Biblical and Secular Law
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05-11-2012, 10:23 AM
Biblical and Secular Law
So I had this exchange with a Theist friend on Facebook today
______

Friend: There's no politicking that any candidate, administration or congress can accomplish that can replace the blessing reserved for a people who actually respect and love God. Too bad we aren't that people, no matter how much you think your politics are informed by your faith. No one really wants this country to change for the better, but for what they think is better, which is their own pleasure and right to be left alone to enjoy it.


Me:Well...the US isn't a theocracy, so I'm sorry, but god should have nothing to do with anything.

Friend: You're right! The U.S. isn't a theocracy. But most of the country's population is either a) Christian (yes, the statistics still indicate as such), or b) hold views of morality and ethics that are vastly derived from a Christian worldview, and so God DOES enter into politics, whether we agree He 'should' or not. And it's unfortunate, because far less than give people another chance to shine, it usually ends up another opportunity for hypocrisy and the defaming of the faith. It's because people DO put it out there, and hope for political ends to be accomplished in the context of the hopes of their faith (which isn't in itself a bad thing) but end up being hypocritical and overly-ready to compromise that waters down everything, faith and politics, in one fell swoop. I dislike it immensely

Me: How exactly does our morality derive from a Christian view? I'm pretty confident there are only 2 laws on the books that are in the bible, and biblical law derives from Babylonian law, which was not Christian, or monotheistic. My morality has nothing to do with the bible, and I would really appreciate if you would do some actual research before making assumptions like "our morality derives from Christian" morality, because it demonstrably does not.
_______

This is probably the thing about Theists that irritates me the most; the assertion that we somehow owe all of our morality and legal codes to THEM. As if they have the monopoly on goodness and order. But you can't have a conversation about this with them because they just start asserting stuff out of their a-hole without any substantiating evidence or even looking at what is in front of them. It isn't hard to list laws in the bible that we don't follow in the US...and it isn't hard to list laws that we have that are not mentioned in the bible. So I wonder...

Where does this idea come from? How is it that this becomes a thing they are convinced of?

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05-11-2012, 10:49 AM (This post was last modified: 05-11-2012 10:55 AM by ghostexorcist.)
RE: Biblical and Secular Law
I would say the reason why Christians think all laws come from the bible is because the two biggies--don't kill and don't steal--are two of the 10 Commandments (like you pointed out). Think about all of the times that plaques of the commandments have had to be removed from court houses. I've seen videos of judges taking part in the protests screaming stuff like "you can remove the commandments, but you can't remove my faith." Judges are supposed to be walking encyclopedias of the law, so other Christians seeing them do this probably perpetuates the myth. I'm sure word of mouth plays a large part in this as well. If a family member or some other respected adult repeatedly tells a child that all laws come from the bible, they will most likely believe what has been said and pass on this idea to their own children later on.

Regarding the origins of morality and biblical law, I brought up similar points recently when I took part in a study on atheists being conducted by a theology professor. You can read my response here (see the last question at the bottom under the heading "Living as an atheist"). You might also find this paper interesting .
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05-11-2012, 12:11 PM (This post was last modified: 05-11-2012 09:51 PM by Bucky Ball.)
RE: Biblical and Secular Law
Two problems with his view.
His spoken premise is false, and his silent premise is false.

1. American law did not come from the Bible. The concepts of American liberty, and the power of Government is 100 % traceable to the Enlightenment, and generally French and English Philosophy. The power of government arises from the consent of the governed, AND this nation was founded NOT as a democracy. It is a Democratic Republic, or a Constitutional Democracy for one reason. The founders KNEW that there was a danger in the Tyranny of the Majority. (No religion has the right to enshrine their view into law in a secular state.) Thus ALL or ANY sort of religious arguments are off the table, and irrelevant.

2. The silent premise is more "nerdly".
His silent premise or assumption, is that Biblical laws and injunctions came from God and are absolute. Historians and Biblical scholars know that is not true. EVERY law and injunction in the Bible has as it's origin, a 100% human cultural origin. There is not one law in the Bible that did not ALREADY, A PRIORI, exist in the culture. Thus the Biblical law CAME from culture, and THAT's why humans wrote them into the scrolls. The Biblical laws are relative, and originate in the culture. Religion sanctioned law, law did not sanction religion. How and why we know that is WAY too long to go into, but, that the long and short of it. Ask him to name ONE law in the Bible that did not already exist in ancient Hebrew culture before the Biblical texts were written. The fact is, he has no clue what he/she is talking about with respect to the Bible.

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05-11-2012, 09:29 PM
RE: Biblical and Secular Law
The Bible isn't a legal document. End of discussion.

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11-11-2012, 06:02 AM
RE: Biblical and Secular Law
(05-11-2012 10:23 AM)NeonMoment Wrote:  So I had this exchange with a Theist friend on Facebook today
______

Friend: There's no politicking that any candidate, administration or congress can accomplish that can replace the blessing reserved for a people who actually respect and love God. Too bad we aren't that people, no matter how much you think your politics are informed by your faith. No one really wants this country to change for the better, but for what they think is better, which is their own pleasure and right to be left alone to enjoy it.


Me:Well...the US isn't a theocracy, so I'm sorry, but god should have nothing to do with anything.

Friend: You're right! The U.S. isn't a theocracy. But most of the country's population is either a) Christian (yes, the statistics still indicate as such), or b) hold views of morality and ethics that are vastly derived from a Christian worldview, and so God DOES enter into politics, whether we agree He 'should' or not. And it's unfortunate, because far less than give people another chance to shine, it usually ends up another opportunity for hypocrisy and the defaming of the faith. It's because people DO put it out there, and hope for political ends to be accomplished in the context of the hopes of their faith (which isn't in itself a bad thing) but end up being hypocritical and overly-ready to compromise that waters down everything, faith and politics, in one fell swoop. I dislike it immensely

Me: How exactly does our morality derive from a Christian view? I'm pretty confident there are only 2 laws on the books that are in the bible, and biblical law derives from Babylonian law, which was not Christian, or monotheistic. My morality has nothing to do with the bible, and I would really appreciate if you would do some actual research before making assumptions like "our morality derives from Christian" morality, because it demonstrably does not.
_______

This is probably the thing about Theists that irritates me the most; the assertion that we somehow owe all of our morality and legal codes to THEM. As if they have the monopoly on goodness and order. But you can't have a conversation about this with them because they just start asserting stuff out of their a-hole without any substantiating evidence or even looking at what is in front of them. It isn't hard to list laws in the bible that we don't follow in the US...and it isn't hard to list laws that we have that are not mentioned in the bible. So I wonder...

Where does this idea come from? How is it that this becomes a thing they are convinced of?


It is simple. They are told that from about the time they are about a week old (first time in church) until they die. Here's hoping us atheists can break the cycle. That is why they believe the bullshit.
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11-11-2012, 08:10 AM
RE: Biblical and Secular Law
(05-11-2012 10:23 AM)NeonMoment Wrote:  b) hold views of morality and ethics that are vastly derived from a Christian worldview,
Argh, gets me every time. Christians did not invent laws or morality, nor are they particularly good at upholding them. Additionally, the laws that *are* from the Bible and hilariously arcane, outdated, and incomprehensive.
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11-11-2012, 11:25 PM
RE: Biblical and Secular Law
At least he was for separation of church and state...

I wouldn't bash him too much, that is a pretty good step.
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