Truth about the 10 Commandments
Is the OT Ethical?
This debate is going to be hard for me mainly because of my opponents views concerning the bible. While normally you could point out the various parts of the bible that are obviously immoral and unethical, Max has a special opinion on the bible in general and I feel that it is necessary for me to explain myself a little bit.
In Max's view, the bible isn't the inerrant word of god so it is not completely god's word. He does believe that, with proper contextual clues, you can determine which bits of the bible are directly from god and which are products of man injecting his own will into the bible. For instance:
Leviticus 20:13, If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them
Since he will be also be cross referencing with Hebrew text and the actual linguistics of it, I'm sure he's going to be able to explain away that it shows how god doesn't approve of homosexuality and considers it a sin but it's man injecting his will into the bible by saying that they should be put to death. I've also heard the argument that in the original text this verse was actually talking about pedophilia and that it was mistranslated into being all same sex relationships and not just those between a Man and an underage boy, which is evidenced here:
Although Roman men in general seem to have preferred youths between the ages of 12 and 20 as sexual partners, freeborn male minors were strictly off-limits, and professional prostitutes and entertainers might be considerably older.
In any case, the only argument I have against this type of logic is why would an all powerful god who is obviously trying to guide his chosen people along the path that he wants, which he already knows whether or not they will follow that path or not, why would he have chosen such a convoluted way that wouldn't be fully understood for at least a couple thousand years.
So that is the reason why I'm not just going to mindlessly throw out obviously immoral bible verses in this debate.
Ethics is of or relating to moral principles. So what we are asking is the OT Law morally good or justified. Since we need to only take in consideration God's
Now, Max has agreed prior to the debate that the 10 commandments come directly from "god." So let's just take a look at what rules god felt were the most important and most ethical rules to live by.
- I am the Lord your God
- You shall have no other gods before me
- You shall not make for yourself a carved image
- You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain
The first four commandments have absolutely no ethical value whatsoever. They are completely egocentric to this "god." This "god" has deemed the most ethical laws that he can give are to acknowledge and protect him. Given my foreknowledge of the entire history of the universe, I think I would have put "You shall not fuck children; that is an abomination unto me" at the top of my list. These commandments only serve us in one place and that is the Abrahamic religions.
Honour thy father and thy mother
Like many other things this works good in theory, but not so much in reality. According to this commandment, which is deemed morally good and justified, a raped young girl shouldn't dishonor her father by alerting the police to his special lessons at night. What about the young boy that's getting beat on by his father. By this commandment, he shouldn't dishonor his father by alert the police about his real reasons for his bruises and broken bones. It can be just as ethical to dishonor your parents as honor.
You shall not murder
Ah... first actually ethical law but this isn't special to Judaism or Christianity. The Sumerians had first established this in the Sumerian Code of Ur-Nammu written between 2100 and 2050. This is also one of the few commandments that is US Law.
Thou shalt not commit adultery
This sounds like a good at first glance but the bible has a wide definition of adultery. Of course you have what we generally consider adultery, but what about open marriages and relationships? Those are perfectly ethical forms of adultery by the common definition today as well as recent past.
The bible also defines adultery as divorce and remarriage. My parents divorced and remarried. They didn't cheat on each other and my father didn't abandon us. Those are the two biblical reasons for an ethical divorce. They performed neither of these actions to warrant divorce and yet their divorce was not immoral, but it was necessary for the ultimate well being of each person in the family.
The bible also defines adultery as lusting after a woman and that you should " tear it out and throw it away "... TWICE... Nope THREE TIMES! So is it inherently immoral to be attracted to the next door neighbor? Is it ethical to fantasize about the girl next door. Well depending on the age that last one could be immoral. I don't consider it unethical or immoral for me to watch porn.
Thou shalt not steal
While this is not original in the least bit, it is one that by itself could be ethical and it could not. Arguments have been made by some Christians that simple things like not tithing to god is stealing as well. Is it really unethical or immoral to not give to charity or a church? I say no. It's not immoral to keep the money you rightfully make. I personally try to help out others when I can because it makes me feel good and I feel that it is promoting the well being of others. Not everyone has this drive and it's not immoral if you don't.