22 June 2009

God's Killings in Leviticus

I can only find two killings in Leviticus, but they are both doosies.

  1. God burned to death Aaron's sons for offering "strange fire."
    Leviticus 10:1-3

  2. A blasphemer is stoned to death at God's command.
    Leviticus 24:11-23

And although God only kills three people, he orders everyone else to kill plenty of others.

Some he wants you to stone to death.

And others you must burn.

But most he just says you should kill, without specifying the method. (Although you should make sure, whatever method you use, that "their blood be upon them." It's probably best to use a humane, God-approved method like stoning or burning.)

And of course God wants you to kill animals for him. Lots and lots of animals.

Indeed, the first 9 chapters of Leviticus can be summarized as follows: Get an animal, kill it, sprinkle the blood around, cut the dead animal into pieces, wave the body parts over your head, and burn the whole bloody mess for a "sweet savor unto the Lord."

And what if you refuse to kill all these people and animals?

Here's what God will do to you.

If ye will not hearken unto me, and will not do all these commandments; And if ye shall despise my statutes, or if your soul abhor my judgments, so that ye will not do all my commandments, but that ye break my covenant: I also will do this unto you; I will even appoint over you terror, consumption, and the burning ague, that shall consume the eyes, and cause sorrow of heart: and ye shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it.
...
I will also send wild beasts among you, which shall rob you of your children
...
And ye shall eat the flesh of your sons, and the flesh of your daughters shall ye eat. Leviticus 26:14-29

So it's up to you. Burn, stone, kill and slosh the blood of dead animals round about. Or God will force you to eat your children. It's just that simple.

And now on to God's killings in the Book of Numbers.

39 comments:

Brendan said...

Just curious, where does Vayikra 20:9 say "children"? The law did not apply to children in most cases.

It should also be noted that God was not demanding sacrifices. Maimonides (an incredibly famous rabbi) stated that God allowed sacrifice only because it was too much ingrained in the culture of the people at the time.

It should also be noted that the death sentences were rarely, if at all, actually carried out, and that they were never meant to be carried out but instead act as a hypothetical deterrent (source: The Talmud). The same applies for the threats listed in chapter 26. The Israelites lived in a barbaric, violent time, and were not likely to obey something without extremely dire consequences.

C Woods said...

Whoa, Brendan! I thought religion was supposed to make people moral. Do you mean that even religion and the threats of an omnipotent God couldn't make people obey his word?

Shocking!!!

But wait! It was God himself who was commanding killings, even if, as you say, they were rarely carried out.

I'm confused.

Baconsbud said...

Seems he needed a bit of rest after all the earlier killings. LOL

I don't think that just saying they were meant as a deterrent clears him/her/it of the moral implications they imply. We live in a very barbaric and violent times. There are many even with the threat of life in prison or the death penalty. Neither of these stop people from committing the crimes. If you look at the states within the USA that have and don't have the death penalty, you find it isn't the states with the death penalty that have the lower murder rates.

Because it was so ingrained it is ok. Many things have been ingrained in society to be rejected later as morally wrong. That sounds like the god you are describing is just going along so he/her/it doesn't lose believers. This implies that it wasn't from some good being but from man.

Brendan said...

C Woods:
The purpose of the Torah (1st 5 books of the Bible) is not actually morality, it's peace. Besides, in a world where morality is lacking (see: every single war mentioned in the Bible, people giving their daughters to rapists), God can't make people moral without infringing on free will.

Baconsbud:
The fact that there are more crimes in states with a death penalty is irrelevant. The fact that there's a death penalty is actually a reflection of certain mindsets that happen to be more aggressive. The difference between God and states with the death penalty is is that God never wanted them to be carried out. Besides, if you compare the immorality of society today, think about it back then. Lot offered his daughters to rapists. People fought total war on a regular basis. Moses rule for warfare was considered merciful by the standards at that time, and they're extremely barbaric. It's different (although, admittedly, not by much).

Also, God states in the Torah that he does not desire sacrifices, but if you are to sacrifice, there is a certain process. He told the Israelites he disproves of sacrifice, but they still did it, so they were given a process by which to do it. Maimonides never seemed to think that makes God any more human, and he was a philosopher, so if it's good enough for Maimonides, it's good enough for me.

By the way, if anyone is interested, here's the process by which someone could actually be sentenced to death in ancient Israel:

If there are 2 witnesses to the event, one has to remind the perpetrator that such an offense is punishable by death. Then, the perpetrator must keep going, or resume within a few seconds (I've heard around 3 seconds) of stopping the activity. After that, he needs to be given a trial with 23 judges. If he was found guilty, he was to be executed far away from the trial spot, at a later date, to allow more time for evidence.

It should also be noted that some crimes were never punished at all (for example, the drunken son, which was to serve as a hypothetical warning).

Steve Wells said...

Brendan,

Just curious, where does Vayikra 20:9 say "children"? The law did not apply to children in most cases.

"For every one that curseth his father or his mother shall be surely put to death." Leviticus 20:9

That would include children, wouldn't it, Brendan? And how the hell would you know that "the law did not apply to children in most cases"?

It should also be noted that God was not demanding sacrifices.

It should only be noted by those that are not interested in the truth.

The truth is that the bible god demanded sacrifices throughout Leviticus. Chapters 1-9 consist of nothing but his demand for sacrifices, along with disgustingly detailed descriptions about what to do with the blood and guts.

It should also be noted that the death sentences were rarely, if at all, actually carried out, and that they were never meant to be carried out but instead act as a hypothetical deterrent (source: The Talmud).

That's just more bullshit, Brendan, and I don't care where it came from. God commands everyone to burn, stone, or kill anyone who commits certain acts. If he didn't want us to burn people to death he shouldn't have commanded us to do so. (Do you think it is wrong to burn people to death, Brendan?)

The same applies for the threats listed in chapter 26. The Israelites lived in a barbaric, violent time, and were not likely to obey something without extremely dire consequences.

Oh, I get it. Thanks Brendan!

God had to tell people that he would force them to eat their own children if they didn't burn the people to death that he didn't really want to be burned to death.

I guess he was confused and/or just didn't mean any of it. He didn't want us to kill animals for him or burn people to death, and he didn't mean it when he said he would force us to eat our own children if we refused.

That's what he said, but that's not what he meant. What did he mean, Brendan?

Baconsbud said...

Brendan are you sure you are reading the Torah right?

Like what has already been said why was it said? It was said because people in power wanted the death penalty not some god. If a god can't come up with a better way of getting people to act morally then with threats of death, then why listen to him?

Why didnt't he say that there are to be no sacrifices? How would him saying that there were to be no sacrifices in anyway affect freewill more then any other action he took. If man was actually given freewill then would he/her/it have to remain completely silent about anything so as not to interfere with that freewill?

Brendan said...

baconsbud:

1. The Jews had no reason to make up the Torah. Why would you make up a document that forces you to change your lifestyle in ways that really aren't preferable, and in fact quite restricting? If kings mandated it to be written, why does God say he's opposed to the Israelites having a king (which, I admit, is after the Torah, but it IS in the Tanakh)? If it were the priests, why does it paint a less-than-favorable picture of the priests? There's no one who would've wanted to make it up!

2. Telling people to do something is not going against free will. Changing someone's morality, which is what you spoke of earlier, is against free will.
In a time when people were sacrificing their own children to their gods, and attributing HaShem's miracles to other gods, changing their habits too much would lead to worship of other gods. People weren't ready to abandon the practices of their ancestors. If God simply changed their mind, it would go against free will. If God told them not to, they could've just worshiped other gods, and attributed God's signs to those other gods. The only solution then is to force them to believe, through violence. I believe your response is that he does that throughout the Bible, so I'll wait for your examples before I form a counter-argument.

(I know you're going to bring up B'midbar, so please do)

Besides, as I mentioned in another post, Maimonides seemed to have no problem with it, and I have a hard time believing that ANY of you (or myself) are smarter than Maimonides.

Brendan said...

I'd like to add a quick footnote to my responses to Steve's arguments:
Only the King James translations says "For every one". The King James is an awful translation.

Here's a more accurate translation:

"For any man who curses his father or his mother shall be put to death; he has cursed his father or his mother; his blood is upon himself."
According to Rashi, another ancient Biblical commentator, this refers to someone who curses the name of a dead parent.

Brendan said...

I don't believe this comment got through beforehand:

OK, Steve, I'll bite.


"For every one that curseth his father or his mother shall be surely put to death." Leviticus 20:9

That would include children, wouldn't it, Brendan? And how the hell would you know that "the law did not apply to children in most cases"?


The law does not apply to people who do not know the extent of the law.
Also, in the case of children, 2 things would need to happen:
Parents would have to hand them over to be killed, AND the judiciary system would arrange to have them killed, which they did not do.

It should only be noted by those that are not interested in the truth.

The truth is that the bible god demanded sacrifices throughout Leviticus. Chapters 1-9 consist of nothing but his demand for sacrifices, along with disgustingly detailed descriptions about what to do with the blood and guts.


I think Maimonides knows shitloads more than you about the Torah. The truth is that you're almost never supposed to take the Torah as entirely literal.


That's just more bullshit, Brendan, and I don't care where it came from. God commands everyone to burn, stone, or kill anyone who commits certain acts. If he didn't want us to burn people to death he shouldn't have commanded us to do so. (Do you think it is wrong to burn people to death, Brendan?)


It's not bullshit. You know jackshit compared to the writers of the Talmud, who happen to have studied the Torah for the majority of their entire lives. I think they knew a bit more about it than you do.

Several Rabbis who studied the Torah > guy with a computer who has read the Torah a couple times

Oh, I get it. Thanks Brendan!

God had to tell people that he would force them to eat their own children if they didn't burn the people to death that he didn't really want to be burned to death.

I guess he was confused and/or just didn't mean any of it. He didn't want us to kill animals for him or burn people to death, and he didn't mean it when he said he would force us to eat our own children if we refused.

That's what he said, but that's not what he meant. What did he mean, Brendan?


You need to stop taking everything at circumstance.
It's also worth noting that The high court of Judea (which followed Tohranic law), shortly before the revolt (which the Romans crushed), banned the death penalty because "Only God has the right to take a man's life". If experts on the subject matter- much more qualified than you, I'm afraid- can arrive to that conclusion, then anyone should be able to.

Can I tell you for sure what God meant? No. Can I tell you what people have generally believed he meant for thousands of years? Yes.

By the way, before you ask, the universe is 12-16 billion years old.

Steve Wells said...

Brendan: Only the King James translations says "For every one". The King James is an awful translation.

Uh huh. Here are nine more nonexistent awful translations that say "everyone", "anyone", "whoever", or "all."

For everyone who curses his father or his mother shall surely be put to death. NKJV

All who curse their father or mother must be put to death. NLT

If anyone curses his father or mother, he must be put to death. NIV

For anyone who curses his father or his mother shall surely be put to death. ESV

If {there is} anyone who curses his father or his mother, he shall surely be put to death. NASB

For every one who curses his father or his mother shall be put to death. RSV

For every one that curseth his father or his mother, shall surely be put to death. WEB

For everyone who curses his father or his mother shall surely be put to death. HNV

For every one that curseth his father or his mother shall surely be put to death. ASV

Steve Wells said...

Quit hiding behind Maimonides, Brendan. He could be the smartest guy that ever lived and the bible would just as cruel and full of shit.

If your going to argue from authority, then tell us what the expert said and why.

What specifically in my post would Maimonides (Thomas Aquinas, Martin Luther, Averroes, Homer Simpson, etc.) have disagreed with and why?

Brendan said...

The difference is in the translator, Steve. If you're translating from Hebrew, it's better if Hebrew is your first language (the translation I was reading came from a Jewish source).

By the way, I was refering to the KJB as a whole. It's God-awful.
My favorite example of how bad it is:
Translating "prosperous" as "fat".

Steve Wells said...

Brendan,

So you were mistaken when you said,

"Only the King James translations says 'For every one'"

since there are at least 9 other translations that say the same thing.

Brendan said...

The fact that I was wrong about that has no bearing whatsoever on the discussion. For what it's worth, you haven't contested that "Any man" is more accurate than "Every one".

Steve Wells said...

Brendan: The fact that I was wrong about that has no bearing whatsoever on the discussion.

No, I suppose not. It's just that you seemed so sure about it...

For what it's worth, you haven't contested that "Any man" is more accurate than "Every one".

No, it doesn't matter too much to me. I think it's a wrong to kill someone for cursing his or her parents, no matter how old they are. How about you?

Brendan said...

Why don't you read my previous posts and find out?

Steve Wells said...

Why don't you read my previous posts and find out?"

I've read them, Brendan; I can't tell what you think about it.

Why don't you just answer the question?

Here are two that I've asked that you haven't answered:

Is it wrong to burn someone to death (for whatever reason)?

Is it wrong to kill someone (of any age) for cursing his or her parents?

Of course you don't have to answer if you don't want to. I understand. I wouldn't want to either if I were you.

maneater said...

Hi Steve,
I hope you don't mind me chiming in on this debate? I am a career student in woman's and matriarchal studies and the studies cover a large range of academia, such as...archaeology, anthropology, mythology, sociology, theology, and the list goes on.

I hope I can add a more scholarly view of ancient paganism to your already great blog. I, myself, am not a scholar, maybe one day...but, I do have a lot of knowledge in scholarly work and research in the studies of ancient paganism..

Brendon

Your agruement doesn't hold any water. An argument based on assumtions that are based on bias priestly idealogies, who not only forcefully and violently forced conversion, but also manipulated by demonizing other religions and their gods.

The truth and FACT of the mater is that, wide scale, pagan, child sacrifice has really never been proven.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Child_sacrifice

(As bias as wiki is, they still acknoledge that, there is a debate in whether or not child sacrifice was practiced by the pagans.)


The archaeological, and anthropological evidence just does not support that the pagans regularly tossed their children in fire pits.

What the evidence does show is that many peaceful pagan countries were invaded by desert nomads that brought along their barbaric child sacrificing practices. God wasn't always Jahova, he was also known as Bal, Moloch, and many other names, and the bible even tells you that.

The truth is, the Hebrews never had any land worth a shit after desertifacation took theirs. From there, they ivaded other peoples lands and forced their war god on them and with that, their barbaric practices.

We must also acknoledge the effects of desertification on human behavior. Study after study proves, that women who do not have proper nutrition during pregnancy are more likely to give birth to offspring that suffer from anti-social behaviors. Thus, is what we see in the bible.

Bredon, you seem like a pretty smart guy and with a little more research into ancient paganism, arcaeology, and anthtopology, you too, can get a more honest view of the hebrews, and how, even their religion had evolved to a war god base to survive the horrific effect of drough,t and famine.

Peace

Brendan said...

Sorry, Steve, I wasn't paying too much attention when I wrote that first response.

What do I think of the death penalty in general is a better question. The answer is that I believe the death penalty should be reserved for the worst of crimes. It depends on the circumstance, but I wouldn't execute someone for anything much less than 2 murders.

Here's a hypothetical question: How would you feel about the laws in The Torah if they didn't have the penalties attatched?

(And no, I'm not trying to avoid the real question here, I will get to that, but I'm just curious)

In regards to the death penalty in the Bible, here's a good example that does a much better job of describing what I attempted to earlier:

http://www.nyadp.org/main/judaism.html

If wikipedia counts, then:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_and_capital_punishment#Judaism
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corporal_punishment_(Judaism)#Capital_Punishment

Brendan said...

Maneater:

I. The Hebrews did not forcibbley convert anybody. There is no evidence that anyone they took prisoner was forced to convert, and the Bible doesn't say it (with a few possible exceptions). They did, rather barbarically, kill thousands of people living in enemy territories.

II. Wide-scale child sacrifice by the Caanites has not been proven in its entirety, but there is evidence for it. The accounts of Molech sacrifice match accounts written by others of different nations from similar or the same time periods. Atheists counter this by accusing each of the nations of fabrication to demonize the enemy. While this cannot be disproven, there is evidence that indicates child sacrifice, and I feel that that is enough evidence for me.

To summarize, because I'm not sure I'm actually writing very clearly (I'm reeeaaalllly tired right now), there is some evidence of child sacrifice. There is no evidence that it was a lie, nor is there evidence that the birth ceremony was passing a child's feet through fire. Those claims have less evidence than the evidence for child sacrifice.

The fact that many peaceful countries were forced to convert to a violent religion of child sacrifice doesn't mean they never did it. In fact, that's evidence that they DID do it. Or are you insinuating that the Hebrews sacrificed children?

Before you bring up Jephthah, let me state that Judaism does not believe that he was right to kill his daughter. Most Jews don't believe he literally sacrificed his daughter, but rather forced her to live a life of seclusion devoted entirely to "serving God". Even the Orthodox believe this. It should also be said that other records of Jephthah claim he met an untimely, and quite unpleasent death.

III. HaShem is not the same god as Baal, Molech, etc. They're all different gods, worshipped by different nations at the time. They're completely different. The Bible does not say they are the same, it has HaShem forbidding people from worshipping Baal, Molech, etc. Many of the early Hebrews DID believe in these gods, but believed that they were inferior.

IV. What's your point on desertification? I never denied that the people in the Bible are violent and cruel.

V. Yes, B'midbar and Y'hoshua show a sort of belief in a war-type God, however I have never believed either of the two to actually be word of God. I do believe the Hebrews violently slaughtered people in neighboring nations, and yes it was usually because of religious beliefs, but such behaivor was not uncommon at the time. This does not excuse their behaivor, but one has to recognize that they were not barbaric by the standards of that time.

A few questions:

For clarification, is this a timeline of the events you're refering to?
1. Hebrews resided in what the Torah calls "wilderness"
2. Hebrews lost land to desertification
3. Hebrews resorted to invading other land

Is the drought & famine you're refering to related in anyway to the ones described in the Bible?

This is rather interesting. I've never heard anyone pushing the series of events you stated. It's always either "Exodus,Wilderness,Canaan" or just "Canaan". Interesting.

Shalom

Steve Wells said...

Brendan:

Here's a hypothetical question: How would you feel about the laws in The Torah if they didn't have the penalties attached?

Well, that depends on the laws.

But take Leviticus 20:14, for example:

"And if a man take a wife and her mother, it is wickedness: they shall be burnt with fire, both he and they."

I'd like it better if it said something like this:

"And if a man take a wife and her mother, he should get some counseling (unless the wife and her mother are OK with it, in which case, so am I)."

It's the burning to death part that bothers me. That, and the idea that the two women (who may not have consented to the threesome) are to be burned along with the man. It just seems a bit harsh to me.

How about you, Brandan? Do you we should burn all three to death in this case? Do you think burning people to death is ever a good idea? (I may have asked you this a couple times before. If so I apologize. But I'll probably keep doing it until you answer it.)

Brendan said...

Steve: A bit earlier I posted my views on the death penalty as a whole.

Yes, it's wrong to burn people to death.

Yes, it's wrong to execute someone for sex crimes

However, the death penalty was, as I stated before, hypothetical. I posted some links on the subject.

maneater said...

Bredon

Have a look here..
http://phoenicia.org/childsacrifice.html

There is also the debate that the Hebrews and Canninites were the same peoples.

And relying solely on biblical and priestly archaeology only gives one a bias conclusion.

Where to start when it comes to breaking down the history and answers to your questions...

Well, lets start with the start of desertification.(you can do a quick google search using the words of "the origins of desertification" to learn more)There are even satelite pics online to verify that the sahara desert, where Abrahamic religions evolved, and they weren't always known as abrahamic,(I refer to them as war god religions) as I'm sure you know, was once a lush and plentiful area with lots of water and resources. With the loss of resources, due to desertification, little by little, the people migrated out and into the pagan territories and with them some of their anti-social behaviors. These anti-social behaviors at first blended into the pagan beliefs. But, as their numbers increased, they used force, violence, manipulation, and demonizing of the pagan gods to force their one god belief, even if it was for its own people. Even biblical scholars will tell you that, that is why god calls the worship of other gods "whoring".

Child sacrifice does not show up in history until the later neolithic times and shows up in all the places that desertification has set in, or in the places its migrants have invaded.
And I'm glad you are not in denile about the barbaric behavior of the Hebrews or whatever they were called back then. And even biblical scholars have acknowledged that, YES, the Hebrews did practice child sacrifice up untill Abraham took his son and god stopped him. They claim that is when god finally put an end to it for his people. And my point is that there is no difference between the pagan gods of war and the hebrew god of war, it was the evolution of the god we have come to know today. At first they defeated the Goddesses then they defeat eachother, till the one god reigns supreme and along the way, human, and child sacrifice have been practiced by all the war gods. To blame the pagans and ignore the part your religion has played, is a bit dishonest. And I can't remember where in the bible it say's that his people knew him as other gods, but I know its in there and I know god has had many names and they weren't all Jahova or yeweh or whatever name he is going by these day.

Oh, and, yes, the bible does mention drought and famine and desert, over and over.

So, on a good note I'm saying that the Hebrews behavior became more and more aggressive due to drought and famine.

On the flip side, I'm telling you, that, the god you worship evolved out of the worse human conditions and is a barbaric war god that does not deserve worship and serves no purpose here in the land of plenty, because the horrible side effects of worshipping a war god is the decline of civilized behavior and the desrtuction of the enviroment.

Sorry for the spelling and any misplace commas or whathave ya. I'm rushing and my eyes go all blurry when I read online, so bare with me.

Peace

Steve Wells said...

Thanks Brendan. I'm glad that you think it is wrong to burn people to death and that people shouldn't be executed for their sexual activity.

Do you think God had anything to do with Leviticus 20:14 ("And if a man take a wife and her mother, it is wickedness: they shall be burnt with fire, both he and they.")?

If so, what?

If not, shouldn't it be removed from the Torah?

Brendan said...

Maneater:

While the link does seem to support the theory that the corpses found weren't killed through sacrifice, that does not mean that it did not occur.

Abraham preceded the Hebrews, and the early Hebrews did not originate from the Sahara, nor did any of the Canaanites. Abraham came from modern-day Iraq. In fact, none of the other Abrahamic faiths, all of which came long after the Hebrews, started in the Sahara. If you believe the Bible, then the Hebrews were in Egypt for some time, although if the Bible isn't true, then neither is that, which would all Hebrew connection to any part of Africa (since the only alternative theory is that the Hebrews were really just Canaanites). The theory is not that the Hebrews and Canaanites were once the same people, but rather that the first Hebrews were from the Canaanites.

At the time, there was only one Abrahamic religion. The other religions had nothing to do with Abraham.

The myths involving one god killing another, etc, were present in all creation myths EXCEPT the Hebrew one, which some scholars even believe to be an outright rebuttal of the other nation's myths. The Hebrew creation story/myth/whatever you wanna call it states that from the beginning there was only one God. The other nations have stories of gods fighting until one remains supreme.

The Neolithic times predate the time period we're talking about by a couple thousand years (9,500 BCE)

All of the names people call God in the Bible are names that Jews still use, save for "The name", which is considered to holy, too powerful to use.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Names_of_God_in_Judaism

Other than these names, no other names are used in the Bible. Names such as Baal and Molech were names of gods worshiped by other nations. Molech is the god that people supposedly sacrificed children to. Some scholars believe Baal and Molech were the same god, but God in the bible specifically says not to worship Molech.

Shalom

Steve:
I posted 2 or 3 links awhile back to help explain my position better. Again, the death penalty there is hypothetical. Even the "Eye-for-an-eye" line was used in a metaphorical way, in which the perpetrator had to give monetary compensation for their crimes.

Steve Wells said...

Brendan: I posted 2 or 3 links awhile back to help explain my position better.

I'm not interested in links, Brendan. I'd like to know what you think.

Here are my questions again.

Do you think God had anything to do with Leviticus 20:14 ("And if a man take a wife and her mother, it is wickedness: they shall be burnt with fire, both he and they.")?

If so, what?

If not, shouldn't it be removed from the Torah?

Brendan said...

Do I believe God said it?

Perhaps. There are several possibilities that I am able to choose from without resorting to being an atheist, or advocating such a terrible penalty:

1) God didn't say it, but it was handed down orally and was not recorded until much later
2) God didn't say it, the Knesset of ancient Israel fucked up
3) He said it, but did not mean it. It's sort of like in Calvin & Hobbes, when he says "Mom, can I go play outside?" and she says "no, you'll get pneumonia, linger in the hospital for a few months, and die." (Best analogy I could think of at the moment)

Again, these were never meant to be carried out. The later courts of ancient Israel believed that if an execution was carried out more than once within 70 years, then the court is corrupt.

Baconsbud said...

Brendan where are you getting the info that what he said he didn't mean? I thought he was perfect.

You brought up earlier in a comment that god doesn't tell people what morals they must have. But doesn't telling you what is morally wrong tell you what is morally right? So that free will thing would actually only work if he never said a thing and allowed life to run its course.

Steve Wells said...

Thanks Brendan!

But if God didn't really say it or if he said it but didn't mean it, then wouldn't it be better to just remove it entirely?

From what you've said before, I'm sure you don't think homosexuals should be executed. Yet the verse immediately before the one we've been discussing says they should (Leviticus 20:13). I know there's lots of verbal gymnastics that allows you to get out of it (God didn't say it or he said it but didn't mean it, etc.), but why not just admit that he didn't say it at all and be done with the whole nasty thing?

Do you know of another book that says you should execute homosexuals or burn people to death for their sexual activities?

Brendan said...

Baconsbud: Either you misunderstand my argument, or I'm typing things that I don't remember.

What I'm saying is this:
If God changed people's morality, that infringes on free will. If he tells them what's right and what's wrong, it gives them a choice to take his moral advice or leave it.

Yes, I believe at one point I said the point of the Torah was peace, not morality. I shouldn't have said that. Oh well. No changing the past (boy, wouldn't that be awesome, though).

Steve:

I'm pretty sure that if Sarah Palin wrote an autobiography, it would say that. That quick joke aside, doesn't "admitting" something require you to know that to be true? I have nothing to admit. I do not know what happened at Mt. Sinai. I do not know what was said, verbatim.

"Didn't mean it" is something I should not have said as well, as it's a gross oversimplification of my argument. What I'm saying is that it was simply detterent. We can't remove it from the text because that is against Jewish law. I will admit, a list of positive and negative commandments sounds a lot more attractive then having them listed along side their punishments.

By the way, I have completely explained my view of the laws on "homosexuality" in the Torah. Yes, people contest to the idea that the Canaanites sacrificed to Molech in that way. However, there is no evidence to suggest the accounts written about it lied (some claim that it was demonization of enemies, but then why were all the accounts virtually the same?), there is evidence (although not much) to suggest they did. Considering God was pretty fond of David, there's no way the verse is actually referring to homosexuality.

Here's a question: If the Torah was written by kings or priests who only wanted to preserve their own power, than why wasn't the death penalty actually used?

...I can't help but feel this post is missing something. Oh well. I'm sure if it is, one of you will point it out.

Steve Wells said...

Brendan: No, I think we've covered it pretty well.

Thanks for answering my questions directly.

(Can't quite resist another, though.

What do you think about God threatening those who disobey him with having their children eaten by their enemies, wild animals, or themselves? That's about as nasty as a god can get, don't you think?)

Brendan said...

That verse, right there is my #1 "problem verse". I have not heard, nor thought of a satisfactory answer.

I guess deterrent could apply, although this description is particularly awful. Perhaps it could be said that God is justified in threatening them because the people simply were too barbaric to listen without something that awful...

If you think about it, the line sticks out, doesn't it? You don't forget it. Maybe that's just what they needed.

Then again, it's still extremely violent. It's one of the few passages I have a problem with that doesn't have an explanation behind it (at least that I know of).

Steve Wells said...

Thanks again, Brendan.

It bothers me when believers aren't bothered by verses like that. I appreciate your honesty and wish you luck trying to find an acceptable explanation.

Baconsbud said...

Brendan you said "Here's a question: If the Torah was written by kings or priests who only wanted to preserve their own power, than why wasn't the death penalty actually used?". I am wanting to know how you know that the death penalty wasn't used? If you believe it wasn't used because nothing was ever said about it in the bible then you are making assumptions about it. If you have historical documents you are using I would like to see them.

Brendan said...

Baconsbud:
The Talmud is a Jewish book that consists largely of commentary on the Bible. It was written between the first and 3rd centuries CE. In it, the rabbis claim that there were next to no executions in ancient Israel (before, of course, it was destroyed).

(Before you google search "Talmud", be warned that there are tons of fake verses that anti-semites use to demonize Jews)

The Jewish court under Roman rule had also officially abolished the death penalty altogether.

maneater said...

Bredon,

So sorry I was in such a rush yesterday. I have a lot of down time and a lot going on at the same time..not sure that makes sense, but it leads to very hectic moments at inept times.

Anywho, I have been reading this blog for a couple of years know and never posted. I really don't have the patience, but I get tired of believers constantly blaming other religions/pagans of mass child and human sacrifice and the truth of the matter is...it really wasn't that prevelent(not saying there wasn't some, but the numbers are VERY small) and was practiced by their very own, as well as, it is still a part of christianity. What the hell was Jesus? He was YOUR god's child/human sacrifice for the sins of mankind. So, blaming the pagans who may or may not have practiced child sacrifice is dishonest, hypicritical, and is ABSOLUTELY demonizing the pagans and other religions, by making it seem like a common everyday practice of the pagans, but not of the biblical god.

And if the Hebrews came from the Canaanites, does that not make them the same people? Sorry for not detailing it for you in my rush. I tend to be a very simple person. NOT simple minded, I just like to get to the point.

And my point about the hebrews is, that the hebrews don't have a real history. They do not have a land, they driffed in from the desert and every bit of history that comes from the bible, is NOT theirs, but of Sumarian, Canaanan, Asia, Egyption and it all out dates the bible's accounts.

AND,(last one I promise)the Hebrews ABSOLUTELY were polythiestic, but the more drought and famine they indured the more monothiestic they became. Want proof? Open the the fist creation story, it says..Come let US make man and woman in OUR image. There are also many, if not the majority of biblical scholars who will testify to that.

Brendon there are LOTS of theories and hypothisis about where the Hebrews came from and you really cut yourself short just sticking to one version.

Here is another theory that I read.

http://egyptian-history.suite101.com/article.cfm/moses_real_man_or_biblical_myth

This guy has a lot of valid points to his debate.

So, that is all I have to say about this and would just like to get back to being an observer.

Peace

madcat said...

God is not great afterall.

My mom seems to be a nicer person that god.

She did not kill me when I disobeyed her when I was younger.

maneater said...

Steve,

My rebuttal to Brendon was never posted. Not sure why?

I really hate typing and have very little patience for it, and nor do I have the time to search for all the research in biblical and archaeological info since my computer crashed months ago and lost all my saved stuff. So, I will post a couple of links to try to clarify my points and keep it brief.

Brendon,

http://www.orgonelab.org/MatriarchyCongress2003.htm

The link is James Demeo's rebuttal to some of the scholars of matriarchal studies and delves deep into the origins of your war god. And your geography is a little off...last I checked, the middle east is under attack of desertification from the Sahara. The Sahara desert is expanding, and there are HUGE promlems in the middle east due to it.

My point about the hebrews is, that they have no real history of their own. They wandered in froom the desert and brought with them their anti-social war god with them.

And another thing...the Hebrews were NOT always monothiestic. Even the bible proves that, as well as many scholars. The Hebrew have had many gods and goddesses. A quick google search on the ancient hebrew gods turns up lots of gods, and some that demanded child sacrifice...much like Jehova did...and isn't that exactly what Jehova did when Jesus was crucified? Was he not your gods child sacrifice?

So, demonizing the non hebrew pagans, who have never been proven to practice such barbaric practices, is dishonest, hypicritical and is a means to demonize the non-hebrew pagans.

Aztec,and incas are not included in this debate, cuz they are way on the other side of the world, and are not mentioned in the bible, but can also be linked to desert behaviorist.

And, boy, I am glad you do not agree with stonings. They are barbaric and any god that demands it or does not condem it, is NOT worth worship!!!

Here is another link just for fun, cuz I find his work very interesting!! And anyone interested in archaeology, anthropology and biblical studies will like it. :)

http://ahmedosman.com/home.html

Peace

Brendan said...

Maneater:

I responded here in the order that I read your arguments, so it's entirely out of order:

I'm Jewish. I don't believe in Christianity. Ergo, your "Jesus = child sacrifice" theory does not apply to me. "Shalom", which I've been ending my posts with, is Hebrew for "peace".

The Sahara desert is located in Northern Africa. Desertification is a problem in the Mid-East, but the Sahara desert refers to a region in Africa.

You say the Hebrews wandered in the desert. Does this mean the Bible wasn't lying when it said that?

In regards to your link...
Such things were present in every mid-Eastern nation of the time (minus the "genital mutations", and by the way, circumcision has lots of benefits, for example it can sometimes prevent HIV and AIDS). HaShem, the God the Hebrews (and modern day Jews, Christians, and Muslims) believed in, was not worshiped by other nations. Some scholars believe there may have been another nation that did, however the Hebrews attacked it, so that seems unlikely to me.

Doing a google search for "ancient Hebrew gods" brings up a link which describes several gods.
Quick catch: They're all the same God. Every learned Jew knows that God has several names, each one used at different points in the Bible. The multiple names are symbolic of how God is a God of all things, rather than just one aspect of life.

The ancient Hebrews believed in several gods, but only worshiped one, until a king (forgot the name) had them worship multiple gods for economic and political security. The Hebrew leaders until this point actually tried to get people to stop believing in other gods.

The Hebrews NEVER sacrificed children. It's punishable by death in the Torah. Whether or not the Torah is fake, it still stands that the Hebrews never did such a thing.

Ask any Rabbi, they'll tell you God said "in our image" while talking to the angels.

Again, there is evidence that child sacrifice was common in Canaan, and the only evidence otherwise is that when a site was found with dead bodies, most of them were fetuses. It's a pretty weak argument.

If you believe the Bible, the Hebrews are descended from Abraham. If not, they were just Canaanites.
The Hebrews did not worship a "war god". They worshiped a God of everything. They happened to be warlike, just like all the other nations.

The Bible's account of the history of the Hebrews is not taken from other religions. It either happened to the Hebrews, or is a complete fabrication.

I did not say I believed the Canaanites to be the same people.