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
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 #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