Why the Bible is a poor moral compass

by Diogenesister 21 Replies latest watchtower child-abuse

  • Island Man
    Island Man

    There was a wonderful example of the bible being a poor moral compass in this week's Watchtower study that highlighted Jesus' loving concern for those he miraculously healed.

    The account of the man "full of leprosy" brought out an interesting fact about how God directed lepers to be treated. One of the cited scriptures quoting the mosaic law stated that lepers had to live outside the camp isolated from the rest of the population; cry out "unclean! unclean!" if approaching non-lepers; had to tear their clothes; keep their hair disheveled and cover over their mustache. The bible thus commanded the ostracism, stigmatization and humiliation of lepers! How immoral!

    But leprosy is actually not a very contagious disease. It is contagious - but not VERY contagious. Thus the dehumanizing ostracism commanded by the law was excessive and unnecessary cruelty. Additionally, leprosy is very treatable today unlike some other diseases. This means that Jehovah could have easily revealed to the nation, some effective medical treatment to be given to lepers. Did he not say that he was making a great nation out of them and surrounding nations would marvel at them? So why couldn't Jehovah have commissioned the medical equivalent of Oholiab? Why couldn't he have revealed effective medical treatments to be used to treat leprosy? Instead he sanctioned their stigmatization and humiliation!

  • SecretSlaveClass
    Caleb: Thanks for that information, I was unaware of it. As far as my reference to demons goes, I was using demons in the context of supernatural influence over our behavior which you understood but It was also in general including a "devil" or "Satan". Of course the belief in supernatural influence isn't unique to the Christian Bible, it exists in almost every religion or supernatural belief system.
  • CalebInFloroda

    Actually Modern Biblical scholarship dismissed the idea that leprosy is the skin disease being spoken of in the Scriptures, but the Watchtower has not caught up yet with that information. Most modern Bible versions since the 1970s don't ever use the word "leprosy" due to this.

  • SecretSlaveClass

    Caleb: You're clearly very well educated in many aspects including theology and history. I enjoy reading your comments and I hope you don't mind sharing your sources with me at times when Im in need of reference related study? I would greatly appreciate it.

    Rock on man!

  • opusdei1972

    Hi Caleb:

    Here I want to quote to you how the ancient jewish concept of holiness is reconfigured by the Watchtower Society:

    Surely we do not want to sadden Jehovah’s heart by accepting something that his Word condemns! Many medical professionals and other advocates of blood transfusion appeal to people to donate blood in hopes of saving lives. However, Jehovah’s holy people acknowledge that the Creator has the right to say how blood is to be treated. To him, “any sort of blood” is sacred. We must be determined to obey his law on blood. By our holy conduct, we prove to him that we deeply appreciate the lifesaving power of Jesus’ blood —the only blood that makes possible the forgiveness of sin and everlasting life.John 3:16. (The Watchtower, Study Edition, 11/15, 2014) (here the link of the article : http://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/2014843 )

  • opusdei1972
    So, in other words, according to the Society, if I avoid to donate blood, I am being holy.
  • CalebInFloroda

    Yeah, opusdei, I think the Watchtower is so ignorant when it makes these conclusions.

    It is so simple to merely do research in Judaism or to consult something like The Jewish Study Bible and get a glimpse of what type of Jewish thought went into what is now considered as Holy Writ.

    What amazes me the most is that the Governing Body doesn't do this at all, nor do their assistant writers. The issue of blood, for example, comes from the common ancient butchering system common to most people of the Mesopotamian district. "Sacrifices" were really the "butcher shop" of the Hebrew world. Slaughter of living animals was carried out in a humane way, with "offerings" of blood (a symbol of life) given back to G-d. This is easily learned as it is a very basic concept.

    This was just an ancient way of Jews "telling" G-d: "We know this life comes from you. Thanks, now let's eat!" We Jews haven't rebuilt the Temple because, among other things, we recognize this was just the ancient "meat distribution" system set up in ancient cultures. We have Kosher butchers now or, for those Jews who don't keep kashrut, the corner grocer will do. We now give thanks at home, before and after meals. The altar before the Temple is a relic of a very ancient past.

    The blood issue was still alive and well in the first century merely because many pagans and heathens still prepared their meat this way, as an offering to a god. That is why you have the information written at 1 Corinthians 8.7-10 and 10.27-29. It still bothered some Christians that meat processed by Gentiles was prepared in a ritual that thanked the local god for the life of the animal.

    In short, the JWs are off because the issue on blood is about thanking the right G-d for it. Animal products processed at the Temple were acceptable, but those that weren't raised questions. Also, the expression about "blood" in Acts 15 as I believed I mentioned before in one of Terry's threads, is a reference to the Noachian Laws and a prohibition against murder. It is silly to compare all of this to life-saving blood transfusions.

  • CalebInFloroda



    I almost didn’t join this site because I had been away so very long from the JWs. And then I let my feelings get hurt when someone misunderstood what I was doing here and I brought up Judaism.

    Then someone I knew reminded me of why it was important to share what I have learned and been through since being a Witness. Since the issues dealt with all stem from the Jewish Scriptures, Jewish monotheism concept, Jewish religion, etc., I was in a unique place to help exJWs on their journey. Being that Judaism has room to embrace the agnostic and atheist, I was also reminded that it could be important for many leaving the Watchtower to see that the start of it all, Judaism, was not so cut and dry or about “belief” in concepts.

    In the time that passed since leaving the JWs I became a language specialist who focused on literary transmission through the ages (a field known as “philology”). I have had the honor of helping Bible translation scholars over the past several years in their work, as well as other religious professionals, all of them Christian despite the fact that I returned to my Jewish roots once I left the Watchtower. My specialty, of course, is Hebrew religious literature, so I became a much requested commodity of sorts with the ecumenical translations which have recently been released.

    So I have to give credit to that past experience and my Jewish culture. I’m just remembering things. I would be happy to point you to the some resources, but realize that there is no exhaustive and complete list out there. We are talking about a subject that literally reaches back thousands of years into the past.

  • Diogenesister
    So sacred in fact he decreed thousands of pints of the stuff ripped from its living, sentient, terrified owners so that the tribes get to party and the Lord gets to "smell a sweet savour". Holy Holy Holy. Indeed.
  • CalebInFloroda


    Sure it reads that way--if you believe the Jehovah's Witnesses and adhere to their particular literal reading of the Scriptures. But doing that won't match up with anything you can find or verify historically or archeologically.

    You have to read the directive for sacrifices from Jewish Scripture much as you would of any culture that practiced the same thing. You also need to have a good idea of how and why ancient cultures did this. We are talking about eating. Not only were animals sacrificed, but the first fruits of grains and first batches of oil and wine.

    One striking thing to remember is that the Jewish doctrine that G-d is very unlike humans is pre-Biblical, and therefore you can't read the texts without understanding that at all times. G-d neither eats, nor breathes, nor smells...etc. Jews have always been adamant about this. We don't even refer to G-d as "he" (you might notice this from my writing). The Scripture pronoun "he" in Hebrew when used in reference to G-d actually mean "he/she/it" and has no equivalence in English.

    This means Jews knew G-d had no use for animal blood or the smell caused by an offering on the altar. Therefore you have to read the expressions with this in mind.

    Without the sacrificial system people could not get a lot of the foodstuffs they needed. The priestly class could not feed itself. People who were not physically able to keep large cattle under their control as they slaughtered them for meat (have you ever tried to hold down a cow as you made a hamburger out of him?) would have to settle for vegetarian diets while only the strong could enjoy a good steak!

    What the system did was offer a continual way to give thanks to G-d for each animal slaughtered. It removed parts that weren't edible or thought proper for the diet (fat and certain innards are set "aside for G-d"), and provided a way for all to get what they needed from the cattle they raised.

    If you think people brought animals to the Temple with fear that G-d would strike them down, you really don't have an idea of what it's like to live in a world without your corner Piggly-Wiggly or Taco Bell stand readily offering you food. Jews weren't the only people who did this in ancient times. It was the norm before some clown invented McDonald's.

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