The Historic Context Debate

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When I deal with Christians, I can spot someone who’s been indoctrinated pretty quickly. Any person of any faith or ideology, that happens to spout the same data as many others of their group, has been indoctrinated. A true Individual will not quote verbatim the ideas of their associations, that is the result of indoctrination (following a leader or group mind). This is the problem of believers, they tend to stop thinking on their own, and search for answers through the work of others.

One of the more common attacks of the Christian apologist, is to attempt to explain away the vile in the Bible under the umbrella of “historic context.” When I raised the genocide committed by Moses in Numbers 31, the Christian apologist will say, “well we need to know the historic context.” They’ll rattle off a long list of historical data… “the Midians that Moses killed, they drew first blood… the Midian women seduced the holy men of Israel… the children of the Midians would have been scarified to pagan gods anyway…”

This dazzling of data, names and dates simply doesn’t build a better argument, but instead attempts to distract the discussion. We’re still left in the end, with the question, “when is it right or ethical to kill children in the name of god?”

Recently, a listener responded to one my videos. He suggested that I was not understanding the Bible’s “context.” By all means, let’s talk about the context, but if the context doesn’t add to the discussion, let’s drop it.

The Flood Example

When we talk about the flood, as an example, and you say that the “context of the flood was that the world was filled with sinners,” you have a hidden premise that all were sinning and worthy of death. You can drop into all the detail you want, but at the end of it, my question will remain: When is it right for a “pro-life” god to kill pregnant women, infant children and those who weren’t sinning?

What’s the difference between a pregnant woman at the time of the character Noah, to an infant born in the modern era? Theologically there is no difference. Therefore, if god killed children in the ancient world, the same god (who is self described as never changing), wouldn’t give a lick if people terminated pregnancies today. That’s logic.

What historic context can you apply to the argument?

One fellow told me once, “well today we are under the covenant of Jesus…” Christian theology states that only believers are under the covenant of Jesus. According to the faith, one must accept Jesus. The infant doesn’t accept Jesus… so again, it has no theological difference today than it did 4,000 years ago… an infant then is as an infant today. If it is wrong to kill one today, then it would be wrong to kill it then.

With this knowledge, how can a christian of all people assume god is “pro-life,” when their god killed millions of children or demanded his followers do the same?

This is where the Bible Breaks.

The Midian Example

In Numbers 31, Moses is directed “by god,” to kill all the Midian people. When the soldiers return with women and children captives, Moses gets irate. He explains that all need to die…but relents in the end, allowing the men to keep the virgin women as their “brides.”

Now we have another situation, only this time it’s worse than the flood. In the flood god took responsibility for killing everyone… this time god is making men kill children. Moses orders the soldiers to kill all the children, except for virgin girls. All women would be killed as well.

Enter the apologist: The apologist will argue, there is a “historic context to this.” They will say that the reason Moses had to do this was that Midian struck first blood…. Second, the children had to die because they would have grown up to rebel against Israel. Third, the women had to die because they had sexual diseases and/or they seduced the men of Israel, which is why the virgins were kept alive.

None of that historic context makes any sense though. For a believer, it will gloss over their eyes and they’ll nod in agreement. But if you apply logic and free thinking, this just doesn’t hold up to reason.

The first argument, that the Midians struck first, so Moses was in his rights to kill them all, is rather like saying, “Japan attacked first, so after World War II, their society should be purged of every living thing.” Who would agree to that? Genocide today is not as acceptable as it was 4,000 years ago. Today, few would argue for that.

The second argument, that the children had to die because they might grow up to rebel…. well that argument could be used at any time throughout history or today. Again, after WWII, Germany had killed more Jewish people than the Midians ever did… but no one declared that all male German children should be killed, so they don’t rise up again with a new nazi nation. Again, this type of behavior in the modern era just doesn’t fly.

The third argument that the women of Midian seduced the men of Israel, once again blames the women for the lack of control of men. The argument also assumes that ALL the women of Midian were involved in this sex plot. It’s absurd. At no point has there been a society where all the people behave the same. Surely there were women who didn’t attempt to seduce the men of Israel, but all were judged the same. This is the classic broad stroke punishments of the Bible.

This historic context isn’t intended to find truth. It’s a process of escapism… to escape the argument that the Bible has flaws. After all, if the Bible has flaws, then how can you judge other people?

Pick & Choose Religion

Since the Bible is filled with contradictory verses throughout, it lends itself to be a book of anything. One person can use the Bible to rape and kill women (it’s been done for 2,000 years). Another person reads the Bible and says we shouldn’t rape and kill women, but they attest to racism and slavery as part of god’s plan, citing the slavery in the Bible and the fact Paul nor Jesus condemns it…. Paul even makes allowance for it in Ephesians 6:5. Another group of christians says that feeding the homeless should be illegal, citing 2nd Thess. 3:10… and yet another group breaks the law openly citing Matthew 25:34-46. It wasn’t so long ago that christians burned women alive for the sin of “witchcraft.”

Look at all that division. How is it that each group can reference the Bible to suit their convenient needs? Because there’s a “verse for that.” You want to do something mean, look it up, it probably exists in the Bible somewhere.

“OH but those aren’t REAL christians,” the christian will say… but guess what… EVERY christian will raise that argument. The racist tea party christian who wants slavery, will cite the Bible and call the liberal christians false christians. Likewise the liberal christians will call them false christians and so on.

This makes the Bible a book that is heavily subjective and given to interpretation. As there is no clear doctrine, one can raise an army to conquer the world (such as Constantine did), or kill the children of your enemies (as Donald Trump advised saying, “the way to stop terrorism is to kill their families”), which aligns to Numbers 31!

It’s a book worthy of the fire, as it’s led so many to ruin.

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