Your post made me feel like I should play Devils advocate for the Bible?
Is that even a thing? Arm-chair apologetics? I will likely be pondering that a bit, but first I wanted share a little understanding I gathered from my bible studying days a couple decades back. I have a piece I’ve been working on for a few weeks that describes my early fascination with that book at an early age, but I keep being distracted with more pressing matters.
I’m gonna try to keep this simple in an attempt to keep it short, I will likely fail. First, to understand the Bible you have to tear it in half and tackle the two parts as separate entities. We will be throwing out the NT unless you really want me to share my thought on it later.
The Old Testament is rich in symbolic meaning, there is teaching at multiple levels, the Hebrew language is based on numbers which enhance and amplify the the stories and can leave you stammering in the complexity of it all. The Bible is like a User’s Introduction Guide to Irony as well as the Master’s Advanced Course of All Hidden Knowledge in the Universe relayed as a story where the stars of the show are all fuck-ups like me, who sometimes make a swing in the dark and get it right. We will start with Moses, who is one of my favorites.
Moses had just helped a huge group of slaves escape a hateful oppression by preforming a series of miracles by listening to a voice in his imagination. The voice told him that someday something really amazing was going come from this rag tag bunch of refugees that would put an end to the suffering on this planet. But first, they would have to prepare themselves to receive it. Sort of like- you have to wash your hands before you can have the cookie. (Home prepared, raw, vegan, organic gluten free and kosher of course) Which might seem callous to a snacky child who wants stuff NOW, but an intelligent, loving parent is going to encourage you to follow through with getting the dirt off your hands first because loving parents want their kids to survive and not catch diseases.
Moses, still suffering a serious identity crisis and cognitive dissonance because he grew up thinking he was from the rich ruling class then found out he was actually one of the slaves by birth and the man he considered his dad (or grandpa- I can’t remember just now) tried TO KILL HIM- actually, the asshole killed a generation of baby boys in an attempt to outwit fate, but failed miserably when the baby refugee found floating in a basket, Moses, and his magic karma stick kicked his ass and wrecked his kingdom ultimately resulting in the death of every first born son. Suddenly the natives decided to give the slaves all their stuff and tell them to get the hell out of town. I personally suspect they also snatched a piece of technology that could melt stone but also may cause radiation illness.
Anyhow, Moses went to his thinking spot for a few days to try to figure out what he was supposed to do with all these people who were feeling a little homesick and bitchy because they were camping in a desert. When he came back with an outline to create a healthy community for his people, he found they decided to take matters into their own hands and carry on with some rituals they had witnessed in other cultures where they gave all their money to make idols and sacrificed their children to ask favors of lessor “gods”. Literally making a gold cash cow out of the treasure they were just given and slaughtering their kids, not figuratively as we do today when we spend our time and cash on the idols that entertain us rather than actually setting our hearts and minds to make the world we have been given a better place for our children to feel safe, happy, and treasured so they can thrive.
Moses returned and was hurt, and pissed off because the Most High God he was listening to in his imagination thought killing babies is disgusting… because it is, and he was once nearly one of those kids and these people should know better. There were karmic consequences the whole tribe would face because a portion of the population would not give up the path of hate, they could have chosen to collectively love and comfort their children but instead, they threw a wicked party that led them into pure evil because they had been exposed to a lot of trauma and evil. They were likely suffering from PTSD and the effects of long term hopelessness incarceration causes. If you looked at them as a body, Moses thought they had a scratch but they had gangrene. Moses had to form a team of surgeons immediately then nurse the whole body back to health.
This is where all the laws to obtain purity come into play. (Leviticus and Deuteronomy come to mind) God and Moses wanted to create a group of humans on this planet who didn’t behave like blood-thirsty animals and had reverence and respect for life. The Most High Invisible God (or possibly some extra-dimensional space travelers that felt bad for that little family of people who were being oppressed- I’m open to interpretation) came up with a plan of such mathematical complexity with so many back door contingencies it could not fail. It is a truth of the eternal light of love shining in the darkness, a spark in the heart of every human created by the hope and faith in love of the women of this world. Like a Fibonacci sequence for human survival.
This is why I feel the argument against the OT is based on human mis-interpretation of the Bible and what it all means. For instance- that argument about not yelling loud enough when it comes to rape is, ironically one of the biggest evidence that they do care very much about women in their village, and trust them to be mindful of their bodies, that virginity is sacred, because it is, and no girl should ever have her honor taken from her because parents would make sure she knew her body was sacred, and if she didn’t “yell loud enough” or tell as many people as it took to let them know something terrible happened to her... Than her father would be held accountable. It’s not hard for a doctor to tell if a girl was recently deflowered or if it happened long ago, and these were relatively small, tight knit communities everyone knew every bodies business.
The consequences are layed out pretty clear. -If your daughter is defiled on your watch, we can kill your daughter or throw you out of the camp, that is a lot of encouragement to make sure your kids were taught to honor their sexuality. There is a key of compassion in the prior verse about keeping the fringe close, reminding the tribe leaders to render decisions with compassion in hope of rehabilitation, and part of that awesome, infinitely unsolvable math equation. This is why you always care for the basket of deplorables outside the cities gate.
Anyhow, Moses was trying to build a strong, healthy, intelligent people in a short bit of time so they would have the resources to fight off invaders and secure themselves a piece of habitable land. These rules are there to eliminate rape culture, the troubles and poverty associated with single parenting, as well as stop the spread of disease; they were living in a tent city, after all!
I fear I’ve written a small book and I have other dragons to slay today. Hope this is enough of a peek from a different perspective to help you understand what some people get out of that book isn’t bad.