The Dark Side of Biblical Ethics
(Investigtor 93, 2003 November)
In his article The Bible is Relevant in Ethics (No. 91), Anonymous concludes his argument in the following way:"The Bible is an enduring source of guidance in 2000 languages and is often ahead of today's laws. And that's as relevant as life, health and death!" (Page 20)
I think this is an overstatement to say the least. Although parts of the Bible display a common sense approach to ethics that most sensible people could arrive at using their own reason, other parts are clearly unjust, cruel and irrelevant for our times. For example:"And the daughter of any priest, if she profanes herself by playing the harlot, profanes her father; she shall be burned with fire." (Leviticus 21:9)
How can this cruel act be ahead of today's laws? What legislator of today's Australia would propose this barbaric punishment? Would Anonymous, if he had a daughter, allow her to be subjected to this punishment? Indeed, it is clear to me that Leviticus 21:9 has nothing to offer us in the way of an enlightened approach when dealing with troubled daughters or drafting humane laws.
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