Originally posted by twhitehead
CalJust made this claim in another thread. This is not an attack on CalJust, just an invitation to others for discussion of the idea.
What are the worst laws (morally) of the OT ?
If we ignore for a moment the exact prescribed punishments, can we say that all OT laws were morally correct?
Does anyone believe that the punishments themselves were reasonable for that day and age and thus were also morally 'not wrong'?
I must say that I have sort of lost my appetite for discussions with you, but because i said that i would be prepared to defend that statement of mine, here i am.
At the outset I have to again point out that you have (and are!) completely misrepresenting my statement. You mention the fact that I said PRINCIPLES and then immediately go over to attacking the PUNISHMENTS. Can you not see the difference? Is this by mistake or malicious intent?
For the record, I believe (as Jesus believed in the examples given before) that some of the punishments were totally inappropriate, to say the least. He was always against stoning, against retribution in any way (eye-for-an-eye, etc).
So let's NOT talk about any of the punishments, they make an easy target for ridicule, and I am NOT defending them!
Let's then look at the PRINCIPLES.
Jesus was asked (by a critic, in order to catch him out and embarrass him) what was the most important law, of the hundreds of laws that were in the OT. He responded with the famous saying: You shall love the lord your god with all your heart, and your neighbour as yourself.
If we are looking for a PRINCIPLE, here it is. Let us discount the first part, because you don't believe in a god. But the second part is, imho, the principle behind most of the non-loving-god laws.
This principle can basically be summed up as respect (we have different understandings for the word "love" ) for your neighbour. That means respect for his person, for his possessions, for his relationships.
Now you can mention almost any law, whether the moral laws of sexual conduct or the laws governing property, and you will almost invariably find that the OBJECTIVE BEHIND any of these laws was always the love, concern and respect for your fellow human being.
That is all that I wanted to say when I said that there was nothing wrong with the PRINCIPLES behind the OT laws.
The punishments were a totally different matter altogether, and they must be seen in the cultural contexts of the day. But into this discussion I will not let myself be drawn.