South of Eden
Religion and morality go together like boiled beef and carrots. You often find them together but it is perfectly possible to have one without the other. – from “The greatest tragedy in mankind’s entire history may be the hijacking of morality by religion.” – Arthur C Clarke
Someone shows up at your door offering in his briefcase the secret to eternal happiness. How do you respond?
With some healthy skepticism. First, what’s in the bag? Second, how do I know it does what you say it will?
He removes a Bible from the briefcase, and says, it’s the eternal moral code. You cannot live a pure, sinless life without it. Somehow he is surprised you open it to see. Everyone usually just takes his word for it.
Turning to Numbers 31…
And they warred against the Midianites, as the Lord commended Moses; and they slew all the males.
And the children of Israel took all the women of Midian captives, and their little ones, and took the spoil of all their cattle, and all their flocks, and all their goods.
And they burnt all their citices wherein they dwelt, and all their goodly castles, with fire [editor’s note: good choice!].
And they took all the spoil, and all the prey, both of men and of beasts.
And they brought the captives and the prey and the spoil unto Moses …unto the camp at the plains of Moab, which are by Jordan near Jericho.
And Moses was wroth with the officers of the host, with the captiains over thousands, and captains over hundreds, which came from the battle.
And Moses said unto them, Have ye saved all the women alive?
Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him.
But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves.
Flipping through to Joshua at the battle of Jericho, and the story of Esther, and it’s all the same, obey the lord and slay the enemy without mercy. Ooh, here‘s a spicy number which you never see in Bible story collections. The whole series is sort of like The Godfather or The Sopranos, with the exception those latterday Italian mobs were more charitable; they only killed soldiers, their own or others.
But, you realize, the Almighty had to live in that neighborhood, and so was a product of them mean streets. Anyway, what is the effect of all this grim grisly Biblical horror on the morality of its followers? Not so good. As we see here and here, those who most proclaim the blessings of the Bible rank lowest on the scale of social mores. Divorce, death, and depredation are to be found mostest where the foamy-mouthed fundies congregate thickest.
So, the content of the bag isn’t moral in any sane sense, and the results are far less than claimed. Thanks, you say, but no, thanks, and you show the holy hustler the door.
Justus of Tiberius
Hermogones Silius Italicus
Appion of Alexandria
Theon of Smyrna
Enough of the writings of the authors named in the foregoing list remains to form a library. Yet in this mass of Jewish and Pagan literature, aside from two forged passages in the works of a Jewish author, and two disputed passages in the works of Roman writers, there is to be found no mention of Jesus Christ.
John E. Remsburg; The Christ: A Critical Review and Analysis of the Evidence of His Existence