"Where do you get your morals from?" (1 Viewer)

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SystemShock

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This question keeps popping up, in its different variants: how do you know what's wrong and what's right, how do you deal with sin (which, obviously, I don't), etc... it just happens it recently came up again, not in the form of a question, but rather a statement that I "need someone to guide me to what is righteous". Serves me right for opening the door to Jehova's Witnesses.

For non-believers, the low-hanging-fruit counterpoint to the claim of the Bible as a moral compass is usually slavery, as slavery is abhorred almost universally, and yet, the Bible tells you how Yahweh toldthe Israelites how to purchase slaves and from whom, to what extent the owners could beat them, how to capture them, etc. The apologetics come in different flavors like "indented servitude" or "slavery was necessary for the poor to survive".

Then there is homosexuality. OT: stone them to death. NT: they should get their due punishment, which without defining what it is, and being the Jesus came to fulfill the laws, it is stone them to death AND then ship them to hell.

Then there is child cruelty: the Bible says Yahweh told the Israelites it's ok to kill children but keep the young virgins -just the virgins - for themselves. It also tells you, you hate your child if you don't whack them.

The only words about genocide are those of encouragement.

As for rape, paying fifty shekels of silver to the dad and having to marry the raped doesn't really cut it. And imagine that, being the raped woman, that has to marry her rapist, and be raped every day for the rest of her life. Of course, treatment of women is not something the Bible excels at. I found these under the title "20 uplifting verses about women", and a preface reading " the Bible is filled with wisdom and encouragement for women of all ages". Some of them are ambiguous, some are very general, but some are not how I view women and their role in society.

- Submit yourselves to your own husbands and you do the Lord, for the husband is the head of the wive as Christ is the head of the church.

- [Older women] can urge the younger women to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, and to be subject to their husbands.

- I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety.. a woman should learn in quietness and full submission. Do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man, she must be quiet.

And right off the Genesis bat, women are the ones responsible for the fall of man, as Adam was not decieved, it was the woman who was deceived... women are the ones who ruin kings, so men should not spend their strength on them.

And those are the "uplifting" ones... Heck, I think there are more verses about taking care of one's cattle and sheep than one's wife.

Of course, we can get into arguments as to what those passages really mean, what's the context... although, when someone tells you that you have to read such passages "in context" it usually means our current secular morality has risen above the morality described in the Bible, and apologies have to be made.

So, when I say I am not a believer and someone asks me "where do you get your morals from?", well, if I think slavery is wrong, if I think genocide is wrong, if I think rape, in any way, shape, or form is a crime and not something that can be remediated by paying the dad and marrying the victim; if I don't think homosexuality is wrong, if I see sex just as a normal biological function, if I think women are my equals, the short answer is "not from the Bible". I certainly wouldn't want to get them from it.
 

TraumaRN

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I get it. Jesus and what he thought and taught are very different than the rest of the bible. A discussion if you are ever interested as to how and why. He ministered to a woman, a minority (Samaritans were the blacks of the day to Jews), and a sinner (she had lived with 7 men) in one fell swoop. Jesus is stealthy in how he calls people on the carpet for hypocrisy, and that move did it (among many). He railed against the "pharisees" who were the religious show offs with no compassion or heart. His instruction was the poor always come first. There were specific instructions to take care of widows and orphans (women were not permitted to work then in any culture) as there was no social safety net it was the church.

He talked about compassion and then gave his life to atone for the kinds of "sin" you describe. What is very unfortunate, is many Christians focus more on the letters of Paul which you reference "submit to your husbands" then the message of Jesus who included them in his followers. Again there is a historical perspective. We still have issues with not being treated well today imagine for women 2000 years ago. Paul does tell wives to submit, but he gives the men the bigger charge "Love your wives like Christ loved the Church and gave himself for it". So she comes first always, so much so you are supposed to die for her. In that day I would have taken that bargain! That was about as good as you were gonna get it if female. That has become very distorted in many churches and used as a weapon to oppress women. I can tell you, at least in my church, that is no longer the case. The church where I grew up talked often of submission but never what sacrificial male love looked like. You and I come from a place of equality, but this is 2020.

My husband is the most moral man I know. He grew up with no faith. You do not need faith to be moral. Having said that, my faith taught me what sacrificial love is. It is because of my faith that I want to stop the suffering of the African American population, and give my money to feed folks, to care about those who are hurting. Could you be friends with someone who was kind but was a person of faith if they did not shove it down you face? Or is faith something that would preclude friendship with another. I am curious? I am an acute studier of humans and I always want to know how they tick. I have friends who are atheists and they have no problem with me sharing honestly with them something like...You know I had this weird "Godincidence" today, because that is what I call them and who I am. They believe it's coincidence but they adore me and think it is cute in a pat you on the head kinda way, lol. I was curious how you might feel?
 

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The buy her for 50 sheckels after a rape: It is postulated this was designed to be protective in a culture where you were stoned for extramarital sex. It was protective for the girl when consensual in that he could not "use her and lose her" he had to pay her father and marry her. It is like the 'shrimp is an abomination" was a dietary law that it turns out was safer. They prohibited meats in those days carried disease. The OT for me is historical and useful in the foretelling of Jesus and his message. The New testament is historical and I get to hear what Jesus said and it was so perfect that is why we talk about him 2020 years later. You got to give it to him, he was either who he says he was or insane yet the most progressive thinker until perhaps Ghandi? Lot's of good wisdom to be found all over the bible just like a quote from FDR or Helen Keller. Lot's of awful stuff consistent with the times.

Also, if it helps someone psychologically who needs it, is that so bad? There is a verse that says basically with the help of Jesus we can get things done. If someone says Jesus help me, and feels that help, even if placebo is that bad? Seems a healthier coping mechanism than some others that come to mind.
 
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SystemShock

SystemShock

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I get it. Jesus and what he thought and taught are very different than the rest of the bible. A discussion if you are ever interested as to how and why. He ministered to a woman, a minority (Samaritans were the blacks of the day to Jews), and a sinner (she had lived with 7 men) in one fell swoop. Jesus is stealthy in how he calls people on the carpet for hypocrisy, and that move did it (among many). He railed against the "pharisees" who were the religious show offs with no compassion or heart. His instruction was the poor always come first. There were specific instructions to take care of widows and orphans (women were not permitted to work then in any culture) as there was no social safety net it was the church.
A lot to digest in just that one paragraph…
There is no actual evidence that Jesus existed, but even if we overlook that, there is no book of Jesus, it is the book of Matthew that tells the story of Jesus and what he taught; which means we can’t possibly know what he thought, if he ever existed.

The bits about the Samaritan and the sinner, that’s the equivalent of saying Jesus had black friends. And even if he did those two things so what? At what point did Jesus say racism is wrong? You are God on Earth, you came to Earth to set humans straight, why not give a simple, clear, specific instruction to your followers: “don’t be racist”?

As for women not being allowed to work “in any culture” , again, you are God on Earth, you came down to Earth to change cultures, why not a simple, clear instruction to your followers: women are your equals” ?

The pharisees, they were his competition for the attention of the people, so railing against them doesn’t seem extraordinary, and the account of the Pharisees in the Bible is from the perspective of someone who has a vested interest in making the Pharisees look bad.There are other accounts of the Pharisees outside of the Bible that portray the Pharisees as the favorites of the people.

He talked about compassion and then gave his life to atone for the kinds of "sin" you describe. What is very unfortunate, is many Christians focus more on the letters of Paul which you reference "submit to your husbands" then the message of Jesus who included them in his followers. Again there is a historical perspective. We still have issues with not being treated well today imagine for women 2000 years ago. Paul does tell wives to submit, but he gives the men the bigger charge "Love your wives like Christ loved the Church and gave himself for it". So she comes first always, so much so you are supposed to die for her. In that day I would have taken that bargain! That was about as good as you were gonna get it if female. That has become very distorted in many churches and used as a weapon to oppress women. I can tell you, at least in my church, that is no longer the case. The church where I grew up talked often of submission but never what sacrificial male love looked like. You and I come from a place of equality, but this is 2020.
Lots to digest on that paragraph as well… not going to tackle all of it...
Compassion is very subjective. There need to be some guidelines, like, you know, don’t be racist, women are your equals, don’t stone gays to death, etc .

As for the dying to atone everyone’s sins, talk about immorality and insanity. Right off the bat, we are talking about human sacrifice, because Jesus didn’t just die, he was killed, and he had to be killed for this atonement to take place, and being Jesus came to Earth as a man. Then, if you accept the concept of the holy trinity, you have God sending himself to Earth so he can be sacrificed to himself so he can forgive those who sinned against him.

The verses I quoted/paraphrased don’t come from Paul exclusively. Again, there is no book of Jesus, so we have to focus on what others wrote. Further, how do we know which passages we should focus on? Whose passages should we focus on?

And the historical context, again, God incarnate on Earth who came to change cultures. Why would he care about “historical context”? Why when it comes to some things he doesn’t care about historical context, but then cares for historical context when it comes to some other things?

As for faith and personal relations, I'll tell you this: I have dear friends I know I'd lose if I told them I was an atheist.
 

TraumaRN

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A lot to digest in just that one paragraph…
There is no actual evidence that Jesus existed, but even if we overlook that, there is no book of Jesus, it is the book of Matthew that tells the story of Jesus and what he taught; which means we can’t possibly know what he thought, if he ever existed.

The bits about the Samaritan and the sinner, that’s the equivalent of saying Jesus had black friends. And even if he did those two things so what? At what point did Jesus say racism is wrong? You are God on Earth, you came to Earth to set humans straight, why not give a simple, clear, specific instruction to your followers: “don’t be racist”?

As for women not being allowed to work “in any culture” , again, you are God on Earth, you came down to Earth to change cultures, why not a simple, clear instruction to your followers: women are your equals” ?

The pharisees, they were his competition for the attention of the people, so railing against them doesn’t seem extraordinary, and the account of the Pharisees in the Bible is from the perspective of someone who has a vested interest in making the Pharisees look bad.There are other accounts of the Pharisees outside of the Bible that portray the Pharisees as the favorites of the people.



Lots to digest on that paragraph as well… not going to tackle all of it...
Compassion is very subjective. There need to be some guidelines, like, you know, don’t be racist, women are your equals, don’t stone gays to death, etc .

As for the dying to atone everyone’s sins, talk about immorality and insanity. Right off the bat, we are talking about human sacrifice, because Jesus didn’t just die, he was killed, and he had to be killed for this atonement to take place, and being Jesus came to Earth as a man. Then, if you accept the concept of the holy trinity, you have God sending himself to Earth so he can be sacrificed to himself so he can forgive those who sinned against him.

The verses I quoted/paraphrased don’t come from Paul exclusively. Again, there is no book of Jesus, so we have to focus on what others wrote. Further, how do we know which passages we should focus on? Whose passages should we focus on?

And the historical context, again, God incarnate on Earth who came to change cultures. Why would he care about “historical context”? Why when it comes to some things he doesn’t care about historical context, but then cares for historical context when it comes to some other things?

As for faith and personal relations, I'll tell you this: I have dear friends I know I'd lose if I told them I was an atheist.
There is no book of Gandhi yet his teachings are real. There is no proof that any historical leader before film lived. There are myriad texts outside the bible that are contemporary that also document Jesus existence. So based on empirical evidence he lived. Do I believe he had a tape recorder and his words are verbatim, no tape recorder but they had scribes. The ideas are for sure there, and all his teaching are consistent between the four gospels. Jesus quotes are not just in Matthew, but Mark, Luke, and John as well.

Clearly you did not read the passage about the Samaritan woman. It generally is not too effective to tell people what to do, better to show them what to do. He ministered to, met the needs of, a "black" person and a woman. That is pretty clear. I can tell you not to be a racist or I can show you how to be an anti-racist by actually meeting the needs of a minority. I can tell you to respect women or I can show you by including them in church life and showing them respect and dignity. Men don't listen I am glad he showed.

"Culture": If you come as a human and live as a human you are subject to the state of humanity. At the time he came that was the culture so that is what he worked to change.

The Pharisees: They were respected. They were the "religiously pious" of the day that everyone admired because they followed all the rules, yet they did not love people. He said you are a bunch of hypocrites, you pray in the square so everyone will see you, if you really mean it go pray in your closet and stop being a show off. He did that again and again on various subjects. He was saying it is not about the prayers, it is about loving the people I created in a tangible way and meeting their needs. It is a lesson some churches still need. What was his vested interest in making them look bad? It is what got him killed not the Romans, the Jews because he challenged them, the religious establishment.

Compassion is not a "rule" thing. Compassion is a need thing. I see you hungry I feed you, I see crying I hug you and listen. Compassion is when I see a human in pain and need I care. Are you saying there should be rules about who we have compassion for? That is very confusing to me.

It is nice to hear you have friends who are not atheists. It is too bad they would not like you if you told them. I like atheists just fine. They are easier to be around than science denial Christians, lol. Thank you for answering my post. It is interesting to me. What got you interested in Christianity, as you post against it, so you must know something of it. And why that not Hinduism, Taoism, Islam? Curious?
 
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SystemShock

SystemShock

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There is no book of Gandhi yet his teachings are real. There is no proof that any historical leader before film lived.
I'm not sure if you are being serious. Gandhi's writings are well known. Before films, there were photographs, paintings, multiple written accounts by multiple people from different places who witnessed events, etc.

There are myriad texts outside the bible that are contemporary that also document Jesus existence.
A myriad? A myriad is a very large number. So name a few.

So based on empirical evidence he lived.
Hearsay is not evidence.

Jesus quotes are not just in Matthew, but Mark, Luke, and John as well.
Yes, you can find similar text across the different books of the Bible, as the people who wrote it are trying to convey the same story. But you also find discrepancies, contradictions, in the text itself, dates when the writings where written, editing centuries later...

Clearly you did not read the passage about the Samaritan woman.
Clearly you are making an assumption.

It generally is not too effective to tell people what to do, better to show them what to do. He ministered to, met the needs of, a "black" person and a woman. That is pretty clear. I can tell you not to be a racist or I can show you how to be an anti-racist by actually meeting the needs of a minority. I can tell you to respect women or I can show you by including them in church life and showing them respect and dignity. Men don't listen I am glad he showed.
Yet, the Bible is full of "telling you what to do" without walking the walk, but somehow, they all missed racism, slavery, equal rights for women...

"Culture": If you come as a human and live as a human you are subject to the state of humanity. At the time he came that was the culture so that is what he worked to change.
If you are going around raising people from the dead, curing leprosy, feeding 4000 people with 7 loaves of bread and a fish, and performing so many miracles that books written about them would cover the Earth, I don't know that you are subject to the state of humanity.

Compassion is not a "rule" thing. Compassion is a need thing. I see you hungry I feed you, I see crying I hug you and listen. Compassion is when I see a human in pain and need I care. Are you saying there should be rules about who we have compassion for? That is very confusing to me.
Not a "rule thing". But there needs to be some sort of standard to define whether an act can be considered as compassionate. If I shoot someone in the head, is that a compassionate act?

It is nice to hear you have friends who are not atheists. It is too bad they would not like you if you told them. I like atheists just fine. They are easier to be around than science denial Christians, lol. Thank you for answering my post. It is interesting to me. What got you interested in Christianity, as you post against it, so you must know something of it. And why that not Hinduism, Taoism, Islam? Curious?
I come from a Spaniard family. I was born into Catholicism. Then I had questions, and the answers I got weren't satisfactory; so I went in search of the truth.

As for other religions, Islam is also an Abrahamic religion, so a lot of the arguments against it are basically the same as Judeo-Christianity. Hinduism, would you like to discuss Hinduism?
 

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