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Deuteronomic Law In Modern Times

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While I accept the Bible is a cornerstone in the foundation of Western culture, and I’d never deny that millions base a vigorous and just moral identity on certain of its teachings, I flatly disagree that any literal Biblical reading is a prescription for a modern ethical society. To the extent the Bible articulates positive tenets (which it does), these are frequently counterbalanced and occasionally overshadowed by Biblical doctrine that, in my honest opinion and by any modern standard of law or human rights, is baldly monstrous.

Since I read the Bible as a decidedly human product of its historical and cultural context, I don’t write it off over such objectionable content. Hence, I can accept and live by its more enlightened principles without apology. These books, composed as they were three thousand and two thousand years ago, may well represent an advanced moral guide by the standards of those eras, offering ethical precepts which have withstood the test of time. Honoring mothers and fathers, prohibitions against killing, stealing, bearing false witness, and many other benign principles come to mind.

But it also promulgates strictures which I cannot, and shall not, abide as conducive to any type of moral behavior. And it is not hard to show why.

I offer a case in point, “ripped from today’s headlines,” as it were:

I work in film and TV and, for more than 20 years I have known of Harvey Weinstein’s reputation as a sexual predator. It has been one of the industry’s worst kept “secrets.” (Though I never heard any explicit criminal allegations until last week’s horrifying revelations). The unanimous reaction among my friends who are Miramax and Weinstein Co. vets has been a unanimous, laconic, “Yep.”

The appalling dimensions of this story are multifarious. One of the most offensive revelations is that Harvey’s 2015 contract with The Weinstein Company exempted him from the company’s code of conduct. Normally, employees found guilty of sexual harassment or assault are subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination. Harvey’s deal shielded him from being fired and, instead, required that he reimburse the company for any costs resulting from his sexual misbehavior, plus a punitive fine. The fine for the FIRST offense was to be $250,000. The deal goes on to outline a GRADUATED PROGRESSION of increasing fines for 2nd, 3rd and 4th violations, maxing out at $1 million for the 4th and EACH SUBSEQUENT transgression thereafter.

This, of course, had no bearing on his exposure to criminal prosecution. But it is a damning revelation of a disgusting culture of tolerance for aberrant sexual behavior at the company. It is weirdly extreme even in an industry notorious for loose moral standards.

Having been party to my fair share of showbiz legal twists and turns, I can imagine the preemptive rationale that led to this defenselessly barbaric point of Weinstein’s deal. But, there is not question, it IS barbaric. Two major reasons:

First, it seeks to normalize a price tag as a remedy for repeated, monstrous, vile, violent behavior. And not, “If you do X you owe us $Y AND you will be fired.” But, instead, “Your first offense shall cost $X. #2 = $Y. #3 = $Z… and so on.

Second, and much more insidiously, the deal treats the studio as the injured party. Yes, Harvey might go to jail for his crimes, but he wouldn’t necessarily ever lose his job. And the contract is nauseatingly mute as to any consideration for the actual victims of his abominable behavior.

I think… I HOPE… we can all agree this is horrifying.

EXCEPT…

Except for Deuteronomy 22:28-29.

“If a man find a damsel that is a virgin, which is not betrothed, and lay hold on her, and lie with her, and they be found; Then the man that lay with her shall give unto the damsel's father fifty shekels of silver…” (KJV)

Now, as an example of bronze- or iron-age jurisprudence, I can see certain virtues in this codicil. A man who rapes a virgin has committed a crime that deserves redress. So far, so good. And there is at least an effort to limit that compensation, that justice, to an appropriate and proportionate scale. The family of the rape victim is decidedly NOT entitled to reprisal in the form of vengeance killing or of any clan-wide bloody feud.

But the injured party is NOT the raped virgin, but her father, and it is HIS injury that is to be remedied with a strictly monetary compensation.

Before you are tempted to argue, back in those days, the father was the legal representative for, and guardian of, a daughter’s rights and, hence, would be the natural designee in such law, the rest of Deut. 22:29 specifies that the rapist must then marry the rape victim. I’m trying to leave it out of conversation here because it makes this bit of Deuteronomic law even less, not more, just. And it jacks up the potential for emotional hyperbole I actually wish to avoid.

The Harvey Weinstein contract with TWC is a more refined expression of this same horrible (in)“justice,” both in detail and in principle.

The Weinstein contract inspires me with nothing but disgust. However, I AM able to view Deut. 22:28-29 in a much more charitable light. But only in context as a 3,000-year-old ethic. Not as any sort of justice in some absolute sense, nor one that is just according to the standards by which we live today. Weinstein’s contract is appalling because our morals and ethics have evolved and improved over the last 3,000 years.

If you disagree, and are convinced the injunction of Deut. 22 is indeed just, could you please explain why?

Thank you for any consideration.

http://www.tmz.com/2017/10/12/weinstein-contract-the-weinstein-company-sexual-harassment-firing-illegal/
 
Loyal Member
I think you didnt read .deuteronomy properly. The verse does say that the man not only pay the father but marry the woman ie. make her his wife.

In regards to Harvey Weinstein well the thing is did he marry all the women he violated, probably not just paid them off. And you need to consider perhaps the women wanted to sleep with him..?

If the ethics of showbiz are troubling you, maybe its best to get out.
 
I think you didnt read .deuteronomy properly... ...maybe its best to get out.
Hi, Lanolin.

I think you may have been a bit hasty in your response… and maybe I was a bit too long-winded in my original post.

First, “maybe they wanted” to be harassed and assaulted is an awful form of victim-blaming. I don’t do it and I don’t think anyone should.

Second, I have worked in a few different industries: politics, construction, residential building maintenance, high tech… The biggest difference between the backward cultures of sexual harassment, intimidation and assault among them versus showbiz is: sexual harassment in residential building maintenance doesn’t sell tabloids. I said showbiz is notorious for it… not actually any worse.

But, finally (and most importantly) I AM aware of the last part of Deut 22:29… and I said so. The reason I’d like to set it aside from this conversation is it makes Deut 22 MORE monstrous, more barbaric. It actually complicates trying to compare it to the vile nature of Weinstein’s contract. Weinstein’s contract is more civilized in that it does not require Harvey to try and marry any of his victims.

The mere notion of requiring a rape victim to marry her rapist, or of even ALLOWING the rapist to ask to marry the victim, is an expression of such profound immoral injustice I would have a hard time trying to maintain a civil conversation about it.

However, if we ignore that particular clause, then Deut 22:28-29 bears a haunting similarity to the immoral rationale behind Harvey’s contract. I’ll boil my whole bag here down to 4 straightforward questions:

1. Do you consider the law given in Deut. 22:28-29 moral or just?
2. If so, why?
3. Do you consider Harvey Weinstein’s 2015 contract (as described by me and in the TMZ article) moral or just?
4. If not, why not?
 
Loyal Member
Well its not monstrous because it forces the guy to take responisbility rather than just think he gets off scot free by paying someone off. The law was written down by Moses for the israelites to follow. They didnt always get it right as we see in the Bible but they all learned what it was and what God expected of them.
The law isn't a soft bendy thing which you can make what you want of it.
Another thing about laws is they tell people what to do and what not to do..and there are consequences for obeying or disobeying. A law that is just there with no consequences if its violated is useless.

Just want to explain that to you in case you havent grasped what the law is for.
Christians understand the old testament laws as a schoolmaster to bring the israelites to Christ. Under the new testament the laws are written on our hearts, not tablets of stone.

So basically if you following Jesus Christ with all your heart, you will not do evil things that violate Gods laws written on your heart. I.e you would love others just as much as Jesus did. You would not, if you are a guy, go and sleep with a virgin and then refuse to marry her. You would do things God's way...ie. ask A virgins hand in marriage before you took her to be your wife. And then you would stay married and love her!
 
Loyal Member
You might want to consider what this means for your own life to apply first.

Are you married? Or do you sleep with women and then just leave them?
 
Loyal Member
The biggest difference between the backward cultures of sexual harassment, intimidation and assault among them versus showbiz is: sexual harassment in residential building maintenance doesn’t sell tabloids. I said showbiz is notorious for it… not actually any worse.
I have no statistics to dispute that, however on the other hand, other industries don't a lot of time, money and effort promoting sexual promiscuity.
Has there been a single television show or movies in the last few decades that doesn't promote this? Not just visual media, but how about songs on the radio?

Back to your original question.... is Deut 22:28-29; moral?

Some of the verses in the Bible are not permission to do things... they are answers for things someone has already done.
This verses is not saying go out and rape/seduce a young girl. It's saying that if you have done it... this is what you need to do next.

There are similar verses about slavery in the Bible.
I know of no verse in the Bible that says... go out and get a slave. However there are some verses that say... if you do have a slave... treat them this way or that way.
For that matter... Christians themselves are often called slaves or servants in many of the parables. That doesn't mean the Bible condones slavery.

“If a man finds a girl who is a virgin, who is not engaged, and seizes her and lies with her and they are discovered, then the man who lay with her shall give to the girl’s father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall become his wife because he has violated her; he cannot divorce her all his days.

Some questions about this passage.... "seizes her"... could that be taken as forceful rape?
"they are discovered".... what if they aren't caught.. then it's OK? More likely it means no one will take the girls word for it.
Finally back to your point... why give the money to the father instead of to the girl. Dowry's were expected in those days.
Somehow this has gotten twisted into women giving dowry's for husbands, but it wasn't always that way. That's more of a western tradition.

Besides if the man marries her, she is now his financial obligation. If he is a decent man (hmmm.. he already raped her) he should take
care of food, shelter and whatever other necessary items she might need. If he really loves her, this shouldn't be sometimes he "has" to do,
but rather "wants" to do.

In the story of Jacob when he met Rachel... He had to work for her father Laban for seven years. (even then her father tricked him)
He was given her sister first, and then had to work another seven years for Rachel. (Gen 29-31; )

Daughter were not considered an asset because they could work, they were an asset because of dowry's.
 
Loyal Member
It all began back in Genesis when God created it all "very good" [Gen 1:31]. Adam and Eve had no history of sin and sinful ways. They were new at sinning when they disobeyed God. With their generation and subsequent generations men developed some very bad ways of doing things. It went from bad to worse which is what carnal men who let themselves go almost without restraint will do.

In the beginning it was also definitely intended for there to be one man for one woman. But, as we see reading through the OT, long before Israel became a nation and insisted on having a king like all of the heathen nations around them, the practice of taking more than one wife abounded... even among God's people, the children of Jacob/Israel. Does this make bigamy/polygamy right in the eyes of God? No, but men had already been traveling down the wrong road for very long time.

The children of Israel had to be enslaved in Egypt to have personal experience at how bad things can get before God would begin to show them through His plan just how far away they had fallen from that first sin by their first carnal parents.

God effectively allowed them to drop nearly to bottom so that they could have a new opportunity to come up higher. For the most part they failed, but as Jesus put it:

"Many are called but few are chosen" Matt 22:14

Of all the adults [600,000 men plus women and children] who were led out of slavery into the wilderness, only two men also made into the Promised Land [Canaanland]. This was the few, was it not? But that only one step in the many necessary steps to bring anyone up from the pit into which they had fallen and hopefully back to where Adam and Eve were before the Fall so as that God could again have them come up higher.

"When thou art bidden of any man to a wedding, sit not down in the highest room; lest a more honourable man than thou be bidden of him;
And he that bade thee and him come and say to thee, Give this man place; and thou begin with shame to take the lowest room.
But when thou art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest room; that when he that bade thee cometh, he may say unto thee, Friend, go up higher: then shalt thou have worship in the presence of them that sit at meat with thee.
For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted." Luke 14:8-11

God works on us where we are to bring us to where He wants us to be, but the essential decisions are always ours.

Was it right for King David to have more than one wife? Was it right for women to be treated poorly as they so often have been? There are lots of questions like that which men today are sometimes answering at least in part correctly, but they are still missing the ultimate goal that God has in mind. God has been working on fixing it, but He started from where we were... if we were willing to drop or be dropped way down in order to be elevated correctly.

Could God not just instantaneously fix it all? Perhaps that is what He has done and to us in our minds as He made them it only seems like it has taken "time"...
 
...Has there been a single television show or movies in the last few decades that doesn't promote this? ...Back to your original question.... is Deut 22:28-29; moral?....
I’ll try not to unpack too much from your remarks for fear of turning our subject here to a giant squid if issues.

I will note, however, the media’s bad amoral reputation is worse than reality. For instance, there is a sizeable and growing industry of Christian-themed cinema; projects every bit as expensive and creatively sophisticated as more “mainstream” media. Also, for a solid decade I worked exclusively on projects for the Hallmark Channel. And while there was no agenda to produce “Christian” content, per se, we were bound to produce telefilms with exclusively “pro-social” messages and always depict positive, healthy portrayals of conventional family backgrounds. We were explicitly forbidden to exhibit material that appealed to the prurient or exploitative. Each of these projects depended on the dedicated contributions of hundreds of pre-, post-, and production crew and, though most of us in the biz are admitted screwballs, we all enjoyed working on “nutritious” stuff. And we never had the sense what we were doing was particularly rare in the trade.

But my point about the “amoral” media industry was in reference to the working culture among its practitioners, not some quality of the content it produces.

As to slavery in the Bible, I know a lot of critics of the Abrahamic faiths rush to accuse the Bible of promoting slavery. The truth is neither so awful nor so simple. One has no case to say the Bible is “for” slavery when at least one of the three defining episodes of the Old Testament is the Exodus (the other two, in my opinion, being the Creation and the Flood). However, while as a matter of blanket policy the Bible does not ENCOURAGE slavery, it does SANCTION slavery in general, stipulating specific rules for how slavery is to be conducted. But it is still unquestionably slavery, nonetheless. And there are places in the OT where specific instruction are given, executed, and rewarded regarding the extermination and enslavement of certain peoples. I’ll apologize here for failing to give citations, though I am happy to do so if you wish.

And while the New Testament exempts gentiles from Hebraic laws like circumcision an Kosher food regulations, it does not rescind its sanction of slavery. The only times Jesus mentions it, it is only with a tacit understanding that slavery is acceptable.

Issues of dowry and Bronze Age marital custom obscure the subject, but if we spent some time on them I suggest they don’t rehabilitate the scripture in question.

But, back to Deut. 22. I’ll grant the law here covers the coupling of willing partners as well as rape. In those cases, hey, no harm (other than reputation), no fowl. But this injunction is also the only tract that treats of virgins being raped against their will. 100% of forcible rape of a virgin (which, in my opinion, is no worse than any other rape – it’s a distinction the Bible makes, not me) fall under this umbrella. Willing sexual partners may also be covered here, but I am most concerned with justice and, therefore, with the treatment of a victim when a crime has been committed.

As I said in my original post, I CAN accept that 3,000 years ago Deut. 22 may have been considered an enlightened expression of justice. A crime is committed. The culprit is held to account. The wronged party is entitled to compensation, but no more vengeance than a deliberated level of justice would allow.

This, I can accept, is at least a logically grounded form of justice.

I can also accept that, perhaps, the principle of justice expressed in Deut. 22 may be divinely inspired.

But I can’t sit still for anyone who would insists this law (and that’s what and the other 612 mitzvot in the OT are) is pure, perfect and unchanging.

Let’s plug some modern data into the equation. My daughter is a virgin. Let’s cast her in the role of damsel, so I will play the role of the father. And let’s update the 50 shekel fine to $10,000,000.00 US.

The police catch a guy who has raped my daughter. (Ugh. It feels wretched just typing that.)

Naturally, I would want to feed the monster live into a wood chipper. Fortunately, I live in a society which constrains my impulse to vengence. Vigilantes shouldn’t go stuffing criminals into wood chippers every time a crime is committed.

The case is processed through the justice system which rules as follows:

The rapist has to subsidize my daughter’s welfare and safety for the rest of his or her life.

Okay. That’s… that’s acceptable. To me. I guess.

The rapist has to pay ME $10,000,000.

Um, no. That’s just weird. I haven’t been raped. $10M –– NO amount of money –– will ever make me okay with my daughter being raped. But, more importantly, it’s up to HER to decide if $10M is sufficient remedy to her injuries. Not me.

The rapist won’t go to jail, but, instead, along with paying me money and underwriting my daughter’s ongoing living expenses, he will marry her, for the rest of her life, and be entitled to all the rights and privileges concomitant with the status of husband –– INCLUDING CONJUGAL RELATIONS. So, the (imaginary) law here sees justice in my daughter becoming the rapist’s permanent sexual partner.

I won’t go into all the details of how I would respond to such a legal ruling, but suffice to say the rapist would have some company when he goes in the wood chipper.

The foregoing detour is why I wanted to limit this conversation to the first part of the Deut. 22:28-19 injunction (compensating the father) as it relates to the modern day example of Weinstein (being allowed to buy his way out of corporate responsibility for committing rape, again and again and again…).

I submit Weinstein’s contract is immoral by today’s standards. But WOULD HAVE BEEN moral by OT standards. And, though Deut. 22 may have been considered moral in the OT, it is not moral today. I.e.,
Biblical laws, in their literal form, are not universally moral.
 
Loyal Member
No because its not paying the dad of the virgin, and its not obligating the seducer to take respobilty to be a husband.

Its totally different, your scenario is more of a bribe to get off scot free, and continue sexually immoral behaviour so the harvey weinstein one is not moral according to God.

You are comparing apples with oranges and missing the point, accusing God of being immoral when its really your lack of understanding of what justice really is. Sorry.

Stop having a chip on your shoulder about God. He can see what's in your heart.
 
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Stop having a chip on your shoulder about God. He can see what's in your heart.
If God can see what’s in my heart then he knows I’m not accusing him of being immoral here because I don’t think he came up with the law in question. I think A human did. I think this because, admittedly, I am not convinced in the existence of a God, but also the law is jarringly consistent with Middle Eastern culture 3,000 years ago. I’m not blaming the Bible for being barbaric. I’ll say again, it may have seemed extremely enlightened and just… FOR ITS TIME.

The chip on my shoulder is there because of the disgusting nature of the Weinstein contract. It is wrong and revolting. HOWEVER, if we lived in a culture where statutory law was actually based on Biblical principles, Deut. 22:28-29 can absolutely form the basis for an argument that the contract is moral. One would HAVE to go to such passages because there aren’t any passages about movie studios or out-of-court settlements or corporate codes of conduct.

One of believers’ most insistent claims is that the laws articulated in the Bible are perfect, unchanging and applicable down to the letter in every age. Not all believers make that claim, but it IS a very common declaration. Someone who agrees with that, then, is prone to conflict with the notion that the Weinstein contract is immoral.

Please believe me, I’ll let you know when I have a chip on my shoulder against God. But, I do admit, paradoxes like this are a major factor why I find no reason to believe that, if there IS a real God, one way or another he is not what Judeo-Christian doctrine describes.
 
Loyal Member
@Kirby D. P.

No, we have not explained it all to your satisfaction and perhaps we never will. You are really saying that because we cannot explain and because you cannot understand the reason for the letter of it as it is written, then it must be man's error inserted in the Book that is to say man's interference in God's plan.

What you are saying is also that you do not understand how the Bible, as it is, could be describing a God worthy of worshiping. What we use is what man will often call a circular reference because you cannot find the logic in it to fit your own idea of what justice is, or of what good and bad is, or of what being increased is. I understand what is going on here and I believe that other believers do also. But on the other hand you are equally certain that you are right that we are somehow deluded in our conclusions, or results, or beliefs, or all of these.

What we believe is something that is real and is good even if you and others cannot see or understand it. The understanding is in our hearts, but not in yours.

For every one of the questions you have God does have an answer that makes sense when it is understood. God does give understanding to people, but not so they can display it in logical manner to unbelievers or to serious doubters with all of the available doors closed [God, being God defines these things and therefore you do not understand them as you are and apparently as you want to be.].

You know enough of the Bible to understand what I mean even if you do not agree with it. You may not like it because you are unable to pin it down before committing yourself to faith in the unknown [to you] God, but not understanding or not liking it will not change what it true (as you would say, if it is true).

Of course you and others will disagree with us on what is true, but that is something only you and God can change because it is in you. God won't force such a change in anyone, but He will help implement the change in a person that comes to Him in the right way. You are not God so you cannot decide what the way to change is.
 
@Kirby D. P.

No, we have not explained it all to your satisfaction...
You mistake me, amadeus2. I decidedly do not think you are at all deluded in any of your conclusions, results or beliefs. Please accept my sincere apology if I gave that impression.

On the other hand, I would also ask that you not ascribe many ideas to me which are not mine. I do not think laws I disagree with, like Deut. 22, MUST have come from man. They MAY have come from God. For me, the jury is out and may always be.

I don’t think I have very demanding criteria for satisfying my desire for explanation of what, to me, is an extremely straightforward set of circumstances. As an autonomous adult, I negotiate hundreds of little justice verdicts every day. If someone drops a wallet, I know to pick it up and return it to them. If I see someone about to do someone else some undeserved harm, I will act to protect the likely victim. When my children cause someone some harm through misbehavior, I take measures to correct them, to right their wrong and perform whatever penance is appropriate to their age and capacity to understand. None of these are Supreme Court decisions. They are very cut-and-dried.

But, to me, the justice of many laws in the Bible seems outlandishly alien. Seems definitively UN-just. I am not claiming to be some omniscient arbiter of justice, and so such laws must bend to my will, by my standards. On the contrary. A great many people insist laws like Deut. 22 ARE just and I simply do not comprehend how. I fully admit that, if Deut. 22 is just, then it is blowing way over my head.

And my confusion is compounded by how difficult grasping its the rationale seems to be. I can explain to my children the justice of sharing a single stick of chewing gum between them quite effectively. I am mystified that it is at all difficult for anyone who “gets it” to explain to me the justice of a rapist buying off the vengeance of the victim’s father, much less the horror of subjecting the victim to a lifetime legally and socially bound to her victimizer.

It should be very easy. And I don’t accept any claim that it’s not making sense to me because I don’t know how to come to God for answers. I’m asking. I ask all the time. I’m here. I don’t have to be here. Repeating to me again and again that I’m failing to see some grace or mercy in a piece of scripture where I honestly find none has (so far) done nothing to lift the fog from before my eyes.

Finally, I want to be absolutely clear about one thing. My opinion on the relative justice of things like Deut. 22 has absolutely nothing to do with whether or not I believe God exists. I am not here hoping to corner you into admitting, aha!, my reasons for not believing in God are good reasons after all. In this specific conversation I am keen on finding some way of understanding how people of faith, who are committed to justice, reckon with what (again, to me) seems to be evidence that laws in the Bible do not mesh with laws we live by and the justice we expect from, and extend to, each other in today’s society.
 
Loyal Member
Regarding mosaic law, christians are not bound by the old covenant. We are bound by the NEW covenant with Jesus. It has superceded the old.
If you want to question laws in deuteronomy and how they are still practiced today, you will need to ask a Rabbi. Those laws were given to the israelites ie, all the descendants of abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Which did include Jesus, who was also included in the tribe of Judah. he knew deuteronomy off by heart. But he was the only one who perfectly kept this law and never sinned.

So looking at Jesus, he never seized any woman or virgin or married. In fact he treated all women with care and compassion. This specific law Jesus would have known, see how he treated the woman caught in adultery. Was it not the men who were equally guilty. He did not cast stone at her. He said go and sin no more.

Paul the apostle also said, (explaining what God requires in his letters to the church) if people cannot contain (their desire) it is better to marry than to burn. Every man is to have his own wife to avoid fornication i.e sleeping around. And yes today it is till practiced in many cultures that you pay the father a dowry to have his daughter as this is payment for the loss of a daughter who could have stayed home and looked after the family.

Moses wrote these laws down that were given by God, on mt Sinai. He did not make them up.

If you want, you can go to Mt sinai yourself (in arabia) and see. .Good luck, as its closed off. But yea. Moses didnt make them up. Why would he ?
 
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Moses wrote these laws down that were given by God, on mt Sinai. He did not make them up.

If you want, you can go to Mt sinai yourself (in arabia) and see. .Good luck, as its closed off. But yea. Moses didnt make them up. Why would he ?
[ugh]


I am REALLY not being combative here. I know you don't want to hear what I "think." But, for the last time (I promise), the Weinstein contract is unjust. But, if that is so, then Deuteronomy 22 also SEEMS unjust. I was hoping you (or anyone) might point out some reason why I see it that way other than it's SO just a heathen is unfit to understand it.

You insist again and again that I come to God on God's own terms. This is the only way I know how. I'm sorry if you are bound to hold that against me.
 
Loyal Member
But, to me, the justice of many laws in the Bible seems outlandishly alien. Seems definitively UN-just. I am not claiming to be some omniscient arbiter of justice, and so such laws must bend to my will, by my standards. On the contrary. A great many people insist laws like Deut. 22 ARE just and I simply do not comprehend how. I fully admit that, if Deut. 22 is just, then it is blowing way over my head.
But I can’t sit still for anyone who would insists this law (and that’s what and the other 612 mitzvot in the OT are) is pure, perfect and unchanging.

Let’s plug some modern data into the equation. My daughter is a virgin. Let’s cast her in the role of damsel, so I will play the role of the father. And let’s update the 50 shekel fine to $10,000,000.00 US.

The police catch a guy who has raped my daughter. (Ugh. It feels wretched just typing that.)

Naturally, I would want to feed the monster live into a wood chipper. Fortunately, I live in a society which constrains my impulse to vengence. Vigilantes shouldn’t go stuffing criminals into wood chippers every time a crime is committed.
I have two daughters (one is married now) so I can relate to the wood chipper. I particularly like your phrase "I live in a society which..." I think it gives me a little insight.
Many of of the 600 laws of the OT were superceded by Jesus. In the sermon on the mount for example He talks about adultery and murder and vengeance... he even quotes commandments from the old testament.. Matt 5:21; Matt 5:27; Matt 5:31; Matt 5:33; Matt 5:38; etc... but then He explains how things are different now.
Another place where some things changed is in Acts 10 where Peter has a dream about eating "unclean" animals, and God tells him its OK to eat them now. ( Acts 10:14-15; ) There are a few other passages like this.

Back to your "society" comment. I think most people in the world accept whatever society deems to be "normal" or at least acceptable.
The Bible talks about homosexuality in 7 or 8 passages. It's always a bad thing in the Bible. But because society has accepted it... it's now
considered a "good thing". The question becomes, who makes the rules? God or men (society).

If your answer is "society", consider this.
In the culture (society) of the ancient Jews, women could not own property. They could not own estate or land, or even livestock, much less be in charge
over a large sum of money. Is that barbaric? Perhaps, but that was what was acceptable by society at that time.

Some people would look at things today... and say millions of babies being aborted... that's barbaric. Thousands of women being kidnapped by Boko Haram,
that's barbaric. Some might even say women in middle eastern countries have to keep their entire bodies and faces covered, that's barbaric. They were just
recently given the privilege to drive vehicles. Where do you draw the line... it's a moving target to be sure and your line isn't the same as my line, and I would
guess neither of us has the same line as God.

There are even some cultures today that would say.. you allow women to work.. You don't make them stay home and raise children? That's barbaric.
I suspect the culture and society we are raised in shapes our thinking more than we realize.
 
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Kirby are you jewish or have jewish background, or did you say you were catholic. Do you live in america?
When you talk about society, ot the 'western world' do you mean yourself.

You really have to step back from your insulated world view and see things from God's perspective not your own, I assume its male cos your posts are extremely biased. A thousand years is one day to God in His eternal perspective of things.

A lot of what men do is right in their own eyes but wrong according to God because lots of things men do they cannot forsee the cosequences, only for themselves and immediate short term. This is being self absorbed and even self righteous.

Christians are not called to make their own laws and to be self righteous and think they can pick and choose whatever. We are to have the righteousness of Christ. Cos He knows the end from the beginning. We are to have His law writtten on our hearts. And what it is according to what Jesus tells us is having His spirit of love, joy, peace, gentleness, goodness, meekness, faith, long suffering temperance...against which there is no law. So in the end we are not following or slaves to 385 different laws and debating ehat they are we are just following Jesus who kept God's laws perfectly.
 
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You mistake me, amadeus2. I decidedly do not think you are at all deluded in any of your conclusions, results or beliefs. Please accept my sincere apology if I gave that impression.
No, I guess that I did not understand where you were on this. My apologies.

I don’t think I have very demanding criteria for satisfying my desire for explanation of what, to me, is an extremely straightforward set of circumstances. As an autonomous adult, I negotiate hundreds of little justice verdicts every day. If someone drops a wallet, I know to pick it up and return it to them. If I see someone about to do someone else some undeserved harm, I will act to protect the likely victim. When my children cause someone some harm through misbehavior, I take measures to correct them, to right their wrong and perform whatever penance is appropriate to their age and capacity to understand. None of these are Supreme Court decisions. They are very cut-and-dried.
All of us have had to perform these little judicial functions, whether we were/are serving God at the time or not.

But, to me, the justice of many laws in the Bible seems outlandishly alien. Seems definitively UN-just. I am not claiming to be some omniscient arbiter of justice, and so such laws must bend to my will, by my standards. On the contrary. A great many people insist laws like Deut. 22 ARE just and I simply do not comprehend how. I fully admit that, if Deut. 22 is just, then it is blowing way over my head.
Outlandishly alien is probably a good description of something that does fit into our way of thinking and acting. The ways of many people seem like that to me, especially people who do not believe in God, but some of them put forward a better foot than others. Still the differences can seem or be outlandishly alien. If you could really approach me on where I am on this they would not be so outlandish. Alas, as I have said that must be between you and God. Perhaps some of us here can help you see better, but that is also up to you.

It should be very easy. And I don’t accept any claim that it’s not making sense to me because I don’t know how to come to God for answers. I’m asking. I ask all the time. I’m here. I don’t have to be here. Repeating to me again and again that I’m failing to see some grace or mercy in a piece of scripture where I honestly find none has (so far) done nothing to lift the fog from before my eyes.
You are asking, but you are wanting answers which you are not likely to soon understand even as a believer. While you stand away [for whatever reason] it is even less likely. That you cannot see it is a very important part of what it means to approach God by faith. To begin with you must recognize that you do not need to understand God. Rather you need to learn to trust Him. For an unbeliever or even a serious doubter that can be very difficult.

So where you might try a little prayer asking God to make a way for you even though in your mind there seems to be no way. Don't ask for the answer to your questions. In time if God answers your prayer He may give you more answers. But... don't start by insisting on this in exchange for that.

Finally, I want to be absolutely clear about one thing. My opinion on the relative justice of things like Deut. 22 has absolutely nothing to do with whether or not I believe God exists. I am not here hoping to corner you into admitting, aha!, my reasons for not believing in God are good reasons after all. In this specific conversation I am keen on finding some way of understanding how people of faith, who are committed to justice, reckon with what (again, to me) seems to be evidence that laws in the Bible do not mesh with laws we live by and the justice we expect from, and extend to, each other in today’s society.
I still do not understand many things now and in the early years of my walk with God there were many other things that I did not understand, but God has made them clearer to me subsequently. You must put all of your doubts on the shelf and pray for God to help you find the way without, as I said, insisting on any other specific answers. If He accepts your prayer, He will let you know whatever you need to know, but do not presume that you know what you need to know. None of us do. After a while of walking with Him, we will know more for in knowing Him we must grow spiritually as natural child needs to grow physically.
 
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First thing is to trust God cos He definitely knows what He's doing!

Proverbs 3:5 tells us To trust the Lord with all your heart and lean not into your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.

Sometimes the answers dont come straight away and not always what we think we would like...but faith means we trust Him and He will do as promised. You know, you try running the universe and answering every prayer...I dont think you could do it for even one second.
 

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