Setting Aside Morals To Defend Immorality

I don’t write here as much as I used to. For some of my readers, that’s probably a good thing. For others, maybe not. For me, at this point in my life, it’s just about right. Finding that perfect balance between competing interests can be a difficult thing. I’ll keep this as brief as I can. I have read many stories, watched countless videos and encountered many people in person who suspend good judgement and set aside their understanding of right and wrong in order to maintain their faith.

I used to be one of these people. I used to have to ignore my own conscience and my own understanding and acceptance of moral things in order to justify my belief in the Bible. This is unbelievably common among believers. In fact, it is a requirement for belief. Faith without excuses does not, and cannot, exist. If excuses were not necessary, faith would just be called knowledge. Let me give some examples. The Christian Bible is full of immoral things and they are often condoned. Sometimes they are said to be wrong, but then the perpetrators of such acts are left with nothing but a slapped wrist. Things such as:

Murder (People could be put to death for cursing their parents, working on the sabbath, premarital sex, disobeying their parents, worshiping another god, practicing witchcraft, being the daughter of a priest who becomes a prostitute, if you are a girl who is raped but doesn’t cry out in the city limits, trying to convert people to other religions, being gay or committing adultery. The killing of these people was not justice. It was murder.)

Rape (Deuteronomy 22:28-29…A man must pay restitution to the father of his rape victim IF they are discovered. Then he must marry her and never divorce her. Again, this is not justice.)

Incest (Genesis 19… When Lot’s daughters got him drunk, slept with him and got pregnant. Were they punished? No. Their children became fathers of great nations.)

Slavery (Exodus 21… There are several rules and regulations for the owning and treatment of slaves. People could be owned and sold as property. Read all of Exodus 21 and try to justify the actions of slave owners and their allowance by God to own and beat people and get away with it because these people aren’t people. They are property. Justify that without sounding like a monster. Go ahead and try.)

Child abuse (Proverbs 23:13-14…Hitting a child with a rod is fine. They won’t die so it’s okay. Several other verses also mention hitting children with rods to spare them from death or hell.)

-Genocide (1 Samuel 15: 1-3 is a prime example. God says: “Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.” There is also Leviticus 26:7-9, Numbers 31:17-8 (which says to kill everyone, except the virgin girls. It says to keep them for yourselves), Deuteronomy 20:13-4 (Kill every man, but keep the women, children and livestock as plunder), and who can forget Genesis 7:21-3 where God created a flood and destroyed all living things except for what could fit on a big boat.)

Misogyny (Leviticus 12 speaks of treating women as unclean for having a period and going through childbirth. She is TWICE as unclean if she has a daughter as she would be for having a son. 1 Corinthians 11 and 1 Corinthians 14 talk about how the woman came from man and therefore he is the head of her. 1 Timothy 2 talks about keeping women silent.)

These things (just a small sampling of the horrible examples in scripture) are all in the Bible and are given the okay by God. Some are explicitly endorsed by God and some are dismissed as “no big deal” (as long as you pay a small fine) by God. These are incredibly evil and immoral acts that are said to be just and good by believers because they were given the thumbs up by a god they have determined to be good. It is disgusting to me to think that otherwise rational people would make excuses for these atrocities by saying they are part of “God’s will” and are therefore inherently good. It is what is known as the Divine Command Theory…and it’s bullshit. Basically, it states that no matter what God says, whether immoral or not, is right and good and just. Again, not to be rude or blunt, but that’s bullshit.

If you were to ask someone if murder is ever okay, most people would say no. But if you were to ask a believer if the killing of gay lovers or adulterers in the old testament was justified, you most likely would get a different answer. Ask someone today if owning another person as property is an okay thing to do. Again, you’d get a resounding NO from just about anyone you ask. Ask a believer if the slavery described in Exodus 21 was okay and you’d likely hear a variety of excuses such as, “It wasn’t slavery, it was indentured servitude” or “it wasn’t really slavery because they weren’t kept forever” or my favorite, “that’s the Old Testament so it doesn’t apply after Jesus came.” These excuses are quite common and most people don’t see them as contradicting their day-to-day sense of morality, but they are in direct conflict. To believe that the god of the Bible exists, is in control and is just, these excuses must be made.

I won’t drag this out any more than I need to. I will just say that if something is immoral and obviously wrong to us because it causes great harm to another, it is always wrong. And it is always wrong regardless of what anyone says…even God. Just because you believe a supernatural being decreed this or that to be okay, it doesn’t make immoral actions moral. It makes that being IMMORAL. Period.

Here are a couple of videos of believers trying to excuse gross immorality…and failing quite miserably. I encourage you to watch them if you have the time. If you are a believer and you sound like this, stop, back up and rethink your position. Rethink your values. Stop and think about what is a moral action and what is immoral. If your god does something that is immoral, what justifies your belief and worship of that god?

29 thoughts on “Setting Aside Morals To Defend Immorality

  1. “God said so, and whatever he says is good by definition” is the usual answer. Good luck breaking them out of it until, like you and me, something clicks in the head and they are ready to hear it.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. There is so much in the old testament that makes no sense, that makes god look like a vindictive, grouchy old man or even outright evil, that I’m surprised that the early christians kept those writings and made them part of the bible in the first place. But I suppose they needed the OT and its “prophecies” to try to prop up the claim that Jesus was divine and the fulfillment of the Jewish messiah prophecies. I’m sure we could all come up with more items to add to your list. Like god killing Onan because he refused to impregnate his brother’s widow, or god killing children with bears because they teased a prophet about being bald.

    And then they don’t even apply their own teachings universally. They carve out exceptions. The part about gays being an “abomination”, yeah, that’s true, they tell us. But the part about how adulterers should be killed? Yeah, well, that part they conveniently ignore somehow.

    One would think that at least they would adhere to the teachings Jesus himself actually taught in the NT because those are supposedly the actual word of god. But no, they figure out ways to ignore even what Jesus specifically said if they find it – inconvenient or if it doesn’t support their prejudices. Or if it might cost them money.

    Sigh… Some days I just want to bang my head on the wall with frustration.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. If you have to make excuses for a god, that god either doesn’t exist or is not able to stand up for itself. A god who wants us to know it and understand it, has done an incredibly poor job of conveying that message. The fact that we still have to debate it now, in 2020, speaks to the ridiculousness of it all.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. You’re absolutely right about that. A god who has to depend on dodgy, two thousand year old, badly translated documents, many of them tampered with, or the preaching, or in some cases ravings, of so-called ministers and priests, isn’t doing a very good job of communicating his message. The message of an all powerful, all knowing deity would be so clear, so unmistakable, there would be absolutely no room for doubt or error

        Liked by 2 people

      1. I have a lot of respect for anyone who says “I don’t know” when something is unknowable, such as a god or creator. I have no respect for people who claim to know the unknowable and then proceed to put down those who disagree as if they are the ones who are fools.

        I used to be an apologist not that long ago. I now have zero respect for apologists. Zero. Their “intimate” knowledge of god and their “special revelations” come packaged together with exactly zero evidence and an overabundance of arrogance.

        Liked by 2 people

    1. Context, interpretation, correct Bible version, ontology, metaphysics, etc, etc, etc… None of these things should matter if a god truly wanted to reach us. He/she/it would have known that to do it in such a way as is claimed to have been done with the Bible god, an enormous section of the population just wouldn’t understand and would have no choice but to reject it. The excuses made for immoral things, heinus acts and just plain bullshit baffles me. Why would an all-knowing god require a lowly human to bring clarity to his “obvious” and “life-changing” opus?

      The bottom line is that this collection of stories does not point to an all-knowing, powerful, loving god. It does point to flawed, racist, misogynistic, uneducated primitive men who wrote and said things for their own benefit. The errors, contradictions and truly horrific things written down cannot be justified. Where some believe it and some reject it completely, this confusion should be cleared up by the one who supposedly set it up for our benefit in order for a relationship. God should be able to look at his creation now and say “you know what, it’s been a few milennia. They’re just not getting it. I will correct my mistakes and clear this all up.” Instead, we have apologists crying over context and misinterpretations.

      It’s all bullshit.

      Liked by 5 people

      1. Well, maybe it points to the reality of flawed humans who in their cultural context were still growing in their understanding of God and His will.

        I think the truth concerning God’s nature was given clarity through the incarnation.

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      2. The “incarnation” is not knowable without scripture. And when flawed, fallible men write confusing, contradicting things, it is hard to trust that anything they wrote actually happened. Humans “still growing in their understanding of God” should not have been in charge of documenting “God’s will” for future generations. Yes, flawed humans existed. Yes, flawed humans put together what we now know as the Bible. But if God exists, he should be able to get a clear message to come through.

        So again, if God wanted us to know the truth, he could do it himself and remove all of the confusion and doubt. No excuses by humans would be necessary. Yet apologetics still exists, which is the effort to make excuses for something that doesn’t have the evidence to back it up in its own.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Ben, I don’t think you are being rude, blunt, or disrespectful one bit! You are merely stating the obvious and nowhere NEAR enough people, Christians™ especially are not calling all of this out for what it is: BULLSHIT of the most foul smelling kind! Let’s not sugarcoat this! That’s been going on for well over 3,000 years! 🙂

    If you are a believer and you sound like this, stop, back up and rethink your position. Rethink your values. Stop and think about what is a moral action and what is immoral.

    A few doubting Believers and many Deconverts have indeed grown the balls to do this Ben. Much applause and support goes to them to go AGAINST the crowd, mainstream, and in some/many cases start the sociopolitical or economic ostracizing, discrimination, and other sorts of unethical treatment from family members, (former?) friends, coworkers, employers, and of course church members/staff. Even those people who passive-aggressively heap silent ostracizing upon them by NOT stopping this form of abuse on Deconverts are unequivocally accessories to this prejudice, discrimination, and unethical behavior! Not to mention this sort of spiteful, bitter treatment represents NOTHING of their biblically taught Christ-like love for brothers/sisters, ala The Prodigal Son/Daughter! Duh!!!

    Great post Ben. Bravo for calling bullshit on it. 😁 And those are excellent videos too. Well done Sir.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks. I am, in reality, quite a nice guy…in my opinion anyway. However, I am tired of being nice when it comes to something so terrible, so harmful and so poisonous to the minds of otherwise reasonable people. Oftentimes, placating believers can prevent change from occurring. I think more people need to be made aware that what they believe isn’t just a personal belief or feelings that they keep inside. It is detrimental to the health and well-being of those around them.

      I look back at my former self and I cringe. Every time. But, as they say, hindsight is 20/20. So, in 2020, I will be more likely to call out what I see coming out of the behinds of apologists. My “behind sight” in 2020 is going to be much less sugarcoated than in the past. 🙂

      Liked by 3 people

  4. Ben, the apologists are taking these positions because their (faith) commitment to Christ is tied to an inerrant view of the Bible. They have to find ways to justify and explain some of these problematic verses in the OT. Christian people that come from mainstream traditions don’t think in this way at all. At the very least, we’re perfectly fine with saying we don’t know or we’re not certain.

    It would make zero sense to me to throw out my Christian faith because I saw flaws in the Bible, but to people who come from fundamentalist backgrounds, this thinking seems perfectly logical to them.

    It is no coincidence that almost all the anti theists on line who feel most strongly come from fundamentalist, pentecostal, or conservative evangelical backgrounds.

    The church was proclaiming the incarnation and resurrection of the Lord long before a word of the NT was ever penned, BTW.

    Hey, I know I’m not the one to convince you, but there is another way to be a Christian out here. That’s all I’m sayin. 🙂

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    1. There are definitely many (unlimited?) ways of calling oneself a Christian. To say that the Bible does, in fact, contain errors but is still “good enough” for most believers is troubling. And that’s what many do. They admit to infallibility but then say it still comes from God. One single error calls into question the divine nature of the scriptures, as they are said to be “God-breathed”. But there isn’t just one. There are numerous errors, contradictions, immoral acts, etc…These do not point to a loving and all-knowing god. They point to flawed humans making up whatever they wanted for their own purposes. Again, God could clear this up in an instant, but chooses not to. I wonder why he would allow such confusion and rejection due to the Bible’s mess of composition when eternity is on the line. I mean, it is ultimately his responsibility to convey a clear message to EVERYONE, is it not?

      Sure, there are good messages in the Bible, but not one of the good messages or stories about Jesus could possibly lead to the conclusion that the stories are true or Jesus was divine in any way. At face value,they are stories and nothing more. Evidence overrules personal testimony every time. And there is none. There is no credible evidence that the stories of divine things in the Bible exist in the real world that is located outside of the Bible. Faith is not a pathway to truth. Faith is a square peg that is forcibly rammed into the round hole of the unknown in order for people to take comfort in things they want to believe but otherwise have no good reason to.

      I wouldn’t say you need to throw out your Christian faith because of flaws in the Bible, but can you demonstrate that Jesus even existed outside of those stories? You say that the church proclaimed that the incarnation and resurrection happened. So what? I could proclaim anything I wanted and that still does not prove a single thing. All proclamations show is what a person or a group of people want others to know, not necessarily what happened. That is not evidence. It is hearsay. What other evidence is there? I don’t care about the stories that historians wrote of Christians being persecuted years later. That just shows what some people believed. I’m talking about actual evidence that Jesus of Nazareth existed. Once someone can first demonstrate that, then and only then should claims of the supernatural be entertained. The Bible is the only text I am aware of that proclaims Jesus to be divine. Therefore, faith in Jesus without the Bible could not happen without Jesus himself revealing himself to us. Has that happened? When? What is the evidence for such an event?

      Again, I am not trying to be rude or blunt…or come off as arrogant. I just see no reason for belief in such a god or his son based on zero evidence. The Bible is the source of the Christian faith. It is the written word that is based on oral tradition and then translated and copied to death over a very long time. Oral tradition, written word, copies of that written word, copies of copies of copies of that written word and translations of the copies of copies of copies of that written word are not evidence. Where is there any indication that outside of the Bible, this god wants a relationship with us?

      My position is that there is no evidence that this god exists. And, if we were somehow able to ascertain that he does, and that the Bible is fairly reliable as a source for his message to us…that god would have a lot to answer for, a hell of a lot to be ashamed of and a lot of apologizing to do.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ben, sorry about this delay. The grandkids are visiting and my house is in a happy whirlwind.
        LOL. Even though it is six in the morning, they could be bursting through the door at any moment. 🙂 It will be interesting getting ready for church this morning.

        Anyway, I will be back for a more detailed answer later. But, my view is that the foundation for Christian faith is not the Bible, but the apostolic witness of the resurrection of Christ.

        How could God better communicate with us outside of the witness of a select group of people, written documents, the witness of conscience, and the witness of the creation.

        I don’t know. Most people innately know that there is something or someone greater than themselves. There is some commonality and truth in all faiths. To send a more specific message, should God have written his message across the sky, or performed some notable universal miracle? But, how would we be certain that it was Him.? This could always be chalked up to mass hallucination, aliens, or any type of conspiracy theory.

        He would also have to suspend “free will,” and somehow compel people to believe as well. But, then how could we be fully human or able to freely love or choose Him? It would be self defeating.

        I don’t have the same view of eternity being on the line, though, or the conviction of people heading to Hell because of mere belief. It is deeper than this.

        I think it is more an attitude of the heart and mind. Through the incarnation, we know what God is like and that He loves and cares for the whole creation. He honors any search for truth.

        Be back later, to talk about the history thing.

        Take care, you certainly have never come across as rude. Don’t worry. You are just speaking your mind. I respect that. 🙂

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  5. Hi, again, Ben, I think part of the reason we don’t have tons of material outside the NT relating to Jesus is in general because we don’t have tons of material from that period anyway that is extant. Also, this is just me speculating, those in power control how history is written and interpreted. Jesus was a threat to both Roman and Jewish authority of the time. Perhaps there was also some suppression taking place. We can’t know for certain.

    Anyway, there are certainly fairly contemporary reference to Jesus outside of the NT or writings connected with the church. Most scholars feel they are genuine. Here is a link.

    https://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/people-cultures-in-the-bible/jesus-historical-jesus/did-jesus-exist/

    I suppose it also gets down to how much evidence is considered sufficient. What seems to satisfy one person doesn’t another. And, what seems to satisfy someone at a certain time in there life, doesn’t later on or vice versa. I think there is alot going on with folks that goes beyond objective evidence to believe that can make a huge difference as well.

    I have to say it again, I think anyone who is honestly searching for truth and wants God will in the end know Him. Conversion can be a process.

    Those that don’t want Him, God allows them to go their own way. For me, granting human freedom is also an aspect of the love of God.

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    1. Becky, you wrote: I think anyone who is honestly searching for truth and wants God will in the end know Him.

      Searching for “truth” is one thing. Searching for “God” is another. The two are not necessarily synonymous.

      Further, many of us (Ben included) found “God” but discovered that, in fact, “he” really wasn’t there at all. We were just “believing” something we had been told and wanted to believe was real.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I think that one of the biggest issues with religion is evidence, or lack thereof. It is not a matter of how much or what type is sufficient. God would know exactly what type and how much would be enough to convince every last man, woman and child. Yet he chooses not to and leaves it up to us to debate over it. To me, that points to God either not being there or not caring in the slightest whether we all believe or not.

      The contemporary references are not really relevant. Sure, some of the examples listed on the website you linked to do mention Jesus and followers of Christianity. But that doesn’t prove the stories to be true. They certainly do not point to him being divine, dying and rising again, etc…. Many people may have believed Jesus to be the messiah. Many people may have followed him. Many people may have even followed to the point of death. All that would prove would be what those people believed. That doesn’t mean they were correct. I have believed many things in my life, religion included, that I have been wrong about. Belief is not evidence. Belief, no matter how many people share it, does not make something true. Evidence requires a demonstration to be verified. If one cannot demonstrate the claims are true, it is not sufficient evidence.

      As far as “Free will” is concerned, I disagree that by God revealing himself, our free will would be compromised, therefore rendering a genuine relationship impossible. If God revealed himself, all it would do is make the contradicting stories irrelevant and would finally give people the choice to follow or not. It would then be based solely on his character, his interaction with us, his performance, etc. It wouldn’t be based on hearsay which it is now. To say he needs to remain hidden in order to use our free will to believe by faith is like saying that the only people who believe the moon landing are those who have never seen the moon. They instead only heard stories about it and believed on faith that a small spacecraft landed on it with men inside. Once you have seen the moon, your free will has been compromised and you are now being forced to accept it and the experience is now no longer genuine. I simply don’t agree with that.

      I definitely disagree that all who search for God find him and know him. I searched for a long time, found what I thought was him, and decades later found I was wrong. Now, I never once closed the door on God. I left it up to God to find me, someone who is more than willing to believe based on evidence and good reason, and yet he never showed up. I searched and prayed and then searched and prayed some more…for years. I opened my heart to the stories of faith and found them to be lacking. If they are actually true, God should be able to reveal that to me instead of keeping it from me, despite my openness.

      Trust me, I know how you feel. I know that what you believe seems like the only possible explanation. I felt that way too. I found that after years and years of following a story, chasing ghosts if you will, I could no longer believe in something based solely on hearsay. If God wants to find me, I am here and my ears, eyes and heart are always open. I have done all I could with the information available. I did all I could with prayers. I did all I could with researching online and in libraries. I did all I was willing to do in this one-sided relationship. It is now up to God to reach out to me if he exists and so desires. He knows right where to find me and should know exactly what I need to know to follow.

      Thanks for the conversation, but I think we’re very far apart from finding common ground.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks also Ben for the conversation. Ben, I do want to share that I was not always a Christian believer. As a young person, I was agnostic. We are all different. I know that there are other possible explanations.

        But, for me, Christian faith came over time to provide the best explanation.

        I can find a lot of common ground with non theists who are also humanists. We share many similar goals and concerns. So, that’s a good thing. And, of course, there is always common ground to be found in just, well, our humanity.

        Continued best wishes and positive regard.

        Like

  6. The worst thing about the Old Testament laws, or the funniest, is that even the Jews have long wanted to get out from under them. They straight up ignored some, others they considered inapplicable, and others they historically put so many exceptions and barriers to enforcement, that they practically did away with them(with the rabbis it was difficult to execute people for most offenses). The Jews(under Persian influence) even mitigated their older practice of human sacrifice/holy war(cherem) to religious banishment and ostracism, that became the later usage of “anathema” in Christianity.

    The Christians kept the Old Testament around only to quote mine and to trot out when convenient. Jesus preaches peace… except here in the Old Testament it says to slaughter your enemies and enslave the rest(in every war), and here where it says that unbelievers should be sought out and killed, and this part here to justify the power of clergy(Old Testament says obey the priest or die). They pretend that this was the best, wisest set of laws that anyone could have come up with. But in reality, it is a confused mess of often overlapping, vague, and even contradictory laws. Even taking it on its own, it would be very hard if not impossible to actually apply. And even the laws escaping those criticisms, were never anything special. They were copies of common laws of the ancient Near East.

    Talking about morality is missing the point with the laws in the Torah, or the rantings of the prophets. They did not really have morality. Not anything like current moral notions. They did not have any complicated ideas about it. Obey Yahweh, you get good crops, kill your enemies, have many slaves, and a lot of livestock. Disobey, and he will send plagues, famine such as would make people eat their own children, enemy armies, and painful death. No afterlife rewards or punishments mentioned at all, the idea of an afterlife was not strong among the Hebrews. Obedience was to get things, because of a contract(covenant). “Right” and “wrong” are only from the perspective of Yahweh. So and so ” did right in the LORD’s eyes”. Or “wrong in the LORD’s eyes.” The objective vs. subjective argument never occurred to them. Yahweh had to be reminded of his own words and promises by Moses. “Think of what the neighbors would say” actually got Yahweh to listen(Numbers 14). That doesn’t say much about “morality”.

    Liked by 2 people

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