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Revision as of 12:59, 8 March 2007
While it obviously contains many good laws: Do not murder, do not steal, etc. It also contains quite a few laws that would be considered ubsurd, unjust, unrealistic, and just plain nasty.
(Exodus 20:12-17) 12 “Honor your father and your mother in order that your days may prove long upon the ground that Jehovah your God is giving you. 13 “You must not murder. 14 “You must not commit adultery. 15 “You must not steal. 16 “You must not testify falsely as a witness against your fellowman. 17 “You must not desire your fellowman’s house. You must not desire your fellowman’s wife, nor his slave man nor his slave girl nor his bull nor his ass nor anything that belongs to your fellowman.”
The bible openly condones slavery. God required genocide, sometimes with the specific command to show no mercy. He also allowed the Israelites to take the virgins from the nations they conquered, and use them as sex slaves.
One law stated that if a man raped a woman, he would be killed if she was married or engaged... sounds good enough. But if she wasn't married or engaged, a virgin, she would have to marry him! Deuteronomy 22:28-29: If a man is caught in the act of raping a young woman who is not engaged, he must pay fifty pieces of silver to her father. Then he must marry the young woman because he violated her, and he will never be allowed to divorce her.
One law that, although it sounds good, turned out horribly would be the Sabbath: it states that every seventh day should be a day of rest and worship. But the punishment for not observing this law ruined it. It held the death penalty, so even if you did something simple like for instance: you forget to stack wood before the sabbath, so instead of letting your family freeze you decide to pick up some sticks to burn... that would deserve death according to the law. (Numbers 15:32-36)
Later Jesus condemned the pharasees for being so strict about the sabbath law. So some might think that god never intended for the rules to be so hard to follow. But that is not supported by the account of the man who was gathering wood, since god specifically told Moses to kill the man. Plus if god didn't want them to be so strict, why did he wait so long to inform them?
- Exodus 20:26 says that the altar to God should not have steps; otherwise, people might look up the clothes of the person ahead of them.
- In Exodus 28:42-43 , God says that priests must wear special undergarments when they approach the altar, lest they die of guilt.
But that's the old Bible
When confronted with the unjust laws, which are found mostly in the Hebrew scriptures, Christians will sometimes say that they only accept the Christian Greek scripture. Which contains more wholesome principles like the Golden Rule or 'forgiving your brother up to 77 times'. But one still has to wonder why it took god over four thousand years before he introduced the good laws. Or why he made bad laws to begin with.