Why you can’t pick and choose from your holy books

A 12 year old girl in Saudi Arabia is seeking a divorce from her 80 year old husband. (Girls as young as 8 are regularly sold to and raped all over the Middle East and North Africa- 77 percent in Niger.)

Saudi clerics and judges are defending the marriage on the basis that the Prophet Muhammad married (and had sex with) a nine year old girl.

Apologists in the Islamic and Western world will inevitably argue that selling young girls into sexual bondage may be something that was acceptable 1,400 years ago, but not today.

That this response is offered as a defense of the Quran/Bible/Torah reveals the fatal flaw in their logic:

By what standard is something not morally acceptable today that was acceptable earlier? If a superior standard of morality exists by which we can judge human action, what is the point of “holy books?” If the holy books sanction slavery, rape, murder, genocide (as they all do), then why would anyone claim that they are a source of moral authority?

Even if you disagree with a single instruction of the Bible (such as the command to kill any bride who is not a virgin, or any child who disrespects his parents) then you acknowledge that there exists a superior standard by which to judge moral action, and there is no need to rely on a bunch of primitive, ancient, barbaric fairy tales.

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8 Responses to Why you can’t pick and choose from your holy books

  1. Melissa

    Although I agree with you 100% about the issues around selling young girls into slavery, I have to say that if you have read the entire Bible (Old and New testament)… you will know that many of the old testament laws/decrees were done away with when Jesus came into the picture. He came to show that no one can live according to all of the laws in the Old Testament. He came to show that he is the only way to be righteous, and to simplify the entire book to the basic commandment to love God and love your neighbor as yourself. With those commandments, no true Christian would act upon the old testament laws to “Kill a bride who is not a virgin” and the many other various laws that were given to the Jews. There is more background to many of those writings than what is just on paper, so you cannot take them completely literally.

  2. Jack

    Sorry, Melissa, but you’re wrong when you say: “many of the old testament laws/decrees were done away with when Jesus came into the picture. He came to show that no one can live according to all of the laws in the Old Testament. He came to show that he is the only way to be righteous, and to simplify the entire book to the basic commandment to love God and love your neighbor as yourself. With those commandments, no true Christian would act upon the old testament laws to “Kill a bride who is not a virgin” and the many other various laws that were given to the Jews.”

    In Matthew 5:17, Jesus says: “”Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. ”

    Jesus added to the commandments of the Jewish authority in John 13:34 When he said, “A new command I give you: Love one another.” But he did not abolish the old ones. Modern Christians want to believe that he did because, as moral people, they recognize the inhumanity of the laws of Yahweh. But if you accept that the Bible is the unadulterated word of God you must accept that when God says to kill your child if he is disrespectful, you must follow God’s law and kill your child. If you cannot, for moral reasons, do that, then you are proclaiming that there is a moral authority ~higher~ than the God of the ancient Jews. In good conscience you should then reject the Bible and its teachings, and reject the idea that it is the ultimate truth—-you obviously know a truth higher than, more compassionate than the god whom Jesus called The Father.

  3. Josh

    All religions and antiquated systems of morality need to be re-evaluated. We live in a scientific age where we don’t need fabricated stories or gods to explain things like lightening. We have a very advanced form of govermnent compared to people thousands of years ago, so we don’t need to lie to people about ‘hell’ to keep them from stealing, because we can send the police to get them when they do. In the same vein of thought, we don’t need religion, old or new, to frame a system of morality that we can all understand without it.

    Melissa – I think you need to realize that Jesus’ message in his own time was advocating a departure from Religion, and was just as radical as the departure the author is advocating now.

    Jesus advocated abandoning of rules altogether by saying that we don’t need a system of laws to tell us how to live, because each of us know on our own how we should live. I think his message was lost on most of the people who call themselves Christians now–‘fundamentalists’ and ‘evangelicals’ alike still impose rules on themselves and their fellow church-members with all the relentlessness of the Pharisees WHILE talking about the ‘freedom’ that Jesus supposedly brought to Judaism.

    That’s what drove me out of the church. I’m still not decided on God (agnostic not atheist), but I sure as hell don’t have any desire to go to a church anymore.

  4. Dan

    In response to Jack’s comment:

    The passage you quoted was taken out of context. Jesus was clearly referring to the 10 commandments in that passage. I’m not a Christian, but from what I understand, Christians basically believe that all Old Testament laws are thrown out unless Jesus specifically said to follow them.

  5. bezboznik

    To all those claiming the old testament is invalid – how about you STFU about adam & eve, and all the rest of the drivel in it.

    2)Melissa, try this bible verse on for size: 1 Timothy 2:11 Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. 12 But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.

    3)Not one of you xtians can live up to the bible, not ONE! You use religion as a narcissistic tool for egomaniacal self-aggrandizement. The truth is you were a loser without religion, and you’re still a loser with religion. FU.

  6. DingleDog

    @Melissa,

    Several responses to your claim that “Jesus did away with the rules of the Old Testament.”

    1. If your statement was true, why is it that Christians reference the Old Testament at all? Why do Christians selectively espouse its content when it confirms their prejudices, such as in the case of injunctions against homosexuality and bestiality, but disavow the old scriptures offend modern sensibilities?

    2. Why did the God of the Old Testament EVER authorize such repugnant atrocities? If God is omnibenevolent, why did he think it was appropriate before the time of Jesus to murder children, order the rape of virgins, and sacrifice innocent animals? You can’t possibly think the the level of moral depravity before Jesus was so grotesque that it warranted the death of INNOCENTS, and even if it did, God created humans knowing full-well that they had certain flaws that they would act upon. Why not just create a better freaking human?

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