Every time I want to make a case against the bible, I pull out my unabridged Precious Moments children’s bible and open to a random page in the Old Testament. Invariably, I come across something so utterly disturbing that my case is made for me.
Take Numbers 15:32-36 for example. We’ve switched back to the Narrator who tells us that the Israelites found a man gathering sticks on the Sabbath. They brought him to Moses and told on him (I guess snitching isn’t considered work). Moses, not knowing what to do, consults God who tells him that the man must be stoned to death by the entire camp. So, the Israelites bring him to the outskirts of the camp, surround him, and then throw rocks at his face until he dies (I guess gathering rocks, digging a pit, binding a criminal, and busting up a brain isn’t considered work). How utterly grotesque.
But then, back in Exodus 31:14, God says that people who work on the Sabbath should be exiled, only those who defile the Sabbath (whatever that means) are to be executed. Moses should have already known how to punish the man, so why did he ask God for insight? Furthermore, why does God chose execution and contradict what he said earlier?
Here’s an idea, suppose God got pissed that Moses bugged him about something he should have already known, and he took his anger out on the stick-gathering man increasing his punishment to execution! It wouldn’t surprise me.
But these contradictions don’t even begin to address the moral behavior of this action. Murder for picking up sticks? I’d hate to see what God does if you lay them straight!