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Should We Execute A Woman Who is Not a Virgin on Her Wedding Day?

stoning

Repost from 2015. Edited, rewritten, and corrected. 

According to Evangelicals, the Bible is the inspired, inerrant, infallible, timeless Word of God. The Bible is God’s road map for life, the divine blueprint for living. From Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:21, the Bible is one long letter from God to us. While Evangelicals use various hermeneutics, interpretive tools, and schemes to interpret the Bible, all agree that the text is the words of God.

Evangelicals also believe that God is immutable, that he does not change his mind. Malachi 3:6 says, For I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed, and Hebrews 13:8 says, Jesus Christ (God) the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever. Ask Evangelicals if God changes his mind and they will emphatically say NO! God is perfect in all his ways, Evangelicals say, and his Word, the Bible, is truth.

How then, based on what I have written above, should Evangelicals interpret Deuteronomy 22:13-21?

If any man take a wife, and go in unto her, and hate her, and give occasions of speech against her, and bring up an evil name upon her, and say, I took this woman, and when I came to her, I found her not a maid: then shall the father of the damsel, and her mother, take and bring forth the tokens of the damsel’s virginity unto the elders of the city in the gate: and the damsel’s father shall say unto the elders, I gave my daughter unto this man to wife, and he hateth her; and, lo, he hath given occasions of speech against her, saying, I found not thy daughter a maid; and yet these are the tokens of my daughter’s virginity. And they shall spread the cloth before the elders of the city. And the elders of that city shall take that man and chastise him; and they shall amerce him in an hundred shekels of silver, and give them unto the father of the damsel, because he hath brought up an evil name upon a virgin of Israel: and she shall be his wife; he may not put her away all his days.But if this thing be true, and the tokens of virginity be not found for the damsel: then they shall bring out the damsel to the door of her father’s house, and the men of her city shall stone her with stones that she die: because she hath wrought folly in Israel, to play the whore in her father’s house: so shalt thou put evil away from among you.

The gist of the story is this: if a man goes into his wife on their wedding night and has intercourse with her and finds out that she is not a virgin, then his bride is to be brought to the door of her father’s house and stoned to death by the men of the city. There’s no ambiguity in the text. The soiled bride is to be considered a whore and executed. (If you have not read Deuteronomy 22, I encourage you to do so. God prescribes stoning for a variety of sexual sins.)

What say ye, oh believer that the Bible is the inspired, inerrant, infallible words of God?

Well Bruce, the Evangelical says, this is in the OLD Testament, and we now live according to the NEW Testament. So, God changed his mind? Were his words in Deuteronomy 22 imperfect, lacking in some way? If God’s law is perfect and true, why change it? All would agree that Deuteronomy 22 is the law of God. If it is, wouldn’t God’s law be preferable to man’s law? If God’s law was good enough for Israel, shouldn’t it be good enough for the United States, a nation Evangelicals claim is Christian? Why would any Christian want to be governed by the inferior laws of man?

Evangelical hysteria over same-sex marriage is rooted in the belief that God’s word/God’s law has the final say on the matter. Shouldn’t God’s law also have the final say on female virgins having sex before they are married? Where can I find in the Bible the verse that says one law is applicable today, but not the other?

Jesus said in Matthew 5:17-18:

Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

Jesus said that he did not come to destroy or do away the law. In fact, according  to Jesus, until heaven and earth pass away, the law of God is valid and in force. Till all be fulfilled, he said. Has everything been fulfilled? Has Jesus come back to earth? Has God made a new heaven and new earth as prophesied in Revelation 21 and 2 Peter 3? No, no, and no. Thus, the law of God, particularly Deuteronomy 22:13-21, is in force.  Every Evangelical is duty-bound to support the execution of women who are not virgins on their wedding day. The unchanging holy God has spoken!

Bruce Gerencser, 63, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 42 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen awesome grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist. For more information about Bruce, please read the About page.

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24 Comments

    • Avatar
      Bruce Gerencser

      I would have answered it like Kenneth did in his comment. Ultimately, faith covers every question, doubt, and problem, and when we get to heaven we will know the answer. Until then, just believe….

      As I have said many times, we should be grateful that many Christian are far better people than their God. Imagine a world where every Christian behaved just like God in the Bible…

      • Avatar
        Karen the rock whisperer

        I suspect there weren’t a lot of people who asked the question, anyhow. Many people of all faiths and no faith are skilled at cognitive dissonance. If X doesn’t fit my world view, put a Somebody Else’s Problem Field around it and forget it. (Bless Douglas Adams for coming up with that notion.) This is clearly not the God of Love speaking, so don’t think about it and the problem will go away.

        I rather shocked myself in my third decade when I realized I was quite good at doing just that. I’ve had to unlearn it. It isn’t a helpful skill.

  1. Avatar
    Kittybrat

    No wonder evangelicals lie so much without blinking an eye. The mental gymnastics to get around this one end up with the evangelical blaming the devil for tempting him/her and knows to “lean not on (his/her) own understanding”. UGH!
    Lying just comes naturally, as it can be justified in any case.

  2. Avatar
    Kenneth

    Of course, Christian’s will always justify God’s OT behavior even though it is rather harsh. I would argue we can only see it their way by being “saved” with a pro-God bias ourselves. According to Gotquestions.com:

    “Surely, the issue of God commanding violence in the Old Testament is difficult. However, we must remember that God sees things from an eternal perspective, and His ways are not our ways (Isaiah 55:8–9). The apostle Paul tells us that God is both kind and severe (Romans 11:22). While it is true that God’s holy character demands that sin be punished, His grace and mercy remain extended to those who are willing to repent and be saved.”

    A lot of others point to this behavior as justified for the “life lessons” to be brought out of it. And let’s not forget the whole NT made traditions of OT law now being obsolete. In the end, Christian’s will always twist anything around to make it fit their personal beliefs about God.

  3. Avatar
    Brian

    The obvious misogyny throughout the good book, and the clear commands to harm women make it very clear why the purity folk and cultic groups love to quote scripture so ‘literally’. Gawd the beastly father does not err. He takes his toll as he pleases and wipes out the enemies of his greed for knees on the ground. He is a miserable shit and it saddens me to know that he is also the greatest bubble of denial running rampant through humanity. God and Satan, hand in hand…. Denial feeds on scriptures.

  4. Avatar
    ron

    Is this a theological discussion?
    Blood is the price for sins (consistent in OT and NT) and prior to Christ’s blood (NT), this was the appropriate standard, as set by the Standard Declare-er.

    BG: So, God changed his mind? A: Nope. Blood is the price for sin.

    BG: Were his words in Deuteronomy 22 imperfect, lacking in some way?A: Negatory. There’s still a declaration of sexual sin and a payment in blood.

    BG: If God’s law is perfect and true, why change it? A:Are you asking why send a Savior to wash away the sins of mankind? Are you asking how it glorifies God to descend from Heaven and die a brutal death on the cross as an innocent criminal? Are you asking how one sinless man’s blood can be sufficient payment for all the sins of the world: past, present, and future? Didn’t you once teach this stuff? Or, did you just organize potlucks?

    BG: All would agree that Deuteronomy 22 is the law of God. If it is, wouldn’t God’s law be preferable to man’s law? A: You’re catching on…so you agree then than there is a valid list of sexual sins that require a payment in blood?

    BG: If God’s law was good enough for Israel, shouldn’t it be good enough for the United States, a nation Evangelicals claim is Christian? Why would any Christian want to be governed by the inferior laws of man? A: It’s funny how you miss the connection of God’s Law to Christ (the perfect God man) and the FULFILLMENT of the law that you cited in Matthew.

    This is 101…simple stuff…I don’t know what you thought about all of those years, but Boomer Esiason to Chris Collinsworth probably occupied more space between your ears than Christ.

    • Avatar
      Bruce Gerencser

      *sigh*

      I hope you said everything you needed to say. You will not get another opportunity to do so. Like those who have gone before you, you demonstrate here that you are unable or unwilling to engage in thoughtful, respectful discussion. Keep on preaching, friend. Evangelicals such as yourself do more to help the atheist cause than I ever could.

    • Avatar
      John Arthur

      Hi Ron,

      So the ravings of ancient bronze and iron age sheep and goat herders are, in your eyes God’s Word. You must be joking! This barbaric book has God commanding the mass slaughter of little children and babies. How can this be any word of any god?

  5. Avatar
    ron

    I suspected as much. You can’t handle a point for point takedown of your misleading questions.

    You can’t help but swerve back to the truths taught in the Bible. We can answer your foolishness…and you can’t allow it. This way you get to retain whatever authority your atheist readers think you have because of your background. They’re not ignorant of your contradictions, they’re simply too polite to point them out.

    • Avatar
      Bruce Gerencser

      What I refuse to handle, Ron is assholes like you. As a Christian, I had to feign politeness when dealing with people such as yourself. As an atheist, I no longer have to do so. You’ve been banned twice on this blog. Good job.

  6. Avatar
    Joy

    Ron—people like you think that you are making good points and taking down the big foozle, but I can’t tell you how influential the lack of humility and kindness on the part of people “arguing for the faith” has been at turning me away from whatever message you are trying to convey. As 1 Cor. 13 describes, your words have become mere gongs and cymbals. Bruce—I appreciate your blog and the things you have shared as well as your background insight into the fundie side of Christianity.

  7. Avatar
    ObstacleChick

    Some fundies probably would like to stone women who don’t go into marriage as virgins. They sure enjoy shaming them enough.

  8. Avatar
    Brian Vanderlip

    There is very little difference in fundamentalism wherever you find it spreading like Covid-19. Stoning, shaming and blaming, using laws to harm people, refusing to pay tax to help with the poor, hospitals and education. Religion is a scourge and spirituality departed the stained glass temple probably the very moment the first real estate was purchased for God.

    • Avatar
      Bruce Gerencser

      One of purposes of this blog is to show contradictions in the Biblical text: the difference between John 8:1-11 and Deuteronomy 22. If Jesus is God, and the Bible is God’s Word, then God is quite schizophrenic on this issue. If God’s law is perfect, what right did Jesus gave to set it aside? Does that mean the OT law was a mistake or wrong? Or was this a one-off, just for this particular woman? And if that’s not enough, what’s written in John 8 is not an eyewitness account. John was written at least 60 years after the death of Jesu. We have no idea whether the story even happened or if it was later added to make Jesus look good.

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