Barbaric Discipline

I wish there was one single moment in time I could point to as the moment I lost all faith in the Bible. It was a lot of little things – the number of “kinds” on the Ark verses the millions of species of animals we have today, the geographical isolation of species, the history of ancient civilizations, earlier Mesopotamian law codes, the human species radiating from Africa instead of modern-day Turkey, etc. Each one of those factors further confirmed that the writers of the Bible were not inspired by the Creator of the universe. However, there is one moment that sticks out a little more than others.

During one of my online conversations with the pastor’s wife I told her that the New Covenant involved the returning of the Ten Tribes, reuniting with Judah and the Torah would be written on their hearts, not done away with.

Jeremiah 31:31-37

“Behold, the days are coming,” declares Yaweh, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband,” declares Yaweh. “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares Yaweh, “I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares Yaweh. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”

Thus says the Lordwho gives the sun for light by day and the fixed order of the moon and the stars for light by night, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar—    Yaweh of hosts is his name, “If this fixed order departs from before me, declares Yaweh, then shall the offspring of Israel cease from being a nation before me forever.” Thus says Yaweh, “If the heavens above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth below can be explored, then I will cast off all the offspring of Israel for all that they have done, declares Yaweh.”\

She said something I’ll never forget.

“Do you stone your children?”

And that was it. That’s when I realized I could no longer follow Yahweh. That’s when I realized that many of the laws in the Old Testament were ridiculous. No, her question did not turn me to a savoir who nailed those laws to the cross, it turned me away from the god who gave them.

On June 20, 2001, Andrea Yates who suffered from post-partum psychosis, drowned her five children, John, Paul, Luke, Noah, and Mary in the bathtub.

While in prison she told her jail psychiatrist: “It was the seventh deadly sin. My children weren’t righteous. They stumbled because I was evil. The way I was raising them, they could never be saved. They were doomed to perish in the fires of hell.”

She also said that Satan influenced her children and made them more disobedient.

“If I didn’t do it, they would be tormented by Satan,” Yates said during the trial.

Her attorney questioned her, “As you drowned each one, did you think it was the right thing to be doing?”

Andrea nodded yes.

Dietz asked, upon drowning the kids, if she thought about heaven.

“I was praying they would go there.”

Any normal human being knows that what Andrea Yates did was horrific and evil and would never do that to his/her own children. Yet, Andrea Yates actually did just what the Old Testament commanded. She viewed her children as disobedient and on the road to Hell. She invoked a mercy killing of sorts by sending them to Heaven before Satan secured them in Hades.

By pointing out ridiculous laws in the Old Testament, Christians fail at pointing unbelievers to the cross. Instead of showing the need for a savior, it shows a book that was written by iron-age men who had a barbaric view of morality.


One thought on “Barbaric Discipline

  1. Exactly. It’s so clear now looking back. I want to say I’m baffled that your friend wasn’t bothered by the idea that at least at one time God thought capital punishment for childhood disobedience was a good idea. But it used to not bother me either when I believed. Compartmentalization, I guess.
    What you describe was pretty much the same tipping point for me with inerrancy. I couldn’t keep making excuses for the God of the OT.


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