Sunday, January 20, 2008

Saudi Arabia's Biblical Justice

"Lately in the news, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia has pardoned a rape victim who had been sentenced to prison and 200 lashes. [...] The international community was right to raise an outcry, and it's good to hear that this woman was spared, [...] However, I do wonder if the Christians who joined in the protest fully realize the implications of their position.


According to Christian theology, God deliberately laid down a set of laws - the Mosaic laws of the Old Testament - that were impossible for humans to obey perfectly, no matter how dedicated they were or how hard they tried. Since God is absolutely holy, he decreed that the punishment for failing to follow these impossible laws was death. This would have put humans in a hopeless situation, except that in New Testament times God sent Jesus to shed his divine blood, and thereby grant humans an undeserved, unmerited forgiveness and excuse them for their inability to follow the law.

The parallels are striking. The Saudi authorities, too, laid down an impossible, unrealistic set of laws - the sharia laws, which condemn women to lives of slavery and enforced ignorance. They decreed death as the punishment for breaking these cruel laws. And then, when a woman broke those laws, they chose to grant her a pardon from the punishment which they themselves created, and they consider this a great instance of mercy.

In both cases, we can rightfully stand dumbfounded, and point out that there's nothing merciful about "saving" someone from a cruel and irrational law that you yourself created!"

Daylight Atheism, Jan 5, 2008

That's a very fine point.

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