Apologetics Fail #25
We're Under a New Covenant

When pressed on the issues of slavery, genocide, rape, incest, and other such moral commands by God in the Old Testament of the Bible, an apologist will frequently use the deflection of "well, we're under a new covenant; the old one [the Old Testament] is for 'the Jews,' and the new one [the New Testament] is for Christians."

Arguing the Bible with a Christian apologist is pointless: the contradictions, absurdities, cruelty, and genocide are all waved away with "God is the Absolute Moral Lawgiver," so if God decrees genocide or rape, then those are an absolute moral good. God drowned the whole world in a flood while Satan killed roughly ten people, but God's genocide is the moral good in that book. The Christian apologist trades his or her moral compass, in which he or she knows owning people as property as wrong or slaughtering entire groups of people is wrong, and instead makes excuses for those things to avoid giving up the comfort of a hideous religious faith that promotes those things.

Skeptic's Annotated Bible, KJV, which cross-references the cruelty, absurdities, contradictions, and other nonsense within the Bible's various verses. Searchable by cruelty: slavery, incest, genocide, pick a claim in the Bible and the search engine will find all the verses that support and contradict the claim. A print copy of the book bound in leather and with gilt-edged pages is available there, a wonderful gift for the religious sceptic in your life.)

Aside from that, the apologist wishing to avoid the uncomfortable truth that if the Bible was any other book, it would be considered unsuitable for publication. (As I noted before, on Reddit, the /r/atheism subreddit requires you to affirm you are eighteen years old, but Christianity forums there supporting genocide, slavery, and rape do not.)

First, if Christianity is solely based on the New Testament, then why do churches continue to keep the Old Testament in their holy book? After all, they claim they are not bound by the Old Testament (never mind any time there is a group they wish to hate, such as LGBT or atheists, they will pull out Leviticus, Deuteronomy, or Proverbs, all the time ignoring the Ten Commandments restriction against coveting such as gaining wealth, or prohibitions against graven images such as photography.) If they don't believe the Old Testament applies to them, they could simply eliminate it from their holy book. The canon of the Bible has been changed many times through history to support the religious or political views of the day, there is no reason they could not do that now.

Sirach Chapter Four (convenient that Protestants have eliminated Sirach from the unabridged version of the Bible, since that Old Testament book demands concern for the poor as pious, and that is really inconvenient to Protestants, especially those sects devolved from Calvinism):

  1. My child, do not refuse the poor a livelihood, do not tantalise the needy.
  2. Do not add to the sufferings of the hungry, do not bait anyone in distress.
  3. Do not aggravate a heart already angry, nor keep the destitute waiting for your alms.
  4. Do not repulse a hard-pressed beggar, nor turn your face from the poor.
  5. Do not avert your eyes from the needy, give no one occasion to curse you; for if someone curses you in distress, his Maker will give ear to the imprecation.
  6. Gain the love of the community, in the presence of the great bow your head.
  7. To the poor lend an ear, and courteously return the greeting.

I can attest that Christians did none of these things when I was homeless for eleven years.

It's almost as if they don't believe their own propaganda, or they cherry-pick what they like and throw out the rest, as if they are following their own moral compass and not that set forth in the Bible. After all, in society today, if you actually followed the Bible as written (either the Old or New Testament), you would be arrested as a psychopathic criminal.

But take the claim on its face value: The New Testament is a new covenant which supersedes the Old Testament, and Christians are not bound by the Old.

In Matthew 5:18, the words of Jesus are alleged: "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." (KJV, the Bible as handed down by God directly in ancient modern English). The Law is the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Old Testament of the Bible. If Jesus is to be believed as recorded in the Gospel According to St. Matthew, the Old Testament is not an "old covenant" that Christians are no longer bound by. The laws against eating shellfish and which coloured tassels you should put on your robe apply today, if a Christian believes what Jesus is alleged to claim in that verse.

The whole point of the Gospels (aside from the numerous contradictions between the four) is to show that Jesus came to fulfil the Old Testament's prophecies (especially Isaiah), and redeem the so-called fallen human race from the sins of Adam and Eve.

If the Old Testament does not have any bearing on Christianity today, then the Fall doesn't either, as it is depicted in Genesis. Abraham's willingness to slaughter his own son in sacrifice to show his loyalty to God is meaningless (never mind the hideous amoral concept of a father willing to slaughter his own son because anyone told him to). The claim that Onan was punished for failing to impregnate his dead brother's wife (which is used as the argument today by Christians against masturbation) no longer applies.

The Crucifixion story itself (the redemption of original sin, an Old Testament concept) becomes a meaningless political murder by the religious authorities of Israel (since Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor in the New Testament, says he washed his hands of the whole affair). That meaningless murder becomes the justification for two thousand years of oppression and murder of adherents of Judaism by Christians.

Even the principle argument against atheists brought forth by apologists from the Bible comes from the Old Testament: "The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good." (Psalms 14:1, God's own translation, the KJV)

That atheists have done no good is a flat-out lie (thus perfectly in keeping with Christian apologetics). Christians will cite that verse as gospel (pun intended) to paint all atheists in their strawman argument that "we have done no good." The only way I can interpret this: "good" is defined as "believe the way I do and I'll lie about you if you don't."

Martin Luther (leader of the Protestant Reformation) teaches: "What harm could it do if a man told a good lusty lie in a worthy cause and for the sake of the Christian Churches?" (Lenz: Briefwechsel, Vol. 1. Pg. 373.) Aside from lying being contrary to the Ten Commandments, deception in the name of religion because the apologist has no evidence for his or her claims has existed as long as there has been religion. If you must lie to support your claims, they are not true. Why should anyone believe a liar?

Many Christians in the USA like to call April 1 something similar to Atheism Day (as a poor hollaback to April Fool's Day since Psalms calls atheists "fools"). Since this year Easter (the resurrection of Jesus and the central tenet of Christianity) falls on April Fool's Day, I presume no Christian will apply that to themselves.

They will however continue to disavow the majority of their holy book, claiming it doesn't apply, even though they apply it as they see fit to those they do not like.

The New Testament repeatedly affirms slavery as acceptable; an entire book (Philemon) is about returning a slave to his master, asking the master not to punish the slave because he is a Christian. It doesn't ask the master to give manumission to the slave, nor does it say "I'm not returning the slave because slavery is immoral." That is the new covenant that Christians claim to uphold: If in today's society you came across a person enslaved and your response was "I'll return the slave with a note for the master not to punish him or her because he is a Christian," secular society would rightly brand you both a slave trafficker (a crime) and a monster (a moral assertion).

Christians are better than the morals in their book. In fact, they are moral despite their book, not because of it, regardless of whatever covenant they think they are under. They have to be more moral than that book to decide that acts they are commanded by their god to do, they (mostly) will not (such as stone unruly children or adulterers, or take all the women of a conquered town as sex slaves).

Those people who actually follow the rules set forth in either testament of the Bible are locked up in civil society as criminals. Murdering your child because God told you to is not moral. Shooting up Planned Parenthood and killing a pregnant woman who is there for a pre-natal checkup in Colorado Springs is not moral. Subverting the free will God allegedly gives people by writing particular versions of Christian doctrine into law is both hypocritical and not moral.

Today's atheist inspirational quote:

"Love and respect all people, hate and destroy all faith." —Penn Gillete, magician

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