Many people talk against the Old Testament.
Especially atheists believe that this book shows the inhumane face of Christianism and refer to the Old Testament with every opportunity to show that they are right in hating Christianism.
But things can be easily explained:
The Old Testament is an older book than the New Testament (surprise! surprise!) and thus requires a bigger effort to understand. Such an ancient text is full of symbolisms and the attempt of atheists to interpret everything in it literally can only be characterized as childish (or cunning).
The apostle Paul said it anyway: For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. (Το γράμμα αποκτείνει, το δεν πνεύμα ζωοποιεί) Try not to follow the letter of what you read, but the overall meaning, the “spirit” of the holy texts.
Take for example the case of Lot.
I had recently a discussion about this story with an aggressive atheist who read it literally and superficially and the only thing he saw was a heartless father. He accused Lot of offering his daughters. But Lot did not “offer” his daughters like one offers a cup of coffee. Lot sacrificed his daughters “who had not yet known man” instead of the two angels, thus showing that he had overcome his egoism. And remember that the two angels were on a God’s work there. The story is completed with the destruction of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. A destruction also seen by atheists as a proof of the “evil” God. But let us be serious: Who really believes that he can do anything he likes without consequences? And which father is the best father: The one who does not punish his children no matter what? Or the one who punishes his children when they do something bad but loves them anyway? After that Lot has sex with his daughters (who have the noble goal of preserving the human race – a meaningful reference to what sins people do for a possibly good cause?) while being drunk (a meaningful reference to what people do when not having conscious understanding of their sins?). Again various symbolisms and deeper meanings lie beneath the surface seen by the atheist.
[Relative sources: Common logic, here, here]
A lot of people also read the story of Job (Gr. Ιώβ) and wander how can God be so hard on him. But if what matters is the soul, if what matters is to understand that the things we cannot see are those which will save our soul, then Job should not protest at all. His kids died. So? We are all going to be resurrected. The body is not the thing we should try saving.
Ποῦ ἦς ἐν τῷ θεμελιοῦν με τὴν γῆν;
Πού ήσουν εσύ όταν έθετα τα θεμέλια της γης;
Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?
The God of Love is transformed to the God of Power and asks Job. The belief we have that our body is everything is based on our ignorance but on our arrogance as well that we understand the essence of our existence. Like spoiled children we like to see the surface and we cannot understand that our Father cares for us even when it looks that He does not.
Read something as serious as an ancient sacred text like you read your daily newspaper and misinterpretation will soon come into place.
Related links: See related discussion on Reasonable Faith here.
ADDITION: Check out the Greek version of the article “Παλαιά Διαθήκη: Όχι για τους λιπόψυχους! (Μια εύκολη ερμηνεία)” to see the analysis of two more aspects of the Bible which often draw a lot of criticism: The “An eye for an eye” related quotes and the quotes related to homosexuals.
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