Sunday, September 13, 2009

Child Sacrifice in the Old Testament

I thought this was an important piece of the bible to share with you all. Since many christians claim that the slaughter of thousands in the Old Testament was justified, because they were 'evil' people who committed human sacrifices and even child sacrifices, I figured that it would be relevant to share with you a god-ordained child sacrifice straight from the OT.

Judges 11: 29-38 (feel free to read the whole chapter if you think i've taken it out of "context")

29 Then the Spirit of the LORD came upon Jephthah. He crossed Gilead and Manasseh, passed through Mizpah of Gilead, and from there he advanced against the Ammonites. 30 And Jephthah made a vow to the LORD : "If you give the Ammonites into my hands, 31 whatever comes out of the door of my house to meet me when I return in triumph from the Ammonites will be the LORD's, and I will sacrifice it as a burnt offering."

32 Then Jephthah went over to fight the Ammonites, and the LORD gave them into his hands. 33 He devastated twenty towns from Aroer to the vicinity of Minnith, as far as Abel Keramim. Thus Israel subdued Ammon.

34 When Jephthah returned to his home in Mizpah, who should come out to meet him but his daughter, dancing to the sound of tambourines! She was an only child. Except for her he had neither son nor daughter. 35 When he saw her, he tore his clothes and cried, "Oh! My daughter! You have made me miserable and wretched, because I have made a vow to the LORD that I cannot break."

36 "My father," she replied, "you have given your word to the LORD. Do to me just as you promised, now that the LORD has avenged you of your enemies, the Ammonites. 37 But grant me this one request," she said. "Give me two months to roam the hills and weep with my friends, because I will never marry."

38 "You may go," he said. And he let her go for two months. She and the girls went into the hills and wept because she would never marry. 39 After the two months, she returned to her father and he did to her as he had vowed. And she was a virgin.
From this comes the Israelite custom 40 that each year the young women of Israel go out for four days to commemorate the daughter of Jephthah the Gileadite.

There you have it. Jephthah prayed to 'god' that he would allow him to slaughter thousands of people, and if 'god' allowed him, he would sacrifice the first person that came to greet him out of his house when he returned. There is not much more I can say about this as it is just so blatantly abhorrent. Attempt to justify it all you like, but you don't get any better reasons than this that your god doesn't exist and that the people who wrote your holy book were sick, perverted, incestuous child sacrificers.


  1. Naturally you know nothing of the custom / culture of the day do you?

  2. So.. You're saying, that it was OK to sacrifice children, because that was their culture/custom?
    You immoral, cultural relativist moron.

    Besides, I do understand some of their culture, and many of their customs.

  3. Nice post KJ. Keep up the good work.

  4. This pretty much leaves you with two possiblities:

    Either God doesn't exist, or he's a cunt.

  5. oooh, i loathe it when people use the word naturally like that. it reads like a pre-cursor to a superiority complex.

    now, just as a disclaimer i'm all for cultural relativism, i'm really quite anti-universalist.

    my point of view would be that across a wide range of cultures and societies of that time period, sacrifice was common place.

    e.g. we now understand that women are not property, but they were in many cultures (pre-colonial Maori would be an exception :D). the attitude 'women are property' serves as a product of their society and indeed aspects of modern society are redolent of this attitude.

    To place this argument in context, killing people based on religious grounds is not viewed as 'right' now in the same way killing people for scientific purposes is not viewed as 'right' either. nevertheless, both happened in the past.

    If then, the Bible is a reflection of attitudes of the time i see no reason why a new reading cannot be given to it in differing societal contexts. However, this does presuppose that the idea of God changes across time and societies. Leaving the conclusions:

    1. God did not possess the knowledge that human sacrifice would be perceived as wrong in the future. Can an omniscient God predict the future? Or is God omniscient only within temporal limitations?

    2. what is 'God' changes as societies change. This leads to God being a human construct which really must not sit well with a lot of people.

    [just some of my poorly organised thoughts :D]

  6. I'm having trouble understand what point you're trying to prove David. I think I agree with what you're trying to say though.

    If your main point is that values, beliefs and morals change over time, then I agree with you fully. We can see this happening even in our lifetime, which is great.

    Sacrifices, and human sacrifices were very commonplace back in the bronze age, and these days we place a much higher value on life.
    What I don't get it when you say "i see no reason why a new reading cannot be given to it in differing societal contexts."
    Why should we read a collection of ancient writings and reinterpret them at all, if you take them at what they are, a relic of bronze age barbarism, then we can use them to understand the religious belief and culture of the time. But this relic has been used by the religion of christianity as some elaborate metaphor of the words of some divine sentient being.

    The answer to your first conclusion is simple: 'God' doesn't exist, (not as far as we can tell anyway).

    The second conclusion is undeniable. All it takes to realise this is to look at the religions of the bronze age (judaism and christianity included), and how the concept of god has changed radically.

  7. So God is happy with one of his people going out, annihilating twenty towns, then coming home and sacrificing his only child?! And im sure she'd agree to that - if my dad came home form work and told me i had to be sacrificed i suppose id be ok with that, if it slightly amuses the evil overlor- i mean god. Im glad i didnt live in those times thats for sure.

  8. Several important lessons are to be learned from Jephthah's vow:
    1. There may be remainders of distrust and doubting, even in the hearts of true and great believers.
    2. Our vows to God should not be as a purchase of the favour we desire, but to express gratitude to him.
    3. We need to be very well-advised in making vows, lest we entangle ourselves.
    4. What we have solemnly vowed to God, we must perform, if it be possible and lawful, though it be difficult and grievous to us.
    5. It well becomes children, obediently and cheerfully to submit to their parents in the Lord.

    It is hard to say what Jephthah did in performance of his vow; but it is thought that he did not offer his daughter as a burnt-offering. Such a sacrifice would have been an abomination to the Lord; it is supposed she was obliged to remain unmarried, and apart from her family. Concerning this and some other such passages in the sacred history, about which learned men are divided and in doubt, we need not perplex ourselves; what is necessary to our salvation, thanks be to God, is plain enough. If the reader recollects the promise of Christ concerning the teaching of the Holy Spirit, and places himself under this heavenly Teacher, the Holy Spirit will guide to all truth in every passage, so far as it is needful to be understood.

  9. Matthew, to me the fact that you attempt to draw some moralistic teaching from this story is to say the least disturbing. Nothing you have said changes the content of this reprehensible character we know as Jephthah even when you say
    "it is thought that he did not offer his daughter as a burnt-offering. Such a sacrifice would have been an abomination to the Lord"
    The lack of critical thinking on your part and of most biblical literalists saddens me.

    Verse 31 says:
    "whatever comes out of the door of my house to meet me when I return in triumph from the Ammonites will be the LORD's, and I will sacrifice it as a burnt offering."
    Verse 39 says:
    "After the two months, she returned to her father and he did to her as he had vowed. And she was a virgin."

    He had vowed to sacrifice as a burnt offering, and then it says that he did as he vowed. This dire circumstance can not be so conveniently whisked away. Other parts of the bible do mention that human sacrifice is an abomination to Yahweh, but these are not only in contradiction with the story of Jephthah, but also in contradiction with the story of Jesus, as Yahweh sacrificed himself as a human to pay for humanity breaking the laws that he set for him.

    So not only is this passage in judges a barbaric display of cruelty, but it is also contradictory to other parts of the 'good book'.

  10. Wow, 'Matthew Henry' is the name of the author of that commentary you cut and pasted. Not only are you a complete ignoramus, but you are so dim-witted that you can't come up with your own words to post on a blog. You didn't even re-word the argument to make it appear as though you wrote it.
    Either way, both you and the real Matthew Henry are either retarded or ignorant.

  11. you spit up much of the same stuff that your dawkins fella puts in his books anyway , its not like that person who posted the matthew henry's was claiming that they had even written it at all. i also find it very interesting that your the only person who calls people ignortant dim-witted and retarded , which leaves me to believe that you are a very small person that feels the need to belittle other people as a means to make yourself feel better. up until this point ive been quite happy to read what you've had to say until i realised your just continually attacking the same thing over and over again. Everyone knows kj doesnt believe in some bronze aged teachings, whip dee doo daa day. move on bro and stop lingering. do you feel as if christians have wronged you in some way ???? i do hope ( maybe even prey, i know crazy ) for the best for you , and i hope you find meaning in whatever dawkins or whoever has to say, just feels like a shame that all it sounds like your doing is slamming something that is so incredibly personal to some people. you've got an enitre universe to write about so..........

    one last thing, nothing you have written has made me second guess nor make me feel like i have made a mistake in placing my life christianity . be good , stay safe and good night

  12. william diprose is hot

  13. and has a big big shaft

  14. i would love to see more quotes from kayne west on here , what say you adoring fans


  16. Everything I've posted has been more or less my own work and if I've quoted anything it hass usually been in italics with quotation marks around it.

    I don't know if you noticed, but the only times I said things which were intended to be offensive were aimed at anonymous commenters saying stupid things.

    All of my posts have been on different topics, similar maybe (attacking biblical contradictions in some, ridiculous content in the bible in others, or in this case deplorable, immoral content) but nonetheless different. If you fail to see this distinction that isn't my problem and I will continue to periodically post content along these lines as I see fit.
    Do I feel as if christians have wronged me in some way? No, I don't. As an ex-christian I feel like I wronged myself in allowing myself to believe everything I used to believe. This blog is mainly attacking my former self.

    "slamming something that is so incredibly personal to some people."

    What gives religion a free-pass to be exempt from criticism? Or is it only your religion that is exempt? Would you honestly care at all if I was blogging about immoral teachings within Hinduism? What about contradictions in Islam?

    "you've got an enitre universe to write about so.........."
    My universe as I saw it for the first 18 years of my life was skewed through the lense of christianity. Every single day I encounter something that reminds me of how I used to perceive the world and it will probably take many years for this lense to be completely removed. If that makes any sense.

    "one last thing, nothing you have written has made me second guess nor make me feel like i have made a mistake in placing my life christianity."

    I challenge you then to refute something I have said. If you cannot give any reason for why what I have said doesn't affect your faith then you're guilty of pretending the problem doesn't exist.

  17. i couldnt refute anything you have said , you believe it because you choose to . i dont pretend to be an expert on christianty or of the new or old testament , there are also things i wish perhaps God and his bronze agers were alittle more clear about ( perhaps things you have brought up ), but i cannot deny what has happened in my life and what i have seen .

    your right , i prob wouldnt have a problem if you ravaged another religion . like hinduism . hey i encourage it . so maybe thats my short coming .

    i will leave you with this , its a kayne special

    George bush doesnt care about black people, they say black people are looting and white people are just looking for food

    i look forward to hearing about the hubble

  18. I'm not completely shut off to the idea that a god per se could exist somewhere, I just have absolutely no reason to believe that one exists, so I am an atheist. I believe the arguments I put forward because I find them to be fairly sound, but I don't 'choose' to believe in no religion, the same way I don't 'choose' to believe that my name is Kendall. I couldn't simply 'choose' to believe in god, because I would be lying to myself.

    No one can refute your personal experience, nor can anyone confirm it nor accept it as a reason for them to believe. I have no way of telling whether your experience is authentic or not, but what I can tell you is that people of many other world religions also claim supernatural experiences.

    The reason I take perverse pleasure in tearing apart the tenets of christianity, is because I grew up believing it, and now I don't. If I had grown up islamic and had gone through a similar deconversion process (I'd be dead) I'd be doing the same thing. My deconversion process was as much a shock to me at first as it was to my mother.

    Re: the kanye quote, It's a shame that our society developed race barriers between us, because we all came from a common ancestor.

    I look forward to researching something to write about the hubble.

  19. by common ancestor do you mean to say adam , which is to say you believe in the creation story , which leaves me to ponder " perhaps there has just been a big misunderstanding and kj has believed in jesus this whole time"

  20. but that aside , you are right kj , it is wrong that people of another skin colour are treated differently

  21. And no, by common ancestor I do not mean 'adam'. I was talking about the theory of evolution by natural selection.

  22. prob makes abit more sense . kj instead of the hubble i want you to write about evolution , i dont really have an opinion/much knowledge other than what i was told in 5th form science . so yah , enlighten me

  23. I'll do both. I have no classes on fridays so I'm sure i'll be able to knock a post out tonight and another tomorrow.

  24. I'm weighing in a bit late, but who knows who amy read your nonsense. You seemed to leave out several important points pertaining to this, making it misleading. 1)God never told him to sacrafice his daughter, he made this promise on his own accord. 2)God never even followed up with him and demanded that he do it after he foolishly made the promise. 3) Most importantly, of course (as athiets almost always do whenever they refute scripture), you leave out the part that comes after it... you know, the part when God explicitly condemns and forbids the practice of human sacrafice because of this event. But I'm sure you weren't told that from whatever propaganda you cite. Everytime a read athiests cite scripture its like they passed around the exact same bible verses in all of their material and make the same dumb arguments.

  25. I'm confused. How does a story about God make you not believe in God if there is no God to believe in? Actually, I'm not even sure how to word this question. It seems that something he did made you not believe? Feels kind of contradicting. You don't believe in him because of what he did? This is a sincere question

  26. It's not quite that simple. Stories like this make me disbelieve in the god in question because of the way it behaves, it does not seem like a god. Instead it seems like an iron age projection of what human leaders were like to a greater scale. It would be a petty evil deity, which isn't something that I could bring myself to believe in, let alone the concept of a deity in the first place. However if this was the only issue that made me no longer believe in gods, it would be a coin toss between believing that God was evil, or that God was just made up.

  27. Care to point to the passage where it actually speaks against it?

  28. This post is from 2009. To be honest, I wouldn't do this post if I was starting now (as opposed to 3 years ago). However I do think that this passage shows that the Bible was a human product of its time and certainly not divinely inspired.

  29. Have a read of this post of mine from a few months ago.

  30. A: I don't believe in gods, so yes, I really believe that the Bible is a human product.
    B: Written by men, plural.
    C: Yes, more than 200 years ago. The old testament between approximately 1500 BCE and 400 BCE, the new testament between 60 C.E. - 70 C.E. (For Paul's authentic letters) and 90-140 C.E. for the rest.
    Certainly has not changed really in the last 200 years, unless you count new translations.


    1. Honestly, I don't see how that has anything to do with the germ theory of disease.

    2. Yes, I'm being completely honest. What I think you're doing is selectively choosing ritual purity laws that are vague enough to be able to be twisted to loosely reflect modern hygiene practices. I don't even think it's good exegesis and I don't think you'd be able to find many serious theologians who would accept that is what the passage says.

    3. I don't doubt that some of them do have health benefits, not because the people writing it understood the mechanisms that underlie it, but more likely that there was some observable link between one action and a result.

      Many of the ritual purity laws on the other hand make absolutely no sense, and directly contradict scientific conceptions of hygiene.

      I'm not going to question whether or not you are in fact a theologian, but I will point out that trying to use the Bible as a sort of scientific guidebook directly conflicts with mainstream theology.

  31. Those were really rough dates and aren't really accurate, that just just off the top of my head.

  32. Are you really deleting all my posts? Why? What does that say about your honesty?

  33. Dude, I've deleted all your comments because you were annoying the hell out of me. I'm not convinced by Bible Science arguments, and constantly spamming my inbox with more of the same (that I'm already familiar with from my days as a fundamentalist like you) is not going to convince me.

  34. Your conscience will convict you of what you are saying and deleting posts and lying about already knowing these things. I see that you prefer to make accusations against the Bible than listen to people defend it. That's your choice. Just remember God does love you and so do I. I thought you might be interested in a scientific argument for God as opposed to other arguments you may have heard because your blog title mentions your pursuit of science and blogs are created by their creators (presumably) to dialogue and discuss.

  35. should you later wish to understand more.

  36. I'm an agnostic. I don't think it strange to believe in God or that there is some kind of grand designer behind all of this. However, people who believe the bible to be the word of God truly scare me. After reading it, my only conclusion is that these people have never actually read it and dogmatically follow church leaders. This type of ignorance is scary. The other people have read it and they believe that rape, slavery and child scarifice are the works of an omni present being who loves us. I try really hard not to judge people but I have a hard time with anyone who claims to the bible is ultimate truth. I just can not wrap my head around it at all. It deeply saddens me that I do find these people to be rather perverted and ignorant. I wish I had a better view of a fellow human, but I simply can not accept the teachings of the iron age.