Answering Biblical ‘Contradictions’: Ethical Objections
July 5, 2012 § Leave a comment
So, if we are using Biblical ethics to define our own ethics we must identify what the bible finds ethical.
The bible lets us know its ethical to:
Harm to others through inaction: Genesis 3:1-7 & 3:22-24
Engage in Bigamy: Genesis 4:19
Commit Mass genocide: Genesis 7:11-24
Offer your daughters to a mob to be raped: Genesis 19:8
Commit Incest: Genesis 19:32-38
Kill, rape, plunder, enslave: Genesis 34:13-29
Kill someone for masturbating: Genesis 38:9
If you notice I have not even included everything in Genesis but ill stop there due to the fact if I attempt to do this with Exodus your eyes would bleed due to the volume of atrocities committed in the name of your god or by your god himself.
Is this the morals you speak of and guide you?
“From what part of Scripture do you find the teaching of racial bigotry?”
Genesis 9:25: In retaliation for Ham’s “sinful act” of seeing his father nude, Noah puts a curse on his grandson Ham, being ‘blackened by sin’ and ‘forced to become a servant’. (Ham’s son). Canaan: ?Cursed be Canaan; lowest of slaves shall he be to his brothers” Over time, this curse came to be interpreted that Ham was literally “burnt,” and that all his descendants had black skin, marking them as slaves with a convenient color-coded label for subservience.
Leviticus 19:19 Ye shall keep my statutes. Thou shalt not let thy cattle gender with a diverse kind: thou shalt not sow thy field with mingled seed: neither shall a garment mingled of linen and woollen come upon thee.
Deuteronomy 7:3 Neither shalt thou make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son.
Deuteronomy 22:9: “Thou shalt not sow thy vineyard with divers seeds: lest the fruit of thy seed which thou hast sown, and the fruit of thy vineyard, be defiled.”
“how do sexual habits have anything to do with race?”
The correlation is the bigotry your religion instills and requires of its followers, not the specific acts.
Your ethical objections to the Bible are unfounded for a number of reasons.
1. Your conclusions are based on a misunderstanding of who God is. If God is the Creator and author of all life then He is ultimately justified whether He gives it or takes it away and doesn’t contradict His nature by doing so. He may take it away in judgment for evil and He may do it for reasons that are ultimately good in accordance to a plan that finite human minds would of course have no way of knowing or seeing beforehand.
2. Because the Bible contains descriptions of evil done by humans does not mean the evil is prescribed for us to do. For instance, it describes the acts of Lot’s daughters in Gen. 19:32-38, which were sinful, but doesn’t prescribe incest. One does not (& should not) take history books about the Holocaust to be instruction to kill Jews.
3. You have assigned alternate meanings to passages by misreading the text or ignoring context. It’s hardly possible to provide thorough exegesis on all the texts you reference, but here are a few…
– Adam and Eve had a free will and chose to sin; God allowing them that freedom was not sinful.
– Canaan (not Ham) was “cursed” but if you read it carefully, Noah doesn’t say it was because of Ham’s act of seeing him naked and making a joke of him to his brothers rather than covering him up (which is what probably happened). The curse on Canaan and his descendants were because of the future sins of Canaan and his descendants as Noah’s words were prophetic, in a “like father, like son” manner. And nowhere in the Bible is it taught that the curse led to Africans in slavery, in fact Canaan’s immediate descendants were probably more of a middle brown.
– God judged Onan because he didn’t fulfill a cultural duty to marry his brother’s widow and produce offspring. In his selfishness he refused to take her as his wife and to give her children that would be credited to her brother’s line. The offense wasn’t masturbation. That isn’t even what Onan did.
– Re: Slavery, bigamy, polygamy, etc. God allowed certain conditions to exist in a fallen world, but He does not create or condone those conditions, people do.
– Many confuse ceremonial Levitical laws with moral laws, but the distinction becomes clear when you consider the context. There was a larger lesson for Israel in remaining separate from other nations because they were God’s chosen people, which God would naturally have the right to do.
I find it interesting that any atheist would have an opinion on the moral acts of a hypothetical deity and still believe they can reconcile their atheism. If morality evolved as a human convention, it would logically only govern the behavior of human beings. You speak of “the volume of atrocities committed in the name of your god or by your god.” How is it that you readily apply human ethical standards to not only ancient humans in far-off cultures, but to the hypothetical Creator of the universe? You do this because our moral obligations are objective, absolute and universal and you can’t even imagine them any other way. Evolution and atheism require the opposite, yet strangely, nobody lives as if morality is at all subjective or relegated to human beings.
[There were no further responses from this critic. He did, however, invite me to participate in a live debate broadcast. Check out Proof of an External Source for Human Morality for a deeper analysis of the argument I make in the last paragraph.]