Imagine that your country is invaded or taken over by a group of religious fanatics. These fanatics enter your home, and point guns at you and your family. They give you a choice. You can either accept their god-based government, or be shot. You ask for a list of their divinely-inspired laws. Your 2 young daughters tremble with fear as you carefully read through each law. You eventually come to one that says…
Any adult male who rapes a young female that is not engaged must pay the father of the girl $51, after which he must marry the girl.
Upon reading this, would you…
- decide that the god of these fanatics is either a lunatic or a delusion, concede that the future bodes only pain and injustice for you and your family, and ask the fanatics to kill you all?
- decide to attempt to survive the ordeal, and tell the fanatics that you will accept their terms, though you secretly hate or dismiss any god who would make such a law?
- decide that any god who would write such a law is clearly a god of mercy and justice, and fall on your knees to worship him?
This is not a silly hypothetical exercise in morality. If the Jehovah of biblical fame had been a bit more merciful in his great mercy, this might have been an actuality. If you and your family had converted to Judaism back a couple thousand years ago, the following social environment is what you could have expected.
“If a man happens to meet a virgin who is not pledged to be married and rapes her and they are discovered, he shall pay the girl’s father fifty shekels of silver (about $51). He must marry the girl, for he has violated her. He can never divorce her as long as he lives. (Deuteronomy 22:28)”
No joke. Look this verse up in your own bible.
However, there is no sense in sparing the life of a grumpy prospective father-in-law who is unaccepting of Jehovah’s sense of justice. Jehovah, in his mercy, had the fathers killed.
“Completely destroy all the males and every woman who is not a virgin.” Then guess what happens. Read for yourself the rest of Judges 21:10-24.
“Now kill all the boys and all the women who have slept with a man. Only the young girls who are virgins may live; you may keep them for yourselves.” This is found in Numbers 31:7-18.
“…kill every man in the town. But you may keep for yourselves all the women, children, livestock, and other plunder. You may enjoy the spoils of your enemies that the LORD your God has given you.” Read the entire passage in Deuteronomy 20:10-14.
“Thus says the Lord: ‘I will bring evil upon you out of your own house. I will take your wives while you live to see it, and will give them to your neighbor. He shall lie with your wives in broad daylight.’” 2 Samuel 12:11-14.
Christians often claim that you know when you are sinning because of the guilt you feel. How many of you would feel guilty while obeying Jehovah by raping a woman while her husband looked on?
And some claim the bible is the source of morality.
While most moral intuitions run contrary to Jehovah’s, it is possible that, if Jehovah exists, he may be actually that malicious. There is nothing incoherent about the notion of a malicious and unjust god. It’s just that that bible claims Jehovah is both loving and just. I don’t want to jump to conclusions, but can I suggest that raping a woman in front of her husband seems a bit of a departure from conventional definitions of justice. But who are we to question Jehovah? It’s just that you really can’t cover your ears while she is crying and he is yelling while you get on with your godly duty.
So, would any one of you claim that raping a woman in front of her husband was ever the righteous thing to do?
- If not, Jehovah is therefore not the immutable source of morality the bible alleges he is, and the bible is therefore not the source of infallible truth christians claim it is.
- If so, keep yourself and your god away from my daughters.