Thursday, July 30, 2009

Violence in the Bible: How do we read it?

In my travels, especially in adult religious education, it does not take long before someone raises the issue of the blood, terror and war chapters in the Bible, particularly in the Old Testament or Hebrew Scriptures. Reading them can be quite painful, and at worst can justify violence in the name of God. 

There are those who suggest we should just skip straight to the New Testament, though it will not take long to find the warlike passages there as well.

So what do we do with all of this blood-and-guts?

Simon Barrow, writing for the British journal Ekklesia, has a good essay on this knotty topic. Here is the first paragraph and if you want to read more, look for the link below.
Enter any public debate about the pros and cons of religion today, and it will not be long before someone raises the thorny issue of ‘texts of terror’ in the Hebrew scriptures, the Qur’an, or even the Christian testament (think of the grimmer portions of the Book of Revelation).
To read the rest of his essay, click HERE.

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