Wednesday, February 10, 2010

DEUTERONOMY: A Christian "Reader" Comments

I always enjoy when someone comments on one of my posts regardless of whether we agree or not. What bothers me however is when someone obviously didn't really read what I had written, picks out a small fragment which of what I wrote about, and then proceeds to spin that off into a completely different direction. This time an anonymous commenter decided to comment on my post for Deuteronomy: Chapter 17 and decided to focus briefly on verse 17:17 before beginning their proselytizing.

Deuteronomy 17:17 has Moses stating that kings of Israel should not have multiple wives. It reads as follows:
17:17 " Neither shall he multiply wives to himself, that his heart turn not away: neither shall he greatly multiply to himself silver and gold."
The commenter decides to focus in on this and mistakenly refers to polygamy as a "sin". They begin:
It is hard to understand why such Godly men committed such sins as polygamy.
First off, the term 'godly' is irrelevant because morality is a separate concept from religious belief. I realize that some religious people believe that morality is tied in with their belief system, but that is false. Atheists, agnostic, and people of non-theistic faiths act morally and immorally at the same rate as theists (a recent study in Science Daily confirms this as well).

Secondly, nowhere in the bible is polygamy defined as a "sin". Similar to how the bible treats divorce, it is accepted but not endorsed. The point that the bible attempts to make when addressing polygamy is that a man who takes another wife is not to neglect the needs of his first wife, as we've seen in Exodus: Chapter 21
21:10 "If he take him another wife; her food, her raiment, and her duty of marriage, shall he not diminish."
The closest you can come to labeling polygamy as a sin is with two passages in the New Testament from the book of Mark. Mark 10:11 and Mark 19:9 give similar messages and read as follows:
10:11 "Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery against her."
19:9 "Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery."
While it may appear that polygamy is being compared to adultery in these verses, this isn't the case. If we look at the bolded text the qualifier clearly is whomever "puts away his (first) wife" to marry another - meaning a man who forsakes his first wife's needs in order to marry someone else. Basically every man has limited resources that (according to biblical marriage) he is to provide for his wife: food, money, sex, etc. What the bible is trying to say is that cutting your wife's food, money, sex, etc. down in order to marry another person would be considered adultery. The bible isn't endorsing polygamy either, as many bible verses endorse monogamy such as this verse in 1 Corinthians:
7:2 "Let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband."
The point is that there is no reference in the bible that defines polygamy as a "sin", which shows me that the commenter probably doesn't know their own scripture very well.

The Great things is that God is a loving and graceful God, using imperfect men to carry out his perfect plan of Salvation.
Obviously, the problems I have here with this statement are numerous, so I'll break this one down piece by piece.
All have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God and that is exactly why Jesus came and lived among us, died for us and rose again.
Let's really examine what you are saying:
  • All have sinned...
    By this you include children who have yet to develop any sense of right or wrong, as well as the mentally handicapped and the insane who are incapable of distinguishing between right and wrong, or are incapable of comprehending your religious doctrine.
  • ...and fallen short of the Glory of God...
    If God supposedly created us, is omnipotent, and wanted us to be "perfect", then he had the power to do so and chose not to, and therefore it would be his own fault for "falling short" of whatever.
  • that is exactly why Jesus came and lived among us, died for us and rose again.First off there is no evidence that any such thing ever occurred. Even the evidence for a historical Jesus is sketchy at best, but the resurrection is only a claim of the New Testament and therefore cannot be relied upon to prove itself.

    Secondly, your reasoning for his "coming" is not what I would call a "perfect plan". If God's only solution to stop continually punishing humanity for the "crimes" (against laws he himself made) from people many thousands of years ago, is to come down to earth in the form of a human and offer himself up as a human sacrifice, it only serves to show how flawed his law was in the first place - thereby negating the "perfection" you're claiming.
I hope if you don't have a relationship with God...
Right at the top of this page underneath the heading "Zadoc Reads the Bible" it clearly states that I am an atheist. This only further confirms my suspicions that you really didn't read very carefully anything that I wrote, and I'd also imagine that you probably haven't read your own bible very carefully either. I really don't understand how it would be possible for me to have a "personal relationship" with a fictional character regardless of whether you or anyone else believes him to be real.
...that you will allow Him to work in your life and He will reveal Himself to you.
When I was eight years old I began questioning the belief I was being raised to be indoctrinated in. While I wouldn't accept my atheism for years to come, it was at this age that you could say I was in the middle of the road. Back then I did ask God to reveal himself, and I tried praying despite the fact that I never really truly felt that I was talking to anyone. It was a difficult thing for an eight year old boy to reconcile - the way the grownups in my family believed versus the gnawing fact that none of it matched up with the world around me.

The first event that began me on a path to atheism was when my parents gave me a children's bible for my First Communion. Up until that point I had only been aware of the most rudimentary version of my family's belief system - God was an all powerful invisible man up in the sky who knows whether we're doing right or wrong, and that his son Jesus was sent down to earth - born to a woman without having a human father - and that he was killed on a cross, and that by his death he opened up the gates of heaven. I know that's not fully biblically correct, but that was my understanding as an eight year old boy, and I accepted that.

What I didn't accept were all the ridiculous stories in the bible that I'd never heard prior to that - and these were in a much watered down form in a children's bible. I read these stories in complete disbelief and I kept attempting to reconcile my previous understanding of God with the bible and I simply couldn't. God did not "reveal himself to me", instead logic and rationalization lead me to realize that the bible simply could not be factual, much less moral, for a magnitude of reasons.

I held on to my God belief without the bible for a few years until that too began to seem as unlikely as the biblical stories themselves.
Zadoc Best of Luck in your realtionship with the Creator of all things!
God Bless!
While I appreciate your sentiment and good will, there is no more of a personal relationship between myself and God, as there is between you and Darth Vader. This blog has more served as an attempt for me to understand the people I share this planet with, those of whom vehemently hold on to beliefs that to me are so obviously made up and man made. It is not to convert people to atheism, nor is it a search for God by an atheist. Although I believe you will probably never return to this blog, as your proselytizing is probably done here and you've moved on, I sincerely hope that you stick around and actually read what I write here, and if it doesn't cause you to question your own beliefs, at least it will help you understand how the non-religious view the bible.

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