If there is the slightest possibility of God existing and that He has sent His only begotten Son Jesus to be your savior from your transgressions, wouldn’t it be wise to investigate it for yourself?
If you had evidence beyond doubt that God exists as described in the Holy Bible and that He loves you and wants you to be in Heaven with Him forever, would you want to be in Heaven with Him too?

2 Responses

  1. Victor E. Pearson

    Thank you tiniestham for taking the time to think about the verses in Exodus, Leviticus and Deuteronomy and ask good questions about them. Also thank you for saying, “Nice choice of laws to look at there,” as I wanted to cover the ones I’ve had questions about and I felt that these were the top ones.
    Let’s go through your questions and statements about the verses, about me, and about God one by one:
    You are right, Exodus 21:20-21 doesn’t cover all the beating of a slave; it covers the death of a slave by a beating and if it takes longer than a day or two for the slave to recover. If you were to read further, you will see that Exodus 21:26-27 covers damages by beatings longer lasting. True, Exodus 21:20-21 doesn’t cover everything but Exodus 21:20-21 is more inclusive than you think.
    You say that Exodus 21:20-21 says someone is, “essentially permitted to beat a slave as severely as he should like, so long as he does not kill the slave, and shall suffer no repercussions.” Note that if a “slave recovers after a day or two” there is no punishment yet if longer than a day or two, there would be punishment. How many cuts and bruises do you get that heal in a day or two? Mine normally take about a week or even longer if they are sever. So if the slave had injuries which lasted longer than a day or two, the person inflecting the injuries would be punished.
    The specific case of slavery is more complex than first appears…there is no monolithic ‘institution’ of slavery in the bible–e.g. the OT has SEVERAL models of what might be called ‘slavery’ and much of what passed as slavery in the Ancient Near East (ANE) is no longer considered such in socio-economic understandings of the period and area.
    The word ‘slavery’ is such a powerful word today in our society because of the slavery reminded to us by those in rather recent United States history who had family members enslaved as a type of forced labor against their will. Scholars in the ANE have often abandoned the use of the general term ‘slavery’ in descriptions of the many diverse forms of master-servant that are manifest in the ancient world. There are very few ‘true’ slave societies in the world (with Rome and Greek being two of the major ones!), and ancient Israel will be seen to be outside this classification as well (in legislation, not practice).
    “Scholars do not agree on a definition of “slavery.” The term has been used at various times for a wide range of institutions, including plantation slavery, forced labor, the drudgery of factories and sweatshops, child labor, semi-voluntary prostitution, bride-price marriage, child adoption for payment, and paid-for surrogate motherhood. Somewhere within this range, the literal meaning of “slavery” shifts into metaphorical meaning, but it is not entirely clear at what point. A similar problem arises when we look at other cultures. The reason is that the term “Slavery” is evocative rather than analytical, calling to mind a loose bundle of diagnostic features. These features are mainly derived from the most recent direct Western experience with slavery that of the southern United States, the Caribbean, and Latin America. The present Western image of slavery has been haphazardly constructed out of the representations of that experience in nineteenth-century abolitionist literature, and later novels, textbooks, and films…From a global cross-cultural and historical perspective, however, New World slavery was a unique conjunction of features…In brief, most varieties of slavery did not exhibit the three elements that were dominant in the New World: slaves as property and commodities; their use exclusively as labor; and their lack of freedom…” Encyclopedia of Cultural Anthropology (4 vols), David Levinson and Melvin Ember (eds), HenryHolt:1996: 4:1190f
    You said God, “has no problem with one man owning another as property.” Realize that a slave is a person and God is against slavery. Note that God commands that if a slave leaves his master, that the slave be given refuge and not returned to the master. A slave could leave his/her master at any time and by God’s commandment, the slave was to not be returned to his/her master. If God had “no problem” as you stated, “with one man owning another as property” why would God command that a slave be not returned to his/her master if the slave left? “If a slave has taken refuge with you, do not hand him over to his master. Let him live among you wherever he likes and in whatever town he chooses. Do not oppress him.” So, think deeply about what is going on around the world right now and about your statement; “We managed it, so that’s hardly an excuse.” (Deuteronomy 23.15-16)
    You mused, “Also, one would have thought an omniscient being would be able to come up with a better system of handling debtors than slavery.” Please notice that God gave you and me the power to choose what we want to do and requested that we follow the Ten Commandments. Well, God gave our ancestors the same power to choose as we have and requested them to follow the Ten Commandments too. Notice a pattern? God leaves it up to us to choose to do the right thing or not… which notice we cannot do even today because we fail in so many ways; hunger all over the world, sicknesses due to our overindulgent ways, sex trafficking, pornography, slander, fortification, etc. all because you and I (and everyone else) don’t put enough love into our fellow human beings but instead focus mainly on ourselves. God put us on this world to care for it and multiply as we love Him and love one another and we cannot even get everyone to “just get along” as Rodney King would say let alone do what God says which is to love everyone. Proverbs 22:1-29 has some good verses to ponder.
    You said that Exodus 22:16-17 that “a rape victim is forced to marry her attacker” and also you say that; “Unless her father refuses, she MUST marry her attacker.” Here you are incorrect, it does not say that at all. Just because you seemingly would force your daughter to marry her attacker with your narrowly made statements, it is clearly shown in the verses that the victim doesn’t have to marry her attacker. In fact, even if the woman wanted to marry her attacker, the father could refuse the marriage. “If a man seduces a virgin who is not engaged, and lies with her, he must pay a dowry for her to be his wife. If her father absolutely refuses to give her to him, he shall pay money equal to the dowry for virgins.” Exodus 22:16-17 Note that nowhere in it is, “MUST” nor in it “is FORCED to marry her attacker by her father.”
    You did not describe what about Leviticus 20:9-10 you find morally repugnant? Is it because when you were a child growing up you cursed your mother and/or father? Is it because you committed adultery with another man’s wife? I know that I did both as I was growing up and knowing that if Christ Jesus had not come and shed His blood for us and die for us and arise from being dead for us that you, if you did these things and I because I did them, would have been put to death for doing them if caught. I find it repugnant that anyone (like I did) would curse their father and/or mother. I find it repugnant that someone (like I used to do) would commit adultery. My doing both are not something that I am proud of nor do I suggest anyone do either act because it is merely displaying pure selfishness and disregard to sacred relationships (parent and child and husband & wife) which in turn causes pain and suffering which lingers long after the short timeframe of pleasure at the time the act was performed. As the time of my doing these selfish acts spans, as does the growing of abhorrence of my actions compound exponentially.
    You state “Instituting the death penalty for any and all crimes would be a pretty effective deterrent, but I doubt you would have no objections to such a law.” I don’t know if you have noticed or not, but people do things without regard to consequences of laws. People ignore the law all the time. I know I do when I go over the speed limit and don’t fully stop at a stop sign. I know that I at one time disregarded each of the Ten Commandments because I’ve broken every one of them and the death penalty for breaking them is separation from God; meaning, Hell. If God does not exit, what does it matter if one breaks the law or not if one thinks one will not get caught and doesn’t get caught?
    With Leviticus 20:13 you say that I started, “using another tactic: ‘Seeing that God clearly stated what was not to be done and what would happen if it was done, Leviticus 20:13 is not barbarous.’” You state, “The death penalty is not proportionate to the loving act of two consenting adults.” You disregard Genesis 2:18-25 where God made woman for man’s companion and wife. What I said in the article does follow and is not, “non-sequitur” as you said because homosexual acts to God are barbarous acts and as such God made it clear what the consequences for homosexual activity would be for the Israelites. Just because in today’s society some people choose to perform homosexual acts, doesn’t make it less of a barbarous act in God’s sight. Thank God for His sending His only begotten Son, Christ Jesus to fulfill the Law that you and I can’t follow so that through Jesus we can turn from our sins and be redeemed through His death and resurrection. Because with Christ Jesus fulfilling the Law, those who have done homosexual acts and were caught don’t have to be put to death and can now instead abstain from continuing to do those acts, repent of their sin, and take Christ Jesus as their savior so that they can go to Heaven.
    You referring to Leviticus 20:22-27 state, “Whilst I am writing this, whenever I engage in a discussion with a Christian, I am essentially trying to lead people away from God, as far as you are concerned. Should I be put to death?” If Christ Jesus had not come to fulfill the Law, then you should be put to death per the Law by the Israelites. Yet, Christ Jesus did come and through Him, the Law was fulfilled (Matthew 5:17-20). In fact, Jesus instructs us to love you and to point you to the truth (Matthew 5:43-48; Matthew 28:18-20).
    Per your many follow-up questions I’ll cover them one at a time;
    You state about me, “You consider adultery barbarous, but have no qualms against a woman being forced to marry?” Yes, adultery is barbarous. Nowhere in the Bible does God command a woman to be forced into a marriage. God made marriage between a man and a woman a sacred relationship which no one should take lightly.
    You state, “Marriage is hardly sacred if a woman is forced into it against her will, no?” True, that’s why God does not command anyone to be forced into marriage. Marriage isn’t sacred if adultery is tolerated and promoted either yet we see adultery being glamorized in movies, on TV, by the actors and actresses performing in movies and on TV, don’t we?
    You state, “Barbarous Rules from a Loving God?” No, these are not barbarous rules from God, the acts the rules are about are barbarous. For anyone to think that the acts are not barbarous states a lot about their suppression of morality.
    You state, “ If you do not find them barbarous, then as mentioned before I find you morally repugnant.” If this is your opinion of me, so be it. You have been given by God a free will to freely think what you want to think and when you want to think them.
    You ask, “So please, answer the question. Alternatively, if you really do not find them repugnant then perhaps you could answer why they are no longer in force.” The article I wrote states why they are no longer enforced albeit that I may not have done a great job in articulating it. In short; they were the civil law given to the Israelites who were going into the Promised Land who were waiting on the Messiah to arrive. The Messiah arrived (Christ Jesus) and fulfilled the Law, Matthew 5:17-20.
    You ask, “Why God does not wish us to follow them [them meaning the Israelites rules/laws] anymore?” As written in the article, those rules were given specifically for the Israelites to follow so to set them apart from others. They also do not apply to us because Christ Jesus fulfilled the Law, Matthew 5:17-20.
    You ask, “How do different laws for different societies follow on from any absolute morality?” We all have been given by God knowledge of right and wrong. We have all also been given the empowerment by God to govern ourselves. Some societies adhere more to God’s absolute morality loving God and loving others (Matthew 22:34-40) and some don’t. From the society’s adherence to God’s absolute morality, a society creates their consequences for laws about murder, rape, theft, slander, bestiality, homosexuality, etc. Those societies which adhere more to God’s absolute morality, will have stricter laws about such acts while those which do not adhere as closely to God’s absolute morality, will have less strict laws or no laws at all or will have laws but will not enforce them or will even take bribes to let people out of them. You see, dictatorships, corruption and anarchy comes to those societies farthest from God’s absolute morality. Muslim societies today following their god Allah for example, are far from following God’s absolute morality whereas other societies are not as far from it but none are totally.
    Again, thank you tiniestham for the time you have taken to think about these things and for your questions. I apologize for the delay in posting your comment and my reply. I am looking forward to more discussion with you.

  2. tiniestham

    Nice choice of laws to look at there, but lets take another look at them:
    Exodus 21:20-21 – The issue here is clearly not with capital punishment, but rather with the lack of punishment should the slave recover. A man is essentially permitted to beat a slave as severely as he should like, so long as he does not kill the slave, and shall suffer no repercussions. God permitting slavery is one thing, but apparently he also has no problems with the maltreatment of slaves, as they are “property”.
    God may not explicitly condone slavery, but nor does he condone it. He forbids sex outside of marriage, but apparently has no problem with one man owning another as property. That sounds real loving. Also, one would have thought an omniscient being would be able to come up with a better system of handling debtors than slavery. We managed it, so that’s hardly an excuse.
    Exodus 22:16-17 – Here, a rape victim is forced to marry her attacker. The only way for her to avoid this fate is for her father to refuse, but she has absolutely no say in the matter herself. She has no power, or right. This IS barbarous, and misogynistic to the extreme. Unless her father refuses, she MUST marry her attacker. If you can look at this law, and not find it barbarous, then I find you morally repugnant.
    Leviticus 20:9-10 – By now you seem to have settled into a pattern of justifying these rules as non-barbarous by their effectiveness as a deterrent, but I fail to see how their efficiency should justify them morally. Instituting the death penalty for any and all crimes would be a pretty effective deterrent, but I doubt you would have no objections to such a law.
    Leviticus 20:13 – By now, you’re using another tactic: “Seeing that God clearly stated what was not to be done and what would happen if it was done, Leviticus 20:13 is not barbarous.” But that is a complete non-sequitur. It /does not follow/ the just because a law is stated clearly that it is not a barbarous one.
    A law is barbarous because either what is forbidden is forbidden unjustly, or because the punishment is disproportionate to the offence. The death penalty is not proportionate to the loving act of two consenting adults. A man can beat a slave to within an inch of his life, but will be killed brutally should he have consenting sex with that slave.
    Leviticus 20:22-27 – Whilst I am writing this, whenever I engage in a discussion with a Christian, I am essentially trying to lead people away from God, as far as you are concerned. Should I be put to death?
    Deuteronomy 22:22 – You consider adultery barbarous, but have no qualms against a woman being forced to marry? Marriage is hardly sacred if a woman is forced into it against her will, no?
    Barbarous Rules from a Loving God?
    Yes, these rules are barbarous. If you do not find them barbarous, then as mentioned before I find you morally repugnant. So please, answer the question.
    Alternatively, if you really do not find them repugnant then perhaps you could answer why they are no longer in force. Why God does not wish us to follow them anymore? How do different laws for different societies follow on from any absolute morality?

Leave a Reply