Friday, June 6, 2008

Shoplifter Sentenced To Death


The un-repentant sinning shoplifter, garnishes a sentence of eternal damnation.

This news-headline would be amusing – if it wasn’t sadly true (at least in the minds and in the writings of Jews & Christians)

The God of the Bible has no given hierarchy of sins & but one punitive punishment option open to him.

And whilst we in the secular world can recognise & rank the severity of individual acts (murder versus say masturbation) to the followers of the scriptures, Gods word is a is final, so if a masturbator ends-up in hell ‘them is the breaks’. It is Gods privilege alone to issue a death warrant on a shop-lifter, and not for you plebeians to question the heavy handiness of such a decree.

Depending on Gods whim, a rapist and a thief are same, and the process of this judgment is not one in which mankind deserves a say, irrespective of the seeming inequality of the respective sins.

But wait there’s even more illogical pensiveness (and no ginzu knife) in respect to Gods so-called justice, coupled with a disturbing degree of blind acceptance of his draconian rule amongst believers.

A despot like Joseph Stalin culpable in the murder of million’s, can confess his sins on his death bed, and based-on Gods whimsicality be exempted his wrath. That’s like a murder admitting “it’s a far rap, I’m sorry fella’s” and being allowed to leave the court a free man.

Conversely a clean living, fun-loving atheist who hasn’t hurt a fly enters Gods court and is automatically sentenced to ‘the lake of fire’.

A combination of Judge Dread, morphed with the perfunctory ‘show’ trials of Nazi Germany, the God of the bible does, at times, not differentiate between the sins of mankind.

If he’s got a beef against shop-lifters on the day you die – that’s the way it is, get use to hot pokers up your backside.

If God’s had an argument with ‘the mrs’ on the day you depart the mortal-coil, then even the most pious character, guilty of say the most trivial of sins through-out their lives, will end-up being roasted.

No right of appeal.

If he’s in a better mood then you can literally get away with murder.

The Old Testament is full of examples of Gods petulance and the unevenness of his sentences versus the crime/sin in question.

Viewed through the eyes of mere mortals – Gods justice is not just.

5 comments:

Neil William said...

It would help if you had a better understanding of God's justice before attempting to find fault with it. Does the Bible represent His justice the way you have here? Show that it does.

"The God of the Bible has no given hierarchy of sins & but one punitive punishment option open to him."

Wrong. Old Testament law did not demand death for every offense, but also had a scheme of fines and other kinds of restitution. The punishment fit the crime - see, for example, Exodus 21-22.

But I think you had more in mind the final judgment, in which sinners are consigned to hell. Here, too, there are degrees of punishment. Hear the words of Jesus:

"And you, Capernaum, will not be exalted to heaven, will you? You will descend to Hades; for if the miracles had occurred in Sodom which occurred in you, it would have remained to this day. Nevertheless I say to you that it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for you." (Matthew 11:23-24)

Or read Revelation 20:12-13, in which at the final judgment men are being judged in accordance with their deeds.

"Depending on Gods whim, a rapist and a thief are same, and the process of this judgment is not one in which mankind deserves a say, irrespective of the seeming inequality of the respective sins."

"A despot like Joseph Stalin culpable in the murder of million’s, can confess his sins on his death bed, and based-on Gods whimsicality be exempted his wrath."

I've shown already how the source documents go against such alleged whimsicality. Moreover, you seem confused: in your hypothetical case, does Stalin have, or deserve, a say, or not?

"That’s like a murder admitting “it’s a far rap, I’m sorry fella’s” and being allowed to leave the court a free man."

Missing from this picture is that God exacts punishment for all sins. If a sinner's ultimate punishment is not borne by himself, it is because it was borne by a substitute, Jesus Christ, who also grants him genuine repentance and a transformed life.

"Conversely a clean living, fun-loving atheist who hasn’t hurt a fly enters Gods court and is automatically sentenced to ‘the lake of fire’."

In God's court he is guilty of treason. Rather than giving due worship to the Creator of his life and all that was good in it, he has denied and hated Him. Nor or is he completely innocent of sins against his fellow man or the conscience God gave him.

"Viewed through the eyes of mere mortals – Gods justice is not just."

How does the atheist account for justice? Why ought mere matter in motion be just? Without an answer to these questions, your railing is hollow.

Canterbury Atheists said...

Hey, thanks for your feedback there Neil.

Now firstly, Atheists don’t believe in god(s), devils, angels, tooth fairies, aliens from the planet Seuss etc.

By in large Atheists can read though, and because we don’t yet live in a totalitarian regime, heathens like me, are actually allowed to make comment on books we’ve read. (besides, I have a letter of indulgence, purchased from the local Catholic Church)

So from what I’ve read, I don’t believe in this sort of divine justice meted-out by ‘the star of that 2,000 year old best seller’, nor his primitive draconian rules – but evidently you do.

Which is frankly rather spooky, reading this sort of diatribe:

If a man lies with a male as with a women, both of them shall be put to death for their abominable deed; they have forfeited their lives." (Leviticus 20:13 NAB)

If a man commits adultery with another man's wife, both the man and the woman must be put to death. (Leviticus 20:10 NLT)

All who curse their father or mother must be put to death. They are guilty of a capital offense. (Leviticus 20:9 NLT)

They entered into a covenant to seek the Lord, the God of their fathers, with all their heart and soul; and everyone who would not seek the Lord, the God of Israel, was to be put to death, whether small or great, whether man or woman. (2 Chronicles 15:12-13 NAB)

From there Elisha went up to Bethel. While he was on his way, some small boys came out of the city and jeered at him. "Go up baldhead," they shouted, "go up baldhead!" The prophet turned and saw them, and he cursed them in the name of the Lord. Then two shebears came out of the woods and tore forty two of the children to pieces. (2 Kings 2:23-24 NAB)

Make ready to slaughter his sons for the guilt of their fathers; Lest they rise and posses the earth, and fill the breadth of the world with tyrants. (Isaiah 14:21 NAB)

Anyone who is captured will be run through with a sword. Their little children will be dashed to death right before their eyes. Their homes will be sacked and their wives raped by the attacking hordes. For I will stir up the Medes against Babylon, and no amount of silver or gold will buy them off. The attacking armies will shoot down the young people with arrows. They will have no mercy on helpless babies and will show no compassion for the children. (Isaiah 13:15-18 NLT)

If a man is caught in the act of raping a young woman who is not engaged, he must pay fifty pieces of silver to her father. Then he must marry the young woman because he violated her, and he will never be allowed to divorce her. (Deuteronomy 22:28-29 NLT)

Neil, I’m sure you’ll have better interpretation or ‘understanding’ of these passages which fits your mindset.

Gotta shoot.

Thanks again for commenting.

Paul.

Neil William said...

Hi Paul,

"Hey, thanks for your feedback there Neil."

No problem.

"Now firstly, Atheists don’t believe in god(s), devils, angels, tooth fairies, aliens from the planet Seuss etc."

Great, there's no good reason to believe in most of those. None compare to the God who is.

"By in large Atheists can read though, and because we don’t yet live in a totalitarian regime, heathens like me, are actually allowed to make comment on books we’ve read. (besides, I have a letter of indulgence, purchased from the local Catholic Church)"

Any such letter of indulgence is worthless, but I guess you know that. We had this little thing called the Reformation to weed out the many heresies and abuses of the apostate Roman Catholic Church.

Totalitarianism tends to be a favoured option of atheistic governments. Hopefully your side can keep a check on those of your soul-mates more willing to explore the full range of action permitted by their worldview, as it would be unchristian to have comments on books restricted.

"So from what I’ve read, I don’t believe in this sort of divine justice meted-out by ‘the star of that 2,000 year old best seller’, nor his primitive draconian rules – but evidently you do."

Is this the whole of your argument? I thought atheists prided themselves on their use of reason. But a necessary starting point for you would be to have an objective standard for justice from which to make reasoned moral judgments - and it won't do to appeal to cultural convention, or your own subjective feelings (which is all you've been doing), as that standard.

My standard is the moral nature, and the revealed will, of God. We were all created in the image of God. That image is marred by the Fall, yet it remains the basis for all proper moral sensibilities, yours included.

Now, to the verses you quoted.

Leviticus 20:13 - Homosexuality goes against God's creation ordinances, and it doesn't take theism to discern its harm on the individuals involved or on society at large.

Leviticus 20:10 - Adultery? It's wrong. I hope you agree.

Leviticus 20:9 - It's a good idea to respect your elders. They were our guardians and often know better than us. That's not news.

2 Chronicles 15:12-13 - If you read on down to verse 15:

15 And all Judah rejoiced over the oath, for they had sworn with all their heart and had sought him with their whole desire, and he was found by them, and the LORD gave them rest all around (ESV).

So, nobody was put to death on that occasion. They all rejoiced and willingly turned to God. If those to whom the sentence could have applied had no problem with it, but rather valued God as God, should you complain?

2 Kings 2:23-24 - These "small boys" may have been teenagers, but in any case, the prophets were a consecrated class in Israel, who spoke for God. By mocking Elisha, the youths were guilty of mocking God.

Isaiah 14:21 - We are here dealing with the sons of an evil tyrant. Corruption at the top often percolates down such that the sons have complicity in the evil of their fathers. Example - the sons of Saddam. Would you like an Iraq in the charge of Uday?

Isaiah 13:15-18 - Thankfully, God does not let evil societies like Babylon flourish forever on the earth, but brings temporal judgments against them. Some therein are more innocent than others, but in an important way their appointed deaths are a mercy, as they've suffered under or inculpated themselves in the milieu of evil to lesser degrees.

Deuteronomy 22:28-29 - In the context of ancient Israel, it is unlikely that the victim would be accepted by another man in marriage, and in the long term this would be a greater shame to her than the rape itself. The law penalised the man, made compensation for and secured the future of the woman, and gave her a chance to have children, which for a woman were considered to be the greatest blessing.

"Neil, I’m sure you’ll have better interpretation or ‘understanding’ of these passages which fits your mindset."

Better interpretation than what? If you offered some interpretation other than presenting those passages for some supposed shock value, I must have missed it.

I try to fit my understanding to the global context of Scripture. That's how you understand any literary work - on its own terms, whether you believe the work or not. The big picture of Scripture, whether you like it or not, is that there is a holy God who is our Creator and Judge, yet who is also a wonderful Saviour, and we live at his pleasure. (His people no longer live under Israel's theocracy, however, and thus we no longer stone church members who are adulterous, etc.)

Those passages are perfectly fine and internally consistent within the mindset determined by Scripture, but what you seem to want to do is to judge them by an external mindset.

Fine. I simply ask again, what is it about the atheistic worldview that would make it rational to make moral pronouncements?

Canterbury Atheists said...

Gidday there Neil, I'm travelling extensively (my wifes broom is in the garage, so I'm travelling conventionally)starting this weekend and along with sporting/coaching commitments,I'm not going to have time to reply directly to the points you raise. Nor am I presumptious enough it has to be said, to claim the mantle as the Global Spokesman for Atheism. The thing is - no two athesists agree with each other, except for sharing the view 'there are no gods'. We are free thinkers and make our own decisions and life-choices. If we read in a book the sun circled the earth, we'd weigh-up this statement with the scientific facts and make our own decisions as to it's validity.The subject of an 'Atheistic Worldview' is an interesting one however. Let me ponder it as I drive the roads of the South Island. Signing-off for now. Regards. Paul.

Neil William said...

Understood. As the road moves rapidly underneath you, also consider whether an ancient writer unconcerned with celestial mechanics or the Copernican model may be permitted to use phenomenological language. Even the Met. Office will speak of "sunrise" and "sunset", phenomenological terms which assume a fixed arc on the earth as a frame of reference. Any "fact" concerning relative movements in a system of many bodies is factual only in terms of a chosen reference point. For the solar system, the only reason to locate the sun at that point is that using the center of mass of a system makes for an elegant mathematical model.

Have a good trip.

Neil