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Jagella
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 23, 2019 1:20 pm  Would you stone the man described in Numbers 15? Reply with quote

Consider this story from Numbers 15:32-36(NRSV):

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When the Israelites were in the wilderness, they found a man gathering sticks on the sabbath day. Those who found him gathering sticks brought him to Moses, Aaron, and to the whole congregation. They put him in custody, because it was not clear what should be done to him. Then the Lord said to Moses, “The man shall be put to death; all the congregation shall stone him outside the camp.” The whole congregation brought him outside the camp and stoned him to death, just as the Lord had commanded Moses.


Question for Debate: If you were there with these Israelites, would you stone this man in obedience to Moses and to Yahweh?

Keep in mind that this man may have been gathering sticks to build a fire to cook for for his family and to keep them warm. After the Bible god had him killed, any wife he had would be left a widow and any children he had would be left without a father to provide for them. They would be left cold, hungry, and facing poverty. Any friends he had among the Israelites would be obligated to kill their friend.

Despite these consequences of Yahweh's order to stone the man to death, all the Jews and by extension all Christians coming later must obey the Bible god. Any objections you have to this cruel act are nothing to Yahweh and may even result in a similar punishment for disobedience to him. You have a god you must believe in and obey without question and without reason.

I predict that few if any of the Christians here will answer this question honestly and sensibly. To post such an answer is to expose Christian beliefs for what they are.
Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 211: Sat Mar 02, 2019 6:07 pm
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Jagella wrote:

Tcg wrote:
Exactly, and as you so accurately point out, we aren't discussing judicial codes from ~3000 years ago, we are discussing a direct order from a "loving" God. A God that some claim never changes. Time would be irrelevant for such a God.


Many of the followers of Christ here still believe those "judicial codes from ~3000 years ago" are still binding, and in fact they believe Christ never abolished those barbaric laws but "fulfilled" them. So today we have billions of people who worship and love a god like that.




Yes, many Christians still accept those codes as valid. I should have expressed myself more carefully. Those codes included a prohibition against working on the Sabbath, but did not include a recommended punishment for violating that code. God decided that murder by stoning was appropriate, or so the story goes, on the fly.


Unless we accept the idea that a perfect God improves over time, the fact that God ordered this murder a long time ago is irrelevant. He is supposed to be the same God today. You are correct that many today worship and love a God like that.

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No wonder there is so much cruelty in the world.

In the words of Richard Dawkins:

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Yahweh: "The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unplesant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser, a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.



Richard Dawkins is right, and the God of the New Testament is this same character.




Tcg

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 212: Sat Mar 02, 2019 6:24 pm
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Re: Would you stone the man described in Numbers 15?

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[Replying to post 1 by Jagella]

If I was born under the Law and raised as an Israelite I would probably do as I was taught and in accordance with what the priests directed. This is another version of, would you kill your son at God's command as Abraham was willing to do.?

It brings to light the inherent dangers of religion. Anyone at any time can do horrific things in the name of "God." History has shown this to be true. If the creator of the universe and every living thing directs a devout follower to slaughter her children how could she resist? If killing Infidels will earn you favor with Allah why would you rebel?

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 213: Sat Mar 02, 2019 7:10 pm
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Tcg wrote:
Unless we accept the idea that a perfect God improves over time, the fact that God ordered this murder a long time ago is irrelevant. He is supposed to be the same God today. You are correct that many today worship and love a God like that.


As we both know Mithrae argues that since this stoning took place a long time ago, then it's not proper to call it murder. I must wonder how much time must pass until bashing a man's head in is no longer murder.

He also refuses to answer my question regarding his being in such a situation found "guilty" for gathering sticks on Saturday. Would he then brush off the evil of a stoning as "relative" if he was to be stoned? I don't think so. If you or I were there, and we had the authority to call off the stoning, he'd want us to apply our reasoning rather than his.

Anyway, my point is that we are witnessing logic that is very inconsistent. It is reasonable to approve of the stoning of another person we do not know, yet if we or somebody we love is to be stoned to death, then suddenly stoning is no longer morally acceptable.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 214: Sat Mar 02, 2019 7:19 pm
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amortalman wrote:
If I was born under the Law and raised as an Israelite I would probably do as I was taught and in accordance with what the priests directed. This is another version of, would you kill your son at God's command as Abraham was willing to do.?


I would hope that even if I was a Jew at that place and time, then like now I would oppose corrupt and violent religious despots.

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It brings to light the inherent dangers of religion. Anyone at any time can do horrific things in the name of "God." History has shown this to be true. If the creator of the universe and every living thing directs a devout follower to slaughter her children how could she resist? If killing Infidels will earn you favor with Allah why would you rebel?


You hit the nail on the head here. The point of this thread is to demonstrate that theism can and often does lead to violence. If a god is a person's top priority, then the safety and value of other people become a distant second. That's the point of Numbers 15: do what you believe God orders you to do even if it means killing a man who hurt nobody.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 215: Sun Mar 03, 2019 5:41 am
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Jagella wrote:

Now, if a crazed mob of religious zealots was surrounding you ready to stone you to death, and there was a person there who could call off the stoning, would you rather have that person be someone like you who defends stoning as justified based on that "anthropological context," or would you rather that person be someone who feels like I do about stoning?


Rather keen for an answer to this, are you? It's a hopelessly loaded question of course; you've already been shown repeatedly that there is no "crazed mob" anywhere in the story, for example. If you were living in a society full of primitive folk without the benefits of modern education, socialization, technological comforts and professional policing, would you rather that your neighbour's contempt for law and order, social cohesion and holiness were exposed and removed by some seemingly-trivial litmus test, or would you prefer to wait until he rapes your sister or daughter so you can feel that justice is done? Still a less loaded question than yours.

Even so, I answered your question in post #198. You apparently didn't understand that, because it wasn't the big 'gotcha' moment that you seemingly expect it to be. I'd rather live in modern civilization than in the bronze age; we've got it better in terms of technology, social sophistication, judicial codes and most if not all other areas. Wow, what a shocking admission on my part, right?

Now if only you were able to realize - for example by thinking how it would look to get emotionally caught up in an attack on chariots and water wheels as 'idiotic' devices and crowing over a more objective person who acknowledges ancient folks' accomplishments yet still prefers modern technology - how special it is that you actually thought you'd scored some kind of winning point there Laughing

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 216: Sun Mar 03, 2019 9:11 am
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Mithrae wrote:
Rather keen for an answer to this, are you?


Yes.

Did you see that? I answered your question. Now you know what an answer to a question looks like.

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It's a hopelessly loaded question of course; you've already been shown repeatedly that there is no "crazed mob" anywhere in the story, for example.


Nobody "showed" that there was no crazed mob in Numbers 15. How could anybody do that? And how could a bunch of people bent on bashing a man's head in with rocks because he was gathering sticks be anything but crazed? That sounds pretty crazed to me!

And it's ridiculous to refuse to answer a very germane and important question because you don't like one little word in that question. But if it makes you feel any better, then just assume the Jews who killed this man were not a "crazed mob." Let's call them an "organized group of devout executioners."

Is that better? Can you answer the question now that it's not so loaded?

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If you were living in a society full of primitive folk without the benefits of modern education, socialization, technological comforts and professional policing, would you rather that your neighbour's contempt for law and order, social cohesion and holiness were exposed and removed by some seemingly-trivial litmus test, or would you prefer to wait until he rapes your sister or daughter so you can feel that justice is done?


Regardless of what a man may have done, I'm opposed to capital punishment especially a brutal and cruel punishment like stoning. I already posted a picture of a stoning victim which you ignored. Ignoring the brutal consequences of stoning doesn't make it any less brutal.

And it's simply idiotic to say that a man who was gathering sticks is a potential rapist! I'd be far more concerned about those who would stone a man to death and what they might do to my sister or anybody else.

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Even so, I answered your question in post #198.


There was no such answer in post 198 or anywhere else. All you did was to criticize me personally.

So to summarize, you are in fact dodging a very important and germane question. To argue that way is to break one of the cardinal rules of sensible and honest discourse.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 217: Sun Mar 03, 2019 12:48 pm
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Peace to you,

ElCodeMonkey wrote:

Mithrae wrote:
You seem to struggle with the concept of time; you don't seem to understand that we're talking about judicial codes from ~3000 years ago.

I don't think time is a great excuse for an infinite God to change his moral compass.



God does not change. He is (and has always been) as Christ has revealed Him to be.


That does not mean that He has not, in the past, made allowances and exceptions for people (who can change or be hard-hearted, etc).



"Moses gave you this law because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way FROM THE BEGINNING."


After Christ said this, He went on to tell them what WAS true (from the beginning).


God was not one way in the beginning, then a different way in the middle, then back to the same way of the beginning. God is always the same (as Christ has revealed Him to be), but allowances were made for the hard-hearts of Israel.


Not to mention the fact that the erring pen of the scribes that has mishandled the law (Jeremiah 8:8). If everything from the OT (book and time) was perfect and true, then what need would there have been for Christ to come and bear witness to the truth; or to explain everything to us, as the Samaritans were waiting for the Messiah to come and do? Or even to correct so many things that the scribes and teachers of the law were failing to teach or apply correctly?


"You have heard it said... but I tell you now..."




If you want to know the Truth of God (the Father of Christ), then you have to look to Christ.




Peace again to you,
your servant and a slave of Christ,
tammy

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 218: Sun Mar 03, 2019 7:53 pm
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Jagella wrote:
Yes.

Did you see that? I answered your question. Now you know what an answer to a question looks like.


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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 219: Mon Mar 04, 2019 9:23 am
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Re: Would you stone the man described in Numbers 15?

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tam wrote:
Where in my post did I glorify murder?


If you defend the murder of the poor man described in Numbers 15, then you glorify murder, unless, of course, you disapprove of stoning a person to death.

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You have an incomplete story of God (not Christ) ordering a man be executed for violating one of the ten commandments.


As you know I see your theology as unorthodox, and when I critique the Bible and Christianity, I critique orthodox theology. So when I read that the Bible god ordered murder, I read that Christ ordered murder because according to the theology of most Christians (John 1:1), Christ is the Bible god. I must agree with this orthodox theology insofar as it is what the Bible says. Your theology, by contrast, I see as something you have made up on your own.

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I suspect a crazed mob might have simply stoned the man then and there, rather than bring him to Moses because they did not know what should be done.


LOL, why can't a crazed mob have dragged their unfortunate victim to Moses? How is that any less crazed?

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The time and place and circumstances absolutely make a difference as to how a person or a people react, think, feel.


In that case let's say that Hitler's concentration camps were morally justified because they were located in Europe in the 1930s and 1940s. The time and place make all the difference, eh Tam? I can use the same reasoning to defend Hitler's actions that you use to defend the Bible god.

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Since the story does not say, you are guessing. You are guessing at the expense of the previous verse which speaks of a man DEFIANTLY breaking the law, and that man would be the one who is supposed to be cut off from his people.


Who is adding details to the story now? It's entirely possible that the man was confused in some way, and he may even have had dementia and was then not responsible for his actions. The Jewish sabbath law does not spell out what "work" is, and this unfortunate murder victim might have assumed that gathering up a few sticks he needed would not constitute a violation of the sabbath law.

But regardless of his state of mind, his being told not to work on a day of the week is a really stupid law, and his murder for doing so is barbaric. Any person with a bit of decency would defy such an evil god.

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I notice that you ignored all of those examples from Christ in your response to me.


If Christ isn't the Bible god, then what he is quoted as saying is irrelevant to Numbers 15. Are you saying that Christ opposes the law of Moses?

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It is ridiculous to call a man a hero for disobeying the law, especially when he agreed to obey it to begin with.


We are adding more details! I doubt if the man murdered by Moses ever agreed to his own death.

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Your religion binds you to absolute obedience to Yahweh/Christ. No matter how wicked, cruel, or stupid the injunction might be, you must do it.


But it has absolutely nothing to do with me, my faith, or my post. Where in the world did you even come up with that? Or is it just that you had no response to my actual words?


Great! Then you are free to disobey Christ. Please post examples of what Christ might command that you would not do.

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Fine. If Christ ordered you to butcher me, would you do it?


I would not. It would go against the love and the mercy that He has taught me (and He teaches what He learned from His Father). It would go against the spirit He has given me. I would in fact be disobeying Him to carry out such a command (though He would never give me such a command to begin with).


If you accept what Christ teaches you, then you would butcher me if he taught you to do so! You are contradicting yourself here stating that you would not obey Christ's command because you obey his commands.

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I feel very strongly about this issue because I have been a victim of Christian violence and abuse.


You have been the victim of violence and abuse, regardless of what religion those people who abused you claimed to belong to. They were certainly not listening to Christ or to His Father, to be able to abuse you. Those who abused you were wrong of course! But their actions are on them.


My mother abused me as a result of her belief in Christ. She loved the idea of a wrathful and vengeful god who punishes sinners, and that was the basis for her abuse.

In summary, your theology is very contrived and ad hoc. You make things up to try to smooth over the horrors that often result from your faith. The same reasons you use to defend the murder of the man in Numbers 15 can be used to defend the genocides of Hitler and Stalin.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 220: Mon Mar 04, 2019 10:12 am
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Re: Would you stone the man described in Numbers 15?

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[Replying to post 179 by tam]

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Oh, no, William, time travel considerations were not part of my response. My response considered only having been born and raised back then, as an Israelite (or as one of the great mixed crowd that left Egypt with Israel).


Then it is unlikely you would have appealed to Moses to be merciful to the man. The idea of mercy would not have occurred to you, any more than it occurred to Moses or the rest of the tribe.

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