Can We Just Put It Back?

CouchThe other day I was listening to a comedian on the radio tell a story that deeply resonated with me. Apparently his family had bought their first home and as they were moving their belongings into the house his wife was trying to decide where everything should go. He walked into the living room and placed the couch against the back wall, because it was the only place it would fit. But his wife was not sure that was the best place for the couch. She had him move it in front of the window, but it didn’t look right. She wanted the couch moved it to the other wall, but you couldn’t really see the TV. Next, they tried the fourth wall, but it stuck out over the doorway about two inches. They tried it in the middle of the room, but that just looked ridiculous. Finally, the wife decided they needed to put it against the back wall because that was the perfect place for the couch.

Just like that couch, the church has moved a lot over the last 1,500 years. After being established at Pentecost the church was remarkably unchanged for the first 300 years. According to the Acts Story, the early church met house to house and in the temple courts. They considered everything communal property and were willing to sacrifice for the good of others. (Acts 2:42-47). In 313 Emperor Constantine was the first one to move the couch with the Edict of Milan and in 380 Emperor Theodosius moves it again by making Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire. For the next 1,600 years through reformation and restoration we have moved the couch again and again trying to get it back to where God put it in the first place.

While our culture is in constant flux, the church stands in a unique position of trying to provide stability in an ever-changing world while remaining relevant to our culture. The question that every Church faces is how can we provide stability in a world that would rather get their news from The Daily Show on Comedy Central than the evening news. Our culture desperately needs the church to be relevant and for that to happen we must move the couch back to the place that God intended for it to be.

In the face of this change, I have hope. Over the last 15 years I have noticed an exciting trend in the communities where I have had the privilege to work and worship. There was a time when you moved to a new town the first thing you would look for was the name on the church sign. What I have noticed over the last 15 years is that fewer and fewer people care what name is on the building or even what doctrine is being preached and practiced. What they’re looking for is a place to belong, a place to be included, a place to be excepted. I’m a big believer in preaching good doctrine and for practicing good theology, but we have an opportunity to be relevant and to provide and answer to the bigger problem. As our culture continues to become more jaded and more isolated, the church can once again be the place where people of all kinds can come and find hope, help, love, and acceptance.

I wonder if there are times that we have been the Church for so long that we forgot what it is like to be the body. Where the world needs the Body, we have been offering them the Church. Where the world needs love and acceptance we have offered them tradition and structure. We have offered them what we thought they wanted and withheld what they really needed. We have moved the couch and we have no idea how to move it back.

For the past two years I have been volunteering in three different ministries learning what God designed the church to be. I am working with an adult center that serves adults with mental and physical disabilities, a men’s drug and alcohol rehab treatment center, and a hospitality center that feeds 120 homeless people daily. The language in these places is a bit salty, decent and in order allows for someone to act out a bit, and there have been a few times that I was a bit worried about what was going to be done or said. But in everyone of these places you can see Couchwhat the church is supposed to be; a place of true concern, acceptance, and love.

In these ministries I have seen folks reach out to comfort a fellow man in times of stress. I have seen folks sit and listen without condemning. I have seen folks share words of acceptance and forgiveness. I have seen hungry folks give the last piece of chicken to someone else who was hungry. What I have seen in these places is the very same thing I have seen in the people who walk into our doors on Sunday Mornings. It is the very same thing I see in the book of Acts when the Church was acting like the Body.

The Church flourished in the first century because it was a place of mutual sacrifice and acceptance. As our world seeks out new ways to find the truth, the church must be willing to navigate different ways to reach out to the broken people that are deeply loved by God. We must be willing to have the difficult conversations that keep people up at nights. We need a bit of satire in a world full of stress; we must understand the need for levity in a world full of anxiety. I am not sure that if Jesus walked into one of our worship services, those times we meet once a week and sit solemn faced looking at the back of one another’s heads, He would recognize it. For the church to survive and even flourish it must get back to the call to be a family; the place where folks who are struggling and broken can come together to uplift to encourage and support. We need to navigate the winds of change so that we can put the couch back where it was in the beginning.

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  1. Church as a place to belong, to be accepted, to help the poor and downtrodden, etc, etc, etc. Where is the place where People meet and know Jesus Christ? THAT is the church. I am all for and spend significant time in my local congregation helping and supporting such ministries, but unless Jesus is lifted up, how can He draw these men and women to himself. Jesus said: “Go and make disciple.” Jesus said: “You will be my witnesses.” I believe churches are failing, not because we are not doing enough to make the world a better place, which is NOT our mission, it is God’s, but we are failing to reveal to the world the REAL Jesus Christ, His grace and forgiveness and new life.

  2. Charlie thank you for your kind reply and you are correct. Our job is to point people to Christ who will redeem the broken. But how do we do that? In Matthew 25 we read the parable of the sheep and goats. In that parable Jesus says to the sheep, “Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.” I may be wrong, but to me that sounds like making the world a better place by loving and accepting the people that Christ died to redeem. We point people to Christ by loving them, accepting them, and making our faith a verb. We lift Jesus up by acting like Jesus.

  3. If you want to follow Jesus you should hate your parents, your wife, your children, your siblings, and yourself. If you don’t you can’t be his disciple and if you’re not his disciple he’s going to torment you in hell for all eternity. This is exactly the opposite of all of that love and acceptance talk from your post here. Why would you want to follow this guy?

    Luke 14:26, “If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple.”

  4. lol. That’s literally what the text says. “Miseo” is the greek word translated as hate because that’s what miseo means. I am literally just repeating what the text says. So, Matt, do you hate your whole family so that you can be a disciple of Jesus?

    • You are repeating a literal translation from Greek to English. You aren’t considering what that meant in their day or the fact that this wasn’t even spoken in Greek in the first place and was spoken to a Jewish audience. There are several things that Semitic sense of miseo is to love less, not an outright hatred. The Hebrew equivalent sane is more about abandoning something…that Jesus is calling them to leave things that are of utmost importance of them in order to follow him. Even that doesn’t mean they literally had to leave their family as Peter certainly didn’t do that but to not put family above Jesus, which for some will result in having to leave their biological family behind. Even without all of that there is something called hyperbole that is good to be familiar with in reading scripture. I am sure you are well aware of that…things are said very strongly to make a point that lasts. Just a few things to consider.

      • Yes, I am repeating a literal translation from Greek to English. Miseo means hate and it means hate in every instance the word is used in the NT. Hyperbole? You mean he exaggerated how much a person should dislike their own family in order to be his disciple? lol, that makes no sense.

        So what if Jesus didn’t say this in Greek. The Greek gospels are our only account of what he said. How could we possibly know if they translated it wrong?

        Miseo does not mean love less, it means hate. Not that Hebrew has anything to do with this topic but miseo is translated sana. Sana means hate as well, not love less, not to abandon something. Don’t distort the truth.

          • Ok, I’ll retract my claim that you were distorting the truth. You’ve already agreed that miseo means hate. It seems to me that you’re making the claim that in order to properly interpret the gospels you cannot simply translate from Greek to English you must first translate from Greek to whatever the language is of the the primary audience and then translate that into English, correct? Even under that requirement miseo means sana which means hate in English. Therefore, why should anyone interpret Luke 14:26 in any way than what I just did earlier, which was the most literal and accurate to the translation interpretation that can be made?

        • Thank you Jay. Here is what Bauer (BDAG) says on miseo,

          ① to have a strong aversion to, hate, detest
          ② to be disinclined to, disfavor, disregard

          They list examples of the 2nd definition as: Mat 6:24, Lk 16:13, John 12:25, Lk 14:26, Rom 9:13, and Lk 14:26.

          So let’s take another instances of this and see how we can determine which end of the range of meaning one chooses that fits the sense of the word in a particular context. In John 12:25 Jesus says, “Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.”

          Yet we also know that Jesus taught that we are to love ourselves (Mt22:39, Mk 12:31) and so we see that the sense of having a disregard for ones life is a better translation there than it is to actually hate yourself.

          So what is a literal translation of miseo in Lk 14:26…it is just as literal to say ““If anyone comes to me and does not disregard father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. 27 And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.” as it is to translate it “hate”. The first makes more sense in the context of Jesus’ broader message and even in the immediate literary context than does “hate.”

          I think what is going on here is one of those “teachings of scale” where a strong contrast is being presented to make the point. That is where hyperbole comes in. You misread my intention above in mentioning hyperbole…Jesus is using strong language to make his point that discipleship with Jesus comes above all other things…everything else pales in comparison with the priority of being a disciple.

          My point on the original languages was more about the underlying culture and how they said and heard things moreso than to say one must back translate into Aramaic to accurately translate the text…it would be speculative to take that approach on any given verse and unnecessary as well…I see how you would have gotten that from what I wrote.

          Hope this is helpful.

          • This is a perfect illustration of the circular reasoning of apologists like yourself and Bauer. The first definition that you list, “1.) to have a strong aversion to, hate, detest”, is the actual meaning of the word ‘miseo’. The second definition that you list, “2.) to be disinclined to, disfavor, disregard”, is not the meaning of the word ‘miseo’ but was added by theists like Bauer in order to eliminate a contradiction.

            The contradiction exists because, in one instance, Jesus said that we are to love ourselves and in another instance he says that we should hate our life. Instead of just accepting this as a contradiction, which you cannot do because you are not open to the possibility that you might be wrong about your belief in the bible, you change the definition of the word ‘miseo’ or allow someone else to do it for you (Bauer) and then go with that new definition in order to eliminate the contradiction so that you can continue believing what you want to believe.

            It’s circular because the definition that you use to eliminate the contradiction was created in order to eliminate the contradiction. You start with the assumption that there cannot be contradictions in the bible and then change the definitions of words to validate that assumption.

            If you can simply change the definition of a word because it “makes more sense in the context of Jesus’ broader message”, meaning it doesn’t contradict his broader message, then you can eliminate all contradictions. You can believe that you’ve eliminated the contradictions if you want but your belief does not resemble reality.

            The truth is ‘miseo’ means ‘hate’, not “to be disinclined to, disfavor, disregard”. If it meant the latter then why do the vast majority of translations translate it as ‘hate’? Isn’t it true that the latter definition was created solely because it “makes more sense in the context of Jesus’ broader message” because it does not contradict the other things he’s reported to have said? You’ve essentially said this already I’d just like to clarify that this is indeed the case.

        • You are right that this would be circular reasoning if all we had were the usages of miseo in the Gospels in these couple of instances. I would say you have a valid point. But that is not the case at all. Bauer wasn’t an apologist. Walter Bauer was one of the most preeminent lexicographers that has ever lived. He devoted his life to studying the meaning of Koine Greek and the book I cited is probably the most widely used and respected Lexicons of the Greek New Testament. Needless to say, Bauer is fallible but he has massive amounts of credibility on these matters.

          Words are given definitions based on how they are used in a variety of contexts (in the Bible and outside the Bible). The second definition exists because it is used that way in enough instances in the ancient world to warrant the definition…not because Bauer was solely focused on exegeting Luke 14:26! So when you asked,

          “Isn’t it true that the latter definition was created solely because it “makes more sense in the context of Jesus’ broader message” because it does not contradict the other things he’s reported to have said? ”

          The answer is certainly no. It is not true that this definition was drummed up based on 2 verses to make Jesus consistent. It seems you have the cart before the horse here or at least you believe Bauer must have. But that alone isn’t proof that the word is used as I am saying it is used…but the evidence speaks for itself if you want to look at it.

          Let’s start with an overview and then go to specific occurrences:
          LXX (Septuagint) uses miseo (usually to translate sana) 175 times.
          NT uses miseo 40 times.
          Extra-biblical literature uses miseo all over the place from Homer’s Illiad (Book 17, 272) to Menander to the church fathers (2 Clement 6:6)…we can get into this one more later if you like but first let’s look at what is most important for this discussion – the OT & NT.

          LXX/OT’s use of miseo
          Gen 29:31-33 – The word appears twice….Jacob didn’t hate Leah! She was not loved like Rachel was loved.
          Deut 19:11 – enmity
          Deut 21:15-17 – does not mean that they literally hated one wife but that there is one who is preferred over another. Sirach 42:9 also has this usage of miseo
          Deut 22:13, 24:3 both carry the idea of dislike rather than hate
          Judges 11:7 – since of rejection/disdain
          2 Sam 18:28 – to lift the hands against someone
          Prov 11:15 – denotes trouble/strife (which can create an enemy, of course)
          Prov 14:20 – the poor are disliked by their neighbors
          Ecc 8:1 – the hatred of someone’s face?

          NT examples:
          John 12:25 – “Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.”
          Luke 14:26-27 – ” “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. 27 And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.”
          Rom 9:13 (quoting Mal 1:2-3 – “Just as it is written: “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”

          Kittel notes that miseo is the normal word used in place of sana in the LXX (Septuagint) and is a word that is typically used when people are at enmity with each other. It can mean hatred, dislike, or the negative side of a preference (one wife is preferred over another – Deut 21:15-17). He notes that Luke 14:26 is this very Hebraism that one finds in the Torah in regard to the wife that is loved less…not the favorite/prefered one. In other words, Jesus is saying that one cannot prefer their family ties over their discipleship. He goes on to say, “The requirement for discipleship in Lk 14:26 (Mt. 10:37); Jn 12:25 is striking…the reference is not to hate in the psychological sense, but to disowning, renunciation, rejection, as in the Wisdom literature of the OT. Those who become disciples of Jesus must be committed exclusively to Him; they cannot be bound to anyone or anything else. The term ‘hate’ demands the separation of the disciple, and the warning not to love anyone or anything more is the test. This abnegation is to be taken, not psychologically or fanatically but pneumatically and chistocentrically.” (Vol 4, 690-691).

          If you go back to the section he has on the Wisdom literature he shows that miseo in the LXX there has a wide range of meaning from hatred to being against something to rejecting something or having an aversion for something and not always against people but against wisdom, discipline, etc…that is why he says this miseo/sana hatred is not always a psychological experience toward another person but can be a concept that is more about disdain or disregard even toward a concept rather than a person.

          It is entirely possible that the circular reasoning argument actually works against you. In your case, the temptation would run along these lines – Because Jesus is not divine and because he is surely mistaken then it only makes sense that anything that appears contradictory must be so.

          The circular reasoning may well be keeping you from understanding the meaning of the text…I am sure you would say that is exactly what I am doing. The main thing I am trying to do in this post is help you see why there is a secondary definition beyond “hate” that does fit how this word is used in the actual ancient world and in the text…that is where definitions come from. Lexicographers don’t stake their careers on trying to harmonize individual texts by coming up with words to make sense of things. It is based on a much broader field of evidence than you or I are even aware exists…lie what these people do – http://stephanus.tlg.uci.edu/history.php

          • I’m not going to go over every single example you brought up and analyze the Hebrew words that were translated into Koine Greek. Just scanning through some of the examples you brought up. How do you know Jacob didn’t hate Leah? The word that is used there literally means hate. Maybe he did. You claim that he didn’t hate her but you’re just basing that on your own assumption and the assumption of the rest of your Christian authorities who seek to alter the text in order to justify their beliefs.

            How do you know Jacob didn’t hate Leah? It says that he did. Why do you continually claim that the text doesn’t say what it literally says?

            How do you know that the poor were only disliked by their neighbors and not hated as the text says in Prov 14:20? You make assertion after assertion and you can’t back up any of it.

            If your god wanted people to understand his book accurately maybe he should’ve used different words that actually meant what he wanted to say!

            Rom 9:13… maybe he hated Esau. How do you know that he didn’t? Maybe, just maybe, these books were written by primitive people using a primitive language and they clumsily used words that they shouldn’t have. Did you ever consider that? The text says that he hated Esau. How do you know that he didn’t hate Esau? Your alteration of the definition of miseo is based on your assertion that what these verses literally say is not what they actually mean.

            Miseo means hate. You cannot change that definition because you don’t like it. Miseo doesn’t suddenly mean “the negative side of a preference” because Christians assert that Jacob couldn’t possibly have hated his wife Leah as the text says he did. Miseo is used many times in the NT and it obviously means hate. I notice you didn’t list any of those examples. Why don’t you use that precedence in your interpretation of Luke 14:26? The answer is because it would contradict other verses in the bible.

            You want to change the definition of miseo? First prove to me that God didn’t hate Esau. Then prove to me that Jacob didn’t hate Leah. The problem for you is that even if you did find an instance of where God says, “I love Esau”, it would just mean that either it’s a contradiction or God just changed his mind about Esau. You can’t change the text no matter how badly you might want to.

        • Let me try this again…words have meaning that is based on how it is used (context). Lexicographers have concluded that this word typically means hate but also has a range of meaning that includes the things I have listed. That is what the experts say who have spent a lifetime studying the biblical text as well as a zillion other extra biblical texts in order to form their opinions. I am not changing the definition of miseo. I am telling you what the experts in the field of lexicography say about the word. Hope that makes sense.

          What is happening here is that you are denying that it has the range of meaning that the experts say it has. How do you justify ignoring or denying that…whichever it is you are doing there?

        • I actually would encourage you to go over every example as it will give you a flavor of how this word is used. That will be helpful in you establishing the meaning of the word from the Bible.

          Second, I looked up sane in HALOT. Here is what I found:
          1 – to hate
          2 – to not be able to endure a woman any longer, decrease her status
          3 – one who hates/enemy (this happens a lot in the psalms)

          Thought you might find that helpful…commentators (who are biased because they are Christian, of course) believe that what Jesus said in Luke 14:26 has these Hebrew undertones of leaving aside or abandon. See Marshall’s NIGTC, 592.

          • You gave me a few examples in the NT where miseo is used where you think it means something other than hate. What about the other 40 or so examples of where miseo is used? Why didn’t you bring those up? You didn’t bring those up because you know that nearly every example of miseo being used in the NT is translated ‘hate’ and no one disputes that. So why don’t you consider that context? You use an ancient Greek translation of the Hebrew language Old Testament to try to find context for a greek word used in the New Testament but you disregard the 40 other times miseo is used in the NT? Your bias is clearly showing.

            You want to talk about experts since you seem to be using the argument from authority so much here… how about the fact that nearly every translation translates miseo in Luke 14:26 as ‘hate’. I’m just telling you what the experts are saying as well so why do you think they’re all wrong?

        • I am establishing the secondary meaning…not the primary meaning. I could be wrong. You are saying miseo can only be translated as hate. I don’t agree. I am not skipping verses because they don’t make my point. We have already agreed on the primary definition of the word…why would I go point all of those at when we agree on that? I have shown you verses in the OT as well that point in that direction. There is a case to be made for it. Lexicographers agree. I guess we will just have to disagree on this one and you will continue to see it as a contradiction. I guess the gospel writers weren’t smart enough to leave that verse out…or maybe they knew Jesus was making a point that they really think we need to hear if you have ears to hear it.

          • So you agree that no one is disputing the translation of ‘miseo’ as ‘hate’ in nearly other instance of its usage in the NT but in this one instance where a contradiction would exist if it were translated as ‘hate’ you and your Christian authorities have decided that it should mean something else. What a surprise!

            You agree that the primary definition of ‘miseo’ is ‘hate’. You also don’t dispute that nearly every other instance of ‘miseo’ in the NT is translated as ‘hate’. Therefore, at the very least, you could say that a preponderance of evidence exists to believe that ‘miseo’ means ‘hate’ in Luke 14:26 just like in every other instance of its usage in the NT. Knowing all of this you would have to agree that it’s very possible that you are wrong on this and that it does mean hate and therefore there is a contradiction, wouldn’t you? Isn’t the simplest answer that it means exactly what it’s translated as meaning by all of the translations? Why would your god require you to go through such lengths to create a new definition of a word and use that definition just once in the NT but in a completely different way in every other instance? Why would he use a word that is clearly translated as hate to describe how a disciple of his should feel towards his own family and himself? Why would you expect any rational, decently intelligent person to think that this is how an omniscient and loving god would behave? I can’t believe this nonsense and how could your god blame someone for not being able to believe it?

            That’s one of the really big problems I have with your religion. You and I can discuss issues like this and if at the end of that discussion we both come to a different conclusion, one of us is going to end up being tortured in hell for all eternity simply for being wrong, according to your religion. Can you not see how a person could come to the conclusion I came to concerning Luke 14:26? Even if you disagree with my conclusion would you consider it an unreasonable one? I understand how you came to your conclusion. I wouldn’t call it a completely unreasonable one and I certainly don’t think that you will be tortured in hell for all eternity for coming to that conclusion. Reasonable people can come to different conclusions and yet you’re the only one who believes that some of those reasonable people will be tortured in hell for all eternity and deservedly so. Doesn’t that cause alarm bells to go off in your mind? It does in mine and it does in many other people as well.

            Imagine someone wanted to debate a topic with me and told me up front that if I came to a conclusion that is different from theirs that I will be tortured forever. The first thought that’s going to enter my mind will be: wow, they must not have a very convincing argument.

            Any position that requires the deliberate punishment of someone for coming to a reasonable conclusion that is contrary to that position or punishes that person for simply lacking belief is an obviously false position.

            Yet here we are coming to different conclusions. We’ve both made arguments, we’ve both thought it through and given it considerable thought, and you’re the only one amongst the two of us who thinks that the other should be burned in hell for coming to a different conclusion.

        • Jay, I am only going to say this one more time…I think you have heard it but you haven’t acknowledged it. This verse didn’t create a secondary definition of miseo. It exists apart from this verse. Just like in English words have a range of meaning that isn’t determined by a single usage and context helps one determine which meaning (definition and gloss if you want to get particular) is to be used in any given instance.

          When did I say you will go to hell if you mis-translate miseo in Luke 14?

  5. And by context you simply mean that it would contradict other parts of the bible. What context are you providing? All you’ve provided is that you think that a similar word was used in Genesis and a few other instances to mean something other than hate. Even if that were true how does that mean that miseo must be translated to something other than hate in Luke? The best you could possibly claim is that it’s possible that Luke 14:26 might have meant something other than hate. But you still haven’t shown that those few instances you brought up in the OT have to mean something other than hate. You have no foundation for what you’re claiming.

    There’s no way that I could possibly believe that a higher power would require me to hate myself and my family to follow him. Therefore, I do not believe in the god of the bible. The bible says that unbelievers will be sent to hell.

    Matthew 25:41, “Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels;”

    You didn’t have to tell me that I’m going to hell if I mis-translate miseo in Luke 14. Your bible condemns me for not believing in its god and you believe the bible, do you not?

    • By context I am talking about the context of the passage, the context of the Gospels (all that Jesus said), the cultural context including their knowledge of the OT including the LXX. That is the primary evidence. After that come the lexicographers who spend their life devoted to these things…again, studying 1000s of ancient documents (biblical and extra-biblical) in compiling their work in order to establish definitions. That is what they do. Your coming along saying the word cannot have a secondary definition doesn’t outweigh that in the least. That is my evidence. It seems your reading of the text demands you ignore that evidence. Just how it seems to me.

      A higher power does not require you to hate yourself…a higher power requires that you put him/God first through faith in Jesus Christ. The offer of life is on the table to accept or reject. That is your call.

      • You’re saying that your Christian authorities who have spent their lives coming up with ways to manipulate and change the text in order to iron out contradictions outweigh all of the translations of the bible that translate miseo in Luke 14:26 to ‘hate’. I am literally just quoting the translation. You and your Christian authorities are the ones who are trying to change definitions of words and, yes, by adding a definition to a word and using that definition you are attempting to change the definition of the word.

        What context in Luke 14 adds your definition of miseo? I could just as easily say that the context of the entire NT where miseo clearly means hate outweighs all of your purported context. It seems that your desire to believe that there are no contradictions in the bible demands that you ignore the actual text and meanings of words!

        Matt: “The offer of life is on the table to accept or reject. That is your call.”

        Is that how you characterize a threat from your god to brutally torture me for all eternity for coming to a reasonable conclusion that he doesn’t like? If someone put a gun to your head and demanded that you believe in unicorns how would you feel if someone told you, “The offer of life is on the table to accept or reject. That is your call.”?

        That sounds really fair, doesn’t it? Someone threatens to kill another person and then tells them that the offer of life is on the table to accept or reject. That’s what thugs do. Thugs like your god. It’s exactly the same thing the mafia does. The mafia goes to a business and offers protection as long as the business pays them for the protection. If they don’t accept it they’re brutalized by the mafia. Your god works the same way. Your god offers protection (eternal life) but you must believe in him to get it but if you refuse that protection he brutalizes you. And then guys like you come along and say things like “The offer of life is on the table to accept or reject. That is your call.”

        How repulsive and unjust and inhumane your religion is. Your god was a thug who brutally murdered innocent people: men, women, children, old people, and animals. He enslaved people. He considers burnt flesh a “pleasing aroma”. He commanded people to rape women and young girls and slaughter babies and you follow this god? Of course, your god didn’t actually do any of that because he clearly doesn’t exist.

        • I am saying the door is open to all. I am saying that because that is what God offers. He offers it to you just as much and as freely as he offers it to me. I am sorry you are so hurt. I really am. I wish I could fix that for you but I can’t even fix that for myself. Only God can do that.

          I am curious if you would like to respond to Genesis 29 quoted above because it makes my point perfectly.

        • I realize my last question there could come across as cold…I didn’t intend that. The answer to the use of miseo in this verse is very important and it is obviously affecting your conception of God…that is why I want to bring the conversation back to that. DIdn’t mean for it to sound harsh! So sorry.

    • Genesis 29:30-32,

      “Jacob made love to Rachel also, and his love for Rachel was greater than his love for Leah. And he worked for Laban another seven years. When the Lord saw that Leah was not loved, he enabled her to conceive, but Rachel remained childless. Leah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Reuben, for she said, “It is because the Lord has seen my misery. Surely my husband will love me now.” – Gen 29:30-32

      There is the point exactly…he loved her less and as a result of her having a child, Leah thought she might get on equal “love” footing with Jacob.

      Thoughts?

      • I’m not hurt, I’m explaining the absurdity of your religion. Your quote was no different than what the mafia does. You didn’t even attempt to dispute that.

        Matt: “I am saying the door is open to all”. So is the mafia. Your god is absolutely no different. Everyone can pay protection to the mafia and live or they can be brutally murdered by the mafia.

        Genesis 29 is a great illustration of how the bible cannot possibly be the word of an intelligent god. Verse 30 says that Jacob loved Rachel more than Leah. That seems to imply that he did love Leah, just not as much as Rachel. I’m not sure what translation you’re using but in verse 31 the KJV translates it as ‘hated’, not ‘not loved’. The NASB translates it as ‘unloved’ but it lists a footnote and says that the literal translation is ‘hated’. So yes, the translation is ‘hated’. Verse 32 suggests that Leah was not loved by her husband since she was hoping that by having a baby he “will love me now”, not just that she was loved less. Verse 32 seems to contradict verse 30 since verse 30 just says that Rachel was loved more than Leah, not that Leah was unloved. However, if Leah was unloved then I don’t see how you could possibly say that the literal translation of ‘hated’ does not apply. lol, what a confusing, contradictory mess the bible is.

        • Finally you are getting to it! Wrestle with Genesis 29 a bit. It isn’t contradictory. You just don’t live in their world…again or speak Hebrew. Just like with English…translation has shades of meaning and the context helps one sort it out. If I say that I love ice cream you wouldn’t assume that I would die for it like I would my wife.

          • You suggest that because I don’t live in their world and don’t Hebrew that this would be confusing to me as it would be confusing to anyone in the 21st century?

            Was Leah loved? Verse 30 suggests that she was, just not as much as Rachel. Verse 31 says that she was hated (or unloved as you say). Verse 32 says that Leah was hoping Jacob “will love me now” meaning that he didn’t love her before. So which is it?

            If Leah was not loved by Jacob as verse 32 suggest then why couldn’t he have hated her as the text says?

            I don’t think you can answer these questions because the text is contradictory but one thing I do know is that you cannot claim that the word translated ‘hated’ must mean ‘loved less’ because the text and context doesn’t support that claim.

            You agree that Christianity is absurd. Merriam-webster defines absurd as: “ridiculously unreasonable, unsound, or incongruous”. Matt thinks that Christianity is ridiculously unreasonable, unsound, or incongruous.

            Great, I guess my job here is done.

        • Why do people study a language like Greek or Hebrew for 4-5 years in school and still not get the hang of it? I am saying that you aren’t living in their world with the nuance that they understand. Just like my example of love in English…someone comes to the US and learns English I am sure it is odd that we love chocolate and love our spouse…I am trying to illustrate how words have shades of meaning but you are stuck on ignoring that point. If you are stuck on playing the ignoring game then your job here is done, yes.

          It is absurd from a worldly way of thinking…that is why it is called faith. It is not absurd from a faith perspective. I was relating to how you feel from the other side of it…I get how it is odd. That is all I am saying. Paul talks about that in 1 Cor 1.

          • Imagine you substituted the word ‘hate’ for ‘love’ in Luke 14:26. It would now read, “If anyone comes to Me, and does not love his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple.”

            Would you assume that he meant that you must love your family more than him because sometimes words have different meanings based on their context? No, you would just accept the text as it is and say that he’s simply telling people that they must love their family and themselves or they cannot be his disciple. There’s nothing in the context that would give you sufficient reason to claim that love here means to love your family more than Jesus.

            Imagine if I took a very simple to understand verse like that and made the claim that he’s actually saying that they must love their family more than Jesus because sometimes words have different meanings and I think that another word for ‘love’ was used in the OT as loving someone more even though I can’t even establish how I know that it was actually used this way or how that would have anything to do with a verse in the NT. That’s just not logical thinking.

            Your ice cream/wife analogy is irrelevant because the difference between the use of the word love is obvious because in one instance you’re talking about an object (ice cream) and in another you’re talking about your wife. That’s the kind of context that would inform us of the meaning of ‘love’. There’s nothing like that in Luke 14:26. Just because some words have different meanings in different contexts doesn’t mean that all words have different meanings and that you can subsitute whatever meaning you want regardless of whether the context demands it.

            Matt: “It is absurd from a worldly way of thinking…that is why it is called faith.”

            What you’re saying is: it’s absurd from a logical way of thinking, that’s why we choose to believe without evidence or rational thought.

            Faith is belief in the absence of proof. It’s not a virtue. It’s the same type of naive thinking that results in people believing all kinds of things that aren’t true. If all you have is faith then you’re probably believing something that isn’t true.

          • Your switching words in the verse is irrelevant because we do have actual words with actual meanings there that are widely agreed upon by everyone that I can track down but you. Can you find a single scholar/lexicographer even in Judaism who agrees with your position? Even Judaism’s take as far as I have seen so far agrees with me. I guess they just do that to keep Jesus consistent and prove him right? Why do Jewish scholars agree with me not you?

        • So let’s take the Christian influence out of it and go back to Genesis 29 to show that Jacob loved Leah less and that the sane/miseo can mean love less. We will turn to Jewish interpretations. We really don’t need to do that since 29:30 straight up tells us that he loved Rachel more than Leah but we will do this just to show you that this is about what the word means in the passage and not Christians trying to iron out Jesus…Judaism has no dog in the fight,

          http://www.torah.org/learning/women/class55.html
          http://www.hebrew4christians.com/Scripture/Parashah/Summaries/Vayetzei/Veiled_Faces/veiled_faces.html
          http://www.aish.com/jl/b/eb/kbc/Jacob-vs-Esau-Part-II-Jacob-Becomes-Israel.html

          That is just a start but it is enough…this isn’t some plot Christians drummed up to get Jesus off the hook. This is, again and again, a legit translation of these words. I don’t think there is any way you can hold to your assertion that translators and lexicographers are bound to keep Jesus consistent here by making up a new definition to fit this verse…hopefully this will be the evidence you need to see you theories have to be pretty far flung to now include ancient and modern Jewish interpretation being in on the ruse.

          • You want me to find someone who agrees with my position that the text reads as it is translated by scholars? All I’ve done is quoted multiple English translations that all use the same translation: miseo means hate. That’s hardly a position that needs defending.

            Here are a couple of Greek to English translations:
            edit: (apparently I can’t post links on here)

            Guess what? Miseo means hate and only hate.

            Scholars have translated Luke 14:26 as, “If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple.” Therefore my position is that a person must hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life otherwise he cannot be a disciple of Jesus and you tell me I’m wrong when I’m literally just repeating the text!

            All of the translations agree with me since all I’ve done is repeated their translations. The English word ‘hate’ which scholars have chosen as the most accurate translation of ‘miseo’ means, “a very strong feeling of dislike”, “intense hostility and aversion usually deriving from fear, anger, or sense of injury”, “extreme dislike or antipathy : loathing”

            I’ve already proven my position: that the text is what it is.

            It hardly took much effort on my part honestly.

            Your position has resorted to the same thing your positions always resort to: a bunch of theists agree with me so I must be right.

            I can already see how this would go with any challenge I make to the bible. You’ll quote other theists (your Christian authorities) who disagree with me or agree with you and think that you’re proving your point.

            If ‘miseo’ meant to ‘love less’ in Luke 14:26 then why didn’t the translators translate it that way!

            Of course your fellow theists agree with an interpretation that removes a contradiction from the bible. Why don’t you try removing yourself from that groupthink Christian bubble and think for yourself for a change?

        • We have agreed that miseo means hate. We agree that one can accurately translate the word miseo as hate. I haven’t contended that at all. What Jesus said is a punch in the gut for sure. It is a forceful word. That was his point…to say something that would get their attention. But what did he mean for people to get out of that when he said it? I believe (as biased as I am, of course…I really mean that because we all come from somewhere as best as we want to be objective) that he wanted people to see that being a follower of Jesus would be tough. There wasn’t anything they should value more highly than that. That it would cost them something…even their family for some. I don’t think he meant you literally have to hate people to be a Christian because that flies in the face of the very core of who Jesus is…so he must mean something else. Call me crazy…really, it’s fine 🙂 That is what I think is going on here. Is it circular reasoning? You can call it that. I call it believing in a Messiah who had a consistent message and so you find the meaning in these tough verses partially through seeing how they line up with other things he said.

          Let’s say I am talking with 2 people online and say something really harsh to them…one person I know very well and love…and they love me too. The other person I don’t have any relationship. I say the same tough thing to both. The person I have a relationship with will better be able to handle and understand what I said in light of all the other times we spoke in the past and the love they know I have for them than the person I don’t know will be able to understand.

          I think that is an analogy for these types of verses. I know Jesus. I know he speaks the truth. I know he calls me to love. So when he talks about hating people I start trying to figure that one out as best I can because I know the man and I believe he is consistent 100%. I know you aren’t in that spot so you aren’t as interested in the consistency…maybe you are more interested in the inconsistency which would be your own bias. Both approaches will take you somewhere and both of us feel our interpretation takes us to the more accurate conclusion.

  6. You want me to find someone who agrees with my position that the text reads as it is translated by scholars? All I’ve done is quoted multiple English translations that all use the same translation: miseo means hate. That’s hardly a position that needs defending.

    Here are a couple of Greek to English translations:
    https://translate.google.com/?hl=en#el/en/%CE%BC%CE%B9%CF%83%CE%AD%CF%89
    http://www.kypros.org/cgi-bin/lexicon

    Guess what? Miseo means hate and only hate.

    Scholars have translated Luke 14:26 as, “If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple.” Therefore my position is that a person must hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life otherwise he cannot be a disciple of Jesus and you tell me I’m wrong when I’m literally just repeating the text!

    All of the translations agree with me since all I’ve done is repeated their translations. The English word ‘hate’ which scholars have chosen as the most accurate translation of ‘miseo’ means, “a very strong feeling of dislike”, “intense hostility and aversion usually deriving from fear, anger, or sense of injury”, “extreme dislike or antipathy : loathing”

    I’ve already proven my position: that the text is what it is.

    It hardly took much effort on my part honestly.

    Your position has resorted to the same thing your positions always resort to: a bunch of theists agree with me so I must be right.

    I can already see how this would go with any challenge I make to the bible. You’ll quote other theists (your Christian authorities) who disagree with me or agree with you and think that you’re proving your point.

    If ‘miseo’ meant to ‘love less’ in Luke 14:26 then why didn’t the translators translate it that way!

    Of course your fellow theists agree with an interpretation that removes a contradiction from the bible. Why don’t you try removing yourself from that groupthink Christian bubble and think for yourself for a change?

  7. torah.org doesn’t even dispute that Leah was hated they just suggest that it wasn’t Jacob who hated her. This doesn’t help your case at all. In fact, it does that opposite.

    hebrew4christians.com thought that “the sages” thought that “it was as if he hated Leah in comparison”. But then it says, “A midrash states that Leah was hated not by Jacob but rather by the residents of the area.”. In one paragraph it says that Jacob probably didn’t hate her and that it just seemed like he did in comparison but then in the next paragraph it says that she might have been hated but only by the residents and not by Jacob. So, in one instance it isn’t translated as hate and in another it is. Apparently “the sages” and a midrash disagreed. This doesn’t help your case either.

    aish.com states that “Leah saw herself as the hated wife”. Looks like they don’t agree with you here either. But then they begin to speculate with, “Now it’s hard to believe that a righteous man like Jacob would actually “hate” his wife.” And then they speculate that “Compared to how one should feel towards his beloved spouse, Jacob “hated” Leah.” They have nothing to base this on. This is just simply their opinion that surely a good guy like Jacob didn’t actually hate his wife. They’re doubting the text just like you are! I find it so telling that you cannot accept a literal reading of scripture. You have to alter it or accept the alterations made by other theists who change the meaning of scripture throughout the centuries so that each generation can find a way to believe in it.

    • You are cherry picking around the things that don’t agree with your position. My point stands…even the Jews were saying that Leah wasn’t hated. Is there total agreement on that among the Jews? No. But there is quite a bit…enough for me to make the point that even they make the point that the word hated can mean to love less. Maybe they actually understand the Semitic range of meaning of their own language…you think? Why deny the range of meaning? At least acknowledge that there is whole body of study and literature out there by scholars who know more than the two of us put together time 50 on this subject who are saying what you deny. At least acknowledge the meaning and still make a case for why it shouldn’t be interpreted as such in this case. You are shooting yourself in the foot when you throw yourself against the tide of scholarship that is interdisciplinary and cross-cultural/inter-religious.

  8. “torah.org doesn’t even dispute that Leah was hated they just suggest that it wasn’t Jacob who hated her. This doesn’t help your case at all. In fact, it does that opposite.”

    Except this – “torah.org doesn’t even dispute that Leah was hated they just suggest that it wasn’t Jacob who hated her. This doesn’t help your case at all. In fact, it does that opposite.”

    “hebrew4christians.com thought that “the sages” thought that “it was as if he hated Leah in comparison”. But then it says, “A midrash states that Leah was hated not by Jacob but rather by the residents of the area.”. In one paragraph it says that Jacob probably didn’t hate her and that it just seemed like he did in comparison but then in the next paragraph it says that she might have been hated but only by the residents and not by Jacob. So, in one instance it isn’t translated as hate and in another it is. Apparently “the sages” and a midrash disagreed. This doesn’t help your case either. ”

    Nope…that still makes my point. They are affirming the range of meaning of the word as determined by the context. If the context is Jacob then the word goes to the end of the range of meaning of to love less because it says the verse before that Jacob did love her. If one believes it is talking about another group hating Leah then it points to the end of the range of meaning of hate. This upholds my point that the word has a range of meaning. Thank you for pointing that out!

    “aish.com states that “Leah saw herself as the hated wife”. Looks like they don’t agree with you here either”

    Did you catch this line – “Compared to how one should feel towards his beloved spouse, Jacob “hated” Leah.” That is their interpretation of sane in that verse. Supports my point entirely.

    If you dig around you will find Jewish resources that disagree and will say she was hated. They take that line of interpretation based on that definition of the word. All I am doing here is showing there is a meaning of that word that is acknowledged by Jews and Chrsitians and yet you deny it.

    Let me just ask…do you completely deny that sane/miseo can mean “love less?” I am assuming here because I have said it a dozen times and you haven’t corrected me. I don’t mean to read words into your mouth so I would just like to know the answer to that question.

    • They’re not affirming anything. That’s the point you keep missing. Affirm: “state as a fact; assert strongly and publicly”

      They’re not stating this as fact or even asserting strongly. They’re just speculating that it would be out of character for Jacob to hate his wife. That’s all they’re basing it on! You can’t state something as fact when you’re basing it on simple speculation about the way you think a person would behave.

      You can use that same reasoning to dismiss all of the horrible atrocities that God committed in the bible by saying, “Surely God who is loving and merciful would not have done that. Therefore lets change the meanings of some of these words ‘based on the context.'” And I bet you do that, don’t you! And I bet you hide behind your theist authorities who do this.

      Yes, I completely deny that miseo can mean to “love less”. That would be a completely different meaning of the word and how it is defined. The scholars who translated the bible don’t think that it should be translated to “love less” so why should I? Sane? I don’t know for sure but in Genesis 29 it’s translated as “hate” or “hated”.

      You think that miseo has a range of meaning and that belief is based on simple speculation by theists who just can’t believe that Jacob could actually hate one of his wives. That’s it!

      You think that because the Hebrew word for miseo was used differently 1,000+ years ago in the book of Genesis (so you claim) that you can then choose whatever meaning you want in a NT book. Not based on the context of the actual verse in Luke but simply on your own unfounded, speculative belief that someone once used the word differently and therefore you can used whichever definition you want anytime you choose. Give me one thing in the context of Luke 14 tells you that you can use the word with that definition. There’s nothing.

      We only have one definition of hate in the English language. We have words to describe when someone is “loved less”. If miseo, in Luke 14, meant “loved less” in the English language then why didn’t the scholars who translated the bible into English use “loved less”? Why do you claim they’re wrong?

        • Yeah, so you believe that they accurately translated ‘miseo’ as our English word, ‘hate’, not as “love less”. You really have no point then. The only thing you still seem to be saying is that you and other theists just can imagine that Jacob really hated his wife and therefore you speculate that maybe Jesus didn’t really mean hate either because surely Jesus wouldn’t say that. It’s all just speculation. I don’t know why we’re even talking about this now. You believe that they accurately translated ‘miseo’ as our English word, ‘hate’, not as “love less”. My point stands on a firm foundation from the translators of the bible into English and your point floats on the winds of your own wishful thinking about what you wish the text actually meant.

          • At least now you agree that it is all of us theists together on this one! I think Jesus was making a very strong point. One we should really listen to and follow in that nothing comes before God…that the gap between God and everything else is SO GREAT that our love for anything else would be as if it was hate. That is the point I think Jesus is actually making. So sure translate it hate but then don’t miss the point. It is to love less in practice/concept.

          • Yeah, yeah, just keep preaching about the point you “think Jesus is actually making.” I’m sure some of your sheep will buy it for a while until they actually start to think for themselves and read the text for what it is.

      • lol is that what you do when you can’t answer something?

        Here it is again:

        Matt: “The offer of life is on the table to accept or reject. That is your call.”

        Is that how you characterize a threat from your god to brutally torture me for all eternity for coming to a reasonable conclusion that he doesn’t like? If someone put a gun to your head and demanded that you believe in unicorns how would you feel if someone told you, “The offer of life is on the table to accept or reject. That is your call.”?

        That sounds really fair, doesn’t it? Someone threatens to kill another person and then tells them that the offer of life is on the table to accept or reject. That’s what thugs do. Thugs like your god. It’s exactly the same thing the mafia does. The mafia goes to a business and offers protection as long as the business pays them for the protection. If they don’t accept it they’re brutalized by the mafia. Your god works the same way. Your god offers protection (eternal life) but you must believe in him to get it but if you refuse that protection he brutalizes you. And then guys like you come along and say things like “The offer of life is on the table to accept or reject. That is your call.”

        Matt: “I am saying the door is open to all”. So is the mafia. Your god is absolutely no different. Everyone can pay protection to the mafia and live or they can be brutally murdered by the mafia.

    • No, that is what I do when someone is being ridiculous. Sorry but this conversation is not going in a healthy or productive direction at this point. I have been as honest and straight forward as I know how to be. I am not perfect. I do not have perfect understanding. If I find you are right on something and you convince me I always do my best to let you know because I am open to learn…I only ask the same of you. If I step over the line I apologize…I only ask the same of you. This is how these conversations stay on a healthy track. Calling your position something along the lines of being Hitler wouldn’t be productive. Calling God the mafia isn’t helpful either. So if you want to move ahead in a productive manner I can continue this discussion, if not then not so much.

      • I don’t have a perfect understanding either but you’re the only one who thinks some people deserve to burn in hell for that potential imperfect understanding that could result in them not believing in your god.

        When someone calls out the atrocities and mafia-like nature of your god you call it ridiculous and refuse to comment on it. That’s your choice but it’s very telling. Proving that a loving, merciful, all-powerful god doesn’t act just like the mafia should be an easy thing to do, one would think.

        • I take God at his word because I believe he exists. Maybe I am wrong and we all end up the same. Maybe I am right and we don’t. That is why I say the door is always open Jay. Praying for you and for me too because I have no claim on perfection but I do have salvation through Jesus.