If the God of the Bible is real, is he immoral?
One of the first issues we must resolve is whose moral code are we basing this debate. We just assume that we are basing morality on man's set of code. If we being to assume to base morality on God's set of code, the initial question becomes pointless. We don't know what God's morality is. For all we know, his morality can be that God can do anything he wants while there is a strict set of rules for man. His morality can be completely capricious.
So, going back to the initial question, if we base his conduct upon man's morality, it becomes clear that God is immoral. There are too many incidents within the bible of God allowing murder and rape and destruction. He has one set of rules for one person but then changes it for another...for no apparent reason. God is immoral.
This debate is based on man's accepted standards of morality assuming God exists. Sometimes we don't think about it, but there are reasons for why we consider some things morally right or morally wrong. It would be best if you explain your own arguments so I don't have to do it. If God is immoral for killing, for example, explain why killing is immoral.
For example, it"s self-evident to most people here that killing is wrong. There are special circumstances of course but such special circumstances do not apply here. Throughout the bible, God violates moral code over and over again.
Here are some examples:
1. God orders the killing of children and infants.
2. God orders the extermination of nations that happened already be in the promised land and the theft of this land. (Similar to what Israel is doing to the Palestinians.)
3. God permits the killing of innocent people (eg. Samson"s killing of 30 innocent garbs)
4. Slavery was allowed.
The list goes on and on.
Con basically gave two arguments. God is immoral because he has killed, and because he allowed slavery.
Why is killing immoral?
Killing is immoral because you are taking a life that does not belong to you. However, if God exists, he is the giver of life. All lives belong to him; he gives life, he takes it. Life is his to do what He wants with it. As imperfect humans we are not aware of all the facts. What we can be sure of is that God's decisions are never wrong. Job 34:10 "So listen to me, you men of understanding. Far be it from God to do evil, from the Almighty to do wrong."
Can some things be immoral for us and yet be moral for God? Well, are adults immoral for doing things that would be morally wrong only for children? Of course not! Similarly, God is not immoral for doing things he has the right to do but would be immoral for us. If God really took any lives that were "innocent", he had the right to morally do it, and he also had a righteous reason at the time that right now we might not understand because, again, we don't know all the facts. But just like God can take lives, he can give them back, and he will give them back to all those who really are innocent.
Why is slavery immoral?
Slavery is immoral because it is oppresive and the slave is dehumanized. But, is this true about Bible slavery?
(BEGINNING OF QUOTE) By the time the Bible began to be written, humans had already established social structures and economic systems that conflicted with godly principles. While some of the practices involved were condemned in his written Law, God chose to tolerate others, such as slavery [...]
more than simply allowing an already established social and economic structure, God’s Law regulated slavery so that, if practiced, slaves would be treated in a humane and loving manner.
Slavery in Bible History
Consider the following regulations included in the Law given through Moses:
`79; Kidnapping a man and then selling him was punishable by death. (Exodus 21:16) However, if despite all the provisions made to prevent poverty, an Israelite found himself deeply in debt, perhaps as a result of poor management, he could sell himself as a slave. In some cases he might even be able to earn a surplus by which he could redeem himself.—Leviticus 25:47-52.
`79; This was not the oppressive kind of slavery that has been common in many lands through the ages. Leviticus 25:39, 40 says: “In case your brother grows poor alongside you and he has to sell himself to you, you must not use him as a worker in slavish service. He should prove to be with you like a hired laborer, like a settler.” So this was a loving provision to care for Israel’s poorest.
`79; A person found guilty of stealing who was unable to make full restitution according to the Law could be sold as a slave and in this way pay off his debt. (Exodus 22:3) When he had worked off the debt, he could go free.
`79; Cruel and abusive slavery was not allowed under God’s Law to Israel. While masters were allowed to discipline their slaves, excesses were forbidden. A slave killed by his master was to be avenged. (Exodus 21:20) If the slave was maimed, losing a tooth or an eye, he was set free.—Exodus 21:26, 27.
`79; The maximum time that any Israelite would have to serve as a slave was six years. (Exodus 21:2) Hebrew slaves were set free in the seventh year of their service. The Law demanded that every 50 years all Israelite slaves were to be set free nationwide, regardless of how long the individual had been a slave.—Leviticus 25:40, 41.
`79; When a slave was released, the master was required to be generous toward him.Deuteronomy 15:13, 14 says: “In case you should send him out from you as one set free, you must not send him out empty-handed. You should surely equip him with something from your flock and your threshing floor and your oil and winepress.”
Later, in the days of Jesus and his apostles, slavery was an entrenched practice in the Roman Empire. As Christianity spread, it was inevitable that individuals who were slaves and others who were slave owners would come in contact with the good news and become Christians. Neither Jesus Christ himself nor his apostles preached a gospel of social liberation, as if trying to reform the existing system. Rather, both slaves and slave owners were admonished to love one another as spiritual brothers.—Colossians 4:1; 1 Timothy 6:2.
The End of Slavery
As is the case with every Bible-related question, the issue of slavery must be considered in context. A careful examination of the Scriptures reveals that God deplores the mistreatment of humans.
Such an examination also reveals that the kind of slavery practiced by God’s people in the Bible is not the cruel and abusive slavery that is envisioned by most people today. And the Bible shows that God will deliver us from all forms of slavery in due time. Then, all mankind will enjoy true freedom.—Isaiah 65:21, 22. (END OF QUOTE) http://wol.jw.org...
Slavery - God not only allowed a practice that was common at the time, but also regulated it so the slave would not be treated as property.
Galatians 3:28 - "There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus."
Slavery, however, is not part of God's purpose for humanity, and soon he will free us from all kinds of slavery.
Con has failed to meet the burden of proof that the God of the Bible is not conforming to man's accepted standards of morality.
Mr. Bible"s basic argument is that God gave us life so he can do whatever he wants. Man"s morality doesn"t apply to God. This is ludicrous.
A. JUST BECAUSE YOU CREATE SOMETHING, IT DOESN"T CONFER THE RIGHT TO CONTROL IT. Let's think of some examples. Scientists can create life out of test tubes. They can inject an egg and sperm into a test tube and out pops a lamb. Can we torture this lamb? Does this lamb have to religiously follow everything that we say? My wife and I created my kids. Does it give me the right to beat and molest them? The clear moral answer is a no. Similarly, as the creator of humans, it doesn"t give God carte blanche control over us. Whether he"s the ultimate creator, has ultimate power, or has ultimate knowledge, it doesn"t give him the right to torture and do whatever he wants.
B. WE MUST EVALUATE GOD'S BEHAVIOR BASED ON MAN'S ACCEPTED MORALITY. Mr. Bible in Round 2 had already agreed to this but he"s now backtracking. He"s now trying to say God has his own moral code because he"s god. Wrong. We need to evaluate God"s actions on our moral code.
C. BASED UPON MAN"S MORAL CODE, GOD"S INDISCRIMINATE KILLINGS ARE IMMORAL. It"s not a few stories. The bible is riddled with stories of innocent children and infants being slaughtered. Woman are routinely raped by Hebrews. Entire nations are wiped out just because they happen to live in a certain land when the Hebrews arrived there. "Show no mercy; have no pity! Kill them all " old and young, girls and women and little children." "Their little children will be dashed to death right before their eyes. Their homes wil be sacked and their wives raped by the attacking hordes"They will have no mercy on helpless babies and will show no compassion for the children." The bible isn"t the nice, sweet book that Christians make it out to be.
There is absolutely no moral justification for slavery. It"s a violation of basic human rights. It"s inherently wrong and there is nothing you can say to justify it. In the bible, slaves were still traded like chattel, forced to do hard labor without any compensation, beaten if disobedient, etc.
Read this passage:
When a man strikes his male or female slave with a rod so hard that the slave dies under his hand, he shall be punished. If, however, the slave survives for a day or two, he is not to be punished, since the slave is his own property. (Exodus 21:20-21 NAB) [According to Mr. bible, beating a slave to an inch of her life is loving care.]
I think it"s shameful that Mr. Bible is even trying to condone slavery. Slavery is wrong no matter how you dress it up. Put lipstick on a pig, it"s still a pig. It"s funny because many Southerners in America used reasoning similar to Mr. Bible"s when fighting for slavery " we treat them better here than in Africa. Or, today, some say - a lot of African Americans would be better off as slaves instead of being jobless.
No amount of sophistry is going to convince reasonable people that the Bible is the beacon for morality. We only addressed 2 examples. There are much more. Homosexuals are to be killed. Rape is permitted. Ritual human sacrifice.
A. Are parents immoral for giving rules and punishment to their children? Of course not! Parents have that right, as long as their rules and punishments are comforming to the accepted standards of morality. Do the children have to listen? No. But their decisions are going to have consequences. Is it morally right for you to beat and molest your children? No. Why? Because you would be hurting a body that does not belong to you. However, all bodies belong to God. Does God have the right to torture? According to the reasoning behind man's flawed morality, yes, he has the right to morally torture anyone he chooses to torture. Fortunately, God has his own morality, a morality superior than that of mere humans that is not reduced to his power. Can God do as He wishes? Yes. But his wishes are constrained by His character. He can't wish something that is immoral or inconsistent with His character.
B. God has a morality superior than that of mere humans. He is not limited by the morality of men, which is constantly changing. Man's standards of morality, for instance, once accepted slavery. Was God immoral based on man's accepted standards of morality of that time period? No, he was not. How can we accuse God of being immoral for allowing, and even regulating, something that at the time was considered moral? Also, as the title indicates, we are debating whether God IS immoral, not if he WAS immoral; although, as you have seen, he was not immoral according to man's accepted standards of morality at the time. Right now, does God command us to have slaves? No. What careful examination of the scriptures REALLY shows is that soon, we will enjoy true freedom. (Isaiah 65:21, 22).
C. Again, Con says God is immoral because he kills. However, man's accepted standards of morality give certain people certain rights. For example, parents have the right to give rules and discipline their children. And children don't have the same rights as adults. Are adults immoral for doing things that would be morally wrong only for children? No. Is God immoral for doing things that would be morally wrong only for his children? No. All lives belong to him, and his morality is superior. I remind you that according to man's flawed morality, God can torture and kill whoever he wants whenever he feels like it; as the giver of life, he has that right. Be glad that God's morality, which is not reduced by his power, is superior than that o fmere men. Although we are not always aware of all the facts, we know God's decisions are always righteous. Your lack of knowledge is not evidence against God's morality. Also, God does not permit rape, and it is clear in the Bible that God did not approve of ritual human sacrifices.
Deuteronomy 18:10 - "There shall not be found among you anyone who burns his son or his daughter as an offering"
Deuteronomy 22:25-27 - "But if in the field the man finds the girl who is engaged, and the man forces her and lies with her, then only the man who lies with her shall die. But you shall do nothing to the girl; there is no sin in the girl worthy of death, for just as a man rises against his neighbor and murders him, so is this case. When he found her in the field, the engaged girl cried out, but there was no one to save her."
Once again, Con fails to meet the burden of proof that the God of the Bible IS (present tense) not conforming to man's accepted standards of morality.
He"s now changed his mind and we must evaluate God based upon his morality. Here is what Mr. Bible just said:
"God has his own morality, a morality superior than that of mere humans."
"Does God have the right to torture? Yes, he has the right to mortally torture anyone he chooses to torture."
"Can God do as He wishes? Yes."
If we base it upon God"s morality, he can do whatever he wants which is apparently ok with Mr. Bible. But, I think it"s self-evident that this is wrong.
1. Slavery is wrong now and it was wrong back then. Don"t try to sugarcoat it. It"s always been wrong. Similarly, it"s always wrong to kill innocent infants and children. Being God doesn"t make it ok.
2. I love how Mr. Bible cherry picks biblical quotes from Deuternomy. I hope readers realize that in the same chapter, it also states:
"If a man meets a virgin who is not betrothed, and seizes her and lies with her, and they are found, then the man who lay with her shall give to the father of the young woman fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife, because he has violated her."
Rape a girl and you get to marry her. And, she doesn"t even get to keep the money. Her dad gets it!
Forget this debate. I don"t care who wins. I just hope Mr. Bible can admit to himself that his God has committed immoral and atrocious acts. It"s ok to believe in God but don"t be willfully blind. The evidence is staring you right in your face.
Pro, taking quotes from my arguments out of context against me is going to cost you the conduct point. I have NOT changed my mind. We are evaluating God upon man's standards of morality. Here are the quotes Pro has taken out of context from my arguments:
"God has his own morality, a morality superior than that of mere humans."
"Does God have the right to torture? Yes, he has the right to mortally torture anyone he chooses to torture."
"Can God do as He wishes? Yes."
"According to the reasoning behind man's flawed morality, yes, he has the right to morally torture anyone he chooses to torture. Fortunately, God has his own morality, a morality superior than that of mere humans that is not reduced to his power. Can God do as He wishes? Yes. But his wishes are constrained by His character. He can't wish something that is immoral or inconsistent with His character."
After taking my quotes out of context, Pro proceeds to say, "If we base it upon God"s morality, he can do whatever he wants which is apparently ok with Mr. Bible. But, I think it"s self-evident that this is wrong."
What Pro does not tell you is that in the paragraph he took quotes out of context from I made it clear that God's morality is not reduced to his power: "Fortunately, God has his own morality, a morality superior than that of mere humans that is not reduced to his power."
"Slavery is wrong now and it was wrong back then."
In the past, although there were some that thought like you, society in aggregate accepted slavery as moral.
"Don't try to sugarcoat it."
I don't need to sugarcoat it. Slavery is wrong now, but it was moral during the time period that God allowed and REGULATED it. For example, kidnapping a man and then selling him was punishable by death (Exodus 21:16). In the nation of Israel, provisions were made to prevent poverty. If, however, an israelite found himself in deep debt, he could sell himself as a slave. Every 50 years the law demanded that slaves were set free nationwide, an Israelite could not be a slave for more than six years, and the master was required to be generous toward the slave after he was free:
Deuteronomy 15:13, 14 - "In case you should send him out from you as one set free, you must not send him out empty-handed. You should surely equip him with something from your flock and your threshing floor and your oil and winepress.”
Now, think about it. If we are all property of God (meaning we belong to him), one wants to sell himself as a slave, and God allows it, is it really immoral? No! It wouldn't be immoral even if the person didn't want to be a slave, which we know is not the case since kidnapping and selling was punished with death.
Pro made 2 minor points. I've addressed his first point MANY times, so I wont waste my characters on why it is not immoral for God to kill. His second point is that I cherry pick biblical quotes from Deuteronomy, and that in that same book God condones rape.
(BEGINNING OF QUOTE) “In case a man finds a girl, a virgin who has not been engaged, and he actually seizes her and lies down with her, and they have been found out, the man who lay down with her must also give the girl’s father fifty silver shekels, and she will become his wife due to the fact that he humiliated her. He will not be allowed to divorce her all his days.”—Deuteronomy 22:28, 29.
This was a case of pressured seduction and/or fornication. If an unscrupulous man felt at liberty to have sex relations with a virgin, she would be the primary loser. Besides the possibility that she might have an illegitimate child, her value as a bride was diminished, for many Israelites might not want to marry her once she was no longer a virgin. What, though, would discourage a man from taking liberties with a virgin? God’s “holy and righteous and good” Law would.—Romans 7:12.
The Mosaic code had a provision allowing a man to divorce his wife for certain reasons. (Deuteronomy 22:13-19; 24:1; Matthew 19:7, 8) But what we read at Exodus 22:16, 17 and Deuteronomy 22:28, 29 shows that the option of divorce disappeared after premarital fornication. This, then, might cause a man (or a virgin woman) to resist a temptation to share in fornication. A man could not feel, ‘She is pretty and exciting, so I’ll have a good time with her even though she is not the sort I’d like to marry.’ Rather, this law would deter immorality by causing any would-be offender to weigh the long-term consequences of fornication—having to stay with the other party throughout his life.
The Law also lessened the problem of illegitimacy. God decreed: “No illegitimate son may come into the congregation of Jehovah.” (Deuteronomy 23:2) So if a man who seduced a virgin had to marry her, their fornication would not result in an illegitimate offspring among the Israelites.
Granted, Christians live in a social setting that is different from that of the ancient Israelites. We are not under the decrees of the Mosaic Law, including this law requiring the marriage of two persons who engaged in such fornication. Nonetheless, we cannot feel that engaging in premarital fornication is an insignificant thing. Christians should give serious thought to long-term consequences, even as this law moved the Israelites to do so.
Seducing an unmarried person ruins that one’s right to enter a Christian marriage as a clean virgin (male or female). Premarital fornication also affects the rights of any person who might become the individual’s mate, namely, that individual’s right to marry a chaste Christian. Most of all, fornication must be avoided because God says that it is wrong; it is a sin. The apostle aptly wrote: “This is what God wills, the sanctifying of you, that you abstain from fornication.”—1 Thessalonians 4:3-6; Hebrews 13:4. (END OF QUOTE)
(1989 Watchtower Magazine "Questions From Readers" pg. 31)
God does not condone rape. That law from Deuteronomy was written to protect women. If a man raped a woman, she was no longer a virgin, so many Israelite men might not want to marry her. What would discourage a man from taking liberties with a virgin? If he both lost money, and had to marry the woman (of course, if the woman wanted to marry him. Otherwise, the man who raped her would be killed). We are not under the Mosaic law anymore, including this law requiring that the man who raped the woman married her. However, God does not condone rape today either because it ruins the victim's right to marry as a clean virgin.
"Forget this debate. I don't care who wins."
That sounds like a concession to me. Pro once again fails to meet the burden of proof, and does so with poor conduct. This is something I urge the voters to remember when they vote. Thank you.
Mr. Bible also says that certain acts like slavery were not immoral back then because most people believed it was ok. That"s dangerous rationalization. In the 1800"s, most Southerners thought slavery was moral and used the bible as justification. A lot of people thought Ghenghis Khan"s slaughter/genocide was moral because that"s what conquerors did back then. And, even a hundred years ago, a lot of people thought putting homosexuals to death was moral. So, does it excuse these people of what they did? No, there is absolutely no moral justifications for these things. It is wrong now and it was wrong back then.
Bottom line: Mr. Bible and I agreed that we will be evaluating God based upon man"s standard of morality. Based upon man"s standard of morality, we can conclude God is immoral because he order or condones numerous immoral acts (indiscriminate killings of innocents, rape, slavery, etc.).
Humorous Sidenote: I just love how Mr. Bible justifies Deuteronomy 22:28. Mr. Bible says losing money and marrying the woman would discourage a man from taking liberties with a virgin. He says that marrying the girl you just raped would be a harsh punishment because you would need to stay with her forever. Oh my, the horrors! Uh"did you ever think about the girl? A guy just raped you and now you"re forced to be with him forever. But, no worries. Your dad (not you) gets to keep 50 pieces of silver. Cool. If I see a really hot girl like Kate Upton, I"m going to make sure I rape her because my punishment will be able to sleep with her forever. Sounds like a viable deterrent to rape.
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