard pleaded NO’! Who is the tree? I am the tree; you are the tree. We bear or we do not. But the Keeper said he would dig around the tree and feed it ‘or manure it, as we would say today’ and see if it will not bear. Well I do that here every week and try to get the tree ‘you’ me to bear. You should bear whatever you desire. If you want to be happily married, you should be. The world is only response. If you want money, get it. Everything is a dream anyway. When you awake and know what you are creating and that you are creating it that is a different thing. The greatest book is the Bible, but it has been taken from a moral basis and it is all weeping and tears. It seems almost ruthless as given to us in the Gospel, if taken literally. The New Testament interprets the Old Testament, and it has nothing to do with morals. You change your mind and stay in that changed state until it unfolds. Man thinks he has to work himself out of something, but it is God asleep in you as a living soul, and then we are reborn as a life-giving spirit. We do it here in this little classroom called Earth or beyond the grave, for you cannot die. You can be just as asleep beyond the grave. I meet them constantly, and they are just like this. Same loves and same hates. No change. They will go through it until they finally awake, until they cease to re-act and begin to act. Do not take this story lightly which I have told you tonight. Take it to heart. Tonight when you are driving home enact a scene. No matter what it is. Forget good and evil. Enact a scene that implies you have what you desire, and to the degree that you are faithful to that state, it will unfold in your world and no power can stop it, for there is no other power. Nothing is independent of your perception of it, and this goes for that great philosopher among us who is still claiming that everything is independent of the perceiver, but that the perceiver has certain powers. It is not so. Nothing is independent of the perceiver. Everything is ‘burned up’ when I cease to behold it. It may exist for another, but not for me. Let us make our dream a noble one, for the world is infinite response to you, the being you want to be. Now let us go into the silence.
Neville Goddard (The Law and Other Essays on Manifestation)
When I go to sea, I go as a simple sailor, right before the mast, plumb down into the forecastle, aloft there to the royal mast-head. True, they rather order me about some, and make me jump from spar to spar, like a grasshopper in a May meadow. And at first, this sort of thing is unpleasant enough. It touches one's sense of honor, particularly if you come of an old established family in the land, the van Rensselaers, or Randolphs, or Hardicanutes. And more than all, if just previous to putting your hand into the tar-pot, you have been lording it as a country schoolmaster, making the tallest boys stand in awe of you. The transition is a keen one, I assure you, from the schoolmaster to a sailor, and requires a strong decoction of Seneca and the Stoics to enable you to grin and bear it. But even this wears off in time. What of it, if some old hunks of a sea-captain orders me to get a broom and sweep down the decks? What does that indignity amount to, weighed, I mean, in the scales of the New Testament? Do you think the archangel Gabriel thinks anything the less of me, because I promptly and respectfully obey that old hunks in that particular instance? Who ain't a slave? Tell me that. Well, then, however the old sea-captains may order me about—however they may thump and punch me about, I have the satisfaction of knowing that it is all right; that everybody else is one way or other served in much the same way—either in a physical or metaphysical point of view, that is; and so the universal thump is passed round, and all hands should rub each other's shoulder-blades, and be content.
Herman Melville (Moby-Dick or, the Whale)
If we see that God’s intention is to work Himself into us, we shall automatically eat and drink of Him. Mothers know that babies eat and drink automatically, not caring for any forms, manners, or regulations. Infants are better at eating and drinking than adults are. Our eating and drinking are often hindered by all the attention we give to table manners. Sometimes the more we pay attention to manners, the less we enjoy our food. I heard of a Chinese ambassador who attended a formal state dinner in Germany. Because he was so concerned about proper etiquette and table manners, he did not enjoy the food at all. He spent his time watching how others at the dinner conducted themselves and how they used their eating utensils. Table manners kept him from eating. Children are not like this. When my little granddaughter visits us, her grandmother often gives her something to eat. My granddaughter enjoys her food in a spontaneous and informal way. She is a good example of how we should pay less attention to forms and more to eating and drinking. At the very time the Lord Jesus was speaking with the Samaritan woman, the priests in the temple were worshipping God in the formal, systematic, prescribed manner. But where was God at that time? Was He in the temple with [517] the priests, or was He with the woman by the well in Samaria? As we all know, He was with the Samaritan woman. He met with her in the open air, away from the temple and the altar, without religious forms and rituals. Eventually, this Samaritan woman drank of the living water and offered real worship to God. At that time the true worship to God was offered not by the priests in the temple, but by the Samaritan woman who was drinking the living water. The priests worshipped God in vain; the Samaritan woman worshipped Him in reality by drinking Him into her being. The Spirit as the living water was infused into her. God was seeking real worship, and He received it from this Samaritan woman who drank of the Spirit as the living water. Today’s Christians need to see what real worship is. They condemn those in the Lord’s recovery as heretical, when they themselves are heretical and ignorant of the truth. Like the priests in the temple, they are blind to what true worship is. In John 4 the Lord Jesus did not spend time talking to typical Jews according to the Old Testament way of worship. Instead, He conversed with an immoral, semi-heathen woman concerning the worship which satisfies God’s heart. This woman worshipped God in her spirit by drinking of Him as the water to quench her thirst. Thus, God was worshipped by her in a genuine way. How much different this is from formal, religious worship! Throughout the centuries, most Christian worship has been like that of the priests in the temple. Only a small number have worshipped God in spirit by drinking of Him as living water.
Witness Lee (Life Study Of Exodus (4 Volume Set))
Very Like a Whale One thing that literature would be greatly the better for Would be a more restricted employment by authors of simile and metaphor. Authors of all races, be they Greeks, Romans, Teutons or Celts, Can'ts seem just to say that anything is the thing it is but have to go out of their way to say that it is like something else. What foes it mean when we are told That the Assyrian came down like a wolf on the fold? In the first place, George Gordon Byron had had enough experience To know that it probably wasn't just one Assyrian, it was a lot of Assyrians. However, as too many arguments are apt to induce apoplexy and thus hinder longevity, We'll let it pass as one Assyrian for the sake of brevity. Now then, this particular Assyrian, the one whose cohorts were gleaming in purple and gold, Just what does the poet mean when he says he came down like a wolf on the fold? In heaven and earth more than is dreamed of in our philosophy there are a great many things, But i don't imagine that among then there is a wolf with purple and gold cohorts or purple and gold anythings. No, no, Lord Byron, before I'll believe that this Assyrian was actually like a wolf I must have some kind of proof; Did he run on all fours and did he have a hairy tail and a big red mouth and big white teeth and did he say Woof woof? Frankly I think it very unlikely, and all you were entitled to say, at the very most, Was that the Assyrian cohorts came down like a lot of Assyrian cohorts about to destroy the Hebrew host. But that wasn't fancy enough for Lord Byron, oh dear me no, he had to invent a lot of figures of speech and then interpolate them, With the result that whenever you mention Old Testament soldiers to people they say Oh yes, they're the ones that a lot of wolves dressed up in gold and purple ate them. That's the kind of thing that's being done all the time by poets, from Homer to Tennyson; They're always comparing ladies to lilies and veal to venison, And they always say things like that the snow is a white blanket after a winter storm. Oh it is, is it, all right then, you sleep under a six-inch blanket of snow and I'll sleep under a half-inch blanket of unpoetical blanket material and we'll see which one keeps warm, And after that maybe you'll begin to comprehend dimly, What I mean by too much metaphor and simile.
Ogden Nash (The Best of Ogden Nash)
Lollipops and raindrops Sunflowers and sun-kissed daisies Rolling surf and raging sea Sailing ships and submarines Old Glory and “purple mountain’s majesty” Screaming guitar and lilting rhyme Flight of fancy and high-steppin’ dances Set free my mind to wander… Imagine the ant’s marching journeys. Fly, in my mind’s eye, on butterfly wings. Roam the distant depths of space. Unfurl tall sails and cross the ocean. Pictures made just to enthrall Creating images from my truth Painting hopes and dreams on my canvas Capturing, through my lens, the ephemeral Let me ruminate ‘pon sensual darkness… Tremble o’er Hollywood’s fluttering Gothics… Ride the edge of my seat with the hero… Weep with the heroine’s desperation. Yet… more than all these things… Give me words spun out masterfully… Terms set out in meter and rhyme… Phrases bent to rattle the soul… Prose that always miraculously inspires me! The trill runs up my spine, as I recall… A touch… a caress…a whispered kiss… Ebony eyes embracing my soul… Two souls united in beat of hearts. A butterfly flutter in my womb My lover’s wonder o’er my swelling The testament of our love given life Newly laid in my lover’s arms Luminous, sweet ebony eyes Just so much like his father’s A gaze of wonder and contentment From my babe at mother’s breast Words of the Divine set down for me Faith, Hope, Love, and Charity Grace, Mercy, and undeserved Salvation “My Shepherd will supply my need” These are the things that inspire me.
D. Denise Dianaty (My Life In Poetry)
In addition to these physical problems, sexually transmitted diseases are rampant among the homosexual population. 75% of homosexual men carry one or more sexually transmitted diseases, wholly apart from AIDS. These include all sorts of non-viral infections like gonorrhea, syphilis, bacterial infections, and parasites. Also common among homosexuals are viral infections like herpes and hepatitis B (which afflicts 65% of homosexual men), both of which are incurable, as well as hepatitis A and anal warts, which afflict 40% of homosexual men. And I haven’t even included AIDS. Perhaps the most shocking and frightening statistic is that, leaving aside those who die from AIDS, the life expectancy for a homosexual male is about 45 years of age. That compares to a life expectancy of around 70 for men in general. If you include those who die of AIDS, which now infects 30% of homosexual men, the life expectancy drops to 39 years of age. So I think a very good case can be made out on the basis of generally accepted moral principles that homosexual behavior is wrong. It is horribly self-destructive and injurious to another person. Thus, wholly apart from the Bible’s prohibition, there are sound, sensible reasons to regard homosexual activity as wrong.
William Lane Craig
When I’m sitting by my gay friends in church, I hear everything through their ears. When I’m with my recently divorced friend, I hear it through hers. This is good practice. It helps uncenter us (which is, you know, the whole counsel of the New Testament) and sharpens our eye for our sisters and brothers. It trains us to think critically about community, language, felt needs, and inclusion, shaking off autopilot and setting a wider table. We must examine who is invited, who is asked to teach, who is asked to contribute, who is called into leadership. It is one thing to “feel nice feelings” toward the minority voice; it is something else entirely to challenge existing power structures to include the whole variety of God’s people. This is not hard or fancy work. It looks like diversifying small groups and leadership, not defaulting to homogeny as the standard operating procedure. Closer in, it looks like coffee dates, dinner invites, the warm hand of friendship extended to women or families outside your demographic. It means considering the stories around the table before launching into an assumed shared narrative. It includes the old biblical wisdom on being slow to speak and quick to listen, because as much as we love to talk, share, and talk-share some more, there is a special holiness reserved for the practice of listening and deferring.
Jen Hatmaker (Of Mess and Moxie: Wrangling Delight Out of This Wild and Glorious Life)
Concerning sin and our proper attitude when we find ourselves in sin. Truly, to have committed a sin is not sinful if we regret what we have done. Indeed, not for anything in time or eternity should we want to commit a sin, neither of a mortal, venial or any other kind. Whoever knows the ways of God should always be mindful of the fact that God, who is faithful and loving, has led us from a sinful life into a godly one, thus making friends of us who were previously enemies, which is a greater achievement even than making a new earth. This is one of the chief reasons why we should be wholly established in God, and it is astonishing how much this inflames us with so great and so strong a love that we strip ourselves entirely of ourselves. Indeed, if you are rightly placed in the will of God, then you should not wish that the sin into which you fell had not happened. Of course, this is not the case because sin was something against God but, precisely because it was something against God, you were bound by it to greater love, you were humbled and brought low. And you should trust God that he would not have allowed it to happen unless he intended it to be for your profit. But when we raise ourselves out of sin and turn away from it, then God in his faithfulness acts as if we had never fallen into sin at all and he does not punish us for our sins for a single moment, even if they are as great as the sum of all the sins that have ever been committed. God will not make us suffer on their account, but he can enjoy with us all the intimacy that he ever had with a creature. If he finds that we are now ready, then he does not consider what we were before. God is a God of the present. He takes you and receives you as he finds you now, not as you have been, but as you are now. God willingly endures all the harm and shame which all our sins have ever inflicted upon him, as he has already done for many years, in order that we should come to a deep knowledge of his love and in order that our love and our gratitude should increase and our zeal grow more intense, which often happens when we have repented of our sins. Therefore God willingly tolerates the hurtfulness of sin and has often done so in the past, most frequently allowing it to come upon those whom he has chosen to raise up to greatness. Now listen! Was there ever anyone dearer to or more intimate with our Lord than the apostles? And yet not one of them escaped mortal sin. They all committed mortal sin. He showed this time and again in the Old and New Testament in those individuals who were to become the closest to him by far; and even today we rarely find that people achieve great things without first going astray. And thus our Lord intends to teach us of his great mercy, urging us to great and true humility and devotion. For, when repentance is renewed, then love too is renewed and grows strong.
Meister Eckhart (Selected Writings)
I did say that to deny the existence of evil spirits, or to deny the existence of the devil, is to deny the truth of the New Testament; and that to deny the existence of these imps of darkness is to contradict the words of Jesus Christ. I did say that if we give up the belief in devils we must give up the inspiration of the Old and New Testaments, and we must give up the divinity of Christ. Upon that declaration I stand, because if devils do not exist, then Jesus Christ was mistaken, or we have not in the New Testament a true account of what he said and of what he pretended to do. If the New Testament gives a true account of his words and pretended actions, then he did claim to cast out devils. That was his principal business. That was his certificate of divinity, casting out devils. That authenticated his mission and proved that he was superior to the hosts of darkness. Now, take the devil out of the New Testament, and you also take the veracity of Christ; with that veracity you take the divinity; with that divinity you take the atonement, and when you take the atonement, the great fabric known as Christianity becomes a shapeless ruin. The Christians now claim that Jesus was God. If he was God, of course the devil knew that fact, and yet, according to this account, the devil took the omnipotent God and placed him upon a pinnacle of the temple, and endeavored to induce him to dash himself against the earth… Think of it! The devil – the prince of sharpers – the king of cunning – the master of finesse, trying to bribe God with a grain of sand that belonged to God! Casting out devils was a certificate of divinity. Is there in all the religious literature of the world anything more grossly absurd than this? These devils, according to the Bible, were of various kinds – some could speak and hear, others were deaf and dumb. All could not be cast out in the same way. The deaf and dumb spirits were quite difficult to deal with. St. Mark tells of a gentleman who brought his son to Christ. The boy, it seems, was possessed of a dumb spirit, over which the disciples had no control. “Jesus said unto the spirit: ‘Thou dumb and deaf spirit, I charge thee come out of him, and enter no more into him.’” Whereupon, the deaf spirit (having heard what was said) cried out (being dumb) and immediately vacated the premises. The ease with which Christ controlled this deaf and dumb spirit excited the wonder of his disciples, and they asked him privately why they could not cast that spirit out. To whom he replied: “This kind can come forth by nothing but prayer and fasting.” Is there a Christian in the whole world who would believe such a story if found in any other book? The trouble is, these pious people shut up their reason, and then open their Bible.
Robert G. Ingersoll
While some of our deepest wounds come from feeling abandoned by others, it is surprising to see how often we abandon ourselves through the way we view life. It’s natural to perceive through a lens of blame at the moment of emotional impact, but each stage of surrender offers us time and space to regroup and open our viewpoints for our highest evolutionary benefit. It’s okay to feel wronged by people or traumatized by circumstances. This reveals anger as a faithful guardian reminding us how overwhelmed we are by the outcomes at hand. While we will inevitably use each trauma as a catalyst for our deepest growth, such anger informs us when the highest importance is being attentive to our own experiences like a faithful companion. As waves of emotion begin to settle, we may ask ourselves, “Although I feel wronged, what am I going to do about it?” Will we allow experiences of disappointment or even cruelty to inspire our most courageous decisions and willingness to evolve? When viewing others as characters who have wronged us, a moment of personal abandonment occurs. Instead of remaining present to the sheer devastation we feel, a need to align with ego can occur through the blaming of others. While it seems nearly instinctive to see life as the comings and goings of how people treat us, when focused on cultivating our most Divine qualities, pain often confirms how quickly we are shifting from ego to soul. From the soul’s perspective, pain represents the initial steps out of the identity and reference points of an old reality as we make our way into a brand new paradigm of being. The more this process is attempted to be rushed, the more insufferable it becomes. To end the agony of personal abandonment, we enter the first stage of surrender by asking the following question: Am I seeing this moment in a way that helps or hurts me? From the standpoint of ego, life is a play of me versus you or us versus them. But from the soul’s perspective, characters are like instruments that help develop and uncover the melody of our highest vibration. Even when the friction of conflict seems to divide people, as souls we are working together to play out the exact roles to clear, activate, and awaken our true radiance. The more aligned in Source energy we become, the easier each moment of transformation tends to feel. This doesn’t mean we are immune to disappointment, heartbreak, or devastation. Instead, we are keenly aware of how often life is giving us the chance to grow and expand. A willingness to be stretched and re-created into a more refined form is a testament to the fiercely liberated nature of our soul. To the ego, the soul’s willingness to grow under the threat of any circumstance seems foolish, shortsighted, and insane. This is because the ego can only interpret that reality as worry, anticipation, and regret.
Matt Kahn (Everything Is Here to Help You: A Loving Guide to Your Soul's Evolution)
What Kant took to be the necessary schemata of reality,' says a modern Freudian, 'are really only the necessary schemata of repression.' And an experimental psychologist adds that 'a sense of time can only exist where there is submission to reality.' To see everything as out of mere succession is to behave like a man drugged or insane. Literature and history, as we know them, are not like that; they must submit, be repressed. It is characteristic of the stage we are now at, I think, that the question of how far this submission ought to go--or, to put it the other way, how far one may cultivate fictional patterns or paradigms--is one which is debated, under various forms, by existentialist philosophers, by novelists and anti-novelists, by all who condemn the myths of historiography. It is a debate of fundamental interest, I think, and I shall discuss it in my fifth talk. Certainly, it seems, there must, even when we have achieved a modern degree of clerical scepticism, be some submission to the fictive patterns. For one thing, a systematic submission of this kind is almost another way of describing what we call 'form.' 'An inter-connexion of parts all mutually implied'; a duration (rather than a space) organizing the moment in terms of the end, giving meaning to the interval between tick and tock because we humanly do not want it to be an indeterminate interval between the tick of birth and the tock of death. That is a way of speaking in temporal terms of literary form. One thinks again of the Bible: of a beginning and an end (denied by the physicist Aristotle to the world) but humanly acceptable (and allowed by him to plots). Revelation, which epitomizes the Bible, puts our fate into a book, and calls it the book of life, which is the holy city. Revelation answers the command, 'write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter'--'what is past and passing and to come'--and the command to make these things interdependent. Our novels do likewise. Biology and cultural adaptation require it; the End is a fact of life and a fact of the imagination, working out from the middle, the human crisis. As the theologians say, we 'live from the End,' even if the world should be endless. We need ends and kairoi and the pleroma, even now when the history of the world has so terribly and so untidily expanded its endless successiveness. We re-create the horizons we have abolished, the structures that have collapsed; and we do so in terms of the old patterns, adapting them to our new worlds. Ends, for example, become a matter of images, figures for what does not exist except humanly. Our stories must recognize mere successiveness but not be merely successive; Ulysses, for example, may be said to unite the irreducible chronos of Dublin with the irreducible kairoi of Homer. In the middest, we look for a fullness of time, for beginning, middle, and end in concord. For concord or consonance really is the root of the matter, even in a world which thinks it can only be a fiction. The theologians revive typology, and are followed by the literary critics. We seek to repeat the performance of the New Testament, a book which rewrites and requites another book and achieves harmony with it rather than questioning its truth. One of the seminal remarks of modern literary thought was Eliot's observation that in the timeless order of literature this process is continued. Thus we secularize the principle which recurs from the New Testament through Alexandrian allegory and Renaissance Neo-Platonism to our own time. We achieve our secular concords of past and present and future, modifying the past and allowing for the future without falsifying our own moment of crisis. We need, and provide, fictions of concord.
Frank Kermode (The Sense of an Ending: Studies in the Theory of Fiction)