Why the Bible is a poor moral compass

by Diogenesister 21 Replies latest watchtower child-abuse

  • Diogenesister

    Please don't click the link if you feel details of abuse would upset you http://jwleaks.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/letter-to-the-director-of-public-prosecutions-from-steven-unthank-in-relation-to-discontinuing-the-criminal-trial-february-2012-pdf.pdf

    Looking at some of the events that led up to the RC in Australia I came across this letter, submitted to the D.P.P. by Steven Upthank, in relation to the Crown discontinuing prosecution of the Governing Body of Jehovahs Witnesses. Steven has suffered shunning due to his concern and determination to help the children within the christian congregation of Jehovahs Witnesses who have been the victims of sexual abuse.

    Some of the details are bizzare and my question are in relation to the prevelence of child sexual abuse in the JW and the Catholic church IN PARTICULAR. Both these churches share the supression of normal human sexual desires. In the case of Catholicism the clergy are prevented from marrying. The JW are only discouraged from marrying, but if they do strict rules govern what they can and cannot do with their partners. In fact, as became clear during the Royal Commission, that which may occur between consenting adults , if it conflicts with the bible, including lying and adultary (we know also masterbation and homosexuality to be on the list)is considered SO MUCH WORSE THAN CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE. The only mention of which in the bible occurs in such examples as Numbers 31, where God , through the words of his prophet Moses, actively encourages such behaviour. No wonder it is so low on their list of priorities, when they take their moral cue from bronze age tribes who worship a God that places rules on cruel animal sacrifice at the pinicle of all knowledge he could impart to us.

    So my basic premise is this

    1) If you suppress human sexuality do people express it in covert ways. Bizzare behaviour (eg the lego) or with kids, which is not so likely to be discovered. If discovered it's not dealt with severely because it is not expressly forbidden in the bible

    2)Belonging to a religon that specifically gives no voice to women and children and particularly sees them as "less than," are you going to attract men that seek to abuse women and children because the power balance is so very unequal.

    Lets face it it, terrible things happened in biblical times BECAUSE women and children had no redress (not to mention slaves and prisoners of war etc ).We have moved on since then which is why we no longer look to the Bible for moral guidence. The BIBLE, as a MORAL COMPASS is DEFICIENT in almost every way, which why mankind has had to create superior guides such as THE UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS. Mankind 10 Jehovah 0

  • Finkelstein

    You mean emulating the same social moral standards of a civilization such as the ancient Hebrews that existed 3000 years ago is harmful, morally unjust and redundant.


  • opusdei1972
    Whichever be the institution that claims to follow the Bible will be found practicing double standards. The Bible by itself produces conflicting behaviors in the humans who want to follow it.
  • CalebInFloroda

    Of course, if the Bible is to blame, then each and every person who uses it in their lives and every institution that employs it would be like the Roman Catholic Church and the JWs in moral failure. But that is not the case.

    If a certain chemical is toxic to one, then it is toxic to all. But if it causes a toxic reaction in some but not all, then the substance isn't toxic in and of itself. The introduction of the substance to particular individuals, how they handle or respond to it, introduces a variable that changes the substance into something it was not (i.e., a peanut is harmless to many, but not to someone with a peanut allergy).

    As for Scripture, its use among Orthordox Judaism has produced the same child sex abuse scandals as found in the RCC and the JWs, but the situation is unheard of among the more liberal groups such as the Conservative, the URJ, and the post-denominational Jews.

    If the Bible itself was the cause, then all groups and all people who use it would engage in the same moral behavior. They do not. Therefore it is not the Bible itself, but the introduction of something else, perhaps literalism and fundamentalist theologies, that cause the problem. The interpretation of Scripture by literalist principles causes fanaticism, homophobia, and suppression of normal sexual expressions which tend to open the same to obsession with deviant behaviors instead of creating a more "holy" people.

    If the Bible was the problem, the passing of laws supporting marriage equality may have not passed in the United States as quickly and easily. One of the most powerful support groups behind the movement in the USA has been the Conservative and Reform Jewish movements. Their application of Scripture has moved them to stop at nothing in making marriage equality a reality all due to the Jewish principle of Tikklun Olam which originates in and finds its foundation in the Bible.

  • Brokeback Watchtower
    Brokeback Watchtower
    To confine one's self to letting a collection of ancient writtings about a mythological bronze age Deity having serious psychological flaws, huge doses of denial is deffinitely following a lower standard than modern society.
  • CalebInFloroda

    One of the things necessary to understand is that what one is reading in the Jewish texts did not define Jewish society nor were the legends therein written as a moral compass for society of the past or present.

    The Hebrew Scriptures were never the origin of the narratives therein nor were they the basis for the Jewish concepts which gave birth to monotheism. Jehovah's Witnesses employ a theology like this, but it is ignorant.

    For the Jewish texts to be considered the basis of religion would mean they appeared miraculously, which they did not. The texts were never meant to be the basis or foundation for a religion like the JWs use it. These Scriptures are the product of a functioning religion, one that already had doctrines and practices and a liturgy that was pre-Biblical. Judaism wrote the Bible. The Bible was not the basis for Judaism.

    Jews have never confined themselves to what is written in these texts (and it is apparent that some are merely speaking here of those that do). Speaking only for Judaism, the Jews defined G-d due to their experiences and what the concept would mean as times changed. The reason we are called the "children of Israel" is that our identity as a people is defined by our 'wrestling' with the "G-d concept."

    This wrestling has advanced far beyond the simplistic views of a deity that rules from the heavens still adhered to by Christians. Embracing the concept of G-d includes atheism, agnosticism, and defining G-d in more humanistic and empirical ways as well as transcending these. The majority of Jews don't carry over literal interpretations of ancient texts into modern life as that would not be practicing religion...it would be tantamount to wearing a relic.

    Denial comes in many forms. Sometimes it comes in ignorantly embracing ancient deity concepts and enforcing belief in these through hate-inspiring religions like the JWs, but sometimes it comes in being ignorant of texts that Gentiles have applied non-Jewish views to and mistakenly applying these non-Jewish concepts upon texts written by Jews, reflective of Jewish society, and written for Jews.

    That's just as ridiculous as judging atheists by JW standards and theology. In ridding ourselves of JW theology we often have to "unlearn" ANYTHING we have been exposed to from them, even those concepts we now reject outside the Watchtower to ensure false ideas still do not play a part in the choices we make and the conclusions we arrive at today.

  • SecretSlaveClass

    I would suggest the compass was an illusion created by men who had no scientific understanding. Ill use two examples.

    1) Thoughts of a sexual nature are regarded as unclean and forbidden. But we are not the masters of these impulses, our hormones are. We can at best only control the outcome of these impulses. If these impulses are evil, why do we get them and get them often? If there's a God who designed us, this would suggest there is a major design flaw.

    2) Much of the behaviour (eg. Suicidal tendencies, addictions) deemed as demonic we know today as being the result of chemical imbalances and various other biological elements in the equation and not some paranormal force. Again if we insist on hanging onto this belief system we suggest a design flaw when He's supposed to be perfect and all powerful.

    I don't suggest I'm in the right here, merely that this is my view with the issue of judging human behavior with biblical principle.

  • opusdei1972

    Here a Bible verse:

    Happy is the one who seizes your infants and dashes them against the rocks. (Psalm 137:9)

    Any thoughts???

  • CalebInFloroda


    I would say you are right on target.

    Of course you do have to consider that you are leaning heavily on concepts introduced via the New Testsment. A belief in the devil and demons are post-Tanakh (after the Hebrew Bible was composed), and their connection with illness appears to have come from Hellenistic influences.

    There is also well-established exegetical theory that suggests New Testament references to "demons" in connection with health challenges may be partially idiomatic. It appears that sometime after the return from Babylon that a popular view among Jews of health problems drew connections from an attempt to explain them, either connecting them to sin, ceremonial uncleanness, or activity of demonic forces which was new to the scene. Stories like those found in the book of Tobit (which connects a demon to all types of problems) actually became popular in Jewish society. The New Testament message seems to not merely explain a power of Jesus over these types of "demons" but might suggest an exposure of this type of thinking as faulty.

    In the end, there was no attempt by any Bible writers to employ a scientific explanation to lessons which were meant to be used for religious catechesis or designed to fit liturgical needs.

  • CalebInFloroda


    A horrible thought, no matter how you read it, that verse is the end of a song lamenting what the Babylonians did to the Jews and their own children in the process.

    Many Jewish infants died in the siege and deportation to Babylon. To top things off, once in captivity, the Babylonians further taunted the Jews to continue with their liturgical actions of thanksgiving that once filled the First Temple.

    While the Jews felt they could not offer songs of thanksgiving, they did make up a song to sing about Babylon starting in the verse before the one you quote:

    "A blessing on him who repays you in kind/what you have inflicted on us;/a blessing on him who seizes your babies/and dashes them against the rocks!"

    In other words: "The only song we will sing to you is that we will bless those who do to you what you did to us, who will do to your children what you did to ours!"

    The text isn't advising people to seek vengeance but describing how painful it was for the Jews to endure captivity and taunts.

Share this