A Response to the Skeptic's Annotated Bible: What the Bible Says About Abortion
SAB: Abortion is not murder. A fetus is not considered a human life.
It doesn't matter if it is murder or not, or if a fetus is a human life or not. There are two possibilities to consider: do you or do you not care what the Bible says? It isn't the position of the Bible to dictate morality to the world. Politicizing issues like abortion outside of the congregation is futile and against the council of the Bible itself. Jesus and his followers are no part of the world. Likewise, the laws of Israel applied only to Israel or to the Jew. (John 17:16; Romans 13:1-7; Acts 4:19; 5:29)
The King James Version (KJV) translation of Exodus 21:22-23 uses the word depart. The fruit of the mother's womb departs from her, meaning she gave birth with no harm to the child. The Revised Standard version (RSV) seemingly implies that even if there were harm resulting in a miscarriage there would be a fine, but only if the woman were killed would there be a death penalty. It is likely that the RSV and translations with a similar reading were influenced by Flavius Josephus, reflecting the position of the Pharisees in his day. (Antiquities of the Jews, Book 4:33 footnote)
The Hebrew word for injury (harm RSV, mischief Authorized) is ason which also means mortal accident. (Genesis 42:4, 38; Genesis 44:29) This isn't applied to the mother exclusively because the fine would have been sufficient only if no injury or fatal accident was done either to the woman or the child that was born. The omission of the Hebrew lah, meaning to her, indicates the verses apply both to the unborn child and the mother.
SAB: God places no value on fetuses or infants less than one month old. Fetuses and infants less than one month old are not considered persons.
Leviticus 27:6; Numbers 3:15-16; Numbers 3:40 address those people who at that time would pay a vow of money to God. It isn't that this was a measure of value for the life of the person. It is unthinkable to suggest that until a child is five years old, from conception until that time, it is acceptable to destroy them. The chapter goes on to give a value for other age groups, which likewise doesn't mean that for a price you could destroy - murder - those people.
That God sometimes approves of killing fetuses isn't grounds for supporting abortion. Numbers 31:15-16 gives the reason, specifically for the Israelites, in killing men, women and fetuses. They needed to be destroyed due to the fact that they had caused the Israelites to worship false gods. When Israel became unfaithful, they were no longer given favor by God. (Genesis 38:24; Exodus 23:26; Numbers 5:21-22, Numbers 5:27-28; Numbers 25:1-3; Hosea 9:14-16; 2 Samuel 12:14)
SAB: If you don't obey God, he will curse your unborn children and force you to eat them.
Correct. For ancient Israelites. If they disobeyed God, he would curse their unborn children. Spirituality is a very practical concept which, through ignorance or deception, has been grossly distorted. Simple terms like gods (mighty/venerated), soul (life/blood), spirit (invisible active force; wind, breath), hell (grave), angel (messenger) and many others are subject to misunderstanding or misapplication either from superstitious fear or some deviant motivation for power or financial benefit. Those eventually became tradition.
To curse means to desire, threaten or pronounce something bad on someone or something. A parent tells their child not to put a butter knife in the electrical socket or the result will be the electrocution of the child, that is a curse. Threatening the child with punishment for disobedience is a curse. That's what Leviticus 26:29; Deuteronomy 28:15, 18; Deuteronomy 28:53, 56 and other verses are saying. Militant fundamentalist atheists seem to have a difficult time with that perhaps because they want to see the Bible in the worse possible light.
Josephus, writing of the Roman seige of Jerusalem in 70 CE: "As soon as she had said this, she slew her son; and then roasted him; and eat the one half of him; and kept the other half by her concealed." That sort of thing wasn't exactly unheard of in ancient times. (Wars of the Jews Book 6 3:4; 2 Kings 6:24–30)
SAB: God sometimes approves of killing fetuses.
The skeptic quotes Numbers 31:15-17 which confirms their conclusion. Verse 16 explains why. After Adam's sin God began to formulate a plan to save Adam's offspring from the sin they would inherit. (Genesis 3:15) This is what the Bible is all about. A separation from the seed of God, that is his faithful followers, who would live forever in paradise earth once sin was removed, and Satan's seed, or those who would choose to reject God and his plan, who would suffer everlasting destruction. So, when forming the nation of Israel in order to instruct its people of the sin, its origin, possible removal and the messiah by which it could be removed God knew the Midianites and others would interfere with the purpose of the nation and its people in accomplishing this, thereby jeopardizing God's purpose to provide salvation to mankind. (Numbers 25:1-9; Numbers 25:14-18; Numbers 31:15, 16; 1 Corinthians 10:8; Revelation 2:14)
SAB: And sometimes God kills fetuses himself.
God kills everyone. Maybe the skeptic thinks they have merit to question that fact, but the opinion of man isn't terribly relevant. God created mankind to live forever in peace in paradise without sin and all that comes with it. Whatever gets in the way of that happening will eventually be destroyed. It is unfortunate that this may mean the destruction of fetuses, babies, the elderly, puppy dogs, teddy bears or anything else, but that's the way it is. The Bible is pretty clear on that. (Hosea 9:14, 16; 13:16)
SAB: And he kills newborn babies to punish their parents.
The case of David and Bathsheba was somewhat unique. Since they were both married and committed adultery, by the law of Israel the unborn child would have been put to death along with the mother and father. (Deuteronomy 5:18; 22:22; 2 Samuel 11:1-5; 2 Samuel 12:14) Jehovah, the Judge of all earth, overruled the law and had mercy on the mother and father due to his covenant with David. (Genesis 18:25; 2 Samuel 7:1-16; 7:25-29; 2 Chronicles 6:7-9; Psalm 89:3, 4, 35, 36)
SAB: God sometimes causes abortions by cursing unfaithful wives.
The curse (see #3 above) of jealously wasn't an abortion, it was female infertility. The husband would be suspicious without evidence, for example, without there being two witnesses. She didn't have to be pregnant. (Numbers 5:11-31)
SAB: God's law sometimes requires the execution (by burning to death) of pregnant women.
The law allowed for being burned or hanged after being stoned to death, though this isn't always clearly stated in the text. The person was first put to death for the crime and then either hung or burned as an example. (Joshua 7:25; Numbers 25:4-5; Deuteronomy 21:22-23) In the case of Tamar, Judah thought she had done so, but she hadn't. It was a case of mistaken identity. (Genesis 38:20-26; Ruth 4:12)
) But that isn't specifically relevant as a case of law because God's law to Israel wasn't introduced until later. Also, not support of abortion because the prostitute didn't need to be pregnant.
SAB: Or who might be pregnant after "playing the whore."
If the daughter of a priest committed prostitution she was to be put to death and then burned. Some translations are inaccurate in stating that she should be burned to death, but most make the subtle distinction at least by default. (Leviticus 21:9) But, again, the prostitute needn't have been pregnant. Not that it is incorrect to state that fetuses were likely destroyed in legal cases against adultery and in war. (See #4 and 5 above)
SAB: And, finally, the Psalmist prays that his enemies are aborted.
At Psalm 58:3-8 David refers to his enemies, already born of course, comparing them to the misfortune of miscarriage. Not a good case for abortion in my opinion. Hosea 9:14 would be more appropriate in that regard.
SAB: But why then do so many Christians say that the Bible condemns abortion?
The subject of abortion is ideological, the atheist/theist debate is sociopolitical rather than theological. Abortion is politicized by apostate Christians who put their faith in the world, the God of which is Satan. (Luke 4:5-8; 2 Corinthians 4:4; James 4:4; Revelation 13:2) It becomes nonsensical when given as an edict or diktat. (See #1 above) In America, the republic has been replaced by democracy. The former protects the rights of individuals, the latter protects the rights of groups. The militant theists apparently are the majority while the atheists are the minority.
SAB: The Psalmist says that he believed in God before he was born (or something like that) and Job said God made him in his mother's womb.
At Psalm 22:10, David refers to his Godly upbringing. From the womb, he, like Paul and Timothy much later, was instructed with the scriptures. (2 Timothy 15; 3:14-15; Galatians 1:15) At Job 31:15 Job points out that God made both the wrongdoer and him in the womb. From the womb and from birth implies too late for abortion.
Some men were especially important to God even before they were born. (So I guess he wouldn't have wanted them to be aborted.) Isaiah, Jeremiah, Paul and David for example.
God doesn't see into the future because the future doesn't exist. God and spirit creatures simply have more of an idea of how things generally play out, and are more capable of influencing those things to happen in a certain way because they have more information over a much longer period of time. This is why fortune telling was a capital offense. The practice led to demonic and deceptive influence. The first half of Isaiah 49 is prophetic. Israel and the Law of Moses were being prepared for God's purpose for mankind, the Christ, the salvation of which would extend to the nations of Earth. (Isaiah 49:1; Jeremiah 1:5; Psalm 139:13; Judges 13:3-5; Matthew 25:31-33; Luke 1:13-17)
Apparently God was angry at the Ammonites for ripping up pregnant women in Gilead.
No argument there. (Hosea 13:16; Amos 1:13; 2 Kings 8:12; 15:16) Pregnancy, not surprisingly, was a blessing and infertility was shameful. (Psalm 127:3; Genesis 30:1)
SAB: Although he seemed fine with it in other cases.
Isaiah 13:16, 18 do have some references to children and the fruit of the womb; similar references have been addressed above. The thing is that everyone really knows that if you burn down an orchard you destroy the fruit of the trees therein. And everyone knows that no one in their right mind would do that unless they just didn't want the fruit. So, outside the congregation they will continue to fuck and debate among themselves in vain whether or not a god they may or may not believe in or care about should dictate to them whether or not they can literally crush and destroy the living product of their irresponsibility.
It is true that the influence of Constantine after 325 CE resulted in, among other things, the adoption of the pagan trinity by the apostate church, but I don't agree with the idea that God is supposed to know all things. Though he can get to know whatever he wishes, there are examples of God not knowing things. In the cases of Eve, Cain and the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah, for example. (Genesis 3:9-13; 4:10; 18:21)
The bit in the video about legal and moral personhood is nonsensical to me. The traditions of Judaism are not particularly relevant in examining the intent of the writers of the Bible or God any more than apostate Christianity. Jewish thinking was influenced similarly with Alexander in 332 BCE. You don't have to be a genius to know that life is sacred. It belongs to God. If you want an abortion of convenience for adulterous and/or irresponsible sexual behavior - fornication - that's your business, but dragging God into it requires the concerted effort of ideologues. (See #1)