The bible is a terrible place to get your morals from
Debate Rounds (5)
Rounds 2,3,4 - fight
Round 5 - final rebuttals and conclusion (no new arguments)
For just one example of thousands of immoral ideas in the bible, please consider Numbers 31:7-18
In it we hear the story of a bloody, vicious war. We learn that Moses was directly commanded by God that this should happen... and when the commanders returned with all the captives and spoils of war (having killed all the men and burned any remaining property), they come before Moses and Eleazar the Priest. What was the verdict? Take no prisoners... murder (for that is what it is) each and every one of them (the women and children)... except... (can this get any worse?)... except... save the virgin girls (presumably to be your slaves/wives)!
To say that this is a terrible place to get your morals from is an understatement; it would be hard to imagine a better job of creating a text that was less suitable for moral instruction!
Don't think, gentle reader, that this passage is a one-off... it is reinforced throughout the the Old Testament; consider Deuteronomy 20:10-14. Here we find that there is a very correct procedure for warfare:
1. First you must offer a town "peace"; the terms of that "peace" are that they will serve you in forced labour.
2. If they do not accept this "peace", you MUST attack the town
3. The Lord God will give you victory
4. Kill all the men
5. Keep all the women, children, cattle and other plunder
So, now we know how we should behave in wartime, how should we behave in peacetime?
Deuteronomy 22:28-29 and Deuteronomy 22:23-24 tell us what we should do in the case of rape:
If a man rapes a married woman then they are both to be taken outside the city and stoned to death.
If a man rapes an unmarried woman then must be married and never allowed to part.
I could go on and on and on... I could find *thousands* of disgusting examples of corrupt ideas being either allowed, condoned or specifically ordered by God. I suggest that there are far more such foul teachings than there are good moral teachings... but what of the good in the bible?
Well, certainly there ARE good things in the bible... for instance, there are instructions not to kill (far less than instructions TO kill, btw)... but... surely we don't really need to be told stuff like that... could we not figure that out internally?
But I'd like to hear Con's rebuttal first before I go into any more profoundly sick and disturbed parts of the bible.
The first five books of the Bible are full of stories of the conquest of Canaan. One story that stands out in the mind of those who dispute God's perfect justice is Numbers 31. God seemingly gives no reason for the murder of thousands of defenseless woman and male children. Some go farther than that and try to say that these young girls are carried off to be raped. How could a perfect God do such a thing?
I more than anyone hate the argument of context, but when discussing the Bible it becomes necessary. To understand the reason for Numbers 31 we must look back exactly six chapters before it; Numbers 25. This passage describes how the Midianite women led the Israelites astray into worshiping the Baal or Peor. The Lords anger burned against the Israelites and he struck them with a plague. Which ended when Phinehas killed an Israelite and the Midianite woman he had married. Marriage to the Midianites and the other people of the land of Cannan was strickly against the command of God.
Because of these events god instructed the Israelites to "Vex the Midianites, and smite them; for they vex you with their wiles, wherewith they have beguiled you in this matter of Peor, and in the matter of Cozbi, the daughter of the prince of Midianite their sister, who was slain on the day of the plague in the matter of Peor"(Numbers 25:17-18)
To allege that God is some sort of monster for ordering Israel to destroy the inhabitable of Canaan exhibits ignorance of biblical teaching. Those inhabitable were destroyed because of their own wickedness and sin not because God is an evil pathological monster. Complaining about God ordering the death of children is a vain gesture when one realises that they were spared the worse fate of being reared as saves under the domination of sin. Besides if the male children had been allowed to mature they would have followed their fathers in worshiping pagan gods and have eventually tried to enact vengeance on the Israelites. Killing them prevented Israel from battling them later.
The allegation that the Israelite men spared the young girls in order to rape them is nothing but conjecture based on lack of Biblical knowledge. In the custom of the time marriages were conducted at a young age therefore the reference to young girls who had not "known man by lying with him" would indicate that they were very young likely under the age of twelve. These girls were too young to be able to lead the men of Israel away from God therefore, these girls were allowed to live. As to raping them, it is more logical to assume that they wanted these girls for servants. This would be similar to Joshua 9, where Joshua allowed the Gibeonites to live in compelled servitude to the Israelites. Moreover, it would have been sinful for the Israelite men to rape the Midianite girls because rape was (and still is) abhorrent to God (Deuteronomy 22:23-28, esp. 25).
The simple answer to the questions surrounding Numbers 31 is that God ordered the Midianites to be killed in Numbers 25:17-18. When the army did not carry out this order at the time of the Midianite defeat, it was carried out in a delayed fashion when the army returned with the captives. As to Moses allowing the young girls to remain alive, that was a judgment call from the man with God"s authority over the Israelites.
Alright moving on to Deuteronomy 20 10-14. My previous argument explains this adequately.
Now moving on to the final object of your argument. Deuteronomy 22:28-29
Deuteronomy 22:28-29 is often pointed to by atheists, skeptics, and other Bible attackers as evidence that the Bible is backwards, cruel, and misogynist, and therefore, not the Word of God. At first glance, this passage seems to command that a rape victim must marry her rapist. Is that the correct interpretation of the text, and if so, how is that not horribly unfair to the woman? This issue is actually addressed in two passages, both of which are below:
Deuteronomy 22:28-29 "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. He may not divorce her all his days."
Exodus 22:16-17 "If a man seduces a virgin who is not betrothed and lies with her, he shall give the bride price for her and make her his wife. If her father utterly refuses to give her to him, he shall pay money equal to the bride price for virgins."
Together, these passages clearly state that if a man has sex with a virgin who is not betrothed (regardless of whether or not it was rape or consensual) he is obliged to marry her. He should have sought her father's permission first, negotiated a bride-price, and taken her as his wife. Because he did not, he is punished for this"he now must pay up (he can't opt out any more) and marry her (which could be a major punishment in itself if this was a foolish, spur-of-the-moment act and she really wasn't the right woman for him!).
Also note that "he may not divorce her all his days" " this initially doesn't seem significant but is actually a major punishment. Deuteronomy 24:1-4 (restated more clearly in Matthew 5:32 and 19:9) allowed for divorce, but only in the case of sexual immorality. This man now may not divorce his wife even for this reason, but is obliged to continue to support her all his life whatever she does.
But her father is ultimately in authority over her, as her head, until he hands this authority over to her husband. If the man is unsuitable, the father can refuse to give his daughter to him. How many fathers would give their daughter to a rapist? Not many. So, in general, a rapist would actually have to pay a 50 silver shekel fine to her father, and not get a wife at all.
The answer to the question is in Exodus 22:17 - the woman does NOT have to marry a rapist, she must only do what her father says this is why the passage leaves marriage to the discretion of the father, because every situation is different, and it is better to be flexible than have a blanket rule.
Also note that the penalty for having sex with an unbetrothed virgin is completely different from the penalty for sex with a married or betrothed woman. Sex with a married or betrothed woman is adultery and was to be punished by the death of both if consensual, or the death of only the man (not the woman as you claim) if it was rape.
That was fun I look forward to your next try.
Con asks us to consider *context*; the context that he offers us for the war crime of genocide is the following:
Complaining about God ordering the death of children
is a vain gesture when one realises that they were spared
the worse fate of being reared as saves ["slaves"] under
the domination of sin
Slaves to what sin? Worshiping the wrong God. Great. Con essentially believes that life as an atheist, a Muslim, a Hindu, a Buddhist or a Baha'i is a fate worse than death... AND, presumably, that this absolutely justifies murdering them (I suggest that any war crime tribunal today, Christian or not, would profoundly disagree). Presumably Con could make some special pleading for Jews (or, perhaps, at a pinch, the Muslims), since they (sort of) worship the same God. That is quite likely to instantly win me about 66% of the World's population so thanks for that, Con!
Also, if I now wish to pursue the theory that the bible inspires misogyny (good suggestion, thanks Con!), I have a shining example, in Con, of misogynist thought... directly inspired by the holy bible! Thank you so much, Con, you really are making this easy! Why do I say this? Well, let's have a deeper look at what Con says about the rapist who must marry his victim:
... he is punished for this: he now must pay up (he can't
opt out any more) and marry her (which could be a major
punishment in itself if this was a foolish, spur-of-the-moment
act and she really wasn't the right woman for him!)
WHAT THE HELL!? What kind of a twisted moral compass would make you think that a marriage between two people who weren't "meant for each other" would be a good idea? To use this ill-fated marriage AS A FORM OF PUNISHMENT is lunacy and completely disrespects the woman's part in this. I say "meant for each other" but actually, Con's misogyny runs far deeper than that... he writes "she really wasn't the right woman for him"! Oh, me, oh my!
Don't worry, Con, I know that you do actually think there's a way out... you've already outlined it... let's look at that in more detail... because a woman must be under the direct authority of a man from birth through to death (according to the bible and, apparently, Con), her father (her current "authority") could look out for her and prevent the marriage... phew... except that this is misogyny compounded upon misogyny and it doesn't account for the case of where the father might selfishly decide that this was a perfect opportunity to ditch the responsibility of looking after (and feeding) his daughter... or the case where her father is a twisted masochist who wants to hurt his daughter and forces her into this loveless marriage (don't think for one second that the mother has any say in this, she is "under the authority" of her husband). I have now probably won half of the remaining 33% of people. You're down to about 16.5%, old chap. Good luck.
Oh, by the way... there is also one other interesting fact to point out here... Con's argument so far absolutely relies on the assertion that there is a God and that the Bible is the inspired words of that God. That's sad in the context of this debate, because it really does mean that Con is going to lose out possible support from anybody of any other [or no] faith. Why do I say this? Because nobody in their right mind could condone genocide in retaliation for the crime of conversion to a "false god" unless they believed, to the disturbing level that Con seems to believe, in a holy book. And of those people who are as profoundly fundamentalist as Con, it's only the fundamentalist Christians who will agree with Con at this point.
Finally, Con, I'll leave you with a thought which is a *slight* deviation from the debate at hand, but might help to illustrate to you the total immorality of what you are saying: what if the boot was on the other foot and it was you and your family and your whole city who were to be killed for the crime of promoting the wrong faith? There exist in this World PLENTY of people who, being as fundamentalist as you, would LOVE to do it. They have other holy books that tell them how moral it is to kill infidels such as yourself and I condemn the idea that their books are a good source of morality with as much conviction as I do yours.
Note to most Christians: I know that you tend to distance yourselves from the Old Testament and likely do not agree with Con's hard-line confirmation of the morality of some of the "worse bits" from the Old Testament (I'm atheist myself but spent half my life as a Christian). I urge you to vote on my side of the debate *based on the arguments being made*... partly because even if you think that the bible is a good source for morals, if you think I've out-debated Con then I beg that I deserve that... but also because, even if you think that *for you* the bible is a good source for morals, I hope that you'd agree that it *can* go wrong as it seems to have done in Con's case.
A man decided he would do whatever the Bible told him to do so he took a Bible and opened it to a random page and selected a passage and verse here is what he got: Judas hung himself.. (Matthew 27:5 b) He decided that couldn't be what God was telling him to do so he picked another verse here's what he got: Go ye therefore and do likewise (Luke 10:37 b) He shook his head he must be losing it he decided to try one more time here's what he got on his third try: What thou must do do thou quickly. (John 13:27 b)
As comical as this seems it happens, my opponent thinks he can prove the Bible promotes immoral teachings because he cherry picked some verses he is profoundly wrong, and a tad bit ignorant. Moving on.
Many people (not pro for some reason) can plainly understand, that for their time the ancient Israelites were remarkably kind to women. Treating them far more better than the surrounding nations.. Women in pagan societies during biblical times were often treated with little more dignity than animals. Some of the best-known Greek philosophers--considered the brightest minds of their era--taught that women are inferior creatures by nature. Even in the Roman Empire (perhaps the very pinnacle of pre-Christian civilization) women were usually regarded as mere chattel--personal possessions of their husbands or fathers, with hardly any better standing than household slaves. That was vastly different from the Hebrew (and biblical) concepts of marriage as a joint inheritance, and parenthood as a partnership where both father and mother are to be revered and obeyed by the children (Leviticus 19:3).
From the very first chapter of the Bible, we are taught that women, like men, bear the stamp of God's own image (Genesis 1:27; 5:1-2)--men and women were created equal. Women play prominent roles in many key biblical narratives. Wives are seen as venerated partners and cherished companions to their husbands, not merely slaves or pieces of household furniture (Genesis 2:20-24; Proverbs 19:14; Ecclesiastes 9:9). At Sinai, God commanded children to honor both father and mother (Exodus 20:12).
Yet women are by no means marginalized or relegated to any second-class status. The Bible teaches women are not only equals with men (Galatians 3:28), but are also set apart for special honor (1 Peter 3:7). Husbands are commanded to love their wives sacrificially, as Christ loves the church--even, if necessary, at the cost of their own lives (Ephesians 5:25-31). The Bible acknowledges and celebrates the priceless value of a virtuous woman (Proverbs 12:4; 31:10; 1 Corinthians 11:7).
I find it laughable to think that for morals you look to a passage on war. Since when does war become moral? Think about that. It seems to me your taking advice from Alan Alda ""War is war and Hell is hell, and if you ask me, War is a lot worse." The older voters will understand. From what the Bible says hell is a lot worse than anything on earth War included. A lifetime of servitude to sin predicates going to hell. "The wages of sin is death." Make no mistake I'm not making an alter call, but you brought it up and I felt I just had to clarify.
I noticed you ignored most of my arguments, and so can the voters by the way. Another thing I'm not asserting that the God of the Bible exists (I do believe He does) I'm merely putting the passages into context. Now just as you did I appeal directly to the voters(though I feel it's a tad bit early for that) I'm sure you'll vote not based on your religion or world view, but on the strength of my arguments, or pro's arguments. I'm sure of this because your all smart enough not to let your personal beliefs get in the way of who really one, him or me.
Note to most Christians and Atheists: Christians in no way distance themselves form the Old Testament most Christians would and will say Amen to the things I'm saying. I've gone wrong no where and in no way have I deviated from Christian views. I find it laughable that Pro is trying to tell us how Christians are to believe. Now can I get an Amen!
Note to Pro: now if your done trying to destroy my character (failing to do so by the way) you seem to have deviated from the real debate care to go back to the real topic being discussed. If you continue to cherry-pick verses from the Bible, I will continue to call you out on it, so knock it off. Thank you.
A quick reminder:
1. I start with the contention that the bible promotes genocide and that's immoral.
2. Con rebuts that I must consider context and offers some:
- a) Genocide, yes; but to be fair, genocide of infidels
3. I come back and suggest that this is still not moral
4. Con accuses me of blatantly refusing to see context, offers a silly example of reading single sentences from the bible and then adds a second context:
- b) Genocide, yes; but to be fair, genocide 3,500 years ago
I'll leave it for the reader to decide but, for me, this debate has become farcical.
Genocide is genocide. Genocide of a people who believe in a different God is still genocide. Genocide 3,500 years ago was still genocide.
If nothing else, you'd have to admit that you'd need a doctorate in Context to get good morals with no bad morals from the bible. If you take the book literally, there is a whole lot of pernicious and outright nasty stuff in there... sure, you can play your "context" games if you like... but surely a book that doesn't require you to turn logical pirouettes with what it says would be a better place to look for moral inspiration?
I offer, gentle reader, my greatest argument that the bible is a terrible place to get your morals from: Con! Con, would you please make it clear what your moral position is on genocide? When is genocide acceptable? Is it to do with the context of killing unbelievers? Is it to do with the context of killing 3,500 years ago? Or, perhaps, is it to do with the context of being instructed to slaughter by a deity (don't want to put words in your mouth)?
I have no issue coming out and saying clearly: "genocide is immoral".
I imagine (I sincerely hope!) that most human beings on the planet would agree with me.
Since Con is so invested in the bible, it seems to me, he seems to have an issue accepting that. That, if nothing else, seems to confirm my proposition.
Understand what genocide actually is. Genocide is the intentional eradication of an entire ethnic group.
Because what God instructed the Israelites to do was eradicate all the inhabitants of Canaan. For example, we see in these verses that God specifically mentions the Hittites. Now, scholars know that the Hittites had a fairly impressive empire centered in Turkey. Notice: God did not instruct the Israelites, "and when you're done with Canaan, kill all of the other Hittites in the world, too." God instructed the Israelites to eradicate the people of a certain region, NOT any particular ethnic group.
If someone decided to eradicate everyone in New York City, that would not be genocide. The bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki cannot be considered genocide. In fact, what we would term "race" is not even mentioned in the bible.
You will find that the biblical account is not only genocidal but also that it is approved of by no lesser characters than Moses and God.
I would have loved to have a more complete debate, looking at the good and the bad in the bible and seeing how the new testament does not replace the old, how even if it did the new testament endorses slavery (people seen as inheritable property who can be beaten half to death). I would have loved to debate how people on opposite sides of conflicts such as the American civil war used the bible to justify their opposite positions on the morality of slavery (showing just how unclear and inconsistent it really is). Instead, we seem to have stumbled at the first hurdle.
If the biblical account is accurate, Moses would be convicted of the crime of genocide by any modern war crime tribunal. I realize, of course, that it's ludicrous to apply modern moral thinking to 3,500 year old events... But in EXACTLY the same way, it is ludicrous to derive our modern moral thinking from 3,500 year old events!
The bible DOES condone (or even prescribe) slavery, genocide, misogyny and many other nasty things. This cannot be said to be good moral instruction. Okay, so you could argue that because those things were commonplace in the protagonists' enemies at the time, the protagonists were justified in doing those things... But you'd be hard pushed to argue that we should today derive our morality from these stories! Unless you really think that all good Christian nations should rise up in crusade and commit genocide, of course.
Please, Con, answer these two simple questions:
1. Is genocide morally reprehensible?
2. Does the bible condone and prescribe genocide?
Believe me I was hoping we would have gotten to those topics as well. I love talking about how the New Testament doesn't replace the Old only completes it.
In light of how this debate has shifted from being about the Bible and the morals contained inside to the issue of Genocide. (You dropped all my other points btw). I leave you with this: The Bible is a place full of good morals. Bad or misguided men take a few passages and ignore author intent and twist them to suit their desires. Using this I could twist the meaning of any book into something evil. Ultimately it is up to the voters. I look forward to the end result.
To my opponent. I want you to know that this has been fun, and enlightening, I also want you to know that I have a great deal of respect for you and you abilities. Good luck my friend. May God bless you and your family.
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