Further to our 2-part article, The Old Testament: For and Against — A debate between Christopher Jon Bjerknes and Lasha Darkmoon, here is a continuation of the debate by a few of our best commenters. These writers are almost unanimous in their condemnation of the Old Testament which they see as a bloodthirsty screed of writings in which a vengeful God, Yahweh or Jehovah, gives his chosen people, the Jews, carte blanche to lord it over the gentiles and take possession of their lands.
FELIX: Jews are dumb. They were given the psalms, most of which are mini-road maps to realizing the Divine. What do they do? They follow the evil writings of the Talmud. Their plan for world domination is coming apart at the seams. They may be able to fool the animal masses in the West, but living in Asia, I can tell you the general populace are waking up to evil shenanigans of the Jews and their proxy states.
FRANKLIN RYCKAERT: You write: “They were given the psalms, most of which are mini-road maps to realizing the Divine.” Are you sure? I remember, after having read all the psalms, how disgusted I was by the contents, the hatred and the revengefulness. As an example, here is the one but last psalm, psalm 149 :
1 Praise ye the LORD. Sing unto the LORD a new song, and his praise in the congregation of saints.
2 Let Israel rejoice in him that made him: let the children of Zion be joyful in their King.
3 Let them praise his name in the dance: let them sing praises unto him with the timbrel and harp.
4 For the LORD taketh pleasure in his people: he will beautify the meek with salvation.
5 Let the saints be joyful in glory: let them sing aloud upon their beds.
6 Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand;
7 To execute VENGEANCE upon the heathen, and punishments upon the people;
8 To bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron;
9 To execute upon them the judgment written: this honour have all his saints. Praise ye the LORD.
Roadmap to the Divine?
UNGENIUS: Franklin, I agree. How can a book, the Old Testament, full of death, destruction, selfishness, and devoid of love be a road to the Divine which contradicts what Jesus taught? Obviously, it can’t be as advertised, the Divine Word of God.
I view the Bible this way. The Old Testament is the “how not to do” book. The Gospels are the “how to do” book. Most of the rest of the New Testament is how to mix the Old Testament with the Gospels to form a confusing mess.
Once I started concentrating on the teachings of Jesus in the Gospels without consideration for the rest of the “Book,” real truth and solutions became much easier to see and understand. The more I ponder the Gospels, the more simple the message becomes.
FELIX: Franklin, I did use the words “most” in speaking of the psalms. May I suggest you read psalms 15, 19, 23, 24 and 91. There is nothing in those psalms inimicable to Christianity. In fact psalm 15 is very specific in adjuring one not to put one’s money out to usury nor to take reward against the innocent. Something the majority of Christians would be advised to follow. Psalm 91, if one adheres to its injunctions, one would indeed reach the divine. Please remember the words used by Satan when he tempted Jesus are from psalm 91. As you are familiar with it? I won’t insult your intelligence by a direct quote.
FRANKLIN RYCKAERT: Felix, Since I am an inveterate enemy of the Old Testament, I’ll give you a detailed answer.
This psalm does indeed make the impression of having real moral contents.
Verse 3 : “He that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbour, nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbour.”
Verse 5 : “He that putteth not out his money to usury, nor taketh reward against the innocent.”
But I have to remind you that in the O.T. with “neighbour” or “brother” only fellow-Israelites are meant. Deuteronomy 23 : 19-20 is unambiguous in this respect :
“…Thou shalt not lend upon usury TO THY BROTHER; usury of money, usury of victuals, usury of any thing that is lent upon usury. UNTO A STRANGER thou mayest lend upon usury; BUT NOT TO THY BROTHER thou shalt lend upon usury.”
A similar dual morality in slavery can be found in Leviticus 25 : 39-46. Judaism has a consistent DUAL MORALITY : do good to your fellow-Jews, but do bad to strangers. Roman historian Tacitus wrote this about the Jews :
“…and other reasons for their increasing wealth may be found in their stubborn loyalty and ready benevolence towards brother Jews. But the rest of the world they confront with the hatred reserved for enemies…”
Whenever you read moral exhortations in Jewish texts, remember those are meant only for fellow Jews. This is true for the O.T., the Talmud, Maimonides and all other writings of the rabbis.
This psalm has great literary merit. There is nothing immoral in it. However its implicit cosmology is the well known optic illusion of a flat earth, covered by “the heavens” in which of course “God” resides.
Again this psalm has great literary merit. There is little immoral in it, except for the passage : “… Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies…”, which suggests tribal favoritism.
This psalm has great literary merit. Its first verse is definitely beautiful :
“…The earth is the LORD’s, and the fulness thereof; the world and they that dwell therein.”
But when the next verse says : “…For he hath founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the floods…” we are reminded of the faulty Biblical cosmology : “…The universe of the ancient Israelites was made up of a flat disc-shaped earth floating on water, heaven above, underworld below…”
see Biblical Cosmology : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biblical_cosmology
Furthermore, the Sky-God of this faulty cosmology, is at the same time Israel’s war-God : “The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle.
This indicates the long development the Jewish God has made in the course of his history and the contradictions in maintaining his different forms at the same time.
This is a psalm describing the protection “the most High” gives to those who take refuge in him. Since this God is entirely illusory we are not very impressed. Besides, he is again described as a war-God favouring his chosen people and punishing its enemies : ” 7 A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.
8 Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked.”
Well, if this is the “best” the O.T. (or only the book of psalms) has to offer, it is not very much. A dual tribal morality and a faulty cosmology, with here and there some literary merit.
SPQR: Franklin, you write: “Judaism has a consistent DUAL MORALITY : do good to your fellow-Jews, but do bad to strangers.”
It’s only a dual morality if you assume all moral system are universal. I wouldn’t consider Judaism to be an actual religion. It’s more of a tribal doctrine on how to be successful parasites.
SEYMOUR ZAK: As a secular Jew and militant atheist, I have no wish to defend the Old Testament here. My words would be utterly wasted on the antisemitic rabble who throng this evil site and who hate the Old Testament for all the wrong reasons, i.e. they hate it only because it is a product of the Jewish mind. They hate it only because Jews wrote it. In other words, the identical text would have been regarded as a sacred work of consummate genius if it had been produced by gentiles! If White supremacists had been nominated as the Chosen people, no problem! They would have just loved it then!
With the single exception of Lasha Darkmoon who has written a long article in defense of the Old Testament (see here), no one on this site has had the sensitivity or the acumen to appreciate the sublime literary merits and moral profundity of the Old Testament.
The fact that Jesus Christ, whom many of you hold in high honor, constantly quoted from the Old Testament and even did so in his dying moments — Eli, eli, lama sabachthani—is conveniently forgotten by many of you purblind popinjays.
Let’s see what Lasha Darkmoon has to say about the Old Testament, even though this woman evokes in me (I confess) sentiments of the deepest revulsion and detestation:
Jesus quotes from the Old Testament constantly, including from the Psalms of David. His last words on the cross—Eli, eli, lama sabachthani? Lord, lord, why hast thou forsaken me?—is a quote from the Psalms of David.
Think, please think: would the last words of a dying man be a quote from a book he hated?
(Emphasis in the original)
Christianity is built on the foundation of the Judaism of the Old Testament, by which I mean the sum total of the collective wisdom of countless generations of Jewish thought. For who can deny that Solomon was wise or that King David and Isaiah and Job had delved into the heart of things and plumbed the depths of the human condition? Cut away this rich foundation of Jewish thought and the whole building that is Christianity collapses.
Judaism is the dark root, Christianity the flower.
Finally, I wish to state this: the Old Testament is NOT the Talmud in embryo. The Talmud is seen by many good Jews as a heretical text which stands the Old Testament on its head — a deviation, contradiction and rejection of the Old Testament.
FRANKLIN RYCKAERT: Of 3 of the 5 psalms I criticized I said that they have (great) literary merit. For the rest I criticized them because of their contents, and not because they have been written by a certain tribe I don’t like.
It is naive to believe that all 150 psalms have been composed by king David himself. At most some of them were produced by poets at his court. The rest is a compilation of later compositions.
King David himself was a scoundrel, like most O.T. figures.
For a treatment of this despicable character, go to : King David, The Criminal at :
— from which the following quotes :
“…Meditating on the life of David must give great help to each Christian reader in sustaining the faith. While David is spoken of by God as obeying all the statutes and keeping all the commandments, we are astonished to find that murder, theft, lying, adultery, rape, treason, and treachery are among the crimes which he can be charged with…”
“…David was a liar. David was merciless. David was a thief. David was a murderer of hundreds of people including women and children. David was a traitor. David was a polygamist. David was an adulterer with the wife of Uriah. David raped the wife of Nabal. David was a coward. David was wicked. Yet, notwithstanding all these things, David was a man after God’s own heart…”
Jesus grew up in a Jewish environment, without the benefit of an education in Greek culture, the highest culture at that time. Hence Jesus was handicapped by a limited cultural framework of reference. Jewish scripture and Jewish culture was all he had. We feel this drawback to this day. It would be better for us had he been born a Greek, but then he could not have fulfilled his mission to the Jews, which was to intill some real morals and real spirituality in this criminal and materialistic people.
Seymour Zak: Thank you for your kind speech and the many valid points you make. I have benefited much from this discussion.