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But that was the Old Testament

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Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
—Jesus saying that Old Testament is okay and relevant in Matthew 5:17-18.

"But that was the Old Testament" is the argument that the God of the New Testament turned over a new leaf and became much more forgiving and kind than that old meanie Old Testament God.

The argument is a favorite tactic of Christian apologists when confronted with evidence of how the Bible portrays their religion and God as really violent.

The New Testament tends to be much less gruesome than the Old Testament, but a number of instances of violence and intolerance still feature in the New Testament. Of course if the Old Testament were really so irrelevant, one would wonder why Christians even bother including it at all in their holy book, especially when it makes up about 75% of said holy book.[1]

Pacifism?[edit]

Whenever we read… the cruel and tortuous executions, the unrelenting vindictiveness with which more than half the Bible is filled, it would be more consistent that we call it the word of a demon than the word of God. It is a history of wickedness that has served to corrupt and brutalize humankind. And, for my own part, I sincerely detest it, as I detest everything that is cruel.
Thomas Paine

Jesus was less than supportive of pacifism:

Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace but a sword.
—Jesus, Matthew 10:34
And he said unto them, when I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, lacked ye any thing? And they said, Nothing. Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one. For I say unto you, that this that is written must yet be accomplished in me, And he was reckoned among the transgressors: for the things concerning me have an end. And they said, Lord, behold, here are two swords. And he said unto them, It is enough.
Luke 22:35-38, where Jesus basically told people to sell clothes and buy weapons so that they can kill for him.

Random acts of smiting[edit]

See the main article on this topic: Examples of God personally killing people

God isn't quite so trigger happy in the New Testament, at least when it comes to killing innocents and people who really didn't deserve it. However, there are still some killings and of course that whole end of the world thing in Revelation. Most notably in Acts 12:23 Herod was killed for his failure to praise God. Also, it's been pointed out that the New Testament brings us Hell, as we know it. In the Old Testament, once God killed you he was done with you—but starting with the New Testament, he punishes you for eternity (which means infinite punishment for finite sins).

Mass murder[edit]

  • Matthew 11:20-24: Jesus condemns people to an eternity in Hell because they didn't want to hear him preach. Jesus actually threatens more people with the threat of going to Hell in the New Testament more than God did in the Old Testament.[2]
  • Jesus's cleansing of the Temple.

Book of Revelation[edit]

Of course according to The Bible, these killings haven't actually happened yet but are prophesied to occur at some unspecified date. For instance, in Revelation 16:2 it is said that those with the Mark of the Beast will be killed with a disease of sores. Then we have this charming passage in which those in Satan's army are described being thrown into a giant (perhaps metaphorical) wine press and being crushed.

The angel swung his sickle on the earth, gathered its grapes and threw them into the great winepress of God's wrath. They were trampled in the winepress outside the city, and blood flowed out of the press, rising as high as the horses' bridles for a distance of 1,600 stadia.
Revelation 14:18-Revelation 14:20

Intolerance and misogyny[edit]

The New Testament has Saint Paul expressing both fear and contempt for the female. Throughout all religious texts, there is a primitive fear that half the human race is simultaneously defiled and unclean, and yet is also a temptation to sin that is impossible to resist. Perhaps this explains the hysterical cult of virginity and of a Virgin, and the dread of the female form and of female reproductive functions? And there may be someone who can explain the sexual and other cruelties of the religious without any reference to the obsession with celibacy, but that someone will not be me.
Christopher Hitchens, God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything[3]

First of all we should note that, in Matthew 5:18, Jesus clearly states, "Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled." This implies that all of the blatantly homophobic, misogynistic or otherwise intolerant laws from the Old Testament are still effective.

Unfortunately The New Testament is also fairly misogynistic. Here are just a few of the more offensive and deeptly unethical passages;

  • 1 Timothy 2:11-1 Timothy 2:15 "Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression. Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety."
  • 1 Corinthians 11:3-1 Corinthians 11:6 "But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God. Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head. But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven. For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered."
  • 1 Peter 3:7 "Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered."
  • Ephesians 5:22-Ephesians 5:24 "Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing."
  • Ephesians 6:5 "Slaves,[4] obey your human masters with fear and trembling, in the sincerity of your heart, as to Christ."

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. http://www.christianity.com/christian-life/political-and-social-issues/why-dont-pastors-preach-from-the-old-testament-11531237.html
  2. http://wiki.ironchariots.org/index.php?title=Selective_use_of_Old_Testament_law#Ignored_good_stuff
  3. Page 54-55.
  4. Note that this is one of the (many) places where many Bible translators have found it convenient to render the Greek "doulos" (pl. "douloi") as "servant", rather than the more accurate "slave". This is the case in the King James version that is used for The RationalWiki Annotated Bible. See also: Slavery in the Bible