Sorry if this sounds combative, but it’s in all seriousness and not meant to be offensive. Where was the universal truths of morality and “being good” when the chosen people of israel were instructed, by their deity, to commit genocide and take slaves and forcefully take wives of cities that had opposite theology to their own? This point displayed in part 3, seems to be laying the groundwork for transcendent morality, morality that is like a unified theory of morality. Ethics is the process of reasoning through the use of evidence, identifying suffering, weighing costs, etc… For all time human suffering has steadily been decreasing as a whole since biblical times. Since most of this suffering seems to have arisen through secular motivation, and those quoting the bible for moral guidance have been consistently on the wrong side of history (what you can and can’t eat, can and can’t say, can and can’t do, slavery, rights of women, rights of gays, rights of atheists, rights of infidels, etc…), how is a disbeliever like myself supposed to believe that transcendent moral values came from the inspiring author of the bible?
Change “Since most of this suffering seems to have arisen through secular motivation” to “Since most of this seems to have arisen through secular motivation”
Been sleeping very little, and I worked 10 hours today X_X
Absolute truth was exactly where it has always been found, within God’s character. When Israel was ordered to destroy Jericho in Joshua chapters 1-3, the reason given is their wickedness. They are idolaters, participating in child sacrifice, idol worship and all sorts of evil. God is justice, and he, consistent with his character, cannot abide this. So he judged them, and laid down the law.
But he is merciful to one family. Rahab, the prostitute houses the spies Joshua sent out beforehand. She is spared from the sword and is able to live with the people of Israel, even ending up becoming one Jesus’ ancestors (Matthew 1:5).
“Now before they lay down, she came up to them on the roof, and said to the men, “I know that the LORD has given you the land, and that the terror of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land have melted away before you. “For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed. “When we heard it, our hearts melted and no courage remained in any man any longer because of you; for the LORD your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath. “Now therefore, please swear to me by the LORD, since I have dealt kindly with you, that you also will deal kindly with my father’s household, and give me a pledge of truth, and spare my father and my mother and my brothers and my sisters, with all who belong to them, and deliver our lives from death.” So the men said to her, “Our life for yours if you do not tell this business of ours; and it shall come about when the LORD gives us the land that we will deal kindly and faithfully with you.”” (Joshua 2:8–14, NASB95)
Right after this, after God had instructed the Israelites not to take any of the wealth for themselves, one the Israelite men is caught with a thousands of dollars worth of merchandise from Jericho. So God commands that and his family be punished, since God, once again, cannot abide such evil.
Remember this is the theme of the Old Testament, God is so good, that his mere presence should cause us to melt and be consumed in fire (read Isaiah 6).
Even with all the fire and brimstone, the Old Testament narratives are pregnant with the grace and mercy of God. when Adam and Eve are kicked out of the garden, God clothes them and covers their shame by slaying a lamb and dressing them with a garment made from it. When Isaac is taken by Abraham for sacrifice, God keeps Abraham from sacrificing his son, and instead provides a ram to be sacrificed in Isaac’s place. When the Israelites malign God’s intentions, and Moses rages against God, he still provided water for them from a rock.
These all foreshadow the Messiah, Jesus, who is the living embodiement of God and his mercy.
all this to say that the morality found within the Bible is consistent with itself.
To say that Christians have been on the wrong side of history when it comes to morality is completely unfounded.
The Abolitionist movement led by William Wilberforce (a devout Christian) was what put an end to slavery in western society. Let me say it clearly, Christians put an end to slavery in western civilization.
Women’s rights were won by the same people involved in the Abolotionist movement. Elizabeth Cady Stanton, one of the founders of the movement along with Susan B. Anthony were staunch and learned Christians.
William Carey also fought for women’s rights in India as he campaigned gains the barbarous act of burning widows as was custom when he was a missionary there. He was also a Christian.
You have much homework to do in this area. Read What Has Christianity done for Us to get a great overview of the ENORMOUS influence Christianity has had on all of western and world culture.
Suffering has decreased and society has evolved, because Christians have moved it forward. Sure there are atheists and Buddhist, Hindu, and Muslim mixed in to the development of Western Civilization, but Christians have had a far more profound impact than any of those groups combined.
There is another component to your question though.
How on Earth would you judge the God of the Bible to be evil, if you have no universal morality to compare him to? If morals and ethics are simply situational, then you have no intellectual leg to stand on when trying to judge Christians and somehow saying they are on the wrong side of history.
If there is no transcendent truth, there is no wrong side!
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