Thursday, April 14, 2016

Bible Verses That May Not Be as Extreme or as Immoral or as Ridiculous as Initially Thought

Jeff Sanders seeks to explain 6 Controversial Bible Passages the Skeptics Love to Hate (thank ye to brother Ed Driscoll). As he notes, leftists are in the habit of using the more "unusual" passages or commands in scripture
to show that the Bible is ridiculous or anti-women or anti-science or just downright immoral.
Here is just one of his six examples that perhaps ain't as controversial as depicted:
A widow must marry her brother-in-law? (Deuteronomy 25:10) 

This is a passage that teaches "levirate marriage" (which was quite common in the ancient world). "Levirate" comes from the Latin word levir, meaning "brother-in-law." The law states that if a man has a wife, but he dies without an heir, she must marry his brother so that they can have a child to inherit the man's possessions. Sounds terrible to our modern ears, doesn't it?

But in the ancient agrarian world, it was practical and merciful. If a widow did not have any children from her first husband, then the land could be sold off, and she would be left destitute. By marrying her brother-in-law, she would be keeping the property (which she may have brought into the family) within the family. She and her family could lose the property if she married someone from the outside. The brother-in-law could refuse to marry her, but according to verses 7-10 she could go through a ceremony to publicly shame him into marrying her.

In marriage the woman would be financially secure and she would have children to take care of her in her old age. Sounds strange to us today, I know, but that was the "Social Security/Medicare" set-up of the ancient world.
But the InstaPundit comments section also contains information of interest.

Rancher Jack refers to Strong's Exhaustive Concordance to the Holy Bible with Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries while MITM attempts to explain "Turn the other cheek":
The key point [per one New Testament scholar] of turning the other cheek was that in order to strike you again that way, the striker had to treat you as a social equal, rather than as inferior. Thus Jesus, in suggesting this, was standing up for human dignity despite not hitting back, rather than advocating just taking whatever anyone felt like dishing out.
Meanwhile, Terentia picks a further handful of Bible verses to shed light upon:
"An eye for an eye" is not a prescription for revenge. It is a limitation on the fallen human propensity to up the ante. It is a prohibition on escalation.
Caesar is your master? Caesar isn't mine. I pay taxes but that doesn't make Caesar my master. 
Finally, 3Subject points out what is perhaps the main problem with Western leftists who, say, after an nth Islamist attack, hold that the main problem is religion in general and not Islam per se…
According to the Instapundit comments section (which is itself informed by the cottage industry devoted to "explaining" the "real" Islam), the Bible is a book that contains problematic passages that must be explained, historicized, and contextualized. The fact that most Christians don't act on the bizarre and sociopathic messages contained in the Bible is a sign of civilization and sophistication

The Qur'an, meanwhile, is viewed a quasi-magical text whose problematic passages utterly resist interpretation, historicization, and contextualization, and literally compel Muslims to commit violence. The fact that most Muslims don't act on the bizarre and sociopathic messages contained in the Qur'an is a sign that they're not "really" Muslims, or are secretly supporting the fanatics, or that they're engaging in "taqiyyah" while quietly working to undermine all that is right and good in the world.
What Does the Bible Say About Socialism?
Six Startling Contrasts Between the Bible and the Quran
Does the Bible Teach the Same Kind of 'Holy War' as the Quran?
How to Explain the Necessity of Jesus' Death to Muslims