I posted this in "Friends" forum:
Is the bible God's Word?
Reading Deuteronomy 22 in context, it seems clear to me that what is being referred to as a serious offense is willful fornication, not merely submitting to a rapist in order to save one's life. Remember, the cities in ancient times were not like major cities today. They were physically small, close-knit, and patriarchial. If a girl was being raped within the city, and she screamed for help, help would come. Most likely, her screaming would scare off the attacker, since he would know that help was at hand. In such a situation, it was a reasonable assumption that if the girl did not scream, she was a willing participant, and that there was no rape at all, but consensual fornication.
In many urban areas today, a girl could scream until her lungs were raw, and nobody would pay any attention. If the rapist was violent, she might well be killed for screaming. Clearly, this is an entirely different situation from what was envisioned under the Mosaic Law. The fact that the Watchtower is willing to endanger its people by stretching the principle to include such situations is just another evidence of its cold heartlessness and lack of concern for its members.
Edited by - NeonMadman on 29 August 2002 10:16:56
Thank you for your reply, but I have an unanswered quesition. You say this law was for willful sinners but that does not answer the case of those who could not scream. As many realize today there are many woman, who under such duress cannot even utter one word. They would be stoned if they lived back then, as I'm sure there were woman then too who could not call out, and were accused of willful fornication and killed. After all you said:
"it was a reasonable assumption that if the girl did not scream, she was a willing participant, and that there was no rape at all, but consensual fornication"
An explaination is that the bible is just as much mans word as the watchtower society.The bible contains many other instances of faulty wisdom and logic.
You touch on a point of major concern to many and I have often tried to think through this whole issue myself.
I can accept the argument that the Jews lived in barbarous and dangerous times and it is against this backdrop that the seeds of Hebrew religion were sown. The argument is, "Well, God used what materials he had at the time to build what he needed". Of course this led to injustice and cruelty, as the system did not seem to be established for the love of the individual, but to preserve the 'Organization' of the nation. Though I find this ethically distasteful, it makes historical sense to me. 'Loving thy enemies' would not have worked very well with an opposing army at battle stations. You can see why it suits the WTS to follow the Hebraic example, and why it is locked in psuedo-Judaaic thinking from whence most of its problems seem to spring. To pattern theology for the group as opposed to the individual helps maintain control, an issue high on the WTS agenda.
Now fast forward to Christianity. Christianity as an ethic elevated the individual above the religious codes of Hebrew thinking and subsequently came into conflict with both the Jewish and the political thinking of the age.
So here lies the problem. Religious people seem unable to accept that society changes with time, and they seek to keep their little dogmas which are just the servants of the hour, preserved at all costs rather than discard them as unnecessary for the age. For example, the issue of women wearing 'headcoverings', while understandable against the backdrop of C1st and Pauline Pharisaic history is a plainly ludicrous dogma to drag into the C21st. Yet, many religions seek to adhere to this historically anachronistic thinking. They are of course convinced that by doing so they are preserving the purity of their faith. In reality they put their thinking, and arguably their spirituality in suspended hibernation.
Best regards and thank you for raising this topic - HS
Edited by - hillary_step on 29 August 2002 11:41:36
The Bible cannot be the word of God because it is illogical, untrue, and controdictory. The fact that anyone would be killed for having sex is just insane. Even if I tried to justify such harshness by bringing up protection from illness or to prevent unwanted children it doesn't make sense. Eating is a natural desire like sex and if I get unlucky and eat the wrong thing I can also become ill or even die yet eating is not punishable by death. Does the "horror" of having a baby really justify prevention to the extreem of killing any potential parents just in case someone might become pregnant? This is especially silly today when there are many methods of preventing pregnancy. Do two lives have to be sacrificed in order to prevent 1 bastard?
Such punishments are doubly irrational considering God supposidly created us to have these hard to control desires in the first place. If sex is so bad as to warrant death why not give us an alternate reproductive method? A loving intelligent super being would never demand such harsh punishments based on hard to control instincts. Should puppies have stones thrown at them until they die because they pee on the floor? The Bible is obviously man made since only irrational men could come up with such silly stories and sadistic punishments for minor and mostly harmless laspses in control. Why is sex a "willfull sin" at all? Why not drinking water on Tuesdays or having corn in your BM too. These could be justified as harmful sins if we put our minds to it. The water might make us sick or the unchewed corn is a sign of gross laziness and glutoney. We need harsh punishments to prevent these dangerous willfull acts.
Edited by - Liberty on 29 August 2002 11:33:41
I have always been suspicious of religions that practiced "Bibliolotry" (worship of the Bible). The WBTS is a leading, but not the only practitioner of this silly idea. They ridicule those who would ascribe divine power to a statue formed by a skilled artesan, but do the same thing to a book written by some "not so insightful men". The bible does tell us how the people of their day viewed God. It appears to be mostly through "coke bottle glass"; distorted, limited, and unreadable. Much of the rationale for the treatment of women in the WTBTS comes from Paul's letters to the Corinthians. It disregards that Paul was dealing with a special situation there that was tearing the congregation apart. Corinth was the San Diego of its day. Its main occupation was the entertainment of sailors while their boats were being hauled across the narrow part of Greece. Temple prostitution was prevalent in the predominant pagan religion in which the women took the leading parts. Many in the Corinth congregation were recent converts from that pagan religion and had brought some of those practices into the Christian congregation. It hardly seems fair to use Paul's advice in that situation to keep women out of leadership roles. God speaks to our hearts, not our heads. Because Paul's letters were collected so well, we really don't practice Christianity today but Paulianitry. It also seems doubtful that Paul wrote all of the letters attributed to him.
Can't help but think of the woman in Africa that may be stoned for having a baby out of wedlock.
Is the Bible the only source of these strict laws? It seems like things like this would be recorded in other publications/scripts/what-have-you....???
In regards to the screaming, maybe the original intent was to indicate "resistance." Besides, just because nobody heard her scream didn't mean she didn't. If a man holds his hand over her mouth or gags her, her screams will not be heard outside a home unless someone is directly outside the window. (I'm *not* speaking from experience here, just a logical conclusion). Surely a loving God would not want to stone an innocent virgin girl unneccesarily, so assuming this passage is God-inspired, one would logically have to conclude that He was referring to resistance in this passsage.
The reality of this though is really shocking. Can't help but wonder how many innocent women were put to death because of this. It must really pain the Almighty to witness injustices done to innocent people supposedly performed in His honor. Ugh. Really makes me think....