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12:11 AM
@LeeWoofenden So why do you believe that Jeremiah had it right about what God said and Moses had it wrong? What if Moses was the correct one and Jeremiah was the liar?
 
 
2 hours later…
1:50 AM
1
Q: Was Jesus a refugee?

BrewThere are claims that Jesus was a refugee. For example, Al Sharpton tweeted, Was Jesus a refugee?

 
@Birdie Who said anything about either one of them being a liar? Do you think one of them was lying? I think they were both saying what they sincerely believed. But we humans hear God's words through our own filters, so what comes out isn't always exactly what God said. But it is what is necessary for the hearer(s) to believe and follow for their eternal wellbeing and satisfaction.
@Birdie I think Jeremiah had it right because God's own divine laws and commandments are eternal, whereas the Mosaic law of sacrifice and ritual was temporary.
 
 
2 hours later…
3:41 AM
@WasthereeveranElisha? Why do I try? Anyone here think Sharpton's characterization is reflective of the story's context?
 
@fredsbend It's very common to call Jesus and his family refugees during the time they spent in Egypt
 
@fredsbend yes, I think you're being overly (or even incorrectly) pedantic on this one
 
4:05 AM
I don't think people mean it like Sharpton's allusion when they say refugee in their commentaries.
@Dave If the subject was any other boy, then refugee might make sense. But Jesus personally was the specific target. Herod killing babies was an incidental method to kill Jesus, not a persecution of infant boys. That makes him something else, not a refugee. — fredsbend 7 mins ago
 
@fredsbend If you talk to modern day refugees, many of them have been individually targeted. Often, these ones have come from countries that are not at war, but frequently have authoritarian regimes and they have fled their homes as a result of credible threats to them personally.
 
@bruisedreed I guarantee when you look at all of these they were targeted personally because they were first targeted for belonging to some social group. They were only targeted personally because they were found to have been belonging to that social group.
Or more generally it just happened to be a very dangerous area at the time they were living there. For example, war. A lot of bad things happen during a war.
 
4:24 AM
@bruisedreed Exactly. I think this is particularly the case with Iranian refugees. While certain groups are persecuted as a whole, individuals can be persecuted for political reasons
 
@fredsbend If by social group you have in mind even people of like mind - say people who entertain certain political views - then I can't really argue with you, but it seems a bit meaningless because such things aren't inate characteristics.
 
While there are some countries which the government is fine with religious conversions, but some families are not, and so people are refugees from their families, not the state
 
@curiousdannii I wouldn't use the word for those cases. And that's not what Sharpton was thinking about when he said it.
 
One gentleman I've spoken to was a minister of a previous political regime. A change in government brought a change in personal circumstances - dispossession, jail and upon release, threats to his own safety and that of his family. In some countries, the state does act like mafia thugs - people fleeing from this sort of thing are certainly genuine refugees.
 
@bruisedreed He was targeted for belonging to the wrong group. No such thing occurred with Jesus.
 
4:31 AM
@fredsbend but refugee is a broad term - you are being unnecessarily narrow in your definition
 
@fredsbend You may not, but it's very common for the word to be used that way today
 
@bruisedreed Not for the context of that question. Sharpton very often uses the Bible to support his political opinions. And he is very often very lacking in proper exegesis and analysis. He wants his Twitter followers to believe that Jesus and a Syrian refugees are near identical circumstances.
 
@fredsbend And I have no idea who Sharpton is, but that doesn't matter much as the question is only using him as an example of the claim. He may have some particularly political subsense of refugee in mind, but the question isn't asking about that.
 
@curiousdannii Sometimes it does matter who made the claim. If you're unfamiliar with Sharpton then my point falls on deaf ears.
 
@fredsbend They're definitely not in identical or near identical circumstances. But that doesn't mean that it's inappropriate to use the word refugees, or that reflection on the life of Jesus shouldn't help us to be empathetic to today's refugees
 
4:36 AM
@fredsbend we all try and use "facts" to bolster the arguments for our political opinions. Sometimes those "facts" are incorrect; sometimes the way they are used is illegitimate; but even in cases where the facts are correct, and they are used legitimately, it doesn't mean the opinion overall is correct - other factors may be at play. I think there is a bit of that going on here in this case.
 
@curiousdannii Using religion to promote political ideas is a rather unsavory business. Sharpton is a top-level manager.
 
@fredsbend The Skeptics.SE question isn't asking "Is it legitimate for Sharpton to compare Jesus to Syrian refugees?" but "Was Jesus a refugee?" If the first had been asked then your point would probably be valid.
 
@curiousdannii Sharpton is roughly equivalent to Nigel Mansell over here that helps
 
I don't know Nigel Mansell.
 
@bruisedreed Me neither :P
@bruisedreed The formula one driver?
 
4:41 AM
@curiousdannii Who's pedantic now?
 
err sorry, mental slip - Michael Mansell - a professional racial grievance-monger
 
"Professional racial grievance-monger". A nearly complete description of Sharpton.
 
their greatest resource is confected outrage
 
Is Mansell a reverend or some other religious Authority?
 
no he is Sharpton minus Christianity + added leftism
 
4:45 AM
@fredsbend I never denied being pedantic at times ;) I've always said that we have to deal with the questions that are actually asked, not the questions that lie behind them. And while you're probably right about identifying the issues behind Sharpton's tweet, I haven't seen any indication that the OP isn't after an answer to the literal question he asked
 
@bruisedreed more left than Sharpton?
 
@fredsbend I'm not an expert, but that's my impression
 
@curiousdannii On the Christianity site, I agree. On the skeptics site, I do not. Even though they roll that way over there, I'd like to see it changed.
I think Dave's answer is misleading, though factually correct.
 
@fredsbend The skeptics site is all about notable claims. The wording of the claims will always be immensely important. Even if those claims are misleadingly worded, answers have to deal with what is said rather than what is unsaid.
 
@curiousdannii Yes, I know. The site is a shadow of what skepticism is.
 
4:51 AM
@fredsbend Maybe it would be more accurate to name it Fact Checking
 
Bland fact-checking. That's all they really do. That's why Dave's answer has four up votes. All he did was Google search "Jesus refugee" and quoted a bunch of commentaries. But he didn't really answer the question.
 
@LeeWoofenden If Moses said God commanded to sacrifice, and Jeremiah said that God never commanded to sacrifice, then one of them is a liar or at the very least telling an untruth. According to your interpretation. I personally do not think either of them was lying, and I think both of them are completely accurate, not filtering God's word at all.
If anything in the Bible has been written in a filtered matter then it's completely untrustworthy, because any human filter is untrustworthy. If you think that God allowed humans to filter His revelation to them before writing it down then you may as well discard the entire Bible.
@LeeWoofenden This means that Moses didn't have any divine laws from God, therefore you think Moses was telling untruths or lies when he said that God commanded such.
 
@Birdie I don't know how you can't read some parts of the Bible and not say to yourself it's very clearly written by a primitive human mind.
 
@Birdie If anything in the Bible were not written in a filtered manner, we would be totally incapable of understanding it. God's mind is infinite. Our minds are finite, time-bound, space-bound, and culture bound. We could no more understand pure divine truth than an amoeba could understand nuclear physics.
 
@fredsbend You'd have to point to specific passages that you doubt the possibility of divine inspiration; for myself I can't think of any that I doubt.
@LeeWoofenden Filtered by whom though?
Presumably the prophets could also not handle pure divine truth, so God gave them some filtered truth and told them to write it down. You're suggesting they filtered it further.
 
4:56 AM
@LeeWoofenden What's the basis of such a statement? It sounds like you're saying God cannot be understood at all, even in part.
 
Or that God told Moses one thing and Jeremiah a contradictory thing.
 
That's why Isaiah said:
> Truly, you are a God who hides himself, O God of Israel, the Savior. (Isaiah 45:15)
 
@fredsbend He did, you just disagree with such a broad definition of "refugee"
 
@Birdie Many in the Old Testament. Strange ways of talking or recording the story. Pretty much all the Epistles; they're all just long notes from one specific party to another specific party.
 
The Hebrew word for "hide" means "to hide by covering." It could be translated as, "You are a God who veils himself."
That is how God speaks to us in the Bible, for the most part: in a "veiled over" way, accommodated to our finite, earthbound, culture-bound minds.
If it were not so, it would be beyond our comprehension.
 
4:59 AM
@curiousdannii He didn't even quote the relevant part of the Bible. That's because he knows sort of answer I gave doesn't fly on that site. It's all one big appeal to Authority.
 
@Birdie No. Moses was conveying the laws of God as he understood them. And he understood them according to his cultural context. God could not pour and fuse God's mind into Moses so that Moses could hear pure divine truth as it is in itself. Whatever God said, it was translated into human terms, and that means into the terms of the culture that formed the mind of Moses.
Moses was not lying. He was accurately conveying what God said to him as Moses understood it.
 
@LeeWoofenden Did Moses write down exactly the laws the way God gave them to him or not?
 
@LeeWoofenden God's revelation is definitely accommodated to human intellects and the capacities of language, but as the designer of human intellects and language he designed them such that they are in no way insufficiently capable of receiving and comprehending the revelations he would give
 
@curiousdannii he quoted a section that made it look like Herod was targeting infant boys for some strange reason. No, he was targeting Jesus with a very broad shotgun.
It's a misleading answer.
 
@Birdie Well, the question of whether it was actually Moses writing everything down is hotly debated. But if you want to take the traditional view that Moses wrote the five books of Moses, then Moses wrote down the laws of God that came to his ears. And for those laws to come to his ears they had to be adapted to his understanding and his culture. Otherwise they would have been incomprehensible to him and to all the Israelites.
Do you think that God was an Israelite?
 
5:02 AM
@LeeWoofenden Did Moses change anything that God gave him, or was it God that first adapted the laws before giving them to Moses?
 
That God just happened to give Moses a massive body of laws that pretty much conformed to what the Hebrew and surrounding cultures already did?
 
@LeeWoofenden Aren't we in gross need of an update then?
 
Most of what's in the OT goes back far before the time it was written down. The Ten Commandments may have a Hebrew flavor, but most of its laws were and are pretty much universal human laws, in existence long before the Ten Commandments were given, without with no human society could survive for long.
@fredsbend Yep. The NT updated the OT. And though it is not Scripture, Swedenborg's writings threw new light on the entirety of Scripture so that post-Enlightenment society would not have to reject the Bible, but could understand it at a deeper level.
 
@LeeWoofenden The selection of which common ANE laws to highlight in the ten commandments is as much an act of inspiration as anything else. I'm not aware of claims that any other nation had exactly the same set of ten laws.
(And in any case the ten commandments are, while significant to us, very downplayed within the scriptures themselves)
 
@curiousdannii The revelations God gives don't exist in a vacuum. They are for the purpose of reaching human beings where we are. Therefore the Word of God is a relationship between God and humanity, so that it has both a divine side and a human side. If it did not have both of these, it could not serve as revelation.
 
5:06 AM
@LeeWoofenden So God's getting lazy. Can't even take the time to put down a Third Testament.
 
@LeeWoofenden Did Moses change anything that God gave him, or was it God that first adapted the laws before giving them to Moses?
 
@fredsbend No Third Testament is needed. The two we already have is sufficient. However, there is a group of conservative Swedenborgians who think that Swedenborg's writings are the Third Testament, and they call them the Third Testament. I think they're quite wrong. But they're quite convinced of it.
 
@LeeWoofenden how many kinds of swedenborgs are there?
 
@curiousdannii As I said, the Ten Commandments have a Hebrew flavor. The commandment against making idols wouldn't fly very well in most of the surrounding cultures. However, pretty much every commandment on the second table is a common, widespread human law. Not lying, stealing, committing adultery, and so on. These existed long before the 10 Comm were given, and exist in every society in one form or another.
@fredsbend Way too many for our tiny numbers lol
@Birdie That's not how it works. God translates divine law into human cultural form as part of the process of revelation. It is an organic process, not something God does before or something Moses does after.
 
@LeeWoofenden How do you know this? My Bible says "And Moses wrote down all the words of the Lord."
 
5:10 AM
But all of this is why it's necessary to understand the cultural context of the various commandments and laws, not only in the OT, but also in the NT. Jesus, too, had to talk to the culture in which he lived. If he hadn't, not a single person would have understood him, and his entire ministry would have been for nothing.
 
So that means that God spoke specific exact words that Moses specifically exactly wrote down.
 
@Birdie And yet, Jesus says that at least one of the laws Moses gave was "because of the hardness of their hearts," and that "from the beginning it was not so." "From the beginning" is how God designed it. But "the hardness of our hearts" meant that God had to dumb down the divine law to our level. Hence the whole system of animal sacrifice, which the Prophets make clear was never God's desire or intention from the beginning. That's what Jeremiah was saying.
 
It also says God spoke to Moses face-to-face.
 
Amos says the same thing, in even stronger language.
@fredsbend Yes. And in the very same chapter, it says that no one can see God's face and live. Figure that one out!
 
It's your book.
 
5:12 AM
You said before that "Moses was conveying the laws of God as he understood them." But the Bible says Moses conveyed the laws as God SPOKE them.
 
There are just too many of these instances in which the Bible says one thing, and then says the opposite, for it to be credible that everything the Bible says is literally true and the precise statements of God without human filter or adaptation.
@Birdie As God spoke them to Moses. And that meant God had to speak in Moses' language. And language is integrally connected to culture. God had to not only express it in Moses' language (Hebrew), but also in the cultural mores and idioms of Moses' time and place.
 
@LeeWoofenden So it wasn't Moses that was modifying what God said to him then, but God?
 
If I speak to a French five-year-old who knows no English, I'm not only going to have to speak in French, but I'm also going to have to speak in simple French that a five-year-old child can understand, and I'm going to have to talk about things in ways that the child's experience prepares him or her to understand.
If I haul off and start talking about quantum mechanics in English, I will have conveyed absolutely no information to my audience.
 
Exactly...you're right!
 
@LeeWoofenden Right. So God told Moses to sacrifice, and Jeremiah denies that God told Moses to sacrifice.
 
5:16 AM
@Birdie God told Moses to honor him as God. In that culture--in all of the cultures of the Middle East of that time period, the way you did that was to offer sacrifices to your god. So when God said to Moses, "You must honor me as God," Moses heard, "You must offer sacrifices to me as God."
That's the sort of cultural translation that had to take place.
 
@LeeWoofenden ?????????? you're contradicting what you just said.
 
Jeremiah was speaking a deeper truth: that God never told Moses to sacrifice, but rather:
 
You said that God spoke the laws to Moses in Hebrew. Specific laws. That included "Do sacrifices". In Hebrew, to Moses, who then wrote them down, also in Hebrew.
 
> Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be my people; and walk only in the way that I command you, so that it may be well with you. (Jeremiah 7:23)
That's what God said to Moses. What Moses heard was, "Obey me, and offer sacrifices to me the way people always offer sacrifices to their gods."
 
The Bible doesn't say just "Moses had a feeling about God that God might want him to honour Him, so he made up some laws about sacrificing".
The Bible doesn't say that though.
 
5:19 AM
I don't believe primitive peoples were as stupid as you'd like to think they were. Just ignorant. God could have spent the time to educate Moses.
 
@Birdie Yes. Jeremiah says it. I've quoted it to you a number of times. You just don't want to accept that Jeremiah actually said what he said.
 
He could have educated everybody.
 
@fredsbend You can't change a whole culture overnight. If God had not allowed them to continue animal sacrifices, they would have been lost, and they would have rejected God. People don't change instantly, except in rare circumstances. Most of the time they change incrementally. And that goes for cultures, too.
 
@LeeWoofenden I don't disagree with Jeremiah, I think you misunderstand Jeremiah. It says in Exodus 24 " And Moses wrote down all the words of the Lord." But you are saying that Moses wrote down the words of the Lord which were only "You must honour me as God", and then Moses wrote down some of his own words.
 
@Birdie But Jeremiah specifically says that God did not give any commandments about sacrifices. That's what you're avoiding.
 
5:21 AM
@LeeWoofenden That's the stupidity I'm talking about. I don't buy it. I don't believe ancient peoples were that stupid. I don't believe the Bible describes a God so incapable either.
 
@LeeWoofenden I'm not avoiding it, I'm showing you that you have only one possible choice with the way you interpret Jeremiah. And that is that Moses wrote down his own laws that God didn't give him.
 
@fredsbend Yeah. Good luck with that. We've been trying for a couple hundred years now here in the U.S. and yet, the people still elected Trump. ;-)
 
@LeeWoofenden There's many reasons a person may have voted for Trump and only one of them is because they're stupid. I don't want to talk about politics but your comment shows you have a very dim view of everyone around you, including everyone before you.
2
 
@Birdie No. You haven't been listening. God gave Moses laws, but those laws got translated into Moses' culture and practices. God never said to Moses, "Offer me sacrifices." God said to Moses something along the lines of, "Honor and obey me," and Moses, due to his culture, heard, "All those sacrifices the other nations offer to their gods? You must offer them to me." There is no lying involved. There is cultural translation going on.
@fredsbend Shucks. I thought I could get away with the "basket of deplorables" . . . . lol
 
Alright so when it says " And Moses wrote down all the words of the Lord.", he didn't actually do that.
 
5:23 AM
@fredsbend And besides:
@fredsbend You're no fun!
What was that?
27 secs ago, by Lee Woofenden
@fredsbend You're no fun!
 
And the Lord said to Moses, “Thus you shall say to the people of Israel: ‘You have seen for yourselves that I have talked with you from heaven. 23 You shall not make gods of silver to be with me, nor shall you make for yourselves gods of gold. 24 An altar of earth you shall make for me and sacrifice on it your burnt offerings and your peace offerings, your sheep and your oxen.
 
You're not allowed to use my tricks.
 
So this here was all nonsense?
 
What was that?
19 secs ago, by fredsbend
You're not allowed to use my tricks.
 
Now you're doing it wrong too.
 
5:26 AM
@Birdie No. But I don't think I'm going to be able to explain it to you any more clearly. You see the Bible differently than I do. We're not going to agree on this.
I am? Let's try it again:
1 min ago, by fredsbend
You're not allowed to use my tricks.
Hmm. Seems to work okay . . .
 
@LeeWoofenden Alright, we don't have to continue. But your position on Jeremiah results in a pretty insane position on Exodus, seems highly inconsistent logically.
I'm off to eat dinner!
 
@Birdie If you're interested in a fuller version that is at least mildly entertaining: "How God Speaks in the Bible to Us Boneheads."
 
@LeeWoofenden Copy and paste a link? Novice level. Do it with flair and bite? Pro level. You have the technique, but do not understand the art.
 
@fredsbend Jealousy . . . the green-eyed monster!
 
@TRiG Is the Rembrandt.
I'm more Andy Warhol.
 
5:35 AM
And I'm . . . just doing what I do.
 

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