16 June 2012

Old Testament loopholes

I think Deuteronomy is simultaneously the most comedic and the most disgusting book in the Bible. In it, our Perfect Benevolent Creator commands some pretty atrociously cruel stuff. But the real eye-opener is in chapter 22:

An old-fashioned mercy killing
13 If a man takes a wife and, after sleeping with her , dislikes her 14 and slanders her and gives her a bad name, saying, “I married this woman, but when I approached her, I did not find proof of her virginity,” 15 then the young woman’s father and mother shall bring to the town elders at the gate proof that she was a virgin. 16 Her father will say to the elders, “I gave my daughter in marriage to this man, but he dislikes her. 17 Now he has slandered her and said, ‘I did not find your daughter to be a virgin.’ But here is the proof of my daughter’s virginity.” Then her parents shall display the cloth before the elders of the town, 18 and the elders shall take the man and punish him. 19 They shall fine him a hundred shekels[b] of silver and give them to the young woman’s father, because this man has given an Israelite virgin a bad name. She shall continue to be his wife; he must not divorce her as long as he lives.
20 If, however, the charge is true and no proof of the young woman’s virginity can be found, 21 she shall be brought to the door of her father’s house and there the men of her town shall stone her to death. She has done an outrageous thing in Israel by being promiscuous while still in her father’s house. You must purge the evil from among you.
Okay, so, stone non-virgins to death. Gotcha. But wait....
28 If a man happens to meet a virgin who is not pledged to be married and rapes her and they are discovered, 29 he shall pay her father fifty shekels[c] of silver. He must marry the young woman, for he has violated her. He can never divorce her as long as he lives.
I mean, this is horrible for several reasons that should be as obvious as a bear on a bicycle to anyone without the Jesus goggles on. The man is "punished" by the woman being forced to marry her rapist. Could that be more back-asswards? And stoning a woman to death for failing to have a hymen? Hymens can be torn by any number of non-sexual activities. And we should also consider the fact that stoning someone to death isn't some kind of swift, painless mercy killing – it's a slow, excruciating, humiliating, all-round terrible way to die. It's literally death by public torture.

But hey, maybe the rapist can be spared the cruel fate of forcing his victim to marry him by pointing out that she's not a virgin, and just have her stoned to death. 'Course, if she didn't already cry out for help, she's to be tortured to death anyway:
23 If a man happens to meet in a town a virgin pledged to be married and he sleeps with her, 24 you shall take both of them to the gate of that town and stone them to death—the young woman because she was in a town and did not scream for help, and the man because he violated another man’s wife. You must purge the evil from among you.
Yes, Christians, tell me more about this perfect, just, merciful God of yours.

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