The Sex Trade and The Bible

Sometime ago, a cranky atheist left some challenging comments under a post on my now defunct Blogger version of Hip and Thigh. He primarily took me to task for asking him why he, an atheist, cares about the Islamic sex trade. Rather than answering me, he laid down the following challenges:

why do you, a Biblical literalist, care about drugs and sex slavery? Drugs are not forbidden in the Bible, and sex slavery is permitted, and in fact, mandated, as long as God’s people do it to God’s non-people. Exodus 21 says you can sell your daughters into slavery, and in those days owners always had sex with their female slaves, as the slavery laws and many stories (Abraham x Hagar) make clear, so if you’re pressed for cash, sell little Hadassah into sex slavery, says Exodus 21. And in Numbers 31, Moses is positively furious with the Israelites for not killing the non-virgin Midianites and making sex slaves of the vigins [sic]

He then provided me with a list of passages that supposedly prove God not only sanctioned sex slavery, but even ordered the rape of women in some cases. Those passages include:

[Deut. 20:10–15; Deut. 21:10–14; Num. 31:1–47; Isaiah 13:16; Judges 5:30; Judges 21:10–14 … Ex. 21:2–8; Ex. 21:20–21; Deut. 20:10–15; Lev. 25:44–46; Isaiah 14:1-2].

He then offered this closing remark:

So how can you, a Biblical literalist, logically oppose sex slavery, when God’s people are ordered to do it to God’s non-people?

Knowing I have many readers who perhaps encounter biblio-skeptics among their co-workers and family who throw out the sex-slavery allegation, It may be helpful to put together a response. I don’t expect any atheist challenger will be persuaded by my answers. In fact, more than likely they will provide me with some clever excuses to explain them away so as to keep on suppressing the truth in unrighteousness.

Preliminary Remarks

Before I begin, let me lay out a number of important facts we need to consider.

1) It needs to be kept in mind that rape and sexual slavery don’t really exist in an atheist worldview. They believe human beings are merely evolved star dust that has come about by random chance, mutation, adaptation, and the like. The goal of any species, human beings included, is to survive. Survival means the reproduction of genetic offspring into the next generation. “Rape” in an atheist worldview is one organism attempting to transmit its genes so as to assure survival.

dawkinsOf course, I understand atheists, particularly the Dawkins-hating feminist variety, would shriek with outrage at my claim of there being no such thing as “rape” in the atheist world. I am a sexist religious bigot for even saying it. However once moral categories of right or wrong are assigned to an action, and people begin using descriptions like personal dignity, respect, self-worth, and other value based terms, the atheist has unwittingly ceases being an atheist and acknowledges the absolute morality, for or against, that action.  The morality of an action, say for example rape and sex slavery is wrong, only truly counts if there is a moral law giver who transcends ourselves to whom we are all accountable. Otherwise, what is right and wrong is just opinion.

2) Atheists and scriptural critics will regularly pretend to have a great knowledge of the biblical text. They will often string together all kinds of Bible verses like they themselves are a fundamentalist revival preacher. It is easy to become intimidated by the sheer volume of their citations because they give the appearance they know what they are talking about. That expertise, in reality, is a facade. The vast number of those atheists may have come from religious backgrounds in which they were exposed to a shallow reading of Scripture or never taught it in a meaningful fashion. That is why they cherry-pick the ones favoring their opposition.

3) Of those atheists who were saturated in the study of Scripture their criticisms of problematic passages of the Bible are spun and twisted so as to exaggerate the supposed difficulty under consideration. For instance, the allegation that God sanctions sex slavery and commanded rape of innocent people. Their goal with distorting the Bible in this fashion has nothing to do with uncovering the genuine meaning of the text, but is more for the purpose of fueling their continuing rage against their creator and to paint God as a monster unworthy of our worship.

4) It is a fact that slavery is recorded in Scripture. However, to equate the indentured servitude regulated in the books of Moses with the cruel harshness of human trafficking and slavery found in virtually every human society throughout the history of the world shows a severe lack of historical perspective. I would even say an intentionally self-imposed intellectual blindness. It is also equally ridiculous to anachronistically read the struggle Western society had with slavery in the 18th and 19th century that eventually resulted in the American Civil War back into the Bible as if the slavery spoken of in the pages of Scripture is the exact same thing.

5) It is also true some men spoken of in the Bible had concubines. That is to say, a man had more than one wife, or practiced polygamy. The primary purpose for such an arrangement (apart from monarchs who gathered wives for political purposes) was to maintain the family name through the birth of a male heir. If the favored wife, the first wife the husband married, was unable to give birth, he would seek out a surrogate to produce male offspring. This is the case with Elkanah, Hannah, and Peninnah (1 Samuel 1-2). Hannah was unable to conceive, so Peninnah was taken as a wife to produce children.

Those arrangements were never sanctioned by the Lord at all, but were the efforts of men to take matters into their own hands as it were. That is seen in the example the atheist challenger notes with Abraham and Hagar. Sarah gave Hagar her handmaid to Abraham so that he could produce the promised heir. Such an action mocked God’s promise to Abraham, and was a blatant display of fleshly reasoning. His actions were not rape, as is supposed by the atheist critic, because Hagar already had a relationship with Abraham’s family and remained 14 years with them until Sarah ran her off (Genesis 16).

The Texts

With those comments in mind, let us consider the passages offered by our atheist antagonist. Of the ones he lists, maybe five of them pose any significant difficulty for a Bible believing Christian. I have outlined them according to importance of the challenge.

Exodus 21:7-11

7 And if a man sells his daughter to be a female slave, she shall not go out as the male slaves do.
8 “If she does not please her master, who has betrothed her to himself, then he shall let her be redeemed. He shall have no right to sell her to a foreign people, since he has dealt deceitfully with her.
9 “And if he has betrothed her to his son, he shall deal with her according to the custom of daughters.
10 “If he takes another wife, he shall not diminish her food, her clothing, and her marriage rights.
11 “And if he does not do these three for her, then she shall go out free, without paying money.

I wrote on Exodus 21 in an earlier post.  I recommend the reader to consider it in order to have a more detailed study of this passage. Suffice it to say for our purposes now, the passage in Exodus is not sanctioning the selling of a daughter into sexual slavery. To describe the text in such a manner reveals an ignorant bias. The expression of a man “selling his daughter” does not mean he sells her off to a total stranger never to see the daughter again. It is a description of indentured servitude: a family in debt who has a daughter capable of work who will then contract with another family in order for her work to help the family pay off debt. That is clear from the overall context that begins in 21:1.

As happens with many of those arrangements, the man of the other family either falls in love with the girl and wishes to marry her, or maybe want her to marry one of his sons. The text is providing detailed instructions on how that arrangement is to be made and the regulations that help safe guard the girl’s purity in the situation so that she won’t be taken advantage of as a maidservant. Rather than sanctioning the sex trade, the text prevents such from happening.

Numbers 31:1-47

numbersNumbers 31 is long so I won’t cite it in the entirety. This chapter is supposed to be one of those “I can’t believe this is in the Bible!” and “You can’t read this to your kids!” chapters. It records the destruction of the Midianites by Israel’s armies during the wilderness wanderings. There is a similar record in 1 Samuel 15 where the Amalekites are utterly destroyed.

When the secular talk media discusses acts of Jihad by Islamic radicals against non-Muslims, biblio-critics are quick to appeal to places like Numbers 31 to make comparisons between Islamic and Judeo-Christian views of God. If God commanded death to innocent unbelievers in the OT like the Midianites and the Amalekites, how then can the God of the Bible be any different than Allah of the Qu’ran? Of course, those nations destroyed by Israel were far from “innocent” victims, as if Israel, in a blood lust fury, chopped down villages of peace loving, poetry reading, Mac book using gardeners and their sweet families.

Passages like Numbers 31 are often lifted from their contexts in which they provide a clearer understanding of the events leading up to the destruction of the nation. In the case of the Midianites, the context of their dealings with Israel begin in Numbers 22 where they are said to have joined forces with the Moabites to fight against them (22:4). They hired Balaam to curse Israel, who fails to level that curse; but instead leads Israel to sin against God by having them led into spiritual harlotry by Moabite and Midianite women (Num. 25). That act of sin aroused God’s anger against Israel and the Lord judged them with a plague that struck down 24,000 people (25:8). As a result of their wickedness, God commands Israel to go to war with the Midianites (25:6-8). His judgment against them is recorded in Numbers 31.

The difficult passage, then, is Moses’ words to the captains of the army who brought back all the women of the Midianites as captives,

14 But Moses was angry with the officers of the army, with the captains over thousands and captains over hundreds, who had come from the battle.
15 And Moses said to them: “Have you kept all the women alive?
16 “Look, these women caused the children of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to trespass against the LORD in the incident of Peor, and there was a plague among the congregation of the LORD.
17 “Now therefore, kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman who has known a man intimately.
18 “But keep alive for yourselves all the young girls who have not known a man intimately.

In this act, the women that led Israel into wickedness would be slain. The death of the male children would insure the extermination of the Midianites as a people and keep them from ever again seducing Israel to sin. Only the young girls who were virgins would be allowed to live and assimilated into the nation of Israel. Our politically correct sensibilities bristle at such a description, but the death of the Midianites was not commanded capriciously for the sake of heartless cruelty and the securing of material gain. God was bringing swift and deserving punishment upon a wicked nation that reveled in their sin against God and His holy people.

The accusation of sex slavery and forced rape is raised against the comment of verse 18, “But keep alive for yourselves all the young girls who have not known a man intimately.” But nothing in this passage implies such a villainous act took place. Just that those girls were kept alive. Nothing is recorded as to what happened to them, though it is assumed they were eventually married off among the people of Israel. However, because men can act sinfully in such cases, God gave regulations regarding women taking into captivity because of war and that brings us to the next set of passages.

Deuteronomy 20:10-15 and 21:10-14

These passages describe a similar situation: a city being taken in war and the women (presumably young girls never married) being captured. Only Deuteronomy 21:10-14 is relevant to our discussion here:

10 When you go out to war against your enemies, and the LORD your God delivers them into your hand, and you take them captive,
11 “and you see among the captives a beautiful woman, and desire her and would take her for your wife,
12 “then you shall bring her home to your house, and she shall shave her head and trim her nails.
13 “She shall put off the clothes of her captivity, remain in your house, and mourn her father and her mother a full month; after that you may go in to her and be her husband, and she shall be your wife.
14 “And it shall be, if you have no delight in her, then you shall set her free, but you certainly shall not sell her for money; you shall not treat her brutally, because you have humbled her.

The situation describes a solider or some other man of Israel wanting to marry a girl taken into captivity due to war. But rather than God allowing the man to do with her whatever the man pleases, note how commandments are laid down to protect the girl. She basically is made plain: trimmed nails, changed into new clothes, and shaves her head. Hence, those outward things a man would have seen to have caused him to desire her are removed.

She is to mourn a full month for her family. After that period, if the man still likes her, he can marry her. However, if he has no delight in her, meaning, after the month she no longer appeals to him, she is to be set free. Notice also how the man is forbidden to sell her for money and to treat her brutally, which would mean, rape her or make her into a sex slave. So, rather than sanctioning such atrocities as the village atheist alleges, God provides a way for the girl to be protected by law.

Judges 21:10-14, 20, 21

20 Therefore they instructed the children of Benjamin, saying, “Go, lie in wait in the vineyards,
21 “and watch; and just when the daughters of Shiloh come out to perform their dances, then come out from the vineyards, and every man catch a wife for himself from the daughters of Shiloh; then go to the land of Benjamin.

This last passage for our consideration has to do with the tribes of Israel going to war against the tribe of Benjamin for an act of wickedness that took place in their territory as outlined in Judges 19. Though the Lord directed in leading Israel’s military machine against Benjamin (Judges 20:18), God did not direct the tribes in counseling them to kidnap women for the remaining men of Benjamin in order to preserve their lineage in Israel as described in 21:20-21. Those were acts sanctioned solely by the elders of Israel, and thus reflected the theme of Judges, “In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.”

The remaining passages raised by the atheists taken from Isaiah have nothing really to do with God sanctioning rape or the sex trade, but are prophetic descriptions of what will happen to the wicked Babylonians when they are given over to their enemies as a sign of God’s judgment against them. What they did to other nations, pillage and rape, will happen to them.

So to answer the atheist’s charge, how can you believe the Bible when God sanctioned sex trading and rape?, God never did, and contrary to his accusations, the Bible never does either.

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28 thoughts on “The Sex Trade and The Bible

  1. Why do Christians have such a depressing view of an atheist world? I wasn’t created by a God but I know full well that a victim of rape would suffer, regardless of how you try to deny it. I know I would suffer with a God above me or not, so I wouldn’t rape. I will never understand why suffering from rape is only a real thing if a God created us?

  2. I thought I made this clear under my first preliminary point.

    It is not that Christians have a depressing view of the atheist world, it is a recognition of a gross inconsistency between what atheists insist is the way things are in the world and how they live out their views. Atheists claim humanity is nothing but the product of star dust and genetics that have come about by random chance, mutation, natural selection and the survival of the fittest. However, they assign moral categories like rape and sexual abuse to what is the behavior of a species that is merely trying to survive and reproduce its genes into the next generation.

    A female right whale is essentially gang raped by a group of male right whales and a BBC documentary narrator opines how it is an astonishing display of a species surviving. Human males do that to a human female, and they are criminalized.

    The reason for that is because we are created intrinsically to recognize such behavior is morally wrong. And that morality just can’t be defined by contrived, human social conventions as atheists want to claim, because such is not consistent. Societal norms ebb and flow according to human whims. Either rape is wrong all across the board in every society or it isn’t. I believe it is because that immorality of rape transcends all humanity. Our creator, the creator the atheist wishes to suppress and ignore, is holy and rape is a violation of that holiness.

  3. Pingback: Biblical and Theological Studies | hipandthigh

  4. “death of the male children would insure the extermination of the Midianites as a people and keep them from ever again seducing Israel to sin”

    so there is nothing wrong with genocide then?? also i guess god is also cool with racism, and about the strawmen with popculturecrack,you are making a nautralistic fallacy

  5. Atheists have the same problem accusing me of genocide and racism as they do defining rape and sexual abuse. How exactly does evolved stardust commit “genocide?” On the contrary it is you and and the popculture crank who are stealing from biblical ethics and condemning me. Be consistent to your evolutionary atheism or go away.

  6. “How exactly does evolved stardust commit “genocide?”

    non-sequtior,besides look up the definition of genocide, or racism for that matter

    “On the contrary it is you and and the popculture crank who are stealing from biblical ethics and condemning me”

    it begs the question and there is nothing to steal slavery-nope,subjegation/killing of non yahweh worshippers-nope? claim women are worth less pieces of silver then men?-nope

    “Be consistent to your evolutionary atheism or go away.”

    thats again a naturalistic fallacy (i am very consistent with my worldview whereas you are not)

  7. non-sequtior,besides look up the definition of genocide, or racism for that matter

    It’s not a non-sequitor. Where do you, as an atheist, believe life originated? Are you claiming a supernatural creation of man? You are sounding confused as to what you claim about the origin of life.

    it begs the question and there is nothing to steal slavery-nope,subjegation/killing of non yahweh worshippers-nope? claim women are worth less pieces of silver then men?-nope

    Are you now affirming moral absolutes? If so. How do you account for their judicial authority?

    thats again a naturalistic fallacy (i am very consistent with my worldview whereas you are not)

    So you are now affirming some form of supernaturalism?

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  9. Awesome job, fivepointer. I’ve often come across anti-Christians who string together these kind of lists, and have one by one gone through them to see if there was any substance to their claims. This post is a very valuable resource to cite in those instances.

    I would also add another problem to the atheist world-view, that since I don’t like God, He must not exist. Even if the ridiculous, and false claims were true, it would mean that God didn’t exist. From there it would get complicated concerning means to discover the truth. It becomes apparent that the atheist, or bible critic is not concerned with uncovering the truth, but rather supporting whatever idea make them feel good.

  10. Research suggests the gods of the religiots share the same morality as the religiots. Religiots that claim to belong to the same cult and worship the same god(s) often have different morals and ascribe different and conflicting morals to the same god(s). The logical conclusion is there are as many gods as there are religiots and they are all merely imagined. Stop wasting time justifying your secular morals using your holy books; think and speak for yourself.

  11. This is a repost of a comment I left on FSTDT. I’m always touched when the fundies get wind of us.

    Well Fred, absolute morality is a contradiction in terms. Most philosophers define absolute as meaning without condition or restriction. Most people would define morality in terms of relations between sentient agents. As such, morality could not exist outside of relations between sentient agents, and would not be defined as absolute.

    In any case, there are many theories of ethics which existed long before anyone knew or cared that your tribal war god had a hate boner for nonconformists. Your divine command theory is one of the most poorly thought out models of morality that anyone could come up with. It is quite telling that when you want to talk about the horrors of a world without gods, you appeal to humanist sentiments rather than the Biblical sentiments of “without God, who will torture people for thoughtcrime?”. That in itself shows the superiority of humanism over divine command theory.

  12. Before we even get to the concept of “morality” which really is a blind faith commitment for atheists who have to borrow from theism to even argue with me about it, at what point did evolved star dust become sentient agents? How can evolved star dust even define what “sentient agents” are to begin with?

  13. That’s an interesting concept, and I confess that as a person not terribly learned in psychology, I’m not sure I can give a formal definition of sentience beyond the Justice Potter Stewart definition. As it happens, I fail to see how moving unanswerable questions into a magical netherworld answers them. It does not. That being said, I doubt you would object to classifying animals as evolved stardust. According to the Bible, it is only humans, apart from the animals, who are magical bags of woo. And many animals have shown signs of what psychologists refer to as sentience. If you are interesting in understanding, I’m certain there are papers out there which are more informative than I am.

    As for atheists borrowing from theists, ****. As I pointed out, there are many theories of morality and ethics which existed long before anyone knew or cared about your tribal war god. Every time some apologist tries to convince me I should pretend the scientific illiterates who wrote the Bible had more of a clue than the people who actually study the universe, they always appeal to what a humanist might find horrific. They never try to convince anyone how horrible it is that nobody will torture me for not being bothered by someone cussing at work. If you read 1984 and want the villains to be defeated, you do not draw your morality from the Bible. You might have a questionable basis for morality, but a humanist draws from the Bible for morality in the same way that Adam Smith drew from Karl Marx, or that Baruch Spinoza drew from Nathaniel Ward.

  14. So in the first part, you essentially say that you don’t know, it’s anyone’s guess how sentient beings came into being “sentient” and caring about defining actions and behaviors as moral or immoral. And in the next section you mock my views of morality. Amazing. But I guess that is just typical.

    As with most smug atheists, you are entirely oblivious to the inconsistency of the worldview you ascribe to. On the one hand you stridently boast that the history and origin of the world and life in it is purely naturalistic, but then appeal to the non-material, abstract concept of a vague, undefined “morality” to complain against what you didn’t like God doing to sinners in the OT.

    Slow clap.

  15. First, I should remind anyone reading this that there is not actually a single “atheist worldview.” Any worldview without a god is atheist. But since you keep bringing up evolution, I’ll assume you mean natural philosophy.

    > It needs to be kept in mind that rape and sexual slavery don’t really exist in an atheist worldview.

    Rape is sex without consent. Are you saying everyone who has sex gets consent, in this worldview? Or that there’s no such thing as consent? Or no such thing as sex?

    > They believe human beings are merely evolved star dust that has come about by random chance, mutation, adaptation, and the like.

    True, though I should probably point out that mutations are pretty much the only random part.

    > The goal of any species, human beings included, is to survive.

    To be exact, we are the result of natural selection. This isn’t quite the same thing as our species having survival as it’s goal, and it’s certainly not the same thing as ever individual having survival as it’s goal. People do stuff all the time that is detrimental to themselves as individuals, because it has allowed their genetic stock to survive.

    > Survival means the reproduction of genetic offspring into the next generation.

    True.

    > Of course, I understand atheists, particularly the Dawkins-hating feminist variety, would shriek with outrage at my claim of there being no such thing as “rape” in the atheist world.

    Telling someone else that they don’t believe in rape is outrageous. Especially a self-proclaimed feminist, who likely considers it a serious problem.

    > I am a sexist religious bigot for even saying it.

    More like a monumental idiot.

    > However once moral categories of right or wrong are assigned to an action, and people begin using descriptions like personal dignity, respect, self-worth, and other value based terms, the atheist has unwittingly ceases being an atheist and acknowledges the absolute morality, for or against, that action.

    False. These words acknowledge the existence of morality, but they do not assume the morality is absolute. They merely assume the moral system of the speaker.

    And even assuming you did manage to prove that there is no morality apart from God, nonconsensual sex, rape, still happens. It might not be wrong, but it still exists.

    > The morality of an action, say for example rape and sex slavery is wrong, only truly counts if there is a moral law giver who transcends ourselves to whom we are all accountable.

    Why doesn’t subjective morality count?

    > Otherwise, what is right and wrong is just opinion.

    You say that as though there’s something more that it could be. After all, you’re speaking to my subjective morality in order to prove it wrong.

  16. > Atheists and scriptural critics will regularly pretend to have a great knowledge of the biblical text.

    Just as you are pretending to have great knowledge of natural philosophy. We’re both trying to prove the other wrong. In order to do so, and in order to determine if we actually want to prove the other wrong or not, we must know what the other believes in the first place.

    > They will often string together all kinds of Bible verses like they themselves are a fundamentalist revival preacher.

    Except, of course, that they deliberately choose verses that don’t harmonize, like commands to kill and a general command to not kill.

    > It is easy to become intimidated by the sheer volume of their citations because they give the appearance they know what they are talking about.

    Are you telling me that those verses actually don’t condone sex slavery?

    > That expertise, in reality, is a facade.

    Then maybe we should both bring in a historian or something. You know, someone who’s gone digging and read ancient records from a variety of opposed sources. An actual expert. http://public.wsu.edu/~brians/wcsyllabus/answers/jews.html

    Have fun.

    > The vast number of those atheists may have come from religious backgrounds in which they were exposed to a shallow reading of Scripture or never taught it in a meaningful fashion.

    Most people don’t read it thoroughly. Almost none do it in as much detail as a good comparative religion professor. Again, if you really want to learn, that’s how you do it. Get off the forums, and get into a history class.

    > why they cherry-pick the ones favoring their opposition.

    Well, yes. They’re trying to make a point.

  17. > Of those atheists who were saturated in the study of Scripture their criticisms of problematic passages of the Bible are spun and twisted so as to exaggerate the supposed difficulty under consideration.

    Your English is a bit hard to read here, so let’s see if I understand it right. “The atheists, who were saturated in the study of Scripture, in their criticisms of problematic passages of the Bible, spin and twist them to exaggerate the supposed difficulty under consideration.”

    Assuming I got it right, you already said that in the last sentence of the previous point.

    > For instance, the allegation that God sanctions sex slavery and commanded rape of innocent people.

    Again, you already said that in the introduction paragraph.

    > Their goal with distorting the Bible in this fashion has nothing to do with uncovering the genuine meaning of the text, but is more for the purpose of fueling their continuing rage against their creator and to paint God as a monster unworthy of our worship.

    Or, if you actually asked, the purpose of such passages is to paint you as an ignoramus who worships a book you’ve never read.

  18. > It is a fact that slavery is recorded in Scripture.

    Yes, it is.

    > However, to equate the indentured servitude regulated in the books of Moses with the cruel harshness of human trafficking and slavery found in virtually every human society throughout the history of the world shows a severe lack of historical perspective.

    Only the Jewish slaves were on time limits: foreign slaves were for life. And they were beaten

    > I would even say an intentionally self-imposed intellectual blindness.

    Negative bias at worst. Self-imposed intellectual blindness, when asked what would change its mind, says “nothing.”

    > It is also equally ridiculous to anachronistically read the struggle Western society had with slavery in the 18th and 19th century that eventually resulted in the American Civil War back into the Bible as if the slavery spoken of in the pages of Scripture is the exact same thing.

    I repeat: only the Jewish slaves were on a time limit. The foreign slaves were for life. http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Judaism/slavery.html Even the Jews admit it.

  19. “smug atheists”

    [url]http://www.outofthefog.net/CommonBehaviors/Projection.html[/url]

    Next off, there is no such thing as “the atheist worldview”. An atheist is simply someone who cannot profess a belief in God, a god, or gods. You cannot build a worldview on a nullification. And finally, when did I declare that Yahweh ever violated some universal, magical law of morality? I pointed out that your claim of atheists borrowing from Christianity is demonstrably false. I noted that in the Bible, the deity Yahweh hates people who don’t conform, which is a textual interpretation we can argue over later if you like. Perhaps challenging your claim of atheists borrowing from Christian morality didn’t fit whatever script you are using?

    Sye Ten Bruggencate? Well this should be a good laugh. The guy claimed right after the infamous Ham/Nye debate that Bill Nye said he would never ever change his mind no matter what evidence you gave him. I can’t wait to hear what such a bald faced liar has to say about the nature of truth.

    As I thought. Semantic word games and fast and loose definitions of terms. Pretty typical. If I had the ability of telekinesis, I wouldn’t construct fancy word salad barrages to prove it, though a lawyer might. No, I would send James Randi hurtling through the air (non lethally of course) and have him do loop de loops and whatever other formation he requested until I got my one million dollars. Sye openly refuses to talk about evidence because he knows just how weak the fundamentalist position really is.

  20. Fire writes,
    First, I should remind anyone reading this that there is not actually a single “atheist worldview.” Any worldview without a god is atheist. But since you keep bringing up evolution, I’ll assume you mean natural philosophy.

    The notion of atheism being “any worldview without a god is atheist” is a clever modern redefinition to make atheists feel good. In the real world, atheists are a tiny, tiny, itty-bitty minority of loud, obnoxious individuals who rage against God and like to bully those who tell them they are wrong about denying God. The world consensus of people believes in and acknowledges the supernatural realm. They are religious in whatever fashion they may practice.

    I bring up evolution because it is the driving engine atheists use to identify, define, and describe the world in which we live. Call it natural philosophy if you wish, it is the philosophy – religion, really – of all atheists who deny the reality of God. They even have a priest class called “scientists.”

    Continuing,

    Rape is sex without consent. Are you saying everyone who has sex gets consent, in this worldview? Or that there’s no such thing as consent? Or no such thing as sex?

    Rape is a moral category: “I didn’t get consent,” which is another moral category. If your atheism is true, and we are evolved star dust, what makes rape moral or immoral? None of your pals have even identified the problem this causes for your view, let alone attempted to answer it in any meaningful, coherent fashion consistent to how you claim the world is. Even those self-proclaimed Pussy Riot feminists who think it is a serious problem, don’t realize this philosophical conundrum for their position.

    Continuing,

    False. These words acknowledge the existence of morality, but they do not assume the morality is absolute. They merely assume the moral system of the speaker.

    Are all moral systems equal, especially, as you go on to ask, why subjective morality doesn’t count?

    Continuing,

    And even assuming you did manage to prove that there is no morality apart from God, nonconsensual sex, rape, still happens. It might not be wrong, but it still exists.

    Okay. So is rape wrong or not, and if so, why?

    Continuing,

    Why doesn’t subjective morality count?

    Ummm, because it is subjective. If morality is subjective, then stop lecturing us about what the Bible records about genocide and rape.
    Continuing,

    Just as you are pretending to have great knowledge of natural philosophy. We’re both trying to prove the other wrong. In order to do so, and in order to determine if we actually want to prove the other wrong or not, we must know what the other believes in the first place.

    I never claimed, nor am I pretending, to have great knowledge of “natural philosophy.” I am just asking questions based upon what I am told by atheists as to what they believe.

    Continuing,

    Are you telling me that those verses actually don’t condone sex slavery?

    That’s what I am saying.

    Continuing,

    Then maybe we should both bring in a historian or something. You know, someone who’s gone digging and read ancient records from a variety of opposed sources. An actual expert. http://public.wsu.edu/~brians/wcsyllabus/answers/jews.html

    That’s all you got? A prof’s world religions class syllabus from Washington State? I read the same syllabus when I was in college. Just scanning over it, he looks like he has cut and pasted from secondary sources who probably did the same in the past. I see no serious interaction with conservative, evangelical scholarship. Perhaps he does during the actual class, but from what I can tell, he lives in a self-imposed academic bubble that hasn’t bothered to engage any dissenting positions that can easily shred his views of Judaism and Christianity.

    And then finally,

    Only the Jewish slaves were on time limits: foreign slaves were for life. And they were beaten

    I’m not talking about foreign slaves. The article is addressing the claim that the Bible approves of sex slavery.

  21. “I bring up evolution because it is the driving engine atheists use to identify, define, and describe the world in which we live.”

    not really, no one uses evolution to define the world we live in, just as no one uses gravity or the digestion tracks of snakes

  22. > The notion of atheism being “any worldview without a god is atheist” is a clever modern redefinition to make atheists feel good.

    Read Webster’s original 1828 dictionary. http://1828.mshaffer.com/d/word/atheism

    “A’THEISM, n. The disbelief of the existence of a God, or Supreme intelligent Being.”

    One definition, twelve words, hardly modern, and it clearly includes any worldview that includes “the disbelief in the existence of God.”

    > In the real world, atheists are a tiny, tiny, itty-bitty minority of loud, obnoxious individuals who rage against God and like to bully those who tell them they are wrong about denying God.

    So most people have worldviews with gods in them.

    > I bring up evolution because it is the driving engine atheists use to identify, define, and describe the world in which we live.

    Evolution only explains living organisms. The Big Bang (I love retaking terms as much as the next guy, but that name is REALLY confusing) explains the cosmos. Nebula Theory explains the solar system. Plate tectonics explains the earth’s surface.

    The driving engine behind natural philosophy is science.

    > Call it natural philosophy if you wish, it is the philosophy – religion, really – of all atheists who deny the reality of God.

    Why are you treating the title of religion like an insult?

    Also, you missed a comma. The way you phrased it implies that there are atheists who do not deny the reality of God.

    > They even have a priest class called “scientists.”

    Whatever.

    > Rape is a moral category: “I didn’t get consent,” which is another moral category. If your atheism is true, and we are evolved star dust, what makes rape moral or immoral?

    Life would really suck if everyone raped whenever they wanted. I don’t want life to suck, so I don’t rape. Technically, my raping someone else doesn’t cause my life to suck, but I’m following the same programming as everyone else; if I rape, people who think the same way I do will also rape, because the same thought process leads to the same results.

    Yes, I just derived the golden rule from the absence of free will.

    Also, rape is not a moral category. It is an objective action. Plenty of people commit rape that they consider justified, and admit that it is rape.

    > None of your pals have even identified the problem this causes for your view, let alone attempted to answer it in any meaningful, coherent fashion consistent to how you claim the world is.

    Allow me to rephrase it: I don’t rape because that’s not how I’m programmed. I’m a social animal. Yes, I realize that it’s not in my own self-interest; I am not programmed to follow straight self-interest.

    > Are all moral systems equal, especially, as you go on to ask, why subjective morality doesn’t count?

    They certainly aren’t all equally compliant with my subjective moral system.

    > Okay. So is rape wrong or not, and if so, why?

    It’s wrong because I don’t want to be raped. A good starting point in convincing people not to rape me is to keep from raping them.

    But you’re missing the point. Rape is still rape, whether it’s wrong or not.

    > Ummm, because it is subjective. If morality is subjective, then stop lecturing us about what the Bible records about genocide and rape.

    But you think genocide and rape are wrong, too! I think…

    > I never claimed, nor am I pretending, to have great knowledge of “natural philosophy.” I am just asking questions based upon what I am told by atheists as to what they believe.

    You claim to understand the motivation for why some people do not believe in God. You claim to know implications of the naturalist worldview that it’s adherents haven’t noticed. You claim to know the “driving engine atheists use to understand the world.”

    > That’s what I am saying.

    In retrospect, yeah, that was a dumb question for me to ask…

    > I’m not talking about foreign slaves. The article is addressing the claim that the Bible approves of sex slavery.

    “However, to equate the indentured servitude regulated in the books of Moses with the cruel harshness of human trafficking and slavery found in virtually every human society throughout the history of the world shows a severe lack of historical perspective.”

    I thought this bullet point was dealing with slavery in general, especially since it’s in a bulleted list right along with claims about atheistic morality in general.

  23. > That’s all you got? A prof’s world religions class syllabus from Washington State? I read the same syllabus when I was in college.

    Maybe you did; I must admit, though, you seem to have missed the part where the Jew’s beliefs about God come from other people’s beliefs.

    > Just scanning over it, he looks like he has cut and pasted from secondary sources who probably did the same in the past.

    Sounds plausible, and not very relevant.

    > I see no serious interaction with conservative, evangelical scholarship.

    Of course not! Conservative, Evangelical scholarship means reading the Bible and giving it priority over all else, whereas secular scholarship gives archaeological finds priority over all else.

    > Perhaps he does during the actual class, but from what I can tell, he lives in a self-imposed academic bubble that hasn’t bothered to engage any dissenting positions that can easily shred his views of Judaism and Christianity.

    It seems to me like a good portion of that FAQ is designed as a response to dissenting views.

  24. Pingback: Does the Bible teach that a woman has to marry her rapist? | hipandthigh

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