The Christian Bible and Morality

A person could go their whole life attending church and not come to the conclusion that the Christian bible is an immoral document.  One of the reasons for this is because church sermons tend to cherry pick passages that don’t appear immoral; the other reason is because sometimes it takes a bit of consideration to realize a passage is immoral.

For instance, in Deuteronomy 3, it’s pretty clear the following statement is immoral:  “So the LORD our God handed King Og and all his people over to us, and we killed them all.  We conquered all sixty of his towns, the entire Argob region in his kingdom of Bashan…We destroyed all the people in every town we conquered – men, women, and children alike.  But we kept all the livestock for ourselves and took plunder from all the towns”.

Some excerpts, such as from 1 Peter, may take a bit more consideration: “Slaves, be subject to your masters with all reverence, not only to those who are good and equitable but also to those who are perverse”.  To a modern-day westerner, it probably doesn’t occur to them that this statement literally condones and facilitates a culture of slavery.  It’s easy to skim past things like that.

Zechariah 14 gives insight into its authors’ mentality:  “Lo, a day shall come for the Lord when the spoils shall be divided in your midst.  And I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem for battle: the city shall be taken, houses plundered, women ravished…”.

These passages are the tip of a very large iceberg in the Christian bible, and tons of examples of this gross immorality can be found across both the old and new testaments.

Christians tend to cherry-pick the bible and only find passages that seem consistent with their version of faith that was taught to them; however, doing so ignores a logical dilemma:  if the bible is the ultimate source of morality, and the teachings in the bible come directly from God, how could parts of the bible be immoral?  How could the bible have immorality if it is the foundation of morality?

The practical answer to this is that people have a moral compass that tells them if something is moral or immoral.  But then, why do Christians need the bible if they already have an internal mechanism to show them right from wrong?  An alternative answer to the question is that all the depictions of God in the bible are indeed moral.  In that event, God is a monster.

Honestly, this was never a dilemma for me when I was a Christian, because I always saw the bible as part fairy tale and part truth; in fact, the problems of immorality in the bible weren’t even a main factor in my deconversion.  It was always quite clear to me that the most zealous Christians were teetering on, and often falling off, the edge between reason and lunacy.

But I do find it interesting when Christians have to grapple with these questions, because in my opinion, they do not have the upper hand in the argument:  if you have to cherry-pick a philosophy, that means the philosophy is, at best, imperfect.  The more cherry-picking you have to do, the more imperfect the philosophy is.  The only way a person can conclude that the bible (and by extension, Christianity) is moral is by cherry picking, or by rejecting their innate sense of right and wrong.

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Author: Tim...Stepping Out

Tim Stepping Out

2 thoughts on “The Christian Bible and Morality”

  1. That the Bible is about morality is obvious.

    That makes one wonder about atheists who either fail to see the obvious or try their hardest to deny it.

    Just a few of the morality tales from the Bible include Adam and Eve, Sodom and Gomorrah, Joseph and his brothers, the entire life of King David, Moses and the Hebrews.

    In fact, nearly every story in the Bible is a morality tale, even the Genesis creation story.

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  2. Thanks for the comment!

    My point in the blog post is that, just because the bible makes the claim that it is a moral document (or just because people make that claim), does not make it so. When the bible claims (either implicitly or explicitly) that things like murder, rape, slavery, etc are morally acceptable, then my response is that the bible is not morally correct.

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