Would you stone the man described in Numbers 15?

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Mithrae
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Re: Would you stone the man described in Numbers 15?

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rikuoamero wrote: [Replying to post 226 by Mithrae]
Yes, if he had dishonoured the Sabbath unintentionally as Jagella and you have speculated, he would have made atonement and been forgiven. The fact that instead he faced a much harsher punishment shows that such speculation is demonstrably erroneous: It was a wilful violation.
Except we don't know that.
We do. It's written right there in that passage, in unambiguous black and white: "If one person sins unwittingly, then he shall offer a female goat... and he shall be forgiven." It's literally impossible to get any clearer than that. One can only speculate what causes you to claim otherwise.

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Re: Would you stone the man described in Numbers 15?

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

Happily. I would be of a mindset that saw the law of Moses as binding and Yahweh as a terrifying power. Killing people, for me, would be like peeling vegetables.

Given the enlightenment we now have we can see that stoning folk is barbaric and if somebody says a god told us to do that, we can deduce the god is a cruel invention.

If we want to get legalistic and suggest that mens rea comes into the sentencing, we have the same objection to barbarity. It is odd that we can readily sweep aside the brutal customs of a dark age, and yet cherish and respect one of its lethal products, Yahweh.

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Re: Would you stone the man described in Numbers 15?

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Mithrae wrote:
We do. It's written right there in that passage, in unambiguous black and white: "If one person sins unwittingly, then he shall offer a female goat... and he shall be forgiven." It's literally impossible to get any clearer than that. One can only speculate what causes you to claim otherwise.

To me it makes little odds whether we stone a man for deliberately disobeying a law or for being negligent in its observation. The prescription of requiring the sacrifice of a female goat (why on earth does it matter if the goat's a he or a she?) for an action that was blameless is harsh as well as wasteful. When we subject ourselves to the dictates of invisible forces, we lose our reason.

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Re: Would you stone the man described in Numbers 15?

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marco wrote:
Mithrae wrote:We do. It's written right there in that passage, in unambiguous black and white: "If one person sins unwittingly, then he shall offer a female goat... and he shall be forgiven." It's literally impossible to get any clearer than that. One can only speculate what causes you to claim otherwise.
To me it makes little odds whether we stone a man for deliberately disobeying a law or for being negligent in its observation. The prescription of requiring the sacrifice of a female goat (why on earth does it matter if the goat's a he or a she?) for an action that was blameless is harsh as well as wasteful. When we subject ourselves to the dictates of invisible forces, we lose our reason.
To you, yes, but as you alluded in your previous post life and attitudes were quite different three thousand years ago. In a mostly rural or even semi-nomadic bronze age society they didn't have all our benefits of
- extensive socialization and education of children outside their immediate families;
- social workers, safety nets and targeted programs mitigating the incidence of criminality in the most at-risk groups and individuals;
- professional police forces working to actively prevent and investigate crimes;
- and a sophisticated justice and prison system increasingly emphasizing rehabilitation over punitive punishment.
However the Pentateuch does promote a kind of social safety net (commands not to mistreat the poor and marginalized, jubilee years for forgiveness of debts, commands to leave the gleanings of the field for the poor etc.), it does mandate a presumption of innocence and consideration of circumstances and intent, and it does promote both individual morality/holiness (through devotion to Yahweh) and common feeling/common purpose as a community.

As I have pointed out several times, the command to honour the Sabbath was perhaps their second most important expression and reinforcement of holiness/devotion to Yahweh, and probably the most distinctive reinforcement of social cohesion the Israelites had. Willfully dishonouring the Sabbath would be undermining and personally rejecting two of the most important pillars of law and order in their society, the inward and outward motivators intended to ensure that folk wouldn't even want to cheat or rob or harm their neighbours. That may seem like a primitive approach by modern standards, just as chariots are a primitive technology, but I wouldn't spend twenty-four pages of discussion vehemently attacking chariots as an 'idiotic' technology and I find it strange that some folk feel compelled to do so in the case of a social model supposedly being 'barbaric' or 'stupid' or "the absolute basest bloodlust in humanity."

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Re: Would you stone the man described in Numbers 15?

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Mithrae wrote:
That may seem like a primitive approach by modern standards, just as chariots are a primitive technology, but I wouldn't spend twenty-four pages of discussion vehemently attacking chariots as an 'idiotic' technology and I find it strange that some folk feel compelled to do so in the case of a social model supposedly being 'barbaric' or 'stupid' or "the absolute basest bloodlust in humanity."
I would guess that ancient technology and customs are not under attack but their modern adoption is. We can understand the mores of ancient races and far from maligning charioteers, we may admire them. But should we adopt beliefs that were suited to their brutal times, including their bloodthirsty gods? Perhaps we should leave Yahweh under the wheels of a chariot rather than pay attention to anything he is reported to have uttered.

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Re: Would you stone the man described in Numbers 15?

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[Replying to post 234 by marco]

Once again (and reminding myself that you may not have followed the whole thread), if we're interested in whether or not a god had anything to do with the Torah one of the key questions is whether the 'law of Moses' was better or more optimal in terms of social cohesion, deterrence and general societal wellbeing than surrounding contemporary cultures' laws. If it was, then we could legitimately suppose that like a guiding parent 'God' was bringing the Israelites a few steps forwards... rather than trying to futilely drag them forward several millennia without any corresponding technological and social sophistication or just handing them everything on a silver platter.

I definitively reject the apparent virtue signalling in the vehement attacks on Israelite customs as 'barbaric' etc., but as to the question of whether a god was involved I really have no horse in the race. On that score I have been explaining for probably a dozen pages now how a valid argument can be made on that subject: Either show that the 'law of Moses' is actually worse than contemporary cultures', or show that a 'silver platter' idea of God (or almost any alternative besides the guiding parent idea) must be the one we adopt... or (I suppose) show that we mere humans can conceive a more effective societal model for a rural/semi-nomadic bronze age society. While Rikuo has boasted that he could do the third he hasn't actually done so, and I'm pretty sure that the second and especially the third option are basically impossible to actually substantiate. The former is at least a possible goal, but still no-one has attempted it. It seems a little dismissive or even pejorative to say so, but most of the critical comments and particularly the rhetoric really do seem to be grounded in emotionalism rather than facts or reason (which some of the brazen denial of textual facts, vis a vis mens rea, seems to bear out).

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Re: Would you stone the man described in Numbers 15?

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.
Mithrae wrote: . . . if we're interested in whether or not a god had anything to do with the Torah one of the key questions is whether the 'law of Moses' was better or more optimal in terms of social cohesion, deterrence and general societal wellbeing than surrounding contemporary cultures' laws. If it was, then we could legitimately suppose that like a guiding parent 'God' was bringing the Israelites a few steps forwards... rather than trying to futilely drag them forward several millennia without any corresponding technological and social sophistication or just handing them everything on a silver platter.
The notion of 'god' guiding Israelites in little steps MIGHT have some merit if it was carried forward in further steps up to the present. Evidently, and according to biblical tales, however, that has not happened. The Jesus character was pitched to gentiles, primarily (it seems) of the Roman Empire -- far from Israel.

Perhaps Jews of that era knew a fake when they saw one. Small wonder that Christianity was sold to Romans rather than Israelites.
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Re: Would you stone the man described in Numbers 15?

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Zzyzx wrote: .
Mithrae wrote: . . . if we're interested in whether or not a god had anything to do with the Torah one of the key questions is whether the 'law of Moses' was better or more optimal in terms of social cohesion, deterrence and general societal wellbeing than surrounding contemporary cultures' laws. If it was, then we could legitimately suppose that like a guiding parent 'God' was bringing the Israelites a few steps forwards... rather than trying to futilely drag them forward several millennia without any corresponding technological and social sophistication or just handing them everything on a silver platter.
The notion of 'god' guiding Israelites in little steps MIGHT have some merit if it was carried forward in further steps up to the present. Evidently, and according to biblical tales, however, that has not happened. The Jesus character was pitched to gentiles, primarily (it seems) of the Roman Empire -- far from Israel.

Perhaps Jews of that era knew a fake when they saw one. Small wonder that Christianity was sold to Romans rather than Israelites.
What exactly are you trying to argue here?

In various threads some of which I started I've made no secret of the fact that - some minor philosophical/moral quibbles and some serious pragmatic doubts aside - I find the general philosophy of Jesus, Diogenes and the like extremely compelling. Perhaps more importantly I would argue that the opposite philosophy, and the one which currently dominates western countries and the world at large, is ultimately both self-destructive, inherently harmful to other humans and destructive to our planet itself.

So you're trying to argue... what? That subsequent generations of humanity have somehow eclipsed the teachings of Jesus?

I mean, I'd hesitate about pitching Jesus as the pinnacle of human morality - not least because of his biographers' obvious but indeterminate influence in what we know of him, but also because the passages about hell may be genuine - but I'd be just as (if not more) hesitant about proclaiming that we have done significantly better since then! Gandhi? Well sure, maybe... but from what I know of the latter their philosophies seem very similar in most if not all practical aspects, and it's not as if many folk follow Gandhi's views either!

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Re: Would you stone the man described in Numbers 15?

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.
Mithrae wrote:
Zzyzx wrote:
Mithrae wrote: . . . if we're interested in whether or not a god had anything to do with the Torah one of the key questions is whether the 'law of Moses' was better or more optimal in terms of social cohesion, deterrence and general societal wellbeing than surrounding contemporary cultures' laws. If it was, then we could legitimately suppose that like a guiding parent 'God' was bringing the Israelites a few steps forwards... rather than trying to futilely drag them forward several millennia without any corresponding technological and social sophistication or just handing them everything on a silver platter.
The notion of 'god' guiding Israelites in little steps MIGHT have some merit if it was carried forward in further steps up to the present. Evidently, and according to biblical tales, however, that has not happened. The Jesus character was pitched to gentiles, primarily (it seems) of the Roman Empire -- far from Israel.

Perhaps Jews of that era knew a fake when they saw one. Small wonder that Christianity was sold to Romans rather than Israelites.
What exactly are you trying to argue here?
My comments were directed toward, "The notion of 'god' guiding Israelites in little steps MIGHT have some merit if it was carried forward in further steps up to the present. Evidently, and according to biblical tales, however, that has not happened."

I will start another thread related to Jewish reaction to Jesus.
Mithrae wrote:
In various threads some of which I started I've made no secret of the fact that - some minor philosophical/moral quibbles and some serious pragmatic doubts aside - I find the general philosophy of Jesus, Diogenes and the like extremely compelling.
Would that be the ‘general philosophy of Jesus’ or the philosophy that has been attributed to him by others? Is it presented as a continuation of the OT God?
Mithrae wrote: Perhaps more importantly I would argue that the opposite philosophy, and the one which currently dominates western countries and the world at large, is ultimately both self-destructive, inherently harmful to other humans and destructive to our planet itself.
What philosophy dominates western countries and the world at large?

I do not identify ANY philosophy that applies worldwide (or even close).
Mithrae wrote: So you're trying to argue... what? That subsequent generations of humanity have somehow eclipsed the teachings of Jesus?
See above. There seems to be no effort on the part of ‘god’ to continue any guiding steps – thus casting doubt on the theory of guidance in steps.
Mithrae wrote: I mean, I'd hesitate about pitching Jesus as the pinnacle of human morality - not least because of his biographers' obvious but indeterminate influence in what we know of him, but also because the passages about hell may be genuine - but I'd be just as (if not more) hesitant about proclaiming that we have done significantly better since then!
It is probably safe to say that we know little about the morality of Jesus – nothing more than a few ‘snapshots’ recorded by anonymous writers, perhaps modified / misremembered / distorted.
Mithrae wrote: Gandhi? Well sure, maybe... but from what I know of the latter their philosophies seem very similar in most if not all practical aspects, and it's not as if many folk follow Gandhi's views either!
The ‘guidance’ (proposed as ‘steps’) by the OT God seem very different from those attributed to Jesus – and nothing further for 2000 years.
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Re: Would you stone the man described in Numbers 15?

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marco wrote:
Jagella wrote:
If you were there with these Israelites, would you stone this man in obedience to Moses and to Yahweh?
Happily. I would be of a mindset that saw the law of Moses as binding and Yahweh as a terrifying power. Killing people, for me, would be like peeling vegetables.
Thank you for that honest admission. I realize that many people are like you in that they don't always value human life. Depending on the circumstances, they will kill people who pose no danger to them. I suppose I'm different and possibly in the minority in that I do not want any person killed who poses no danger to me. I've told people that if I am ever murdered, for example, then I do not want my murderer to be executed. I'm opposed to the death penalty even if I am the murder victim. Murdering my murderer will not "unmurder" me.

But what if I lived in a theocracy as described in the Pentateuch? Would I execute a person then? I don't think so. It may come as a great surprise to you but I don't go along with the crowd. My opposing the killing in Numbers 15 is not the first time I denounced a killing of an innocent person. I remember years ago going up against a gang of fanatics who supported such murder. But in that case it wasn't Christians I argued with but atheists who supported the murder of Terri Schiavo. They cursed at me and insulted me, but I stood my ground.

So the moral of my story is that I don't care who is acting irrationally supporting the murder of an innocent and harmless person. Be they Christians or be they atheists, I'll tell them they're wrong and stand my ground.
It is odd that we can readily sweep aside the brutal customs of a dark age, and yet cherish and respect one of its lethal products, Yahweh.
As we have seen people can construct elaborate arguments to justify the most cruel and stupid acts. They just better hope that some day those arguments are not used to justify killing them. Contrary to these "time value" arguments for killing a man for gathering sticks, brutality was every bit as brutal in the past as it is today, and as long as people look to Yahweh for "morality," we are still endangered by this rationalization.

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