Thursday, February 23, 2012


The Old Testament of the Christian Bible is the old law, the old vision and narrative of the relationship between human beings and God.

The New Testament is the new law, the new vision and narrative of the relationship between human beings and God. The New Testament is not the ADDITIONAL law, it is the NEW law. The NEW Testament is the manifesto of a revolution, (albeit one edited and repurposed for power politics by the Roman Empire).

In Christianity, the Old Testament is intended as a historical document, if not of actual events then at least of ideas. The Old Testament is NOT Christian law.

Evidently, there are many Christians that prefer, as Richard Dawkins describes the God of the Old Testament, "...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." Those Christians can accurately be called Old Testament Christians, and they miss the point of their religion.

The man we know of as Jesus devoted himself to demonstrating that the way to an enlightened world is not through compliance with a book of rules but through the dedicated practice of unconditional love. Even though Jesus' commandment can be seen as the Eleventh Commandment, it is actually an alternative approach where the individual is empowered to create a moral world, instead of "commanded" to fearfully follow rules.

Of course, God didn't change personalities and methods in the time between the Old and New Testaments. That should give Christians a glimpse of the limits of the Bible's authority.

For Christianity to survive and thrive, it will have to put the Old Testament in its proper place, and it will have to rescue Jesus and his enlightened, empowering message from the Roman "son of God" myth and its trappings.

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