Saturday, 16 November 2013

Thou Shalt Not Kill

Thanks to my friend Bec (@Beczs on twitter) I became aware of a Melbourne radio station wanting to do a debate on air between a believer and an atheist. I let them know I'd be interested and they picked me to be the atheist speaker. 

Unfortunately the show it was recorded for stopped running the segment and the hosts have resigned so the piece I recorded won't be aired. 

This blog has come about because the woman I debated claimed that anyone killing in the name of god isn't really doing god's will, citing Exodus 20:13 Thou Shalt Not Kill. In my head I screamed 'you have got to be kidding me'. But, regretfully, I didn't speak up in time and the conversation moved on. I blame 1: Being in my first live debate and being too polite and 2: being sat at my desk at work surrounded by people working and thinking I probably should try to keep my voice down. Had I been in an office on my own, I'm sure it would have been different. 

So afterwards I thought about what she'd said and I wondered exactly how many exceptions to the 'Thou Shalt Not Kill' commandment there are. 

There are lots. 

One of the most well known....

 - Leviticus 20:13 If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.

Now I could be pedantic here and suggest that it's possibly bisexual men and not homosexual men who are targeted here. 'lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman'. So if he doesn't lay with a woman but just lies with blokes, should be all good, right? 

Of course that's not the point being made here. It's clearly saying that a man who has sex with another man should be put to death. Suddenly 'Thou shalt not kill' becomes 'Thou shalt not kill*' 

- Exodus 21:15 And he that smiteth his father, or his mother, shall be surely put to death 

I don't recommend smitething your parents. I would hope that any difference between parent and child could be solved without a smiting. According to the above, however, a child smiting a parent should be killed. I don't know anyone - Christian, atheist, or otherwise, who wouldn't think this is an extreme overreaction. Not only that, anyone following through on Exodus 21:15 today would be sent to jail. 

- Exodus 22:18 Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.

Yes, the inerrant word of god includes a verse telling us to not suffer a witch to live. I can understand the people who wrote the bible thinking there were witches. They didn't know much about, well, anything really. 

So what's more likely do you think? That a people who didn't know how to investigate the world, who didn't know how the universe operated, and were highly superstitious, invented a god and thought that god wouldn't be happy with witches or.... 

There *really* is a god and for reasons only known to him he inspired people to write a book which includes the need to kill a type of being that he knows isn't actually real. Of course it could have been 'witches aren't stop killing those who you think are witches'. But no...this 'god' knew people of the time thought witches to be real and rather than protecting those women he tells his followers that they should die. 

These are just three of many examples.

There's also death for:
People who don't listen to priests: Deuteronomy 17:12
Fortunetellers: Leviticus 20:27 
Adulterers: Leviticus 20:10
Priests' daughters who fornicate: Leviticus 21:9
Followers of other religions: Exodus 22:20
Nonbelievers: 2 Chronicles 15:12-13
False prophets: Zechariah 13:3

The list goes on and you can see it here at Evil (some of the verses seem to be out by one verse to double check). 

The point is this - the 'Thou Shalt Not Kill' commandment is bogus. The god of the bible is clearly in favour of people killing other people (when he's not doing it himself that is). So when someone tells you they don't kill because they follow the 10 commandments (there's actually 613 commandments in the bible) you can tell them it's nonsense. The exceptions to the 'Thou Shalt Not KIll' commandment clearly show that it's a list made up by people who were not in communication with any supernatural omniscient deity. 


  1. Its been a while since I've seen your blog, Oz. Loved it.

  2. Deanna (TheAtheistSpark)18 November 2013 at 10:37

    Wonderfully thought out blog post... clearly written, ordered and articulate. A wonderful read once again. You should have definitely pointed this out but I know why you didn't. I tend to have the same problem with being too polite... I tend to wait for someone to finish and then I may have forgotten what I wanted to say, or not be able to say it quick enough! I think I should stay out of those debates! ;)

    On the other hand, the witch is probably a reference to the pagans, druids and witches of the time. The writers were probably aware of their existence and attempted to make it clear they were going against the status quo... against the will of god. Against their wishes. Note how it also mentions to not worship other gods, or to be led astray from other claimed fortunetellers or false prophets. They wanted the Jews to be different from anybody else of the time, I once heard. No worship of carvings either. It's a sin to create something to worship anything of heaven, earth or hell... something our Christians of today have missed out on. It's even in the ten commandments! Most of whom may not have read the bible fully, or interpreted it how they pleased to. But ignorance does as ignorance is. ;)

    1. Hi Deanna. Thanks for the comments. I realise the witches referred to are not the green faced, mole nosed, pointy hat wearing, broom flying witches we know from, say, the wizard of Oz, but I think that goes to show how this is clearly not the word of an omniscient god. No forward thinking :)