Response to Godferoi

This is a response to comments made by Godferoi to my article http://unveilingchristianity.wordpress.com/2007/11/17/apostasy-and-killing-in-christianity/#comment-19

Godferoi, please do accept my apology for the inconvenience.

Assalamu’alaikum and Greetings,
Firstly, I’d like to thank you for visiting us and commenting on the article. You said,” I hate to drag out this old saw, but you are taking almost every single Bible verse here out of context. The very first one, in Ezekiel, is not a command – it’s a vision of God’s judgment.” I’m taking it out of context and the one in Ezekiel isn’t a command but just a “vision”? Let’s see the context shall we?

All quotes are from the NLT

Ezekiel 9 (NLT)

The Slaughter of Idolaters
“Then the LORD thundered, “Bring on the men appointed to punish the city! Tell them to bring their weapons with them!” Six men soon appeared from the upper gate that faces north, each carrying a deadly weapon in his hand. With them was a man dressed in linen, who carried a writer’s case at his side. They all went into the Temple courtyard and stood beside the bronze altar.
Then the glory of the God of Israel rose up from between the cherubim, where it had rested, and moved to the entrance of the Temple. And the LORD called to the man dressed in linen who was carrying the writer’s case. He said to him, “Walk through the streets of Jerusalem and put a mark on the foreheads of all who weep and sigh because of the detestable sins being committed in their city.”
Then I heard the LORD say to the other men, “Follow him through the city and kill everyone whose forehead is not marked. Show no mercy; have no pity!  Kill them all—old and young, girls and women and little children. But do not touch anyone with the mark. Begin right here at the Temple.” So they began by killing the seventy leaders.
“Defile the Temple!” the LORD commanded. “Fill its courtyards with corpses. Go!” So they went and began killing throughout the city.
While they were out killing, I was all alone. I fell face down on the ground and cried out, “O Sovereign LORD! Will your fury against Jerusalem wipe out everyone left in Israel?”
Then he said to me, “The sins of the people of Israel and Judah are very, very great. The entire land is full of murder; the city is filled with injustice. They are saying, ‘The LORD doesn’t see it! The LORD has abandoned the land!’ So I will not spare them or have any pity on them. I will fully repay them for all they have done.”
Then the man in linen clothing, who carried the writer’s case, reported back and said, “I have done as you commanded.”
(Ezekiel 9:1-11)
Mere vision? I don’t think so. Not a command? “Then the LORD thundered, “Bring on the men appointed to punish the city! Tell them to bring their weapons with them!” …   Then I heard the LORD say to the other men, “Follow him through the city and kill….” ….  “Defile the Temple!” the LORD commanded. “Fill its courtyards with corpses. Go!” So they went and began killing throughout the city”…”
You said,”The first Leviticus passage is orders to Israelites when they were given the land of Canaan on how to deal with the person who tries to lead them away from YHWH”Yes, precisely my point. It was a command which you so astutely observed “on how to deal with the person who tries to lead them away from YHWH”. In simple terms a manual on how to deal with apostates. You said,” The second two passages also only applied to the Israelites at the time of the taking of Canaan.” This is your interpretation and I’m really not interested in it. Have you conveniently forgotten how the Jews and the people of the law treat deserters from the time the verses mentioned in the article up to the time of Jesus? Have you forgotten “They picked up stones to stone him for blasphemy” ? This was how the Jews understood the LAW i.e. that if someone blasphemes they will have to suffer death which is in accordance with the scriptural evidences I provided. And as I pointed out in the article, Jesus said,”So you must obey them and do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do because they do not practice what they preach.” What is “everything they tell you” refer to if not the law?

You said and I repeat,” ,”The first Leviticus passage is orders to Israelites when they were given the land of Canaan on how to deal with the person who tries to lead them away from YHWH” and later,” You must be aware of the command to them to eradicate all the pagans from Canaan. This was about keeping “The Promised Land” pure. It was not a command to kill disbelievers wherever on Earth they may be.” Thank you for admitting that “the command to them to ERADICATE ALL the pagans from Canaan.”
“One day a man who had an Israelite mother and an Egyptian father came out of his tent and got into a fight with one of the Israelite men.During the fight, this son of an Israelite woman blasphemed the Name of the LORD with a curse. So the man was brought to Moses for judgment. His mother was Shelomith, the daughter of Dibri of the tribe of Dan. They kept the man in custody until the LORD’s will in the matter should become clear to them.
Then the LORD said to Moses, “Take the blasphemer outside the camp, and tell all those who heard the curse to lay their hands on his head. Then let the entire community stone him to death. Say to the people of Israel: Those who curse their God will be punished for their sin. Anyone who blasphemes the Name of the LORD must be stoned to death by the whole community of Israel. Any native-born Israelite or foreigner among you who blasphemes the Name of the LORD must be put to death.” (Leveticus 24:10-16)
You said,” The Chronicles passage is just that: a chronicle, a record of the fact that the Israelites agreed to the above mentioned rules. It’s not another command.”

Then they entered into a covenant to seek the LORD, the God of their ancestors, with all their heart and soul. They agreed that anyone who refused to seek the LORD, the God of Israel, would be put to death—whether young or old, man or woman. They shouted out their oath of loyalty to the LORD with trumpets blaring and rams’ horns sounding. All in Judah were happy about this covenant, for they had entered into it with all their heart. They earnestly sought after God, and they found him. And the LORD gave them rest from their enemies on every side.” (2 Chronicles 15:12-15)
Yes, it’s a chronicle about the peoples of Asa, Judah, Benjamin, Ephraim, Manasseh and Simeon who entered into A COVENANT with the Lord! And the Lord approved of the covenant and GAVE THEM REST…if that’s not commandment, what is?
You said,” The Jeremiah passage is a prophecy about Babylon. Again, not a command.”
“You are my battle-ax and sword,”
says the LORD.
“With you I will shatter nations
and destroy many kingdoms.
With you I will shatter armies—
destroying the horse and rider,
the chariot and charioteer.
With you I will shatter men and women,
old people and children,
young men and maidens.
With you I will shatter shepherds and flocks,
farmers and oxen,
captains and officers.  “I will repay Babylon
and the people of Babylonia
for all the wrong they have done
to my people in Jerusalem,” says the LORD.   “Look, O mighty mountain, destroyer of the earth!
I am your enemy,” says the LORD.
   “I will raise my fist against you,
to knock you down from the heights.
When I am finished,
you will be nothing but a heap of burnt rubble.
You will be desolate forever.
Even your stones will never again be used for building.
You will be completely wiped out,”
says the LORD.
   Raise a signal flag to the nations.
Sound the battle cry!
Mobilize them all against Babylon.
Prepare them to fight against her!
Bring out the armies of Ararat, Minni, and Ashkenaz.
Appoint a commander,
and bring a multitude of horses like swarming locusts!
Bring against her the armies of the nations—
led by the kings of the Medes
and all their captains and officers.   The earth trembles and writhes in pain,
for everything the LORD has planned against Babylon stands unchanged.
Babylon will be left desolate without a single inhabitant.
Her mightiest warriors no longer fight.
They stay in their barracks, their courage gone.
They have become like women.
The invaders have burned the houses
and broken down the city gates.
The news is passed from one runner to the next
as the messengers hurry to tell the king
that his city has been captured.
All the escape routes are blocked.
The marshes have been set aflame,
and the army is in a panic.   This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies,
the God of Israel, says:
“Babylon is like wheat on a threshing floor,
about to be trampled.
In just a little while
her harvest will begin.”  “King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon has eaten and crushed us
and drained us of strength.
He has swallowed us like a great monster
and filled his belly with our riches.
He has thrown us out of our own country.
Make Babylon suffer as she made us suffer,”
say the people of Zion.
“Make the people of Babylonia pay for spilling our blood,”
says Jerusalem. “(Jeremiah 51:20-35)
It may not be a command to execute apostates but it is clearly a command and approval of the full destruction of a whole people, hence, categorized by my under “General Killing in Practice”.
You said,”Isaiah is another prophesy about Babylon”. According to verse 11 it’s God talking.
Anyone who is captured will be cut down—
run through with a sword.
  Their little children will be dashed to death before their eyes.
      Their homes will be sacked, and their wives will be raped.  “Look, I will stir up the Medes against Babylon.
They cannot be tempted by silver
or bribed with gold.
The attacking armies will shoot down the young men with arrows.
They will have no mercy on helpless babies
and will show no compassion for children.”  Babylon, the most glorious of kingdoms,
the flower of Chaldean pride,
will be devastated like Sodom and Gomorrah
when God destroyed them.
Babylon will never be inhabited again.
It will remain empty for generation after generation.
Nomads will refuse to camp there,
and shepherds will not bed down their sheep.
Desert animals will move into the ruined city,
and the houses will be haunted by howling creatures.
Owls will live among the ruins,
and wild goats will go there to dance.
Hyenas will howl in its fortresses,
and jackals will make dens in its luxurious palaces.
Babylon’s days are numbered;
its time of destruction will soon arrive.”(Isaiah 13:15-18)

Again, this falls under “General Killing in Practice”.
You said,” 1 Samuel: God’s judgment against the Amalekites only” . This passage also falls under the category of “General Killing in Practice.”You said,” Joshua: refers to the city of Jericho only. “. This passage also falls under the category of “General Killing in Practice.”You said,” Judges: refers to the punishment of the Benjaminites (JEWS!) at the hands of the rest of Israel.” This passage also falls under the category of “General Killing in Practice”.
You said, “So, none of your examples refers to disbelief or disbelievers in general, and the only one that deal with apostasy (or leading the Israelites to it) apply only to Canaan.” I disagree. Let’s recap Leveticus :
“One day a man who had an Israelite mother and an Egyptian father came out of his tent and got into a fight with one of the Israelite men.During the fight, this son of an Israelite woman blasphemed the Name of the LORD with a curse. So the man was brought to Moses for judgment. His mother was Shelomith, the daughter of Dibri of the tribe of Dan. They kept the man in custody until the LORD’s will in the matter should become clear to them.
Then the LORD said to Moses, “Take the blasphemer outside the camp, and tell all those who heard the curse to lay their hands on his head. Then let the entire community stone him to death. Say to the people of Israel: Those who curse their God will be punished for their sin. Anyone who blasphemes the Name of the LORD must be stoned to death by the whole community of Israel. Any native-born Israelite or foreigner among you who blasphemes the Name of the LORD must be put to death.” (Leveticus 24:10-16)
NOWHERE, does it mentioned that this law is only applicable to the Israelites’ residence in the land of Canaan. Just because it was revealed at that particular time and area does not mean it is confined in that exact period and place.
AND I EMPHASISE,”ANYONE WHO BLASPHEMES THE NAME OF THE LORD” AND ”ANY NATIVE-BORN ISRAELITE OR FOREIGNER AMONG YOU…..MUST BE PUT TO DEATH”
I wonder why you did not touch on any of the passages I presented from Deuteronomy? Those passages completely rebut your proposition that it’s all just about the land of Canaan. You said,” As far as Paul’s assertion that evildoers are deserving of death…do you disagree? Can you find a passage in the NT that commands that they be put to death?” He didn’t assert that these evildoers are deserving of death, but, “they deserve TO DIE”!

You said,” Nothing you’ve presented here compares with “Whoever [this would be anyone, anywhere, at any time] changed his (Islamic) religion, then kill him.” This would be anyone, anywhere at anytime…. well your saying “[this would be anyone, anywhere, at anytime] is your interpretation mate. A clear comparison between “Whoever changed his religion, then kill him” is again in the following passage :
“One day a man who had an Israelite mother and an Egyptian father came out of his tent and got into a fight with one of the Israelite men.During the fight, this son of an Israelite woman blasphemed the Name of the LORD with a curse. So the man was brought to Moses for judgment. His mother was Shelomith, the daughter of Dibri of the tribe of Dan. They kept the man in custody until the LORD’s will in the matter should become clear to them.
Then the LORD said to Moses, “Take the blasphemer outside the camp, and tell all those who heard the curse to lay their hands on his head. Then let the entire community stone him to death. Say to the people of Israel: Those who curse their God will be punished for their sin. Anyone who blasphemes the Name of the LORD must be stoned to death by the whole community of Israel. Any native-born Israelite or foreigner among you who blasphemes the Name of the LORD must be put to death.” (Leveticus 24:10-16)
A very important key point as was mentioned in the article is that the execution and killing of apostates and heretics was widely practiced since the early days of Christianity until the emergence of secular thought. One would wonder why this is if it is not the teaching of Christianity.
Conclusion(reiterated) :Christianity with evidence from the Bible does propagate death for not just apostates but also disbelievers and those who go against God in general. The Christian missionary should really start walking the talk and stop harrassing Muslims and lying about their lovey-dovey innovated beliefs.
You see, the whole point of the article was to refute those Christians who condemn and claim that Islam is oppression and evil for teaching that apostates deserve death when their own god commanded and demanded such things himself. As usual, it leads to hypocrisy of the highest order.

Ibn Anwar
P.S. Apostates in Islam may only suffer death in a Shari’ah governed state and not just anywhere. Even then there are differences of opinion regarding the issue. An interesting point to note is that between the Bible and the Qur’an, the Bible calls for the death of apostates whilst the Qur’an does not. Instances where death for apostates is due are found only in Hadith. However, that certainly does not mean I reject Hadith.

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3 Responses to “Response to Godferoi”

  1. Godefroi says:

    Friend – there is no inconvenience here. I appreciate your responding.

    If you read from the beginning the entire narrative of the passages you cited, you will see that what I said are prophecies are exactly that – prophecies, not commands (e.g. Ezekiel 8, Jeremiah 50, Isaiah 13), many of which are not even carried out by Israel; and that the exhortations from Leviticus & Deuteronomy belong to a specific time, place, and people (this is not my opinion…it is stated clearly in Deuteronomy 12:1 These are the statutes and judgments, which ye [Israelites] shall observe to do in the land, which the LORD God of thy fathers giveth thee to possess it).

    Irrespective of where, when, & how the Jews are to deal with apostasy, Christians are not commanded by Yeshua to kill those who disbelieve or apostasize. What are his examples? There is no record that I can recall of an encounter between Yeshua and pagans, so we’ll have to look at another example. Though the Law said to stone those caught in adultery, Yeshua showed mercy (see Matthew 9:13 and 12:7…and Hosea 6:6) instead of judgment (the adulteress and the woman at the well – John 8 & John 4). He also said “Do not suppose that I came to throw down the law or the prophets — I did not come to throw down, but to fulfill” (which you noted). How could this statement be true if he did not follow the stoning law?

    Yeshua’s fulfillment of the Law, his completion and perfection of it, is the answer. He did not have to stone the adulterous women; He did not have to refrain from healing on the Sabbath, keep his disciples from gleaning on the Sabbath, avoid contact with tax collectors and sinners, or avoid forgiving sins (as the Pharisees would command – reference your citation from Matthew 9); in Him the spirit of the Law was exemplified, so the letter was not necessary.

    What is the purpose of the Law? Without law there is no transgression. Without transgression, there is no righteousness. What are good and evil if there is no Standard?

    Do you believe that you can follow all of God’s (or Allah’s) laws perfectly? If yes, then you have no need of God since you are perfect. If no, how can a perfect God accept your presence? The Law serves only to condemn, since without Law there is no breaking of law. Since Yeshua completed and perfected the Law with Himself, He is now the basis and ideal for the righteousness of the Christian. Since He did not condemn and stone, we don’t either.

    As far as what the organized “Church” has practiced over the last two millennia…I don’t have much use for the organized church. Those men who have ascended to leadership (popes, patriarchs, bishops, etc.) are men just as prone to weakness, greed, and power-madness as any other men…those who fell prey to those temptations acted accordingly (i.e., in order to maintain their positions of power), to the discredit of YHWH. Still, there is no basis from the life of Yeshua for killing apostates, disbelievers, adulterers, or anyone else.

    Peace to you,

    ~GdB

  2. Ibn Anwar says:

    Psychologist Brad Bushman and colleagues conducted research in which student participants read a violent passage from the Book of Judges and then took part in an exercise designed to measure aggression. They reported that among students from Brigham Young University, 99% of whom “believed in God and in the Bible”, aggression was increased when they were told that the passage came from the Bible and when it was edited to present God as endorsing the violence. Among students at Vrije Universiteit, aggression increased when the passage mentioned God, especially among believers.

    Brad J. Bushman; Robert D. Ridge, Enny Das, Colin W. Key, and Gregory L. Busath (2007). “When God sanctions killing; Effect of scriptural violence on aggression” (PDF). Psychological Science 18 (3): 204–207. Retrieved on 2007-08-16.

  3. Ibn Anwar says:

    Assalamu’alaikum and Greetings,

    Godferoi dismissed the verses presented in the article as mere prophecies which didn’t even take place in reality. This is nothing more than conjecture of the highest order. I’ve read the narrations all right…and I see no mere prophecies. Besides that, these are taken as approvals, nay commands from God for dissenters and those who fail to observe His commands. So clearly Godferoi is trying to pull a fast one. In regards to his example of how Jesus did away with the commandments in fulfilling it(which is no more than his own interpretation) by the “mercy” which he showed prostitute. Well first of all that story needs to be critically analysed. Did Jesus really chucked aside the law of adultery and forgave the woman just like that? Not so, if analysed the incident shows that the Jews’ decision to stone her because of prostitution was no more than an allegation not supported by evidence. The absence of the man who committed adultery with the woman is quite telling. Who were the witnesses? Sinful persons…even in Islam, the Shari’ah stipulates that a witness to a crime should have the attribute ‘adalah(goodness, just) in them which is known to the people, otherwise his testimony will be null and void. So when these and other things are carefully taken into consideration we see that Jesus did not really abolish the law of adultery but there were extranuous circumstances which freed the woman. Secondly, modern textual study as pointed out by scholars like Professor Bart D. Ehram show that the story of the prostitute is dubious nad highly doubtful..in fact he has even declared it a fabrication. How can one use such faulty evidence in proving something?

    The other three paragraphs of Godferoi’s response are elaborations of his thesis that the law is condemnation and a path to transgression. He said,”Without law there is no transgression.” No one can live by them and no one is made righteous by them. First of all, even an idiot knows that LAWLESSNESS = CHAOS/TRANSGRESSION/EVIL. This is one of the BASIC reasons why every community on earth have a set of laws. If America was stripped of every single law it has, what do you think will happen? No transgression? lol..how much delusional can one get?

    His whole thesis is utterly destroyed by two verses:

    “In the time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zachariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron. Both of them were RIGHTEOUS in the sight of God, observing ALL the Lord’s commandments and regulations BLAMELESSLY.” (Luke 1:5-6)

    Please see http://unveilingchristianity.w.....-unveiled/

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