Monday, August 8, 2011

Why does God demand the death of so many innocent people in the Bible?

Mat (Mature Atheist Turtle – smug, and condescending)
Question #3 – Why does God demand the death of so many innocent people in the Bible? For example - Look up these verses:
  • Exodus 35:2 – God demands that we kill everyone who works on the Sabbath day.
  • Deuteronomy 21:18-21 – God demands that we kill disobedient teenagers.
  • Leviticus 20:13 – God demands the death of homosexuals.
  • Deuteronomy 22:13-21- God demands that we kill girls who are not virgins when they marry.  And so on, there are many more similar verses.
It doesn’t make any sense, does it?  Why would a loving God want us to murder our fellow human beings over such trivial matters?  In fact, if you think about it you realize that it is insane!  So Christians must create some kind of rationalization to explain the verses.

Ary: You are a credit to your species and have learned the C.R.U.D.E. mantra well, at least the R for rationalization.  Unfortunately you are also the typical discredit to your  species as you don't read or understand the Bible, and you are not familiar with the other cultures present at the time.  The infractions and punishments cited in the Bible are typical for the time and place with the exception of the Sabbath which was unique to the Jews.  Let's look at the actual verses instead of your editorial comment.
Deuteronomy 21:18-21 King James Version (KJV)
18 If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father or the voice of his mother, and that, when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them
19 Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place;
20 And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard.
21 And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die: so shalt thou put evil away from among you; and all Israel shall hear, and fear.

Ary: Notice who the audience is:  The nation of Israel.  Mat, are you part of the nation of Israel? I don't think so.  Let's look at Exodus.

Exodus 35
1 And Moses gathered all the congregation of the children of Israel together, and said unto them, These are the words which the LORD hath commanded, that ye should do them.
2 Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day there shall be to you an holy day, a sabbath of rest to the LORD: whosoever doeth work therein shall be put to death.
3 Ye shall kindle no fire throughout your habitations upon the sabbath day.
4 And Moses spake unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, saying, This is the thing which the LORD commanded.

Ary: Mat, are you a member of the Congregation of the Children of Israel?  What's the matter - Cat got your tongue?  Let's go on to Leviticus 20.

Leviticus 20
1 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
2 Again, thou shalt say to the children of Israel, Whosoever he be of the children of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn in Israel, that any of his seed unto Molech; he shall surely be put to death: the people of the land shall stone him with stones.
7 Sanctify yourselves therefore, and be ye holy: for I am the LORD your God.
10 And the man that committeth adultery with another man's wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbour's wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.
11 And the man that lieth with his father's wife hath uncovered his father's nakedness: both of them shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.
12 And if a man lie with his daughter in law, both of them shall surely be put to death: they have wrought confusion; their blood shall be upon them.
13 If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.

Ary: Mat are you one of the Children of Israel?  Perhaps you will have better luck with Deuteronomy.

Deuteronomy 22
1 If you see your fellow Israelite’s ox or sheep straying, do not ignore it but be sure to take it back to its owner.
Marriage Violations
13 If a man takes a wife and, after sleeping with her, dislikes her
14 and slanders her and gives her a bad name, saying, “I married this woman, but when I approached her, I did not find proof of her virginity,”
15 then the young woman’s father and mother shall bring to the town elders at the gate proof that she was a virgin.
16 Her father will say to the elders, “I gave my daughter in marriage to this man, but he dislikes her. 17 Now he has slandered her and said, ‘I did not find your daughter to be a virgin.’ But here is the proof of my daughter’s virginity.” Then her parents shall display the cloth before the elders of the town,
18 and the elders shall take the man and punish him.
19 They shall fine him a hundred shekels of silver and give them to the young woman’s father, because this man has given an Israelite virgin a bad name.
20 If, however, the charge is true and no proof of the young woman’s virginity can be found,
21 she shall be brought to the door of her father’s house and there the men of her town shall stone her to death. She has done an outrageous thing in Israel by being promiscuous while still in her father’s house. You must purge the evil from among you.

Ary: What you apply generally to everyone was part of what is known as the Mosaic Covenant.  A covenant is an agreement between two parties.  It establishes the elements of performance and the sanctions for failure.  In the case of the verses you cite they are all part of the agreement setting the Jews apart from the rest of humanity.  They were not unilaterally imposed on the Jews.  In fact such an imposition would render a contract invalid.  The children of Israel were presented with the full agreement and ratified it as follows:

The ratification of the Mosaic covenant was fourfold:
  1. The sacrifice of young bulls as peace offerings and burnt offering to the Lord (Ex. 24:5).
  2. The sprinkling of half of the blood upon the altar (Ex. 24:6).
  3. The reading of the book of the covenant and the promise of obedience by the people of Israel (Ex. 24:7).
  4. The sprinkling of the blood upon the people (Ex. 24:8). From other incidents in the Old Testament wherein men are sprinkled with blood (Lev. 8:30; 14:6-7), the purpose of sprinkling with blood was to cleanse the people from their sin and to consecrate and sanctify them for their part in the covenant.

If is not correct to impose the covenant on non-Jews.  Wikipedia states:
"God established the Mosaic Covenant with the Israelites after he has saved them from slavery in Egypt in the events of The Exodus. It is legally linked with the 613 commandments.  Because Judaism views the Mosaic covenant as applying only to Jews, it advocates the much easier to observe pre-Mosaic Seven Laws of Noah for non-Jews."

Ary: Your criticism fails on two points of misunderstanding: 1) the sanctions cited apply only to the Jews under the Mosaic Covenant, 2) The Jews agreed to live under the law and sanctions, it was not imposed on them.
The purpose of the covenant was to separate the Jews as a special group of people who lived under the leadership of God.  As a result they agreed to live by a code of conduct but they failed.  Evidence from the book of Malachi indicates that violations of the Sabbath were commonplace and unpunished.  By the time Jesus was ministering the Pharisees had developed elaborate methods to circumvent the law. 

I think it's time for you to turtle up.

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