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PupnTaco's avatar

Did Jesus negate all Hebraic laws?

Asked by PupnTaco (13835points) June 1st, 2009 from iPhone

This is a question I’ve been asking since California upheld Prop 8, legalizing discrimination against gays & lesbians:

If a Christian uses Old Testament Leviticus/Romans/Numbers edicts against the abomination of man-laying-with-man but ignores similar abomination-defining edicts like no shellfish, don’t work on Sundays, don’t wear garments made of two fabrics, etc…. well, isn’t that just cherry-picking parts of a faith that support their own bigotry and ignoring other parts that are inconvenient?

Someone said Jesus specifically negated the bit about shellfish. What about the other “abominations?”

All answers I’ve received are non-answers like, “well, that’s just the way I was brought up to believe” or “we’re all sinners.”

What do you say?

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31 Answers

DarkScribe's avatar

Hey, if you want to take it to extremes, all weather forecasters should be killed. Predicting the future is a no no. A man is not supposed to cut the corners of his beard, touch a menstruating woman, or allow a woman to speak in Church.

It can be fun picking and choosing what to believe. How about Unicorns and Dragons? The Bible says that they exist.

cwilbur's avatar

@PupnTaco: the laws in Leviticus are ritual purity laws that apply to the Jews, as the people that God had the first covenant with. After Christ’s sacrifice, things changed; in the letter to the Romans, Paul makes it clear that adherence to the forms of the old law is not necessary for Christians, using circumcision as an example.

(In Romans, Paul uses homosexuality as an example of something the Jews he was addressing would find repellent; if you actually read his argument as he laid it out, he explains that God made the people he is talking about lust for people of the same sex as a punishment for idolatry, something he considered a far greater sin.)

cyn's avatar

the bible should be modernized

oratio's avatar

Nothing against your question Dave, but doesn’t it suddenly rain religious Q’s?

ubersiren's avatar

@cyndihugs : I don’t know that the Bible has to be modernized; perhaps just taught correctly would suffice. Fucking churches. They make it so easy to be a non-believer.

Edit: Not that it’s entirely the churches’ fault. The Bible does a good job of making a fool of itself. But modernizing it would be a huge slap in the face to Christianity.

avalmez's avatar

i’ve previously posed the question about whether paul or jesus founded the christian religion. that christianity is christ centered is clear; but that jesus intended to found a new religion is not so clear, although arguable. imo, paul is the guy responsible for “negating” hebraic law wrt gentile christians.

cyn's avatar

@ubersiren True! It does make a fool of itself, but we’re not living in the first century anymore. i’m catholic, yet i don’t believe in some bible stuff… i just find catholicism most rational it’s just my opinion though.

kenmc's avatar

[...]isn’t that just cherry-picking parts of a faith that support their own bigotry and ignoring other parts that are inconvenient? Absolutely.

I don’t think Jesus would be a Christian today. He’d be called a communist or a hippie then threatened with violence.

penny398's avatar

I think that Jesus was more concerned about the “spirit” of the Law and not the letter of the Law. I think this was the essence of his conflict with the Pharisees. They were labeled as hipocrites unfairly because of thier insistance on close scrutiny of the meaning of the Law. Jesus, was trying to end all of the nitpicking.

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

@boots: If Jesus walked in our world today, I think he’d head for some cave and freak out for a bit and he’d be afraid to be crucified all over again by greedy fanatics desperate for a resolve to their ills instead of by their own effort. Brings to mind this:

Oh father high in heaven
smile down upon your son
who’s busy with his money games
his women and his gun
Oh Jesus save me!

And the unsung Western hero
killed an Indian or three
and made his name in Hollywood
to set the white man free
Oh Jesus save me!

If Jesus saves, well, he’d better save himself
from the gory glory seekers who use His name in death
Oh Jesus save me!

I saw him in the city and on the mountains of the moon
His cross was rather bloody
He could hardly roll His stone
Oh Jesus save me!

whatthefluther's avatar

@hungryhungryhortence…ah, hymn 43…I’ve just decided what to listen to next. Thank you…wtf

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

@whatthefluther: my pleasure, my brain is on constant scrobble

whatthefluther's avatar

The Bible is very complex and rampant with ambiguity. That is precisely what makes it as easy to cling to for some as it is for others to dismiss. Cherry picking is so very convenient and is used deftly by those seeking to impart their beliefs. Everytime I hear that such and such passage “clearly states,” I cringe and prepare for an affront to my sensibilities. And I am amazed, and some times amused, by the lengths some go in assembling cherry-picked pieces together in support of their positions. Frankly, I support gay marriage and voted in favor of it, not because of ambiguous drivel, but despite it, simply because it seemed sensible to me.

critter1982's avatar

Christians believe that Christ fullfilled the Jewish Law, not that he negated it. In Jesus’s sermon on the mount he stated that he was not here to abolish the law but to fullfill it. The translation of this quote will forever be argued though. Jews believe that in order to go to heaven you must follow the law or obide by it and actually do what it says. Christians however believe that Jesus fullfilled the law and that the Jewish law existed only to teach, guide, and/or instruct God’s people and that it didn’t necessarily exist to be a legal regulation. To fullfill the law (Hebrew: lekayem) can mean either uphold or establish as well as to complete or accomplish. Additionally, the phrase fulfill the Law is often used as an idiom to mean to properly interpret the Jewish law so that people can obey it as God really intends. So for example, the law against adultery could be interpreted as specifically against cheating on one’s spouse, but not about pornography. When Jesus declared that lust also was a violation of the commandment, he was clarifying the true intent of that law, so in rabbinic parlance he was fulfilling the Law.

With all that said, I would somewhat agree with you, that those Christians who use the OT as an argument against the homosexual marriage are biggoted and hypocritical. But, there are statements in the new testament which identify homosexuality as immoral as well.

oratio's avatar

@critter1982 That may be, but there seems to be a paradox. It’s my impression that according to Jesus himself, you will only get to heaven if you accept and believe in him and the holy ghost.

Jesus may be seen as completing the Jewish law, but he also made it impossible for Jews who follow Orthodox Judaism to go to heaven. That seem like completing Judaism with a condition, negating any reason to be an orthodox Jew.

critter1982's avatar

@oratio: I don’t believe it to be paradoxical. I think God was telling his people to be pure and intentional about their lives. Sure one can choose not to cheat on his wife, but if you lust over other women and choke the chicken persay, to pornography then you really aren’t following my law. IMO, God wanted to tell the Jews that you need to have a good and pure heart not simply do something because I said so.

For example (relating it to the ‘80’s) if God wanted to teach us about hard work he could have said I want you to beat the Nintendo game Mario Brothers. So, as a good Jew, I go ahead and buy the Game Genie which gives me infinite lives and then I use all of the cheats to basically just walk through every level. I have done what God asked me to do by beating the game, but I learned absolutely nothing from that. In fact I probably learned the opposite; how to cheat. Now if God wanted to show me what he really wanted from me he would say no, I could care less whether or not you truly beat Mario Brothers, I wanted you to struggle through the game to show you that hard work pays off in the end (even though the end of Mario Bros. is kind of lame). I wanted to show you that it’s important to work hard at everthing in your life because if you do, it will pay off. This is what I want you to do. God would have fullfilled or eliminated this physical burden on me but he still wants me to work hard. So I could absolutely go back and play Mario Bros. again and again without the game genie, it wouldn’t matter. The important part is that I work hard at everything. Now if I go back and say this hard work crap is for the birds, I want beat Mario Bros again because the system locked up right after I beat it and I didn’t get to see the end. If I went through and used the game genie again I would still be cheating and learning nothing only to try and reap a reward at the end.

This, IMO (and I mean absolutely no offense), is where the jewish religion is at. They do these rituals over and over again, some half-heartedly, some whole-heartedly, but nobody realizes why they are doing it. They do it because someone told them to do it, because if they do then they are told they will go to heaven. God was telling the Jews that it’s not important what you do here on earth it’s whether you do the things you do with a gracious and loving heart. If you believe in this, then you believe in the writings of Jesus Christ.

oratio's avatar

Well, if all you got to do is believing in the same things as Jesus, I think most atheists would be able to call themselves christian. I understand it as you have to accept Jesus as your personal savior, and the Holy Ghost. It’s hard to take Jesus own words otherwise, unless one would want to interpret that away into something else.

Is choked chicken kosher?

critter1982's avatar

@oratio: No you are correct you do have to accept Jesus.

I don’t think choked chicken is kosher, but then again as long as it’s blessed by the priest I guess it could be.

filmfann's avatar

Jesus changed a lot of the Old Testament. He even added a commandment.

whatthefluther's avatar

@critter1982…Let’s hope that a priest blessing a choked chicken is a thing of the past.

oratio's avatar

@filmfann What commandment do you refer to?

What about a strangled swan?

whatthefluther's avatar

@oratio…was it previously an ugly duckling?

filmfann's avatar

When asked what the most important commandment was, Jesus answered “To love the Lord with all your heart, and all your soul, and all your mind.”

oratio's avatar

@filmfann Right, that part. He evaded that religion test quite gracefully.~

@whatthefluther I don’t think it’s Danish, but then again I never talk to it.

cwilbur's avatar

@filmfann: actually, he summarized the Law by saying “Love the Lord your God with all your being, and love your neighbor as yourself.” The new commandment was “Love one another as I have loved you.”

critter1982's avatar

@filmfann: Jesus didn’t change the law he just explained what it was for. I agree with cwilbur.

filmfann's avatar

Okay, I don’t have the Bible right here, but I remember another part where he said the old law was an eye for an eye, but he changed it to let he who is without sin cast the first stone.

fundevogel's avatar

@cyndihugs actually Thomas Jefferson modernized the Bible, or at least he edited out all supernatural content. But I suppose that would still leave weird laws and commandments.

and apparently he only bothered doing the New Testament :P

cyn's avatar

@fundevogel yeah LEVITICUS is stupid though…

barry1000's avatar

In Matthew 5:17, Jesus says:

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them, but to fulfill them.” (New International Version)

I take this passage, which is part of the Sermon on the Mount, to mean that Jesus didn’t intend to abolish the old Jewish religious laws, at least not completely.

But he often did re-interpret the old laws, or make additions to them, and sometimes his changes were so radical that other people became upset. Luke 4:28–30 even says that some people became so angry at him that they tried to throw him off a cliff.

So he didn’t negate the old laws, but he did re-interpret some of them, and he also added to them. This article link discusses some of his most radical re-interpretations and additions.

filmfann's avatar

@barry1000 Welcome to Fluther! Lurve!

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