This post on behalf of David Stevenson:
Ian,you appear allied to the Israeli position in current affairs.Do Deuteronomy 7;1,2 and Deuteronomy 20;16 bring you to that stance viz. To make room for Israel in the promised land God orders the total destruction of the 7 nations already occupying it. The Genocide was to be absolute encompassing both people and animals "-- "Do not leave alive anything that breathes "!
Once Israel had conquered the promised land - God ordered Israel to initiate numerous wars of aggression - killing all captive men and non virgin women and bringing virgin women into sexual slavery. (Numbers 31;7 17,18.) God even ordered the suckling infants of the enemy to be massacred . (! Samuel 15;3 ) UNQUOTE
I appreciate the point better when remembering that "same God is credited with saying "Vengeance is Mine" "- How true! Harking back- Sometimes God ordered the enemy cities to be set on fire and destroyed completely- other times he ordered them to be pillaged and plundered( Joshua 6;24 ) (Numbers 31;25-40 ) If a soldier found a female captive to be attractive God allowed him to force marriage and,therefore sex on her (Deuteronomy; 21;10-14 ) UNQUOTE - In modern times this is called rape.
God also frequently caused or ordered the deaths of innocent children,infants and the unborn.He did this during the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah also the drowning of the entire human race -apart from those on that somewhat questionable ark. The slaughter of Egyptian firstborn during the passoverand the massacre of the Mideanites and the Amalekites among countless other examples ( Genesis 19 )(Genesis 6-12((Exodus 12) (Numbers 31 ) ( i Samuel 15;3) Is it any wonder that people possessing any sanity do not live by what the Bible,(Old Testament anyway) or the Koran or any other religious text says.If we did we would all, instead of just an extremist few, be out killing infidels or taking virgins for ourselves.
We have no choice but to do the hard thinking ,and here for some is the hardest part, we can no longer use religion as a sole guide to morality.We must find human reasons,beng in a primarily secular society,to live decent and happy lives.Ironically,Bishop Holloway stated "Our attempt to live morally as though there were no God,might be the final test of faith"! The Bible is filled with countless barbaric acts and tyrannical Laws almost all of them commanded by God.
The following examples refute any claim that the Bible is an infallible source of morality,decency or fairness . Biblical punishment was largely based on the principle of LEX TALION viz. a life for a life ,tooth for a tooth (Exodus 21;23-24) Modern Society, on the other hand ,has rejected this principle because the human justice system is exactly that,very human and imperfect and often finds innocent people guilty. Lex Talion does not allow society to undo a wrong punishment. It is hard to understand and take seriously--Any woman who defended her husband in a fight by grabbing the private parts of his assailant was to have have her hand cut off--and with "no pity ".(Deuteronomy 25;11-12)
The Bible also featured unfair laws eg. giving birthrights to the first born.Such a son would inherit twice in property that of his siblings.Whether you believe in merit or equality this law fails the fairness test on either count. Another injustice is God`s punishment of innocent children for the sins of their parents eg. God did not simply punish Adam and Eve for eating the forbidden fruit - No he punished the entire human race and posterity forever after. Okay nimble-footed Christian apologists will argue semantics here -- that there is symbolism involved. I would attempt to avoid cynicism by saying "the Devil can quote the Bible to `cite his purpose ".Not that I believe in the personification of that gentleman. In the second commandment God says "For I am a jealous God ,punishing the children to the 3rd and 4th generation of those who hate me ( do I note a touch of petulance here -I thought that a failing peculiar to mortals)- - -.(Exodus 20; 5-6) Why these future generations should receive such undeserved fates cannot be based upon any system of personal justice or responsibility. Curiously enough,and perhaps in some mitigation, the Bible contradicts this philosophy in (Deuteronomy 24;16( which says "Fathers shall not be put to death for their children,nor children put to death for their father`s,each is to die for his own sin.As an authoritative position - Very confusing!
In conclusion a couple of thought provoking passages- Deut.22;20-21 Death by stoning for unchastity at time of marriage(imposed only on women) Hebrews 10;28-31 - - - fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God- Like Jesus,Paul makes no effort to veil his threats .His ultimatum between faith and torment is specific and geographically tested. Jesus,warns Paul,shall be revealed from Heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire inflicting vengeance before those who do not know----the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.They shall suffer the punishment of eternal destruction (Thessalanians 2-1 7-10). Some represent christianity as a reasonable and benevolent philosophy of life interested in the Truth. There is nothing reasonable about intellectual blackmail! A couple of others to consider- Jehovah was fond of directly exterminating numbers of people usually through pestilence or famine , often for rather unusual offences- 2 Samuel 24;15 Killed 7000 men because David took a census of Israel. 2 Kings 23;24 Sent 2 bears to tear apart 42 children for mocking the prophet Elishah The Old Testament God garnered an impressive list of atrocities Amos 3;6 Does evil befall a city unless the Lord has done it. Isaiah 45;6-7 I am the Lord there is none other-- I make peace and create evil -- I the Lord do all these things. Leviticus 27;28-29 Demanded and sanctioned human sacrifices. Judges 11;29-40 Jephthah sacrificed his own daughter Remember Abraham`s own resolve to sacrifice his son) Exodus 12;29 He killed the first born of every Egyptian family Exodus 21;7 sanctioned selling of one`s daughter --22;18 commanded the killing of witches 22;20 death for heresy -31;14-15 Death for violating the sabbath. -Leviticus 20;9 Death for cursing one`s parents- Leviticus 20;10 Death for adultery. New Testament Matthew 10;34-37 Think not that I come (Jesus speaking)to send peace on earth I am come not to send peace but a sword,for I am come to set a man at variance against his father and a daughter against her mother --- Luke 12;51-53 If any man come to me and hate not his father and mother and wife and children and brother and sister yea,and his own life also he cannot be a disciple-- Unquote Does anyone remember those words of Sydney Carlton in Tale of Two Cities (Charles Dickens--why do they seem the more precious to me now. To conclude prematurely,but on a lighter note--I admired the fighting words of Lilian Roth stating her outlook on life- "Bound only by Birth and Death- Life is both the ultimate mystery and the process of solving it.Life is a dance- a leap into the unknown. After you jump and before you land ,is God -that state of being when everything comes together -nothing is missing and - it`s all vibrating and electric .Life is an excuse for ecstacy anyway you can get it-in bed- in church-in a song. Personally I was born to die dancing." What a marvellous outlook! What a marvellous contrast against all that which depressingly preceded it above!