with the Bible
as a Moral Guide
Joseph F. Alward
October 19, 2000
The Bible is often cited as the a guide for moral behavior, but its contradictory teachings have
bewildered man for centuries. The following are just a few examples.
Thou Shalt Not Murder
Thou shalt not murder. (Exodus 20:13, New International Version)
On the one hand, the Exodus writer
above tells us God wanted the Hebrews to know that murder is wrong,
but on the other hand the writers of Samuel and Ezekiel
(see below) tell us that God himself orders the murder of innocent old
men, infants and suckling babes. These contradictory passages leave
the careful reader wondering about the morality of the god described
in the Bible and whether killing--even the avoidable killing of
innocents--in the eyes of the Bible-writers--is always wrong.
The LORD sent me to anoint thee to be king over his people, over Israel: now therefore hearken thou unto the voice of the words of the LORD. Thus saith the LORD of hosts, I remember that which Amalek did to Israel, how he laid wait for him in the way, when he came up from Egypt. Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass. (1 Samuel 15:1-3)
Honor thy Father and Thy Mother ?
Then said Jesus unto his disciples….And every one that hath forsaken...father, or mother....for my name's sake...shall inherit everlasting life. (Matthew 19:23-29)
The authors of Matthew say that Jesus tells his disciples to "Honor your father and mother" (Matt 19:19), but the Luke authors think that Jesus requires his followers to hate their parents: "Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother. . .cannot be my disciple." (Luke 14.26)
When a disciple begs for permission to bury his father, "Lord, first let me go and bury my father.", the Matthew authors tell us Jesus told him to let him rot: "Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead." (Matthew 8:21-22)
If the authors of Matthew and Luke
are correct, then taken together their books teach that God is in
danger of hell fire for accusing others of stupidity:
But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment...but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire. (Matthew 5:22)
The Sins of the
The soul who sins is the one who will die. The son will not share the guilt of the father, nor will the father share the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous man will be credited to him, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against him. (Ezekiel 18:19-21)
And God spake all these words, saying... Thou shalt have no other gods before me... Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me. (Exodus 20:1-6).
What are we to believe?
Eye for an Eye
The Old Testament teaches revenge, but
Jesus doesn't believe in it. If the Old Testament is the
Show no pity: life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.
Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. (Matthew 5:38-39)
Hate Thine Enemy
Thou hast also given me the necks of mine enemies, that I might destroy them. (Samuel 22:40-42)