The Old Testament contains some truly peculiar admonitions. The work of a primitive Bronze Age society? Surely. The teachings of a god? Surely not.
Exodus 21:15 He that smiteth his father, or his mother, shall be surely put to death.
Exodus 21:17 He that curseth his father, or his mother, shall surely be put to death.
Leviticus 20:9 For every one that curseth his father or his mother shall be surely put to death: he hath cursed his father or his mother; his blood shall be upon him.
Genesis 17:14 And the uncircumcised man child whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken my covenant.
Genesis 19:8 Behold now, I have two daughters which have not known man; let me, I pray you, bring them out unto you, and do ye to them as is good in your eyes: only unto these men do nothing; for therefore came they under the shadow of my roof.
Genesis 22:2-3 And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of. And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him.
Exodus 21:7-8 And if a man sell his daughter to be a maidservant, she shall not go out as the menservants do. If she please not her master, who hath betrothed her to himself, then shall he let her be redeemed: to sell her unto a strange nation he shall have no power, seeing he hath dealt deceitfully with her.
Proverbs 13:24 He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.
Proverbs 22:15 Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.
Proverbs 23:13-14 Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell.
Leviticus 10:1-3 And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the LORD, which he commanded them not. And there went out fire from the LORD, and devoured them, and they died before the LORD. Then Moses said unto Aaron, This is it that the LORD spake, saying, I will be sanctified in them that come nigh me, and before all the people I will be glorified. And Aaron held his peace.
Deuteronomy 13:7-10 Namely, of the gods of the people which are round about you, nigh unto thee, or far off from thee, from the one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth;
Thou shalt not consent unto him, nor hearken unto him; neither shall thine eye pity him, neither shalt thou spare, neither shalt thou conceal him:
But thou shalt surely kill him; thine hand shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people.
And thou shalt stone him with stones, that he die; because he hath sought to thrust thee away from the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.
Deuteronomy 21:18-21 If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and that, when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them:
Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place;
And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard.
And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die: so shalt thou put evil away from among you; and all Israel shall hear, and fear.
Rather than act as apologist for the OT, I think it would be more interesting if we compare/contrast parent responsibility in the OT and parent responsibility today.
Many people seem to believe that the Klebolds and/or the Harrises were supposed to have both known what was going on in their sons’ heads, AND called “authorities” and reported that they suspected the little fellows were contemplating making history on a grand scale. What do you think?
The OT says that a child who smites a parent should be punished by death. Today parents who smite their children can be punished, but quite a bit less severely than by death. Do you think the punishment is severe enough to act as a deterrent to parents smiting their children? Is corporal punishment dire enough to warrant the state separating the child from its parent, and giving said child to strangers to raise?
Is it a good direction to go in for the state or church to be so intrusive on the family relationship then or now? For a more moral or progressive society today, extrapolating from the OT to today, what is the next step?
I work as a counselor in Special Education - without question, most of the troubled youth that I work with are a direct consequence of their parent’s influence. On most occassions, after meeting parents, it is quite clear why a child is angry, frustrated, sad, and in a state of rebellion. The parent’s ignorance, poor emotional/self control, coerciveness, lack of sense and justice, ridiculous contradiction, and poor modeling are transparently evident. Under few or no circumstances would it make sense for a child to respect their parents in these circumstances simply because they are their “parents.” Respect is earned through quality leadership, non-contradiction (practice what you preach), honesty, love, understanding, and a firm assertion of and to the principles expected to be followed. Reason dictates that authority abusing this power, regardless of position and title, should be questioned and undermined; hence, the basis for the development of the American Constitution.
Where does the bible fit in to this scheme? This obviously is not how the proposed biblical god treats people.
The hack writings of the Bible need to stay in the Bronze Age and parents need to spend time with their children.
There is truth in that statement; however, sometimes it is best that children spend no time with their dysfuntional parents.
Moreover, minus the superstition, totalitarianism, genocide, etc., not all of the precepts in the bible are bad. I would argue that good people find the good portions in the bible and amplify them as a guide. Nonetheless, I would argue that the bible/koran are entirely unnecessary for morality. Like dawkins, hitchens, and harris, it is irrationality, cultural illness, and our poorly evolved brains that are the significant problem. The fact is, some of the most primitive motives are derived from those in power with the fancy clothes and fine cars. They must be exposed via critical thought and activating the priciples of the constitution.