Nonstampcollector’s Take on the Akedah: The Binding of Isaac in Genesis 22

Nonstampcollector (@nonstampNSC; YouTube) has released his latest video, which takes on the difficult task of addressing the biblical Akedah, or “Binding of Isaac”, the near human sacrifice of Isaac by his father Abraham in Genesis 22. (He even gives a little take on Sodom and Gomorrah at the intro.)

As anyone who has studied the Bible knows, this text is one of the most talked about and problematic ethical texts in the Bible. This is a classic ‘nonstamp’ take on the ethical issues surrounding a god who would order a human sacrifice just to test the obedience of his followers.

Enjoy. Comments welcome, but keep them germane to the topic.

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NonStampCollector’s latest: Yahweh’s Perfect Justice – Death for picking up sticks

NonStampCollector (@nonstampNSC; YouTube) has published his latest movie on YouTube, which is actually a remake of “Yahweh’s Perfect Justice”, a film he published in 2009 based on Numbers 15:32-36, but which was banned because it depicted the biblical act of stoning a person to death.

NonStamp asked viewers to contribute images of people stoning a person to death, and many did.

Numbers 15:32-36 reads (NRSV):

Num. 15:32 When the Israelites were in the wilderness, they found a man gathering sticks on the sabbath day.
Num. 15:33 Those who found him gathering sticks brought him to Moses, Aaron, and to the whole congregation.
Num. 15:34 They put him in custody, because it was not clear what should be done to him.
Num. 15:35 Then the LORD said to Moses, “The man shall be put to death; all the congregation shall stone him outside the camp.”
Num. 15:36 The whole congregation brought him outside the camp and stoned him to death, just as the LORD had commanded Moses.

I encourage you to go and watch the video, and then ask yourself these two questions:

1) Should ‘working’ on the Sabbath have EVER been punishable by death?

2) Should we use the divine commands given by God in the Bible to legislate our modern secular ethics?

Go watch. This is how some still punish many crimes in barbaric parts of the world, simply because a holy book says so. So I ask: should a holy book that prescribed death for working on a particular day of the week be used to legislate other aspects of our modern lives? Should the judgements of a God that commanded death for gathering sticks on Saturday be consulted for issues like same sex marriage?

Go watch. Then try and justify the actions taken the Bible. And then try and apply those ethics to our modern world. If you can justify the actions taken in the Bible, and can reconcile them with a modern ethic, and offer a prescription for our modern legislation, then congratulations – you’re a fundamentalist.

nonstampcollector’s latest: the ten commandments (as the supposed basis for the morality of western civilization)

My favorite YouTube author, nonstampcollector, has produced his latest film entitled, “The Ten Commandments: the basis of our laws and morals.”

The movie raises the question of the relevance of the 10 Commandments as the supposed fundamental basis for the ethics and morality of western civilization. Specifically, the video cleverly highlights those who argue that ALL Ten Commandments serve as the basis of modern morality (especially those who argue that said Commandments should be publicly displayed in courthouses and public places).

The incongruity of the 10 Commandments with modern foundational ethical concepts like freedom, liberty, and democracy is exposed in the following exchange:

Moses: “Surely, the way to nurture a society towards becoming amazingly advanced and prosperous is by having theocratic prohibitions against working on certain days of the week and graven images and all that.”

God: “Well, that’s where the problem lies, see. The more humanity progresses, the more it will base its laws and constitutions around things like freedom, liberty…”

Moses: “Freedom??!!”

God: “…democracy and self rule, opportunity, human rights, justice for all.”

Moses: “W…well, you haven’t commanded any of that here yet.

God: “Yeah, and I’m not about to either!”

Moses: “So the laws and morals of this mighty, advanced, western civilization aren’t going to come out of these commandments at all then.”

God: “Oh don’t rub it in!”

Give it a watch and I welcome your comments.

what exactly is biblical marriage?

Have you ever wondered what real “Biblical Marriage” looks like? Before you go arguing for “traditional,” “biblical” marriage, take a look at this handy dandy chart.

Biblical Marriage Chart

Chart of Biblical Marriage

So essentially, you can have your choice of anything from the chart and you can still be considered “biblical.” You raped someone? That’s ok, just pay your fine (to her father) and make sure you marry her.

Or, if you’re a soldier, perhaps take a prisoner of war and marry her.

You can choose any one of them – after all, they’re all biblical and often ordained by God himself.

Now, for those of you who will argue, “but the New Testament superseded the Old Testament. I believe in ‘New Testament’ marriage,” well, for you there’s 1 Cor. 7:8:

“To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is well for them to remain unmarried as I am.”

and, of course, 1 Cor. 7:25-26:

“Now concerning virgins, I have no command of the Lord, but I give my opinion as one who by the Lord’s mercy is trustworthy. I think that, in view of the impending crisis, it is well for you to remain as you are.”

and 1 Cor. 7:32-34:

I want you to be free from anxieties. The unmarried man is anxious about the affairs of the Lord, how to please the Lord; but the married man is anxious about the affairs of the world, how to please his wife, and his interests are divided. And the unmarried woman and the virgin are anxious about the affairs of the Lord, so that they may be holy in body and spirit; but the married woman is anxious about the affairs of the world, how to please her husband.

So, you basically have the choice of not getting married if you want to be truly biblical.

Of course, if you are totally weak and completely lack self-control, then as a concession, you can marry (1 Cor. 7:9). Just remember what Paul warned you in 1 Cor. 7:28b:

“Yet those who marry will experience distress in this life, and I would spare you that.”

Then again, some might respond and say, “Hey now, you’re leaving out the verses that say nice things about marriage, like Romans 7:2:

“Thus a married woman is bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives; but if her husband dies, she is discharged from the law concerning the husband.”

and Matt 19:5//Mark 10:8//Eph 5:31 all citing Gen 2:24, noting that people, in fact, do get married. But is that not most likely referring to one of the acceptable forms of the “biblical marriage” from the above chart? And there are other verses that speak about marriage, but should not the fact that the above verses are also “biblical” be a bit disconcerting to those who argue for “scriptural authority” for marriage?

Now, please don’t misunderstand me: I’m not advocating against marriage. I love being married to Roslyn, and we are quite happy together. But we define the arrangements of our partnership, and we chose to love each other. Likewise, any two other consenting adults, regardless of race or gender, should be able to enjoy the same joys and benefits of marriage that Roslyn and I do.

That is to say, if you’re going to argue that same-sex couples cannot get married because it is not a ‘sanctioned’ form of marriage in the Bible, then be prepared to defend those forms of marriage that are sanctioned in the Bible, like forcibly marrying rape victims and prisoners of war, for according to the Bible, these too are sanctioned by God.

Or, you can stop discriminating against the civil liberties of homosexual individuals while hiding behind some mythical construct of “biblical marriage” and let people who love one another and want to commit their lives to one another actually get married.

At the very least, before you go advocating for “traditional” or “biblical” marriage, it’s probably not a bad idea to read the text and make absolutely sure you actually want to argue in favor of “biblical” marriage.

Have a nice day.

HT: Travis Spackman via Kim and the Rabbi with thanx to nonstampcollector.

resources for teaching the story of jephthah (judges 11)

Here are a couple of free resources available for use when teaching the story of Jephthah and his sacrifice of his daughter.

The first is from the Brick Testament, which uses legos to tell Bible stories.

The second is NonStampCollector’s telling of the story of Jephthah, which addresses additional concepts of ethics, morality, and compares the sacrifice of Jephthah’s daughter to the Akedah of Isaac in Genesis 22. The video is below.

some thoughts on free will

Here are some thoughts on free will from one of my favorite YouTube authors, NonStampCollector. If you haven’t seen his videos, check them out. They are guaranteed to make you think.

I welcome your comments.

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