An “Obscene” Book?

Some people will go to ridiculous measures to discredit God’s word. In November 1992, I was living in suburban Minneapolis where I attended a memorable school board meeting. A local atheist tried to get the Bible banned in public schools on the grounds that it is full of “obscene and offensive passages.” American Center for Law and Justice spokesman Jay Sekulow showed up (along with numerous Christians) and convinced the school board to reject the atheist’s complaint.

Last weekend, someone emailed me initially protesting my YouTube video defending the Ten Commandments being displayed on public property. After sending a response, this person wrote back saying, “Would you say it’s morally wrong to rape a woman? Nowhere is this mentioned in your commandments.” What about Deuteronomy 22:25?

“But if the man meets the engaged woman out in the country, and he rapes her, then only the man must die.”

Shechem the son of Hamor, a Hivite, raped Dinah (see Genesis 34:2-7), and Amnon raped his sister Tamar (2 Samuel 13:14). In both instances, their brothers got vengeance for the rape of their sister. The Bible says in many places that fornication (any kind of sex outside of marriage) is sinful. Jesus even went on to say in Matthew 5:27, “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

This person later brought up other issues (probably as more excuses to disbelieve the Bible) by writing, “Abusing children, setting fires, pedophilia, slavery... dozens upon dozens of moral concepts that we current have laws about that are not mentioned or even worse are openly condoned in biblical accounts.” Just because a certain activity is mentioned in Scripture doesn’t mean God condones it. Specific events are recorded to show what can happen if we obey or disobey Gods commandments.

Let’s specifically address this person’s supposed concern over abused children. While Scripture does not specifically say, “Thou shalt not commit child abuse,” the Bible does instruct parents to be gentle and loving with their children…

“And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.” - Ephesians 6:4

“Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.” - Colossians 3:21

Proverbs 22:6 also commands, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Children have a special place in God’s heart. Jesus had harsh words for anyone who would cause a child to fall into sin, “But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea.” (Mark 9:42)

The Bible as a whole gives man a moral standard that if followed will benefit everyone. Even non-believers have enjoyed the freedom and abundant resources available in countries founded upon the Judeo-Christian ethic. As Jesus said in Matthew 5:45, “for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”

We cannot force atheists to accept the Bible as their own source of moral guidance. But we certainly shouldn’t let them stop us from preaching the word publicly and fulfilling the Great Commission.

“I will speak to kings about your laws, and I will not be ashamed.” – Psalm 119:46 (NLT)

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