I recently debated an atheist online about these two issues in the Bible who was using them to attack Christians and make Christianity look immoral. I will record my responses to her here for your reference.
However, I cannot give her responses as she DELETED THEM! I have changed people's usernames for anonymity. I am being foolish here by commending myself, but my sister, an unbeliever, said it was the BEST apologetic she had ever heard for these questions, and now wants to give that argument to one of her friends! The atheist whom I debated NEVER saw this one coming!
Hi "Atheist," I am sorry for any ad hominem attacks given in response to your difficult questions about morality in the Bible. I am a Christian. I also hate it when people (i.e., those professing faith in Christ) do not understand the issues and are actually quite bad at apologetics, and merely attack the questioner rather than carefully think through issues, even if it requires them to do some real research and think through these difficult issues more carefully, even if it makes them very uncomfortable. Rather than defending Christ by simply attacking you and name calling (as they believe they are doing), they are actually doing harm and leading people away. I will first attempt to answer your question about rape being condoned and promoted in the Bible, particularly about the passage in Deuteronomy 22:28-29. This question bothered me immensely too as an unbeliever: it also made me feel justified in thinking the Bible was evil and immoral. I am a KJV onlyist in the sense that I believe it to be superior to modern day translations, which I find very questionable and untrustworthy. This passage is one important reason why.
To continue, the KJV rendering of the passage in question, Deuteronomy 22:28-29, is this: "28 If a man find a damsel that is a virgin, which is not betrothed, and LAY HOLD on her, and lie with her, and they be found; 29 then the man that lay with her shall give unto the damsel’s father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife; because he hath humbled her, he may not put her away all his days." Notice something important here: the word RAPE is ABSENT in this version!
Many modern translations seem to want to render it "rape" while the KJV does not. The original Hebrew word in question is תּפשׂ "tâphaś" (taw-fas'), which is "A primitive root; to manipulate, that is, seize; chiefly to capture, wield; specifically to overlay; figuratively to use unwarrantably: - catch, handle, (lay, take) hold (on, over), stop, X surely, surprise, take." (Strongs H8610)
Many of these words, like manipulate, wield, catch, handle, etc. do NOT lead to idea the woman was automatically raped. I would argue that this is definitely NOT the case, even if a raped woman felt compelled to marry her rapist because of wrong values in a society (like Tamar with Amnon in 2 Samuel).
Addition to my Second Comment:
I also STRONGLY disagree with "Christian Responder's" stance that the woman being made to marry her rapist would be any kind of justice for her in God's interpretation, without which a corrupt society would view her as less. I have already thrown into doubt the use of the word "rape." Just because Tamar in 2 Samuel thinks it is better to marry Amnon rather than remain alone and "used," doesn't mean that God's law in Deuteronomy meant this. I would argue that it didn't.
As an aside comment, I only partially agree with "Christian Responder's" comment earlier to you. It is definitely true that God considered whether a society could truly handle some of His stricter moral laws, like in the case of divorce. Here is the example passage, Matthew 19:3-10:
"3 The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause? 4 And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, 5 and said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? 6 Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.
7 They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away? 8 He saith unto them, Moses BECAUSE OF THE HARDNESS OF YOUR HEARTS SUFFERED YOU TO PUT AWAY YOUR WIVES: but from the beginning it was not so. 9 And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery."
However, "Christian Responder" seems to be ignorant of the fact that Biblical slavery was NOT like New World Slavery. God was NOT just allowing slavery because of the times here (although that was partially true). Forced Biblical slavery only legitimately occurred if someone was a debtor and needed to pay back money through their labor (no bankruptcy back then - similar to work furlough today), or if it was a people of a criminal, conquered nation (like the Canaanites) who otherwise would have been put to death for their crimes. It is true that their children were to remain enslaved to the Israelities, but I have an explanation for that too. The Canaanities were very idolatrous, and if they started to rule society, Israel may have fallen into idolatry sooner.
Also, by being led by the Israelities, they would have learned of the true religion and had a better chance of being saved from hell, rather than being let go and remaining in an idolatrous religion. Also, Uriah was a Hittite, one of the nations cursed to slavery, and he was married to an Israelite wife, Bathsheba. This indicates to me that God knew eventually most of the Canaanites would assimilate and intermarry with the Israelities, and the curse would perhaps dissipate with each passing generation.
On the other hand, forced slavery of people who had not committed any crime (like the Black Africans) would actually have resulted in the DEATH PENALTY by OT Law! Here is my support, Exodus 21:16: "And he that stealeth a man, and selleth him, or if he be found in his hand, he shall surely be PUT TO DEATH." Also, slaves had rights in OT law, whereas in New World Slavery they were considered mere property and chattel, where the slaver owner could do pretty much whatever he wished!
Therefore, New World Slavery was NEVER Biblical and it DID NOT have God's approval! The Christian abolitionists of the 19th century were righteous on these facts alone! The perpetual slavery only applied to actual Canaanities in the days of ancient Israel which was fulfilled about 3,500 years ago, NOT to Black Africans or anyone else. Also, the brutal treatment of Black Africans also led to them rejecting and resisting Christianity rather than embracing it, so New World Slavery also bore very evil fruit there (hence a BAD TREE!) So, in conclusion, the two forms of slavery were VERY different.
As to Exodus 21:7-11, it states in the KJV: "7 And if a man sell his daughter to be a maidservant, she shall not go out as the menservants do. 8 If she please not her master, who hath betrothed her to himself, then shall he let her be redeemed: to sell her unto a strange nation he shall have no power, seeing he hath dealt deceitfully with her. 9 And if he have betrothed her unto his son, he shall deal with her after the manner of daughters. 10 If he take him anotherwife; her food, her raiment, and her duty of marriage, shall he not diminish. 11 And if he do not these three unto her, then shall she go out free without money."
You stated, "Exodus 21:7-11 allows for sex slavery (so long as you marry the slave, it's okay. Oh, and the slave has no say in the matter)."
I do not see this passage as automatically being about sex slavery, even though I have seen several atheist websites claim this. The term "maidservant" isn't automatically synonymous with "sex slave." There were plenty of maidservants who never had sex with their masters or their sons. This passage is dealing with a case where the master or his sons marries the maidservant, and this is one reason why she would not be permitted to go out as the men servants do: they are a unit. The father or the daughter may have owed a debt to the master, and the daughter may be there to help her father pay it off.
Nowhere is this passage saying she was forced to marry the master or his sons: that is an assumption being read into the text. I actually see this passage as very humane and beneficial for the female servant who very likely married the master or his son voluntarily. Because she is a servant, and the master could take advantage of her due to the fact, God is protecting her rights as wife with this law. It even promises manumission if the law is disobeyed!
Hi "atheist," thank you for your response. It is NOT true that a slave in the OT had "no rights." If they did not, it would be no different than the chattel slavery of the antebellum South, and there would be NO RULES for protecting the slave himself ANYWHERE in OT Law! Also, slavery in the OT is more similar to indentured servitude than New World Slavery. I believe when a slave is referred to as "property" in the OT, it simply means that they are their master's money because they owe him a debt, NOT because they are despicable objects and less than human! They still have value and rights in the eyes of God!
Today, even prisoners in jail in the United States are considered "PROPERTY OF THE STATE!" Some would even argue that they are pampered in the today's jail system! While they are considered "property" their plight is nowhere as bad as it would have been in the antebellum South under New World Slavery! BIG DIFFERENCE! While they are considered "property," they hold MANY RIGHTS!
Amendment 13 of the U.S Constitution reads:
Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, EXCEPT AS A PUNISHMENT FOR A CRIME whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
Also, even the U.S. military considers its soldiers as GOVERNMENT PROPERTY! The term G.I. means GOVERNMENT ISSUE! Thus, the slavery of OT Law was NOT meant to be as bad as it may sound just because of our negative perceptions of what slavery means from the antebellum South. Just because the Israelities may have disobeyed God and mistreated their slaves, DOES NOT mean that He approved of it, or His Law was meant to accommodate that! If you would like more sources, I am willing to look them up for you.
(After this last statement, "Atheist" never responded back to me and
then she DELETED HER COMMENTS! I believe I definitely won that argument!)
I went back and reexamined the comments section of our discussion. It seems that for some reason, both all of my comments and "atheist's" comments back to me were deleted except for my sixth comment. I do not know if "atheist" deleted them or not, or if someone else did.
Edited by Seeking1, 26 May 2014 - 05:21 PM.