Bureaucrats, Nanny and God
The deity of the Old Testament was both a Republican and a Democrat. He was a Democrat in that he was a big advocate of eminent domain. He would order around his followers and tell them to confiscate the land of other groups for themselves. Sometimes he generously applied that eminent domain to the livestock of others as well as their women, provided they were still virgins. Jehovah had no hesitation in ordering genocide of others and the theft of their property and turning young girls into sex slaves for his followers. So, in some ways he was far more generous than Democrats today.
But he was also a Republican. He had a list of sins that would make the Moral Majority proud -- and did. Again he went one step further than the Republicans. He had a one penalty fits all sort of mentality. His solution to most every problem faced by the Old Testament folks was capital punishment. He was particularly fond of stoning people to death. The Jihadists at least cut off your head. Compared to stoning that is merciful. Stoning usually takes much longer. Of course if you are lucky then Jehovah might direct a particularly large stone to your skull and snuff you out right away. Otherwise with smaller stones it could take some time.
So adultery was a sin. Kill them. Homosexuality was a sin. Kill them. Talking back to parents was a sin. Kill them. Not honoring the Sabbath was a sin. Kill them. Said unkind things about Jehovah. Kill them. Astrology. Kill them. Wrong religion. Kill them.
At times he was even willing to kill children because of the sins of their parents. A real mensch this Jehovah. When Pharaoh didn’t listen to Moses then all the first born of Egypt were allegedly slaughtered by Jehovah. When the people of Sodom and Gomorra sinned then Jehovah burned them, along with their children, alive in a major divine barbecue. Let’s just say Jehovah was not a contributor to “Save the Children”.
God had a collectivist mentality. If one person sinned his entire family or tribe, for numerous generations, could be punished for it. When David decided to have a census Jehovah got upset. He did upset easily. So he slaughtered 70,000 people.
And he was litigious. Jehovah had the mind of a bureaucrat. He not only regulated life but regulated it in minute details. Let’s be honest, the Nanny State started in the Old Testament. Jehovah didn’t just regulate the big sins like adultery and homosexuality. He also regulated when men could sleep with their wives, what sort of foods they could eat, what sort of clothes they could wear, etc. He had shop closing laws for the Sabbath and took them seriously -- that stoning thing again.
Now these multiplicity of laws and regulations concern a lot of Christians today. Well, they should. Strictly speaking almost no one lives by those Old Testament laws. Most believers realize they are a crock of bull and ignore them. But some of them they like.
That thing about killing homosexuals for instance. Fundamentalist Christians get practically orgasmic over the idea of God-sanctioned fag bashing. On the other hand that bit about killing fornicators and such worries a lot of them -- well it should too. And while they want laws forcing people to honor the Sabbath they aren’t so quick to enforce the rules about wearing clothes made out of two different fabrics or forbidding shellfish in one’s diet.
So they concoct elaborate theories over which laws they can enforce and which laws should be ignored. They create nice categories into which they can place the bureaucratic Nannyism of Jehovah. Shellfish is under the laws of purity and those don’t apply any more. Never mind why they don’t apply they just don’t. But being queer, now that is an eternal moral law.
Other laws are just ceremonial laws applicable to only the Old Testament days. But the Bible isn’t always that clear which is which. Killing witches was not ceremonial or involved with purity rituals. Neither was blasphemy, adultery or honoring parents. So presumably those are eternal moral laws. But if the law is still valid then why isn’t the penalty valid?
So the next time Junior mouths off to Dad the church should take the child and stone him to death. And astrologers and witches -- stone them to death. The Old Testament ex-gay program wasn’t prayer and invented psychotherapeutic techniques. It was execution. Exactly how is it that the laws still apply but not the penalties?
Christians ought to be out there lobbying for laws to exterminate witches, adulterers, fornicators, sabbath breakers, gays, etc. Now the problem is that the Old Testament laws wanted to bump off believes in a god other than Jehovah so maybe the Jews should be out there executing Christians who think that Jesus was a god. Even if we only followed the moral code of the Old Testament we’d still be awash in the blood of the dying millions of sinners that would have to be stoned to death.
Others just invent an Old Testament/New Testament dichotomy. There is the O.T. law which was done away with when Jesus came along. Jehovah liked to complicate things. So he’d have one set of laws for one period and another set for a different period and let you try to figure out which ones applied and which didn’t. But if you figured wrong you might end up in Hell so you better be careful.
But Jesus didn’t seem to see this sort of dichotomy. He had all sorts of nice things to say about the law. He never said the Old Testament laws were abolished. Quite the opposite:
Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.Of course none of this convoluted form of apologetics is necessary. It is only required when you entertain the unsupported theory that the Bible is a consistent, coherent, book inspired by Jehovah with a message applicable to all ages. If you look at scripture reasonable you could merely acknowledge that it is the writings of men saying what they believed about life. It is fallible, errant and entirely human. It may contain some of the best of humanity from that age but ti also included much that was the worst.
I can read passages from ancient texts without worrying about whether or not those passages need to be binding today. I can take wisdom as I find it and ignore the crap. But the Biblicist is stuck. If he wants a divine book he has to justify why it is that he is ignoring entire sections of that book. And to do that he needs to invent complicated, complex arguments.