Archive for the ‘RELIGION’ Category

BIBLICAL PATRIARCHS, JUDGES, KINGS, AND PROPHETS AS PARAGONS OF VIRTUE: ACTUALLY NOT

October 10, 2016

THE ROLE OF RELIGION IN THE CIVIL WAR

The Bible lies at the basis of  our moral code in much of the world.  The five books of the old testament: Genesis is, Hisotricla, Wisdom, Prpphtic and the gospels undlie not only our griolihns but much of the moral laws wer have.  .The tentacles of this document extgends throught the Christian, Muslim, and Jewish world.  And indeed even unto the the secular.

This narrative is fulled with characters. Approsxinaltely f5000  cThe one thins they one ting in common they all have moral defects.  In keeping with the basi of the judio christen tenert.

At the crux of theis narrative is the ,

The Judeo Christian tradition relies much on the Bible to define our moral code and moral precepts.    Jewish history lays the basis for Christian Theology and was used extensively by Christ, that history HERLADS..Christ’s entry into the sphere of humanity.    The whole basis for constitution after constitution is that the Decalogue and the patriarchs, prophets, even kings and of course Jesus of Nazareth provided our back bone for leadership.

God created very real characters in both the Old and New Testaments.  . Indeed these figures are now carefully crafted into our folklore.   In the Judeo- Christian Tradition Adam and  Eve committed the first sin—disobedience to God. The bible is totally believable because the characters are real. None are without sin, unlike the Christian saints, consequently much more interesting. Specially important is Jewish History.   Our icons.. are Yet this gift  which was given to us b God  does not show that Gods chosen were not morally perfect people, by making people Adam and Eve. The first sinners were held accountable for their sin of disobedience by God.. They disobeyed.     As a result men where born into original sin.  Tis all Changed with Christ. Satan was destroyed.

What are seome of these defects.  Deception, Domination, Cowardcie,Let us examine a few of them!

  • Adam   and Eve were God’s first creation fell prey to the designs of a woman ad committed the first sin.   Their sin was human weakness.  They submitted to teir dsires.   tony Open to sin. Maneuvered disobeyed God.  Lied.    Not a model of paragon.   Adam is weak. Eve is evil and drags adam.  Eve falls for the evil ways of the devil    Eve   Also tony a weakling  buffaloed by he devil    Satan  a  man   tempted   got in trouble with God.  This fearful allegory says that by defying God and   we sin.    Disobedience

 

  • Kane and Abel Kane killed Able.    Jealousy began aquickly after the fall of adam and eve.  Jealousy.  not being able  God showed us sin.   Jealousy, hatred, lack of faith I in God Abel   a showoff. He  was Gods Chosen  the other was not.  Should he be condemned?  Violence and murder.

 

  • Thisone is very important.  Tony  Noah,  got drunk.  CHOSEN.   Cursed  his son.  But was the only man god save.    Yet we learn a lesson here. With all his defects, Noah was the

 

  • Abraham and SarahAbraham    many sins   cowardice   presented wife as sister   sent slave woman into the desert  CHOSENSara was a mean spirited bitch. Passed herself off as a slut    Mean !  She threw out slave woman  with a bag lunch

 

 

  • Isaac and Rebecca

Rebecca  pulled wool over husbands eys   a terrible mother.

Isaac   lethargic

 

Esau

  •   Esau Sold his birthright for a bowl of bean soup sinful  Gave parents trouble.

Jacob

  • Stubborn a real bastard.
  • Feisty  lied  to father   lied to father in law   lied to brother   chosen by God  smart    wrestled with God outsmarted by father in law  a cousin of  his own mother.  CHOSEN
  • Rachel lied to father     goodwife  loved Jacob   dies in childbirth

Sosns of Jacob

  • Twelve Sons  All  a bunch of vipers. Here is what Jacob said about them

ssemble yourselves, and hear, you sons of Jacob. Listen to Israel, your father.

  • “Reuben, you are my firstborn, my might,
  • Joseph   very selfish dandy show off.
  • All participated in killings kidnapping and beating of brother.  How evil .  Defiled fathers concubine.   Particulary eveil.
  • Moses most important man in Jewish history.  He was a murderer. Also had a bad temper.      Both brother Aaron and Sister Miriam were Jealous of him   CHOSEN
  • Samuel complex      he was sa jealous sob   really wanted to be king .    lived a long time.  Treated Saul like excrement    said god spoke to him so he says  then pissed on Saul   diesw   but crowns a new king  quite two faced  CHOSEN S
  • Samson     for  women  his weakness
  • Judith   Chopped off head of Generals
  • saul  committed sucide.  HE WAS  JEALOUS,  He seemed to have common sense, but offended God    he was a manic depressive. Could not accept humiilit   Noremorse.   CHOSEN THEN REJECTED    CHOSEN
  • david So so many defects.   Promiscuous, Murderer, Adulterer,  but constantly in sorrow
  • Solomon faithless ,vain lavish lust  CHOSEN
  • All the kings  And they did great eveil in the eys of the Lord.   CHOSEN.
  • Elisha’ mirder lack of fatith and so
  • Jonaha real fluke did he even iexits
  • Isaiah  A whiner
  • Jeremiah  ok
  • All the kings rotten
  • Macabees  Bfrave but int time
  • Peter Diended jesus three times.  Mocked Jesus.
  • Lost his timepler
  • Paul   a sonofatbithc.
  • Thomas  a nonbelier
  • Judas
  • John  A DANDY
  • James  ANDADANY

 

 

Unlike Icons and Saints who are faultless, the ancient Jewish writers these pefopel was human’s warts and all. Whey these people are as they are The ancient Jewish writers did not present us with Iconic saints, but instead with human bring with all their faults

 

Significance. Quite so.  Reflect the sins of humanity.

 

  1. Adam and Eve .  We are taught from the very beginning htat man has sisnned.  Thus the parriarchsar follingin theat mold   Amdansinned,   eve sinned. They did wrong.  God told them so.  And that their
  2. Kane and Abel.    Kane killed Able.   Jealousy.  not being able  God showed us sin.   Jealousy, hatred, lack of faith I in God
  3. Noah  got drunk.  CHOSEN

Abraham    many sins   cowardice   presented wife as sister   sent slave woman into the desert  CHOSEN  dishonest t

Sara was a mean spirited bitch. Passed herself off as a slut    Mean !  She threw out slave woman  with a bag lunch

Rebecca  pulled wool over husbands eys   a terrible mother.

Isaac   lethargic

Jacob    Stubborn a real bastard.   Feisty  lied  to father   lied to father in law   lied to brother   chosen by God  smart    wrestled with God outsmarted by father in law  a cousin of  his own mother.  CHOSEN

Rachel lied to father     goodwife  loved Jacob   dies in childbirth

 

Esau Sold his birthright for a bowl of bean soup sinful  Gave parents trouble.

Twelve Sons  All  a bunch of vipers. Here is what Jacob said about them

 

ssemble yourselves, and hear, you sons of Jacob. Listen to Israel, your father.

“Reuben, you are my firstborn, my might,

 

Joseph   very selfish dandy show off.

All participated in killings kidnapping and beating of brother.  How evil .  Defiled fathers concubine.

most important man in Jewish history.  He was a murderer. Also had a bad temper.      Both brother Aaron and Sister Miriam were Jealous of him   CHOSEN

samuel complex      he was sa jealous sob   really wanted to be king .    lived a long time.  Treated Saul like excrement    said god spoke to him so he says  then pissed on Saul   diesw   but crowns a new king  quite two faced  CHOSEN S

Samson     for  women  his weakness

Judith   Chopped off head of Generals

saul  committed sucide.  HE WAS  JEALOUS,  He seemed to have common sense, but offended God    he was a manic depressive. Could not accept humiilit   Noremorse.   CHOSEN THEN REJECTED    CHOSEN

david So so many defects.   Promiscuous, Murderer, Adulterer,  but constantly in sorrow

Solomon faithless ,vain lavish lust  CHOSEN

All the kings  And they did great eveil in the eys of the Lord.   CHOSEN.

Elisha’ mirder lack of fatith and so

Jonah

Isaiah

Jeremiah

Jonah

All the kings

Macabees

 

Why is this important.  Becsause it shows God’s love for humainty

 

LEGACY OF ISRAEL’S FIRST THREE  KINGS

 

The names of Israel’s first three kings remain household words to this very day throughout the world. There is a reason for this-their legacy to three religions.  But they are also household words in the secular world.  This essay emans to show why.

 

 

 

 

 

Jewish Legacy Important. Three Religions.

David

 

We owe a lot to the first three kings of Israel.  Saul, Solomon, and David.

 

What>

 

They created the moderna stagte of Israel

They jpaved the way for the coming of chrsit

They left wonderful examples for uys

 

Basic outgline

 

Created State of Israel.  Same issue today as then

David left us  Soldier, Writer , Harpist  Rock Store

Writings

Example of his life

Military know how

 

 

 

 

David, Solomon, Saul. are among   thousands of ancient kings. But their legacy has been longstanding, exceeding those around them.   To this day they are household words in the domains of three religions:  Christianity,  Judaism,   and Islam.

 

Solomon the least of the theree. His main accomplishment tos that he ehped create and protdct the first Jewish Kindsom on earth.

 

Thencam david  unforgettable.  Great maonarch in world hisotyr.  Created a kingdom that surviesto this very day

 

Solomon.  Create the temple  Wisdom

 

 

These three kings set up the first Israel three thousand years l

Why.   For one,  David is at the masthead of three religions.

Second the wisdom of Solomon.

Third the State of Israel.. Forth, their storeys moe interesting than any greek tragedy   Their wisdom. Si, their building prorams, seven their place in Jewish history, nine their palce in Christian history.  Their pace in theogloy. What about them.  Theyu all had a rough time.The world has had millions of kings through the ages.  However, three that stand out are the three kings.    Their influence is felt to this very day. Jewish history is the back-bone of Christine theology.  Not only is it important to Jews but Christian and Muslims  .   Saul, David, Solomon are Israel’s first three kings.  The world has predicted millions of kings and monarchs.  Some small,  some big.   We have the powerful Roman emperors. Aga  Kahn, etc   but also pale in comparison with these three monarch..

 

Must of the legacy of those either kings is fairly temporarary. But these three Jewish Kings provided not only Israel but all of Israel with a golden age.

reigned who reigned for a total of 100 years have left an unparalleled legacy.   Legacies of Monarchs come and go. But these three have had an influence greater than any one else. Legacies of monarch come and go.  Few leave a really important imprint on humanity. Some in the region.  Charlemagne, Caesar.  But these kings differ.

 

  1. First, their legacy touches all Muslims, Christians, and Jews. That covers 2.5 billion people on the planet.
  2. Second, the Wisdom of Solomon, within Christianity Third,
  3. the psalms of David and Solomon to this day are uttered through the planet.
  4. Fourth, the legacy of the state of Israel. Isreael is still having a problem .
  5.  Their influence on mankind has been indeed been profound

 

The three men have much in common.

  • All three had a direct calling , had either direct

Revelation from a prophet or spoke to God  divine inspiration.

  • All were endowed with much intelligence. Looks et.
  • All three sinned, and had many fault.
  • All three God selected

In addition, their lives tell stories of conquests and tragedies. Superb novels. All  had divine calling.  Intelligence looks  All three sinned.  All had   problem with their children All three built Israel, and were all aware of their calling . Also, lessons in retributions by God.  All died unhappily.   All had a major impact

 

Why are we interested. Their roles in world history tell us much about governance.   God did not want a king but the people insisted on one even after being told that they would have to give up many rights, but the people seeing how their neighbors’ fought  and were     protected wanted a young king like they had. God really warned ed them all so badly, but the people persisted.  In the end  Samuel finally gave e up in desperation.  Firtst, their contributions to western civilization.  They helped to define the moral code.  They gave us wisdom, they gave us the psalms, Only a few years.

 

Finally God chose one.  But guess what?    He chooses Saul and ten realizes he made a big mistake.   Called in for a new one   Got David—who became his favorite.  And frorm his loins would come the savior of mankind

 

 

Why Chosen  All three men were remarkable, physically and intellectually.     God did not want to have his people ruled by kings.   Here is what he told Samuel  They were to govern themselves with God’s direction.  Israel was ruled by Judges including Samson, Othniel, Ehud,  Shagmar  Deborah Gideon Abimelech  Tola   Yair  Jepthah  Ibzan Elon  Abdon   Samson eli  Samuel.  The judges ruled well.   Specially Samuel. But the people still demand a king.  Why.  They observed their neighbors remember Israel was not a contiguous  nation   The people demanded a king.  Samuel he chief judge at the time. Both a seer and a prophet who spoke directly to GoD.  The Divien being definitely did not want  a king.  The people were to govern    themselves.  They claimed they could not.     Needed protection.  Here God gives  first important lesson. “Self governance. People did not want that.

 

 

 

Relationship to God

All thre kings had different relationship with. There storie are compelling.Saul Chosen by God   but a mistake .  To be sure, accorfding to old testaaent writers God absloutley did not want the Isrealeites to have a king  He warend them through his prophet sameul that

David chosen by God, behaved badly, but not a mistakeSolomon chosen by Bathsheba’s self, and she hounded her husband.   But Solomon fulfilled the divine mission of building the temple

 

David loved most by God.   But God did not speak directly to him.  Only spoke y flaws. through Samuel and Nathan. Solomon, chosen by God to build the temple.   Also favored by God for his humility.  But later abandoned God.  Kingdom divided in half at this death. Saul first chosen , then abandoned by God.  Remarkabale youth.  But lost favor.

David loved God the most.  Constantly praying for forgiveness.   Wrote beautiful poetry in tribute to God.

 

Defects and  strengths

Saul was  melancholy He had a jealous nature. He was also not too bright.    Jealousy Insecure, Vengeful, Impatient lacking in Wisdom, little faith  Hatred, lacking common sense, not politically astute David   Lust, ambition Willing to murder, stealth love of power, manipulative, lust, conniving,   Solomon   ostentatious   love of women arrogant   privileged

 

 

Strengths

Saul  fighter  resolute  Love of God  David, Faith, Humbled.  Love  Wise   political genius  Solomon   wise, resolute  gets job done  Davdid was a magnificent fella. Look at thim.     Great Poet, wrting all the spasm  Fifty of the m a third.  Yet only a mountain sheep boy.     Psalms all reflect his love of the language, ability to communicate with God his gret er poer.

 

 

LegaciesWisdom, faith  military forgiveness   But differed.   Solomon was not a god soldier.  Saul and davidv were.   dAvid one of the greatest military stragtsit of all time.

 

EnemiesSaul   Samuel, David  Jonathan, Michael, Abner, Sons of Saul, House of Jesse

David,    Saul   Michal Absalom, Job Nathaniel  Solomon 2 brothers, God Joab Rehoam  Abiathar

 

 

Killings

 

David   200 philistime, Absalm, Goliath Saul   PhilistinesSolomon  2  brothers  Joab

 

 

Friends

 

Solomon    Michael, Queen of Sheba   Bathsheba  other borthers David    Jonathan, wives  Nathaniel  Motehr  Saul   Abner /insSolomon   self indulgent   loat faith      haditnce

DavidSolomonhasdLegacyDavid   State of Israel, Jwish people psalms  relgionSolomon Wisdm S[asmasdd    Sons of songs  Aul The tragedy Jsus  qoted dAvid on CrossAccording to all their works, they have done from the day that I brought them out of Egypt until this day: as they have forsaken me, and served strange gods, so do they also unto you.    My People:   This will be the right of the king that shall reign over you: He will take your sons, and put them in his chariots, and will make them his horsemen, and his running footmen, to run before his chariots,  and he will appoint of them to be his tribunes, and his centurions, and to plough his fields, and to reap his corn, and to make him arms and chariots.   Your daughters also he will take to make him ointments, and to be his cooks, and bakers. Let me continue:  He will take your fields, and your vineyards, and your best olive yards, and give them to his servants. reover he will take the tenth of your corn, and of the revenues of your vineyards, to give to his eunuchs and servants.   Your servants also, and handmaids, and your goodliest young men, and your asses, he will take away, and put them to his work.  Your flocks also he will tithe, and you shall be his servants

w they died

  1. Saul died by suicide!
  2. David in his bed, but saw the shadow of tragedy.
  3. Solomon knowing that his kingdom would fall apart.

Some of their legacies

  1. the 150  psalms
  2. the State of Israel
  3. The Book of Wisdom
  4. The Song of Songs
  5. wisdom of all kinkds
  6. The Christian religion
  7. a jewish state
  8. the survival of the Jewish poepl
  9. jesus bragged about those

 

 

 

 

Cuts

Jesus referred to them often. . 13:28} There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and all the prophets, in the Kingdom of God, and yourselves being thrown outside. Yet e thery were not exzmplesofmorlperfection.

 

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THE ROLE OF RELIGION IN THE CIVIL WAR

October 9, 2016

Anthony E. Gallo

Speech given to the Civil War Discussion Group at the Cosmos Club in Washington on October   14, 2016

America has always been a religious nation.    Most of our colonies were founded for religious reasons, and our religious nature continues to this very day.   Our church attendance today is overwhelmingly the highest in the world.

And religion was at the heart of America during the Civil War.  Both Union and Confederacy.

 No American conflict has raised the specter of religion as has the Civil War. This   conflict saw the massacre of 700 thousand Americans and two grieving nations, North and South. Each searched for solace in religion; both claimed God was on their side.  The motto of the North was, “In God We Trust”; for the Confederacy, “God Will Determine the Victor.” Americans turned more and more to religion and even to the occult. Both the Union and the Confederacy upheld their Christian identities in the face of their adversary, and both sides believed that the Abrahamic God worked in their favor. Churches were filled.

 

Both Union and Confederacy invoked the Bible as the source of all truth. Northern and Southern soldiers had their Bibles. Abraham Lincoln himself read the Bible daily, and its cadences can be found in his three greatest speeches: The First and Second Inaugurals and the Gettysburg Address. Jefferson Davis also used the Bible as a tool of war. President Lincoln placed the Bible on the contraband list, believing that the spread of bibles would encourage the enemy. On the other hand, he was willing to overlook that most South- ern churches were also sedition centers. Ironically, the Bible strongly supports the institution of slavery beginning with Genesis and ding with St. Paul’s epistles.

 

This is a question I am often asked because I have written or in the process of writing four plays, Lincoln and God, The Springfield Boys, Robert, Shakespeare and Lincoln, and the musical, Lincoln and God.    In the process, I have spent 12 years researching Lincoln and the Lincoln family. I have    moved in with them. 

 

No, I am not a historian, but an economist of forty years before I became a playwright.   But any playwright who writes historical plays wants to be on the mark—getting it right.  And with Abraham Lincoln the onus of responsibility is even worse.  He is the most iconic figure in American history.   A hyperbolic statement.  But l let us take one measure.  The number of books written about him.  One estimate, 60 000, leading me to say that more books have been written about him than all other American Presidents combined

 

 This discussion is not about Abraham Lincoln per see, even though he began the war and ended the war.   But he is of course pivotal.   And any reading of the second Inaugural address will lead one to believe that yes the Civil War was a religious war.  Each war is a war of justice.  But this one was different.  I accept the basic premise that the war was totally rooted in one word   Slavery. All these other premises—state rights, economics war etc. a secondary cause Both sides fought to either destroy or uphold the institution of slavery which had been a part of the American civilization about 250      years.   

 

That this is a religious War is clear spelled out by Abraham Lincoln, Julia Ward How, Jefferson Davis among other said so.   When Lincoln was elected seven states left the union.    Why:  one-word slavery.

 

  A few things about Mr.  Lincoln.  He was the most religious president in American History.   Second no other President has had biblical knowledge as Lincoln.  Third, no president loved or had the knowledge of Shakespeare that Lincoln did, and fourth no president had had the love of theater as Mr. Lincoln.

 

   He left no doubt that his goal was to abolish slavery.  Yes, he did believe in the inequality of races, and spoke out of both sides of his mouth.   But in the end the abolition of the slavery was the cause of the Civil War. And here is the dichotomy.  The Bible and his beliefs.   As I said no President understood and read the Bible as much as Abraham Lincoln.   Some historians argue that this was only because he liked the cadence of the Kings James bible.  But no it was a moral guide too.  Much of the language he used in his speeches. Innumerable language in his speeches based on both old and new testaments

 

An important word Protestant, followed by       The inerrancy of the Bible.   The Bible lies at the center of our moral code, then and now.     Of the three major religious groups, Protestants most closely use the Bible as the core of moral authority. A significant portion believed in the inerrancy of the Bible.  

 

The significance e of Religion in the Civil War was displayed emphatically in Lincoln’s second inaugural address.  Second Inaugural Address with 703 words   Of those, 313 are about the role of religion.  Let us examine

 

Neither party expected for the war the magnitude or the duration which it has already attained.  (Neither North nor South expected to was to last that long)

Neither anticipated that the cause of the conflict might cease with or even before the conflict itself should cease.

Each looked for an easier triumph, and a result less fundamental and astounding.   Each side thought it was going to prevail.

 Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other.  (Both Religious)

It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God’s assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men’s faces, (South had the Chutzpah to ask God’s Help in preserving slavery)

but let us judge not, that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered.  (God could not answer both prayers

 That of neither has been answered fully.

 The Almighty has His own purposes. “Woe unto the world because of offenses; for it must needs be that offenses come, but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh. (Don’t second guess God)

” If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, (God once willed slavery)

He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to Him? Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away.

Yet, if God wills that it continues until all the wealth piled by the bondsman’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must

  be said “the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether

 

Also ascertaining the primacy of religion in the War was Jefferson Davis and Julia Ward Howe.   Jefferson said that the Bible approves of the institution of slavery and    he was right.     He also said that abolition interfered with his right of owning private property.  

 

 Slavery is rampant throughout the Bible in both the Old and New Testaments.  The Bible clearly approves of slavery in many passages, and it goes so far as to tell how to obtain slaves, how hard you can beat them, and when you can have sex with the female slaves. most abominable aspect of the slave trade, was fueled by the idea that Africans, even children, were better off Christianized under a system of European slavery than left in Africa amid tribal wars, famines and paganism

 There are 300 references to slavery in the Bible.   Not a single reference disapproves of the institution of slavery.   Jesus referred to Slavery 17 times.  In not a single instance did he disapprove.  Some examples No slave is greater than his master.   The owner who returns and find that slaves have not done   work and beats them., St. Paul has at least a dozen references to slavery, but one that stands out is his reference to the son of the slave woman Hagar but that followers of Jesus are born free.   Peter admonishes t slaves to bogey their masters, as does Paul in Titus.  

 

In conclusion several major points.  

  • Religion was fundamental to the belief of both sides during the Civil War
  • Both Sides believed that God was on their side
  • The Bible supported; the Southern position.
  • Abraham Lincoln and the abolitionist moved ahead to eradicate slavery, but this movement was based on what God had written on their hearts. Confirmed by Julia ward Howe in The Battle Hymn of the R:  As he died to Make Men Holy, Let Us Die to Make Men Free.
  • Lincolns second Inaugural address explicitly is devoted to the role of religion and the Civil War, and the immorality of slavery


 

 

 

 

 

 

BIBLICAL WOMEN

October 9, 2016

Notes

 

Three Strong and powerful Biblical Women

 

We read so much about Prophets and Kings.

 

Some theologians argue that the major women who surrounded King David were weak and hollow.  The overwhelming evidence is that these were at least as strong as the men, and considerably brighter.

 

King David, and the men and women who surrounded him had many flaws as well as strengths.   The characters however are all strong in terms of intelligence backbone stamina, and decision making.  In the end they all fall on the basis of decisions they had made.

 

 

The three leading women in the play- Tamar, Bathsheba and Michal –are especially intriguing people    In fact as they are strong as the strong will men who surround King David -Nathaniel , Joab, Princes Absalom and Amnon. All were crummy and had bad moral character.

 

Bathsheba:  Is one of the intriguing women in the Jewish history.    She was the favorite of King David who passionately fell in love with as she was bathing essentially on her porch.    Bathsheba was the wife of Uriah, David’s chief general when David laid eyes on her, and one of his innumerable flaws took control of him:  lust

 

Bathsheba has been defended as being forced to do whatever she did   that is she had no free will.  This is nonsense.   Both Tamar and Michel clashed head on with King David

Both Tamar and Michal paid heavily for standing up to King David and other powerful men about them.   Bathsheba relented thus breaking the marriage.     A pregnancy ensues and David must make certain that his is not branded the father to save her reputation (and his) and Uriah, knowing of his wifes infidelity and his kings betrayal.  .   Tgheerore David knows that he must have Uraih called and therefore send s hito balttle againt a foric and a battle that he can not win   Uriah dies in battle.    Nathaniel  thennn=Chife Minsiter then informs David that he has sinned andwil face God.’s punihsent  the chid dies butDavid-God’s chosen-os fprgove  .

 

The femisists argue tht BAthsba was lily innocent in this sham of an operation—sinsisnsin.  The femiists aruge that Bathsba had no say.  Thgis sis ridicuos because Bathseba could have taken the same rout as ichal-who after DAvids sinful and arrogant befhaveor –woul==mocked andwould not lie with him  Or MiTamar who once raped by her bfrother goes public andinso doing cfrates a Civl war that destroys a nation.     No Bathsba does not rist.  She apprar more than just a wiling partner.

 

Bathsheba submissiveness certainly does not show up in the rest of kings.   Her son Solomon was sixth inline for the throne.  King David was drying.  Bathsga alongwithherold archviral Nahtaniel  forced david to make Solomn theking.   That mantstalingthe throne  Bathsba was the shy submissive womenthefemisnsit have adeher out to be.    Fter Dvis death his other sons make overtures to Bathsba aware of her political powere anda=sagacity.     BAhtsbagetto seehersonSolomn croned andbegome a grat Kingwhol bilds thetemple, whoals wasdestoryed by his own exesses. Concerning her moral character.  The question is did she acquiesce   unwillingly.  I do not know.  The feminists do.  The arugment being that  she was forced into it andhad no choice.  Cleary she did have a choice. Andwnet against.  Second when the deicision to send Jericho into deadly battle sge gead ti  because  She would have had a child out of wedlock and therefore subject to death.   This episode ends quicly when although David is p9ihsed by god through the death of the babvid and dmmitted adusltery   She bore a child out of wedlock, and had to have been cmpict in the murder of her husband, Uriah   Sme arugue that she had no choice.    Well Michal and   tonyhad a choice.  Go along with her King husband or not.  She chose not to.  Bathsheba could havee likewise.

 

 

 

 Tamar:  Davids tragic daughter.    Tamar is a tragic woman   She is a the center of the Davidc drama. Again she is a mao0r driving force.  Without her, Israel liely would  not have had a civ war, that divided the House of David into two with fatriced and attempted patricide.      Tamar was the daughter of the Princess of    Jezreel andKingDavid   She thus came from a royal line on both side.s.    She was the ful sister of King Davis remarkable son Abasalom, and of course half siblingto the other of Kings Daivs  children incuding Amnon.   The simpoes story.   ‘amnons was infatuated with her.   A trait whch he got frm his father What is remarkable about Tamar.   She stood on principe.  She coud have taken the easy way out and ket sient.  She did not  By making the rpaer an ssue, she began the conflict that became a deadly civl war.   The tragedy had both brothers killed.   David lost both sons.   Ere we see that Tamar was a owman of principle and integrity   She was also a woman obbarvery willing to  protect her honor.    She was aware tht wath she was doing  fwould cause major turol  She was right. Here is the true feminists  Tanding up for her rights.  Cntast Tamar with Bathsheba.   No comparison  Tamar stood up for decency.  Thatshbeadid not.   Tamar was a woan of hnor.

 

 

 

 

Michal ;  Michal was davids first wife.    She got screwed the most.  First she saved her hubands life—the young King David—who obviously married her because she was hgte ings Daughter.  And hi8s second choice .As yung mawna she hid andprotectred david.

But after a while, here father took her ways fro Aivd;   After a year the increasingly bitter Saul, removes Micha from David   And gives her to another man     And by the way, David had gained Michal hand by killing 200 Philistines  and bringing their skulls to  Saul.

 

The other manis Palti.  She comes to leove him very much.   In the meanite Saul commits suicieide     David tirumps in the ensuing Civl War  andbecomes King of Isarel. He finds Michal now married to a man named Paltiwhom  loves.       However Kig David     wants to  to hold the kingdom together, he claims Michal as his wife. He takes her from Palti, crying.  Dancing naked in front of her home, she mocks him.   Accoridng to scrpute  she incurs Gosd’s rath and is never able to hagve children.  Asa aresult  the town houses of Benjamin and Judah—the best and the  righte of the jaoben offspring were never united.  Which lead  to a Civil war eventuay when Absalom rebvled against hs father with the support of the trie of rhw hoauw od kiah    Bu the revoutin failed and he was killed   She died childless.  The writer of Samuel 1  says tht God made her childess because she laughed at David for dancing naed in front of her apartment.

 

 

These womens morla code is no worse than the men. And they maketheir own decsison The ar the arirtaors of turning  They behaved with dingty and did not refrain from speaking up and speaking out

 

I am proud of these women .

WRITING LUTHER

October 9, 2016

Cosmowriters

Anthony E. Gallo

 

Writing Luther: A Two-Act Drama

By Anthony E Gallo

 

Genre:   Historic

 

Stage of Development:  Conceptualization and First Draft

 

Organization and Structure.

The Date is 1845, the year of Luther’s death.   Scenes are set up to vacillate between his happy home life with wife Katarina and dreams where he confronts and is confronted by all the adversaries in his life.

 

Premise:

Significance of Luther

One out of every ten Protestants today is a Lutheran, as is one of out of every 20 Christians    And the play asks if he had more in common with Osama Bin Laden than with Jesus of Nazareth. He faced corruption of the most powerful organization on earth.  Leo the Tenth, a Medici no less, had to raise funds to pay off his lavish ordination as pope.  The ceremony was the most lavish of all time.  The selling of indulgences to remove purgatory time.  Purgatory appears nowhere in Scripture and so the institution that created the concept was now selling indulgences to avoid suffering.   And it was working.

 

Ina addition he translated the Bible from Latin to German, and made this phenomenon on a worldwide trend where scripture was changed into the language of the common people rather than Latin

 

His changes were heard around the world.  And he bravely refused to give in, even though there was tremendous peril in his life.  Both the Papacy and European monarchs wanted him assassinated. When he died in 1846, his home was guarded by one hundred soldiers.

 

But his awesome bravery must be balanced against the totality of his life.   Basic research indicates beyond any reasonable doubt that he had far more in common with Osama Bin Laden than with Jesus of Nazareth.   The latter came with a message of love.  He left no doubt that the most important commandment was written:  Love ye one another.    Luther on the other hand was a brilliant theologian, philosopher, logician, and of the most educated men of is day.   But love is another story.   He in face called for annihilation of two groups:  Jews who did not convert and peasants who rebelled against their station in life.

 

Scenario: The time is 1546, and Luther is ill.  He falls into a deep; slumber after his wife Katarina goes into the village, and suddenly he has a dream and is besieged from all his enemies of old.  The famous former Augustinian friar is ill in his room.  Some say he is the most celebrated, admired, and brilliant theologians in the world.   He has triumphed over the powerful Vatican and the Papacy.  His 95 theses against the Roman church have inspired Christians throughout the world.  Here I stand echoes throughout the world.   His theological treatises have now become major areas of study, and he has already inspired millions of people throughout the world for both his bravery and brilliance. He will become the most famous and influential German theologian and pastor in human history.

But he must face his call for genocide against two significant groups of the German population:  Peasants and Jews.  In doing this, the same Christian leader who could discuss minute detail of Christian doctrine ignored the most important commandment:  Love your neighbor as yourself.  Martin Luther called for the slaughter of peasants who rebelled, and all Jews who did not convert to Christianity   Hundreds of thousands of peasants lost their lives during his lifetime.  And his sixty-five page on why and how to persecute Jews would lay the groundwork for mass genocide in future centuries.

His dream reeks with reality.  He faces off with the corrupt and perverted Pope Leo, and then a mystery man appears and harasses Luther on a statement made years ago:  I fear the Devil and sometimes can destroy him with a fart. and then has a contemptuous run-in with Henry VIII, Defender of the Faith.  And then who is this mysterious Manny who won’t leave him alone, and challenges the founder of Lutheranism. And a man named Peter and the Reverend Mueller seek answers from the most influential Protestant of all time.   Katerina, the nun he married a quarter of a century ago and shocked the world, consoles him.  And a whole host of other characters for Erasmus to Melanchthon also confront Luther.  Even St. James appears to question the first German translator of the Bible.

The drama is heavily sprinkled with selections from Luther’s sixty musical compositions.  And Felix Mendelson’s Reformation Symphony serves as the dramas basic theme music

 

CHARACTERS

  1. Marin Luther
  2. Katherina Luther
  3. Jon Eck
  4. Desiderius Erasmus
  5. Emanuel, A visitor
  6. Thomas Munschler
  7. Peter
  8. The Devil
  9. God
  10. Pope Leo X
  11. Henry the Eighth
  12. Paul
  13. Three Dead Peasants
  14. Three Jews
  15. Conrad, A servant
  16. Teitzel
  17. Johann von Staupitz  Melanchto

 

Goals

 

Play must capture the spirit of Luther, show his contributions to mankind, and yet examine him for his lasting contribution to mankind.   Yet Luther is an Icon.   Yet his deeds while showing bravery   also show him to be murderer.   people go to the theater to have a good time.  Therefore, there are several challenges to be reached:

  1. Be entertaining
  2. Show Martin Luther’s brilliance
  3. Show what his contributions to Christianity and Religion are
  4. Show his viciousness
  5. Show his conflict with the characters.

 

Sample Scenes:

 

 

ACT I

SCENE 1   WITTENBERG UNIVERSITY CONFESSIONAL

Martin Luther sits on one side of the confessional and Madeline, a parishioner sits on the other side.

LUTHER

And for your penance, you will recite five Our Fathers and five Hail Marys.

MADELINE

Thank you, Father.

LUTHER

Now go in peace.

MADELINE

Thank you, Father Luther.

LUTHER

Ah, I have one small question for you.

MADELINE

Yes, Father.

LUTHER

Yours is the first confession I have heard today.  And it is close to 5in the afternoon and confessions will be over for the day.   Last week I h only had two.  Can you tell me why? Have folks stopped sinning.

MADELINE

You know better than that Father.

LUTHER

Then why.

MADELINE

Most people do not feel that they have to go to confession anymore.   Except for the poor.

LUTHER

Oh.

MADELINE

Most people are buying Indulgences.  Especially   the St. Peters Indulgences. They are being sold at a discount this week.

LUTHER

How much of a discount?

MADELINE

Twenty-five percent.  You don’t know about it?

LUTHER

I do.  But prefer not to know about it.

MADELINE

My sister- in law who has more money than she knows what to do with had purchased so many indulgences that the joke in the family is that God at they will have to build a new tier in heaven.

LUTHER

I have a felling she is going to be surprised.

MADELINE

You don’t believe in them.

LUTHER

You cannot buy your way into heaven.   Read Holy Scripture.

MADELINE

I cannot read in Latin.

LUTHER

That will have to change too.

MADELINE

I cannot learn Latin.  I’m a farm woman.

LUTHER

No.  The Bible will have to be written German.

MADELINE

That would be nice.

 

SCENE  2   LUTHER HOME 1845

 

Martin Luther, 60, is seated at his desk writing   His wife Katherina enters.

KATHERINA

Sir Doctor?

LUTHER

What is it, my beloved Katherina.

KATHERINA

You are being so kind today.

LUTHER

Am I not always kind, my dear wife and mother of my children?

KATHERINA

Today especially.

LUTHER

Because I love you so much. The flowers?

KATHERINA

Yes.

LUTHER

But it is our 20th anniversary.

KATHERINA

You have a special visitor.

LUTHER

Who.

KATHERINA

Herr——

LUTHER

What!!

KATHERINA

I told him you were busy.

LUTHER

The audacity!!!

KATHERINA

You mean the hutzpah!

LUTHER

Of course.   Send him away.

KATHERINA

He may want to convert.

LUTHER

Ha!  You jest.  But miracles do happen.

KATHERINA

Don’t hold your breath.  My love Martin, let me send him away.  Your blood pressure is already high.

LUTHER

Send him away

KATHERINA

He insisted on seeing you

LUTHER

Tell him I do not want to see him

KATHERINA

Alright!

LUTHER

No stop.   Send him in.

KATHERINA

Make up your mind.

LUTHER

Send him in

KATHERINA

As my Master says.

LUTHER

He may have changed his mind.

KATHERINA

Don’t hold your breath.

LUTHER

Now don’t be too harsh, Katherina.  Miracles do happen. Let him in.

KATHERINA

Before I do My Master Luther. Have you forgotten what day this is

LUTHER

Wednesday

KATHERINA

Anything else?

LUTHER

My Birthday?

KATHERINA

Yes, and we will celebrate your 53 years

LUTHER

Not necessary.

KATHERINA

And what else?

LUTHER

I can’t recall.

KATHERINA

Our anniversary   we have been married 26 years

LUTHER

Women!

KATHERINA

What would you do without them

LUTHER

I have always respected women.

KATHERINA

Ha

LUTHER

Give me a few examples.

KATHERINA

Oh No.

LUTHER

I insist.

KATHERINA

Well you once said: The word and works of God is quite clear, that women were made either to be wives or prostitutes.

LUTHER

And you were the best of wives and will always be.

KATHERINA

Men have broad and large chests, and small narrow hips, and more understanding than women, who have but small and narrow breasts, and broad hips, to the end they should remain at home, sit still, keep house, and bear and bring up children.

LUTHER

That is exactly what you have done.

KATHERINA

And “Even though they grow weary and wear themselves out with child-bearing, it does not matter; let them go on bearing children till they die, that is what they are there for.”

LUTHER

Said in jest,

KATHERINA

God created Adam master and lord of living creatures, but Eve spoilt all, when she persuaded him to set himself above God’s will.

LUTHER

You taunt me today, my love,

LUTHER

Tis you women, with your tricks and artifices, that lead men into error

KATHERINA

And: “We may well lie with what seems to be a woman of flesh and blood, and yet all the time it is only a devil in the shape of a woman.”

LUTHER

No gown worse becomes a woman than the desire to be wise.

KATHERINA

Martin Luther!

LUTHER

Who loves not wine, women and song, Remains a fool his whole life long.

KATHERINA

Tell me!  Why do I love you!

LUTHER

Because I love you.

KATHERINA

And have always treated me with the greatest of respect.

LUTHER

I can love no woman but my Katerina!

KATHERINA

Now and forever.

LUTHER

And I thank God every day that I have you.

A WEEK LATER THE LUTHER DINING ROOM

Luther is eating a huge meal as his wife serves him

LUTHER

I will have more potato cakes

KATHERINA

The sick monster has full recovered

LUTHER

Not quite

KATHERINA

You are eating like a hog

LUTHER

I think I’ll sleep

KATHERINA

Let me bring you the potato cakes.

LUTHER

I love to eat.

KATHERINA

Now eating too much will not be good for your indigestion.

LUTHER

I will also have some wiener schnitzel, dumplings, and cobbler.

KATHERINA

You are growing enormous.

LUTHER

I know.

KATHERINA

And I love you all the more for it.   Dinner is at six.

LUTHER

Why so late.

KATHERINA

I must visit the sick Dickey family.

LUTHER

Ah you will have a special place in heaven.

KATHERINA

I will be back in an hour.   Ursula is downstairs if you need anything

.

She exits. Luther falls asleep.     And we hear angelic voices in the background.  Then we Rock of ages in the background.   Then thunder and lightning. Then a short middle aged man walks in and taps him on the shoulder.

LUTHER

(Waking up)

Who are you.

MANNY

Why do you want to know?

LUTHER

You’re an intruder.

MANNY

That’s right.

LUTHER

Leave.

MANNY

All right.

He turns to leave.

LUTHER

Come back.

MANNY

Make up your mind.

LUTHER

You have the same face as that guy who was here last week.

LUTHER

I shall have you evicted from this room

MANNY

Fine.

LUTHER

Wait Are you not that same man who slipped in here last week.

MANNY

Maybe.

LUTHER

Get out!

MANNY

No.

LUTHER

You….

MANNY

Don’t say it.

LUTHER

I am a sick man. Leave me alone.

MANNY

All right   I’ll get out.

LUTHER

Come back.

MANNY

Make up your mind!

LUTHER

Come closer.

MANNY

Here, I am.

LUTHER

Have you come to lecture me on the squalid Jews?

MANNY

No I have not.

LUTHER

I will have you know that I love the Jews

MANNY

Why have you asked for their slaughter?

LUTHER

I love the Jews.

MANNY

Your treatise.  Sixty-four pages of the worst invective I have ever seen.

LUTHER

All to defend Gods kingdom

MANNY

Ha!

LUTHER

Do no mock me.

MANNY

HAVE IT YOUR WAY.

LUTHER

Now leave

MANNY

No

LUTHER

I said get out

MANNY

No

LUTHER

Jewish scoundrel.

MANNY

Jewish maybe.  Scoundrel. No

LUTHER

Why do you want to stay?

MANNY

I have no alternative

LUTHER

Why not?

MANNY

Ask no questions and you’ll get no lies

LUTHER

Do I hear noise outside?

MANNY

Answer your own questions

We hear the voices of five men and one woman

LUTHER

Who is it.

MANNY

I do not know.

LUTHER

Surely you do.

MANNY

Why should I.  Shall I admit them.

LUTHER

Please do.

Manny exits and enters with Jonathan Eck.

MANNY

Here is your first guest.

LUTHER

Am I seeing right.

MANNY

Yes.

LUTHER

The Bastard.

ECK

Martin Luther.  Martin  Luther!

LUTHER

We meet again.

ECK

Even in a dream

LUTHER

A nightmare.

ECK

Take your choice

LUTHER

Surely you are burning in hell.

ECK

I’m not even dead yet.

LUTHER

I am sure you are.

ECK

Oh Lustful man

LUTHER

Evil man that you are!

ECK

Once we were friends.

LUTHER

God’ light revealed who are.

ECK

I will die for God.

LUTHER

We will all die.

ECK

And you will burn in hell.

LUTHER

Come closer

ECK

Why?

LUTHER

I am going to kill you

ECK

You cannot.

LUTHER

Why am I so helpless?

ECK

Here we are all helpless.

LUTHER

Why?

ECK

We are in a dream?

LUTHER

Who knows.

ECK

Later

Eck (exits).

LUTHER

That Bastard.

MANNY

I have another visitor for you.,.

LUTHER

Who

MANNY

A king?

LUTHER

I am honored!

MANNY

You might also be upset.

LUTHER

I am a genteel man.

MANNY

Yes, Father.

LUTHER

Who is he

MANNY

Henry Plantagenet

LUTHER

What!

MANNY

Yes

LUTHER

That pig.

 

SCENE    LUTHER AND HENRY

We see Luther at his desk.  Suddenly a large man in a kingly outfit appears.

LUTHER

Well!   look who’s here

HENRY

Venomous serpent!

LUTHER

Looks like a fat version of the English Monarch

HENRY

I am here and pound of each pound, oh execrable mind.

LUTHER

I feel so honored by this powerful and murderous king.

HENRY

Evil minded man.

LUTHER

Did you not come to me as you proceeded to behead your first wife? Now you attack me again.

HENRY

You are a peasant.

LUTHER

And I have read Assertion

HENRY

And?

LUTHER

I do not believe you are the author of the work

HENRY

What!

LUTHER

Written by one of your hacks.

HENRY

No it was written by me

LUTHER

Thank you

HENRY

For what

LUTHER

These is something wonderful in a King of England having written against me.

HENRY

Do not it make you boast

LUTHER

May I make a comment about you?

HENRY

Please do Friar Luther

LUTHER

You are a shithead.

HENRY

Were this not a dream I would have you slain

LUTHER

Without justification

HENRY

Why!

LUTHER

If a King of England can spit forth his lying insults in my face, I have the right in self-defense to thrust them down his throat.

HENRY

I will not indulge in a pissing contest with a simple friar.  I am insulted in much about what you say, and especially your attack on Thomas Aquinas.

LUTHER

Wait a minute!    Did you not come to me when you were breaking with Rome, oh Defender of the Faith?

HENRY

Time is warped here.   Who are you to challenge the majestic tribunal of the Saints, the Fathers, and the Popes.

LUTHER

Ha!

HENRY

What can you expect that anybody should believe that nations acknowledge the superiority of a strange priest to whom they owe no allegiance?

LUTHER

Why have I succeeded so well?  I already have a million followers

HENRY

The work of the Devil.   Alas, the greediest wolf of hell has surprised you, devoured and swallowed you down into the lowest part of his belly where he lies half alive and half dead.

LUTHER

Are you not being carried away

HENRY

Oh unhappy man!  Do you not understand how far superior obedience is to sacrifice your will to men of God?

LUTHER

Perverted Leo

HENRY

You blaspheme

LUTHER

Oh defender of the faith. Have you not been excommunicated?

HENRY

In this dream we are all confused.

LUTHER

I understand that the pervert compared you to King Solomon.  Who had seven thousand wives and beheaded none of them.  You’ve had eight and beheaded half of them

HENRY

At last I meet the German monk.

LUTHER

I heard you were plump. I did not know you were obese.

HENRY

Oh Peasant Luther.   You are in the presence of a king.

LUTHER

Here we have no royalty. You look like a bear with a crown.

HENRY

Disrespectful.

LUTHER

If a king of England spits forth his insults in my path, I have the right in self-defense to thrust them down his throat.

HENRY

I say.  You are   an evil man.

LUTHER

So wonderful to have a king of England writing against me.

HENRY

You are loathsome.

LUTHER

You are a secondary monarch with no power to threaten me.

LUTHER

You have soiled a lot of clean paper.

HENRY

You skunk.

LUTHER

You have taught me to have even greater contempt for the high and the mighty.  You Are the worst scoundrels on earth.

HENRY

Be gone!  Oh Devil’s advocate

LUTHER

Who do I see in the background?

HENRY

I must go.

Thomas enters.

LUTHER

Who are you.

THOMAS MORE

Thomas More.

LUTHER

Ha!

THOMAS MORE

You laugh.

LUTHER

The man who hung you was just here.

THOMAS MORE

I am here to see you

LUTHER

I thank you

THOMAS MORE

For what?

LUTHER

For elevating me as did your king

THOMAS MORE

How?

LUTHER

Three hundred page called Responsio ad Lutherum

THOMAS MORE

Ah yes.  I did not attack you sufficiently

LUTHER

You called me a pig, a liar, an ape, a drunkard a buffoon, and a lousy little friar.

THOMAS MORE

And worse than that, you Your writings come from snippets you have gleaned in brothels, barns shops, taverns, whores.

LUTHER

I don’t visit brothels but I love taverns.

THOMAS MORE

So long as your reverend paternity is determined to tell these shameless lies, others should be permitted to throw back to your paternity’s shitty mouth, truly the shit-pool of all shit, all the   shit which your damnable rottenness has vomited up.

LUTHER

You miserable man.  No wonder poor Henry had you beheaded.  Now rot in hell.

THOMAS MORE

And you still believe in that nonsense about celibacy and marriage.  Attaching the sacred sacrament of marriage.

LUTHER

I love marriage.  There is no other route.  That is why I am married.

THOMAS MORE

You state that you do not believe in the sacrament that of marriage

LUTHER

That is right.  I believe in marriage and it is not a sacrament.

THOMAS MORE

Nonsense

LUTHER

Celibacy is not commanded in the Bible nor their marriage forbidden.  Indeed, the contrary is true.  Prohibition of priestly marriage is a sin. What idiocy!   The only reason your wanted marriage is to fulfill your lusts

LUTHER

That is right.  I say kiss and re-kiss your wife. Celibacy in which one is prey to devouring fires and to unclean ideas.   That unhappy   stage of a single person, male or female, reveals to me each hour of the day so many horrors,

THOMAS MORE

You blaspheme the writings of Augustine, Clement and all the great theologians of the church

LUTHER

But not Jesus of Nazareth.   A married life is a gift from God.    Female   companionship is an excellent antidote to a man’s melancholy.

THOMAS MORE

And you don’t consider marriage a sacrament.

LUTHER

A sacrament is a mystery, a secret rite and a visible sign of spiritual grace. Marriage is none of those

THOMAS MORE

Be damned Martin Luther

.

SCENE   DREAM 4

Luther enters the room and a tall wiry man is seated at his desk.

LUTHER

Am I intruding.?

MYSTERY MAN

No, of course not.

LUTHER

You are seated in my chair.

MYSTERY MAN

I know that,

LUTHER

Can you have the decency to get up!

MYSTERY MAN

No.

LUTHER

What!

MYSTERY MAN

I am here.

LUTHER

I know that.

MYSTERY MAN

You have a sharp tongue

LUTHER

Look who’s calling the kettle black.

MYSTERY MAN

What can I do for you?

LUTHER

Go away.

MYSTERY MAN

No.

LUTHER

Go away!

MYSTERY MAN

Ha.

LUTHER

You heard my orders.

MYSTERY MAN

First I am not going to go away.  Second you can’t excommunicate me from your dreams.

LUTHER

Then who are you?

MYSTERY MAN

I’ll give you one hint.

LUTHER

Yes.

MYSTERY MAN

On second thought I better not.

LUTHER

Why?

MYSTERY MAN

It might frighten you.

LUTHER

Tell me.

MYSTERY MAN

O.K. Then.

LUTHER

Go ahead.

MYSTERY MAN

You once said you could kill me with a fart.

LUTHER

Get out!

MYSTERY MAN

You have no power over me

LUTHER

The Devil Himself.

MYSTERY MAN

Yes.  And I’m here to keep you company.

LUTHER

Get out of my sight.   You scoundrel.

MYSTERY MAN

Have you ever thought of farting to get rid of me?

LUTHER

Stop!

MYSTERY MAN

Kill me with a fart as you said!

LUTHER

I have in the past

MYSTERY MAN

At least, so you thought!

LUTHER

Just leave me alone.

MYSTERY MAN

No.

LUTHER

You torture me!

MYSTERY MAN

Only because you think of it that way.

LUTHER

Go away

MYSTERY MAN

Ok.  For a while.

LUTHER

I mean permanently.

MYSTERY MAN

Perhaps.  We agree on one thing.

LUTHER

What is that?

MYSTERY MAN

Martin Luther eats like a hog.

LUTHER

That is right.

MYSTERY MAN

And he farts like a hog too.

LUTHER

Go away!

MYSTERY MAN

Bye1

LUTHER

And do you have a name, Mystery Man.  Surely it must be Lucifer.

MYSTERY MAN

I don’t know which one of those lovey- dovey blubberers gave me that name.

LUTHER

What would you suggest?

MYSTERY MAN

O just call me Devon.

LUTHER

Be gone, Devon.

SCENE   DREAM 5

Peter, a tall man, faces Luther

PETER

Reverend Luther.

LUTHER

Yes

PETER

I pay my respects to you.

LUTHER

Do I know who you are?

PETER

No reason why you should.  But you presided over my death.

LUTHER

You have sinned.

PETER

How sir

LUTHER

You have rebelled against the civil authority.   You have tried to break down God’s order.

PETER

I only wanted to hunt and fish

LUTHER

You must be punished,

PETER

Why?

LUTHER

You have broken the law

PETER

How?

LUTHER

they had violated their oaths of loyalty to their rulers and were therefore subject to temporal punishment;

PETER

That is untrue

LUTHER

You had robbed, plundered, and murdered, and were subject to death in body and soul;

PETER

We want our rights.

LUTHER

they had committed their crimes under the cover of Christ’s name, thereby shamefully blaspheming God.

PETER

You will burn in hell.

LUTHER

You were e like a mad dog which had to be destroyed.

PETER

Have pity

LUTHER

The government has the God-given office to subdue the rebels with force, the only language they understood.

PETER

Please Sir.

LUTHER

Who­ever lost his life in suppressing this rebellion, Luther argues, is a martyr to the gospel.

PETER

May you rot.

Thomas Munscher enters

THOMAS MUNSCHER

Martin Luther!

LUTHER

Thomas Munscher!

THOMAS MUNSCHER

Martin Luther!  You killed me.

LUTHER

Not directly.   But I supported the leaders you tried to overthrow

THOMAS MUNSCHER

And you will have the blood of two hundred of God’s peasants on your hands.

LUTHER

So be it.

 

DREAM: AN HOUR LATER LUTHERS BEDROOM

Luther stands   We hear music.  Then we hear a mass and Leo the Tenth enters

LUTHER

Who is playing that diabolic music

LEO

Diabolic?

LUTHER

Who are you?

LEO

Surely, you recognize me

LUTHER

Ah come closer.

LEO

Here I am

LUTHER

The Devil himself.

LEO

No Christ’s representative on earth.

LUTHER

Ha

LEO

You will burn in hell.

LUTHER

You are the Anti-Christ.

LEO

How dare you.

LUTHER

You are the extravagant son of a notorious Renaissance family, Giovanni de’ Medici was made a cardinal at the age of 13 and became Pope Leo X at 38.

LEO

By God’s choosing!

LUTHER

You have been described as “a polished Renaissance prince,” and “a devious and double-tongued politician.”

LEO

I have always been attacked by the enemies of the church

LUTHER Pleasure-loving and easy-going, you went on a wild spending spree as soon as you ascended the papal throne.

LEO

Done for the people.

LUTHER

Expenses for your coronation festivities alone cost 100,000 ducats-one seventh of the reserve Your plans for rebuilding St. Peter’s Basilica were estimated to cost over a million ducats. Within two years as pope, you   squandered the fortune left by your equally corrupt predecessor a

LEO

Untrue

LUTHER

To keep up with your expenditures, his officials created more than two thousand saleable church offices during his reign. The estimated total profits from such offices have been estimated at three million ducats-but still they were not enough for Leo.

LEO

So false

LUTHER

The sale of indulgences provided you with yet another source of income. To pay for St. Peter’s, offset the costs of a war, and enable a young noble to pay for three offices to which you appointed him, the pope issued an indulgence for special sale in Germany.

LEO

I did what was right

LUTHER

May God have pity on your wretched soul.

 

 

 

DOES GOD’S WILL CHANGE?

May 26, 2016

IN GOD’S WILL WE TRUST, BUT DOES GOD’S WILL CHANGE?

By

Anthony E. Gallo

 

Dare we ask?   Should we ask?   Or has God’s mind already changed and we missed out?

 

Here we might tread lightly.  We remember the Biblical warning that God’s ways are not our ways and our ways are not God’s Ways.   We acknowledge the Jewish adage that our arms are too short to box with God.  And we all know the story of the Tower of Babel when men got too smart for its britches and its tower came falling down.

 

However, is it time to assess within the Jewish-Christian dialogue?  All religions, even atheism and agnosticism, want to do the right thing, to foster morality and social responsibility.   While persons of faith want to do the right thing pursuing the will of God, atheists and agnostics simply want to do the right thing.

 

Western civilization’s cultural, political, and aesthetic foundations are grounded to a great extent in the ancient Greek and Roman cultures, the product of the Golden Age of Jewish, Christian and Muslim dialogue in Spain, the Renaissance and the Enlightenment.  Our religious and ethical mores however are more clearly descended from the Hebrew Scriptures, which represent over a millennium of the experience and divinely inspired reflection of God’s People,  the Jews.  Jesus’ teaching, epitomized in the New Testament in the Sermon on the Mount, distills this ancient Jewish, biblical wisdom, and closely parallels the moral vision not only of the Hebrew prophets but of Jewish rabbinic tradition which reflected on the Scriptures and how to apply them in ever-changing times, much in the way the Fathers of the Church developed the biblical tradition which they held sacred.

 

American tradition holds to the separation of Church and State and allows for the free exchange of all views, religious and philosophical, in a pluralistic society.  Some would call this a secular state, but the reality is more nuanced. The Bible, variously interpreted, is very much the underlying document upon which our moral code is based.  It continues to be a major source of light on our understanding of justice and righteousness.   Our Founding Fathers, while reflecting the Enlightenment, were deeply entrenched in the moral values of Judaism and Christianity.  tony

 

Our Declaration of Independence acknowledges faith in a Supreme God who created humankind.  Those who signed it believed that they were following the laws of God, the providence of God, and the judgment of God even though, again, they acknowledged their own diversity of interpretation.  It was this resolution,  the  celebration of diversity within an overall union of national purpose, that set the American experiment apart from all societies in human history which had preceded it.  The French revolution, which did not begin until 1789, the year our Constitution was ratified by the former American colonies, sought to embody the same principle of unity within diversity, though its road to eventual success proved to be more difficult and fraught with internal violence  and discord before it achieved that goal.

 

While God is not mentioned in the US, Constitution, God is mentioned today in the constitutions of nearly all of our fifty states, and all territories mention God, sometimes as often at ten times.  Every American President has taken his oath of office on at least one Bible, and President Obama took his oath of office on two Bibles, one belonging to Martin Luther King, Jr., and the other to Abraham Lincoln, arguably the most biblically literate President in US History.   Although Lincoln joined no Church, he mentioned God at least three thousand times by one count in his speeches, and made no secret of the fact that the Bible (along with the works of William Shakespeare) was his favorite book.  One cannot read his Second Inaugural Address, probably the most significant in American history, without understanding its biblical references, allusions with which his original audience was well aware, since they were in the main steeped in the Scriptures themselves.

 

It cannot be denied therefore that the Bible is the foundation of the understanding of truth and justice in Western civilization in general and in the United States in particular.  But we also know that this document has been used though the ages as a basis for justifying a wide variety of points of view. We have relied on those who speak with authority, knowledge about how to interpret biblical passages which sometimes they had, and sometimes they merely asserted they had.  Many of the issues that divide society throughout the world are often defended on the basis of the Bible. These include stances on gay/lesbian marriage, polygamy, divorce, ordination of women, abortion, capitol punishment and numerous others.

 

There are, as commonly understood, two main views of God’s will.  One is that God’s will is unbending and unchanging.  Another is that God’s will changes over time.  How do we reconcile those passages which state that God does not change, with others that seem to suggest that God’s will alters over time?   

 

Jewish- Christian Theology is largely based on God speaking to the human race through Scripture–the Bible, the human heart, prophets and religious leaders.  In Genesis, God changes his mind about destroying the human race in the flood, promising, and creating the rainbow as a sign of the divine promise, never to do so again.  God reconciles Himself to human evil and sets about creating a special people, the children of Abraham and Sarah, the Jews, to be a people especially dedicated to observing God’s teachings and thereby be a witness to and a blessing for all of humanity.

 

Instead of presuming human goodness, God realizes that it will take many generations of divine teaching, patience, justice and mercy to raise this people to the level of faithfulness to the divine will that He originally hoped humanity would attain from the beginning.   God allows Abraham to argue with him to save the righteous few in Sodom when He had originally planned to destroy the whole city.  And God, in one of the most profound, and to this day still much discussed and variously interpreted passages in the Bible, orders Abraham to sacrifice his son and heir, Isaac, only to stay Abraham’s hand at the last moment.  Was this God’s plan all along?  Or did the willingness to suffer of Abraham and Isaac move the divine heart so that God changed his mind about what he had originally commanded Abraham to do?

 

Likewise, the commandments of the Law given by God to Moses changed with time.  The changes reflected the differing circumstances of tribal societies, early farming settlements, and more urban settings.  One has only to compare the earlier versions of the many commandments (the ten but many others as well) in Exodus, Leviticus and Numbers with those given in Deuteronomy (literally, the Second Law) to see what amounts to an evolution of the divine will and commandments from the earlier versions of the Law with the Pentateuch to the later.  Both rabbinic and Christian commentators over the centuries have worked hard to reconcile these different versions of the Law.  Modern biblical scholars would not that the essential moral and spiritual principles remained the same but that specific laws changed to reflect the changing circumstances of the people of God as the many centuries of human experience reflected in the Bible passed, one into another over time.

 

Though  the New Testament was written over a much shorter period of time, approximately a single century rather than a millennium, one can see such evolution of views in it as well.  The Epistle to the Hebrews, written after the destruction of the Temple in 70 CE, addresses the issue of how to observe the biblical commandments without a temple within which to offer sacrifice.  Its author argues that the sacrifice of Jesus more than compensates for temple offerings.  In the same period, of course, Jewish tradition was developing its own theory that study of the Bible, prayer and good works were sufficient sacrifices to God, in this following and expanding on the biblical prophets such as Amos.  God, having in the past spoken to the fathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, the author of Hebrews argues, had something new to say through Jesus.  He implies, with good biblical precedent, as we have seen, that God’s will for humanity does change over time, as humanity changes and, we would say, evolves.

 

Other examples from over the course of post biblical Jewish and Christian history are not difficult to find.  A few will be briefly mentioned here.

 

USURY

In the Middle Ages, Christians interpreted the biblical commandment against lending money at exorbitant interest (which we would call usury) to prohibit lending any money at interest.  Various decrees first allowed it, and then prohibited it.

In one period, both Jews and Christians interpreted the biblical commandment against lending money at interest to one’s fellows as meaning that Jews should not lend money to Jews and Christians not to Christians.  With this new interpretation, both believed that they could lend money at interest to people outside of their own community.  In Renaissance Italy, taking advantage of this, Jews and Christians worked together to create the basis of the modern banking system.  Changing times had brought new needs and possibilities, and the one word of God was reinterpreted to fit them.  Ultimately, the commandment was interpreted yet again to prohibit lending money at high interest rates that would impoverish the debtor, and the financial basis for modern capitalism was established.  Usury remained prohibited, in accordance with the intent of the biblical law, but banking was allowed.

 

 

SLAVERY

Although not laden with race, the entirely of the old and new testament are filled with examples of slavery. The Hebrew Scriptures contain many laws which give slaves rights, among them the Law of the Jubilee Year, in which all slaves were to be freed.  Jesus of Nazareth took on the priestly establishment with an action which would have been cheered on by the group in first century Judaism with whom he was in closest contact, the Pharisees.  Many of his teachings reflect and are parallel to those of the two main Pharisaic schools of thought of his time, the schools of Hillel and Shammai.  Jesus drove the money changers out of the Temple, and the chief priests, as all three of the Synoptic gospels agree in virtually the same language, began to plot against him.  Pontius Pilate, who controlled the priesthood entirely, having appointed Caiaphas as his chief collaborator, saw in the popularity of Jesus with the Jewish people a potential source of Jewish revolution against Roman rule, and so executed him.  Jesus boldly paid with his life for probing interpretations of Jewish Law and for being one around whom rebellious Jews might gather.   He would have supported the biblical laws which strove to make slavery relatively humane.   But he did not condemn slavery.  “That servant who knew his master’s will but did not make preparations nor act in accord with his will shall be beaten severely” (Luke 12:47).   “No disciple is not above his teacher, no slave above his master” (Matthew 10:24).

 

St Paul‘s epistles called for slaves to “obey their masters.”   St Peter’s letters appear to suggest that it was commendable for Christian slaves to suffer willingly at the hands of cruel masters  In several Pauline epistles, and the First Epistle of Peter, slaves are admonished to obey their masters, as to the Lord, and not to men;  however masters were told to serve their slaves “in the same way”  and “even better” as “brothers” and not to threaten them as God is their Master as well.  This latter admonition reflects the Law of the Hebrew Scriptures in just treatment of slaves.

 

The Epistle to Philemon was used by pro-slavery advocates as well as by abolitionists.  Paul writes that he is returning Onesimus, a fugitive slave, back to his master Philemon; and entreats Philemon to regard him  not as a slave but as a beloved brother in Christ.

 

Jesus of Nazareth took on the entirety of the Israel’s establishment, but did not condemn slavery.   Both Peter and Paul likely were martyred for their evangelizing, but neither condemned slavery.  God’s will as expressed in the Hebrew Scriptures affirmed the institution of slavery as it existed at the time.  Regarding the emancipation of slaves, Jewish slaves were to be freed in the seventh year, the Jubilee Year, reflecting in years the seven day cycle of Creation in Genesis 1, when the Lord rested and when all humanity must rest, according to both Deuteronomy and Exodus.  In addition the Hebrew Scriptures  contain laws regarding punishment for the one who kills slave as well as injunctions to avoid injuring the eyes and teeth.

 

 

Exodus Says” And if a man smite his servant, or his maid, with a rod, and he die under his hand; he shall be surely punished. Notwithstanding, if he continues a day or two, he shall not be punished: for he is his money.” And   “And if a man smite the eye of his servant, or the eye of his maid, that it perish; he shall let him go free for his eye’s sake. And if he smite out his manservant’s tooth, or his maidservant’s tooth; he shall let him go free for his tooth’s sake.”    Leviticus prohibited enslavingover other Israelites, but  allowed for Gentile slaves.

 

Sadly, the Christians in American history used certain biblical passages to justify the practice, and did observe the spirit of the biblical laws which saw slaves as fully human and worthy of respect.  Slavery, though acknowledges as a valid societal norm in the bible, and regulated as such, is however totally condemned today throughout the world and especially in the Jewish and Christian tradition as a violation of God’s will, even though sanctioned in their scriptures.

 

MARRIAGE AND DIVORCE   

The laws of marriage and divorce changed many times in the Bible.  Moses provided for the possibility of a man divorcing his wife, in certain circumstances.  It was not an easy matter, because in the Hebrew Scriptures, as in the New Testament, marriage is a covenant, reflective of the unbreakable covenant between God and the People of God.  In the centuries before Jesus there was a disagreement over how to interpret the biblical Law in this regard.  The School of Hillel was relatively lenient, giving fairly wide reasons for divorce.  The School of Shammai interpreted the Law more strictly, rendering it next to impossible.   Jesus, when asked, sided with the Pharisaic school of Shammai in this instance, and went a bit beyond even their strictness, making it next to impossible.   Many Christian and Jewish groups today allow for divorce and remarriage.  The Catholic Church allows for divorce when the married couple cannot reasonably live together, but does not allow for remarriage.  It views the covenant between man and wife as a symbol and sign of the unbreakable covenant between God and the People of God.  This would make remarriage technically adultery, which is not condoned by any branch of Judaism or Christianity.

 

Polygamy has its own history.  Jewish tradition has never banned polygamy outright, because it was practiced by the Patriarchs.  Technically, it has not been banned outright, but banned “temporarily,” i.e. for the next millennium (depending on the interpretation).   Up to the 1940’s some Jewish groups, such as the Jews of Yemen, continued to practice polygamy.  When they migrated to the new Jewish state of Israel, its high court ruled that those who had brought more than one wife could keep them, but marry no others, nor were their sons to be allowed to marry more than one wife.   On the Christian side, when the Mormons accepted and encouraged polygamy they like the Jews had to look no further than the biblical patriarchs and kings.  Abraham had plural wives, as did King David and King Solomon supposedly had 7000 wives. But by the time of Jesus and earlier, reflected in the later strata of the bible, the ideal was no longer polygamy but monogamy.  The Bible in Genesis says that God’s original intention was for one man to be married to only one woman: “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife.”    .

 

ANIMAL SACRIFICE:

The first  record in the Bible of animal sacrifices was at the gate of the Garden of Eden.” In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the LORD. But Abel brought fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The LORD looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor, suggests that this offering of sacrifices was a recurring event. It is actually implied in Genesis 3:21 where it says, “The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.” The clothing of skins with which God covered Adam and Eve presumably came from animals that were killed.

Why did the Lord look with favor on Abel’s sacrifice and did not look with favor on Cain’s offering? It was because the sacrifice of “the firstborn of his flock” carried a symbolism certainly known and understood by both Cain and Abel. It was an acted out prophecy of a coming Savior who would give His life to save the human race.

Offerings of clean animals were offered by Noah after the flood when the ark came to rest on the top of Mt. Ararat  Later Abraham built altars and offered sacrifices in the land of Canaan ( ).When Israel escaped from their slavery in Egypt, they came to Mt. Sinai. There God gave them instructions to build a tent tabernacle they would carry as a portable meeting place while they were on their way to the Promised Land of Canaan. This tent tabernacle and its services were designed to give Israel an object lesson of the plan of salvation God had put in place “before the creation of the world” (1 Peter 1:20.)  Such stories reflect and provide a sacred history for the practice of animal sacrifice in the Temple of Jerusalem.
In the Christian understanding of salvation God sent His Son to be born into the human race, to live a perfect life and then die on the cross as a sacrifice in expiation for the sins of all humanity. His sacrifice, Christians believe, was foretold by the slaying of lambs and other animals in the tabernacle services. Each morning and each evening a lamb was killed on the altar of burnt offerings. In the springtime at the Passover celebration, the Passover lamb was killed.  The Hebrew word for Passover is Pesach, from which Christians derive the word, “Paschal,” seeing Jesus as the Paschal lamb the blood of which daubed on the doorways of the Jews in Egypt saved them from the angel of death who came to kill all of the firstborn sons of the Egyptians, a divine show of force to convince the Pharaoh to let God’s people go out of slavery and into the Land promised to them by God.  Jews who could, in Jesus’ time, would go to Jerusalem to sacrifice a lamb in the temple and to consume with the Passover meal.  The Synoptics set the Last Supper as a Passover meal and this as the reason Jesus went into Jerusalem:  to celebrate there the Passover and consume the Pesach/Paschal lamb.
John the Baptist as a Jew understood this symbolism. When He saw Jesus passing by he said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”  Paul understood the meaning of the sacrifice of Christ similarly, for he said, “For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.”

 

When the Temple was destroyed in 70 of the Common Era Christians, who according to the book of Acts continued to offer sacrifices in the Temple after the resurrection of Jesus, like Jews, no longer had a place in which to offer the prescribed sacrifices.  Christians, as we saw, believe Jesus’ sacrifice more than compensates for the inability to continue offering sacrifices in the Temple.  Rabbinic Judaism believes study of the law, prayer and good deeds compensate, making the righteousness of one’s life a fitting sacrifice to the God of Israel.

 

HOMOSEXUALITY

 

The Bible specifically prohibits homosexuality in  a couple of places.  However,  unlike adultery, which is included in the Ten Commandments, homosexuality is no included int eh biblical summaries of the most serious covenant-breaching sins And there are no stories about homosexuality parallel to those in which the sin of adultery, for example David’s with Bathsheba, cause serious problems for the People of Israel, incurring the righteous anger of the God of Israel.

 

St. Paul, in a later time  likely reflecs a growing abhorrence of Greek and Roman practice with regard to sexual relations with young boys, thoroughly condemned the practice.   The Romans and the Greeks did not condemn homosexuality.  Paul’s references to homosexual acts were not particularly controversial to early Christians who knew that the holiness code of Leviticus forbade homosexual acts (Leviticus 20:13). Paul was reaffirming that which was held by faithful Jews and early Christians. We have no evidence that there was a movement afoot in Corinth to press for wider acceptance of same-sex activity. Paul does not single out homosexuality but refers to it within a list of other acts that were accepted as idolatrous but were now to be left behind by those who had chosen Jesus. So, although Paul might not be considered homophobic in the way we today would understand the term, he was clearly against any form of homosexual activity.

 

Jesus of Nazareth did not condemn homosexuality.  St. Augustine was a practicing homosexual for a year and likely had a lover, but turned vehemently against it.

Capital Punishment. Leviticus  20:2–27 provides a list of transgressions in which execution is recommended. Christian positions on these passages vary.  In the New Testament.  Jesus uses the example of those who killed the king’s son.. The king in turn retaliated by killing the guests who did not attend the wedding feast. Indeed Jesus Death and Resurrection would not have taken place because he would have been sent to prison had there been no capital punishment.   Rabbinic tradition, interpreting the biblical laws for new times and with new insights, gradually made capital punishment harder and harder to enforce, so that by the time the Talmud was set down, it was in effect practically impossible.  The Jewish State of Israel, though it considers itself, understandably, as besieged by enemies, has condemned only one person to death, making capital punishment, while possible, in practice not a real option.  That person, of course, was the man in the glass booth, a chief perpetrator of the Holocaust.  Most Christian countries of Europe today no longer practice capital punishment.  It is a strong position of most  Christian Denominiations that capital punishment should be banned everywhere.

 

SINS OF THE FATHER

It seems to have been a practice in some parts of the ancient world until a shift was indicated by Ezekiel.  Once, God’s will seemed to indicate that the sins of the fathers could be passed on to the children.  While we notice parental traits being passed from one generation  to the next and in family lines indeed, God speaking through Ezekiel, indicated that henceforth each human would be judged on his own actions rather than those of his father.   What seems to have been acceptable earlier in biblical times was no longer so after Ezekiel.

 

RETALIATION

The prophets, spokesmen for God evolved.   God evolved from a God of power to a God of love.

 

“But if there is harm, then you shall pay life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.  Then you shall do to him as he had meant to do to his brother. So you shall purge the evil from your midst.  And the rest shall hear and fear, and shall never again commit any such evil among you.   your eye shall not pity. It shall be life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.

 

There are only three cases in which the lex talionis is referred to.  In each, it is meant to restrict people’s urge for vengeance to a more just sense of retributive justice.  In context, the ancient saying, common in the societies around Israel, is appealed to, but most scholars would agree was not to be taken literally, but rather meant to show the seriousness of the matter at hand, as for example when two men are fighting and they harm a pregnant woman.  If the child within her survives, then there is a monetary compensation for the harm done to her.  If the child dies, then the matter is much more serious, akin in fact to murder of the child, so a more severe punishment is exacted.  It is not however a literal “eye for an eye,” of course, since neither of the men could be pregnant, so a literal interpretation of the dictum would be impossible.

Jesus likewise uses the phrase more symbolically than literally, to make a deeper point.  “You have heard that it was said,  ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’   But I say to you,  do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.   And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic,  let him have your cloak as well.   And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.   Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.  Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all.”  Responding to evil with goodness is attested in the Hebrew Scriptures and the New Testament.  Taken seriously, it would lead to a life of what we would today call pacifism, as indeed many of the first Christians so understood it.  The early Christian practice of non-violence, however, gave way to the theory of justifiable war when Christianity gained power in the Roman Empire.

 

 

 

 

WINE  

Drunkenness is condemned but wine is extolled throughout the Bible.   Alcoholic beverages appear in biblical literature, from Noah planting a vineyard and becoming inebriated in the Hebrew Bible, to Jesus in the New Testament miraculously making copious amounts of wine  at the marriage at Cana and later incorporating wine as part of the Eucharist. Wine is the most common alcoholic beverage mentioned in biblical literature, where it is a source of symbolism, ] and was an important part of daily life in biblical times.  Additionally, the inhabitants of ancient Israel drank beer, and wines made from fruits other than grapes, and references to these appear in scripture

 

Biblical literature displays ambivalence toward intoxicating drinks, considering them both a blessing from God that brings joy and merriment and potentially dangerous beverages that can be sinfully abused. The relationships between Judaism and alcohol and Christianity and alcohol have generally maintained this same tension, though Christianity saw a number of its adherents, particularly around the time of Prohibition, rejecting alcohol as evil. The original versions of the books of the Bible use several different words for alcoholic beverages: at least    in Hebrew, and five in Greek. Drunkenness is discouraged and not infrequently portrayed, and some biblical persons abstained from alcohol. Alcohol is used symbolically, in both positive and negative terms. Its consumption is prescribed for religious rites or medicinal uses in some places.

 

ABORTION

The Bible neither supports nor opposes abortion or birth control. The issue arises as a serious one only with the advent of modern medicine.  Abortion is not mentioned as such in the Bible.

 

CONCLUSIONS

The first is that God’s Law, its understanding and application, changed and evolved over the course of time in which the Scriptures were written, and that rabbinic and Christian traditions have changed over the centuries as well as new questions have arisen and new situations needed to be faced.  Changing specifics has often proven the best way of adhering to the substance and spirit of a given law.  Animal sacrifice,  divorce, polygamy, and so on are just some examples.  The second is that people do change their minds about what they think, often in response to changing scientific knowledge or public demands.  The Bible is and will always remain a major source of justification and righteousness.   But if we believe God’s will is also written in our hearts and enough people thinks so then perhaps we should reassess and see where we go.  In conclusion,   we do not know but are simply  beginning a discussion.  And again we may revert to another source of God’s knowledge.  What God writes is in our hearts (cf. Jeremiah 31).   And we can try more prayer and more dialogue.

SLAVERY AND RELIGION

May 24, 2016

Slavery and Religion

By

Anthony E Gallo

In God We Trust or God Will Determine the Victor?  Did the Union or the Confederacy have God and the Bible on its Side? Does Religion Condemn Slavery?

Glory, glory! Hallelujah!  It ain’t so.

Julia Ward Howe’s majestic and inspiring Battle Hymn of the Republic leads us to believe that God is against slavery.

 

The Battle Hymn of the Republic

By Julia Ward Howe

Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord;

He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of

Wrath are stored;

He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible

Swift sword;

His truth is marching on.

[Chorus]

Glory, glory! Hallelujah!

Glory, glory! Hallelujah!

Glory, glory! Hallelujah!

His truth is marching on.

I have seen Him in the watchfires of a hundred circling

Camps;

They have builded Him an altar in the evening dews and

Damps;

I can read His righteous sentence by the dim and flaring

Lamps;

His day is marching on.

I have read a fiery gospel, writ in burnished rows of steel;

“As ye deal with my contemners, so with you my grace shall

Deal;

Let the hero, born of woman, crush the serpent with his heel,

Since God is marching on.”

He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call

Retreat;

He is sifting out the hearts of men before His judgement

Seat;

Oh, be swift, my soul, to answer Him! be jubilant,

My feet!

Our God is marching on.

In the beauty of the lilies, Christ was born across the

Sea,

With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me;

As He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free,

While God is marching on.

Julia Ward Howe explicitly infers that the Bible and Jesus of Nazareth were on the side of abolition.   Nothing could be further from the truth.    Neither Christianity nor Judaism nor the Moslem religion opposed slavery.  The entirety of the Judeo-Christian tradition is biblically based.      There was one difference to the slavery we had in the United States?     Slavery was not tinged with racism in either the Bible or the Koran as it was in the institution of American slavery.

The Civil War was a religious war.  Each side claimed God.  The motto of the North was In God We Trust.    The motto of the South was God is the Vindicator.   Each side claimed God.   Both assertions were based on the Bible.   The major issue was slavery.

Abraham Lincoln was the most religious president in American History.   he was also the most biblically knowledgeable.  And he hated and eventually abolished slavery.   But the Bible was no friend.  He had to fight the battle alone.    There are 300 references to slavery in the bible, and few, if any are outright negative.   Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, as well as most other major world religions not only approved but encouraged slavery.   This is in sharp contrast to today’s world where except for murder, slavery has got to be one of the most immoral things a person can do.

Slavery is rampant throughout the Bible in both the Old and New Testaments.  The Bible clearly approves of slavery in many passages, and it goes so far as to tell how to obtain slaves, how hard you can beat them, and when you can have sex with the female slaves. During the most abominable period of the slave trade (1600-1900), slavery was fueled by the idea that Africans, even children, were better off Christianized under a system of European slavery than left in Africa amid tribal wars, famines and paganism

From Genesis to Hebrews to the Epistles the message is clear that Slavery is condoned as an institution and an undesirable situation for the slaves.  In Geneses Hagar is the Slave Woman who serves as a surrogate mother for Abrahams heir.    We will then visit Exodus, Genesis, Deuteronomy, a Numbers   We then examine the new testament. In this paper we only examine the Judeo Christian tradition.  The Muslim religion is actually not much better.  The harsh treatment of slaves is condemned, but the institution is not condemned.  In fact, Mohamed owned slaves, but treated them kindly which the Koran also encourages.

Some Jewish and Christian apologists will try to ignore the moral problems of slavery by saying that these slaves were actually servants or indentured servants.   Many translations of the Bible use the word “servant”, “bondservant”, or “manservant” instead of “slave” to make the Bible seem less immoral than it really is.  While many slaves may have worked as household servants, that doesn’t mean that they were not slaves who were bought, sold, and in some instances treated like livestock.

Augustine opposed slavery as did some other church fathers.  But by and large popes for a thousand years supported it.  The illegitimate children of priests were made slaves.  Thomas Aquinas said it was natural. Other popes deemed that Christians could not be slaves, but non- Christians were fair game.   Several popes were involved in the purchase of slaves The prevailing attitude was that men could take care of their own.   Mirroring what Jesus of Nazareth   said “Render unto Caesar that which is Caesars’ and unto God that which is God!  Translate   that means fend for yourself –  The separation of church and state.   Slavery was presented as part of the human condition.      Slavery was the same as peasant or only of a lower statio

New Testament 

Here are some of the major new testament references to slavery/

Jesus:

Jesus of Nazareth took on the entirety of the religious establishment, drove the money changers out of the Temple, and boldly paid with his life for his claim that he was the Son of God. But he did not condemn slavery.    Here are some examples.

He knowingly accepted the beating of slaves: “That servant who knew his master’s will but did not make preparations nor act in accord with his will shall be beaten severely;t48and the servant who was ignorant of his master’s will but acted in a way deserving of a severe beating shall be beaten only lightly. Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more.” Luke 12:47.

Jesus recognized the class system of master and slave. He believed in the class system “A disciple is not above the teacher, nor a slave above the master.” (Matthew 10:24) Jesus clearly approves of beating slaves even if they didn’t know they were doing anything wrong   Luke 12:47-48 In the following parable, the servant will be severely punished, for though he knew his duty, he refused to do it.  “But people who are not aware that they are doing wrong will be punished only lightly.  Much is required from those to whom much is given, and much more is required from those to whom much more is given.”

Jesus even cites situations where families can be sold into slavery    Matthew: 18 23-  4 “When he began the accounting, a debtor was brought before him who owed him a huge amount.  Since he had no way of paying it back, his master ordered him to be sold, along with his wife, his children, and all his property, in payment of the debt.

He readily accepts the class system.   Mat13-16 Truly, truly, I say to you, a slave is not greater than his master, nor is one who is sent greater than the one who sent him.  “If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them

Paul:

Christianity’s leading architect after Jesus, did not oppose slavery.  Essentially, he agreed with Jesus.  St Paul’s epistles called for slaves to “obey their masters,”

The Epistle to Philemon has become an important text in regards to slavery; it was used by pro-slavery advocates as well as by abolitionists.  In the Epistle, Paul writes that he is returning Onesimus, a fugitive slave, back to his master Philemon.  However, Paul also entreats Philemon to regard Onesimus, who he says he views as a son, not as a slave but as a beloved brother in Christ. Philemon is requested to treat Onesimus as he would treat Paul.  Jesus of Nazareth took on the entirety of Israel’s establishment, but did not condemn slavery.

(Ephesians 6:5) Slaves, obey your earthly masters with deep respect and fear.  Serve them sincerely as you would serve Christ.

Christians who are slaves should give their masters full respect so that the name of God and his teaching will not be shamed.  If your master is a Christian, that is no excuse for being disrespectful.  You should work all the harder because you are helping another believer by your efforts.  Teach these truths, Timothy, and encourage everyone to obey them.  (1 Timothy 6:1-2)

 

In several Pauline epistles, and the First Epistle of Peter, slaves are admonished to obey their masters, “as to the Lord, and not to men However, masters were told to serve their slaves “in the same way” and “even better” as “brothers”, [ to not threaten them as God is their Master as well

 

Peter

St Peter’s letters appear to suggest it was wholly commendable for Christian slaves to suffer at the hands of cruel masters.

The First Epistle of Peter, slaves are admonished to obey their masters, as to the Lord, and not to men;  however masters were told to serve their slaves “in the same way”  and “even better” as “brothers  to not threaten them as God is their Master as well

 

OLD TESTAMENT

Genesis:

The Old Testament has nearly 240 references to slavery.  Nearly all are positive toward that institution    Slaves were definitely looked down upon.   We begin with Genesis.    Abraham was a wealthy man and a major slave owner.    Because Sarah was childless, one of his slaves, Hagar was forced to have a child by him.  But that offspring was Ishmael\ the son of the slave woman.  So from the very beginning slavery was considered a lower state and the institution was approved.   Hagar had no alternative but to bear Abraham a child an heir to the Abrahamic fortune.

Here are a few of the other positive references to Abraham and slavery:

  • Abraham, the chosen servant of God, had his bond servants, whose condition was similar to, or worse than, that of our slaves.
  • He considered them as his property, to be bought and sold as any other property which he owned.
  • In Genesis, we are told that God commanded Abraham to circumcise all his bond-servants, “bought with his money,” and that Abraham obeyed God’s commandment on this same day.
  • In Genesis 20, we are told that Abimelech took sheep and oxen, and men servants and women servants, and gave them to Abraham.
  •  In chapter 7, we are told that Abraham possessed sheep and oxen, and he asses, and men servants and maid servants, and she asses, and camels.
  •  Also, in Genesis 26, 14, Isaac is said to have had possessions of flocks and herds, and a great store of servants.
  • In other places in Genesis, they are spoken   as property.
  • Not only was the bond-servant of Abraham considered his property, but the condition of the bond-servant was hereditary.
  • God not only commanded Abraham to circumcise his servants, bought with his money, but also, those born in his house, and those which, at any future time, should be born in his house, or in that of any of his descendants; and in the twenty-third and twenty-seventh verses of the same chapter, we are told that Abraham did circumcise all his male servants, born in his house, on the same day.
  • In chapter of Genesis we are told, that Abraham took three hundred and eighteen trained servants,
  • When Sara, Abraham’s wife, complained to him of the conduct of Hagar, her maid servant, he answered, “thy maid is in thy hand, do to her as it pleases thee showing that she wanted only her husband’s consent to punish Hagar as she pleased. We are then told, that, when Sarai dealt hardly with her, she fled from her face into the wilderness—there the angel of the Lord found her; but, instead of relieving her distress, and sending her to some free country, he told her to return and submit herself to her mistress.
  •  When Abraham pursued Chederlaomer, the king of Elam, he took his three hundred and eighteen servants, and his three friends, Aner, Eschol and Mamre, and recaptured a large amount of property which had been carried away from Sodom.
  • But when the king of Sodom offered him all the property which he had taken, he refused everything, except what his servants had eaten and the portion of his three friends—answering immediately for himself and his servants, and refusing everything, but reserving the right to his friends to answer for themselves.

 

  • Abraham was a worshiper of God; he had direct and immediate communication with him. He showed his willingness to obey God’s commands, even in offering his only son a sacrifice to God. He is spoken of by all the sacred writers, as one who was selected, from the whole human race, as the father of the faithful.

 

  •  God would not have so highly honored him, had he been living in constant and habitual violation of his laws: nor would he have required from him the performance of immaterial ceremonies, or of painful things not required by the moral law, and left him ignorantly to continue to violate his duties to his fellow men. Had our abolition friends been in God’s stead, they would have certainly acted in a very different manner. Is there one of them who will dare to say, he would have done better than God did?

 

  • But God, instead of teaching Abraham, his chosen servant, that it was immoral to use and buy his slaves, demanded from him the performance of certain things, which required that the relation of master and slave should be kept up, not only during Abraham’s time, but in all future ages.

 

  • And when the angel of the Lord interfered between Sarai and Hagar, it was to cause the slave to submit to punishment inflicted by her mistress

 

  • Jacob’s sons sold Joseph, their brother, to the Ishmaelites for twenty pieces of silver. They agreed with each other that they would sell him, when the Ishmaelites were afar off, and before they could have known that the Ishmaelites would buy him; only they knew, that such sales were common in the country at the time

 

  • The narrative of Joseph’s life in Egypt, shows that the sale of slaves was common there.

 

Deuteronomy and Numbers also have many references to slavery.

  • Jewish slaves were to be freed after six years according to both Deuteronomy and Exodus.

 

  • There are also laws regarding punishment for the one who kills the slave as well as injunctions to avoid injuring their eyes and teeth.

 

  • The betrothal clause seems to have provided an exception to the law of release in Deuteronomy 15:12 (cf. Jeremiah 34:14), in which both male and female Israelite servants were to be given release in the seventh year

 

  • The penalty if an Israelite engaged in sexual activity with an unredeemed female slave who was betrothed was that of scourging, with Jewish tradition seeing this as only referring to the slave (versus Deuteronomy 22:22, where both parties were stoned, being free persons), as well as the man confessing his guilt and the priest making atonement for his sin.

 

  • Women captured by Israelite armies could be adopted forcibly as wives, but first they had to have their heads shaved and undergo a period of mourning. However, “If you are not pleased with her, then you must let her go where she pleases. You cannot in any case sell her; you must not take advantage of her, since you have already humiliated her.”

 

 Leviticus and Exodus

In Leviticus   we are told, that the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: “Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them”—after various provisions of the law, the 39th verse reads as follows, in regard to servitude: “If thy brother that dwells by thee be waxen poor, and be sold unto thee, then shalt not compel him to serve as a bond-servant, but as a hired servant,” &c.—clearly showing that there was a distinction between bond-servant and hired-servant. After providing for the case of a Hebrew servant, verses 44, 45, and 46, of the same law, read as follows: “Both thy bondmen, and thy bondmaids, which thou shalt have, shall be of the heathen that are round about you; of them shall ye buy bondmen and bondmaids. Moreover, of the children of the strangers that do sojourn among you, of them shall ye buy, and of their families that are with you, which they begat in your land; and they shall be your possession. And ye shall take them as an inheritance for your children after you, to inherit them for a possession; they shall be your bondmen for ever.”

 

Exodus states:    And if a man smite his servant, or his maid, with a rod, and he die under his hand, he shall be surely punished. Notwithstanding, if he continues a day or two, he shall not be punished: for he is his money.”    The same chapter provide, that if the servant has lost an eye or a tooth, by a blow from the master, the servant should go free.  Also, that if an ox was known to be vicious and killed a freeman, the ox and his owner were both put to death; but if he gored a bond-servant, the ox should be killed and the master should pay thirty shekels of silver: showing the distinction between bond and freemen.

 

And about beating slaves.  It says you can beat both male and Exodus female slaves with a rod so hard that as long as they don’t die right away you are cleared of any wrong doing.    When a man strikes his male or female slave with a rod so hard that the slave dies under his hand, he shall be punished.  If, however, the slave survives for a day or two, he is not to be punished, since the slave is his own property.

 

Notice how they can get a male Hebrew slave to become a permanent slave by keeping his wife and children hostage until he says he wants to become a permanent slave.  What kind of family values are these?

Debt slavery.    Sometimes humans were enslaved because they could not pay debts.

 

  • Like that of the Ancient Near East, the legal systems of the Israelites divided “slaves” into different categories:
  • “In determining who should benefit from their intervention, the legal systems drew two important distinctions: between debt and chattel slaves, and between native and foreign slaves.
  • The authorities intervened first and foremost to protect the former category of each–citizens who had fallen on hard times and had been forced into slavery by debt or famine.

 

  • Poverty, and more general lack of economic security, compelled some people to enter debt bondage.

 

  • Furthermore, in the ancient Near East, wives and (non-adult) children were often viewed as property, and were sometimes sold into slavery by the husband/father for financial reasons.Sexual and conjugal slavery

Sexual slavery, or being sold to be a wife, was common in the ancient world. It’s commonly debated whether or not the Old Testament ever condones this

  •  However, throughout the Old Testament, the taking of multiple wives was recorded many times
  •   An Israelite father could sell his unmarried daughters into servitude, with the expectation or understanding that the master or his son would eventually marry her. [
  • It is understood by Jewish and Christian commentators that this referred to the sale of a daughter, who “is not arrived to the age of twelve years and a day, and this through poverty.”