Leviticus and Homosexuality – Part 12: More Bad Guidelines

Leviticus and Homosexuality – Part 12: More Bad Guidelines April 21, 2021

WHERE WE ARE

In Part 1 through Part 10 of this series, I have presented some reasons for rejecting the idea that the book of Leviticus was inspired by God, and for rejecting the view that this book is a reliable source of truth or wisdom. In Part 11 of this series, I began to discuss, two more reasons for rejecting the idea that Leviticus was inspired by God, or that it is a reliable source of truth or wisdom:

5. Leviticus contains bad moral guidelines.
6. Leviticus contains bad laws and bad social guidelines.

The Bible in general, and the first five books of the Bible in particular, is supposed to provide us with excellent moral guidelines, and exemplary laws and social guidelines.  The book of Leviticus, however, is FILLED from start to finish with BAD moral guidelines, BAD laws, and BAD social guidelines.  If the book of Leviticus contains messages from Jehovah (as most Christians and Jews believe), then we may reasonably infer that Jehovah is either a SHITHEAD and/or an ASSHOLE, based on the lousiness of his rules, laws, and guidelines.

In more philosophical terms, we may reasonably infer that Jehovah is a morally imperfect person or an intellectually imperfect person, or that Jehovah is both morally and intellectually imperfect.  If Jehovah is either morally or intellectually imperfect, then Jehovah is NOT God, because God, by definition, is morally and intellectually perfect.  In any case, the BAD moral and practical guidelines presented in Leviticus show that this book was clearly NOT inspired by God, and that we have very good reason to reject this book as having any sort of authority or credibility as a source of moral or practical truth.

The book of Leviticus promotes sexism.  The book of Leviticus promotes slavery and discrimination.  The book of Leviticus promotes violence and wars of aggression.  This book is better at instructing us about how NOT to behave, or about how to behave without regard to basic morality and without regard for basic fairness, and without regard for basic human rights, than it is at providing instruction about how to be a good and just person.  Leviticus is better at teaching people how to be SHITHEADS and ASSHOLES than to be decent human beings.

Not only do we find this ignorant and unjust sexism consistently promoted throughout the entire book of Leviticus, but we also find other stupid and unjust views, laws, and guidelines promoted in Leviticus.  For example, there is no hint that DEMOCRACY is of any value; instead we get a big fat helping of brutal authoritarianism.  There is no hint that FREEDOM OF RELIGION has any value; instead, religious beliefs and practices are repeatedly DICTATED by laws and ENFORCED by the threat of the DEATH PENALTY.

In Part 11 of this series, I argued that SEXISM is rampant in Leviticus, from start to finish, I pointed out sexist passages in Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3, and Chapter 4 of Leviticus.

As I argued in Part 6 of this series, killing thousands of mammals and birds every year to atone for sins when only the death of Jesus can atone for sins is not just stupid, it is morally wrong.  It is wrong to kill thousands of mammals and birds every year for no good reason, and according to the teachings of the New Testament, sacrificing animals does NOTHING to atone for anyone’s sins.  If animals sacrifices worked to atone for sins, then there was no need for Jesus to die on the cross to atone for anyone’s sins.

So, if one accepts the Christian belief that Jesus’ death was necessary to accomplish atonement for the sins of all humankind, then animal sacrifices to Jehovah were superfluous and thus immoral.  Either Jehovah was IGNORANT about the fact that only the death of Jesus could atone for sins, or else Christianity is a false religion, and the death of Jesus was NOT necessary to atone for the sins of humankind.  So, if one insists on maintaining the basic truth of the Christian faith, then one must also conclude that Leviticus was NOT inspired by God.

In Part 11 of this series, I also argued that the dietary laws in Chapter 11 of Leviticus are STUPID, and that the prohibitions against eating various animals show that Leviticus was NOT inspired by God.

 

CHAPTER 17: THE DEATH PENALTY FOR FAILURE TO SACRIFICE ANIMALS TO JEHOVAH IN A PARTICULAR WAY

The whole practice of animal sacrifices demanded by the book of Leviticus is immoral and contrary the basic Christian theology, but setting those problems aside, the book of Leviticus uses the DEATH PENALTY to force people to not only worship a particular god (JEHOVAH), but to worship him in a very particular way through animal sacrifices:

1 Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,
2 “Speak to Aaron and to his sons and to all the sons of Israel, and say to them, ‘This is what the LORD has commanded, saying,
3 “Anyone from the house of Israel who slaughters an ox, a lamb, or a goat in the camp, or slaughters it outside the camp,
4 and has not brought it to the doorway of the tent of meeting to present it as an offering to the LORD in front of the tabernacle of the LORD, bloodshed is to be counted against that person. He has shed blood, and that person shall be cut off from among his people.
5 This shall be done so that the sons of Israel will bring their sacrifices which they were sacrificing in the open field—so that they will bring them to the LORD at the doorway of the tent of meeting to the priest, and sacrifice them as sacrifices of peace offerings to the LORD.
[…]
8 “Then you shall say to them, ‘Anyone from the house of Israel, or from the strangers who reside among them, who offers a burnt offering or sacrifice,
9 and does not bring it to the doorway of the tent of meeting to offer it to the LORD, that person also shall be cut off from his people.
(Leviticus 17:1-5 & 8-9, New American Standard Bible)

Exodus 31:14 states that a person shall be “cut off from his people” if that person violates the Sabbath day, and there this clearly means that such persons are to be put to death.

The use of the DEATH PENALTY to force people to (a) worship a particular god, and to (b) worship that god in a very particular way, is the sort of thing that a totalitarian government would do, and this shows very clearly that Leviticus is completely opposed to freedom of religion.  So, not only are the religious laws of Leviticus STUPID, and contrary to basic Christian theology, but they are also antithetical to freedom of religion and to democracy.  These laws support totalitarianism.  So, if Jehovah inspired Leviticus, then Jehovah is opposed to democracy, opposed to freedom of religion, and Jehovah supports totalitarianism.  But if democracy and freedom of religion are good things and reflect basic human rights, and if totalitarianism is evil, then Jehovah is NOT God, and thus Leviticus was NOT inspired by God.

 

CHAPTER 18: THE DEATH PENALTY FOR CHEATING WIVES (NOT CHEATING HUSBANDS) & FOR HAVING SEX WITH A WOMAN ON HER PERIOD

It is morally wrong to enforce marital fidelity by the use of the DEATH PENALTY, so the fact that Leviticus does this shows that this book was NOT inspired by God.  Furthermore, it is EXTREMELY SEXIST to use the DEATH PENALTY on wives who cheat, but not on husbands who cheat, which is exactly what the book of Leviticus insists upon.  A husband is free, according to Leviticus, to have sex with an unmarried woman, but a wife has no such freedom.  She is considered to be the property of her husband, so if she has sex with a man other than her husband, she is helping that man to “steal” the property that belongs to her husband (i.e. her body).  But the husband is NOT considered to be the property of his wife, so he can have sex with any woman he wants to have sex with, so long as that woman does not “belong” to some other man:

1 The Lord said to Moses, 
2 “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘I am the Lord your God.
19 “‘Do not approach a woman to have sexual relations during the uncleanness of her monthly period.
20 “‘Do not have sexual relations with your neighbor’s wife and defile yourself with her.
29 “‘Everyone who does any of these detestable things—such persons must be cut off from their people.
(Leviticus 18:1-2, 19-20, 29,  New International Version)

Exodus 31:14 states that a person shall be “cut off from their people” if that person violates the Sabbath day, and there this clearly means that such persons are to be put to death.  A  wife having sex with any man other than her husband was clearly to be punished by the DEATH PENALTY, as well as the man who was not her husband but who had sex with her:

10 If a man commits adultery with the wife of his neighbor, both the adulterer and the adulteress shall be put to death.
(Leviticus 20:10, New Revised Standard Version. see also Deuteronomy 22:22)
So the phrase “must be cut off from their people” means “must be put to death”.  Using the DEATH PENALTY to keep men from having sex with a woman on her period is stupid and morally wrong (this prohibition is repeated in Leviticus 20:18).  If Jehovah inspired Chapter 18 of Leviticus, then Jehovah is NOT God, because God is perfectly good and perfectly intelligent. We may once again conclude that Leviticus was NOT inspired by God.

Leviticus 20:10 says nothing about a husband having sex with an unmarried woman (who is not his wife), nor is there any such prohibition anywhere in Leviticus.

 

CHAPTER 18: NO PROHIBITION OF A FATHER HAVING SEX WITH HIS DAUGHTER

There are all sorts of prohibitions in Leviticus against various sexual acts.  There is a long list of prohibitions concerning having sex with a family member or close relative.  Given that sex with a family member or close relative carries the risk of producing children with serious physical defects or genetic-based diseases, and given the temptation of adult or older family members to use their authority or physical strength to force or manipulate children and younger family members to engage in sex with the adult or older or stronger family member, such prohibitions seem reasonable.

However, there is one such prohibition that is of OBVIOUS importance that is MISSING from the long list of sexual prohibitions in Leviticus.  There is no law in Leviticus against a father having sex with his own daughter!  See for yourself:

6 “‘No one is to approach any close relative to have sexual relations. I am the Lord.
7 “‘Do not dishonor your father by having sexual relations with your mother. She is your mother; do not have relations with her.

8 “‘Do not have sexual relations with your father’s wife; that would dishonor your father.
9 “‘Do not have sexual relations with your sister, either your father’s daughter or your mother’s daughter, whether she was born in the same home or elsewhere.
10 “‘Do not have sexual relations with your son’s daughter or your daughter’s daughter; that would dishonor you.
11 “‘Do not have sexual relations with the daughter of your father’s wife, born to your father; she is your sister.
12 “‘Do not have sexual relations with your father’s sister; she is your father’s close relative.
13 “‘Do not have sexual relations with your mother’s sister, because she is your mother’s close relative.

14 “‘Do not dishonor your father’s brother by approaching his wife to have sexual relations; she is your aunt.
15 “‘Do not have sexual relations with your daughter-in-law. She is your son’s wife; do not have relations with her.
16 “‘Do not have sexual relations with your brother’s wife; that would dishonor your brother.
17 “‘Do not have sexual relations with both a woman and her daughter. Do not have sexual relations with either her son’s daughter or her daughter’s daughter; they are her close relatives. That is wickedness.
18 “‘Do not take your wife’s sister as a rival wife and have sexual relations with her while your wife is living.

(Leviticus 18:6-18, New International Version)

There is no prohibition here against having “sexual relations with your daughter” nor “sexual relations with your step-daughter”.  One might argue that such a prohibition is IMPLIED by verse 17 which prohibits “sexual relations with both a woman and her daughter”, but there are significant problems with that interpretation.

First, this appears to be a prohibition against alternating between having sex with a woman and having sex with her daughter while both are still alive.  It appears that a man was ALLOWED to have sex with a woman for a period of time, and then if she died, the man was then ALLOWED to have sex with her daughter.  That sort of qualification is mentioned in the very next verse about not having sex with your wife’s sister “while your wife is living”, implying that it was ALLOWED for a man to have sex with his wife’s sister after his wife died.  So, if a man and his wife have sex, and as a result she gets pregnant and has a baby daughter, and if the wife dies during childbirth or dies years later when the baby girl has grown into a child or young woman, Leviticus 18:17 would not prohibit the father of that girl (his daughter) to have sex with her, because her mother was no longer alive and thus no longer a “rival” for the man’s sexual interest and attention.

A second problem with the proposed interpretation of verse 17 is that a man could have a daughter by a woman who is NOT his wife, stop having sex with the woman, and then start having sex with her daughter.  In this case he would be having sex with his own daughter. This too appears to be ALLOWED by this rule in Leviticus, since he would not be alternating back-and-forth between having sex with the woman and having sex with her daughter.

A third problem with the proposed interpretation of verse 17 is that a man can have have a daughter with his wife, and then divorce his wife and start having sex with his daughter.  If the man divorces his wife, he is no longer obliged to have sex with her, and can stop having sex with her for the rest of his life.  That would mean that if he starts having sex with that woman’s daughter, he would not be alternating between having sex with the woman and having sex with her daughter over a period of time.  In this case the man would be having sex with his own daughter.

A fourth problem is that a man could marry a woman who has a step-daughter from a previous marriage.  The step-daughter is NOT a blood relative of the woman, so the prohibition would appear to NOT apply in  such cases.  The husband would be free to have sex with the step-daughter even while continuing to have sex also with his wife, her step-mother.  The step-daughter would probably not be a blood relative to the man, but she might well be a girl or young woman who was under the authority of the man, a man who took on the role and responsibility of being her father.  So, although the genetic problems with having sex with a close relative would probably not apply in this case, there would still be the very serious problem of an adult or older family member abusing their authority or physical strength to force or manipulate a child or younger family member in order to gratify his sexual desires.

So, either the author of Leviticus was an IDIOT, or else the author was OK with fathers having sex with their daughters.  Since the author of Leviticus viewed daughters as the PROPERTY of their fathers, it is quite possible that the latter is the case.  In any case, this is yet another good reason to reject the claim that Leviticus was inspired by God.  Note that there is also no prohibition against a father having sex with his own son, which is a real problem that an all-knowing God would have recognized and addressed, but that never crossed the ignorant and sexist mind of the author of Leviticus.

 

CHAPTER 19: VARIOUS TRIVIAL LAWS

While there is no law prohibiting a husband from cheating on his wife, and no law prohibiting a father from having sex with his daughter, and no law prohibiting a father from having sex with his son, there are various trivial laws that serve no significant practical purpose:

 19 “‘Keep my decrees.
“‘Do not mate different kinds of animals.
“‘Do not plant your field with two kinds of seed.

“‘Do not wear clothing woven of two kinds of material.
27 “‘Do not cut the hair at the sides of your head or clip off the edges of your beard.
28 “‘Do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves. I am the Lord.
(Leviticus 19:19 & 27-28, New International Version)

Clearly, the author of Leviticus was stupid or mentally ill.  To insist on obedience to such trivial demands, while ignoring very significant issues, like husbands cheating on their wives, or fathers having sex with their daughters (or sons), is clear evidence of intellectual deficiency and moral imperfection. God is all-knowing and all-wise, so clearly God would NOT have such idiotic and uncaring priorities.  This is another good reason to conclude that Leviticus was NOT inspired by God.

 

 CHAPTER 20: THE DEATH PENALTY FOR CHILDREN WHO CURSE THEIR PARENTS

 Leviticus demands that children show respect for their parents, which is a reasonable demand, at least in cases where the parents are responsible and loving parents to their children.  But some parents are assholes and do not deserve respect from their children.   In any case, Leviticus also demands that the DEATH PENALTY be used against children who curse their parents:

9 All who curse father or mother shall be put to death; having cursed father or mother, their blood is upon them.
(Leviticus 20:9, New Revised Standard Version)

No responsible and loving parent would want their child put to death for such misbehavior.  The idea of using the DEATH PENALTY on children for such misbehavior is both idiotic and immoral, providing another good reason to reject the claim that God inspired Leviticus.  Scold the child, explain to the child why this behavior is wrong, send the child to bed without supper, but kill the child? That is the idea of a demon or a psychopath, not an idea from God.

 

The “baptism by fire” of Old Believer leader Avvakum in 1682 by Pyotr Yevgenyevich Myasoyedov

CHAPTERS 20 & 21: BURNING PEOPLE TO DEATH 

It is hard to imagine how the morally disgusting use of the DEATH PENALTY promoted by Leviticus for such minor things as children cursing their parents, men and women having sex when the woman is on her period, for doing any work on a Saturday (including cooking a meal!), or for sacrificing an animal in a way different than the manner described in Leviticus, could be topped by even worse commands and rules, but Leviticus goes beyond the extreme use of the DEATH PENALTY to the psychotic requirement that we punish some “bad behavior” by BURNING PEOPLE TO DEATH:

14 If a man takes a wife and her mother also, it is depravity; they shall be burned to death, both he and they, that there may be no depravity among you. 
 (Leviticus 20:14, New Revised Standard Version)
9 When the daughter of a priest profanes herself through prostitution, she profanes her father; she shall be burned to death.

(Leviticus 21:9, New Revised Standard Version)

Nero’s Torches by Henryk Siemiradzki, 1876.

You would think that a perfectly wise and perfectly good God would be opposed to torturing people to death, even for horrific crimes, and you would be right.  So, this is yet another excellent reason to conclude that the book of Leviticus was NOT inspired by God.  If Leviticus was inspired by Jehovah, then we may reasonably conclude not only that Jehovah was stupid, and extremely sexist, but was also a psychotic bastard who loved nothing more than blood and violence and extreme cruelty.  Jehovah was truly a sick motherfucker.

The burning of a 16th-century Dutch Anabaptist, Anneken Hendriks, who was charged with heresy.
Jews burned to death in the Strasbourg massacre. A contemporary drawing of the 2000 Jews of Strasbourg being burned to death over a pit on Feb. 14, 1349 in the Strasbourg Massacre during the Black Death persecutions. The Jews were accused of causing the Black Death by poisoning the wells. Babies thrown out to be saved were thrown back into the fire. The monument to this massacre erected in the early 20th century was removed by the Nazis.

 

CHAPTER 20: THE DEATH PENALTY FOR MEDIUMS AND WIZARDS

According to Leviticus, we are supposed to impose the DEATH PENALTY on anyone who is a medium or wizard:

27 A man or a woman who is a medium or a wizard shall be put to death; they shall be stoned to death, their blood is upon them.

(Leviticus 20:27, New Revised Standard Version)

 

I am a skeptic, so I believe that mediums are usually con artists, although a few may be sincerely deluded into believing they can actually communicate with the dead.  So, as far as I am concerned all mediums are either crooks or kooks.  Although I have no fondness for mediums, I would never advocate that we impose the DEATH PENALTY on mediums.  Crooks and con artists should be arrested, tried, and sent to prison (at least for a while) when they deceive and defraud people, but it would be cruel and extreme to KILL a crook or con artist for merely duping some naïve person and taking their money.  It would also be wrong to imprison someone for merely being deluded and believing that they really could communicate with the dead, so imposing the DEATH PENALTY on such deluded people, who identified themselves as mediums, would be absurd and clearly immoral.

I also don’t believe that there are wizards or witches, nor that there ever have been people who have magical powers.  Again, anyone who claims to be a witch or wizard is either a con artist or a nutcase.  It is wrong to impose the DEATH PENALTY for con artistry, and it is absurd and clearly immoral to impose the DEATH PENALTY on people for having idiotic supernatural beliefs, such as the belief that one possesses magical powers or magical potions or magical spells.  The very possession of such idiotic beliefs is sufficient punishment by itself for such foolish people.

Furthermore, if some people really can communicate with the dead, and if some people really do have magical powers or magical potions or magical spells, then these are amazing and extremely valuable and important people from whom we could learn a great deal of important truths.  Killing such valuable and important people would deprive humankind of important and useful knowledge about life after death, about events in the past (observed by people who are no longer alive), and about magical powers and forces.  If any crime was deserving of the DEATH PENALTY it would be the crime of KILLING such important and valuable people as mediums and wizards (assuming they truly had the supernatural powers they claim to have).

So, if you don’t believe that we can communicate with the dead, and you don’t believe that some humans have magical powers, then the use of the DEATH PENALTY against mediums and wizards is both STUPID and IMMORAL, which means that Leviticus was NOT inspired by God.  On the other hand, if you believe that some people can communicate with the dead, and you believe that some people have magical powers, then the use of the DEATH PENALTY against mediums and wizards is both STUPID and IMMORAL, which means that Leviticus was NOT inspired by God.  Either way, Leviticus is bullshit.

 

CHAPTER 21: STIGMATIZING BIRTH DEFECTS, PHYSICAL DEFORMITIES, HANDICAPS, SERIOUS INJURIES, AND SOME DISEASES

According to Leviticus, Jehovah stigmatized birth defects, physical deformities, handicaps, serious physical injuries, and even some diseases:

16 The LORD spoke to Moses, saying:
17 Speak to Aaron and say: No one of your offspring throughout their generations who has a blemish may approach to offer the food of his God.
18 For no one who has a blemish shall draw near, one who is blind or lame, or one who has a mutilated face or a limb too long,
19 or one who has a broken foot or a broken hand,
20 or a hunchback, or a dwarf, or a man with a blemish in his eyes or an itching disease or scabs or crushed testicles.
21 No descendant of Aaron the priest who has a blemish shall come near to offer the Lord’s offerings by fire; since he has a blemish, he shall not come near to offer the food of his God.

(Leviticus 21:16-21, New Revised Standard Version)

 

Many societies, unfortunately, stigmatize birth defects, handicaps, and physical deformities.  Such stigmatization causes many people to be ignored, shunned, isolated, abused, mocked, hated, beaten, and even killed.  Such stigmatization results in a great deal of suffering and pain and sorrow to people who are good and innocent people who have done nothing wrong, and who do not deserve such ill treatment.  This is a great injustice in this world.

Empathy is a basic element of good moral character.  If we have empathy towards others, then we will realize that those who have birth defects, handicaps, and physical deformities deserve to be treated with love and respect, and that we ought to help such people to live full, productive, and happy lives, at least as full and as productive and as happy as is practically possible for each such person.  To stigmatize such people the way that Leviticus says Jehovah did, is morally reprehensible.  So, if Leviticus is accurate here, then Jehovah is a cruel and cold-hearted bastard, and thus Jehovah is NOT God.  But if Leviticus is WRONG here and this is a FALSE characterization of Jehovah’s words, then Leviticus was written by someone who had FALSE BELIEFS about Jehovah, or it was written by someone who LIED about Jehovah.  Either way, Leviticus was NOT inspired by God.  God is all-knowing and so does not have FALSE BELIEFS, and God is perfectly good, so God would not tell horrible lies about himself or about another person.

 

CHAPTER 25: LEVITICUS PROMOTES SLAVERY BASED UPON PREJUDICE

Leviticus promotes SLAVERY, and it promotes slavery on the basis of PREJUDICE:

 39 If any who are dependent on you become so impoverished that they sell themselves to you, you shall not make them serve as slaves.
40 They shall remain with you as hired or bound laborers. They shall serve with you until the year of the jubilee.
41 Then they and their children with them shall be free from your authority; they shall go back to their own family and return to their ancestral property.
42 For they are my servants, whom I brought out of the land of Egypt [i.e. Israelites]; they shall not be sold as slaves are sold.
43 You shall not rule over them with harshness, but shall fear your God.
44 As for the male and female slaves whom you may have, it is from the nations around you that you may acquire male and female slaves.

45 You may also acquire them from among the aliens residing with you, and from their families that are with you, who have been born in your land; and they may be your property.
46 You may keep them as a possession for your children after you, for them to inherit as property. These you may treat as slaves, but as for your fellow Israelites, no one shall rule over the other with harshness.
(Leviticus 25:39-46, New Revised Standard Version)

 

SLAVERY is a horrible evil, so the fact that Leviticus promotes slavery is a very powerful reason to conclude that Leviticus was NOT inspired by God.  But Leviticus tops even the morally disgusting promotion of slavery by encouraging slavery on the basis of PREJUDICE, namely sociocentrism, the widespread (cross-cultural) tendency of peoples and nations to believe they are better than, superior to, and more important than, OTHER peoples or nations.  White people of European heritage justified the evil of slavery in the USA on the basis of the sociocentric PREJUDICE that white Europeans are smarter and morally superior to black Africans,  and thus that it was a good thing for white people to own black people and treat them as slaves, and as sub-humans.  We can see the roots of this rationalization of slavery here in Chapter 25 of Leviticus.  It is NOT OK for Israelites to treat other Israelites like slaves, like property, and it is NOT OK for Israelites to treat other Israelites “with harshness”, but it IS OK to treat foreign people as slaves, as property, and to treat them “with harshness”, according to Leviticus.

Sociocentrism is not just a problem for the Israelites, it is a serious problem for all or nearly all peoples and nations.  This is a great human evil that the book of Leviticus promotes, especially in Chapter 25.  This SHIT in Leviticus polluted and corrupted the minds of white Europeans, because they were already naturally inclined towards sociocentrism, and the Holy Book of Judaism and Christianity blessed these evils in their minds and societies.  It blessed the evil of SLAVERY, and it blessed the PREJUDICE upon which slavery is based.  Chapter 25 of Leviticus provides a very powerful and conclusive reason, all by itself, to reject the now obviously absurd claim that Leviticus was inspired by a perfectly good and perfectly wise person (i.e. God).

 

CONCLUSION

The following two claims have been established beyond any reasonable doubt:

5. Leviticus contains bad moral guidelines.
6. Leviticus contains bad laws and bad social guidelines.

Because Leviticus is clearly filled from stem to stern with bad moral guidelines, bad laws, and bad social guidelines, it is obvious to any objective and clearheaded person that Leviticus was NOT inspired by God.

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