When christians are faced with the bible they often revert to regurgitation. They tend to pull up some apologist doctrine, rather than their own ideas. It’s obvious that it isn’t their own ideas, as it is always the same dribble that comes from some theologian.
One such christian argument is that the Old Testament was written only for the Hebrews, which is very convenient when christians become judged by the same references they use to judge others. Clearly this isn’t the case when most christians reach into the Old Testament when they want to defend tithes/money spent on the church/pastor, or when they want to attack gay rights (i.e. if those teachings were for Jewish people alone, then why do christians utilize the same teachings when it works in their favor?)
Even Paul, in the New Testament, quotes the “old law” when convenient.
Another argument that comes up, is that these passages about cruelty towards others were the actions of Moses alone. Consider that many passages of the old testament open up with “The Lord said,” (i.e. “The Lord said to Moses, 2 “Take vengeance on the Midianites…”) which indicates the old law wasn’t simply cultural reference (the harshness of the times) or the will of Moses alone. Either “the Lord,” is the god you claim sent Jesus, or it was an excuse of ancient man for their behavior. If the latter, then clearly one isn’t an orthodox chrisitan, if the former, then the laws were not designed by Moses alone, but had the same god concept behind them. In other words, the same god who sends jesus also created rules on rape, mass murder, how to kill children, and so on.
This, right here, is the problem. The bible is a book of convenience that often contradicts itself. This isn’t my personal opinion alone, this is the only rational result after reading the various passages in both the old and new testaments.
Some argue still that the “old law” only applies to Jewish people. A highly convenient argument…. yet easily dismissed. Paul is addressing christians, not Jewish people. Case in point is 1st Cor. 14:34 “Let your women keep silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak; but they are to be submissive, as the law also says” <- “as the LAW also says.” Paul is bringing up the old law when it’s convenient, such as putting women in submission.
A comment/criticism was left on my first episode. I engaged the christian troll. It took some time to get a coherent thought out of him, and when it arrived it was the same regurgitation I’ve heard before.
To answer your ‘question’ why abuse of women is in the bible. One, the torah(old testament) was for the hebrews only. If you are not a Hebrew you would be considered a Gentile. Gentiles are accepted into the family of Christ with limited things required of us. Third you are missing the fact that the books of Moses were written three thousand years ago, different times, different culture. Moses gave those laws to the hebrews at the time due to their hardened hearts. Lovers of rules and regulations. That is a narrative throughout the entire bible. Jesus actually rebukes the pharisees for their love of laws and the manipulation of their laws to make themselves innocent. John 8:1-11“Red Beard”
Above, is the criticism. I highly doubt that this fellow came up with this reasoning on his own, as this is the same person that could answer only in short snarky comments and jeer at victims of sexual abuse. It’s also a very common response, almost word for word, to what others have said in the past.
The lack of original thinking is staggering. Consider this prior discussion I engaged in, where a christian stated the exact argument:
Old Testament deals with Israel being under “The Law”. They were far from perfect people, but they were chosen by God. For them, God issued 10 commandments and 600+ laws because they were so corrupted in their hearts that no one would survive if every sin was punishable by death. Those laws were made for Israel and they are not to be taken out of context. Those laws don’t reflect the personality of God, they just reflect the corruption of Israel.https://burnthebible.com/does-the-old-testament-apply-or-not/
When I detailed that fellows (from the quote above) mistake, I never heard from him again. Taking this new version of the same argument apart, I find four main aspects, which are detailed below.
This convenient argument boils down to these ideas:
- The “old testament” is only for the “Hebrews.” So anything nasty you find in it, is not for anyone else, but them.
- Gentiles get adopted in through the grace of Jesus and they escape all those nasty things.
- Moses’ doctrine is 3,000 years old, different times, different culture
- Moses only gave the harsh law because the people were lovers of rules and regulations
Destroying the Argument
- If that is true, that the Old Testament was only for the Hebrews, then why is god mentioned as killing non-Hebrews for “misconduct?”
- God instructs Moses to kill the Midians, even their children in Numbers 31. God kills the entire earth in Genesis 6-8.
- Paul, in the New Testament, writes to christians in 1 Corinthians 14:34 – invoking the old law when convenient.
- God micromanages all laws through Moses, including what is allowed to be eaten, who you could have sex with and even one’s own hygiene (circumcision). Why would you assume it was Moses (and not god) behind all those laws of rape, and death? That’s a big assumption and one not found in the bible.
- The bible attributes these actions to god, not moses. Consider these passages that mention “The Lord” as the guidance of Moses:
- Numbers 31: “The Lord said to Moses, 2 ‘Take vengeance on the Midianites for the Israelites. After that, you will be gathered to your people.’”
- Genesis 6:7 “So the Lord said, ‘I will wipe from the face of the earth the human race I have created—and with them the animals, the birds and the creatures that move along the ground—for I regret that I have made them.’”
- Genesis 18:26: “The Lord said, ‘If I find fifty righteous people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place for their sake.’” Oddly, the person their god called righteous was a man (Lot) who offered his daughters up for rape.
- Conclusion: If these harsh rules were for the “Hebrews alone,” then why does Paul reference the law throughout his discourses with other christians? Why did god kill non-Hebrews over the same demands? Why did he demand the blood of non-Hebrews? It seems, from the bible itself, the harshness was dolled out to Jewish and non-Jewish people alike.
- Why does many a theologian and minister today jump to the old testament to defend god’s supposed anger to anything they conveniently dislike? Just in regards to being gay, the following sermons reach into the Old Testament for fuel to judge the modern man – so if gentiles escape the “old law” why is this not correlative to the sermons from most christian denominations today? Below are a few posts from modern denominations, referencing the Old Testament for guidance:
- There was a time when zealot christians burned women alive for being “witches.” There again we have a side step back into the Old Testament in order to defend those punishments:
- Tithing: The modern pastor often preaches a message on tithing and where does he get his source material? From the Old Testament of course!
- Conclusion: Look at all these sermons from mainstream christians, referencing the Old Testament for their guidance. Clearly this isn’t a book “just for the Hebrews.” Not just theologians, Paul himself quotes the law often.
- The argument that everyone 3,000 years ago was a jerk, so that’s why the bible reads like that, is interesting. I agree, and such an argument neuters the bible. From this viewpoint the bible becomes secular (like a book of history) and not dogmatic. Yet christians reference that old law in order to judge many a “sin.” They attempt to elect leaders who will judge the sins mentioned in the old testament. You can also make the same claim about christian theology, perhaps it too is a product of its time and is outdated, only applying to the people of the age. Then the bible in totality is suspect, and certainly not the perfect book believers make it out to be.
- Conclusion: I agree that most people 3,000 years ago were barbarians. The thing is, christianity attempts to say that the same behavior of god 3,000 years ago is the same feelings of god today. They say god was anti-gay then, so he must be today. Only when the Old Testament is quoted against them, or in it’s harshness, does the christian then offer up that this is perhaps just cultural reference. Either it applies, or it doesn’t.
- This idea that Moses gave the law to a people that loved and required rules is very suspicious. Where does it say this in the bible? This again sounds like apologist fiction. It sounds like the stories to add to the bible in order to make it easier to digest. This is what apologists do… they aren’t seeking truth… they need to impress upon you that the bible is without error so they create a false narrative.
- Nazi Germany, and Stalin’s Soviet Union, was a rule based society. By this logic, they actions are excused on the fact their society required harsh punishments. Applying it to the modern era, we quickly see the argument break down.
- Conclusion: If Moses only gave this law to people who loved rules, then this behavior would apply to every society of similar values. But I don’t think such christians would excuse the terror of Nazi Germany or Stalin’s Soviet Union.
Considering the above we clearly see that christians today go to the old testament to defend the tithe, their anti-gay sentiment, and even in killing people. Hell, even Donald Trump said, “the way you stop terrorism is by taking out their families,” which certainly aligns with Numbers 31:17.
Clearly many pastors and denominations dip into the Old Testament, and that’s the point. They revel in it, when it’s convenient… when it applies to “someone else.” Once the judgement finger points at them, they are quick to spout, “well this doesn’t apply… it’s cultural contamination… this is only meant for the Hebrews.”
Logically, you can’t have this argument in both conditions. As the argument either applies to all people or just the Jewish people, it can be one or the other.
New Testament Trash
After all that, we didn’t even get to the new testament trash. There’s countless scriptures in the new testament that are quite contradictory.
Take Matthew 25:34-46, where jesus tells a story that those who do not feed the hungry will be cast into eternal darkness. Compare that with Paul’s 2nd Thessolonians 3:10, “if a man doesn’t work neither shall he eat.”
2nd Thess. 3:10 was quoted by many a politician to stop programs that feed the hungry. Case in point: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2017/03/31/gop-lawmaker-the-bible-says-the-unemployed-shall-not-eat/ such sentiment also led to this: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/fort-lauderdale-feeding-homeless_n_6094234
Not to mention Paul’s instructions on women:
3 But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God. 4 Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonors his head. 5 But every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head, for that is one and the same as if her head were shaved. 6 For if a woman is not covered, let her also be shorn. But if it is shameful for a woman to be shorn or shaved, let her be covered. 7 For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but woman is the glory of man. 8 For man is not from woman, but woman from man. 9 Nor was man created for the woman, but woman for the man.1 Corinthians 11:3-9
34 Let your women keep silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak; but they are to be submissive, as the law also says. 35 And if they want to learn something, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is shameful for women to speak in church.1 Corinthians 14:33-35
9 in like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing, 10 but, which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works. 11 Let a woman learn in silence with all submission. 12 And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve. 14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression. 15 Nevertheless she will be saved in childbearing if they continue in faith, love, and holiness, with self-control.1 Timothy 2:9-15
Have you ever listened to a racist defend slavery using the bible? I have. They will emphasize the fact that god never condemned slavery in the OT and that Paul explains:
5 Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ.Ephesians 6:5
Apologists will be quick to point out that slavery in the time of Rome was like being a butler today. Yet the historical record doesn’t quite agree:
Slaves were considered property under Roman law and had no legal personhood. Most slaves would never be freed. Unlike Roman citizens, they could be subjected to corporal punishment, sexual exploitation (prostitutes were often slaves), torture and summary execution. Over time, however, slaves gained increased legal protection, including the right to file complaints against their masters.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slavery_in_ancient_Rome
Not only that, but the OT forms of slavery were descriptive of rape. Only virgin women could be sold as slaves in the Old Testament. Once “used” they could no longer be sold as slaves, as they were described in a sense as being damaged goods. What a terrible book this is.
If you’re going to attest that the bible’s harsh parts are not applicable today, well you better go tap every pastor on the shoulder and ask them to stop preaching against being gay, to stop preaching for the tithe and offering and to stop using the Old Testament to make hero’s out of villains (like Lot and Abraham).
As seen above, the modern denominations of all types, reference the old testament when convenient to judge others… but when the old testament appears to harsh for modern man, they present an equal opposite argument that it “doesn’t really apply today.” Either it does or it doesn’t… it certainly can not apply only when convenient.
But it isn’t just the Old Testament that’s contradictory and at fault… the New Testament is filled with it’s own negativity. In either case, the book is 99.9% Old Testament and 0.1% Jesus, which has led to many a pastoral figure using the bible to condemn witches, kill gay people and incite racism. The bible is a pick and chose religion that has little in the way of value, outside that cherry picked philosophy relating to those 0.1% red letters.