a christian had they lived in the OTestament days shouldn't have been compelled to stone sinners
Debate Rounds (3)
are you a christian who would have stoned people, as commanded in the days of the OTestament? I am asking only christians who believe the bible is infallible.
almost no one i've ever met or discussed this stuff has said that they would.
basically, the only argument i can make against why we shouldnt have stoned them, had we lived back then, is because the bible is not necessarily the word of God.
i realize some like to argue that the deaths are examples that show that the wages of sin is death. this is a plausible point, but can you argue all this stuff to justify it, while also admitting that you too would stone them?
if so, are you comfortable with your decision that you too would stone people?
please give more arguments for why you genuinely feel they should have been stoned.
i realize, especially for the super religious types, that a test of whether something is true or not, is not what you feel based on your own emotion, but rather based on something firmer. to catholics it is CC teaching, etc.
"While the Israelites were in the desert, a man was found gathering wood on the Sabbath day. Those who found him gathering wood brought him to Moses and Aaron and the whole assembly, and they kept him in custody, because it was not clear what should be done to him. Then the LORD said to Moses, "The man must die. The whole assembly must stone him outside the camp." So the assembly took him outside the camp and stoned him to death, as the LORD commanded Moses. (Numbers 15:32-36) "
even Jesus in the NTestament seemed on the surface to say that they should have been stoned.
Then some Pharisees and teachers of the law came to Jesus from Jerusalem and asked, 2 "Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They don"t wash their hands before they eat!"
3 Jesus replied, "And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition? 4 For God said, "Honor your father and mother"[a] and "Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death."[b] 5 But you say that if anyone declares that what might have been used to help their father or mother is "devoted to God," 6 they are not to "honor their father or mother" with it. Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition. 7 You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you:
8 ""These people honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.
9 They worship me in vain;
their teachings are merely human rules."[c]"
"Anyone who blasphemes the name of the LORD must be put to death. The entire assembly must stone him. Whether an alien or native-born, when he blasphemes the Name, he must be put to death. (Leviticus 24:16)
If a man happens to meet in a town a virgin pledged to be married and he sleeps with her, you shall take both of them to the gate of that town and stone them to death?the girl because she was in a town and did not scream for help, and the man because he violated another man's wife. You must purge the evil from among you. (Deuteronomy 22:23-24)
If a man or woman living among you in one of the towns the LORD gives you is found doing evil in the eyes of the LORD your God in violation of his covenant, and contrary to my command has worshiped other gods, bowing down to them or to the sun or the moon or the stars of the sky, and this has been brought to your attention, then you must investigate it thoroughly. If it is true and it has been proved that this detestable thing has been done in Israel, take the man or woman who has done this evil deed to your city gate and stone that person to death. (Deuteronomy 17:2-5)
If your very own brother, or your son or daughter, or the wife you love, or your closest friend secretly entices you, saying, "Let us go and worship other gods" (gods that neither you nor your fathers have known, gods of the peoples around you, whether near or far, from one end of the land to the other), do not yield to him or listen to him. Show him no pity. Do not spare him or shield him. You must certainly put him to death. Your hand must be the first in putting him to death, and then the hands of all the people. Stone him to death, because he tried to turn you away from the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. (Deuteronomy 13:6-10)
If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who does not obey his father and mother and will not listen to them when they discipline him, his father and mother shall take hold of him and bring him to the elders at the gate of his town. They shall say to the elders, "This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious. He will not obey us. He is a profligate and a drunkard." Then all the men of his town shall stone him to death. You must purge the evil from among you. All Israel will hear of it and be afraid. (Deuteronomy 21:18-21)
'A man or woman who is a medium or spiritist among you must be put to death. You are to stone them; their blood will be on their own heads.' (Leviticus 20:27)
While the Israelites were in the desert, a man was found gathering wood on the Sabbath day. Those who found him gathering wood brought him to Moses and Aaron and the whole assembly, and they kept him in custody, because it was not clear what should be done to him. Then the LORD said to Moses, "The man must die. The whole assembly must stone him outside the camp." So the assembly took him outside the camp and stoned him to death, as the LORD commanded Moses. (Numbers 15:32-36)
But seat two scoundrels opposite him and have them testify that he has cursed both God and the king. Then take him out and stone him to death." (1 Kings 21:10)
"If a bull gores a man or a woman to death, the bull must be stoned to death, and its meat must not be eaten. But the owner of the bull will not be held responsible. (Exodus 21:28)
As an opening statement, I want to stress that, as a Christian, I understand how serious and difficult of a situation this is to reconcile. I hope to present rational and morally understanble arguments to justify the seemingly barbaric culture that is ancient Judaism.
My opponent seems to allow an agreement between us that God does exist, so we will be debating on whether or not the Bible is the infallible word of God. Having said this, all of my arguments will be based on the assumption that God does indeed exist.
God is In Control
God is the creator of all life. (From Job chapter 1:) Yahweh gives and Yahweh takes away. As He has created life, He also has the authority to take that life away, by whatever means He so chooses.
God destroyed the entire world by a flood (Genesis 7), save 8 people. This follows from the above statement, that He gave many life, but because of unrighteousness, He took it away.
Bestowing the Control
When one thinks of God taking life away, we more or less see it as a natural event that doesn't have much personality to it. When God produces laws that require men to kill another for breaking a law, this becomes a more personal event, and the reality of morality becomes hauntingly visual.
Exodus 19:6: "'[A]nd you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.' These are the words that you shall speak to the sons of Israel."
The Jews were rescued by Moses and were given their own land to become their own nation. However, this gift came with a pre-requisite; they had to be a nation that had higher standards than the rest of the nations of the world.
The Difference Between Barbarian and Appropriate Conduct
Imagine 3 people: Jim and his brother Bob, and their friend Zack.
If Zack killed Bob, it would be wrong for Jim to take revenge on Zack by killing him.
If there was a law that said "If someone kills another, he must be killed also as punishment", then it follows that Jim would be morally allowed to execute his brother's murderer.
Laws are presuppositions that dictate what should happen should an event occur. Without the presupposition, there is no fair way to logically conclude how to deal with the situation.
The Mosaic Law
No Work on the Sabbath
In our culture today, if we saw someone working on a Saturday (the Sabbath day), it would be blatantly wrong to kill that person. Now, in the ancient Jewish culture, there was a pre-requisite that stated no one should work on the Sabbath, or he is to be stoned. If this was a law, then no person in their right mind should want to work on the Sabbath, that's just an obvious truth. So, when someone did work on the Sabbath, they were not killed because they were doing a simple task that we perceive to not be wrong, he was killed because he was blatanly showing a lack of respect and disobedience to the one who rescued him out of Egypt.
In the passage in Numbers that my opponent quoted, there shows a unanimous hesitation for the Jews to not want to stone the person who was caught working on the Sabbath. The only thing that convinced them otherwise was the belief that Yahweh was definitely commanding them to enforce the Law that He gave. Yahweh was in an impossible situation- He made a law that was given as a gift for a free day to relax, and someone not in their right mind went and defied it anyway. This was not a barbarian act, this was a group of people enforcing a law that their Creator had given them.
This law is different in that it affects those who were not born Jewish. However, I assume this law is applying to those who were not born Jewish but also became a resident in the Jewish community. By becoming a resident in the community, they are accepting the Mosaic Law.
Joshuah 2:8-11 "Now before they lay down,[Rahab] came up to them on the roof,and said to the men, “I know that the Lord has given you the land, and that the terror of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land have melted away before you.For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed. When we heard it, our hearts melted and no courage remained in any man any longer because of you; for the Lord your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath.
This shows that other nations heard of the wonders of the Jewish nation and understood the magnificence that was the God of the Hebrews. If other nations feared a god that was not of their own religion, how much more so should the Jews have been obedient to laws their God gave them and would have not wanted to break them?
Other Laws that Required Death as Punishment
As already stated, this nation was to be a holy nation that had to obey higher standards. This was not God promoting the death penatly, these were laws saying that, given that certain situations arise, this is how to deal with them.
Instead of looking at these laws from a horrific point of view, one can see this laws from the standpoint that this nation valued rightouesness, albeit at a high cost. The less severe the punishment for the breaking of a law, the more-so the law will get broken. This is the reason for the severity of the Mosaic law.
Comparison to the American Culture
If we look at our country in America, we see that we have many laws with much less severe punishments, but we also see a very high crime rate. We compromise having a high crime rate so that we do not have to have the death penalty extend to multiple laws. In ancient Israel, they compromised having a lot of laws with the death penalty so that the crime rate would be dramatically lower. What this debate depends on is what we decide is worth the compromise.
As a Christian, I would most definitely hesitate to stone a man, just as the ancient Israelites did, but if I was living during their period and witnessed the great power and wrath of God that they did, and also be willing to compromise my personal views to live among a nation with a lower crime rate and have higher standards, I would be find myself enforcing the law that my community and myself agreed to follow, despite the intense consequences.
the problem, though, is that a christian is a christian first. not a religious being first. if convention says that the bible is completely inerrant, or that judiasm is said to give us inerrant teachings.... then this simply must be rejected.
i'd also argue, without getting into the examples, that if we can find contradictions in the bible, or at least what seem to perhaps be contradictions.... we should be all that much more quicker to argue why we must reject that stuff, and reject it with decent reasons, too.
id argue that con is basically doing as Jesus said, putting doctrines of man over the truths of God.
""These people honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.
9 They worship me in vain;
their teachings are merely human rules."[c]"
Obeying the Law
I did not make a claim of 'because I would be forced to'. I made a lengthy case showing that there are logical and moral obligations to follow when residing in God's Holy Nation. If my opponent disagrees with my conclusion, I would like to see a case as to why God would not laws with a death penalty.
This passage from Isaiah, and quoted by Jesus, is not saying what my opponent thinks it is saying.
"These people honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.
They worship me in vain;
their teachings are merely human rules."
In Judaism, (like Christianity nowadays) there were different denominations. One denomination, the Pharisees, taught that Moses received two torahs from God- the written Torah (Genesis-Deuteronomy) and the Oral Torah. The Oral Torah was essentially this idea that the rabbinical priests, the pharisees, carried on a tradition where they were allowed to make their own laws in addition to what was written in the Bible. So, when Jesus is quoting this biblical passage, he is doing it to discredit their Oral Law teachings, which have nothing to do with Scripture.
The reason for the belief in Biblical Innerancy is because Jesus quoted from many passages in Scripture, seemingly claiming that all of Scriptuer is true. Jesus even said in John 10:35 "Scripture cannot be broken".
If my opponent wants to prove that Scripture has serious errors, then that would show that Jesus' words aren't reliable, thus effectively destroying any remnant of truth in Christianity.
Should my opponent want to make that argument and disprove Christianity, a case must be made that shows Scripture isn't true or reliable.
when Jesus said "scripture cannot be broken" a couple things. one translation is simply that scripture cannot be set aside. i agree, it can't be, it should be deferred and reference. but that doesn't mean it's necessarily infallible. another point was he could have been saying it in a broader context... "by your own reasoning", he was trying to get them to understand how he makes divine remarks about himself. not necessarily trying to say scripture is infallible.
con insists im "effectively destroying any remnant of truth in Christianity" by questioning the bible's authority. however, don't throw the baby out with the bathwater. christianity can still be true even if the bible still have some mistakes in it. ive seen plenty of credible christnanis espouse the view, and atheists who'd give a nod to it were they to become christian. or at least be more likely to.
a couple examples. matthew and luke lineages are appearently contradictory for Jesus' brith. complicated issue, i admit. "no one has ascended to heaven but the Son of Man". which contradicts "Elijah was taken up to heaven". plenty of other verses too. there are plausible ways to reconcile these verses, but the most traightforward way to tackle it is to say there's error. the ounterintitive way is "there must not be any error so XYZ"..... trtying to ratinoaize preconceived notions to justify a preexisting beleif. there's plenty of technical errors too, teh color of something, teh number of something etc. why defer to a book that has God killing so unsparingly?
indeed, con acts like "so what's what with the death penalty", wehn in fact the fact that it is so unsparingly is what's wrong. con didn't even question taht notion exp.icitly, he just tried to deflect the point to something we might be able to relate to, the death penalty in general.
con basically just does a bunch of what i'd call "Pharasitical" loop de loops, and ends of allowing himself to kill, dare i say murder, so many other people. he places doctrines of man, over doctriens of God. and he doesn't even try to justify them philosohpically like im arguing against him for. he just keeps it down to "because the bible says so"
I don't really see it as that we are dancing around semantics. As I have previously mentioned, I would sacrifice having more laws with the death penalty if that meant the crime rate would be drastically lower. My opponent hasn't seemed to take a stance with having a higher crime rate being more beneficial than a lower crime rate. My argument still stands that a nation is better with a lower crime rate. If people do not want to be stoned, then they do not have to break the law. It's just that simple.
My opponent seems to contradict themselves. They say that when Jesus said "Scripture cannot be broken" we shouldn't take that in the simple and obvious terms of what it means, yet when it comes to other things in Scripture than can have alternate explanations, we should just assume the simpler explanation is that Scripture contradicts each other. My opponent is arguing in circles
Matthew and Luke's chronologies differ because one goes through the line of Joseph, and the other through the line of Mary.
When Elijah was taken up to "heaven", heaven actually means "sky". We know that he did not literally go to heaven, because 7 years after this event, a king received a letter from Elijah (2 Chronicles 21:12-15). Elijah was simply taken to another nation, similar to that of Philip in the New Testament (Acts 8:39-40)
My opponent claims that i put the doctrines of men over the doctrines of God (even though I explained this was a criticism towards the Oral Law), but has not given an argument that shows God did not give Moses the Torah at Sinai. If God did give Moses those laws, then they must be obeyed. To disregard the law of God would be putting the doctrine of men above God, which my opponent seems to be arguing for, even tho Pro is ironically asserting the opposite.
I would like to thank Pro for this debate, and I hope I adequately put forth fair arguments to reconcile this difficult topic.
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