Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Bible is false (Part 1 - The Bible is Immoral)

The Bible and the religions supported by it (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam), are false, and would not be the word of any moral god.How can I make such an indictment? Because the Bible teaches things which are immoral. The god of the bible encourages his followers to do many many immoral things, but let's just take slavery as an example. The Bible doesn't just condone slavery, it encourages it, in both the old and new testaments.

  • 1 Peter 2:18 - Servants, be subject to your masters
  • Titus 2:9-10 - Servants, obey in all things your masters
  • 1 Timothy 6:1-5 - Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their masters worthy of all honor
  • Colossians 3:22 - Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters
  • Ephesians 6:5 - Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh
  • Leviticus 25:44-46 - Thy bond-men and thy bond-maids which thou shalt have, shall be of the heathen that are round about you: of them shall ye buy bond-men and bond-maids. Moreover, of the children of the strangers that do sojourn among you, of them shall ye buy, and of their families that are with you, which they begat in your land. And they shall be your possession. And ye shall take them as an inheritance for your children after you, to inherit them for a possession, they shall be your bond-man forever.
Either you agree with this immorality, or you reject the bible. Anything else, is an ill-fated and illogical attempt to have it both ways. Personally, I am more moral than the bible, because I believe slavery is wrong. You probably are too.

The Bible was used during the U. S. Civil War by southern slave-owners to show that any good Christian should recognize that god condones slavery. And they were right. The god in the Bible does condone slavery. In fact this god's followers are admonished to obey him just as slaves should obey their masters. Luckily, these are just stories people made up thousands of years ago. We can do better. We can be more moral.

8 comments:

Jeff said...

Hey Mike, you ever look at the Google ads that show up next to your posts?

Today there's a link that claims to have proof that Jesus is divine.

Their ad-generating algorithms produce some great irony.

Are you really "friends" with Eugenie Scott?

Cheers,
Jeff Harm

Mike said...

Jeff! Hey.
Yes, I have looked at those ads. At times I've wished to have some control over them, but that's not going to happen. The ads have the same target audience I do, so their algorithms are spot on I'd say.

Not RL friends with Dr. Scott, no. We've exchanged a couple emails and such, but we have yet to meet in person. She's part of an east bay atheist group that I can never seem to hook up with, but one of these days...

Anonymous said...

Mike, I think your mistake is when you say, "We can do better. We can be more moral."
I don't think that's very reasonable. We obviously do not do better and are not more moral. So why make such a baseless claim?
Modern society, including all economic systems currently in place operate on the exact same principle as slavery. They just call it something else. We call it employment. It may sound nicer, but it's every bit the same kind of thing. What's more, these modern "slave owners" exercise even greater control and manipulation and squelch of freedoms than in the antebellum south.
The Bible doesn't glorify slavery, but recognizes it's existence in some form is always inevitable.

Mike said...

Anonymous,
You don't think it's reasonable to say that we can be more moral than to be slave owners?

I did not say that modern societies are better. I agree that consumerism is a form of slavery, but that's not the point. I'm not talking about the morality of systems. I am saying that we as individuals are capable of moral behavior which is superior to what's written in the bible, and in fact, most religious texts. Furthermore, for the most part, we as individuals, thankfully, act more moral than what the bible teaches.

You use of the words "glorify" and "recognizes" are interesting, and I would ask if you think you are being honest when you choose words to play up or play down the truth. I did not say the Bible "glorifies" slavery. You are arguing against something I did not say. Then you downplay what is plain in the text by saying the bible simply "recognizes" slavery. This is also not so. Read the tests. The bible does more than simply recognize the existence of slavery. If that were true, it could say "Slavery is wrong", but the Bible never says that. The Bible is also not silent on the morality of slavery. It lays down the rules for slavery.

Anonymous said...

No, I don't see any evidence that we can be "more moral" than slave owners. Perhaps we can, but to suggest such a thing is just to fantasize. I certainly don't see any evidence that we act today "more moral than the Bible teaches." Sure there are some disgusting things in the BIble. I will grant you that. But people do disgusting things. That's part of what humanity is, and we all know it.
I think you are characterizing my distinction of the Bible's description of slavery as pure semantics instead of a valid distinction between terms and meaning. I'll stand behind that what I said because most definitely you will not find where the Bible "encourages" (to use a word that you did say) slavery. It encourages moral behavior in a society where slavery exists. Like I said before, that is also something that is directly applicable to our modern society, since slavery very much still does exist. It has to. No society has ever figured out how to live without it, in one form or another.
So why then SHOULD the Bible declare anything to be wrong that is an unavoidable aspect of human existence?

Mike said...

Joey said: "I said you will not find where the Bible "encourages" (to use a word that you did say) slavery."

Really? I don't want to put words in your mouth, but I find that Christians often argue that teaching about condom use "encourages" people to have sex. But teaching about how to properly punish slaves does not encourage people that they are not doing wrong by owning them in the first place? Come on Joey.

Joey said: "No, I don't see any evidence that we act today "more moral than the Bible teaches."

Of course you don't. Because you think "what the Bible teaches" is equal to "what is moral and right" just as Muslims believe "what the Quran teaches" is equal to "what is moral and right"

There is no difference in the truth value of either of those two circular points of view, yet the content of what is moral is vastly different between these two. Right? So clearly we need a method to determine if:
a) Christianity is true
b) Islam is true
c) None of the above
Because clearly they cannot both be true (Gosh, I hope we agree about that :)). Hint: The answer is c, but the answer is less important than how we arrive at the answer.

Joey said: "No society has ever figured out how to live without [slavery], in one form or another. So why then SHOULD the Bible declare anything to be wrong that is an unavoidable aspect of human existence?

What are you saying? That slavery is unavoidable, and so the bible should not declare it as wrong? Is something unavoidable just because it's common? Regardless of how much you want to expand the term "Slavery" to include capitalism in general, each person can decide by their actions to have slaves (or the equivalent) or not. Please tell me you don't believe that slavery is right and moral.

Anonymous said...

You said, "I don't want to put words in your mouth, but I find that Christians often argue that teaching about condom use "encourages" people to have sex."

I'll take it that you understand that this is a straw man argument, since you prefaced it by saying you didn't want to put words in my mouth.
Yes, it is a terrible argument for them to make, and you are making the same kind of argument here.

"you think "what the Bible teaches" is equal to "what is moral and right""
Not really. I think it teaches what is true. The Bible is not a lesson in morality, as I'm sure you know. That's exactly why the commands about obeying your masters is in there. It is true that it is foolish not to obey, BUT you leave out the part where the Bible also says to buy your freedom if you have the opportunity to do so.

"a) Christianity is true
b) Islam is true
c) None of the above"

Even though you have three options here, this is still a false dichotomy. You're right that they can't both be 100% true, but one can be more true than the other. Now you didn't really specify what "none of the above" really is, but you are implying it is more true than the other two. Whatever it is, I don't see how it can possibly be any more true, but that's your case to make.

What are you saying? That slavery is unavoidable, and so the bible should not declare it as wrong? Is something unavoidable just because it's common?
No, I'm saying what I said before, that the Bible is not about what is moral, but about what is true. There's no reason to expect it to declare a prohibition against it. You might as well ask why the Bible doesn't prohibit smoking. That's not its purpose.

each person can decide by their actions to have slaves (or the equivalent) or not. Please tell me you don't believe that slavery is right and moral.
Like I said before, I have a broad understanding of what it meant by slavery, and a lot of that is related to the fact that it does mean different things in different cultures. You cannot compare first century near east economic practices with 19th century western ones, while at the same time contrasting it with the one we have today. I don't like slavery in any form, but I'm not going to call someone like Oskar Schindler immoral for what he did. He used slave ownership as an act of heroism. Do you consider him to be immoral for protecting over 1000 people from the horrors of the holocaust?

Mike said...

Sorry for the delay. Hope I didn't lose you :)

Anonymous said...
I'll take it that you understand that this is a straw man argument, since you prefaced it by saying you didn't want to put words in my mouth. Yes, it is a terrible argument for them to make, and you are making the same kind of argument here.


I did not intend it to be a straw-man. I was making a guess at your position, and I guessed wrong. It may be a straw-man of *your* position which I did not know, but it is an accurate depiction of a real position as you recognize by stating that there aree people that do make the argument.

I disagree that it's a bad argument for them to make. Teaching about condoms does in fact have a slight effect of increasing the rate of sex. What they don't tell you is that even though it does, it drastically decreases unwanted pregnancies and abortion.

The point of my analogy however, compares instructions for condom use with instructions about who you are allowed to enslave. You can argue that "in the context of" slavery, teaching how to treat slave humanely does not encourage slavery, but this is not what the Bible says. The Bible clearly advises who can be enslaved.

Anonymous said...
The Bible is not a lesson in morality, as I'm sure you know.


I'm confused about what your position is. You have previously said the the bible encourages moral behavior. How is this not a contradiction?

Anonymous said...
I have a broad understanding of what it meant by slavery, and a lot of that is related to the fact that it does mean different things in different cultures. You cannot compare first century near east economic practices with 19th century western ones, while at the same time contrasting it with the one we have today.


That's nice. I have a broad understanding of what it means to be a good driver, but if we are talking about driving on the wrong side of the road, saying that there are many other ways to be a bad driver just sidesteps the conversation.

Welcome

The purpose of this blog is to open up a dialog about reaching for truth in our beliefs. My view of faith, is that it is the thing that is used to justify a belief when there is insufficeint evidence. Faith is not a valid reason for any belief, and most people agree...until it comes to their religion, then faith is the only justification.

My purpose in saying this is not to be divisive. In fact quite the contrary. I'd like to understand why people feel that faith, rather than evidence and reason, can result in beliefs that are true. I don't see faith assisting in finding truth; rather our best chance at reaching truth is through reason and reasonableness.

These posts represent short thoughts for discussion.