IS EYE-FOR-AN-EYE EXEMPLARY?

Our latest debate on Quora

Vishu Menon : Apart from the eye-for-an-eye, life-for-life ethic that Jesus shot down, what are the other exemplary ethics that God teaches us in the Bible?

Charles Taylor: So are you saying tooth for a tooth is exemplary? Or are you shooting it down for other “wholesome” morals. If the latter, then I recommend at least half of what Jesus is written to have said. Morally the golden rule should be to follow the Golden Rule. And to offer both cheeks to thine enemy. IMHO.

Vishu Menon:  Oh, yes, I do say that was exemplary. For one thing, the commandment came on a stone slab, engraved by God himself. It sets an example for mankind. Think of the chain reaction. You take my eyes, my son takes yours, your son takes my son’s, his son…well, as Gandhi predicted, soon the whole world would be blind. Likewise, we’d all be toothless. Life-for-life, of course would eliminate the vile and wicked humanity that God tried once and failed; but would not have to try again with an Armageddon. That would make for a peaceful world for God’s Ghost to happily hover over water for ever. From eternity to eternity, a 6000-year period amounts to zero. The bad, bad world of human sinners never existed.

Think of the other decrees. Like, “Thou shalt not suffer a sorcerer to live.” (Ex. 22:18).  Recall how Europe eliminated witches with such gusto that a quarter of the female population (since witches are nearly all female) along with witchcraft. Just like cowpox vaccination eliminated small pox and polio vaccine nearly eliminated polio from humans.

For another exemplary decree : If you find no blood in the clothes of your bride at first night, call her parents, and together you take her to the doorway of her father’s house  and stone her to death to eliminate the evil. (Deut. 20:20-21)  You needn’t ask her how it happened or if any man was responsible. Think of its great advantage to religion. The child abuse victims will all be stoned to death upon their marriage. Since only married women grow bold enough to speak out, they will never live long enough to bear witness against Catholic priests, unmarried pastors, Sai Babas and traveling preachers. Parents like Joseph Fritzi would not be embarrassed in public.

My humble question was why Jesus did not shoot down such and many more ‘exemplary’ decrees of God.

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