[b-hebrew] Deut. 22:22-29

K Randolph kwrandolph at gmail.com
Thu Jan 24 17:34:08 EST 2008

Let's go back to the statement that started this discussion.

On Jan 5 Yitzhak made the claim, here presented with my response, as


> People are not different, but they have different cultural values, and
> our cultural sense
> of right or wrong is different from the values during Biblical times.

Oh? How are they different? Can you give any specific examples?

> "

The reason I asked is that while there are different religions and cultural
values, depending on the people in question, people still think in the same
manners. Here I read an implicit belief that people have evolved since then,
so that what was allowed then is not allowed today, and visa versa. The
implication is that there is no one today who would approve of the cultural
and religious norms mentioned in the Bible. That is clearly not true.

There is not a claim that the ancients shared a common set of cultural
values and sense of right and wrong—they clearly didn't. In that way, too,
modern peoples reflect the same cultural values and sense of right and wrong
as ancient peoples. And in the same way as among ancient peoples, so modern
peoples disagree on the cultural values they espouse. In fact, most if not
all ancient values and cultural norms can find its counterpart among modern
peoples somewhere in the world.

On Jan 23, 2008 12:09 PM, Bill Rea < bsr15 at cantsl.it.canterbury.ac.nz>

> Karl wrote:-
> >I do not consider a difference in governmental structure to signal a
> >difference in morality.
> Now you've defined all the evidence we have to be inadmissable. What we
> have is law codes which we can compare. In reality law, in this area,
> flows from people's moral values. So your question of whether morals have
> changed over time is unanswerable if we accept your view.

Not at all. Law is not the only arbiter of values. The law may actually
reflect the values of a ruling elite, while a subgroup within society "march
to a different drummer" follow a different set of values, much like the
early church under pagan Rome. Or a modern example, Canada has in recent
years partially criminalized Christianity whereby Christians, just by
publically mentioning parts of their faith, can be criminally charged in
court. Therefore law cannot be used as an example.

> So your view is
> not only unsupported, its unsupportable. This is so typical of you, you
> get evidence you don't like so with a dismissive wave of your electronic
> hand you dismiss the evidence. Why ask a question and put people through
> the effort of marshalling evidence and making reasoned arguments when you
> a priori know that nothing's going to change your mind anyway?

I was looking for something that indicates that ancient peoples thought
differently than moderns. If you could prove that, then you'd have an
argument. But so far you have not provided that proof.

> >A final issue is to look at the actual treatment of rape where there is
> >no question that it was rape, and there the sentence is always death.
> >That death is not the sentence here indicates that here the verse refers
> >to seduction, not rape.
> Even if I accept this rather weak line of argument, which I don't,

Here you misrepresent the argument. This was the final point of a multi-part
argument, not the only one. And this last point was also the weakest. But
your response shows that you have a different set of values, and sense of
right and wrong, from other modern peoples as well as ancient peoples, and
this is not a comparison between ancient to modern.

> the
> case is that our moral values have changed.

Or would it be more accurate that one set of values have been substituted
for another?

> Provided the unmarried young
> woman in question is over 16, having sex with her is not crime in legal
> terms and its not an immoral act to most people today. To give you an
> actual example, one of our members of parliment, i.e. a law maker, who was
> a solo mother was reported in an interview to have bought her daughter a
> double bed on her 16th brithday so her daughter could bring her lovers
> home and have a warm and comfortable place to have sex with them.
> There's no indication that the mother viewed consenual sex with her
> unmarried daughter as either crime or immoral act.

This is an example of where people disagree on the values they espouse. This
is not a difference between ancient to modern, rather between modern to
modern, just the same as there were differences between ancient cultures of
the values they espoused. There were ancient societies that would have
agreed perfectly with the mother in question. Likewise, there are both
ancient and modern societies that condemn that mother.

So how does that show a difference between ancient and now?

> I don't see why you're fighting the obvious. I thought it was a staple
> of Sunday morning sermons in conservative Christian churches to lament
> the moral decay of the present age.

Have you ever stopped to consider the reason they lament the moral decay of
the present age? Are they not just paraphrasing the prophets' lament at the
moral decay of ancient Israelite society as it went awhoring after foreign
gods? Does this not show that the conservative Christians agree with the
ancient standards of right and wrong, and the values presented through the
Bible? Where is the difference between ancient and modern?

> Bill Rea, ICT Services, University of Canterbury \_
> E-Mail bill.rea at canterbury.ac.nz                </   New
> Phone 64-3-364-2331, Fax  64-3-364-2332        /)  Zealand
> Unix Systems Administrator                    (/'

 Karl W. Randolph.

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