Do we prevent somebody being hurt by superstition or faith by rejecting and challenging those things? 

Is it mistaken to support organised religion in membership or donations?

If people do good because they are human, not because God prompts them then is it right to risk giving God any credit when they alone own their good?

 


STONING INNOCENT PEOPLE TO DEATH IS GIVEN AS LAW BY GOD

The Old Testament's core is the law of God. It says very little about love and justice and virtually all the laws are hate-filled. The sacrifices of animals are treated in a pornographic way full of gore. Jesus was in that vein too for there were promises of Gehenna which is worse than anybody being stoned to death. Jesus spoke of the law about stoning a lad to death who insults his parents as being from God.  This rule mostly applied to boys.  It is significant that Jesus never said a word to protect underage from stoning or participating in a stoning.   Most of his teaching was judgemental and threatening. He said terrible things about the Jewish leaders and by implication their Jewish supporters the ordinary people in Matthew 23. The accusations were clearly an attempt to incite people to attack them violently.
 
The legal systems of today say that the civil law protects public morality and may let people do what they want in private. Nobody thinks there is a contrast between law and morality in principle.

Some Christians today go into politics and defend the death penalty for homosexuals. They understand their religion correctly at that point. Uganda is an example of that!

Ask yourself:

Why do Christians never express disgust at the murders of innocent people endorsed in the Bible under God's law?  Real disgust means getting your name off the parish register and not giving the Church your babies.

Why do they deny that those who gathered sticks on the Sabbath, who committed adultery, women who were thought to have married while pretending to be virgins, who kidnapped, who adored harmless pagan gods, sons who were layabouts, who had homosexual sex were innocent people? They were - their "crimes" were none of the laws business and killing them was not going to help anybody.

Why do they never express disgust at how those murders were carried out? - gay men were stoned to death by the people. First stoning is too cruel and involving the people and not an executioner is just rabid evil. It is too much.

Why do Christians lie that God was compelled to take such extreme measures for the people were so bad? If they were that stubbornly evil then to empower them by giving them the right to legally murder people cruelly was extremely unwise!  This is clearly blaming the victim.

An excuse for the severity appears in Leviticus 19:29. It commands that you must not make a whore of your daughter in case the whole land falls to whoredom and become full of wickedness. So it argues that tolerating sin or endorsing it leads to a slippery slope that ruins the entire nation. In real life though, it always ends up being a minority who do such things. The whore in the Bible is not always linked to the selling of sex but to women being too permissive and having sex outside marriage. The argument that the command was about stopping Israel having temple prostitutes is speculation. The commandment merely says that sex outside marriage is a sin period and commands us to believe that any tolerance of illicit sex will soon ruin the nation.

Why do Christians say that the Bible God was head of state for the Hebrews as if that somehow excuses the laws or necessarily implies we don't have to worry about them now? God did not function as head of state. He gave a law and men were to administer it. They were the heads. God nowhere claimed to be political king of the nation. And even if it he did, it does not mean he thought it was okay for non-Hebrew nations to just discard or ignore his law. If God is the ideal government then each nation should keep his laws as much as possible.

Why do Christians lie that God was head when the Bible says no such thing, when God only gave occasional revelations and did not look after the day to day business, when Israel was not a state when it was wandering through the jurisdictions of real states and when Israel was a religion and not really a state in any form?

Why do they try to make out that the law is no longer used as if that makes the past murders minor and irrelevant?

Why can't they give you a text from the Bible that explicitly revokes those laws? They will say God commanded love but he did that among the bad commandments too. Love your neighbour comes from the most vicious book of the Old Testament.

Why don't they admit that the alleged change of the law is only an assumption?

Why don't they admit that if the rule falls into disuse that is no comfort? - it needs repudiation and an apologetic abrogation.

Why do they say that God as master of life and death has the right to tell people to kill?

Why do they not admit that devotion to the Bible and the Jesus who endorsed it is implicit and indirect homophobia of the sickest kind?

Why do they even use the violent texts in tracts and theological documents to argue that homosexuality is a sin?

Why do clergy devote their lives and energy and money to a God who is revealed in the Bible, a Bible of dubious morality?

Why do they not admit that though moral relativism - the notion that good and evil depend on what we think is right and wrong meaning that if a country believes in infanticide that makes it right - is a terrible evil and turns people into moral do-nothings that they are worse than most relativists? Most relativists do not agree with the stonings. A faith that says God can make murder right is a relativist faith.

Why do they not do the normal thing - regard scriptures that endorse violence as man-made and fit for the incinerator?

You need very strong grounds, as in evidence or proof, to endorse a scripture as being from God for you cannot risk condoning the reprehensible that should not be condoned. Nobody cares about such proof.

Atheists do not feel obligated to condone whatever evil some atheists do. Only religion obligates people to approve of divine evil and risk insulting God if there is one by saying he commanded terrible things.

Do not argue that the Bible, the infallible word of God, proves that he does not require the death penalty for he commanded us to love our neighbour as ourselves. This objection ignores the fact that God gave the command in the middle of a book, Leviticus, that commanded a wide use of the death penalty for religious and civil reasons. The commandment gets a brief mention and God in Leviticus treats it as he wanted us to miss it. When Jesus made it the second great commandment he was quoting Leviticus and implying approval for Leviticus as the word of God. Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment of God was and he picked out two from the Torah implying that the other commandments too - including the bloodletting ones - were the commandments of God. The love endorsed is not about feelings but about giving people the dignity they give themselves through their actions. It is love to destroy a homosexual for he is only receiving what his dignity demands. We must accept God's right to establish such a penalty but has he abolished or suspended it so that we don't have to inflict it today?

Here is a Christian argument that the stoning law is not to be obeyed by Christians today -

The Old Testament theocratic law required the death penalty for incest in Israel (Lev. 18:7-17, 29; 20:11-12). Even if this seems unjust, we must remember that the people went into the covenant in complete freedom and consented to these rules or to obey God in whatever he would command. Thus they asked for the penalty if they break the law.

In the fullness of time (Gal. 4:4), the Messiah came and brought forth His catholic or universal church from its Jewish swaddling bands, necessitating a change in the law (Heb. 7:12). The apostles and prophets, whom God used to write the New Testament, set forth the will of Jesus Christ for His catholic church (Eph. 2:20; 3:5; 4:11).

When a man committed incest in the church of Corinth (I Cor. 5:1), Paul did not require the death penalty for him. Instead, the apostle required excommunication from the church and kingdom of God, unless the man repented (I Cor. 5:4-7). Both terrible divine judgements—execution in the Old Testament theocracy and excommunication in the New Testament church—preserve the holiness of God’s church, a reflection of the holiness of God Himself.

The man is handed over to Satan. This is assumed to mean that anybody put out of the Church is at the mercy of the Devil.

Leviticus 20:13 (“If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.”) required the death penalty for homosexuality in Israel. (See also Leviticus 18:22, 29). Similar to the example of incest, the New Testament does not require the death penalty for homosexuals. There were converted homosexuals in the church of Corinth (I Cor. 6:9-11)! The execution of homosexuals in Israel (the Old Testament church) is equivalent to excommunication from the New Testament church. Thus it is a contradiction in terms to speak of gay church members or gay church office bearers or gay Christians. Any churches, therefore, that receive or tolerate impenitent homosexuals as members are therefore false churches in rebellion to the will of Christ.

Do not forget that those who were stoned to death agreed to be stoned if they broke the law in certain ways.

When they were breaking the law two witnesses had to see them doing it.

One or both witnesses have to warn the one committing the act to stop and warn of the consequences.

The sinners deliberately ignore the warning and carry on with or in the act.

We conclude then that the stoning laws were fair and reflect the love and justice of God and his respect for what people choose be it bad or good for themselves.

MY REPLY:

To allege that the cruelty of the law was fair for the people consented to it being put over them is ridiculous. Such decisions are only taken by the majority of leaders. Not all Hebrews could have wanted the law over them. The Bible continually complains that few wanted to keep the law. And what about their children who were not even born when the law took authority? And it is easy to consent to a brutal law when you don't know yet what it is like to live under it.

Nobody says that doing evil to people is okay if they consent. Christians however do say it! If they won't say it then their Bible speaks for them!! They are no better than murderers!

And as for the stuff about two witnesses always being required the law decreed that they must be listened to even though it is aware that witnesses can and do lie. If you got somebody stoned to death by your lies and were found out when it was too late you got stoned yourself. That is not a law that is concerned a lot about human life! The main argument against capital punishment is that innocent people are too often executed. The law sometimes had people put to death without two witnesses - men from surrounding nations were murdered just because they were from non-Israelite nations.
 
The change in the Law referred to in Hebrews 7:12 does not imply that the moral rules of the Old Testament, such as the duty of the God fearing state to destroy gay people are wrong or changed or obsolete. Christians retain many of the laws so it could be they should have retained the murderous laws too.
 
The notion that Israel was ruled by God is nonsense. God gave Israel laws and it was to appoint people to enforce them. God was the legislator of Israel not its head of state. There is no room for thinking that the law does not apply to any nation but Israel for it was ruled by God. It was not.

When Judaism was only a temporary religion that was meant to evolve into Christianity its fulfilment it doesn’t necessarily imply the law had to be changed except in the sense that it was made tougher or more explicit. It is worse to sin when you have experienced the fulfilled faith than the preparatory one. And what you find in the New Testament is Jesus saying the law is fine as it is and he wants us to obey it even more. For example, the rule against adultery was stated to be about more than just actual adultery but was also banning adulterous intentions and desires.

The Bible time and time again says that the Old Testament is full of moral example.
 
The man in Corinth was living in sin with his step-mother. He was at least claiming to be a Christian. Paul judged him as worthy of being handed over to Satan by the Church for the destruction of his flesh so that he might be saved on the day of the Lord Jesus. Did he mean execution? Perhaps the Christians did try to execute the guilty man but by cursing him and urging God to destroy him in the hope that the suffering this entails might make him turn to God again. And the law to execute does not require one to execute where it is impossible.
 
The rulers of Corinth would have destroyed the Church if it went and killed the man. If you can get away with executing you can do it. That is the New Testament doctrine for not once does it hint that the execution laws are done away.
 
The Catholic apologist Robert Sungenis argues that handing the man over to Satan for the destruction of his flesh does mean execution. The Christians saw secular and pagan states as the emissaries of Satan though God still used them to punish the wicked (Romans 13). This accounts for how Paul wrote that the man was to be given to the Devil to make it possible for him to be saved on the day of the Lord - that is the day of the final judgement. The day of the Lord was the last day. You only think about the last day in this life if this life is about to end and the last day is therefore the only concern.
 
Handing over to Satan may mean handing him over to the civil authorities and the destruction may be civil punishment, capital punishment. The fact that Paul sounds so certain the man will be destroyed indicates that he did mean execution. He wants the man put to death so that he may repent before he dies.
 
In fairness, Paul decided in 2 Corinthians that the man should be reinstated for he suffered the censure of the majority and repented. The Church obviously had to judge and condemn him in preparation for the execution. But the man repented before the execution was to happen.

FINALLY

There is no explicit cancellation of the stoning laws.  Christians saying they are obsolete is highly offensive and means that it is circumstances not the laws being wrong that matters.  The victim blaming is terrible for innocent people such as adulteresses and children were destroyed and blamed for their fate.

APPENDIX
 
http://www.catholicintl.com/qa/2004/qa-aug-04.htm#Question%2026
Note: The Same Source says that the Church has the right to use torture to destroy heresy. Question 41.
 
Christians have argued that God made brutal laws just because if he didn't please a brutal people he would have lost them completely. John Calvin, the great Protestant reformer, said that God had to condescend to the level of the Jews be able to manage them. He would have seen that God didn't attack polygamy or slavery and taken those as examples. Jesus said that God only let Israel have divorce because it was too stubborn to do without it. Calvin used the condescension excuse to account for the horrific parts of the Bible where God urges the people to be draconian in their administration of his Law. This excuse is used to explain why Christians do not need to keep the nasty rules. It is invalid and wholly unconvincing for there has always been and will always be nations that need the drastic treatment Israel needed. Calvin saw himself as a reformer of apostate Christianity - meaning it was worse than Israel. At least Israel was bad before the saviour came! According to Calvin, Christianity had the perfection of truth and spat on it. Calvin had no real answer - the answer he gave is actually an incitement to the Church to restore the malevolent rules.
 
The law of Moses never sees itself as a necessary evil. It sees itself as full of justice and truth. God never says the law is formulated so severely JUST because any leniency would mean the people would take advantage. The main thought is that the law is good to be so severe. It is not a regrettable necessity. It is good. However it is clear that the law does forbid lenient interpretations. God forbade any tampering even with the smallest rules.
 
The notion that the law had to be very brutal implies that something like it will need to be put in place again when people get too out of control.
 
The notion that the law has to be very brutal implies that there is nothing wrong with barbaric deterrents.
 
The notion that the law is about justice or love more than control implies that it should not be done away and cannot be done away with.
 
Perhaps more importantly, the Old Testament never says that certain sinners people are to be destroyed by stoning for any other reason than that they are evil. In other words, its just right. The Law of Moses didn’t make it right to kill these people. It said it only RECOGNISED that it was right. God told the people that the Law was in their mind and heart and whole being and how could it be if it didn’t make sense or didn’t claim to be rational?
 
There were converted homosexuals in Corinth. But this has nothing to do with showing the death penalty was abolished by God. The law of Moses granted forgiveness to people who became members of God's people. If they engaged in gay sex or adultery afterwards then they were stoned.