Evangelicalism and Ethics                          

Paul Benedict

 

Ethics may also be termed the moral philosophy that recommends what is termed right and wrong behaviour. Ethics may be divided into "metaethics, normative ethics, and applied ethics. Metaethics investigates where our ethical principles come from, and what they mean. Are they merely social inventions? Do they involve more than expressions of our individual emotions? Metaethical answers to these questions focus on the issues of universal truths, the will of God, the role of reason in ethical judgments, and the meaning of ethical terms themselves. Normative ethics takes on a more practical task, which is to arrive at moral standards that regulate right and wrong conduct. This may involve articulating the good habits that we should acquire, the duties that we should follow, or the consequences of our behavior on others. Finally, applied ethics involves examining specific controversial issues, such as abortion, infanticide, animal rights, environmental concerns, homosexuality, capital punishment, or nuclear war397".  

 

Evangelicalism brings its God firmly into the ethics frame. In obedience to the God-given Holy Scriptures, individuals should then live their lives to please him. This affects everything from paying taxes, loving my neighbour, defamatory gossip and criminal activities. Ethical paradigms are rooted in their divinity as revealed in their Protestant Bible. This, dear fellow traveller is the rub!

 

Please tread cautiously as we examine the Biblical God of ethics and, by default, the moral values propagated by the Bible. As we pursue our analysis, a collage evolves; a patchwork of sculptured characterizations of the divine being inclusive of and related to highly questionable concepts. Protection from criticism by the all-powerful Do Not Disturb label of faith and the supposedly divine inspiration of their Bible, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob lives on! We need to decide, however, whether the father of the Christ depicted hereafter is but the projection of the thoughts, ideas and imagery of human beings - fallible individuals like ourselves. If so, then that too illustrates that the alleged God-breathed Scriptures are like a predated version of Joseph Smith's, Book of Mormon. However, evangelicals believe implicitly that their Bible is "a perfect guide to morality398" - it is imperative that we examine the ethical composition that is purportedly God's precious word. What exactly does this Christian book of morality offer us? After all, role models and standards are necessary for any society.

 

As an aside - but importantly - who has ever seen this God ... volumes about God clutter shop bookshelves. The Bible teaches that Moses, for example, apparently spoke "face to face with the Hebrew God399"; Jacob declared that

he had "seen God face to face" and his life was preserved400". It was the Christ however, who audaciously declared, "No-one has ever seen God, but God the one and only, who is at the Father's side, has made him known401" ... he then said that whoever had seen him (Christ) had seen God (the Father)! Christianity merges the Christ and God into one substance - an indivisible unity. Paradoxically, according to their Bible the Christ, when returning from a journey with his parents (Joseph and Mary), disappeared for three days. When traced he retorted that he was busy in his father's house402. This somewhat confusing and inconsiderate behaviour challenges the commandment relating to parental honour and filial obedience. Mind you, the teenage Jesus might have been showing early pubertal independence and "generation gap" behaviour. Regardless of the latter assumption, other religious leaders, acolytes, and medical records in psychiatric files reveal a fair sample of similar God related claims.

 

Then there were the Arians of the 4th Century who suffered from the almighty Church's final and arbitrary decision to classify them as heretics. It is at this point that we encounter the strange intricacies of what is termed the Godhead

(or better known by the non-Biblical proper noun, Trinity). With prayerful and decisive thoroughness, the post-apostolic Church sanctioned the confusing hybrid of the perfectly human yet perfectly divine Christ. This intricately woven

theological amalgam evolved out of Emperor Constantine's Council of Nicaea (AD 325). Some 250 - 318 attendees, with the recorded exception of two403, imposed, as dogma on the Christian church, a controversially illogical doctrine

that continues to baffle individuals within and without Christendom - that is a story for another book!

 

When challenged to explain the substance of Trinitarian dogma the usual mantra, accept it by faith, drops into the conversation. However, having given the dog a bad name, the Arian dissenters became victims of the gore-spattered

history of the Church - there are, however, many classified Christians who are vehement anti-Trinitarians to the present day.

 

It was also at the First Council of Nicaea that the celebratory dates of Easter grafted into Church ritual. Importantly, Constantine's initiative was to set the pattern for Christian practice. A precedent was established for subsequent

 general church Councils to create statements of belief; authorize canons (rules) and establish guidelines to guarantee doctrinal orthodoxy and preserve the unity of Christendom — leading to momentous events in the global history of the

 Church and subsequent Reformation in Europe. The influential and powerful in group then imposed their majority verdict upon all  and this would cascade across to the out-group. This was aeons before sociologists wrote volumes  about group concepts!

 

Embedded in the psyche of evangelicalism (and Christianity as a whole), is the idea that moral values and behaviour are necessarily linked with faith in the God of their Bible (versions are not important). The words of a respected theological college lecturer still echo loudly in my ear, "unbelief is a moral, not an academic issue". Understandably naive, impressionable, vulnerable, eager and young his personal conviction burned deeply into my being. Many years later, and because of trauma, life and reality, the building block that had blunted my understanding of others and me was challenged, analysed and happily discarded. How I wish I could undo the damage I caused because of that conditioned misconception.

 

To abandon evangelicalism or the Christian faith has much to do with the portrayal of Bible-structured ethics and morals. Additionally, being able to verbalise unbelief or disbelief has to do with an awareness and intellectual openness to analyse critically an ethical frame. Evangelicals delve into their Bibles to support their vainglorious principled posits.

 

Escaping from ingrained commitment to an unacceptable set of religiously structured values and sentimentality laced with myth, propaganda, nonsense and fanaticism is exhilarating. Like for the emerging butterfly in exploring the world it takes responsibility for its survival and procreative abilities - sans the inhibiting confines of its capsule.

 

In the United Kingdom, the world-famous Wembley Stadium (built in 1924), held together by history and sentimentality, was another symbol commemorating Great Britain's Empire of colonising greed. The Empire no longer exists and

neither does the structured symbol of its "greatness"! A new Sir Norman Foster masterpiece has replaced the worn out monument. Foster's tour de force has replaced what sentiment could no longer hold together - gone is the crumbling structural edifice that had served its purpose. It had become obsolete. Common sense and reason triumphed. Emotional bonding with the past Wembley legacy and history had to bow to the demands of the 21st century. So it is with the devotion given to a doctrinally disintegrated Church, its highly suspect book and horridly inhuman ethical teachings from its God must be abandoned - the Biblically sculptured architect and creator must be ditched. The codes and behavioural practices unambiguously commanded by God and chillingly reflected in the lives of those with whom we have rubbed

shoulders, need replacing.

 

The desire by the Church to preserve their in-group control demanded their establishing rigorous and strongly defended boundaries. Imposed dogma entraps the gullible, encasing them in the woven coffin of faith. Followers who cannot remain the blind moles of faith disrupt power-dominating in-group structured capsules of theological propaganda. Mind-control exists outside the dark precincts of a Lubyanka, the glaring lights of a CIA interrogation or other regimented forms of brainwashing. The faithless, relegated to the category, had they been with us they would not have left - they were never really born again in the first instance, adds insult to hurting, confused, and shattered ex-Christians now seeking sanctuary in worthy forums and groups such as ex-Christian.net404.

 

Notwithstanding the above, to equate morality with the divine being is a serious travesty of logic because any kind of "moral theory based on divine will, is inimical to human life and happiness - and thus negates the foundation of rational ethics405". However, can Christian ethical constructs and parameters find any acceptability in the warp and woof of everyday life - when based on the revealed character of the divinity in their Bible? In other words, are Biblically based ethical norms and mores the behavioural benchmarks for humankind? Is a belief in the God of the Bible the first step on the road toward ethical correctness?

 

The answer must surface as we explore the Protestant Bible. To structure an ethical code based on the God of the Bible is destructive and tantamount to intellectual suicide - not to mention the continuation of vicious and murderous

patterns violating human codes of justice and fairness. To accept Biblically structured ethics is to be an accessory to crimes against humanity! Yes, there are good codes of conduct and behaviour - but they are not unique to the Bible!

 

The Ten Commandments

 

Over the years, the 10 Commandments, also known as the Decalogue, have embedded in sentiment and tradition. According to the Bible, The Lord God gave Moses his list of divine imperatives whilst Moses was meeting with him on Mount Sinai406. The list of "do's and don'ts" initially appeared miraculously engraved on slabs of stone. Cuneiform writing became the vogue around 5000 years ago and "Pictograms, or drawings representing actual things, were the basis for cuneiform writing [and] were preserved on clay407". Did the Decalogue arrive in such a manner408? Did Moses have anything to do with the second edition after he smashed the first one? Was Moses an early Gnostic? What was his mental and emotional state - was he certifiable? These issues are subjects for further conjecture in another forum.

 

I remain committed to working within the constructs of the Protestant Bible and generally accepted evangelical theology. Careful note of the controversies raised by scholars of repute surrounding the historicity, ethnicity, marriage and dating of Moses received attention. Again, because of the passage of time, the lack of reliable evidence and the influence of tradition, the verification of facts proved difficult.

 

The Decalogue

 

(New International Version of Exodus 20: 1 - 17)

 

• And God (YHWH409) spoke all these words: (verse 1).

 

• I am the Lord thy God, which have brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery (verse 2) .

 

1 You shall have no other gods before me (verse 3).

 

2 You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand

generations of those who love me and keep my commandments. (verses 4 - 6).

 

3 You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name. (verse 7).

 

4 Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labour and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, neither your son or daughter, not your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore, the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. (verses 8 - 11).

 

5 Honour your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you. (verse 12).

 

6 You shall not murder. (verse 13).

 

7 You shall not commit adultery. (verse 14)

 

8 You shall not steal. (verse 15).

 

9 You shall not give false testimony against your neighbour. (verse 16).

 

10 You shall not covet your neighbour's house. You shall not covet your neighbour's wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbour. (verse 17).

 

Interesting dilemmas.

 

• The Old Testament410 book of Deuteronomy has a slightly different version of the Sinai event, where the consequences of disobedience are clearly spelt out, cementing also the place of the Decalogue in Hebrew Law.

Then there is the Ritual Decalogue411 that contains ethical and ritualistic instructions - these make interesting reading!

 

• Of note are the revealing characteristics of the Hebrew God. For example, his possessive jealousy, egocentricity, vindictive, unforgiving spirit and subtle manipulatively structured conditional love (verses 4 - 6).

 

• The decree that his name be sacrosanct exudes insecurity (verse 7).

 

• The murder, coveting and stealing prohibitions are damningly hypocritical considering how the same divinity instructed his Hebrew race to do just that when they invaded and occupied the territories forcibly taken from those who occupied the land.

 

• The Christ of the New Testament refers to the Hebrew Decalogue to teach that individuals were to love their God and other people. The latter enshrined the reciprocity ethic.

 

• The commandments are discriminatory, given to the Hebrews by their God who had chosen them from amongst all nations of the world. Were they the only people on earth? It would appear, then, that having created all nations, the divinity abandoned all but one select group to be the "apple of his eye412".

 

• Regardless of the moral tone in some of the Commandments, under YHWH's clear directions, instructions and his protective nepotism, the Hebrews plundered, murdered and colonised those viewed less favourably by the divinity who nevertheless still demanded their unconditional love and obedience or else ...

 

• The Sinai version of the Decalogue is mirrored in the ancient religion of Egypt (BC 1240). Recorded in the Book of the Dead413 are benchmark standards, almost word for word on the papyrus record and very much in line with the Exodus account. Individuals had to conform in order to enter into the hereafter. However, the Egyptian devotees were not required to worship YHWH.

 

• The Sumerian legal system, called the Code of Hammurabi (BC 2250) has a significantly strong ethical code. This too has no mention of the worship of YHWH and, as was common to all such systems, pertinent and applicable to its ethnic group.

 

• The divine inscriptions, reportedly written on stone, present an interesting set of mind-twisting conundrums. The lack of technology was no problem, evidently. Sculpturing, laser beams or by other means? No. Moses apparently received the divine laws from God. They were pre-packed, inscribed and assembled for couriered delivery. The Bible records that

"God said to Moses, 'Come up to me, to the mountain, and remain there. I will give you the stone tablets, the Torah and the commandments that I have written for [the people's] instruction414". Dear me ... this predated the divinely written graffiti on the wall at the sumptuous feast of Belshazzar. On that occasion, Daniel had to translate the supernaturally projected Aramaic words to a king who was thereafter to receive his death sentence415 ... the writing is on the wall!

 

• To argue that Moses had in pique smashed the premier copy of the Commandments written on stone by God, and then returned to the Lord to receive a second edition (that he had to write himself after cutting out the stone416), stretches logic and credulity. Moses was certainly no youngster and the physical effort must have been demanding, to say the

least. Mind you, the Bible does teach that at the time of his death (he was 120 years old), and "his eye was not dim, nor his natural forces abated417". This was well before the Guinness Book of Records became famous. Incidentally, James Ussher, (1581 - 1656) the Anglican Primate of Armagh and Archbishop of all Ireland between 1625 and 1656, using the Bible, calculated that the earth was created on October 23, BC 4004 at 9:00am418. Mathematics and calculations proved problematical for many of those who searched the Scriptures!

 

• Enter the experts. How and where the Commandments were written earns the contributions of a divided Press. One learned Rabbi has said that two stone tablets were used; whereas others have contended that there were ten on each tablet. Exodus 32:15 records that the tablets were "written on both their sides". The Talmud adds to the miraculous event, emphasising that the carving went into the full thickness of the tablets419. Oh dear, here we go again!

 

• The fallacious and popular argument that the 10 Commandments form the basis for British and American law needs addressing. John Adams, America's second President (1797 - 1801) and Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the USA (1801 - 1809), wrote against this faulty assumption420. The logical synopsis of their argument notes their assertion that the Ten Commandments were, in any event, "a manifest forgery". British Law (on which American Law is based) existed some 200 years before Christianity was introduced into England. Nature's law always held firmly to the illegality of murder and theft - long before the Exodus publication and was void of any reference to YHWH.

 

• The Ten Commandments are not unique. Buddhism and Hinduism offer their rules governing the lives and conduct of their followers. Their legal concepts challenge the Decalogue - without allegiance to the mercurial, self-serving, war-mongering, vindictive, biased and possibly mentally certifiable Hebrew God, YHWH.

 

• The Twelve Tables of Roman civilisation421 (Lex Duodecim Tabulaum) formed the basis of Roman ethical and social behaviour. Allegiance to the Hebrew divinity, YHWH, is absent.

 

• Simply stated, the Ten Commandments are not exclusive at all! Not even to the overall ethical construct of the westernised world.

 

Now Moses, the Lawgiver, had personal entrιe to the divine set of laws. He alone was the privileged person to have twice had the laws of YHWH entrusted to him. He had access to the presence of the Almighty whom to look upon was death - again, this is significant when we think ahead to the Gnostic assertions that surfaced during the early days of Christianity; and the reported revelations given to numerous other religious entrepreneurs including Joseph Smith the founder of the Mormon faith. Such phenomena continue to raise questions - and we need to consider carefully the parallels with individuals diagnosed with psychiatric disorders linked to their delusions of great power and importance.

 

Ethics ... how important was this to Moses? Bear in mind that their Bible declares that God is the great "I AM" ... eternal and unchanging. The standards given are set in stone; humankind had received a divinely set benchmark for behaviour. Regardless of the Decalogue Moses, when seeking revenge on the people of Midian sends his soldiers to war. The Bible422 records that the men were to be killed (this, after all, is what war is about), but then the women and children are taken captive. Moses subsequently commands that all the women who are not virgins were to be killed (murdered!) plus all the male children! The only non-combatants spared from the genocide were the young women who were virgins - they "that have not known a man, keep alive for yourselves423". Please let us not descend into the slimy pit of apologetics by

excusing these repugnant war crimes by bleating on about modern standards versus those days. The commandment, "You shall do no murder" states explicitly that you shall not murder. What on earth did "You shall not kill (murder)" mean if it did not refer to murder in those days? To accept a divinely introduced moral code advocating and justifying "murder and rape" is just so wrong! Christian apologists cannot drag situational ethics into the polemic arena to justify homicidal activity; or camouflage the inexcusable, or defend clearly indefensible brutality and ghastly massacres. Pol Pot and his fellow Cambodian thugs have stained all that speaks of justice and human rights ... Moses certainly paved the way for such of the ghastly ilk of murderous dictators.

 

Christian apologists, including evangelism's library of creative writers, defensive cherry pick the Old Testament to rationalise the barbarism undertaken in the name of the Lord of Hosts. This deviously structured process is blatantly

fraudulent and misleading. It is an illogical and selectively deceptive practice relegating obedience to laws and regulations to "that time" but not thereafter. It is a great pity that the God of the Hebrews did not make this known! After

all, maybe the Ten Commandments belonged also to another time, as indeed the majority of Christians seem to think. After all, most evangelicals no longer observe the Sabbath. They have replaced this by using debateable and subtle

subterfuge to throw out the Saturday and introduce the Sunday (without the accompanying laws, byelaws and everything else). The 7th Day Adventist Church (amongst others), for example, have preserved the Sabbath and not adopted the Sunday substitute. The chameleon advances! The spider waits expectantly! The seductive web of confusing dogma glistens with the soon to evaporate dew of hollow promises.

 

Ethics linked to God? In addition to previous references to the God of the Bible, let us now peruse the following and then decide if there is merit to link with the character of the divinity recorded in the Bible and whether those standards are worthy of emulating. In so doing let us not forget that the Bible used by evangelicals declares that all Scripture is given by God and is profitable for reproof, for correction and instruction in righteousness and that forever, O Lord, your word is settled in heaven. Has the divinity depicted in the Bible the right to demand from his creatures a higher standard of morality than that which he practised?

 

• A jealous God. When 3000 Israelites worshipped the golden calf during Moses' sojourn - he was receiving the Ten Commandments - the command of YHWH was "Take every man his sword by his side ... and slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbour424. Oh dear! The divine Decalogue was on the way but ... so was murder! Did not the Christ quote the Ten Commandments, "Love the Lord your God [YHWH]... and your neighbour as yourself425"?

 

• A vindictive God. The eleven rulers in Israel who refused to engage in war by invading the Promised Land were exterminated by a plague sent by God426. The fair, just and gracious YHWH used germ warfare to wreak revenge on pacifists. Saddam Hussein's attack on the Kurds was somewhat predated! The clear message is that YHWH's people need to watch their backs - or ensure that they had been inoculated. Salk's anti-polio discovery and other vaccines had not yet entered the laboratories of humane compassion. Pacifism is not on YHWH's agenda. That hissing snake again!

That enticing arachnid waits! That glistening web of seductive intrigue, death and devastating power invites the careless and unwary! Ethics?

 

• A murderous God. As in any power structure, leadership becomes the target of many wannabes. Some 250 Levites challenged the leadership of Moses427. God was furious and wanted to wipe out the entire congregation, but Moses pleaded to YHWH and he repented from mass genocide. However, he then ordered that the wives, sons and little children belonging to two of the princes be buried alive whilst the remaining leaders were burnt to death. The chosen people of YHWH, however, incensed by the divinely ordered pre-Hitlerian structured holocaust, rebelled against Moses.

This was not a wise step to take! Thereafter, and as a result, some 14,700 died by a divinely orchestrated plague. YHWH's message was clear ... bullies must not be messed about! YHWH's orchestrated murderous rampage and germ warfare only ended when Aaron promised to make atonement. Ah, this may be where the adept religious Inquisitors of Roman Catholicism and Protestant rampages learned their trade. Terror was the answer to challenge! Ethics?

 

• Justice - and God. Abraham pawns his wife (half-sister) is order to save his own skin. He allows Pharaoh to take her as his bedmate (Sarah was around 70 years of age). To put a stop to the charade, YHWH punishes Pharaoh by sending plagues on Pharaoh's household! Abraham wriggled out of this - he was, after all, the favoured one428. Abraham, the father of the faithful repeats his deceit later and although King Abimelech never touched Sarah; and atoned for taking Father Abraham's wife by giving him gifts, YHWH then punishes all the women in the King's household by causing them to become barren. The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob - indeed! Ethics?

 

• Interestingly, Isaac follows the ploy of Abraham and passes off Rebecca as his sister to yet another King called, Abimelech429. Is there any mention about adultery in the Decalogue? Whilst Abraham's trysts with morality preceded Moses and the Ten Commandments, did the eternal unchanging holy Lord decide to change his moral codes to sanction varying sets of ethics to suit the mood of the time? Ethics?

 

• Interestingly, the Bible's refrain, the "God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob", still evokes awe in the minds of many - what a track record attaches to that mantra430! Interestingly, evangelicals raise their voices against the Jihadis who apparently represent Islam and who perpetrate atrocities in the name of Allah. However, it might be better if Christians read their

Bible's records of the ghastly crimes committed in the name of God Almighty, the maker of heaven and earth! Ethics?

 

• Incest and God. The daughters of Lot plan to make him drunk so that he can become the father of their offspring431. The Apostle Peter later describes Lot as a righteous man432 - even though he had initially offered his two virgin daughters to the angels who came to warn him about the coming destruction of Sodom. Well, now - what is next? The shiny eyes of the spider reflect an avaricious appetite! Ethics?

 

• The do it or die God. Jacob had a grandson called Onan433. The Leverite custom of the time demanded that the brother of a husband who had died was then to take the widow as his own wife! It is still not clear what would happen if there was no spare brother hanging around - or if the brother happened not to be of age - or was impotent or infertile! The psychological and practical logistics of this YHWH given custom boggles the mind! Nevertheless, Onan did not obey! Instead of impregnating her - it would appear that foreplay, and sexual intercourse was not to be complicated by conception and then having children. That was not on the agenda (for whatever reason). Onan then resorted to a practice of creative contraception, coitus interruptus and (horror of horrors) "spilt his seed on the ground". As a result, YHWH struck him dead! Ethics? The Lord God Almighty, enthroned in the heavens above, had the gall to spy on a private sexual liaison between a couple! Incidentally, from the Onan incident many sincere and devout young people have suffered torment as some church-spawned education related this coitus interruptus incident to masturbation. Many pubertal young men have suffered pangs of guilt because of unbelievable censures delivered by godly Christians denouncing

masturbation ... blindness and insanity being two of the penalties resulting from hormonally induced libido! Of interest is the fact that female masturbation did not feature on the banned activities list! Parallel to this, stood the practice where if a man refused to marry the widow of his brother she was to appear with him before the elders, take off his shoe, and then spit in his face434! One would wonder whether the Mafia were alive and well in those days but disguised as divinity. Ethics?

 

• The mysterious ways of God. The men of the tribe of Benjamin (YHWH's chosen people), were a lustful bunch of gangsters. The incident is graphically written in their Bible book of Judges Chapter 21. Consider, if you will, the results of asking their God for help to solve the situation. The much later historical St Valentine's Day's massacre in Chicago pales

into insignificance. Ethics?

 

• About marriage! If a man discovered that his newly wed wife was not a virgin (on their wedding night) he was to take her to her parental home and stone her to death435. Of course, there are no rules governing the required proof regarding the virginity of the groom. Chauvinistic dominance ruled supreme! Ethics?

 

• Sam Harris in his excellent book, "Letter to a Christian Nation "436 writes succinctly about Biblically endorsed punishment for children437; children who dare answer back to their parents are to be killed438; heretics, adulterers,

homosexuals, those who worked on the Saturday Sabbath, idol worshippers were to be stoned to death439. Amazingly, Christian people condemn the gruesome methods of capital punishment reported in some Muslim countries - but their own Bible advocates similar methodology! A procedure laid down by their unchangeable God! Now, we know, too,

where the infamous sadists of the inquisition may have gained their motivation and where St. Augustine drew his idea that all heretics should be tortured or, as Thomas Aquinas advocated, they were to be killed outright440. Of interest and concern is Harris's highlighting the fact that the Christ of Calvary does not abrogate any of the barbaric punishments

that were laid down by his heavenly father441! Ethics?

 

• There can be no recourse to the worn out apologetics of Christianity emphasising that those were the customs of the time. The God of their Bible is supposed to be unchanging in all his dealings with humankind. Their Bible teaches, "Yesterday, today and forever Jesus is the same442" - Jesus Christ is supposed to be God so ... where does that leave the issue of ethics?

 

• Slavery was clearly commanded by the God who "changes not443"; God directed that every man was entitled to sell his daughter into sexual slavery and that the New Testament supported fully the slave trade444. The Christ was strangely silent about this evil. How did Wilberforce and others (who apparently read their Bible) dare to go against what their God had commanded; and their Christ, by his silence, approved? Ethics? The empty boast that evangelicals, because of their Christian ethics, were part of the great reforms during the Victorian era is just absolute poppycock. Those great social reformers were acting out of their humanity - and were knowingly abrogating Bible-based beliefs and practices! Yet again, the positive inroads of humanism eclipsed the wretchedly revolting paradigms created by the Scriptures. Ethics?

 

In closing this chapter, I am reminded of those who would have us believe that the Jesus of the New Testament taught that the YHWH of the Old Testament must be viewed through the Christ of the New Testament. Sounds

confusing, does it not! The spider, snake, chameleon are indeed the trinity of evil!

 

We now look at the duality of nature that was epitomised by the famous story of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde445. There is not that much difference between the YHWH of the Old Testament and the Christ of the New Testament. The Christ declared, "Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth [oops ... out goes the seasonal message of Christmas!]. I did not come to bring peace but a sword [aha, so that explains all this war business]. For I have come to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law - a man's enemies will be the enemies of his own household [so, there is a task for Dr James Dobson's Focus on the Family, after all]446". If readers care to read the remainder of these harsh and chilling verses, they may do so - the Bible is still on sale.

 

This, however, is not the Christ that any rational thinker would care to have to supper - or say grace to before a meal - or employ as a babysitter. Well, I guess the not-so-merry-go-round is stopping, so it is time to turn the page for the final leg and closing chapter along our current journey.

 

End Notes Chapter 11

 

397 The Internet Encyclopaedia of Philosophy http://www.iep.utm.edu/e/ethics.htm.

398 Harris S. Letter To A Christian Nation. Transworld Publishers ISBN 978059305898.

399 The Bible. Exodus 33.11.

400 The Bible. Genesis 32.30.

401 The Bible. John 1. 18 with Exodus 33.20; John 6.46; Colossians 1.15; 1 Timothy

6.16; 1 John 4.12; John 3.16 - 28; 1 John 4.9.

402 The Bible. Luke 2. 41 - 45.

403 First Council of Nicaea http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Council_of_Nicaea.

404 www.ex-Christian.net.

405 Smith GH, Atheism, The Case Against God. Prometheus Books, New York, 1989.

ISBN 0 - 97975 - 124-X.

406 Modern archaeology has challenged the Mount Sinai location.

407 University of Pennsylvania http://www.upenn.edu/museum/Games/cuneiform.html

408 Hoffman Joel M. In The Beginning: A Short history of the Hebrew Language. New

York University Press (2006). ISBN - 13: 978 - 0814736906.

409 YHWH is the Hebrew tetragrammaton , the sacred name of God (Jehovah)

http://www.hiscovenantministries.org/yhwh.htm.

410 The Bible. Deuteronomy 5. 1 - 22.

411 The Bible. Exodus 34.

412 The Bible. Deuteronomy 32.10; from the Hebrew "ishon" = the pupil.

413 The Egyptian Book of the Dead (translated by EA Wallis Budge and Allen and

Faulkner) http://www.touregypt.net/bkofdead.htm See also the Bibliography.

414 The Bible. Exodus 24.12;; Deuteronomy 9verses 9, 11 - 15.

415 The Bible. Daniel 5.

416 The Bible. Exodus 34.

417 The Bible. Deuteronomy 34.7.

418 http://www.diracdelta.co.uk/science/source/e/a/earth/source.html.

419 The Ten Commandments. http://www.crystalinks.com/tencommandments.html

420 Moses didn't write the Constitution. http://www.commondreams.org/views05/0303 -

30.htm.

421 Twelve Tables. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twelve_Tables and see Bibliography.

422 The Bible. Numbers 31.

423 Ibid.

424 The Bible. Exodus 32.27.

425 The Bible. Matthew 22. 37 - 40.

426 The Bible. Numbers 14.37.

427 The Bible. Numbers 16.

428 The Bible. Genesis 12.

429 The Bible. Genesis 26. 7 - 11.

430 Acts 3.13.

431 The Bible. Genesis 19. 2.

432 The Bible. 2 Peter 2. 8.

433 The Bible. Genesis 38.

434 The Bible. Deuteronomy 25. 9.

435 The Bible. Deuteronomy 22. 13 - 21.

436 Ibid.

437 The Bible. Proverbs 13.24; 20.30 and 23.13 - 14.

438 The Bible. Exodus 21.15; Leviticus 20.9; Deuteronomy 21.18 - 21; Mark 7 9 - 13;

Matthew 15. 4 - 7.

439 The Bible. Deuteronomy 13. 6, 8 - 15.

440 Ibid.

441 The Bible. Matthew 5. 18 - 19.

442 The Bible. Hebrews 13.8.

443 The Bible. Leviticus 25. 44 - 46.

444 See references http://www.huppi.com/kangaroo/L-bibleatrocities.html.

445 Stevenson, Robert Louis. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Other

Tales of Terror (Penguin Classics) (Paperback).

446 The Bible. Matthew 10. 34 - 42.  

 

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