Saturday, April 07, 2007

God Protects Our Children?

Although the bible should sometimes be taken with a grain of salt, it is an excellent source for learning how to raise children. The advice it gives for dealing with a problem child is simple, straightforward, and 100% effective. Here's is an excerpt from Deuteronomy 21: 18-21 according to the New American Standard Bible:

18. If any man has a stubborn and rebellious son who will not obey his father or his mother, and when they chastise him, he will not even listen to them, 19. then his father and mother shall seize him, and bring him out to the elders of his city at the gateway of his hometown. 20. They shall say to the elders of his city, `This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey us, he is a glutton and a drunkard.' 21. Then all the men of his city shall stone him to death; so you shall remove the evil from your midst, and all Israel will hear of it and fear.
So, according to wisdom the bible, God's way of dealing with a problem child is to have them lovingly stoned to death by the local community. God's loving nature comes through very clearly in this command to his people.

Now, someone may say that I'm taking this text out of context. To such a defensive comment, I gladly suggest such a person should read whole chapter of Duet. 21. It is a list of commandments on when to kill cattle for murder, how to properly rape a woman captured during military conquests, and when to stone people to death for various deeds; among other things. This commandment to stone a problem child to death is simply one commandment from among that list, similar to the famous Ten Commandments.

This brief expose on the Bible's consideration of children was triggered because I recently ran across a request by a person looking for a scripture in the bible that showed God protects children from harm. Being the good former pseudo-fundamentalist that I am, I immediately felt inclined to clear up the issue on just how God treats children in the bible. Deut. 21: 18-21 is just one of a hundred examples where children are treated with disdain, as afterthoughts, and as property. The bible isn't the best place to look when trying to learn how to raise children. It doesn't really give any practical advice at all. There's nothing on how to change a baby's diaper, how to burp a baby, how to deal with bully's in school, how to read and write, how to teach a child about sex, etc etc. It does have a commandment about how one's hair should be cut, but if we followed that, we'd all look like a bunch of nappy hippies. More to the point, the bible promotes physical abuse and murder of our children. This more than offsets any supposed scriptures in the Bible that do offer mildly useful advise if interpreted in a particular way.

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