Would you stone the man described in Numbers 15?

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William
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Post by William »

[Replying to post 259 by Elijah John]
This leads me to conclude that the decision was not from YHVH Himself, but rather from the completely fallible and at times barbaric Moses.
In order to convince the reader that what you argue here is true and relevant, you will have to supply some great documentation that shows conclusively that not everything attributed to "YHVH Himself" can be considered actually coming from YHVH, and show what exactly is it that allows for the reader know for sure some things do and other things do not come from YHVH - in relation to - shall we agree to the term (?) - "Biblical Stories".

Otherwise why should the reader believe that your argument is true and relevant, and not just cherry picking in order for you to attempt to make YHVH look better in the opinion of those observing His supposed human representatives?

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Post by Elijah John »

[Replying to post 260 by William]

Do you think that everything attributed to God in the Bible is actually from God? Or is accurate? No room for human error or bias? I don't. But I do believe in God, and His benevolence.

And conversely, do you think nothing in the Bible originated with God and His benevolence?

It's not an either/or, all or nothing proposition. "Cherry picking" as you put it, is a valid and time honored option. Only Fundamentalists accept the Bible in it's entirety, literally and at face value.
My theological positions:

-God created us in His image, not the other way around.
-The Bible is redeemed by it's good parts.
-Pure monotheism, simple repentance.
-YHVH is LORD
-The real Jesus is not God, the real YHVH is not a monster.
-Eternal life is a gift from the Living God.
-Keep the Commandments, keep your salvation.
-I have accepted YHVH as my Heavenly Father, LORD and Savior.

I am inspired by Jesus to worship none but YHVH, and to serve only Him.

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

Post by Elijah John »

Jagella wrote:
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.
Who says? Modern Jews employ their God-given reason all the time, and the deliberation of the Rabbis has lead to a vast body of work in the Oral law/Talmud. And theologically liberal Christians value reason as well, in their approach. The Episcopal Church, for example, stands on three pillars, Scripture, Tradition, AND Reason.

And reasonable Christians reject so-called imperatives to stone Sabbath breakers to death, and consider that an atrocity.

You may have been attempting to constuct a straw man against the Christian faith, but it seems to me all you have done is illustrate an atrocious passage in the Bible that serves as evidence the Bible cannot, and should not be taken in it's entirety as the Word of God.

For reasonable believers, the Bible can, and should be sifted through common sense, and the God-given gift of Reason.
My theological positions:

-God created us in His image, not the other way around.
-The Bible is redeemed by it's good parts.
-Pure monotheism, simple repentance.
-YHVH is LORD
-The real Jesus is not God, the real YHVH is not a monster.
-Eternal life is a gift from the Living God.
-Keep the Commandments, keep your salvation.
-I have accepted YHVH as my Heavenly Father, LORD and Savior.

I am inspired by Jesus to worship none but YHVH, and to serve only Him.

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marco
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Post by marco »

Elijah John wrote:
One would think a benevolent, compassionate and just God would have delivered to Moses a more benevolent, compassionate, and yes, just sanction. This leads me to conclude that the decision was not from YHVH Himself, but rather from the completely fallible and at times barbaric Moses.


We are still talking about YHVH who sent she-bears to rip some schoolboys to pieces, destroyer of two cities, engineer of a global flood? Remove the bad reports and I think you remove YHVH. Moses acted as God's right hand most of the time.


Moses incidentally served God faithfully through the forty years of wandering. Was it not understandable that people would lose patience after that length of time? Then he was denied entry to the promised land for a triviality. God takes no prisoners, and is pretty slow to deliver.





Perhaps Jesus and Micah were more in tune with YHVH, than was Moses.
They were more in tune with the being you see as YHVH. Jesus didn't condemn stoning; he simply avoided its being used. While not wishing to change a word of Scripture, he adopted a very enlightened approach to its prohibitions - not a bad thing of course.

John Paul 11 said that love can achieve more than fear can demand. It depends what one wants: if it is simple obedience, then brutality will do. Caligula liked the saying: "Oderint dum metuant" (let them hate as long as they fear). This is the difference between Jesus and YHVH: Jesus did inspire love while YHVH inspired fear.
So killing someone for disobedience fits the bill and is in no way out of character for the God portrayed in the OT. He killed Lot's wife.

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Post by Elijah John »

marco wrote: We are still talking about YHVH who sent she-bears to rip some schoolboys to pieces, destroyer of two cities, engineer of a global flood? Remove the bad reports and I think you remove YHVH.
I disagree, remove the bad reports and we are left with the good reports. In effect, that is what many modern believers do today, they focus on the good reports. Whether or not they admit it, they have sifted through the Bible, (or their Priests and Pastors have done it for them) and focus on the good, and not on the absurd and atrocious.

When was the last time a sermon was preached on the necessity or "benefit" of stoning Sabbath breakers? By Christians or Jews?
marco wrote: Moses acted as God's right hand most of the time.

Moses incidentally served God faithfully through the forty years of wandering. Was it not understandable that people would lose patience after that length of time? Then he was denied entry to the promised land for a triviality. God takes no prisoners, and is pretty slow to deliver.
That does seem petty, on God's part. But then again, I think the reality of YHVH is found more in His benevolent commandments, and in the devotional poetry of the Psalms, or the Wisdom found in the Proverbs, than in the narrative that makes Him into a storybook character. That seems to be where the Ancients lost it, when they started making up stories about the God they encountered, inventing fables. It seems the often confused natural occurrences with the actions of the Divine, or they exaggerated for dramatic effect. And at times, attributed their own base motives to the intentions and commands of the Almighty. What Thomas Paine called "no greater calumny".

marco wrote:

Perhaps Jesus and Micah were more in tune with YHVH, than was Moses.
They were more in tune with the being you see as YHVH. Jesus didn't condemn stoning; he simply avoided its being used. While not wishing to change a word of Scripture, he adopted a very enlightened approach to its prohibitions - not a bad thing of course.
Yes, Jesus, Micah and the Prophets, King David, Solomon and many of us modern believers seem to have a more positive experience of YHVH than did Moses, his subjects, or the authors of the Torah. And yes, Jesus did not condemn stoning per se, and verbatim, but he did say the Sabbath was made for man, and not the other way around. His priorities seemed to have been a bit more enlightened.
marco wrote: John Paul 11 said that love can achieve more than fear can demand. It depends what one wants: if it is simple obedience, then brutality will do. Caligula liked the saying: "Oderint dum metuant" (let them hate as long as they fear). This is the difference between Jesus and YHVH: Jesus did inspire love while YHVH inspired fear.
So killing someone for disobedience fits the bill and is in no way out of character for the God portrayed in the OT. He killed Lot's wife.
John Paul II is an example of a modern, religious believer who focused on the positive and never preached on the "merits" of stoning.

And you pit Jesus against Jehovah. I see that as simplistic and a false dichotomy. After all, who inspired Jesus then? Who but Jehovah, our Heavenly Father, and the Father of Jesus? Jesus was the son of Jehovah, not the son of Mars, right?

And in order to cast your dichotomy, you have basically omitted much of the beauty and benevolence of the Tanakh, and focused on the Torah's narrative. You seem to have disregarded much of the Psalms, Proverbs and writings of the Prophets, in order to draw your contrast.
My theological positions:

-God created us in His image, not the other way around.
-The Bible is redeemed by it's good parts.
-Pure monotheism, simple repentance.
-YHVH is LORD
-The real Jesus is not God, the real YHVH is not a monster.
-Eternal life is a gift from the Living God.
-Keep the Commandments, keep your salvation.
-I have accepted YHVH as my Heavenly Father, LORD and Savior.

I am inspired by Jesus to worship none but YHVH, and to serve only Him.

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

Post by Jagella »

Elijah John wrote:
You have a god you must believe in and obey without question and without reason.
Who says?
It has been my observation that Christians believe in gods (there are at least three such gods) they must obey although in practice Christians often disobey those gods. If I'm wrong, then please cite a Bible passage in which Jews or Christians are told that they may question or use reason to disobey the Bible gods free of adverse consequences.
Modern Jews employ their God-given reason all the time, and the deliberation of the Rabbis has lead to a vast body of work in the Oral law/Talmud. And theologically liberal Christians value reason as well, in their approach. The Episcopal Church, for example, stands on three pillars, Scripture, Tradition, AND Reason.
The "reverse logic" used by apologists is to come up with reasons to believe in their religion after they've concluded that the claims of their religion are true. If anybody dares to conclude that any of those claims are false, then chances are they will pay a price for that doubt.
And reasonable Christians reject so-called imperatives to stone Sabbath breakers to death, and consider that an atrocity.
So "reasonable" Christians admit that their god ordered an atrocity. Why would anybody want to believe in an worship such an atrocious god? I've come to the conclusion that many Christians simply don't care if their religion is violent and deadly or may even like the violence inherent in their beliefs. That's why criticizing the violence in the Bible doesn't shake their faith.
You may have been attempting to constuct a straw man against the Christian faith...
I don't believe constructing such an argument is possible. There is no single Christian faith and no single argument for Christianity that all Christians agree on. However, it is safe to say that most Christians see the gods of Christianity as their ultimate authorities that must be obeyed.
...but it seems to me all you have done is illustrate an atrocious passage in the Bible that serves as evidence the Bible cannot, and should not be taken in it's entirety as the Word of God.

For reasonable believers, the Bible can, and should be sifted through common sense, and the God-given gift of Reason.
So what parts of the Bible are not the word of the Christian gods? How can you judge what is or is not what the Christian gods really said? When I was a Christian I used reason to conclude that the major claims of Christianity are false. Is that OK with you?

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Post by marco »

Elijah John wrote:

I disagree, remove the bad reports and we are left with the good reports. In effect, that is what many modern believers do today, they focus on the good reports.

I suppose that method could be extended to give Hitler and Stalin a saintly C.V.

When was the last time a sermon was preached on the necessity or "benefit" of stoning Sabbath breakers?

I'm not sure that avoiding any such reference clears Yahweh's name.



That does seem petty, on God's part.
It is petty. How many psalms would it take to remove the pettiness?
It seems they often confused natural occurrences with the actions of the Divine, or they exaggerated for dramatic effect. And at times, attributed their own base motives to the intentions and commands of the Almighty.
That is my entire view of the portrayal of Yahweh. Both good and bad points are inventions, reflecting the fears and wishes of the scribes. I would not argue that we have a better picture of God than did Moses for he had first-hand knowledge. In opposing his pronouncements, we risk creating our own Yahweh.
And you pit Jesus against Jehovah. I see that as simplistic and a false dichotomy. After all, who inspired Jesus then? Who but Jehovah, our Heavenly Father, and the Father of Jesus? Jesus was the son of Jehovah, not the son of Mars, right?


We tread in metaphors. Jesus did not - and dared not - attack Yahweh but played the hand he was dealt at birth. When obvious conflict arose, he guided people away from the cruel pronouncements of Yahweh while still maintaining absolute obedience. A hard game to play! Jesus may well have been martially inclined, since he admitted he had come not to bring peace but to initiate hostilities. I think Mars might have made the same speech.
Elijah John wrote:
You seem to have disregarded much of the Psalms, Proverbs and writings of the Prophets, in order to draw your contrast.


The psalms are simple paeans, successfully glorifying God. It is by actions rather than words that someone's character is revealed. When some criminal comes to court he is often descibed, by family and those whom he befriended, as a paragon of goodness, and people are surprised at his actions. But actions alone define the man, not the praise of other people.

We are dealing with the stoning of a man who disobeyed some rule. Would God want him stoned to death? According to the psalms, perhaps not. According to reports of what he did, he most definitely would. As Brutus said of Caesar:

""There is tears for his love, joy for his fortune, honor for his valor, and death for his ambition."

If we want to ignore the nastiness, we must also ignore the eulogies.

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

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Post by William »

[Replying to post 261 by Elijah John]
In order to convince the reader that what you argue here is true and relevant, you will have to supply some great documentation that shows conclusively that not everything attributed to "YHVH Himself" can be considered actually coming from YHVH, and show what exactly is it that allows for the reader know for sure some things do and other things do not come from YHVH - in relation to - shall we agree to the term (?) - "Biblical Stories".
Do you think that everything attributed to God in the Bible is actually from God?
I don't. But I do believe in God, and His benevolence.

And conversely, do you think nothing in the Bible originated with God and His benevolence?
What I believe about the bible, can be read here;

♦ Is The Bible Really The Word Of GOD? Image

and here;

♦ Is the Bible equal to GOD? Image

It appears you have only eyes for a benevolent idea of GOD, specific of course to the Biblical renditions to do with this apparent benevolence, whatever these may be. You don't let the reader know, which isn't helpful to your case.
Only Fundamentalists accept the Bible in it's entirety, literally and at face value.
They also think that Satan exists, which of course would not be a very benevolent act for a GOD to go ahead and create and allow to cause such confusion over who is who.

So are you saying that the malevolent being depicted in the biblical stories as "YHVH" is actually an impostor claiming to be YHVH!

Can you list these things for the readers convenience, to which YHVH is clearly YHVH in the stories?

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Post by Mithrae »

Elijah John wrote:I would expect such and attempt to defend the indefensible from a Fundamentalist, and am surprised to read this coming from you. Or perhaps I am missing something?
It's a little strange when a follower of YHVH attacks the Torah as brutal and barbaric and a non-Christian sceptic defends it, I agree :lol: After twenty-six pages I'm losing a lot of interest in the discussion to be honest, and most of what I could say would really just be repeating stuff I've mentioned a dozen times previously in any case:
> That there does seem to be a plausible framework of social order behind Numbers 15 and the law of Moses generally, appropriate to their level of technological and social sophistication;
> that no-one has really shown that the extreme rhetoric against that kind of legal system is justified or appropriate, beyond our intuitive emotional reactions as folk raised and living in a more comfortable era;
> that by comparison it would seem very strange to see such vehemence and viciousness in attacks on 'idiotic' technologies like chariots, relatively primitive though such may be, as we're seeing in the attacks on their "brutal and barbaric" social order;
> and that even for the question of whether a god was behind those laws, mere emotionalism or the self-righteousness of three thousand years' further technical and social progress (building on those earlier generations' supposed "barbarism") really are not rational substitutes for actually showing that the Israelites hadn't received an improvement on surrounding contemporary cultures.

But there's something I've only really considered in my last couple of posts which relates to a comment you've made a few times:
Elijah John in #121 wrote:If the punishiment should fit the crime, (an ideal professed even by human judicial systems), how does the death penalty for picking up sticks fit this crime?
Elijah John in #256 wrote:Disproportionate punishment, in whatever era, is an intrinsic evil.
Elijah John in #259 wrote:How is such a severely disproportionate punishment "just"? Or kind? Seems too, that Moses and Micah were on different pages.
Why are you/others so fixated on proportional punishment, as if that were some kind of self-evident or God-given natural law? Surely it would be just as valid to say that two wrongs don't make a right, that inflicting any kind of harm/retribution is an "intrinsic evil"? But assuming for the sake of argument that some punishment is good, what is it that defines an appropriate level?

If a thief steals $100, presumably 'proportional punishment' would be something like returning $100 to the victim and being fined $100 of their own money. But the prospective criminal must then consider that there is only a mere risk that they will be linked to the crime and then found guilty in a fair trial. If there were only a 40% risk of being caught and convicted, then morals aside it would be entirely rational for them to pursue that life of crime - from ten thefts they'd steal $1000 and getting caught four of those times they'd pay back only $800.

Most likely the risk (or perceived risk) of a reasonably competent criminal being caught and convicted is lower than 40% even in our modern countries with professional policing and advanced investigation techniques, particularly for petty crimes. How much less would it be in a mostly rural/semi-nomadic bronze age society!

So is proportional punishment really just, or is it an open door for the scourge of crime against a society? Failing to take appropriate measures to protect the innocent could be considered a form of injustice or moral failing in itself. So arguably any society has a moral imperative to enforce punishment that is disproportionate to the specific crime, but rather weighted according to that society's ability to prevent, catch and convict criminal behaviour. Or more broadly (as I've suggested earlier), perhaps even a moral imperative to identify antisocial individuals if possible and, rather than waiting for them to commit murder or rape before giving them a 'just' punishment, to remove their threat to society in advance; by targeted programs, counseling, medication and so on in our more sophisticated age, but even in less advanced societies still no less of an imperative to remove the threat somehow.

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