Is the story of a parent attempting to kill his child an appropriate way to teach obedience and sacrifice? Familiarity can be comforting, but also dangerous. This episode wrestles with one of the most disturbing stories of the Bible, when God commands Abraham to kill his beloved son Isaac.
After modeling a way to push back against the standard approach to this story, we explore
- how the biblical story builds up the tension and terror of this account
- what we can learn and gain from the narrative
- whether Abraham pass or failed the test
- how the story of Abraham and Isaac and Jesus/Atonement are similar and different
- the relationship between God and goodness
- how we can use this narrative in a constructive way
One Time Donation:
Other Reading: Genesis 15-28, skimming to see how the (near) sacrifice of Isaac fits within the larger context.
Maxine and Heber provide a challenging but rewarding discussion.
Lesson Part 1
0:00 Horrifying Nature of the Lesson
6:20 Assigned Reading: Abraham 1, Genesis 15-17, 21-22
25:03 Questions and thoughts on the story
Discussion Part 1
33:50 Sacrifice themes in Sunday School
48:05 Self Moderated Obedience
57:33 Role of the Angel
1:03:33 Acknowledge the Horror – Question the Interpretation
1:13:07 Question Amoral Commandments
- “In Silence”, Meditation on the binding of Isaac from RadioLab
- On Child Abuse and the Sacrifice of Isaac at RationalFaiths
- Must We Kill Isaac? Heber’s RationalFaiths post.
- Mormon Matters episode on Abraham
- Trials of Abraham, Discovering the Old Testament
- Selections from Kierkegaard’s Fear and Trembling
- When Abraham Killed Isaac, FaithPromotingRumor
- “And I Saw the Stars: The Book of Abraham and Ancient Geocentric Astronomy, Maxwell Institute
- Presentation on the Book of Abraham by Michael Ash and Kevin Barney
Thanks to Jim Henderson for content editing and to James Estrada for sound editing, and as always to Steven Nelson for the beautiful bumper music.