• Christians, watch this and then tell me your God underwrites morality…

    WARNING. Watch this video will disturb you. It is horrific. But I ask that you do so, Christian, Muslim, atheist or other. You will never watch it again, and it will scar you. But remember, this activity was divinely decreed by an all-loving God. Yes, all-loving. And for what? For all of the actions below. Am I going over the top? Is this snuff?

    The reason I post this is as follows. Christians (and Muslims) often argue the Old Testament directives in a kind of abstract, intellectual manner, distanced from the reality and brutality of such death. It is easy to defend something which is conceptual and distant. But is it so easy to defend when you see it before your eyes, in seemingly the way your all-loving God commanded? I think not. And I think this is a really powerful indictment of God. This rather violent Old Testament incarnation of God was dismissed as a demiurge by early bishop Marcion. And for good reason. The rather vicious and parochial nature of Yahweh just didn’t seem to fit with the New Testament. Or is it that the New Testament doesn’t really fit with what God is more actually like (if he existed)? This is hardcore. This is the world of the Bible. Either it is morally abhorrent, or it is not. And don’t give me Covenantal Moral Relativism. That’s bullshit. If God decreed this as morally justified then, then the birth and death of Jesus (and his fulfillment of every jot and tittle of the law) doesn’t change a damned thing. Suddenly homosexuality is OK enough NOT to be punishable by death? Trying to convert people to another religion? Should I be stoned for espousing atheism?

    Even in modern societies which do still have the death penalty (come on US, catch up) it is done as humanely as possible, if that is not an oxymoron. There is so much wrong with the Old Testament. This is a massive example of it abhorrence.

    The question is, would YOU throw a stone? And if not, how is it acceptable that these people do or did? And before you give me the quote from John about casting the first stone (“He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” John 8:7), that is a well known interpolation, and Jesus didn’t say that.

    Conclusion – those who defend the Old Testament and its decrees are no better than the people stoning this Muslim couple. Discuss.

    [UPDATE: people I have spoken to elsewhere online about this post have declared that they are unable to watch this video. Which is immensely powerful, and kind of the point. It is THAT intuitively morally disgusting.]

    Here is the entry from RationalWiki entitled Actions punishable by death in the Old Testament.


    The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (the source for the Christian Old Testament), which forms the core texts of the Halakha, or corpus of Jewish divine law, include a surprising number of crimes which merit the death penalty as punishment. These laws were believed to form an integral part of the overall “Covenant” between the Israelites and YHWH. When the Christians adopted the Old Testament as their canon, neither they as a body, or Jesus as the Messiah revised or redacted any of these laws, for all they edited the Hebrew texts.

    Crimes that merit the death penalty are generally crimes against God. A smaller, but no less important set of capital crimes are sexual transgressions. It should be noted that things we consider crimes (like rape and child abuse) are not what the Old Testament is talking about. Sexual transgressions typically relate to a failure to comport oneself (sexually) in a manner that adds to the community. Adultery and masturbation are as bad or worse than modern crimes of molestation or rape – simply because they challenged such moral issues as “Who of my children is really mine, so gets my land”, and “The more sons I have the more land I can work, so the more money I own.” Taken by the word of God alone, however, one just has to assume that God cares if you touch yourself or find someone sexy before you are married. Though exactly whyGod should have such a deep and abiding interest in the sexual and marital predications of his creations is not clear. The religious laws describe the various rituals and taboos involved in the proper way of worshipping the Israelite God, and also seek to prevent apostasy. At least in this case, the reasoning behind assassinating anybody who stepped out of line is clear.

    The rules in the Torah still form a part of the body of the Jewish law, though they fortunately cannot be considered a complete description of Jewish law. This is because no legal system can be fully understood without also considering the way its rules are being interpreted and applied in practice by the courts and other institutions of its society – or, for that matter, the body of rituals and social conventions surrounding such institutions. For example, a Jewish court could not say that it was acceptable to sell your daughter into slavery, even if that is the alternative to killing her for a misdeed. Today, only a few isolated Islamic courts have ever actually applied the death penalties for apostasy and sexual crimes in the modern era, despite the fact that many honor killings occur claiming to be legally sanctioned.[1]

    There are also a few fundamentalist Christians such as the followers of Dominionism who feel that the death penalties as described should to be enforced today.[2][3]

    Sexual activities

    “And if you do any of these ten things, he has a special place, full of fire and smoke and burning and torture and anguish, where he will send you to live and suffer and burn and choke and scream and cry forever and ever ’til the end of time! But He loves you.” —George Carlin

    • Adultery (Leviticus 20:10-12, man and woman)
    • Lying about virginity. Applies to girls who are still in their fathers’ homes, who lie about their virginity, and are presented to their husband as a virgin. The accused is guilty until proved innocent. (Deuteronomy 22:20-21)
    • The daughter of a priest practicing prostitution (death by fire) (Leviticus 21:9)
    • Rape of a virgin who is engaged. If she is not engaged you only have to marry her and give her father 50 shekels. No mention is made of the girl’s opinion, and no punishment is specified for raping a single non-virgin female. (Deuteronomy 22:25)
    • Being the victim of rape, if one is an engaged female virgin and the rape occurs in a city. If it takes place in a field, the victim is spared because nobody would have heard her screams. (Deuteronomy 22:23-27) Presumably, virgins who scream for help inside a city will always be rescued.
    • Men practicing bestiality. (Both man and animal die). (Leviticus 20:15[4]
    • Women practicing bestiality (Both woman and animal die). (Leviticus 20:16[4]
    • Having sex with your father’s wife, as distinct from “your mother”, as it was common practice for men at the time to have several wives. (both die) (Leviticus 20:20)
    • Having sex with your daughter-in-law. (Leviticus 20:30)
    • Incest. (Leviticus 20:17[5]
    • (for men): Sex with a man in the same manner as sex with women. Generally interpreted as male homosexuality. The girls seem to get a free… errrr …ride on this one. (Leviticus 18:22)
    • Marrying a woman and her daughter. They are all burnt to death (Leviticus 20:14)

    A couple of these demand that the “sinners” be burned to death rather than stoned — which was the more usual form of capital punishment. One can wonder why these crimes in particular merit this especially horrible fate.

    Religious laws

    Parents and Children.

    Violent and legal crimes

    • Murder. However if a slave is beaten to death the owner is “punished” — not necessarily killed. If the slave survives the beating then there is no punishment. This is part of a wide range of slavery laws in the Old and New Testament. (Genesis 9:6Exodus 21:12Numbers 35:16-21)
    • Kidnapping and selling a man. This is really a law against making an Israelite a slave against his will, as other laws happily allow the “stealing of men” to make slaves. (Exodus 21:16).
    • Perjury (in certain cases) (Deuteronomy 19:15-21).
    • Deuteronomy 19:20 explicitly identifies that the purpose of this is deterrence. “The rest of the people will hear of this and be afraid, and never again will such an evil thing (malicious and false testimony by one man against another) be done among you.” Presumably all the other death penalties are assumed to be for deterrence as well.
    • Ignoring the verdict of a judge – (or a priest!) (Deuteronomy 17:8-13).
    • Not penning up a known dangerous bull, if the bull subsequently kills a man or a woman. Both the animal and the reckless owner of the dangerous bull are to be put to death. (Exodus 21:29)

    Things that don’t go anywhere else.

    • Living in a city that failed to surrender to the Israelites. (Kill all the men, make the women and children slaves.) (Deuteronomy 20:12-14)

    Possible grounds for execution.

    The following carry the punishment of being “cut off from his people”. Some people seem to feel that this is the same as the death penalty, although the ancient Israelites may simply have interpreted it as exile.

    Category: Biblical ExegesisGod's CharacteristicsMorality


    Article by: Jonathan MS Pearce