Thursday, December 03, 2009

An amusing post from a man whose surname means "anger" (Zorn)

(In German/Yiddish)

We read:
"Hate speech straight from Bible to bumpers: There’s a new slogan making its way onto car bumpers and across the Internet. It reads simply: “Pray for Obama: Psalm 109:8”....

Here's the verse you find when you consult scripture: "Let his days be few; and let another take his office".

And here's the verse that immediately follows: "Let his children be fatherless, and his wife a widow" ...

As though Biblical context is irrelevant. As though "let his days be short" is anything other than a prayer for death.


So he accuses Christians of hate speech on the basis of a verse that they did NOT quote. The quote from verse 8 is in no way improper. It is simply asking for Obama's time in office as President to be short. It is verse 9 that talks of death and which our zornig (angry) man is fuming about. But I guess that a zornig man can be expected to fume. He probably says things akin to Psalms 109:9 at times too. He certainly sounds pretty zornig about the bumper sticker concerned.

Whether it is right to pray for someone's death is a theological question that I will not venture to address in any comprehensive way but it surely depends on whose death is concerned. Praying for the death of a tyrant or oppressor (for instance) sounds pretty reasonable to me -- and that seems to be what the scripture is about. Amusing that our angry Leftist seems to think he is an authority on theology, though. I wonder what he thinks of Leviticus 20:13 or Romans 6:23? He should probably leave Biblical exegesis to those who know something about it.

From memory there is something in the Orthodox Haggadah in which Jews call down death on Christians too -- so wishing death on your enemies is probably pretty human. Don't I remember a Leftist movie in which the killing of George Bush was portrayed?


Anonymous said...

I saw a car with it and thought it was funny but even though I dislike Obama and laughed at the sticker I couldn't agree with the sentiment.

Even without the following verse (and yes, context IS relevant when quoting the bible) I saw it as calling for him to die soon and therefore couldn't agree with the sentiment.

Anonymous said...

It doesn't really matter since the overwhelming majority of people who see that sticker will not know what the Pslam means, nor will they bother looking it up. They will simply assume it's a pro-Obama sticker, thereby defeating it's purpose. Silly idea.

Anonymous said...

When a single passage in the Bible or Koran suits the quoter, then it is claimed as clear in meaning as extracted; but when another passage doesn't suit that same person it is claimed as out of context (seen so often in online comment posts from both Christians and Muslims).

Bobby said...

I don't see how the Haggadda could call for the death of Christians since it deals with passover in which there where no Christians, only Egyptian tyrants.

As for
"Pray for Obama: Psalm 109:8"

I think it's bad taste, although nothing compared to what they did to Bush.

Anonymous said...

"Sometimes we seem like people on a pleasure boat drifting down the Niagara river, unaware that there are waterfalls up ahead. I don't know what people think is going to happen when a nation that already sponsors international terrorism has nuclear bombs to give to terrorists around the world."
– Thomas Sowell

Dean said...

When I read the scripture my thought was that it meant, "Let his days as president be few . . ."

It didn't occur to me that the passage was calling for Obama's death.

I'll have to be more aware of possible sinister meanings of things in the future.

Use the Name, Luke said...

Anon 3:03,

Context always matters when quoting, whether it's a religious text or not.

Some selected quotes clearly capture the context, while others do not. Furthermore, the context includes words immediately prior to and after the quoted text, the entire paragraph, the entire document/speech, other statements by the author, and even the culture and assumptions surrounding the statement.

In this case, the person who created the bumper sticker was trying to be clever, but he/she abused the context.

Dale R. Patterson said...

The verse, in context, is clearly a prayer for the death of an unjust ruler.
That's not acceptable in this day and time. When the Psalm was written, the only way to deal with an evil ruler was for God to take him out. These days and in this country, we have the electoral and legal processes to deal with folks like Obama.
This clearly began as a joke - someone posted it in my forum about a month ago, but it's getting out of hand. Openly advocating the death of the President is immoral and even illegal - for a good reason.
This is activity worthy of Democrats - certainly not acceptable for Christians.

Anonymous said...

I have always found that bit of the Haggadah unfortunate as an Orthodox Jew, because I love my Christian friends.

Anonymous said...

Lest we forget that old leftist/Democrat trick of posting things like this and creating the impression it was done by someone else. In this case, a Christian.

Anonymous said...

Dale you don't know much about the Psalm, maybe you should try reading the rabbinic commentary.

Gabriella said...

Thanks for the article man. keep trying..

Gabriella said...

I like your way of posting.

Hey i am interesting in adding your in

my blog

Shall i add in my blog in right side bar links.

Please reply dear.

Anonymous said...


You really nailed it! And that's the whole point! The Left is SO focused on finding hidden meaning, hatred, and racism in everything that they fail to see things for what they really are when taken at face value.

Anonymous said...

There is a slight whiff about this. Following the link to from the original article I discovered they sell 201 tee shirts referring to Obama and prayer (not necessarily on the same shirt), and as far as I can see they are almost exclusively PRO Obama. They have "Pray for Obama" Matthew 5:9, and Matthew 6:9-13, and Matthew 5:44 and 1 Timothy 2:2, for example.

The anti Obama shirt seems very out of keeping for the site. They seem to have got a universally positive reaction (including from Christians) to their "principled decision" to discontinue the hateful shirt.

Comment on the Zazzle Blog: "I’ve never heard of Zazzle before today ... I will review your website offerings and do some Christmas shopping".

Hmmmmm. Has anyone seen anybody actually wearing one of these shirts?

Anonymous said...

What does the left care about it? they don't believe in prayer or Biblical scripture. It should be a non-issue for them.

Anonymous said...


You are right.

Use the Name, Luke said...

"What does the left care about it? they don't believe in prayer or Biblical scripture."

It's been my experience that they like to quote the Bible… as a means of beating conservatives over the head with their own beliefs (see Saul Alinsky), even if they have to mis-quote it; which happens more often than not.

Anonymous said...

Liberals may, atheists generally don't.

Use the Name, Luke said...

They don't? To quote Bill Cosby "Riiiiiggggghhhhhht…"

Anonymous said...

I did not make an absolute statement. Look up the words "generally" and "may".

Use the Name, Luke said...

It has been my experience that in discussions about whether Christianity is true, atheists generally do misread or misquote the Bible. On of the most common categories of this is taking poetic or metaphorical language as woodenly literal.

For example, take this verse:

"God is enthroned above the circle of the earth; its inhabitants are like grasshoppers. He stretches out the heavens like thin cloth and spreads them out like a tent to live in."
(Isaiah 40:22 HCSB)

This is clearly metaphorical language (circle, grasshoppers, thin cloth, etc.), yet I've frequently heard atheists misuse this verse to say that the Bible teaches that the earth is flat.

A similar misreading is taking a general description using round numbers (of a variable measurement standard) and pretending it's engineering document precise to, say, the 5th decimal place. For example:

"Now he made the sea of cast metal ten cubits from brim to brim, circular in form, and its height was five cubits, and thirty cubits in circumference."
(1 Kings 7:23 NAS95)

A cubit was a measurement from the elbow to the tip of the middle finger, a measurement which varies from person to person, and even as a "standard" varied from region to region and period to period. Furthermore, every number given in this passage is rounded to the nearest 5, 10 or 100. Yet atheists frequently abuse this very general description to claim that "the Bible gets Pi wrong."

But there are other misreadings too, like when an atheist friend of mine claimed that the Bible contradicted itself because the genealogy in Luke didn't include Noah or any of his sons, when, in fact, they are there.

There are also plenty of misrepresentations of history, such as the claim that biblical texts have been translated from language to language to language so often that the original meaning has been lost. The fact is that all modern translations into English (except for the Catholic translation) are made directly from the original languages. (The translation the Catholics use has Latin as an intermediate step, which is one of the reasons I oppose it.) I would assume the same is true for most major languages.

Finally, I'll point back to the video by Penn in the other thread where he mistakenly thinks that Psalms is in the New Testament. (It's in the Old Testament.) He didn't know, so he got it wrong. Though it wasn't a deliberate misstatement, it was still a misstatement about the Bible.

In short, I have direct experience that atheists often misquote, misuse, or simply get the Bible wrong.

Anonymous said...

Then there are also atheists that think the bible is a work of fiction, just like Harry Potter.

There are a lot of flavours of atheists just like there are a lot of flavours of Christians.

Use the Name, Luke said...

"Then there are also atheists that think the bible is a work of fiction"

You mean there are atheists who think it's true? I thought that denying that the Bible is true is one of the prerequisites for atheism.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I misspoke. I meant to say that atheists think that the bible is a work of fiction, but some use it as an argument tool, as commented above, by showing inconsistencies. But many, like myself, don't even bother. It is like using a Harry Potter book to prove that witches exist.

Again, sorry about the confusion.

Use the Name, Luke said...

It sounds like you're saying that you dismiss it without even checking out whether or not its claims are true. In other words, an a priori dismissal. Is that what you mean?

Anonymous said...

None of the mystical claims presented in the bible can be verified. Historical facts in the bible are irrelevant.

Anonymous said...

The Bible is simply a random collection of writings spanning a very long period time, where the writers are from different backgrounds with different motives. Some is folk myth, some is folk history, some is poetry and philosophy, some is about the purported life of one Jesus, and some is the recorded beliefs and opionions of his later followers.

Use the Name, Luke said...

"None of the mystical claims presented in the bible can be verified."

So, when historians — including historians skeptical of Christianity — tell us there's no reasonable doubt that Jesus walked the earth, was crucified by the Romans, that the tomb was found to be empty, and that his disciples were so convinced that he had raised from the dead that they were willing to stick to that story in spite of actually being executed for saying so, and even some former enemies of Christianity became equally convinced; then these historians — relying on more than just the documents included in the Bible — are just making things up and haven't verified anything?

For the record, historians also rely on additional information such as the writing of Josephus (a Jewish historian who was not a Christian), Tertullian (a Roman historian who was not a Christian), as well as various other writings of eyewitnesses and participants in these events, both sources friendly to and enemies of Christianity. Even serious historians who are extreme skeptics of Christianity are unwilling to deny these events as factual because they are aware that if they do so, they undermine every technique we have of understanding history. In other words, to deny these events, historians have to say that they know absolutely nothing about history. Period.

BTW, I also suspect you're unaware that archaeology routinely makes finds which agree with the Bible's claims about historical events.

Anonymous said...

his disciples were so convinced that he had raised from the dead that they were willing to stick to that story in spite of actually being executed for saying so

The original Kool-aid drinkers.

Anonymous said...

There are no eye-witness accounts and no writings about Jesus during his lifetime. The gospels were not written by the persons whose names are given to them. Accounts like Josephus' were written later "about" the Christians and their beliefs about Jesus (tho' some of Josephus writings were doctored later). There probably was such an itinerant rabbi called Jesus who attracted a following, as did John the Baptist and others. Later Saul of Tarsus (St Paul) completely changed the sect from a jewish one to one of his own interpretation and format, and then when the Roman Emperor Constantine made Christianity an official religion, one orthodox version was agreed upon and all others were rooted out as heresies; although schisms continued. There are now so many versions of Christianity that no one of them is likely to come close to whatever Jesus was about (though it would seem he was mainly campaigning against the corruption of the Jewish religion by the priesthood and their concern with the letter of the Law instead of the spirit of the Law).

Use the Name, Luke said...

"The original Kool-aid drinkers."

Small problem: Jim Jones was the only one who knew he was lying. The rest didn't know what the truth actually was.

Likewise, the 19 9/11 hijackers also believed what they were told, but they didn't have direct knowledge of the truth.

Unlike those Kool-aid drinkers (literally and figuratively), the disciples actually knew what the truth was. If they were lying, they knew that they were lying. If they had stolen Jesus' body, then they would know that they stole the body.

The point is simple: When you know what the truth is, you don't willingly suffer torture and death to defend what you KNOW is a lie.

Use the Name, Luke said...

Anon 11:10,

You (apparently) equate the Bible with Harry Potter novels, then you have the cojones to crib from The Davinci Code and present it as fact? Dude! That novel is just as fictional as the Harry Potter novels!

You got so much wrong that I'm not even going to bother responding to everything. But I will pick out a few things.

"There are no eye-witness accounts"

Bzzt. Wrong. One of the primary criteria in determining which documents were reliable enough to consider "canon" was that they must be either direct eyewitness accounts (such as the books of Matthew and John) or written by those with direct access to the eyewitnesses (such as Mark and Luke).

"no writings about Jesus during his lifetime."

Thanks for bringing up a perfect example of a "standard" which real, professional historians cannot use without throwing out 99.9% of what they know of history, especially ancient history. More on this below.

"Accounts like Josephus' were written later "about" the Christians and their beliefs about Jesus"

A) I noticed you "conveniently" ignored that Josephus wasn't the only one writing about them. As I said before, there was also Tacitus (I previously said Tertullian. That was wrong.), letters people sent to each other, and writings by skeptics and enemies.

B) This was true of every historian who documented events during that time period. (Which is why historians do not use your "standard".)

"(tho' some of Josephus writings were doctored later)."

You're talking about this passage:

"Now, there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man, for he was a doer of wonderful works—a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews, and many of the Gentiles. He was [the] Christ;"

Apparently, those who actually study such things, only the last phrase, "He was [the] Christ;" is in question. Josephus was apparently not a Christian, so such a statement would contradict what he believed, plus it's not a stylistic match with the rest.

Are you planning to just ignore what real historians have to say on the matter?

Anonymous said...

Luke, give it up. You are making a fool out of yourself. You poor delusional man.

Anonymous said...

Look Luke - I said "like" Josephus - he and the others merely report at a later date what Christians believed, that is not proof that even Christ existed let alone that anything the Christians believed about Jesus was true. And I repeat there are no known written accounts or report of Jesus made during his lifetime or for some time later. If you know of any do please tell. The gospels were not written as eye-witness accounts but like a record. The gospels were written decades after the purported life of Christ and were based on "Mark's" conciser version which ended before the alleged resurrection is clarified, and it is well understood that the last verses were added. "Mark" also says nothing about the birth of Jesus, and "Matthew" tries to make his version of the birth correspond to Old Testament prophesy to make it seem fulfiled. Frankly I don't think you know much about the actual Bible.

Anonymous said...

The Bible must be the Devil's work for he could not have devised a better way to sow confusion amongst manknd, to set them for centuries fighting and killing each other over its mere meaning, and creating misery up to this very day! If a good God wrote a Holy Book it would not have had such a result.

Robert said...

When I first heard that Psalms 109:8 said, "Let his days be few; and let another take his office", I got a good grin out of it, thinking it analogous to Yoda telling Darth Sidious, "At an end your rule is. And not short enough it was!" in Star Wars Episode III. Of course, the context of Yoda's remark was before he started dueling it out with the Sith. I do look forward to the November 2010 election and Obama's Democrat party being swept from power, and then calling out toward Obama from afar, "At an end your rule is. And not short enough it WAS!"