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Unformatted text preview: Two sorts of divine command in the Bible Particular God tells you, and only you to do some special thing. Universal e.g., The Ten Commandments Beyond the Ten Commandments.... Slavery
7 "When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she shall not go out as the male slaves do. 8 If she does not please her master, who has designated her for himself, then he shall let her be redeemed; he shall have no right to sell her to a foreign people, since he has dealt faithlessly with her. . . 9 If he designates her for his son, he shall deal with her as with a daughter. 10 If he takes another wife to himself, he shall not diminish her food, her clothing, or her marital rights. 11 And if he does not do these three things for her, she shall go out for nothing, without payment of money. Exodus 21 Slavery
7 When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she shall not go out as the male slaves do. 8 If she does not please her master, who has designated her for himself, then he shall let her be redeemed; he shall have no right to sell her to a foreign people, since he has dealt faithlessly with her. . . Exodus 21 The death penalty
17 Whoever curses his father or his mother shall be put to death. 19 Whoever lies with a beast shall be put to death. 20 Whoever sacrifices to any god, save to the LORD only, shall be utterly destroyed. Exodus 21 10 If a man commits adultery with the wife of his neighbor, both the adulterer and the adulteress shall be put to death. 13 If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall be put to death, their blood is upon them. Leviticus 20 Leviticus 20
10 "If a man commits adultery with the wife of his neighbor, both the adulterer and the adulteress shall be put to death. 11 The man who lies with his father's wife has uncovered his father's nakedness; both of them shall be put to death, their blood is upon them. 12 If a man lies with his daughterinlaw, both of them shall be put to death; they have committed incest, their blood is upon them. 13 If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall be put to death, their blood is upon them. 14 If a man takes a wife and her mother also, it is wickedness; they shall be burned with fire, both he and they, that there may be no wickedness among you. 15 If a man lies with a beast, he shall be put to death; and you shall kill the beast. 16 If a woman approaches any beast and lies with it, you shall kill the woman and the beast; they shall be put to death, their blood is upon them. 17 "If a man takes his sister, a daughter of his father or a daughter of his mother, and sees her nakedness, and she sees his nakedness, it is a shameful thing, and they shall be cut off in the sight of the children of their people; he has uncovered his sister's nakedness, he shall bear his iniquity. 18 If a man lies with a woman having her sickness, and uncovers her nakedness, he has made naked her fountain, and she has uncovered the fountain of her blood; both of them shall be cut off from among their people. 19 You shall not uncover the nakedness of your mother's sister or of your father's sister, for that is to make naked one's near kin; they shall bear their iniquity. 20 If a man lies with his uncle's wife, he has uncovered his uncle's nakedness; they shall bear their sin, they shall die childless. 21 If a man takes his brother's wife, it is impurity; he has uncovered his brother's nakedness, they shall be childless. Child sacrifice?
29 You shall not delay to offer from the fullness of your harvest and from the outflow of your presses. The first born of your sons you shall give to me. 30 You shall do likewise with your oxen and with your sheep: seven days it shall be with its dam; on the eighth day you shall give it to me. Exodus 21:2930 See Jon D. Levenson, The Death and Resurrection of the Beloved Son: The Transformation of Child Sacrifice in Judaism and Christianity (Yale Univ. Press 1993) An eye for an eye ... 22 When men strive together, and hurt a woman with child, so that there is a miscarriage, and yet no harm follows, the one who hurt her shall be fined, according as the woman's husband shall lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine. 23 If any harm follows, then you shall give life for life, 24 eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, 25 burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe. Exodus 21:2225 What about Jesus? What about Jesus? In place of a clip from the 1st Republican Presidential debate in 2000 Question: "What political philosopher or thinker do you most identify with and why?" Answer: "Uh... Christ, because he changed my heart." Asked to elaborate: "Well, if they don't know, it's going to be hard to explain. When you turn your heart and your life over to Christ when you accept Christ as your savior, it changes your heart, it changes your life." Bush, God, and Iraq
In his interview with Mike Wallace on "60 Minutes," Bob Woodward reported a conversation with Bush about the role of God in his decision to lead the United States to war in Iraq, a moral and military disaster. Bush explained his actions immediately after meeting with the National Security Council on March 19, 2003, when he gave the order to go to war. In Bush's account, he went outside and walked alone around the circle behind the White House. He told Woodward, "As I walked ... I prayed that our troops be safe, be protected by the Almighty. Going into this period, I was praying for strength to do the Lord's will. I'm surely not going to justify war based upon God. Understand that. Nevertheless, in my case I pray that I be as good a messenger of his will as possible. And then, of course, I pray for forgiveness." When, later in his conversation with Bush, Woodward asked if the president had consulted his father for advice, Bush answered, "Well, no. He is the wrong father to appeal to for advice. The wrong father to go to, to appeal to in terms of strength. There's a higher father that I appeal to." What would Jesus do?
38 You have heard that it was said, "An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth." 39 But I say to you, Do not resist one who is evil. But if any one strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also; Matthew 5:3840 What would Jesus do?
43 You have heard that it was said, "You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy." 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. Matthew 5:4345 What view should we take of the Bible? Three possible views Error free, because wholly inspired by God. A merely human production. A mixed view: Inspired, but not error free. Three views of the Bible God inspired every word of every book of the Bible, and it's all true, period. The books of the Bible are just a bunch of human writings with no special claim to authority. The books of the Bible were written under divine inspiration, but the human beings who wrote them were subject to other influences as well, and some of what they wrote is mistaken. A case study: genocide in the Bible
1 And Samuel said to Saul, "The LORD sent me to anoint you king over his people Israel; now therefore hearken to the words of the LORD. 2 Thus says the LORD of hosts, `I will punish what Am'alek did to Israel in opposing them on the way, when they came up out of Egypt. 3 Now go and smite Am'alek, and utterly destroy all that they have; do not spare them, but kill both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.' " 1 Samuel 15:13 A provocative statement by Richard Dawkins
Unfortunately, the hope that religion might provide a bedrock, from which our otherwise sandbased morals can be derived, is a forlorn one. In practice no civilized person uses scripture as ultimate authority for moral reasoning. Instead, we pick and choose the nice bits of scripture (like the Sermon on the Mount) and blithely ignore the nasty bits (like the obligation to stone adulteresses, execute apostates, and punish the grandchildren of offenders). The God of the Old Testament himself, with his pitilessly vengeful jealousy, his racism, sexism, and terrifying bloodlust, will not be adopted as a literal role model by anybody you or I would wish to know. Yes, of course it is unfair to judge the customs of an earlier era by the enlightened standards of our own. But that is precisely my point! Evidently, we have some alternative source of ultimate moral conviction which overrides scripture when it suits us. Four incompatible propositions
1. 2. God is perfectly good. If God is perfectly good, he never commands anyone to practice genocide. Everything the Bible says about God is true. The Bible says that on certain occasions God commanded the practice of genocide. 3. 4. Three views of the Bible God inspired every word of every book of the Bible, and it's all true, period. The books of the Bible are just a bunch of human writings with no special claim to authority. The books of the Bible were written under divine inspiration, but the human beings who wrote them were subject to other influences as well, and some of what they wrote is mistaken. Good reasons for commanding genocide?
"These nations were cut off to prevent the corruption of Israel and the rest of the world (Deut 20:1618). . . "Just as a surgeon does not hesitate to amputate a gangrenous limb, even if he cannot help cutting off some healthy flesh, so God must do the same. This is not doing evil that good may come; it is removing the cancer that could infect all of society and eventually destroy the remaining good. "God could have used pestilence, hurricanes, famine, diseases or anything else he wanted. In this case he chose to use Israel to reveal his power, but the charge of cruelty against God is no more deserved in this case than it is in the general order of things in the world where all of these same calamities happen." Walter T. Kaiser Hard Sayings in the Old Testament Chapter 27, pp. 1069 Good reasons for commanding genocide? Who are we go judge God? John Calvin (15091564)
"Foolish mortals enter into many contentions with God, as though they could bring Him into court to defend Himself against their accusations. John Calvin (15091564)
"[H]ow exceedingly presumptuous it is to even inquire into the causes of the Divine will... For if God's will had any cause, then there would have to be something antecedent to which that will were linked, which it is impious to suppose. John Calvin (15091564)
"For the will of God is the highest rule of justice, so that what He wills must be considered just for the very reason that He wills it." Who are we go judge God? If you say God is good, you have made a judgment. If the judgment is to mean anything, then it must have some implications for God's behavior. John Stuart Mill (18061873)
"I will call no being good, who is not what I mean when I apply that epithet to my fellow creatures; and if such a being can sentence me to hell for not so calling him, to hell I will go." ...
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This note was uploaded on 02/28/2008 for the course PHIL 1600 taught by Professor Wesleymorriston during the Fall '07 term at Colorado.
- Fall '07