Announcement

Collapse

Apologetics 301 Guidelines

If you think this is the area where you tell everyone you are sorry for eating their lunch out of the fridge, it probably isn't the place for you


This forum is open discussion between atheists and all theists to defend and debate their views on religion or non-religion. Please respect that this is a Christian-owned forum and refrain from gratuitous blasphemy. VERY wide leeway is given in range of expression and allowable behavior as compared to other areas of the forum, and moderation is not overly involved unless necessary. Please keep this in mind. Atheists who wish to interact with theists in a way that does not seek to undermine theistic faith may participate in the World Religions Department. Non-debate question and answers and mild and less confrontational discussions can take place in General Theistics.


Forum Rules: Here
See more
See less

Reflecting on Exodus

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Reflecting on Exodus

    The human devotion to gods without any reciprocation from the gods themselves means that it’s a powerful drive within human beings. Moreover, it means that the events of life (war outcomes, eclipses, rain, etc.) can be so easily interpreted as divine action.

    I find the devotion of the post-Exodus Hebrews to the calf, on the surface, bewildering following their experience, but only bewildering if they are largely supposed to be sane and rational people. That’s the required base of intelligence needed for this kind of selection, as sanity and rationality are must-haves when making decisions about spiritual matters.

    It would constitute insanity to go to the effort of smelting gold for an idol after witnessing great cinematic feats of divine intervention. Being citizens of the Bronze Age, they had a profound fear of death and had just been rescued by the only deity they ever experientially met.

    I wonder if the authors intended for us to consider the difficulty of God’s situation. Why would God expect a perfect rational response if the freshly rescued Hebrews are under the impression—and must be kept under the impression—that gods are real and there’s a competition among them?

  • #2
    I think they were making the calf as a representation of the LORD. They wanted something visible to worship. So they made an idol.



    Exodus 32

    32 When the people saw that Moses was so long in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said, “Come, make us gods[a] who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him.”

    2 Aaron answered them, “Take off the gold earrings that your wives, your sons and your daughters are wearing, and bring them to me.” 3 So all the people took off their earrings and brought them to Aaron. 4 He took what they handed him and made it into an idol cast in the shape of a calf, fashioning it with a tool. Then they said, “These are your gods,[b] Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.”

    5 When Aaron saw this, he built an altar in front of the calf and announced, “Tomorrow there will be a festival to the Lord.6 So the next day the people rose early and sacrificed burnt offerings and presented fellowship offerings. Afterward they sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in revelry.


    So they thought they were worshiping the Lord when they made burnt offerings to the calf.

    ETA: They really had no idea who God was at that point. They saw Moses do all these miracles and save them and he told them it was God, but since they could not see God, they decided to make something to represent the God or Gods that Moses talked to.
    Last edited by Sparko; 02-06-2024, 02:39 PM.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Sparko View Post
      I think they were making the calf as a representation of the LORD. They wanted something visible to worship. So they made an idol.



      Exodus 32

      32 When the people saw that Moses was so long in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said, “Come, make us gods[a] who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him.”

      2 Aaron answered them, “Take off the gold earrings that your wives, your sons and your daughters are wearing, and bring them to me.” 3 So all the people took off their earrings and brought them to Aaron. 4 He took what they handed him and made it into an idol cast in the shape of a calf, fashioning it with a tool. Then they said, “These are your gods,[b] Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.”

      5 When Aaron saw this, he built an altar in front of the calf and announced, “Tomorrow there will be a festival to the Lord.6 So the next day the people rose early and sacrificed burnt offerings and presented fellowship offerings. Afterward they sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in revelry.


      So they thought they were worshiping the Lord when they made burnt offerings to the calf.

      ETA: They really had no idea who God was at that point. They saw Moses do all these miracles and save them and he told them it was God, but since they could not see God, they decided to make something to represent the God or Gods that Moses talked to.
      No, that wouldn’t make sense, either, since that’d simply be their ignorance of how the divine operates and represents itself. If they come from cultures where this is the norm, this would be expected.

      Unless God’s lying, he wants to destroy them for this act. It could be a bluff to test Moses, but that doesn’t erase his real anger over the situation.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by whag View Post

        No, that wouldn’t make sense, either, since that’d simply be their ignorance of how the divine operates and represents itself. If they come from cultures where this is the norm, this would be expected.

        Unless God’s lying, he wants to destroy them for this act. It could be a bluff to test Moses, but that doesn’t erase his real anger over the situation.
        Not sure I get what you are saying above. Why wouldn't it make sense? I think by the time Moses came around, they had integrated into a society that basically worshiped idols of gods (Egypt). I think they might have sort of mixed up the God of Abraham with just another God at that point. So they wanted to build an idol to him so they could "talk" to and worship God directly instead of waiting on Moses.

        Of course all that is just my thinking, The bible really doesn't say much more than what I posted above.


        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Sparko View Post

          Not sure I get what you are saying above. Why wouldn't it make sense? I think by the time Moses came around, they had integrated into a society that basically worshiped idols of gods (Egypt). I think they might have sort of mixed up the God of Abraham with just another God at that point. So they wanted to build an idol to him so they could "talk" to and worship God directly instead of waiting on Moses.
          That’s my point. What they did anyone would expect them to do. Decades of suffering and indoctrination would result in confusion and fear, so God would not be threatening to destroy them but expecting exactly this kind of behavior.

          They literally just transferred their conception of deity onto the idol and gave thanks to it the only way they knew how.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by whag View Post

            That’s my point. What they did anyone would expect them to do. Decades of suffering and indoctrination would result in confusion and fear, so God would not be threatening to destroy them but expecting exactly this kind of behavior.

            They literally just transferred their conception of deity onto the idol and gave thanks to it the only way they knew how.
            Aaron knew better for one. He was Moses' 2nd in command and went along with them instead of talking them out of it. And I guess God figured they SHOULD have remembered him and his teachings from Abraham and it was their fault for forgetting and not passing the knowledge on. Remember God is chose the Hebrews as his people and wanted them to remain pure and separate from "the world" - and God is VERY against graven images/idols. One more point. They made him, their God, into a creature, a calf. That's pretty disrespectful for the creator of the universe.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Sparko View Post

              Aaron knew better for one. He was Moses' 2nd in command and went along with them instead of talking them out of it. And I guess God figured they SHOULD have remembered him and his teachings from Abraham and it was their fault for forgetting and not passing the knowledge on.
              They were slaves with no freedom. How do you imagine they’d successfully pass down that knowledge?

              Originally posted by Sparko View Post
              Remember God is chose the Hebrews as his people and wanted them to remain pure and separate from "the world" - and God is VERY against graven images/idols.
              By acknowledging their actual existence, God perpetuated the idea of a world run by deities. All deities were in graven form back then.

              Originally posted by Sparko View Post
              One more point. They made him, their God, into a creature, a calf. That's pretty disrespectful for the creator of the universe.
              Would any form have been less respectful? He appeared as a bush, too.

              The culture had no concept of a deity apart from physician representations. When Moses and the theophanies left, they naturally panicked.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by whag View Post

                They were slaves with no freedom. How do you imagine they’d successfully pass down that knowledge?
                Same way as everyone else did, stories, songs, prayers, etc. It appears that they were not separated but all lived together in one area. They remained a people, just an enslaved people.



                By acknowledging their actual existence, God perpetuated the idea of a world run by deities. All deities were in graven form back then.
                God's only acknowledgement was that they were all false Gods and he was the only actual God.



                Would any form have been less respectful? He appeared as a bush, too.
                Maybe they should have built a golden bush then


                The culture had no concept of a deity apart from physician representations. When Moses and the theophanies left, they naturally panicked.
                That sounds reasonable. But they should have retained their concept of who God was. IF that is what happened (that they forgot is just my idea, it doesn't really say that in the bible) then God must think it was their fault. And it wasn't the last time they started worshiping other gods and forgot YHWH. It seems to be a theme in the OT. They do OK, then they forget and sin, God sends them punishments and they return to him chastened. Rinse Repeat.


                Last edited by Sparko; 02-07-2024, 08:12 AM.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by whag View Post
                  The human devotion to gods without any reciprocation from the gods themselves means that it’s a powerful drive within human beings. Moreover, it means that the events of life (war outcomes, eclipses, rain, etc.) can be so easily interpreted as divine action.

                  I find the devotion of the post-Exodus Hebrews to the calf, on the surface, bewildering following their experience, but only bewildering if they are largely supposed to be sane and rational people. That’s the required base of intelligence needed for this kind of selection, as sanity and rationality are must-haves when making decisions about spiritual matters.

                  It would constitute insanity to go to the effort of smelting gold for an idol after witnessing great cinematic feats of divine intervention. Being citizens of the Bronze Age, they had a profound fear of death and had just been rescued by the only deity they ever experientially met.

                  I wonder if the authors intended for us to consider the difficulty of God’s situation. Why would God expect a perfect rational response if the freshly rescued Hebrews are under the impression—and must be kept under the impression—that gods are real and there’s a competition among them?
                  Maybe a hold over from the Canaanite religious practices of earlier generations. If, as seems likely from investigations into early Hebrew religious practices, El "the bull" was YHVH, it would be a likely course of action.

                  As you say
                  that’d simply be their ignorance of how the divine operates and represents itself. If they come from cultures where this is the norm, this would be expected.


                  It would seem that they indeed come from such a culture.
                  Last edited by tabibito; 02-07-2024, 10:15 AM.
                  1Cor 15:34 Come to your senses as you ought and stop sinning; for I say to your shame, there are some who know not God.
                  .
                  ⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛
                  Scripture before Tradition:
                  but that won't prevent others from
                  taking it upon themselves to deprive you
                  of the right to call yourself Christian.

                  ⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by tabibito View Post

                    Maybe a hold over from the Canaanite religious practices of earlier generations. If, as seems likely from investigations into early Hebrew religious practices, El "the bull" was YHVH, it would be a likely course of action.
                    Whether it’s the Egyptian bull deity or an earlier holdover, I don’t think it makes a difference, no? God reacts with anger and surprise at a people who behave exactly the way they’d been raised and taught to worship.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by whag View Post

                      Whether it’s the Egyptian bull deity or an earlier holdover, I don’t think it makes a difference, no? God reacts with anger and surprise at a people who behave exactly the way they’d been raised and taught to worship.
                      I think the anger and surprise were expressed by Moses, rather than by God. From memory, all the record shows as a response by God was that he said to Moses, "Go back. They've buggad it up."

                      I've got some checking to do.
                      1Cor 15:34 Come to your senses as you ought and stop sinning; for I say to your shame, there are some who know not God.
                      .
                      ⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛
                      Scripture before Tradition:
                      but that won't prevent others from
                      taking it upon themselves to deprive you
                      of the right to call yourself Christian.

                      ⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by tabibito View Post

                        I think the anger and surprise were expressed by Moses, rather than by God. From memory, all the record shows as a response by God was that he said to Moses, "Go back. They've buggad it up."

                        I've got some checking to do.
                        9 “I have seen these people,” the Lord said to Moses, “and they are a stiff-necked people. 10 Now leave me alone so that my anger may burn against them and that I may destroy them. Then I will make you into a great nation.”

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by whag View Post

                          9 “I have seen these people,” the Lord said to Moses, “and they are a stiff-necked people. 10 Now leave me alone so that my anger may burn against them and that I may destroy them. Then I will make you into a great nation.”
                          Exodus chapter 32. It is interesting, but not particularly illuminating right now.

                          However, have you not expressed in the past some difficulty with the idea that after all the miracles that the Israelites had witnessed, they still did not demonstrate any real commitment?
                          1Cor 15:34 Come to your senses as you ought and stop sinning; for I say to your shame, there are some who know not God.
                          .
                          ⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛
                          Scripture before Tradition:
                          but that won't prevent others from
                          taking it upon themselves to deprive you
                          of the right to call yourself Christian.

                          ⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by tabibito View Post

                            Exodus chapter 32. It is interesting, but not particularly illuminating right now.
                            It was to refute your statement “I think the anger and surprise were expressed by Moses, rather than by God.”

                            Is it interesting because you think God was bluffing (lying about his anger) to test Moses?

                            Originally posted by tabibito View Post
                            However, have you not expressed in the past some difficulty with the idea that after all the miracles that the Israelites had witnessed, they still did not demonstrate any real commitment?
                            Yes, I have. I think I know where you’re going with this but I need further clarification on why that’s significant.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by whag View Post

                              It was to refute your statement “I think the anger and surprise were expressed by Moses, rather than by God.”

                              Is it interesting because you think God was bluffing (lying about his anger) to test Moses?
                              Anger and disappointment, yes; surprise, not so much.
                              Bluffing, not so much; separating the dross from the silver, probably. Israel was God's chosen people, who among them were willing to be chosen?
                              This may not have been the first run in the refining process, and other runs were certainly made. The final run was, if it all, with the advent of the messiah.
                              That is as far as cogitation has taken me to date.

                              Yes, I have. I think I know where you’re going with this but I need further clarification on why that’s significant.
                              It is interesting that you found the lack of impact by miracles surprising - I do not. A person who witnesses or even performs miracles will, on the first few passes, spend a lot of time - weeks at least - trying to find ways to deny the reality of what he witnessed or did. I think it is fair to say that the person who has done no more than witness would find that task somewhat easier, and with more success in the effort, than would a person who has performed a miracle.
                              Add in what is termed "the slave mentality" - faced with the trials and uncertainties of freedom, it is not unknown for manumitted slaves to look back with longing at the time when they knew what the day would bring.
                              1Cor 15:34 Come to your senses as you ought and stop sinning; for I say to your shame, there are some who know not God.
                              .
                              ⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛
                              Scripture before Tradition:
                              but that won't prevent others from
                              taking it upon themselves to deprive you
                              of the right to call yourself Christian.

                              ⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛

                              Comment

                              Related Threads

                              Collapse

                              Topics Statistics Last Post
                              Started by shunyadragon, 02-15-2024, 12:52 PM
                              74 responses
                              309 views
                              0 likes
                              Last Post whag
                              by whag
                               
                              Started by whag, 02-06-2024, 01:46 PM
                              60 responses
                              322 views
                              0 likes
                              Last Post whag
                              by whag
                               
                              Started by Hypatia_Alexandria, 02-04-2024, 06:06 AM
                              144 responses
                              721 views
                              0 likes
                              Last Post tabibito  
                              Started by Hypatia_Alexandria, 02-03-2024, 09:07 AM
                              62 responses
                              318 views
                              0 likes
                              Last Post eider
                              by eider
                               
                              Started by whag, 01-26-2024, 01:08 PM
                              53 responses
                              311 views
                              0 likes
                              Last Post Hypatia_Alexandria  
                              Working...
                              X