God's Morality Should Never Change

A very common argument in favor of theism is that morality is objective and it must come from God.  For something to be objective, it must have a truth value independent of everything.  So objective morality depends on nothing--not the era, nor the place, nor the entity performing the action--so by definition, it never changes. 

If objective morality exists and it comes from God, then we should be able to see the unchanging nature of morality over time--both within the Bible itself, and when comparing the Bible to modern times.

Let's see how this holds up!

Old Testament Morality

  • Slavery: In Biblical times, slavery was totally fine. This included not only indentured servitude, but children born into slavery, captives of war, and women sold into slavery against their will (as sex slaves).  This was all accepted.  See Exodus 21,  Leviticus 25, Deuteronomy 15.  No matter how much Christians try to account for this, slavery is a huge issue in the Bible.  What about today?  Slavery is universally condemned in western countries, but unfortunately still happens in other parts of the world.  Christians today would never claim that slavery is moral. 
  • Death Penalty: People received the death penalty for the following crimes:
    • Cursing their parents (Ex 21:17)
    • Sacrificing to other gods (Ex 22:20)
    • A woman (though not a man) having sex before marriage (Dt 22:13-21)
    • Exploring a different religion (Ex 22:20, Dt 13:12-18, Dt 17:12)
    • Adultery (Lv 20:10-12)
    • Being a fortune teller (Lv 20:27)
    • Working on the Sabbath (Nu 15:32-36)
    • Eating and drinking too much (Dt 21:18-21)
    • Not being religious (2 Ch 15:12-13)
    • Whore daughters of priests were burned ALIVE WITH FIRE (Lv 21:9)
    • Men who lie with men (Lv 20:13)
    • Animals who are raped by humans are killed (Lv 20:15)
Which of these crimes deserve the death penalty today? I certainly would have been stoned already.  Wouldn't you?
  • Miscellaneous things that were displeasing to God:
    • A woman wearing men's garments, and vice versa (Dt 22:5)
    • Semen and menstrual blood (Lv 15)
    • Getting remarried (Dt 24:1-4)
    • Making peace with those who have smote you (Dt 23:3-6)
    • Disabled people, blind people, little people, hunchbacks, those with blemishes and/or crushed testicles (!!) (Lv 21:16-23)
    • Inadvertently glimpsing one's genitalia while ascending the steps to the altar (Ex 20:26)
    • Women speaking in church or having authority over a man (this is actually New Testament! 1 Timothy 2:11-12; Ephesians 5:22-24)

Does this look like objective morality?

Many Christians admit that the Old Testament laws are distasteful and unnecessary, but they say that we are not bound by these laws anymore. Jesus apparently freed us from these rigid and often nonsensical rules.  Even if that were true, that leaves two problems!
  1. At one point, God's morality WAS the ruthless laws that we see in the Old Testament
  2. God's morality changed over time (OT vs NT)
But objective morality should not change! If it does, how is it objective?

Does God's sense of morality seem right to you?

Biblical Morality

If you believe in the Christian God, then you must believe that at one time God was disgusted by genetic or medical disorders such as dwarfism, kyphosis, blindness, injured limbs, blemished skin, etc. These were conditions that were poorly understood at that time and evidently greatly feared.  Does the proclamation that these people are "profane" sound like it comes from the creator of the genetic code and our very bodies? The creator who has an intimate knowledge of the inner workings of the human body that surpasses even what we know today?  Does it sound like the kind of God who unconditionally loves every single one of us, no matter our flaws?  Does it sound like the kind of God who specially creates each of us "perfectly" in his own image? Or does it sound like the manifested fears of a superstitious, uneducated people group?

If you believe in the Christian God, you must believe that God promoted death for women (but not for men) who had sex before marriage.  Imagine if we did this today. There would be basically no women left at all--they would all have been stoned.  Does God really prohibit women from teaching men?  Or from speaking in church? Does that sound like the just and moral creator of the universe to you? Or does it sound like the sexist morals of a group of ancient desert-dwelling men?

If you believe in the Christian God, you must accept that God condoned, and possibly even promoted, slavery--if that doesn't horrify you enough, this includes prisoners of war and sex slaves.  Neither God nor Jesus said a word against it. Yet we, as modern peoples, find this horrific.  

If you believe in the Christian God, you must accept that God burned people alive.

Does this sound right to you?

Is Biblical morality decreed by a perfect God--or by imperfect humans?

Further reading/watching:


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