The God of the Bible is Immoral
Debate Rounds (3)
Numbers 31:17-18 Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him.
But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves.
1 Timothy 6:1
Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honour, that the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed.
Exhort servants to be obedient unto their own masters, and to please them well in all things; not answering again; Not purloining, but shewing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things.
And we utterly destroyed them, ... utterly destroying the men, women, and children, of every city.
And when the LORD thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor shew mercy unto them.
And thou shalt consume all the people which the LORD thy God shall deliver thee; thine eye shall have no pity upon them.
Then the Spirit of the LORD came upon Jephthah ... And Jephthah vowed a vow unto the LORD, and said, If thou shalt without fail deliver the children of Ammon into mine hands, Then it shall be, that whatsoever cometh forth of the doors of my house to meet me, when I return in peace from the children of Ammon, shall surely be the LORD's, and I will offer it up for a burnt offering. ... And the LORD delivered them into his hands. And he smote them ... with a very great slaughter. ... And Jephthah came to Mizpeh unto his house, and, behold, his daughter came out to meet him with timbrels and with dances. ... I have opened my mouth unto the LORD, and I cannot go back. ... And ... her father ... did with her according to his vow which he had vowed.
"And ye shall eat the flesh of your sons, and the flesh of your daughters shall ye eat." -- Leviticus 26:29
"And thou shalt eat the fruit of thine own body, the flesh of thy sons and of thy daughters." -- Deuteronomy 28:53"
And I will cause them to eat the flesh of their sons and the flesh of their daughters, and they shall eat every one the flesh of his friend." -- Jeremiah 19:9
God is the author of life " Acts 3:15.
God commands us to love even our enemies " Mathew 5:44
God instructs us to be gentle, self-controlled, good, and faithful " Galatians 5:22-23
God instructs us to be peacemakers " Matthew 5:9
God instructs us to be merciful " Matthew 5:7
God says that the greatest commandment is to love the Lord your God with everything you are and to love your neighbor as yourself. He says that every command from God should be seen through this filter and apply with this in mind " Mark 12:29-31
These are just a few of the many, many ways that the God of the Bible shows himself to be morally good.
Now let us consider the way that Pro has misunderstood some passages in the Bible. He brings up four issues, which fall broadly into two kinds of errors. I will deal with the latter two first since the error in this case is more obvious and easier to understand.
Pro sites human sacrifice from Judges 11:29-39 and cannibalism from Leviticus 26:29, 28:53, and Jeremiah 19:9. In each of these cases Pro has failed to grasp that the Bible records some things which it does not condone. There is nothing in either of these passage in which God commands people to these actions, or even anything to suggest that God condones these actions.
In the Judges passage, Jephthah acts entirely on his own. He makes a rash and foolish vow, and then foolishly violates God"s command not to murder by keeping this vow. At no point are we told that God approved of any of Jephthah"s action. In reality, this passage serves to illustrate Jephthah weakness as a rash and selfish leader who did not follow the Lord.
In the passages that Pro says are cannibalism, the Bible is describing the horrors of war. While these passages likely include some hyperbole, cannibalism in the face of starvation because of war was not under heard of in the ancient world. God never commands or approves of such actions in these passages, but the harsh reality of the horrors of war are brought to the forefront.
Concerning Pro"s former arguments, Pro has failed to consider the cultural differences that are important in understanding these passages.
First Pro points out that the Bible allows slavery. This is true, sort of. The problem is that Pro is thinking of slavery in terms of post-enlightenment American slavery. It was based on race and involved capturing people against their will and forcing them into slavery.
In ancient Israel slavery was an economic institution under which most people sold themselves for a set period of time. The slavery of the Old Testament functioned more like what we would call indentured servitude. According to Exodus 21:2, "If you buy a Hebrew servant, he is to serve you for six years. But in the seventh year he shall go free without paying anything."
Pro brings us events in the 31st chapter of Numbers. This records a war between Israel and Midian. War is horrible. People die. In this case Midian did strike first and God calls for a counter-attack. God says to "take" the unmarried women. "Take" in this case probably means as wives. There is no mention of slavery anywhere in the passage. At the time arranged marriages were the norm and those who were orphaned by war were usually betrothed to someone with the expectation that the girl"s husband (or his family if he and the girl were still too young to marry) would care for the girl"s needs. The only way this could be immoral is if Pro argues that arranged marriages are themselves immoral. I think that Pro will have a difficult time arguing that arranged marriages are immoral even in cultures which accept arranged marriages.
Pro also brings up passages in the New Testament where Paul tells slaves to respect their masters. Here we need to remember that Paul was writing to Christians. One of the most common themes in Paul"s letters is to sacrifice our right, privileges, and freedoms for others. Paul continues this theme, telling those who are slaves to sacrifice for their masters. Paul is not supporting slavery. He is supporting self-sacrifice. Paul sees nothing dishonorable about being a slave. In First Corinthians 7:21 he writes, "Were you a slave when you were called? Don"t let it trouble you " although if you can gain your freedom, do so." Paul shows no interest in the social institution. Instead he shows interest in how people live. He is not advocating social rebellion. He is advocating selflessness and thinking less about what we want and more about how to help others.
Finally, Pro says that God commands genocide. This is probably the most confusing of Pro"s arguments since it relies on major cultural shift. We live in post-enlightenment wester society. We believe that the individual comes first and that the society is subservient to the individual. So to us saying, "And we utterly destroyed them, ... utterly destroying the men, women, and children, of every city," then we take that to mean that every individual must die.
Pre-enlightenment middle-eastern society did not think that way. They believed that the society came first and the individual was subservient to the society. Neither view is right or wrong. They are just different ways of thinking about how society and the individual relate to each other.
In that pre-enlightenment mindset, saying "utterly destroy them" does not mean each individual dies. It means the society dies. Everyone who is part of the culture must be destroyed to the point that the culture no longer exists. The culture of violence must be destroyed, but the individuals who abandon the culture may live.
Probably the best example of this is seen in the Amalekites. The Amalekites were vicious nomads, famous for attacking villages, murdering most the people, taking all the food, and leaving the survivors to starve to death. God warned them to change their ways. He gave them hundreds of years to repent. However, generation after generation maintained the same pattern until it became clear that the culture of the Amalekites would never change. The God told the Israelites to "attack the Amalekites and totally destroy everything that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys." (First Samuel 15:3).
And we are told that Israelites eventually do this under King David. The Amalekites are totally destroyed. Then we come to the book of Ester a few hundred years later. In Ester we are introduces to Haman son of Hammedatha, the Agagite. Agag was the king of the Amalekites, and here we meet his descendant long after the Amalekites were "destroyed." This helps us see that the "destruction" called for is not a literal destruction of every individual, but a destruction of a violent culture. This was not genocide, but end of a violent culture.
Pro has pointed out issues that might appear immoral on the surface, but once we look at what is really going one we see that Pro is mistaken. We also see a God who calls people to good things, not to evil.
Bringing up good verses about God in order to defend the bad verses about God is kind of like when Cosby defenders defend Cosby by bringing up the good things he did. A person's good actions never justify his/her bad actions.
By the way God does endorse human sacrifices. The greatest example of this is Jesus Christ himself who was a human sacrifice to God.
I know it's hard to believe but God uses cannibalism as a punishment against the Israelites. This is evidenced in the earlier bible verse I pointed out. Tell me why an all loving god would cause his people to starve until they have no other option than to eat their children, and each other? (Sounds like something Kim Jong Un would do). What kind of cruel punishment is that?
Con's argument defending God's advocacy of slavery is poor to say the least. Con begins by implying that the slavery of the bible was acceptable because it wasn't as harsh as American Slavery which is incorrect by the way.
Biblical slavery did involve capturing people against their will and forcing them into slavery. This was not some form of indentured servitude.
In Exodus 21:4-6 If the Hebrew slaves said they wanted to stay (probably because they did not have a set income to take care of themselves because they were not being paid, being that they were slaves, or they didn't want to leave their families behind because they stayed with the master) then the master would bring them to the door post, and bore their ears through with an aul. And if you beat them within an inch of their life and they didn't die then it was okay because they were property. (Sounds a lot like the excuse that slave masters used in America).
Con only points out guidelines for owning Hebrew slaves, and how it is only for a set period of time. But what about non-Hebrew slaves? According to Leviticus 25:44-46 If you were a Hebrew you could own foreign slaves for their whole lives, and you could even pass them down to you kids!
When it comes to Paul, and slavery, Paul, and the rest of the biblical writers could have just said that slavery was a human injustice, but the bible never prohibits slavery, it just condones it. Except when it happened to the Hebrews because God only cares when it happens to his own people. Even then he allowed it for 400 years, and after freeing them from Egypt, he was okay with them enslaving themselves. smh
Another example of the new testament condoning slavery is Titus 2:9-10 in which Paul is instructing church leaders to "Teach slaves to be subject to their masters in everything, to try to please them, not to talk back to them, and not to steal from them, but to show that they can be fully trusted, so that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive". So yes Paul does happens to be okay with the concept slavery.
And as for Numbers 31, what else did it it mean when it said "But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves". Even if it didn't mean rape, and it meant marriage then forced child marriages are wrong as well.
Now concerning genocide, Con states that "In that pre-enlightenment mindset, saying "utterly destroy them" does not mean each individual dies". which then begs the question WHAT ELSE COULD THIS SENTENCE HAVE POSSIBLY MEANT?.lol
The bible sometimes even goes into great detail into what exactly is destroyed. For example in Joshua 6:21 it says "And they utterly destroyed all that was in the city, both man and woman, young and old, and ox, and sheep, and donkey, with the edge of the sword."
Pro then returns to the argument cannibalism, once again entirely ignoring the context of the passage. The passages that Pro quoted in favor of his interpretation all speak about the horrors of war and not the commands of God. If Pro wishes to argue that the problem of evil " the existence of moral evil or suffering in the world " itself make God immoral that would be an interesting debate. However, that is not the debate he has chosen nor is it an argument he has made. We are talking about the description of God in the Bible, and these passage say nothing about God approving of or accepting cannibalism.
Pro then returns to the issue of slavery. Pro points out that a slave could choose " notice that this is a free choice " to remain a slave for life. Pro says that this is because they had no have a steady income. This is true. We are talking about a more difficult time when for many people the choice was slavery or starvation. Or, if not starvation, at least they would barely be able to survive. So at that time slavery did exist so that people could find a way to survive. If Pro believes that leaving people to starve to death is a more moral choice then allowing slavery to exist then he would need to provide a strong case to show that is true.
Pro then says that Paul should have said that slavery was human injustice instead of instructing to slave to be peaceful and honest. Here Pro seems to be suggesting that the morally right act would have been to insight revolution " a violent one, I assume " rather than allow slavery to exist. Once again Pro is not considering the larger ramifications of his view of morality. His ideas of what Paul should have said include war, death and destruction. The Bible describes a God who calls for peace, humility, and meekness. If Pro really believes that his view is better then he should have given a more complete explanation and consider fully what he was saying instead of giving short platitudes that were not fully thought out.
Pro then returns to the passage in Number 31, saying that forced marriages are wrong. In this case it seems that Pro does really mean "wrong." He means "not what my culture does." Arranged marriages " Pro can call them forced marriages if he likes " were the norm in ancient Middle Eastern culture. They were normal in many cultures throughout human history, though they have fallen out of practice for the most part in recent centuries. They are different than how post-enlightenment westerners approach marriage. That doesn"t make them wrong; just different.
Finally, concerning genocide Pro again brings up passages like Joshua 6:21 which talk about cities being "utterly destroyed." Pro writes, "what else could this sentence have possibly meant" other than the literal death of everyone in the city. Yet I have already told Pro what else it could possibly have meant, and what is most likely did mean. The Bible records that after some of these cities were "totally destroyed" there were still survivors. So clearly it does not mean that every individual was killed. Rather, it talks about the destruction of the culture. It talks about putting an end to a violent way of life that people have shown they will not end on their own. People died, certainly. It was war. But Bible discusses is not what Pro wants it to say.
No votes have been placed for this debate.
You are not eligible to vote on this debate
This debate has been configured to only allow voters who meet the requirements set by the debaters. This debate either has an Elo score requirement or is to be voted on by a select panel of judges.