As part of Brookside's plan to spend time daily reading through the Bible in 2016, the Institute is offering a series of seminars that will line up with what we're reading and dig deeply into certain topics.
And as we've been reading through the first five books of the Old Testament, one of the remarks/questions I've heard repeatedly goes something like this: "What's up with all the violence in the Old Testament?!" I've gotten this question enough times to think that this will be a good topic to devote a seminar to!
People who are antagonistic towards Christianity (and/or religion in general) often use some of the "violence passages" in the Old Testament as ammunition against religion. Famously, Richard Dawkins has said
The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully" (The God Delusion, p. 232).
Even if you only understand half of those words, you know that Dawkins isn’t being complimentary. And from this language that Dawkins uses, we see that a large part of his critique is directed at how he understands the violence we read about in the Old Testament. Does the violence we read about in the Old Testament mean that God is a bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser? Is he sadomasochistic, and a divine bully?
How should followers of Jesus Christ who maintain the authority of the Scriptures think about this violence that is obviously evident in the Old Testament?
This coming Wednesday evening - on March 30, 2016 - the Brookside Institute will be offering a seminar that wrestles with this question and offers a way forward. Whether you're an attendee of Brookside Church or are simply in the Omaha area and want to dig into this in a gracious, respectful way, we invite you to join us. There's no cost to attend, but you can help us know how to plan by signing up here.
Interested in other seminars that the Brookside Institute will be offering this year? Or do want to see some things we've already done that line up with what Brookside Church is doing as we read through the Bible? Click here to see more.
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