Atheists are commonly asked, “How can there be morality without God?” This is the wrong question. The question should be, “How can there be morality with God?” God is incredibly divisive and regularly pits his followers against the non-believers. The trouble is that all theists consider themselves to be his followers. God must be very keen for people to come and stay with him because he has been, and continues to be, one of the major causes of conflict throughout the history of the world. Before judging the amoral atheists consider that atheists do not raise armies to destroy non-atheists. Atheists do not blow themselves up, or anyone else for that matter. Atheists are very tolerant of other people’s imaginary friends and do not force them to recant their beliefs. They don’t burn people at the stake, behead them, threaten small children with eternal damnation, subjugate women or build extravagant monuments to their imaginary friends. Atheists decide for themselves what is right and what is wrong. They don’t rely on anachronistic scribblings to tell them what to do, scribblings such as those I have listed below. Unfortunately these edicts are a little too general and need some clarification and updating. I would appreciate it if anyone can help me out.
a) When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odour for the Lord (Lev 1:9). The problem is my neighbours. They claim the odour is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?
b) I have a neighbour who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obliged to kill him myself?
c) A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination (Lev 1:10), it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don’t agree. Can you settle this?
d) I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her (While visiting Morocco I was offered 1000 camels. Of course I refused. He then increased it to 2000 camels. That represented serious currency. Unfortunately my wife threatened me with serious violence, so I was forced to decline his generous offer, much to my daughter’s relief)?
e) Lev 25:44 states that I may indeed possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighbouring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Indonesians, but not New Zealanders. Can you clarify? Why can’t I own New Zealanders?
f) I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanliness (Lev 15: 19-24). The problem is, how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offence.
g) Lev 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or are there some allowances for reading glasses?
h) Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev 19:27. How should they die?
i) I know from Lev 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes one unclean, but may my son still play football if he wears gloves?
j) My uncle, a farmer, blatantly violates Lev 19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). I have also heard him curse and blaspheme. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? (Lev 24:10-16). Couldn’t we just burn them to death at a private family affair?
Definitely an oldie but a goody. How can there be morality without God? I’m sorry what was the question?
Dr. F. Bunny