A quick Biblical question....
Thanks David. Whether one likes the delivery or not, my point was that institutions that have been looked at as the pinnacle of morality have been lax in addressing this, as have the books that said religions are based upon, and we have all seen or experienced some of the results. Hopefully it is obvious what side I'm on here.
Since there is scripture stating that children who dishonor their parents should be put to death, it would leave the impression that children had little if any human rights in the ancient Hebrew civilization, not surprising perhaps.
Just like many other religious institutions the JWS had a problem with child sexual abuse where people would exploit the trusted supposed wholesome social environment that you see in religions.
What may have added to the problem is that these people may have also exploited the two witness rule, where little could be done if they were exposed to their actions.
Since there is scripture stating that children who dishonor their parents should be put to death, it would leave the impression that children had little if any human rights in the ancient Hebrew civilization...
There was no such thing as "human rights" in ancient civilizations.
I note that those from a Christian background, including perhaps even some of those who leave it behind, seem to demand that our Jewish works be read through a lens compatible with modern views on justice and with Christian definitions on God and perfection. That's not the fault of the Bible as much as it is the fault of non-Jewish readers not remembering that they are reading an account of a people who allegedly lived some 3,500 years ago.
Notions like "human rights," a "perfect God that is like the loving Jesus," etc. are expectations that you wouldn't expect to find in other religious writings of other cultures of the same period. Jews aren't saying that their religious mythos demonstrates axioms of perfect behavior or that the personality of the God of the ancient Hebrews is supposed to match with the words of the children's song: "Yes, Jesus Loves Me"!
Sometimes the demands made upon the Hebrew text by others sounds to me like that scene from the musical, The Book of Mormon where white American boys from Utah find the dark realities of Uganda shocking. They don't understand why their stories about Jews building boats and sailing to America to grow into tribes that war with each other wherein eventually some get cursed with black skin in the process for being bad don't ring true with the people of Africa. Part of the comedy in the show is that they've been seeing the world through rose-colored glasses that they thought the rest of the world had money enough to afford. The reality is that even if each person had the money to purchase glasses like that, most aren't interested in them.
As a Jewish man I will be the first to tell you that my people had some pretty screwed up ideas some 3,500 years ago. But guess what, so did your ancestors! Just compare your people's histories to mine and see for yourself that they were just as stupid as mine. That was 3,500 years ago! Is it always logical then what's being demanded by some of the Bible?
Also, it's not the fault of our Scriptures that someone who wasn't Jewish told you lies about our stories. Don't blame us or our book! If we can read the same pages and claim that the stuff inside is at times downright horrible and ugly and that our God in its pages often didn't do what we think should have been obvious to an Almighty Being--and we still come out seeing some value in it--all I can say is that I'm sorry that you can't make the "Square Peg of our Ancient Bible" fit in your Modern Christian-based Society circle of a hole. I think you should be mad at the teachers who taught you that the mythology of ancient Jews was journalist history and stop complaining that the square won't go in where you think it should go.
Now I know that is NOT what many of you are actually saying, even here. But I do want people reading this to note that some of you Gentiles wouldn't be so happy if I messed around with your legends either. What about Americans and their legend about George Washington, how when he was a boy he was allowed to go about wielding an axe and chopping down other people's trees? So what if he told the truth about it when asked? Would his refusal to lie about what he had done still be as heroic if instead of chopping down a cherry tree he had gone next door and chopped to death his neighbor's dog? So what if you admit you did something wrong? "I cannot tell a lie. I was the one who chopped Rover to death and kept chopping till he was in bite-sized chunks." Telling the truth that you did something bad doesn't make you honorable if what you're being honest about is a crime.
See what I mean? If you look closely at anyone's cherished legends, you can find fault if you look at it in the way it was not intended to be viewed. Jews aren't the one's saying their Bible or God is perfect. If you got a bone to pick, it's not with us.
A good rule of thumb to remember is if you can't read the legend in the original language, always keep in mind that something may get lost in your translation--so be careful how you interpret it.
I do love your posts David. You give such a different perspective. There was something you mentioned a while back, just a perspective shift, that blew my feeble mind. Too bad I can't remember it, but my wife liked it too. You look at the Bible so differently than those of us that were JWs specifically, and Christians in general. Were you ever a Witness? If so, you know our questions come from an intense interpretation that was foisted upon us, as you alluded to. I can see where it must feel so messed up to have other people running wild with your book and history. I appreciate you sharing your perspective.
Apparently king Ahaz was less than 12 years old when he became father of Hezekiah.
Maybe that tells us something about the ancient customs regarding sex and children?
Watchtower doesn't seem to view it as problematic.
of non-Jewish readers not remembering that they are reading an account of a people who allegedly lived some 3,500 years ago.
This is something I've pointed a few times, that yes the ancient Hebrews did try and establish a social behavior standard within their civilization and one might say they were advanced for their era but trying to emulate it to the degree the JW religion does creates a problematic folly in itself.
",...out of the mouth of babes" is the only one I can think of.
Were you ever a Witness? If so, you know our questions come from an intense interpretation that was foisted upon us, as you alluded to. I can see where it must feel so messed up to have other people running wild with your book and history. I appreciate you sharing your perspective.
I was indeed one of Jehovah's Witnesses as most here. I went in at 17, unaware I was Jewish until right before my baptism. Just days before the dip, my parents protested and revealed we were Jews--which explains why they would never let us eat cheeseburgers or have milk with dinner like the rest of the kids in school. But when I told the elders they laughed and said it couldn't be true. I was going by my Sephardic name then instead of my Hebrew name I use now, and Sephardic names sound Spanish--so the idiot elders said I could be a Jew since "you're a Mexican!" When it was confirmed 10 years later through an accidental run-in with a rabbi and I learned I had a halachic (legal) standing as a Jew and Israelite and that this likely made my baptism invalid, the elders shut down in in a defensive denial. I was a ministerial servant and regular pioneer at the time of my leaving, and I am glad I can help with the perspective I've gained from my situation.
...one might say they were advanced for their era but trying to emulate it to the degree the JW religion does creates a problematic folly in itself.
The Bible is a static snapshot of an era long gone, and we Jews have had almost 4000 years of advancement in the monotheism concept since. But folks like the Witnesses are stuck trying to imitate and literally live according to the legends and mythological religious dramas we developed before we even invented the rabbi. I'm glad you see how stupid they are being!
" In ancient Athens and Rome, the modern concept of paedophilia did not exist as such, so the question would be meaningless to an Athenian if you asked him. If by paedophilia you mean the modern psychiatric definition, which pertains to sex with pre-pubescent children, that was considered abnormal and probably as rare as now.
If you use the popular modern definition, which includes all children that cannot be considered adults, so up to 16 or 18 years old, that was not uncommon in Greece and Rome. Flirtation and sex between a bearded man and an unbearded, pubescent boy was acceptable or even common, but only in certain contexts, in certain circles, in certain cities, at certain times. This answer is about sex between grown men and pubescent children.
In Antiquity, unmarried sex usually did not impact a man or a boy's reputation; but girls were supposed to remain virgins until marriage. So attitudes towards sex were tied to marriage for girls. The discrepancy was probably connected with the common situation of a younger girl marrying a (somewhat or much) older man. Another relevant factor was the fact that men can procreate at a late age, while women have a fairly limited timeframe.
Pubescent girls could be married off to adult men, which is still common practice in many parts of the world. Until ca. 1800, a very common minimum age of marriage in Europe was 12 years old. Only after 1800 was this gradually raised in the West. This probably reflected social attitudes. The modern Western boundary of 16 or 18 years (which means after puberty) for marriage is relatively new; while I believe the average age of marriage has been increasing for centuries, 16–18 probably only became universal in the West somewhere during the 20th century.
That doesn't mean girls were mostly married off during puberty in the Middle Ages and Antiquity, but it does mean that marriage was often legally possible at 12. One can imagine that consummation was often (though not always) to happen soon after. Sometimes sons and daughters who were supposed to forge an important alliance were even married at 9 or younger, but then marriage was often only allowed to be consummated later."