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Islam versus the Old Testament

Islam versus the Old Testament

Postby Ian » Thu Jul 08, 2010 2:12 pm

An unbeliever with a sprinkling of Old Testament knowledge might read this -

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/world/middle ... 545062.stm

and challenge me "in what way is the Mosaic Law of the Old Testament above this barbarism currently going on in Iran?", and off the top of my head, I might struggle to answer him. Can anyone with more insight help me on this?
You know and I know that some people lump religions derogatively together given the chance.
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Re: Islam versus the Old Testament

Postby steve » Thu Jul 08, 2010 7:38 pm

A forced confession is an injustice. Under the Old Testament law, injustice from the bench was forbidden (Lev.19:35). Also, a person could not be convicted of a capital crime without two witnesses having testified to it (Deut.17:6; 19:15). An exception would be when God, through the ordeal of jealousy (Num.5:11ff), had supernaturally exposed the woman's guilt. The laws against adultery were not directed specifically toward women (as is Islamic law), but the penalties were the same whether the offender was a man or a woman.

Of course, these laws might be violated by corrupt magistrates—but that is not a valid criticism of the divine laws. Evil judges can be unjust under any legal system. God's laws, however, were just and equitable.

Modern sentiments would be opposed to seeing adultery as a capital crime—but modern moral sense has shown itself to be defective in many realms. The fact remains that adultery is a voluntary act—meaning no one has to commit it. In a society where everyone knows it is a capital crime, the adulterer and the adulteress voluntarily invite the customary penalty, if caught.
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Re: Islam versus the Old Testament

Postby Ian » Fri Jul 09, 2010 1:30 am

Thank you for finding the time to reply Steve. How you juggle all the balls in your life always amazes me.

I do know though that you have somewhat clashed before with other people here regarding the Mosaic Law. I looked up the passages you mentioned, and my eyes glanced up to Lev 19 v 27 and wondered what a Christian hairdresser would make of that command now. It is easy to be facetious about content like this in the OT. I don`t mean to be. But it`s in there and it rather perplexes me.

Also:
The laws against adultery were not directed specifically toward women (as is Islamic law), but the penalties were the same whether the offender was a man or a woman.


By itself Numbers 5 would seem to indicate otherwise. And a man is just as liable to stray as a woman. Why is this passage not "the test for an unfaithful spouse"? There seems to be a gender bias here.
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Re: Islam versus the Old Testament

Postby steve » Fri Jul 09, 2010 8:13 am

A man was always the offended party in adultery, since polygamy and concubinage were not forbidden. That is, if a man had more than one woman, that was not adultery, unless one of the women was another man's wife. On the other hand, a woman could not have more than one man. Thus, every woman who was not strictly faithful to her husband was an adulteress, and had violated her husband's rights. The man who slept with her had also violated her husband's rights.

As some Old Testament scholars have observed, it was not possible, under the law, to commit adultery against a wife, only against another husband. We might find this objectionable, and a double standard, but it is not a double standard about legal penalties for adultery. It is a double standard about polygamy. Adultery was still punishable by death, whether the adulterer was male or female.

The ordeal of jealousy determined whether a woman had done such a thing. If she had, there was also a guilty man somewhere. If he could be found, he was subject to death as well as she. However, if she did not expose him, he might get away with it. But this is not because the laws somehow absolved him.
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Re: Islam versus the Old Testament

Postby Ian » Fri Jul 09, 2010 9:11 am

You`ve written something similar to me before. Sorry for making you repeat yourself.

Jesus obviously established the correct inter-gender order of things in his teaching, but I still don`t really understand why God didn`t do that from the beginning. Because of the "hardness of ther hearts"? You`ve mentioned before the pragmatism involved in the polygamy of the time. I guess I have to take it on faith that women didn`t have it as badly then as they do in Iran today.
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Re: Islam versus the Old Testament

Postby Ian » Fri Jul 09, 2010 2:18 pm

Subsequent to Steve`s reply I listened to his verse by verse teaching on Numbers 3-6. I can heartily recommend it to other browsers here - both in relation to his striking personal testimony (his two dreams) and to his entirely plausible speculation about the wider symbolic meaning of God`s invention of the ordeal of jealousy ritual.
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Re: Islam versus the Old Testament

Postby Ahmad » Tue Aug 28, 2012 12:26 am

Steve,

What impact John 8:7 has on this issue? Can one say that since no one is sinless the punishment can no longer be carried out?

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Re: Islam versus the Old Testament

Postby steve » Sat May 02, 2015 12:24 am

The fact that no one is sinless is not a new condition in the New Testament. No one was sinless in the Old Testament either, but death penalties were prescribed nonetheless (how often they were carried out, we have no way of knowing). Jesus' exempting of the adulterous woman from the normal penalty for her deeds may not have been different from God's exempting David and Bathsheba from the same, in the Old Testament. The laws of capital punishment in the Old Testament were civil laws, guiding the magistrates in their assignment of penalties to convicted criminals. Jesus did not seek to act in a magistrate's role (Luke 12:13-14).
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