I Reject the "Abrahamic Test"

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turinturambar
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I Reject the "Abrahamic Test"

Post by turinturambar » 29 Apr 2014, 17:15

I've thought about this a lot over the years. I have concluded that the classic "Abrahamic Test" is bad theology. God is straightforward. He doesn't mess with us, set us up, move the goalposts, or test our loyalty with cruel manufactured scenarios. It is not in His character to deceive. What you see is what you get.

I realize this is not orthodox Mormon theology. So what. We aren't in Auschwitz and this isn't Sophie's Choice. I won't accept this crappy theology for one more second.
And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.

(New Testament | 1 Corinthians 13:2‎)‎

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DarkJedi
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Re: I Reject the "Abrahamic Test"

Post by DarkJedi » 29 Apr 2014, 19:36

In responding to another poster today, I realized I also reject the "Abrahamic Test." I don't think God operates that way. God presumably already knows how much faith we do or don't have, so what would be the purpose of such a test? If it's to show us individually how much faith we do or don't have, there is no need - I know I don't have the faith to move mountains except with a shovel.
In the absence of knowledge or faith there is always hope.

Once there was a gentile...who came before Hillel. He said "Convert me on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot." Hillel converted him, saying: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it."

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Cadence
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I Reject the "Abrahamic Test"

Post by Cadence » 29 Apr 2014, 20:40

Maybe the test was more to see if Abraham would reject stupidity and make a more rational choice. He failed the test. God had to intervene because he was about to put obedience above intelligence. God gave him some small credit for doing what he was told but he missed the greater point.
Faith, as well intentioned as it may be, must be built on facts, not fiction--faith in fiction is a damnable false hope. Thomas A. Edison

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On Own Now
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Re: I Reject the "Abrahamic Test"

Post by On Own Now » 29 Apr 2014, 21:00

It's an allegorical story about the Lord providing a way to avoid spiritual death, so I don't see the story itself as crappy.

In the words of mercyngrace from a long ago thread:
mercyngrace wrote:The whole episode with Isaac was not about blind obedience and tests. It was about trusting that if God required, God would provide.
I agree that a loving God wouldn't "mess with us". It's actually part of why I lost faith in the Church. If God wanted to make just one way for us to return to Him, why would he use the LDS Church as the vehicle, with all it's problems? In order to follow God properly, I must set aside my angst about polygamy? It's an unfair test. If God were to set up a Church as the only Way, I imagine he would make it pretty easy for the faithful to find and accept; that WANTING to follow God would be the only 'test' and would not be followed with mental gymnastics.
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“Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.” ― Carl Jung
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DarkJedi
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Re: I Reject the "Abrahamic Test"

Post by DarkJedi » 30 Apr 2014, 03:52

I don't want to derail the topic, and I actually hope this enhances it. Many OT stories are clearly not literal in my view (Adam & Eve, Johah, Noah, Moses parting the Red Sea) while others probably really did happen, and some could have happened or could just be figurative or symbolic. Abraham is one of those that I think could have happened but I lean toward it not being literal. I don't think Abraham actually took his probably teenage or young adult son, bound him in preparation for sacrifice, etc., but I do get the whole theme of the thing. I think this fits with the topic because our supposed Abrahamic Tests are not literal, either - I am not aware of anyone who has been asked to sacrifice a family member.
In the absence of knowledge or faith there is always hope.

Once there was a gentile...who came before Hillel. He said "Convert me on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot." Hillel converted him, saying: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it."

My Introduction

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SilentDawning
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Re: I Reject the "Abrahamic Test"

Post by SilentDawning » 30 Apr 2014, 07:16

I agree completely with Turin.

I think that kind of test is extremely arrogant. If I may speak with risk, I tested one of my girlfriends to see how she would react in a certain situation if we were ever married. It made her really angry, and asked me why I put her in such a situation. I indicated I was testing her. An older, married friend at the time (I was only 20) told me that there is no room for tests like that and chastised me. I was confused because I thought that was something that someone who was trying to be like God would do in order to predict future behavior. I sincerely regret it now and reject my thinking at the time totally.

I see the Abrahamic test the same way. I don't believe God is arrogant and willing to make people go through such emotional turmoil as Abraham must have felt, all for a test of obedience. Such tests also remove people's logic and common sense, and blur the line between right and wrong.

Think about it, the Abrahamic test put Abraham in a position where he would have KILL HIS OWN SON. That is a heinous crime, and to fully pass the test, Abraham would have to give his whole heart over to that act in order to be obedience to God. The emotional stress must have been terrible because Abraham's own father tried to sacrifice HIM for a god, says the Pearl of Great Price. For a time, that test did not purify Abraham's heart -- it cankered it by making him willing to do something that was against basic eternal principles. In a way, it bastardized devotion to God.

We have seen religious leaders do this in the past and its sinful in my view.

This is totally against the rules of morality -- and anyone could justify bad behavior this way.

Shame on the Abrahamic Test as it sets a bad example to all, and paints a picture of an unjust and in my view, arrogant God that doesn't exist in my world.
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SamBee
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Re: I Reject the "Abrahamic Test"

Post by SamBee » 30 Apr 2014, 09:13

There's something else going on in that story... many of the surrounding tribes practised human sacrifice, so I suppose the story is symbolic of the transition from that, to killing animals.

Of course, Christianity is based around human sacrifice and cannibalism. Of only one person perhaps.
DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
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Re: I Reject the "Abrahamic Test"

Post by Curt Sunshine » 30 Apr 2014, 10:59

I like the idea that it was a test Abraham failed.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

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DarkJedi
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Re: I Reject the "Abrahamic Test"

Post by DarkJedi » 30 Apr 2014, 11:04

Ray DeGraw wrote:I like the idea that it was a test Abraham failed.
I'm liking that, too. I hadn't really looked at it from that perspective before. That's one of the reasons I like it here so much - I doubt we'd get that perspective in SS class.
In the absence of knowledge or faith there is always hope.

Once there was a gentile...who came before Hillel. He said "Convert me on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot." Hillel converted him, saying: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it."

My Introduction

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mackay11
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Re: I Reject the

Post by mackay11 » 30 Apr 2014, 13:39

Cadence wrote:Maybe the test was more to see if Abraham would reject stupidity and make a more rational choice. He failed the test. God had to intervene because he was about to put obedience above intelligence. God gave him some small credit for doing what he was told but he missed the greater point.
I'd have to say I like Cadence's explanation best :)

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