Friday, March 16, 2012

An answer to an angry troll

Dropping in on a fairly old post, this angry troll said:


Chase200mph said...


LMAO! So justifications and apologies for murder, rape and selling your disobedient children as sex slaves is both just and moral….because god works in mysterious ways….right? This proves evil bible wrong? Personally I would go out and get yourself a GED before blogging such nonsense. The bible is an evil book, written by evil men who claimed the word belongs to some god that has failed to place even one piece of evidence on this planet as to his existence….and subsequently, whose followers have murdered over 50 million in his name… yup, how silly of anyone believing the bible is evil…..it makes 1127 references of whom to hate and murder, 110 of love. Grow up already!


justifications and apologies for murder, rape and selling your disobedient children as sex slaves is both just and moral….because god works in mysterious ways….right?

1) Where did I ever say anything like "it's justified b/c God works in mysterious ways"?
2) It's impossible for God to commit murder.
3) God has never commanded anyone to rape.
4) God has also never commanded anyone to sell one's disobedient children as sex slaves. Where are you getting this stuff? This entire statement was totally, 100% incorrect.


The bible is an evil book

1) What is your argument?
2) How do you know what "evil" is?


written by evil men

On that there is no argument. All men are evil. Men wrote the Bible (carried along by the Holy Spirit).
Therefore, the Bible was written by evil men. This is correct.
Not only by evil men; also by God.



who claimed the word belongs to some god that has failed to place even one piece of evidence on this planet as to his existence

Not at all; there's plenty of evidence.


subsequently, whose followers have murdered over 50 million in his name

1) Is that an evil thing to do?
2) How do you know what "evil" is?
3) If I murder in your name, are you necessarily responsible for it?
4) 50 million seems awfully high. How are you counting?
5) The Bible is clear that unrepentant murderers will not inherit the kingdom of God. It is consistent with my worldview to rule out any such notion that an unrepentant murdering follower of Jesus could exist.


it makes 1127 references of whom to hate and murder, 110 of love

1) What in the world does this even mean?
2) Since a great deal of the Bible discusses human history, and sinful humans generally prefer to treat each other with hate and murder rather than love, why would this surprise anyone? Are you unfamiliar with the biblical doctrine of human depravity?
3) A much more relevant count would be how many commands God gives to hate and murder (zero) versus how many times He commands us to love Him and neighbor (lots).

87 comments:

Damion said...

"Keep the virgins alive for yourselves"

For the sake of non-sexual domestic labour, right? Nothing rapey here. Move along.

Rhology said...

I coulda sworn that passage goes on to tell them exactly what the virgins were being kept for.
Do you remember?

NAL said...

Damion:

"Keep the virgins alive for yourselves"

Except for 32 that were sacrificed as a "tribute" to God.

Damion said...

By my reckoning, 15,968 virgin girls were given to the veterans of the battle to do with as they pleased. We may assume (somewhat charitably) that the Hebrews followed procedures similar to Deut 21 for subjugating the captive girls before the soldiers "went in unto" and thereby "humbled" them.

TruthOverfaith said...

"Faith: No one word personifies the absolute worst and most wicked policies of religion better than that. Faith is mind-rot -- it's a poison that destroys critical thinking, undermines evidence, and leads people into lives dedicated to absurdity. It's a parasite that's regarded as a virtue. I speak as a representative of the scientific faction of atheism here -- it's one thing we simply cannot compromise on. Faith is wrong, and at the same time faith is a central tenet of just about every religion on the planet. We can't ignore that -- that's the thing we are interested in fighting."P.Z. Myers

zilch said...

Among the detestable villains that in any period of the world have disgraced the name of man, it is impossible to find a greater than Moses, if this account be true. Here is an order to butcher the boys, to massacre the mothers, and debauch the daughters. Let any mother put herself in the situation of those mothers; one child murdered, another destined to violation, and herself in the hands of an executioner; let any daughter put herself in the situation of those daughters, destined as a prey to the murderers of a mother and a brother, and what will be their feelings? It is in vain that we attempt to impose upon nature, for nature will have her course, and the religion that tortures all her social ties is a false religion.

- Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason

Rhology said...

Except for 32 that were sacrificed as a "tribute" to God.

Eh? Citation?


By my reckoning, 15,968 virgin girls were given to the veterans of the battle to do with as they pleased.

Citation?


We may assume (somewhat charitably) that the Hebrews followed procedures similar to Deut 21 for subjugating the captive girls before the soldiers "went in unto" and thereby "humbled" them.

Not if you want to be fair to what the text does and doesn't say.

Rhology said...

PZ Myers rips faith

PZ Myers has faith that evidence is a good way to discover truth. Those double-edged swords sure can hurt!

Damion said...

Citation? It's right there in the text of Numbers 31. Go read it for yourself. If you don't want to do the maths yourself, here is a helpful breakdown.

The obvious implcation of the text is that the Israelite soldiers took the 15,968 virgins as the spoils of war, either as brides (contra Deut 7:3) or as concubines.

Now, you seem to be claiming that that the "passage goes on to tell them exactly what the virgins were being kept for" but you don't say what that might be. I've mentioned the procedure for turning POW's into war brides from Deut 21. What is your alternate hypothesis?

Rhology said...

Deut 7:1“When the LORD your God brings you into the land where you are entering to possess it, and clears away many nations before you, the Hittites and the Girgashites and the Amorites and the Canaanites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and stronger than you, 2and when the LORD your God delivers them before you and you defeat them, then you shall utterly destroy them. You shall make no covenant with them and show no favor to them. 3“Furthermore, you shall not intermarry with them; you shall not give your daughters to their sons, nor shall you take their daughters for your sons.


I don't see "Midianites" in there. Not even when I do a Ctrl+F. Maybe you can enlighten me, since you know how to quote crappy Thom Stark books.


By my reckoning, 15,968 virgin girls were given to the veterans of the battle to do with as they pleased.

Where in the text does it say "do with them as you please"?


I've mentioned the procedure for turning POW's into war brides from Deut 21. What is your alternate hypothesis?

For those keeping score at home:
war bride ≠ "do with them as you please"

One would think someone in the employ of the federal gov't could make such a distinction. Maybe you're so angry at God that you're not switching on the critical thinking part of your brain, though, so that's an alternate hypothesis. You know, since you asked for one.

zilch said...

PZ Myers has faith that evidence is a good way to discover truth. Those double-edged swords sure can hurt!

I guess it depends on what you call "truth". Evidence, and theories that put evidence in a useful framework, might not be "truth" in your definition; but it is "truth" in the sense that it gives us good stuff such as, say, computers. I don't see any need for any more "truth" than that, nor any indication that suchlike exists.

The ball's in your court, rho.

Rhology said...

The ball's in your court, rho.

Alas, if only I'd written tens of thousands of words on this topic before! And if only it were easily accessible in the form of, say, a blog archive!

zilch said...

Alas, if only you'd remembered that I've been following your blog for years now, and as you must well know, am well aware of what you have to say on this issue, rho! And you still don't have any answer.

Well, I hope you're at least enjoying the beginnings of Spring here in Europe. Cheers from sunny Vienna, zilch

Rhology said...

And you still don't have any answer.

Hahahaa, sure I don't.
As always, let the reader judge.

zilch said...

I'll second that, rho.

zilch said...

And hey, while I'm at it, a happy Equinox to Damion, NAL, and TruthOverFaith too!

Damion said...

Let's say that Midianites/Kenites are not forbidden as brides, since they are in the list of tribes to be displaced in Genesis 15:18-21 but not on the list of tribes from Deut 7. That's a perfectly acceptable (if a bit overly literal) reading of the second passage. In fact, it opens up the possibility that the 15,968 virgin girls were in fact turned into war brides.

I'm still entirely unclear on what you think really happened to these young Midiante girls. It looks to me like they were to be treated as the personal property of the soldiers to whom they were given, which means slavery, concubinage, or marriage. What's your take? Were they "humbled" in accordance with Deut 21 or did they meet some other fate?

Rhology said...

I'm still entirely unclear on what you think really happened to these young Midiante girls.

It looks like they became war brides.


It looks to me like they were to be treated as the personal property of the soldiers to whom they were given

What in the text leads you to that conclusion?


Were they "humbled" in accordance with Deut 21 or did they meet some other fate?

1) Deut 21 may not be relevant, since these are younger girls in Numbers (the Hebrew word "taph" is thrown in there and that word is absent in Deut 21, indicating that Deut 21 is probably more like a blanket, more general directive and Numbers 31 is more specific.
2) I may be mistaken but you seem to be equating the 'humbling' of Deut 21 to merely sexual relations.
Correct me if I'm wrong.
If that is what you're saying, I'd need to see an argument from the Deut 21 text that the 'humbling' is limited to sexual relations and not something else, like the entire experience, the fact that the woman was taken in to a household in which she was in a better situation where she has access to the worship of the One True God, rights, freedom from a society where child sacrifice is not widespread and systematic, and yet chose to displease the Israelite man enough that he didn't care to keep her around.

Damion said...

I may be mistaken but you seem to be equating the 'humbling' of Deut 21 to merely sexual relations.

There are three places in Deuteronomy where "humbled" (עָנָה) is used in conjunction with actions taken by men upon virgin girls: Deu 21:14, Deu 22:24, Deu 22:29

All three verses, in context, obviously refer to defloration.

As you are well aware, such an action greatly depreciates the value of young women in that society, so much so that non-virgins may be stoned to death on their wedding night. Hence the euphemistic language of humbling.

Rhology said...

Actually, it's not obvious that those refer to ONLY defloration.

NAL said...

Rho:

It looks like they became war brides.

What in the text leads you to that conclusion?

It looks to me like they were to be treated as the personal property of the soldiers to whom they were given

"But all the women-children, that have not known man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves."

Sounds like personal property to me.

Rhology said...

Your evidence that "for yourselves" = personal property and not a wife?

Damion said...

Your evidence that wives weren't considered property in the OT?

Consider the list of examples of from the 10th commandment. It's all your neighbor's property, right?

NAL said...

The girls are referred to as part of the plunder, the spoils of war.

Damion said...

Both in the tenth commandment and in the list of war spoils from Num 31, women are included in a list of personal property. This is strongly indicative of the OT authors stance on women.

Rhology said...

Do you ever say something like "hey, is that your wife over there?"

Wouldn't saying "your" indicate that you believe she is the property of the guy you're addressing?

NAL said...

If you ask a boy or girl: Is that your father over there?

Does that indicate that the father is the property of the child? No, of course not.

If you ask: Is that your slave over there? Then yes, that would indicate property.

River Sprite Worshiper said...

Alan, you're always a delight.

Still using the old "war bride" gambit to justify rape? War bride? Really? Well, I guess you have no choice.

On the bright side, it’s good to see that God approves of no-fault divorce.

NAL said...

We've discussed the rape of the young girls.

Let's not forget the murder of the baby boys. Let's not forget the murder of the young boys. Let's not forget the murder of the pregnant women. Let's not forget the murder of the elderly. Let's not forget the murder of the prisoners of war.

If this was commanded by the most perfect being imaginable, then someone lacks imagination.

zilch said...

NAL- you're forgetting that God gets to define what constitutes murder and what doesn't- you don't. Your kneejerk reaction to the holy purging of evil little boys and girls is non-Scriptural and cannot be defended by any morality grounded in absolute Truth- it's just your misguided godless Enlightenment-twisted opinion, which carries no weight.

Besides, since we know God is Good, we can rest assured (even if it says nothing of the sort in the Bible) that all those cute l'il Midianite kids were whisked straight to Heaven, if any of them were innocent. The naughty ones, of course, are still burning.

Is that about right, rho?

NAL said...

zilch, you're right, I only have my own sense of right and wrong, like everyone else, to judge the slaughter of the Midianites.

But I didn't want the discussion to get diverted to issues like whether this was a genocide or not, or whether there were gynecological exams to determine virginity, or whether the girls were property or "war brides," or whether an "heave offering" is considered "human sacrifice."

These issues are distractions from the butchery.

zilch said...

NAL- you say tomayto, I say tomahto,
You say butchery, I say God-ordained ethnic cleansing.

Can't argue with God. And if your idea of "good" differs from His, then guess who's wrong.

Rhology said...

all those cute l'il Midianite kids were whisked straight to Heaven, if any of them were innocent. The naughty ones, of course, are still burning.

Is that about right, rho?


No, not really even very close.
Whether children who die go to Heaven is an open question. If they do go to Heaven, it would be b/c God applied the atonement of Jesus to them, because NO child is innocent of sin. ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. All are "naughty".


This, however:
Can't argue with God. And if your idea of "good" differs from His, then guess who's wrong.

is correct, though stated with mockery.

Rhology said...

If you ask a boy or girl: Is that your father over there?

Does that indicate that the father is the property of the child? No, of course not.

If you ask: Is that your slave over there? Then yes, that would indicate property.


Yep. Sounds like context determines the meaning of words. Crazy thought, I know.

zilch said...

Rho- again, you disagree with J.L. Craig, who claims that all the Midianite children went to Heaven. I'll have to agree that your answer fits Scripture better, but that doesn't reflect well on God's character.

But again, as you say, it's not up to me to judge what God considers good. It's funny, however, that the same word "good" is used to describe such different categories. Sure, there's some overlap with my (and most post-Enlightenment non-psychopaths) concept of "good" and the Bible's: for instance, I would agree that it's "good" to love one's neighbor. I draw the line at genocide, killing witches, and holding slaves, however. I'm sure these seemed "good" to Israelites at the time, but most of us have evolved (if you'll pardon the expression) beyond this.

Too bad TGOTB doesn't evolve- He'd be a much nicer guy. Of course, you could say (if you're not a Gnostic) that the God of the NT is an evolved version of the God of the OT. But I'm sure you have all kinds of reasons not to do that.

cheers from vernal Vienna, zilch

Rhology said...

you disagree with J.L. Craig, who claims that all the Midianite children went to Heaven

Do you mean *W*L Craig?
I didn't say that they didn't. I said it's unclear.


that doesn't reflect well on God's character.

Been over that many times.



But again, as you say, it's not up to me to judge what God considers good

Exactly, which means that your estimation of God's character lacks any force at all, doesn't it?



I would agree that it's "good" to love one's neighbor

Good for you. What relevance does that have to anyone or anything?
No relevance.

zilch said...

You're right, rho, I meant William Lane Craig. Don't know how I hit the wrong key. I guess I'm just imperfect. Doesn't affect your difference of opinion, however: Craig is sure that little children don't go to Hell.

And yes, if God exists, then my judgment of His character doesn't have any force, or at least doesn't have enough force to persuade Him to grant me a pass to Heaven. I was merely commenting on the discrepancy between commonly held modern morals (disapproval of genocide, etc.) and God's morals, which holds even if He does exist, doubtless due to our sinful nature.

Sorry, I just can't help feeling, probably because of Darwin or the Devil, that it's wrong to slaughter children. If that feeling, because it's a factor in my decision to reject the Bible as being the Word of God, condemns me to Hell, so be it.

And the relevance of the overlap between my ideas of "good" and the Bible's is manifold: one, it means that I have some common ground with Christians; and it also makes it more comprehensible that the Bible was, and still is, considered by many people to agree with what they feel. If the Bible had only touted as "good" stuff that no one agreed with, say, that it's good to kill yourself before you have any children, it wouldn't have been such a big hit back then and now, would it?

Rhology said...

Yeah, might not have.

Say, a friend might be moving to the Vienna area to study, next autumn.
Might you be willing to meet him for a coffee or something some time?

zilch said...

Sure, rho, you've got my email address, I'd be glad to do coffee with any friend of yours. Or with you. Just drop me a line.

Damion said...

Perhaps we need two different words for "good" - one for what most native speakers of English mean by the word and a different word for whatever the Hebrew God happens to sanction.

For example:

"Killing witches obviously isn't 'good' in the ordinary sense of the word, but killing witches is טוֹב."

"Wholesale ethnic cleansing of entire tribes is not good but it is טוֹב."

"Forcing virgain POWs into arranged marriages is not good but it is טוֹב."

Or we could just assume that most people mean "good" in the ordinary sense of the term, while Rho always means "whatever God ordered people to do."

Rhology said...

That just begs the question.

Damion said...

I beg to differ.

zilch said...

I beg your pardon, rho: what question does Damion's proposal beg? I can think of lots of possibilities- for instance:

If rho admits that slavery is not "morally prohibited" in the Bible (which is what he says here) then why not still do it?

Rhology said...

This: Or we could just assume that most people mean "good" in the ordinary sense of the term,

Damion said...

To which the Silastic Armorfiends of Striterax said, "Read a bloody dictionary," and plunged back into the fray.

Rhology said...

Oh no, not the dreaded argumentum ad Webster!
Whatever shall I do besides challenge the definition of what "most people think 'good' is"? You know, which would be entirely consistent with my worldview?

Damion said...

Virtually all modern English language dictionaries are self-consciously descriptive, that is, they simply record the language and how its words are used.

Perhaps you can find some dictionary that uses the term "good" the way you do, and we'll stipulate that this is the defintion you are using. Do not expect, however, that most native speakers of English will get your meaning unless you make it clear that you are using "good" in a specialised theological sense.

Rhology said...

Perhaps you can find some dictionary that uses the term "good" the way you do

Why would this be a relevant activity?


Do not expect, however, that most native speakers of English will get your meaning unless you make it clear that you are using "good" in a specialised theological sense.

Indeed. I might need to start a blog or something. ;-)

Damion said...

Why would this be a relevant activity?

It might help avoid confusion when using words in highly unusual, archaic, or idiosyncratic ways. Once you become aware that people are using words differently than you are, it becomes easier for you to communicate effectively with them. I assume here that effective communication is sort of the point of having a blog. Perhaps, though, it's just for the lulz.

zilch said...

Rho- seeing as you're alive and blogging, could you spare a few seconds and reply to my question at Triablogue? Steve has yet to allow my latest post there, and everyone else has disappeared- you're my last hope. Thanks.

Rhology said...

What is the question?

PeaceByJesus said...

Just wondering if you have ever seen this site, which has articles as the below which relate to the above:

http://www.truefreethinker.com/articles/new-atheism-further-evidence-its-deleterious-effects-part-1-2

And here is another page from a duifferent site that is also relevant:
http://www.epsociety.org/library/articles.asp?pid=45&mode=detail (Is Yahweh a Moral Monster?)

May God bless your stand for truth.

PeaceByJesus said...

A while ago i responded to a charge of rape here, http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/2562273/posts?page=234#234, by one who could not allow any other possible conclusion other than what justified his animosity toward God.

Damion said...

Greetings PeaceByJesus!

Speaking of rape in the Bible, what became of the 15,968 virgin girls which were given to the veterans of the battle, in your best estimation?

Rhology said...

Did you mean "speaking of things which I without evidence attribute to rape in the Bible..."?

Damion said...

I'm just going off the text Rho. Moses instructed them to keep the virgins for themselves, and in Deut 21 he provides a procedure for humiliating and sexually subjugating virgin captives.

PeaceByJesus said...

?What became of the 15,968 virgin girls?

They were sold to Muhammad, who arrived thru a worm hole, and beamed them up to his paradise?

But if you want to be taken seriously, then try to deal with the text in context, not in self righteous moral outrage, esp seeing as atheism lacks any proven transcendent moral authority, and its objectively baseless moral reasoning can easily justify the same manner of killing (as history shows) which it condemns religion for, or worse.

For which they try to blame "political religion" for, but this is what atheism fosters, as as man will always worship something, the created or the Creator, though atheism must attribute power of deity to the former.

As for the rape issue, the Creator, after abundantly manifesting that He was just that, in such ways that there could be no atheists (not as one who just appears in dreams), commands the Israelite. whom He powerfully delivered from slavery and obscurity, and who were held to a much higher standard, to eliminate a terminally immoral people, whom God allowed to continue propagating their malignant iniquity for a long time, but as now He finally will prevent them from doing so anymore, so He uses the Nuclear Option, at least in effect.

Of course, some atheists actually demand that if God (hypothetically allowed) was going to eliminate a people then He should've use the Sodom and Gomorrah plan, as these atheist brites in their lofty sites always know what would be the best plan for God to use in the ancient world.

Well, perhaps God wanted the Israelites to realize what a bloody and hard thing war is, rather than it being a nice clean large scale disintegration chamber, but i think God knew what He was doing in any case.

Back to Moses, other unholy nations were treated differently, as they were to be offered peace and become tributaries, but "if it will make no peace with thee, but will make war against thee, then thou shalt besiege it: And when the Lord thy God hath delivered it into thine hands, thou shalt smite every male thereof with the edge of the sword: But the women, and the little ones, and the cattle, and all that is in the city, even all the spoil thereof, shalt thou take unto thyself;.." (Deuteronomy 20:12-14)

This was the manner of warfare, but rather than fornication, or merciless submission or abandonment, if they saw among the captives a beautiful woman, and desired to marry her, then he was to bring her home to his house, where she would shave her head, and pare her nails put the raiment of her captivity from off her, and shall remain in his house, and bewail her father and her mother a full month," and only after that could he consummate the marriage.

Moreover, if the man later had no delight in her, then he had to let her go whither she will; but could sell her at all for money, “thou shalt not make merchandise of her, because thou hast humbled her." (Deuteronomy 21:10-14)

Note that these were enemies of Israel, and yet the were free to leave.

Now i am sure atheist objects to God killing the Canaanites, and for that matter i would be surprised if most objected to pornography or "responsible" fornication, but if the such cleansing were allowed, then i suppose they would have Moses set up something like eharmony for all these to find husbands with, or perhaps set up a socialistic paradise, in which all would get a check in the mail.

Anyway, i not only think that as with slavery, this was superior than the normal arraignment in the ANE, and that God was just in punishing established impenitent destructive iniquity, which flowed from their idolatry (which nationally was not punished in isolation from immorality), and merciful in showing the world who the True God was and providing good things and good laws.

Which we have all misused and broken, and thus need redemption at God/Christ's expense and credit.

Damion said...

atheism lacks any proven transcendent moral authority

No, the universe lacks any proven transcendent moral authority. Atheists simply acknowledge this to be so.

He uses the Nuclear Option, at least in effect.

An all-powerful and supremely loving being cannot think of any better way?

In a universe without any gods, any desert tribe can make up a god and use it to justify their expansionist genocide. Muslims did this, too. Some American sermons during the period of Manifest Destiny also strike a similar tone. It’s not at all uncommon.

Well, perhaps God wanted the Israelites to realize what a bloody and hard thing war is, rather than it being a nice clean large scale disintegration chamber, but i think God knew what He was doing in any case.

Assuming God is real, He must have had some very compelling reasons for the genocide, no doubt. What did you say they were?

This was the manner of warfare, but rather than fornication, or merciless submission or abandonment, if they saw among the captives a beautiful woman, and desired to marry her, then he was to bring her home to his house, where she would shave her head, and pare her nails put the raiment of her captivity from off her, and shall remain in his house, and bewail her father and her mother a full month," and only after that could he consummate the marriage.

Oh, well, then that is clearly not *rape* because she had a whole month to get used to the idea of sexual and domestic servitude to the man who slaughtered killed her family. I completely retract my earlier objections.

Moreover, if the man later had no delight in her, then he had to let her go whither she will; but could sell her at all for money, “thou shalt not make merchandise of her, because thou hast humbled her."

Humbled in this context means deflowered, right?

Rhology said...

An all-powerful and supremely loving being cannot think of any better way?

There is no "better" way, if the universe lacks any transcendent moral authority. You can't live consistently with your stated views.


He must have had some very compelling reasons for the genocide, no doubt. What did you say they were?

Sin.


Oh, well, then that is clearly not *rape* because she had a whole month to get used to the idea of sexual and domestic servitude to the man who slaughtered killed her family. I completely retract my earlier objections.

Damion's argument is apparently:
Premise 1) These women weren't married under circumstances that I imagine they would have preferred.
P2) My imagined ideas about what they would have preferred are to be taken as evidence for my view.

Conclusion: This was rape.

I must say, I've seen better arguments. Like any other argument I've ever seen.

Damion said...

Your argument is apparently as follows:

1) These women underwent a formal marriage ceremony imposed upon them by their captors

2) Any lawfully married war bride automatically consents to being ‘humbled’ by her new husband

:. This was not rape

In short, marriage implies consent. Sound about right?

Damion said...

There is no "better" way, if the universe lacks any transcendent moral authority. You can't live consistently with your stated views.

You seem to be confusing an internal critque of the Bible for an external one, at this point, Rho. If Christians claim that God is loving and merciful (as they generally do) one might imagine He could have been a fair bit more loving and merciful than to command wholesale genocide of everyone other than the pretty young virgins.

Rhology said...

1) No response to my last comment. Check.
2) I don't recall making a statement on the consent or not of the women.
3) I do recall asking you to give evidence that they didn't consent. Which you haven't provided. You've IMPLIED that if you were:
-a woman (you're not; you're a man)
-in the ANE (you're not; you're a 21st-century middle class Westerner)
-in their situation (you're not; you've never belonged to a wildly pagan culture that practiced born-child sacrifice, then been taken into a God-fearing community of people who've seen a holy God at work in their lives)

you wouldn't've given consent.
Fair enough. But why would that matter to anyone?

Also, do you have some moral objection to raping women? Some reason why nobody should do it? Some justification for imposing your morality on others?

Rhology said...

If Christians claim that God is loving and merciful (as they generally do) one might imagine He could have been a fair bit more loving and merciful than to command wholesale genocide of everyone other than the pretty young virgins.

YOU'RE the one confusing external with internal critique. You haven't been; a truly internal critique would take as most fundamental the idea that no man is in any position to judge as moral faulty a command of God.

In other words, you need to go back to the drawing board.

Rhology said...

morally* faulty

Damion said...

Rho,

Are you seriously suggesting that all of the 15,968 virgin girls consented to be married and ‘humbled’ by their captors, because that is just how women were back then? After seeing their families slaughtered and their towns torched, they had no problem giving themselves willingly to those perpetrated these acts? It doesn't occur to you that they would most likely be terrified, angry and resentful in that situtation, even though they are merely women of the ANE?

truly internal critique would take as most fundamental the idea that no man is in any position to judge as morally faulty a command of God.

I don't remember using the term "morally faulty" or anything like it. I said that Christians describe their deity as loving and merciful, and pointed out that killing the men and raping the virgins is not particularly loving nor merciful towards anyone involved. The internal conflict is between how the Bible describes your deity and the commands that he is alledged to have given.

Rhology said...

Are you seriously suggesting that all of the 15,968 virgin girls consented to be married and ‘humbled’ by their captors, because that is just how women were back then?

You're just confirming my diagnosis of your argument's strategy, without taking into account what I just said.


It doesn't occur to you that they would most likely be terrified, angry and resentful in that situtation, even though they are merely women of the ANE?

1) "Merely" is your word, not mine.
2) They may have been. And your argument is....what exactly?
3) I'm not seeing the reason why I should think that any of this was morally unjustifiable.


I don't remember using the term "morally faulty" or anything like it.

Don't play ridiculous games. Why argue like this unless you think you've found a moral fault with TGoTB that Christians should acknowledge?


pointed out that killing the men and raping the virgins is not particularly loving nor merciful towards anyone involved.

1) Aren't you forgetting the victims?
2) I mean, you clearly forgot that God is also just, so... I figured maybe you didn't remember.
3) Since all humans deserve death right now, every breath those ppl got to take, every moment they got to live was b/c of God's love and mercy.
4) You haven't proven God commanded rape. You've just told us that you'd consider it rape if you were in their shoes, and been unable to show why anyone would think that your projected opinion is relevant.


The internal conflict is between how the Bible describes your deity and the commands that he is alledged to have given.

Except there is no conflict. It's actually extremely straightforward, but your emotion clouds your judgment.
Whatever God commands is by definition morally upright and good. No man is in any position to judge as morally faulty a command of God.

If you can keep that in your memory going forward, you might be able to actually formulate an internal critique. Whether it will be successful is another question, but at least you'd have made a start.

Damion said...

Are you seriously suggesting that all of the 15,968 virgin girls consented to be married and ‘humbled’ by their captors, because that is just how women were back then?

You're just confirming my diagnosis of your argument's strategy, without taking into account what I just said.

It’s a yes or no question, Rho. I’ll ask again - Are you seriously suggesting that all of the 15,968 virgin girls consented to be married and ‘humbled’ by their captors?

It doesn't occur to you that they would most likely be terrified, angry and resentful in that situtation, even though they are merely women of the ANE?

They may have been (terrified and resentful) And your argument is....what exactly?

Sexual acts performed upon one of whom one is terrified are not consensual sex acts.

I'm not seeing the reason why I should think that any of this was morally unjustifiable.

You don’t see any problem with sexually subjugating female POW’s even when they don’t come down with the Stockholm syndrome?

Why argue like this unless you think you've found a moral fault with TGoTB that Christians should acknowledge?

I already explained that I’m pointing out the internal tension between two different descriptions of TGoTB.

1) Aren't you forgetting the victims?

Which ones? The people whom the Israelites killed or the ones they kept for themselves?

2) I mean, you clearly forgot that God is also just, so... I figured maybe you didn't remember.

I don’t see what justice has to do with love. Certainly I prefer to write about the latter, because people generally share more intuitions about what counts as loving than what counts as just.

3) Since all humans deserve death right now…

What a very sad way to view the world.

4) You've just told us that you'd consider it rape if you were in their shoes

Certainly I wouldn’t do unto female POW’s as I would not be done by. This seems like a decent moral rule of thumb to me, but I cannot now recall where I first came across it.

The internal conflict remains between how the Bible describes your deity (loving and merciful) and the commands that he is alledged to have given (unloving and genocidal).

Whatever God commands is by definition morally upright and good.

If God had said to the Israelites “kill all the men, rape all the women, and eat all the children” that would have been upright and good, by definition?

Damion said...

* Meant to say "someone who is terrified..."

PeaceByJesus said...

Despite what Rhology said (thank you) and i said, your basic premise remains that God as the giver of life acted unjustly in taking away the lives away of a morally destructive people, and preventing the innocent young from perpetuating that and falling into the same damnation, and thus you presume the place of the omniscient moral supremacist.

And in order to do so, you ignore that in contrast to Islam, and a desert tribe making up a god and using it to justify their expansionist genocide, the Biblical account, instead, as i expressed, the Bible makes it clear that the mandate at issue was not just some god giving some dreams or visions, but one who made His reality unmistakably manifest. There could be no atheists among them with an degree of credibility, though that did not stop them from acting as such.

Of course, your recourse here is to deny the Biblical account, which is another debate, but we are dealing with morality in the light of the Biblical record, not your denial of it.

And as regards sexual acts being performed by the terrified, this presumes Israel sanctions such forced relations, which assumption lacks warrant, and is contrary to any description of sanctioned marital relations, while forced relations are always placed in a negative light.

And as noted, if she did not please the husband and he release her, then she could go wherever she wanted, while the law that mandated the release of a wife in the case of the neglect of equal care for a wife in food, or in clothing or in sexual relations (Exodus 21:7-11) also speaks in favor of considerate care for wives.

And in the light of the reality that barrenness of womb was most grievous, and that Israel were the victorious and ascending nation with higher laws and salvific religion, it can be reasonably surmised that to be wedded to victors in which to raise children would be viewed positively by most, and would in fact be so. And whose old husbands were likely the ones who were adulterous and abusive.

The picture you seem to hold is that of some peace-loving nation with Ozzie and Harriet (showing my age) marriages being butchered by greedy religious zealots led by an insecure deity who needs attention, which demonic imagination is wholly contrary to the Biblical reality.

However, no pagan nation was attacked simply because they did not worship the manifestly living God of Israel, but because of their long term gross iniquity, which included child abuse.

And commanding worship of the God of Israel was done as part of a covenant with the people, after God has made His reality and character abundantly manifest, And which is not to fill any need of God, who needs nothing (Acts 17:25), and who would save Himself a lot of grief without man, but which command is what is right an beneficial for man, the alternative being making the created your ultimate source of security and object of spiritual affections, but which will ultimately fail you.

And here you can see some of the various costs of America's war against God.

Rhology said...

It’s a yes or no question, Rho. I’ll ask again - Are you seriously suggesting that all of the 15,968 virgin girls consented to be married and ‘humbled’ by their captors?

What about "I have made no statement either way" don't you understand?
I am instead asking you for evidence that your interp is correct. Apparently you don't have any and are thus attempting to trap me with bad questions. But thankfully, it's a transparent ploy.


It doesn't occur to you that they would most likely be terrified, angry and resentful in that situtation, even though they are merely women of the ANE?

Asked and answered already.


Sexual acts performed upon one of whom one is terrified are not consensual sex acts.

Naked assertion, tendentious implication.



I already explained that I’m pointing out the internal tension between two different descriptions of TGoTB.

And I already explained why you're doing it wrong. Too bad you don't care enough about truth to amend your flawed strategery.



Which ones? The people whom the Israelites killed or the ones they kept for themselves?

The victims of the pagan abuses that these Canaanites engaged in all the time.



I don’t see what justice has to do with love.

1) It has a great deal to do with love. Often we must show love to the victim of a crime by exercising just judgment on the aggressor.
2) But that wasn't even what I was getting at. I didn't say "love is also just". I said "God is also just". Sometimes God's justice gets more play than His love, sometimes vice versa.



Certainly I prefer to write about the latter

And the next time we're discussing "Damion's baseless opinions on morality", I'll be happy to hear what you have to say.



3) Since all humans deserve death right now…

What a very sad way to view the world.


1) Oh, I'm sorry, I thought you were trying to do an internal critique. Guess not.
2) Why? Seems to me it's a GREAT way to view the world; Jesus is the great Redeemer of lost mankind. The love He has shown to a sinner like me is incalculable.
3) No argument is given, so what we're left with is that you think it's sad. So what? In 100 years we'll all be dead and whether I held a sad view of the world won't matter any more than that you held a happy-skippy Polyanna view of the world.
4) No, rather a view of the world in which humans amount to nothing more than biological gene-passing machines is really sad. A world in which the final answer is Meh; that's sad.



Certainly I wouldn’t do unto female POW’s as I would not be done by

1) Good for you.
2) And your argument that they weren't doing to them as they would be done by is... what? Oh, right, we've seen already many times that you don't have an argument. You're just continually making anachronistic judgments and putting yourself in their place as if you have any idea what they thought and believed.




The internal conflict remains between how the Bible describes your deity (loving and merciful) and the commands that he is alledged to have given (unloving and genocidal).

Rather the onus is on you to demonstrate the unlovingness and how a created being is in any position to make moral judgments on God, to put Him in the dock.
Since I've already asked you to give such and you're not stupid, I can only conclude that you can't fulfill said onus.


If God had said to the Israelites “kill all the men, rape all the women, and eat all the children” that would have been upright and good, by definition?

You might as well be asking me to opine on whether God could make a square circle. It is an impossibility for God to command rape, as such is against His character.

Damion said...

…your basic premise remains that God as the giver of life acted unjustly in taking away the lives away of a morally destructive people… and thus you presume the place of the omniscient moral supremacist.

Nope. I wasn’t making an argument about justice at all, as I’ve said above. I do affirm that mandating genocide is manifestly unloving towards both the victims and the perpetrators. It seemingly precluded blanket statements such as “God is love” which we find elsewhere in your Bible.

…not just some god giving some dreams or visions, but one who made His reality unmistakably manifest.

Surely Muslims have said the same of Allah. I see no reason to find your book any more compelling than theirs.

we are dealing with morality in the light of the Biblical record

For the third time, I’m not making an argument from morality.

And as regards sexual acts being performed [upon] the terrified, this presumes Israel sanctions such forced relations

There are a few premises here we need to go over carefully:

1) The captured women were terrified, having seen their loved ones slaughtered by their captors (Num 31)
2) The captured women were forced to conform to Hebrew cleansing/mourning rituals (Deut 21)
3) The captured women were forced to marry their Hebrew captors (Deut 21)
4) The captured women were then ‘humbled’ (deflowered) by their new ‘husbands’

Which of these four premises do you deny? Do you maintain that the women were given a choice at any step in the ritualized process for acquiring war brides? If so, where exactly are you reading female consent into this narrative, and why?

…forced relations are always placed in a negative light.

Other than in Deut 22:28-29, where such force is essentially prelude to honeymoon.

Exodus 21:7-11 also speaks in favor of considerate care for wives.

Is that passage about wives or concubines? It appears to me that the relevant Hebrew term here is “maid-servant, female slave, maid, handmaid, concubine” rather than wife. Indeed, I could not find anything unequivocally about marriage (as opposed to concubinage or sexual servitude) in that particular passage. Good to know, though, that Hebrew men were expected to feed and clothe their female slaves.

And whose old husbands were likely the ones who were adulterous and abusive.

Where did you get this from, respecting the Midianites in particular?

However, no pagan nation was attacked simply because they did not worship the manifestly living God of Israel, but because of their long term gross iniquity...

The Midianites seemed okay to Moses when hid among them from Pharaoh and joined his fortunes and bloodline to that of a Midian preist. Evidently, though, they were grossly iniquitous even then?

Damion said...

Naked assertion, tendentious implication.

Let me get this straight, Rho. If the woman is terrified of the man who is on top of her (the man who killed her relatives) that counts as consenual sex in your book?

Damion said...

It is an impossibility for God to command rape, as such is against His character.

Where exactly are you getting this from, Rho?

PeaceByJesus said...

Pt. 1
>your basic premise remains that God as the giver of life acted unjustly in taking away the lives away of a morally destructive people… and thus you presume the place of the omniscient moral supremacist.<

Nope. I wasn’t making an argument about justice at all, as I’ve said above. I do affirm that mandating genocide is manifestly unloving towards both the victims and the perpetrators.

Your whole argument is that of judgment as to what is just, which forces the context into being that of an innocent nations being murdered by Israel under the equivalent of the Islamic Allah, rather than God finally exterminating wicked peoples, and stopping generational iniquity as He did with Sodom and under Noah, which you in your superior omniscience and judgment cannot allow to be just, or the taking of women to be wives as part of judgment, and yet showing unmerited mercy toward them.

This “genocide” was not the systematic killing of people on the basis of ethnicity, religion, political opinion, social status, but was due to immorality as a consequence of their religion, and make work for good for those who love what is Good. Thus judging the former was a beneficial act which only God could determine, and therefore making Himself unmistakably evident prior to the giving of the Law, and the conquests, is a critical aspect, while you must relegate this to being fables in order to fit your construct.

It seemingly precluded blanket statements such as “God is love” which we find elsewhere in your Bible.

Such a statement is simply another example of you judging what the Bible means by your idea of love, which for an atheist can means whatever seems reasonable to them, including taking away the children of Christians or outright killing them.

In Scripture, love is grieved by iniquity, which is what is destructive, and must deal with it, and the author of life uniquely has the right to take it away, and make it work for the good of those who love righteousness. Note that God also warned of execution of those who normally afflicted widows and the fatherless (a capital crime for man).

Surely Muslims have said the same of Allah. I see no reason to find your book any more compelling than theirs.

Surely? This is just another example of your practice of arguing according to your assumptions. While the Qur'an refers to a few miracles, these are only those which are appropriated from Biblical stories, about people already written in the Jewish Old Testament (and the illiterate Muhammad skews some of them), and it has no historical narratives like the ones in which precede the commands of conquest, and which accompany many.

Muhammad had no such contemporary proof that this was the living God before he began his wars of conquest. He first thought was that he had come under demonic influence, and resolved to go to the top of a mountain and commit suicide lest anyone find out. (3,4) There simply is no comparison here.

For the third time, I’m not making an argument from morality.

Your premise is that God acted immorally, according to your supreme judgment. If you will not see that this is your case then we can hardly continue.

And as regards sexual acts being performed [upon] the terrified, this presumes Israel sanctions such forced relations

There are a few premises here we need to go over carefully:
1) The captured women were terrified, having seen their loved ones slaughtered by their captors (Num 31)

PeaceByJesus said...

Pt. 2

A somewhat reasonable assumption overall to a degree, especially from today's perspective, but which degree presumes they were shocked by brutality, rather than that being a regular occurrence, as with child sacrifice, and that they were treated well by husbands, and that while shocked, they were also relieved at having their lives spared as an iniquitous people .

And this is what you are missing, as you continue to want to treat this as if it were the Brady bunch being murdered, rather than it being a judgment of genocide due to institutional iniquity, which delivered another generation from continuing it and facing the same, by a God whose reality was unmistakably manifest.

Your utter refusal to even allow the omniscient Creator and author of life to judicially take it, using men to whom He first powerfully revealed Himself, and instead to treat this if it were Pol Pot or Mao (the atheist) is necessary for your argument, but simply reveals your atheistic rejection of objectivity in your quest to disallow the authority of God over you.

2) The captured women were forced to conform to Hebrew cleansing/mourning rituals (Deut 21)

This is hardly terrifying, and the Army required more of draftees. Likely you unequivocally oppose that as well, while these laws were beneficial.

3) The captured women were forced to marry their Hebrew captors (Deut 21)

Indeed, and rather than being killed as deserved they were married with the possibility of raising a family as a wife or leaving if the husband did not want you. Again, your premise that these were innocent victims is a problem.

4) The captured women were then ‘humbled’ (deflowered) by their new ‘husbands’

Yes, they were indeed humbled, though it is unlikely they were mostly virgins, and POWS also do get humbled. But being delivered from a degenerate country and becoming part of the victorious nation and raising a family as part of it is rarer, but that is the context, and something else you cannot allow as a possibility.

Which of these four premises do you deny? Do you maintain that the women were given a choice at any step in the ritualized process for acquiring war brides? If so, where exactly are you reading female consent into this narrative, and why?

I deny they lived in terror, or were necessarily terrorized by any but likely the first event, while being shown mercy and not what they (or we) deserved, besides Hell, and instead they could normally have a positive future to look forward to. And the consent i am referring to is that of engaging in relations, rather than being forced. And in that culture to be barren was a cause of grief.

Unlike the Qur'an, the Bible nowhere instructs beating wives. And the record of Judges 19 is not sanction.

PeaceByJesus said...

Pt. 3

>…forced relations are always placed in a negative light.<

Other than in Deut 22:28-29, where such force is essentially prelude to honeymoon.

I was aware of that when i wrote “negative,” as that is just what it is. But context is a little something the atheistic polemicists typically leave out or misconstrue, and in this case it is a form of rape, and the man is penalized for it, and can never put her away, and the women delivered from being one far less likely to be married and raise children, which was the paramount importance. Here again you are anachronistically reading the modern dating game or means of procuring a wife into the ANE.

And what is also evidenced but excluded in your perception is that her father must consent to the marriage, as the parallel verse stipulates, and also refers the man enticing a wife, and the giving of the dowry infers. This refers to the father having judgment as to whether the man would be a fit husband, and the communal nature of the Israelite culture fostered marriage to be a social contract.

>Exodus 21:7-11 also speaks in favor of considerate care for wives.<

Is that passage about wives or concubines? It appears to me that the relevant Hebrew term here is “maid-servant, female slave, maid, handmaid, concubine” rather than wife. Indeed, I could not find anything unequivocally about marriage (as opposed to concubinage or sexual servitude) in that particular passage. Good to know, though, that Hebrew men were expected to feed and clothe their female slaves.

Concubines are wives, if secondary and perhaps more economical to obtain. Abraham's concubines, Hagar and Keturah, were also called wives (Gen 25:1; 1Ch 1:32), as was Bilhah, Jacob's concubine. (Gen 30:4; 35:22). And contrary to your expected compulsory minimization of care, they were not to feed and clothe them as slaves, but not only was the women to be treated after the manner of daughters, but the husband had to treat her equally as a wife. And here and here are good links which can help you see the issue of slavery in context and other than it being a monolithic institution or only as in the antebellum South.

Where did you get this from, respecting the Midianites in particular?
The Midianites seemed okay to Moses when hid among them from Pharaoh and joined his fortunes and bloodline to that of a Midian preist. Evidently, though, they were grossly iniquitous even then?


“They' must be distinguished from exceptions within the extensive land of Midian, in which one may have retained the worship of the true God, being of the seed of Abraham, while simply being idolaters does not render one a hostile adversary to Israel, (the Gibeonites were idolaters but made peace with Israel), and the Midianites were not one of the 7 nations slated for utter extermination in the land of Canaan.

But within less than a generation things can change for good or for bad iIn 1940 one would hardly believe that in less than a generation the U.S. and Japan would be an allies) and toward the close of the forty years' wandering of the children of Israel in the wilderness, the Midianites were allied with the Moabites in the attempt to exterminate the Israelites. The elders of Midian acted with those of Moab in calling Balaam to curse Israel, and also oppressed Israel. (Numbers 22:1-41 25:1-18 31:1-54.) They are thought to have worshipped a multitude of gods, including Baal-peor and the Queen of Heaven, Ashteroth,

PeaceByJesus said...

More on Midianites:

The Midianites seem to have been then a powerful and independent nation; they allied themselves with the Amalekites and the children of the East, and they oppressed the Israelites so severely that the last-named were obliged to seek refuge in caves and strongholds; they destroyed their crops and reduced them to extreme poverty (ib. vi. 1-6). The allied army of Midianites and Amalekites encamped in the valley of Jezreel (ib. vi. 33) after having crossed the Jordan. Gideon with his army encamped by the fountain of Harod, the Midianite army being to the north of him. With 300 men Gideon succeeded in surprising and routing them, and they fled homeward across the Jordan in confusion (ib. vii. 1-24).

A point worth noting is that here only two Midianite kings, Zebah and Zalmuna, and two princes, Oreb and Zeeb, are mentioned (ib. vii. 25; viii. 3, 5, 10, 12, 18, 21). This would show that only two tribes bore the name "Midianites," while the remaining three probably were merged with other Arabic tribes, their kinsmen, and perhaps partly with the Israelites also.

Midian is stated to have been "subdued before the children of Israel, so that they lifted up their heads no more" (ib. viii. 28). http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/10804-midian-and-midianites

Damion said...

PeaceByJesus,

You are mischaracterizing my argument again. My contention is merely that it was not loving towards the Midianites to slaughter their men and take their young women to be war brides. Your answer seems to be that it was completely justified (which is a whole other can of worms) but that’s not really answering my point.

This “genocide” was not the systematic killing of people on the basis of ethnicity, religion, political opinion, social status, but was due to immorality…

Where exactly does it say that they are being killed for something other than being Midianites (an ethnicity) or for practicing the religion in which they were raised?

…while you must relegate this to being fables in order to fit your construct.

They do look an awful lot like fables, though. There is even a talking donkey in the lead up to the particular genocide under discussion. Of course, the Quran looks like fables as well, but (as you pointed out it) makes fewer fantastic claims. Either way, though, you’re stuck with the problem of pointing to an old book loaded with undoubtedly horrific but alleged divine mandates for bloody conquest (in the name of a purportedly loving and merciful deity) as your main piece of evidence.

Such a statement is simply another example of you judging what the Bible means by your idea of love

It’s not my idea, it’s a word in the English language. I take it to mean what it usually means to native speakers of the language.

In Scripture, love is grieved by iniquity, which is what is destructive, and must deal with it, and the author of life uniquely has the right to take it away, and make it work for the good of those who love righteousness.

Sweet loving genocide, for the greater good. Fascinating...

Might there have been more *loving* means than wholesale slaughter available to an all powerful being to solve the problem of the Midianites existing alongside the Hebrews?

Your premise is that God acted immorally, according to your supreme judgment.

For the fifth time, I’m not making an argument from morality.

If you will not see that this is your case then we can hardly continue.

Until you see that this is an argument about what constitutes loving behavior towards people (e.g. Midianites) we should perhaps not continue.

The problem here isn’t all that hard to spot. Ask any grade-schooler whether it is loving to slice up married people and kidnap their daughters, and they will tell you that it obviously is NOT loving behavior. You can tell them that the Midianites were a very sinful people (unlike who?) so they must have totally deserved it, but that won’t help, because meting out justice simply isn’t the same thing as treating someone with love. Even a kid can see that.

Wahy don’t you just bite the bullet and admit that your God, in your Book, clearly didn’t love the Midianites in the usual sense of that term?

Rhology said...

It’s not my idea, it’s a word in the English language. I take it to mean what it usually means to native speakers of the language.

And if Damion had some way to prove that his/mankind's concept of love is to be preferred over God's, he might have something.

As it stands, he has nothing.

Damion said...

All I'm asking is that you consult the translation committees and ask them to change "God is love" to "God is love*" with an asterisk to indicate that the word means whatever God might want it to mean (up to and including genocide) without any regard to fallible human language and ideas. That way, Christians will stand blameless of falsely advertising using easily understandable human concepts such as the everyday notion of what it means to be loving.

Rhology said...

Here's an idea - maybe every word in the BIble should have an asterisk saying "Did you know that to determine the meaning of a word in any human communication, you should consult the context in which it appears?"

Now, it might make the Bible a good bit longer, but I think you've got a great idea cookin' here. You should pitch it to Zondervan. I'm sure they'd be all over it.

PeaceByJesus said...

• Pt. 1

You are mischaracterizing my argument again. My contention is merely that it was not loving towards the Midianites to slaughter their men and take their young women to be war brides.

Which is a moral argument — you against the Bible, with your perception of God as Genghis Khan killing the Nelson family, versus the omniscient Creator taking life that He gave in judgment upon a wicked people (while not leaving these ones without a blood line), for the benefit of those who others who choose good.

Where exactly does it say that they are being killed for something other than being Midianites (an ethnicity) or for practicing the religion in which they were raised?

As seen in the provided references, . (Num. 22:1-41: 25:1-18 31:1-54, http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/10804-midian-and-midianites) to which is added Jdg. 6, Also see http://christianthinktank.com/midian.html, which source i used for three quotes here.

"And the elders of Moab and the elders of Midian departed with the rewards of divination in their hand; and they came unto Balaam, and spake unto him the words of Balak. " (Num. 22:7)

Thus the Midianites, were confederate with Moabites who are revealed as continually seeking Israel to be cursed, and though their first attempts failed, they soon succeeded:

"And Israel abode in Shittim, and the people began to commit whoredom with the daughters of Moab. And they called the people unto the sacrifices of their gods: and the people did eat, and bowed down to their gods. " (Num.25:1-2)

Physical fornication was part of such idolatry (the mother of all sins), and thus, referring to Israel's declension into idolatry and nakedness under Aaron who made the golden calf, (Ex. 32:19-25) 1 Cor. 10:7-8 warns, "Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand. "

Thus in prefacing the order to “Vex the Midianites, and smite them,” God said,

For they vex you with their wiles, wherewith they have beguiled you in the matter of Peor, and in the matter of Cozbi, the daughter of a prince of Midian, their sister, which was slain in the day of the plague for Peor's sake. (Num 25:17-18)

“The matter of Peor“ refers to the doctrine of Balaam,” who went to the top of Peor, and later brought Israel into idolatry with it fornication.

"But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication." (Revelation 2:14)

And thus Phinehas “joined together — with a spear — the fornicating Israelite and a Midianitish woman, whom the man had brazenly brought in even in the sight of Moses. (Num. 25:6-9)

“The Moabites worshipped the war god Cheomsh, but they must have also indulged in the fertility religion of Baal. This cult was marked by some of the most depraved religious practices in Canaan. In lurid and orgiastic rites, the worshippers would emulate the sacred prostitution of their gods and goddesses, often also participating in a ceremonial meal.” [HSOBX, at Num 25]

“It is clear that, after sexual relationships had led to participation in the pagan sacrificial feasts, the next step was a formal association with a particular god. That god was Baal-Peor. Baal was the name of the great Canaanite god of vegetation.” [NICOT, Numbers, p517]

Next, note also that the Midianites were tribes, and it is understood that “while a part of each tribe dwelt in cities and fortresses in the vicinity of Moab, another part led a nomadic life, living in tents and apparently remote from the seat of the war.”

One source also says “There is evidence that Midian exercised a protectorate over Moab, Edom, and Sinai from ca. 1250-1000 BC.” (Eissfeldt).

PeaceByJesus said...

• Pt. 2

The ISBE also states, “The Kenites appear to have been a branch of the Midianites...See KENITES. Again, the tribesmen are named indifferently Ishmaelites and Midianites (Gen_37:25, Gen_37:28, Gen_37:36; Jdg_8:22, Jdg_8:24).”

And God did not command their utter racial extermination, and after Israel slew all the male Midianites who they found or battled, (Num. 31:1-18) we later read, “And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD: and the LORD delivered them into the hand of Midian seven years.” And the hand of Midian prevailed against Israel: and because of the Midianites the children of Israel made them the dens which are in the mountains, and caves, and strong holds...nd they encamped against them, and destroyed the increase of the earth, till thou come unto Gaza, and left no sustenance for Israel, neither sheep, nor ox, nor ass. ....And Israel was greatly impoverished because of the Midianites; and the children of Israel cried unto the LORD. Jdg. 6:1,2,4,6)

In addition, in giving laws against a variety of physical sins, the Lord stated, "Defile not ye yourselves in any of these things: for in all these the nations are defiled which I cast out before you: And the land is defiled: therefore I do visit the iniquity thereof upon it, and the land itself vomiteth out her inhabitants. " (Leviticus 18:24-25)

Thus the reason for their extermination or expulsion of these peoples, was moral iniquity flowing from idolatry, and included Midianites who shared in such. Psalms 106:35-38 also records in regards to Israel's spiritual and moral declension, "But were mingled among the heathen, and learned their works. And they served their idols: which were a snare unto them. Yea, they sacrificed their sons and their daughters unto devils, And shed innocent blood, even the blood of their sons and of their daughters, whom they sacrificed unto the idols of Canaan: and the land was polluted with blood. " (Psalms 106:35-38)

They do look an awful lot like fables, though

Your rejection of Divine inspiration is another issue; here i am dealing with whether God acted immorally according to what the Bible says, as this was your charge, “just going off the text,” but proceeded to substitute your scenario in seeking to misconstrue God according to your vision or polemical needs.

you’re stuck with the problem of pointing to an old book loaded with undoubtedly horrific but alleged divine mandates for bloody conquest (in the name of a purportedly loving and merciful deity)

I am not the one “stuck” with something, as it is you who are stuck with a perverse idea of love divorced from justice and holiness, while as mentioned, unlike the Qur'an, the Bible makes it very clear that the supernatural reality of the living and true God was first made abundantly evident (as was what the unprincipled depravity of man could do) before calling the people into covenant, or executing judgment upon those who loved darkness and degradation.

>Such a statement is simply another example of you judging what the Bible means by your idea of love.<

It’s not my idea, it’s a word in the English language. I take it to mean what it usually means to native speakers of the language.

I see. So you are one who judges the Bible according to your idea of love, besides making the Midianities after your image, rather than allowing the Bible to define its terms in judging its consistency with its claims which you invoke.

Might there have been more *loving* means than wholesale slaughter available to an all powerful being to solve the problem of the Midianites existing alongside the Hebrews?

If you read my earlier response, you would have seen this move was anticipated.

PeaceByJesus said...

• Pt. 3

The reality is that the Creator is the one who ultimately defines what is right, just and merciful, and being omniscient and omnipotent, attributes not shared by man, He alone has the unique ability, wisdom and right to act in any way that expresses and effects what is right, just and merciful, and judgment upon evil can effect mercy toward others. Even if we may disagree from our perch in the universe. Certainly love for children hates that which affects them for evil, yet the same hand that hugs must also spanks if needed, while an aspect of such love can also demand capital punishment for child molesters. Spiritually, this love for good and hatred of evil, reward and punishment, extends into eternity, in two directions of contradistinction.

For the fifth time, I’m not making an argument from morality.

From the beginning you have argued that God acted immorally according to your idea of what that is, and you continue to do so.

Until you see that this is an argument about what constitutes loving behavior towards people (e.g. Midianites) we should perhaps not continue.

It is, “according to the text,” by dealing with the source of the account you invoked, not rejecting its veracity as polemically needed, or judging it by the external ever-morphing morality of you, which can differ from other atheists, etc.

Ask any grade-schooler whether it is loving to slice up married people and kidnap their daughters, and they will tell you that it obviously is NOT loving behavior.

That is, unless they were raised up by such moral authorities as atheistic Communists who taught then this was right. And perhaps they are right. Perhaps they were facing a race of Nazis determined to ruin or kill them who would not relent by normal means of deterrence.

It is also fitting that your appeal is to the judgment of those who have a superficial grasp of morality (and who would likely say war is always wrong), and are given only your perception of the context, as this is judgment what you are showing. Certainly doing unto others as you would have them do unto you makes sense, but as multitudes of even parents show, such motive without wisdom and underlying morality, can mean loving to death by indulgence. Every war, just as well as unjust, can be justified as doing to others (defending them from evil as perceived by them) as they would have others do to them.

However, in Scripture “love thy neighbor” and the “golden rule” is not based upon the “golden compass” of man's own sovereign reasoning, though reasoning is fostered in Scripture, but is preceded by “love the Lord thy God” and thus by its definition of righteousness. Therefore exhortation to obeying of the Law was prefaced by, "Ye shall not do after all the things that we do here this day, every man whatsoever is right in his own eyes. " (Deuteronomy 12:8) It is upon that basis that moral judgment is rendered. And rather than the exceedingly superficial view of atheists, Biblical theology as regards jurisprudence can be quite deep.

Moreover, while religion in general can be used to justify anything, so can the objectively baseless moral reasoning of atheism, as it rejects any transcendent moral authority as greater than his own reasoning, (even if the atheist may pick and choose from sources), that the atheist himself being the supreme judge.

And which can result in very diverse ideas as to what is right, even in basic actions, none being subject to any other, which moral supremacy and rejection of any supreme moral authority is what they are most unified in (thus anarchy tends to be a cousin to atheism), and has shown itself to be capable of the same degree of moral atrocities it charges religion with in its rage against against it, without distinctions.

PeaceByJesus said...

• Pt. 4

However, in regard to warfare, unlike religions as Islam which is bound to 7th century means of conquest, under the New Covenant the Lord's kingdom is not from here, else would His servants fight, and instead its weapons are spiritual, and it nowhere sanctions the church waging war against its theological foes by physical force (the just use of which it sanctions for the State), or taking vengeance thereby, or ruling over those without by such. (Jn. 18:36; 1Cor. 5:12,13; 2Cor. 10:3,4; Rm. 12:19; Eph. 6:12; 1Pt. 2:14; Rm. 13:1-5) Thus such things as the crusades were done by man presuming supremacy over Scripture, and fostering ignorance of it.

with an asterisk to indicate that the word means whatever God might want it to mean

Unlike atheists, wise men know not to superimpose their ideas on a dictionary, which in this case is not the superficial reasoning of some atheistic polemicists, but is revealed in a comprehensive revelation in a complimentary, not contradictory manner.

Wahy don’t you just bite the bullet and admit that your God, in your Book, clearly didn’t love the Midianites in the usual sense of that term?

Why need to bite the bullet and admit that your god is you, and has a superficial idea of both the Bible and of love and moral reasoning, and under atheistic moral reasoning your kin, as moral supremacists, have justified the slaughter of millions who would not bow to them in their quest to fashion the world after their image and liking and which attempts fostered a type of “religion” itself as it must.

Sorry for the length, but morality is a substantial subject.

PeaceByJesus said...

"Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh." (Matthew 12:34) and resorting to such liberal against the longsuffering Rhoblogy, what was rightly deleted, is a testimony to the debased moral reasoning of the one who wrote it.

Damion said...

Liberal? Do you mean libel?