Deuteronomy is just weird

Whenever I want to delve into the world of the bizarre I read one of three things: what Scientologists actually believe, what Mormons actually believe, or the bat shit crazy stuff that is written in Deuteronomy (the whole thing is weird, but chapter 22 has always been a favorite of mine for its especial craziness).

6 If you come across a bird’s nest beside the road, either in a tree or on the ground, and the mother is sitting on the young or on the eggs, do not take the mother with the young. 7 You may take the young, but be sure to let the mother go, so that it may go well with you and you may have a long life.

…what? I mean, really? An all-powerful being is concerned with something so bizarre?

20 If, however, the charge is true and no proof of the girl’s virginity can be found, 21 she shall be brought to the door of her father’s house and there the men of her town shall stone her to death. She has done a disgraceful thing in Israel by being promiscuous while still in her father’s house. You must purge the evil from among you.

There’s the God we all know. Penis in vagina = bad. But before marriage? = death.

I don’t think I’m really exposing anything not already recognized as silly, but it doesn’t matter how many times I see it, the weirdness never jades me.

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52 Responses

  1. An all-powerful being is concerned with something so bizarre?

    I am not sure conserving potentially renewable resources so that they might perpetuate themselves rather than go become locally extinct is all that bizarre, considering it comports with modern science, a few thousand years before Western civilization figured it out.

    But it’s not just a matter of conservation, but compassion; the NT puts it this way:

    “Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God.”

    In short, the ‘all-powerful being’ is also a personal and interested being.

    There’s the God we all know. Penis in vagina = bad. But before marriage? = death.

    Is such utter and absolute ignorance rampant throughout colleges these days? I mean seriously – ‘Penis in vagina = bad’? What part of ‘Be fruitful and multiply’ don’t you understand? Do you think God expected people to reproduce asexually?

    God invented sex Michael, and the fact that you seem not to understand how it functions says more about you than it does about the supposed oddity of Deuteronomy, which you seem only to have read as excerpts gleaned from skeptic sites.

  2. And he dooms women to death if they cannot prove they’re a virgin on their wedding day. Such a great punishment for a non-crime.

  3. Adultery was a capital crime in the civil code of ancient Isreal for both men and women; in a culture wherein adultery is commonplace and barely recognized as being rude behavior this of course seems biizarre, but as a culture that increasingly disregards life to satisfy our own pleasures, we really have no room to judge.

  4. Adultery was a capital crime in the civil code of ancient Isreal for both men and women; in a culture wherein adultery is commonplace and barely recognized as being rude behavior this of course seems biizarre, but as a culture that increasingly disregards life to satisfy our own pleasures, we really have no room to judge.

    So because modern U.S. culture disregards life in your view, it is impossible for anyone from that culture to judge that God’s word is wrong on the matter of stoning to death non-virgin women who lie?

  5. So because modern U.S. culture disregards life in your view, it is impossible for anyone from that culture to judge that God’s word is wrong on the matter of stoning to death non-virgin women who lie?

    Well, the principle of ‘He who is without sin should throw the first stone’ (which incidentally both de-legitimizes judgment of the Israelite culture and stoning itself, it would seem – double score!) comes into play a bit here, as in if you can’t see or solve the problems of one’s own culture, one’s judgment of other cultures are suspect. I don’t think this is an absolute consideration, but I think it applies when we are ascribing the ‘bizarre’ appellation to the civil laws of other cultures.

    None the less, you are proffering a straw man – the law wasn’t against ‘non-virgin women’ it was against committing adultery, and was equally applied to all people, and required a trial, witnesses, and a judgement.

  6. That’s a cop-out, don’t you think? The state of one’s culture does not change the truth value of “Stoning women to death is wrong”.

    The “trial” consists of presenting essentially one piece of ‘evidence’ – a towel or cloth with vaginal blood. Did someone wash it? Lose it? Did you not have a towel nearby in the first place? Well, tough. Better hope the first stone knocks you out cold.

  7. That’s a cop-out, don’t you think? The state of one’s culture does not change the truth value of “Stoning women to death is wrong”.

    The Israelites didn’t ‘stone women’, they stoned adulterers. One might argue adultery isn’t wrong, or that stoning isn’t the appropriate punishment for adultery, but whether those being punished were women is irrelevant, as adultery always consisted of a man and a woman.

    The “trial” consists of presenting essentially one piece of ‘evidence’ – a towel or cloth with vaginal blood. Did someone wash it? Lose it? Did you not have a towel nearby in the first place? Well, tough. Better hope the first stone knocks you out cold.

    Well no, the trial consists of an accuser, a defendant, evidence, and a judgment rendered by an appointed judge. And the manner of the trial required two or three witnesses (as established elsewhere in Jewish civil law, namely Deut. 17. And the evidence in this case consisted of a formal cloth used on the wedding night for this very purpose; it wasn’t as if the newlyweds ran off to Niagara Falls. And the purpose of the law was to protect the woman against unjust accusations of a deceitful husband as much as it was to punish an adulterous woman.

  8. The women aren’t adulterers. The text clearly states that if a woman is not a virgin when a man ‘takes her’ (and she lies about), then she shall be stoned to death. Adultery is not constituted as having sex prior to marriage.

    But that isn’t even important. You’re trying to throw around these apologetics and all this arm waving when you’re ignoring the broader point – God wants you to stone your wife, and your wife to stone you, should she or you cheat. This makes God a monster.

    Well no, the trial consists of an accuser, a defendant, evidence, and a judgment rendered by an appointed judge. And the manner of the trial required two or three witnesses (as established elsewhere in Jewish civil law, namely Deut. 17. And the evidence in this case consisted of a formal cloth used on the wedding night for this very purpose; it wasn’t as if the newlyweds ran off to Niagara Falls. And the purpose of the law was to protect the woman against unjust accusations of a deceitful husband as much as it was to punish an adulterous woman.

    Right. So a cloth with vaginal blood. Apparently God’s requirements of proof aren’t up to the same levels as those of any Western nation today. Your god is a buffoon.

  9. The women aren’t adulterers. The text clearly states that if a woman is not a virgin when a man ‘takes her’ (and she lies about), then she shall be stoned to death. Adultery is not constituted as having sex prior to marriage.

    Generally speaking in Jewish culture people were betrothed before they were married, and sexual activity with someone else would have been considered the same as adultery – but even fornication (sex outside of marriage) was forbidden by Jewish law, because sex was created to happen within marriage.

    But that isn’t even important. You’re trying to throw around these apologetics and all this arm waving when you’re ignoring the broader point – God wants you to stone your wife, and your wife to stone you, should she or you cheat. This makes God a monster.

    I think adulterers are monsters; they are perhaps the most destructive force in our society. I don’t think it is necessary to stone them any longer because there are alternatives (though sadly, as I mentioned earlier, they are commonplace and accepted in modern society); but God isn’t a monster for having created a society where the wrongness of adultery was recognized – indeed, I think it would be much worse in our current society if He hadn’t. And I would rather defend that then defend adultery.

    Right. So a cloth with vaginal blood. Apparently God’s requirements of proof aren’t up to the same levels as those of any Western nation today. Your god is a buffoon.

    As much as our legal system does nothing to discourage adultery, our killing ones offspring, or stop women from being used as sexual objects to please men who can afford it (or not, thanks current technology), it is barbaric by comparison.
    As much as it employs ideas of equality before the law, the requirement of evidence, facing ones witnesses, and an objective judgment rendered by a proper authority, our own law in large part derives from God’s requirements.

  10. As much as our legal system does nothing to discourage adultery,…

    Under what authority should our “legal system” discourage adultery? How would you like to see adultery discouraged, e.g. using contractual law to punish adulterers?

    As much as it employs ideas of equality before the law, the requirement of evidence, facing ones witnesses, and an objective judgment rendered by a proper authority, our own law in large part derives from God’s requirements.

    I sure wish those Founding Christian Fathers had better explained how our country’s laws and statutes are biblically-based. Or have you determined God’s requirements from some other source? Hey, don’t get me wrong; I’m sure that since everyone uses the exact same interpretation of scripture, misunderstanding and disagreement can only be demon-incited.

    “Why did you shoot Dr. Tiller in the head, inside his church?”

    “The Debil maded me do it!”

  11. Under what authority should our “legal system” discourage adultery? How would you like to see adultery discouraged, e.g. using contractual law to punish adulterers?

    Under the same authority that it recognizes marriage; and yes, that would be a good start.

    I sure wish those Founding Christian Fathers had better explained how our country’s laws and statutes are biblically-based. Or have you determined God’s requirements from some other source? Hey, don’t get me wrong; I’m sure that since everyone uses the exact same interpretation of scripture, misunderstanding and disagreement can only be demon-incited.

    I think Western legal standards and jurisprudence in large part derives from it’s Judeo-Christian, and later Protestant foundation – but I think particularly, equality before the law can’t be reliably dervived from any other notion than that men are created equal. And that notion is firmly esconced in both the law of Moses and original Christian truths.

  12. Interesting; Gov. Sanford obviously feels the same as you, since he had the section that committed him to remain faithful removed from his marriage vows.

    By the way, under what contractual law provisions are gay marriages in violation?

    but I think particularly, equality before the law can’t be reliably dervived from any other notion than that men are created equal.

    Unless they’re gay, of course. Regardless, Why are you so sure that the notion of equality was not in evidence before the Abrahamic religion “ensconced” them? Could it be possible that amongst the myths adopted by them also contained some of the ideas of a just society passed down from nonbelievers?

    I also question the very idea that all men are equal according to Moses or anyone following him. Or rather, why would God have the authors posit thus, and then have them write about his great purges of entire peoples? The enemies of God certainly wouldn’t be considered equals to those appointed to be God’s thugs, right? And not all the genocides were to vanquish sinful heathens; Some were killed just to take their assets. Those now asset-less/lifeless people would definitely qualify as “less-thans”.

    The fact that you assert that equality is biblically-based, thus we should use the bible as the moral referee, completely ignores the fact that the bible has been used by ideologues for centuries as authorization to marginalize and oppress others, and many sects of Christianity are doing likewise today. For a God that so all-powerful, he sure picked some crappy ghost-writers that produced such a stinker of a worldview directory. Not that St. Rushdoony is complaining, mind you.

  13. The whole point of Mosaic law was that no one was above it, because no man created – it was God’s law, in much the same way we believe the equality and certain inalienable rights are derived from our Creator. God didn’t apply the law to one group of people and not to another.

    And the fact that the Bible has been misused and misapplied neither changes it’s foundational influence on Western culture, nor make it less legitimate as a source of truth.

  14. You premised part of your apologetics about the bizarre laws concerning virginity on the notion that they were specific to Jews, but now you’re stumbling over yourself by trying to claim that the Bible treats everyone equally.

    It’s a book by Jews, for Jews.

  15. Some Dominionist sects and many followers of Rev. Hagee are now claiming to be the “real Jews”. I guess since they’re not willing to wait until every Jew is not only returned to Israel, but that they accept Jesus as their Messiah, they’re gonna take things into their own hands. Sarah Palin believes that Alaska could be the true Promised Land. Hey, will AGW, she might have something.

    “Move over, ya fuckin’ Yids; Ya had yer chance, now we’ll show ya how to handle them fuckin’ ragheads next door. Praise Jesus! If this don’t bring him down here, nuthin’ will!”

  16. You premised part of your apologetics about the bizarre laws concerning virginity on the notion that they were specific to Jews, but now you’re stumbling over yourself by trying to claim that the Bible treats everyone equally.

    It’s a book by Jews, for Jews.

    When I said, “The whole point of Mosaic law was that no one was above it” I was referring to those who were under Mosaic law – the Jews. Just as if I said, ‘the whole point of the constitution is that no one is above it’ I would be referring to Americans. I thought this was rather obvious.

    Christianity is the conduit by which we discern the civil portion of the law from the moral, and it’s applicability to all people. Obviously, as Creator of mankind, we are all subject ultimately to God’s moral law.

  17. So, if it turns out there is no god, then there is no moral law? Darn, a lifetime of good deeds, all for nothing!

  18. If at the end it makes no difference (at least from one’s own perspective) what deeds one did, what difference would the existence of moral law make?

  19. The point isn’t for it to make a difference after everything is all said and done. It matters while everyone is still saying and doing.

  20. Why what?

  21. Why? Because you, and millions before you, have not shown one scintilla of evidence that the bible is anything but mythology, written by ignorant goat-herders. Yet we have a swarm of evil ideologues willing to force biblical law onto all of society. In order for anyone not believing in the Abrahamic version to follow what the bible/Koran/Torah says, you must have concrete evidence that all you assert is fact.

    Having said that, I do believe that the majority of Christians today are doing good works, and I also think that idea of church, in the generic sense, is a positive thing for society. Bringing people together to solve the problems locally is a grand gesture, and shouldn’t be slapped away by nonbelievers.

    Unfortunately, those Christians aren’t the ones stacking fundamentalists onto the School Boards in order to force their interpretation of scripture on everyone. You Christians have a real problem now, because ideologues have taken over the discussion, and all of you are looking bad as a result.

    And the fact that the Bible has been misused and misapplied neither changes it’s foundational influence on Western culture,…

    Considering the vile and craven Christian leadership in the US and Europe, not to mention the evil perpetrated on others throughout history, that’s not exactly a positive thing. The fact that some adherents have done good works doesn’t nullify the fact that biblically-based hatred and division is rampant today, as it has been since the book came out.

    As to your first assertion, that the constitution writers used the bible to help them, why can’t Christians admit the truth, that the bible was just one source among many used by the FFs? For such a “foundational” work, it sure received short shift once the ink hit the paper, huh? You can’t claim ignorance of this anymore, as it has been pointed out countless times, yet all we ever hear is how the bible alone was the basis for our laws.

    In short, the ‘all-powerful being’ is also a personal and interested being.

    Prove it.

    God didn’t apply the law to one group of people and not to another.

    I just pointed out how your bible shows that he did not apply the “law” equally. Just because you Christians have become so good at hand-waving to pretend that all you believe is true, doesn’t really matter to me, since I’m still waiting on that evidence that any of it is true.

  22. Sorry for the scattershot quoting; It wasn’t my intention to quotemine, just that I was called away a couple times and resumed with different thought patterns. Ignore anything you feel was does not reproduce what your thoughts were.

  23. to trog: Great rant!

    With reference to your point that ‘churches do good works’, I fully agree. I would point out though that there are plenty of secular organizations doing good works that don’t require adherence to a list of unsupported beliefs. Although usually ignored in this context, local government is probably the biggest secular problem-solving force, collectively speaking, in the country. (I am on the City Council of my town.) Here is where the potholes get filled (or not), children get educated (or not), the hungry and the homeless get fed and sheltered, and so on. And, under the Constitution, all without religion!

  24. I agree that we seculars don’t get any respect, but that has much to do with our lack of ideology, our lack of any cohesiveness other than an interest in helping others. Since we don’t have a flag of some sort to proclaim our presence, we don’t get any credit for our endeavors, unless you’re like me, and brag to every sumbitch you run into.

    But at least we know we do it without some thuggish overLord looking down on us, waiting to send us to an eternal torment if we don’t go beat up some homos.

  25. My brother-in-law was stoned to death, so it must be true.

  26. Why what?

    Why if ultimately it makes no difference that moral law actually exists, would it ‘matter’ what everyoe is saying and doing now?

    I mean if the ship is sinking, and nothing can be done to stop it from sinking, and everyone aboard will drown anyway, what difference would it make that one acted in one way or another before it sank?

  27. Well, for one thing, we need a survivor to warn the next ship; “Christianity is what sunk us, cap’n!”

  28. Although usually ignored in this context, local government is probably the biggest secular problem-solving force, collectively speaking, in the country. (I am on the City Council of my town.) Here is where the potholes get filled (or not), children get educated (or not), the hungry and the homeless get fed and sheltered, and so on. And, under the Constitution, all without religion!

    I think you are missing the point; obviously people do work apart from a particular religious belief; billions go to work every day because it is necessary for survival. Presumably someone gets paid to fill potholes, educate children, disburse funds to the needy, etc. I am not sure that compares to charitable works that are undertaken not as a means to make a living, but as a product of good will to other human beings.

    Now this isn’t to say unbelievers don’t do this (even Jesus pointed out that they do) but I would say in the history of Western world, it certainly has become a valued standard of human behavior primarily because of the influence of Christianity.

  29. My brother-in-law was stoned to death, so it must be true.

    Why is everyone so scared of this being stoned business? Hell, I’m sto…n-nothing. Nevermind.

  30. Forgot what I was sayin’ anyway.

  31. Well, for one thing, we need a survivor to warn the next ship; “Christianity is what sunk us, cap’n!”

    Well no, the ship is sinking whatever one believes, that is a given – the question you have avoided is why one should act a certain way given that absolute certainty.

  32. I dunno; Mebbe ’cause we’re watching the religious right drill holes in the ship’s hull. And they’re calling for bigger drill bits, of late.

  33. Haha! Short term memory is a bitch, ain’t it? Is it 4:20 pm yet?

  34. Indeed! Using Dewalt drills!

  35. When I retired, I gave away most of my extra tools, but my Dewalt ain’t going nowhere.

  36. I dunno; Mebbe ’cause we’re watching the religious right drill holes in the ship’s hull. And they’re calling for bigger drill bits, of late.

    I think you have successfully denuded this analogy of any meaning whatsoever.

  37. Lemme guess; You’re stuck with one of those craptastic Black and Decker drill motors, aintcha? Twenty more dollars woulda got you a real tool.

    In my secular beneficence, I’ll let you use mine if your drill dies.

  38. I do actually have a DeWalt; 18v cordless with the companion circular saw (which ain’t so nice). Also have and like their Sawzall. The drill for putting things together, the sawzall for taking them apart.

  39. Jack: I think you’ve got that backwards. Seeing as how ALL societies value charity and good works, and not just allegedly Christian ones, charity and good works have become the standard of Christian behaviour primarily because of the influence of humanity. In other words, Christianity is not in a position to take credit for a fundamental quality of the general human condition.

    Likewise, you have missed my point about secular local government. Few work or volunteer for service in local government because they think God or Jesus or the Flying Spaghetti Monster told them to. Local government is there to solve common problems, and these problems are rarely (maybe never) soluable by exclusively religious approaches. What is God’s position on Tax Increment Financing? What would jesus do if faced with the choice of laying off fire fighters or police officers?

  40. I was talking with Jesus just last week about that very issue. He said that these are dire economic times and tough decisions have to be made. Heaven is actually tied to the U.S. economic landscape, so Heaven is hurting as well – particular the banking sector. He said, as a result, Heaven is going to be laying off angles and raising entry requirements. I hope this helps to answer your question, Tom.

  41. Not ‘all’ societies value charity and good works – at least not in the way we think of it. In many societies the needy, the handicapped, etc are seen as cursed, or fated to be the way the are, or a burden. Christians notably broke away from the societies that pervaded at the time (the Roman one in particular) in terms of their charitable works – it was in large part what distinguisged them.

    And while ‘public service’ is certainly laudable, the public service we are familiar with is again a function of a Western civilization which has it’s roots in Christian thought and influence – it’s not contrary to it.

  42. Free Market: Thanks, I’ll pass that along to the City Manager. You didn’t answer my question about Tax Increment Financing, though.

    Jack: Each culture has its own standards of compassion. The Romans had theirs, as do all extant cultures. They we may disagree with them, but that does not men that the impulse does not exist. (Curent conservative Christian culture is, to my mind, notably lacking in compassion towards gays and leasbians, for example. But, conservative Christians also express compassion in ways that I agree with as well.)

    The point remains that Christians value compassion, charity and good works because they are human, not because they are Christian values. These concepts were not invented by Christians, are not exclusive to Christians, and indeed predate Christianity. (As Christopher Hitchens often remarks, the Jews didn’t need the 10 Commandments to know murder is wrong.)

    And you continue to ignore my point about local government being a major expression of secular concern for the common good. Local governments from Japan to Afganistan to Mumbai address the same sorts of problems, all without resort to religion. (No difference in pavement blessed by Shinto priests or Baptist ministers, or should we start importing our hot top from Osaka?)

  43. I am not ‘ignoring’ your point about local government at all. If being payed vie tax dollars to fill potholes and anything the Romans deem as charitable (feeding Christians to lions?) can be equally considered to be charitable act,s then the word has little meaning to begin with.

    Perhaps you need to clearly define what you mean when you say ‘charity’ ‘compassion’ and ‘good wil’?

  44. Tom: I asked, but he said it was “above his pay grade.” Sorry I can’t be of any more help on that issue.

  45. Free Market, you need a new interpreter. What we heard on the Heavenly Short Wave(w/body) Network is as follows:

    “Listen up, nitwits; you’ve got homerseckshuls running around loose down there, and you wanna cry about financing DadDamned taxes…incrementally or excrementally. Now stfu and get those bibles back into the classrooms where they belong!

    Our sources are not sure of the signoff; It either says “Peaceoutmybrotherhucksters”, or “Pissoffmotherf@#%^’s”. We are still working on this. Stay tuned.

  46. Mr. Hudson, I’m not going to go through 3 thousand years of history just to argue with you whether Christianity is the only thing that’s kept the human race from imploding; It doesn’t matter. You cannot deny that Christianity has been hijacked by ideologues who are vocally opposed to the separation of church and state. Your fellow Christian, David Barton, is on the Texas School Board committee to rewrite the social studies curriculum textbooks. He has constantly used lies and cherrypicked, quotemined quotes to argue that this country was not only founded on fundamentalist Christian principles, but his interpretation of fundamentalism. If you want to claim the same as he, you’ll have to come up with much better facts to prove your case, as his have been catergorically debunked, yet he is a rock star to hundreds of thousands of fundamentalist Christians.

    Frankly, Christianity is desperate straits right now, for moderates, anyway. Their very reasonable and charitable beliefs have been Shanghai’ed by extremists, and the youths of today who aren’t being homeschooled and indoctrinated, are seeing the vicious and divisive actions of these ideologues and running the other way.

  47. So let’s see if I have the logic right:

    -Dave Barton is wrong about some things.
    -Dave barton is a Christian.
    -I am a Christian.
    -Therefore I am wrong!

    Sorry won’t fly. And I agree Christianity isn’t doing so well among, ‘moderates’, which is just as well; it’s one area where Chistopher Hitchens and I agree.

  48. No, no, no, Jack. Here is the correct syllogism:

    1. David Barton makes arguments based on facts that are untrue and have been soundly shown to be so.

    2. Therefore David Barton’s arguments are not supported.

    3. Jack makes the same arguments as David Barton.

    4. If Jack uses the same debunked facts to support his arguments that David Barton used, Jack’s argument is unsupported as well.

    In other words, if you want someone to pay attention to your arguments, make sure your facts are true.

  49. Godd try – where did I make the ‘same’ arguments as David Barton?

  50. Jack: I’m not saying you said anything. I am pointing out that you mischaracterized Trog’s statement about you.

    However, the other point is still true: IF you wnt to make the same arguments that David Barton makes, you should try to use actual facts instead of the stuff he makes up.

  51. I’m not saying you said anything. I am pointing out that you mischaracterized Trog’s statement about you.

    His statement was wholly predicated on a comparison to some fellow I don’t even know much less quote; as was yours, and the claim was logically fallacious.

    However, the other point is still true: IF you wnt to make the same arguments that David Barton makes, you should try to use actual facts instead of the stuff he makes up.

    Perhaps I am not being clear; I didn’t make the ‘same’ arguements as this Barton fellow, whoever he is – and no one has disputed any of my facts thus far.

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