I think this one’s been bugging me since the day my mom told me–when I was doing research and reading the Bible–that I just needed to read the New Testament first.
It’s been so long ago I’m assuming she meant go back for the Old Testament later, but for all I know, maybe she said JUST the New and didn’t think I should go further. I’m tired and it’s been a damned long time since that conversation.
I bring this up because I learned that I’m definitely not the first one that’s been told to just read the New, that the New Covenant is in effect and the Old is gone. Only the New matters now.
There are plenty of Christian congregations that seem to gloss over Old Testament or cherry-pick it for all the “nice” parts, if they choose to acknowledge it at all.
There are two camps I’ve found (and am still researching, of course) regarding Christians and the Old Testament with these questions:
- Is the Old Testament relevant to Christians?
- Why aren’t all Christians subscribing to the Old Testament?
A quick Google search brings up all kinds of pages regarding the use of the Old Testament in Christian teachings. I have my own questions about it, because of the sheer number of contradictory viewpoints as far as how to treat the Old Testament.
Seriously, I’ve listened to radio shows and podcasts about religion, atheism, philosophy, etc. I’ve lost count the number of times someone brought up some contradictory thing about God in the Old Testament and the defender respond “well, that’s the Old and that doesn’t apply anymore” (but when said person’s asked about their positions regarding LGBTQ, women’s rights, abortion, etc., suddenly they run back to the Old Testament for rules to obey).
This cherry-picking drives me nuts. I lost count the number of people I’ve heard when I’ve asked (or on these shows) contort themselves into crazy pretzels trying to defend the Bible because of this viewpoint.
I’ve always wondered, if the Bible’s supposed to be about Christ and following Jesus, then why bother including the Old Testament? I mean, it’s strange because when Paul (or whatever’s been attributed to Paul) went beyond the Jewish people and began ministry to Gentiles, why does the Bible have a big chunk of Jewish laws as part of it’s makeup? Why do Gentiles need to know about that if they’re supposed to be following what Jesus said?
I just don’t get what the men who compiled the Bible were thinking in this regard.
So, if Christians are supposed to just follow Jesus, why is the Old Testament still a part of the Christian Bible?
The only thing that pops into my head is that Jesus said he had come to fulfill the law, not change the law, as in the Jewish laws that the leaders had let fall by the wayside. But once the four gospels are done, suddenly you have Paul and the debate about Gentiles being part of this world. That’s why I ask about why these Gentiles, not part of Jewish custom or law, must suddenly become affiliated with Jewish law if this is something totally different going on.
I guess the expectation of the followers drives me nuts. I keep losing count the number of ideas out there trying to reconcile all this stuff. I hate it, really, because it tells me one thing: there are as many Christianities out there as there are Christians.
Which is why questions and logical thinking aren’t getting me far when talking about religion to another human being. I hear so much of the same old same old that the next thing out of the person’s mouth is something like “well, you’re not reading it right” (why, am I supposed to turn the book upside down and read it backwards?) or “you should visit church XYZ” (in other words, you’re annoying me and I think you’re afflicted by the devil so go away).
There’s a reason I try very hard not to talk to religious people very much anymore, especially family members. It’s too akin to being pat on the head and told “don’t worry about it.”
I can’t switch that part of my brain off, not even for a million bucks.
I’d just love to know why the Old Testament is part of the Christian Bible if Christians are supposed to follow Jesus’ teachings.
Anyway, still researching, so I’ll see what I figure out.
But if you’ve got good resources, go ahead and share.