The Biblical Prophets vs. #AllLivesMatter

The Biblical Prophets vs. #AllLivesMatter July 8, 2016

Micah Gustave Dore poorlivesmatter

As I was thinking about the way some respond to #BlackLivesMatter with #AllLivesMatter, it struck me that people could have responded to the prophets in the Bible in the same way. Sure, poor lives matter, Micah and Amos. All lives matter. Stop focusing on just one group, when God cares about everyone.

The prophets would not have disputed that God cares about everyone, or even that all lives matter. But I imagine they would have said that different people have different needs. The poor need justice. The rich need to repent of their abuse of the poor and the way they use their power and privilege, and work for justice and equality, before it is too late. And if sometimes “God cares about everyone” can be a means for elevating the marginalized, sometimes that same language can be used in an attempt to maintain a status quo characterized by injustice.

What do you think? Does bringing the language of today back into a Biblical setting help make the point?

The engraving to which I added the speech bubbles, in case you don’t recognize it, is by Gustave Doré.

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  • Phil Ledgerwood

    I caught some of this the other day. Someone brought up Jesus’ comment about rich people passing through the eye of a needle, and people responded with how it’s a miracle for anyone to enter the kingdom, not just rich people.

    As if, yes, that’s the point Jesus should have made. Rich people are just like everyone else.

    • Uncle Dave

      Good point. And that is indeed the point I think Jesus possibly was making to the hearers at the time, 2000 years ago in Judea. At the time many thought wealth was a sign of God’s blessing on the rich and that they had special access to God but the teaching of Jesus turned that idea on its head.

      • Rusty Writer

        jesus never existed

        • If you are going to deny the consensus of secular historians and scholars, on a blog that has devoted years to debunking this popular big of internet nonsense, you will need to offer more than an unsubstantiated assertion.

          • Rusty Writer

            You are inspiring me to get back to my play about Galileo proving the bible got the entire solar system wrong. I need to write it simply enough it can be understood by the very people you speak down to. I believe good communication is clear and direct. PS I did not get my info from the internet. I love good old-fashioned libraries and spend a crazy amount of time in them. Nothing like old books.

          • Rusty Writer

            The only reason anyone today even knows the name of Jesus is because it suited the political purposes of Emperor Constantine to unify his reign under one religion. He made his slave Eusebius, THE church historian and a key bishop. Jerome, the son of Eusebius, wrote the bible we have today. But many gospels and epistles were discovered in the past century or so, and we therefore can catch glimpses of how much was left out or altered from the original collection of stories.

          • Rusty Writer

            I studied the bible in the original languages in seminary and Christian college. You assume I only casually looked at the internet. But you know what happens when you ass-u-me? You have yet to provide any evidence for your beliefs. In fact the link you gave me was you admitting you got the mythicist information all wrong.

          • You apparently did not read what I linked to, just as you didn’t bother to look at what I teach, never mind what I have studied. But nice try.

          • Rusty Writer

            I followed the link you gave me, and it said nothing substantive. The links your link directed me towards were all at least 5 years old. So, just give me one paragraph anyone wrote about Jesus while he was ‘alive’ and I will go.

          • Since you are repeating pseudohistorical nonsense that is much more than fove years old, why should I not link to a round-up of my blogging up until that point? You can start with my more recent posts on the topic, obviously, by clicking on the mythicism tag to find other posts on the topic.

            Why does someone have to have written about an individual when they are still alive for it to be adequate evidence? Why is a letter from someone who had met the individual’s brother not sufficient?

          • Rusty Writer

            You don’t even have a letter written while Jesus was supposedly alive mentioning his brother. Josephus was born 4 years after Jesus is said to have died, so when he wrote that mention of James he was a mature man, decades had passed since this Jesus guy supposedly existed and he did not bother to interview James. If Josephus believed James was the brother of the world’s Messiah Savior, he would not have just dropped that in passing. James and Jesus were common names and we have nothing more than a passing mention to go on?

          • I was not referring to Josephus.

          • Rusty Writer

            I tried again 4 hours later and still can’t link to your links.

          • You can’t link to this one, for instance? I can…


          • Rusty Writer

            Thanks, I’ll try now.

          • Rusty Writer

            Nope, I get “FEMA Helps Millions….” maybe it’s just this Notebook I am on right now. I will try again when I am home. PS Jerome “translated” the oldest bible in existence; there is no complete collection we can look at today older than his ‘translation’. Those who believe the bible was divinely inspired in the original form don’t realize or care that they believe in something which does not exist. There is no existing original document known as the bible. It’s really quite a complicated mess.

          • You seem to think the discussion here is about a purportedly divinely inspired Bible. I thought you wanted to talk about the historical figure of Jesus – which itself was a change of topic from that of the post. I am not sure why you could not have addressed that on a post about Jesus mythicism. There are hundreds to choose from.

          • I am a bit tired of having to repeat the same things over and over, and so perhaps you could start here?

            If you can provide a credible secular academic source which supports the claim that Jerome was the son of Eusebius the church historian and not someone else with that quite common name, and that Jerome wrote and did not merely translate the Bible, I would love to read it.

          • Rusty Writer

            Wait, you invited me to share my thoughts. I asked for a single paragraph written about Jesus while he was allegedly walking the earth. to your request:
            Jerome (/dʒəˈroʊm/; Latin: Eusebius Sophronius Hieronymus; Greek: Εὐσέβιος Σωφρόνιος Ἱερώνυμος; c.  347 – 30 September 420) was a presbyter, confessor, theologian and historian. He was the son of Eusebius, born at Stridon, a village near Emona on the border of Dalmatia and Pannonia, then part of northeastern Italy. sources:
            Scheck, Thomas P. Commentary on Matthew (The Fathers of the Church, Volume 117). p. 5. “”
            Maisie Ward, Saint Jerome, Sheed & Ward, London 1950, p. 7 “It may be taken as certain that Jerome was an Italian, coming from that wedge of Italy which seems on the old maps to be driven between Dalmatia and Pannonia.”
            Tom Streeter, The Church and Western Culture: An Introduction to Church History, AuthorHouse 2006, p. 102 “Jerome was born around 340 AD at Stridon, a town in northeast Italy at the head of the Adriatic Ocean.”

          • I provided a link to a round-up of what I myself have written on this topic just up until 2011, never mind everything I have written since then. i can understand why this level of engagement would make you want to run away. But I do wish you would actually do some research on this topic, from mainstream historical scholarship and not internet and fringe stuff that seems to be what you have been feeding yourself with, all of which has been discussed here countless times before.

          • Rusty Writer

            Nobody is ‘running away’. And I can see we won’t resolve this, so just give me anything at all written about Jesus during his life, and I will concede you are correct about everything else. 😉

          • We can resolve this when you stop advocating pseudoscholarly bunk and instead embrace mainstream historical scholarship.

            As I asked above, why is a letter from someone who had met Jesus’ brother within a few years of his death not sufficient historical evidence?

          • Rusty Writer

            Josephus was not born until 4 years after Jesus was reportedly no longer alive. So you faked a bit there on the time frame. Josephus is a prime example of someone proving Christians existed, but no help in determining if Jesus walked the earth.

          • Rusty Writer

            The classic definition of ‘mythology’ is ‘stories about men and their gods’ so all of the world’s scriptures fit that criteria. If you wish to believe one mythological tradition is actually history, I can’t stop you. I just have never seen a single written piece of evidence from the time when Jesus supposedly lived, no mention by Jews, Romans or even the Gospel writers until many decades later, after the fall of the 2nd temple in Jerusalem. Much later for John, of course. And we don’t actually know who wrote any of the Gospels in spite of the names attached.

          • Don’t change the subject to Josephus, and pick a thread and stick to it.

          • Rusty Writer

            You made the oblique reference to Josephus when you mentioned the reference to the brother of Jesus. MY POINT ALL ALONG IS THAT, IF JESUS EXISTED, NOBODY AT THE TIME NOTICED ENOUGH TO WRITE EVEN A SINGLE PARAGRAPH EXPLAINING HIS IMPACT ON THE WORLD.

          • No I did not. I made reference to Paul, who met Jesus’ brother within a few years of his death. If you do not know enough about this subject to know what the sources say, that is not a reason to get angry and write in all caps.

        • Uncle Dave

          I am so glad, that after all these centuries, you resolved that issue for everyone. Kind of tangential to the discussion though. We were talking about the comments in the Gospel accounts. Care to make a real comment of value?

  • Uncle Dave

    Maybe the should have phrased the slogan as “Black Lives Matter Too” so it would be clearer to the clueless.

  • Rusty Writer

    the bible is mythology, mainly written in the Bronze Age by anonymous authors, and their works were heavily edited and changed many times. Nobody should be discussing actual human lives today with ‘wisdom’ from ancient myths and parables. Parables are all the fictional character jesus ever used for the masses.

    • The Bible is not a book. Your unsubstantiated assertions are all downhill from there.

      • Rusty Writer

        Translation of the word bible: book.

        • No, it is a collection of books – and a wide array of other kinds of literature, if one is inclined to be precise.

          • Rusty Writer

            Translation of the word “bible” is “book.” Facts seem to upset you.

          • Evidence please. Ta biblia is Greek for “the books.” I realize that without context the neuter form can be confusing, especially for those who don’t know the language.

          • Rusty Writer

            The Greek word for bible is βίβλος

          • You may indeed be rusty, Rusty. That word does mean “book” but just as with “scriptures,” the historic way of referring to these works is using a plural.

            What seminary did you study at, out of curiosity? Conservative religious institutions do not always do students a service when it comes to language instruction, alas.

          • Rusty Writer

            Insults about my name and education. Oh well, I’m glad you don’t recommend conservative seminaries, a bit surprising coming from someone at a Campbellite institution with a seminary linked. PS still waiting for a single paragraph written about Jesus while he was ‘alive.’ Then we can discuss other issues.

          • You must be mistaken about where you think I teach.

          • Rusty Writer

            have you left Butler?

          • I wasn’t teaching at Butler a century ago. I teach at Butler University, the secular private university.

      • Rusty Writer

        minor point, so I will delete it for the sake of peace. I took out two words, so now please respond to the main points. thanks

        • Deleting comments to hide the fact that you were wrong is inappropriate, as it disrupts an entire conversation thread. If you intend to ever do that again, please let me know now so that I can refrain from wasting my time having further conversations with you that might end up incomprehensible when you engage in this socially unacceptable practice again.

          • Rusty Writer

            I struck the words for the sake of not allowing you to use non-sequitors to avoid my only real question: can anyone here provide any writings about Jesus from the time when was supposed to be alive? If not, let’s agree we can prove Christians existed, but not prove Christ existed. Or, if you prefer, we can say Christ existed but nobody noticed him enough to write down anything at all. Nothing from the Jews or Romans, even though he was the biggest thing of his time. Nothing even from the people who were assumed to have followed him for 50 to 100 years after he was dead, and written by anonymous writers. Not anything historical to go on there. Quotes that old are not quotes, they are writings to promote a belief system.

          • If you make up dates for sources then you can of course rewrite history. But for the last time, we will either have this conversation on a single thread or not at all.

          • Rusty Writer

            You are not conversing. You are throwing mud, non-sequitors and false claims. I am out of here. You are a pompous ass.

          • I have done none of those things. Who wrote about John the Baptist while he was alive? About Hillel? Do I really need to list the many people that have been written about only after their deaths, but whom historians judge to be historical? Why is it so hard for you to engage in serious conversation, rather than making nonsensical and demonstrably false assertions and then insulting others in an attempt to distract from your patent lack of familiarity with the relevant ancient sources?

  • Rusty Writer

    Can anyone here find anything written about Jesus during the time he is said to have been alive?

    • Please stop spamming. Why are you asking the same inane question in so many different comments?

      • Rusty Writer

        That is not spam. It was a simple request to others in hopes of getting an honest answer you chose not to provide. You see Jesus as the most important figure in his time and all time, but nobody noticed him when he supposedly existed? It is not inane to ask about that. You spent years assuming Jesus existed and writing backwards from there.

        • I did reply, to each of your other comment threads. Stop the troll behavior, including making up views and attributing them to me!

          • Rusty Writer

            Nope. You have not even once answered my main request: Can you or can you not provide one single writing about Jesus during the period when he was allegedly alive? How can it be that his followers and peers, the Jewish authorities and Roman authorities never noticed this man everyone was supposedly talking about?

          • Why on earth would you draw the conclusion that no one noticed him while he was alive, based on the fact that (to our knowledge) no one wrote about him while he was alive? What are you imagining, that he lived a few years ago in your own highly literate context and should have been mentioned in local papers, which you can still find archived at your public library?