Who to stone and when

| September 2, 2007 | 14 Replies

All of those people who take the Bible literally need to apply the proper rules for killing people by throwing stones.  The process is quite straightforward.  The purpose is to cause the stonees (the people being struck by the stones) to die of broken bones and hemorrhaging of blood.   What are the Bible rules regarding stoning?  Luckily, they have been summarized right here.  I’ll elaborate on a few of these rules in this post.

As you can see from Deuteronomy 22:13-21, believers in the inerrant Bible need to stone all non-virgins who dare to get married.  It’s all very logical, you see.  “Oh, you’re a woman who is not a virgin?  Then God requires that I must brutally kill you.  But it truly was such a beautiful wedding . . .”

According to Deuteronomy 17:2-5 , Bible literalists need to kill all of those people who worship gods, other than the god of the Bible, by hitting them with stones.

I escape judgment on these first two rules because I’m not a woman and I don’t worship any god, but I’m afraid that I probably am a “stubborn and rebellious” son.  The Bible requires that such sons need to be taken out and killed by hitting them with stones.  See Deuteronomy 21:18-21.  It’s not entirely clear by this rule whether I also need to also be a glutton and a drunkard to deserve this death-by-stoning penalty.  I might be a glutton (since I live in a highly materialist society), though I’ve never been drunk.  If I qualify for the death penalty under this rule, I would need to be stoned by all of the men of my city.  I live in Saint Louis; I’d therefore have to gather up about one million men for my stoning.  They have to find one million stones, unless they could share a smaller number of stones by taking turns. The Bible doesn’t say whether they could throw things other than naturally formed stones, such as bricks, balls of hardened clay or toasters. 

Here’s another important rule.  Everyone who has gathered sticks on the sabbath needs to die by stoning.  The stones need to be hurled by the entire congregation, per Numbers 15:32-56.  This passage doesn’t say what to do if the entire congregation is guilty of gathering sticks on the sabbath.  Maybe they need to gather everyone into one big circle, each person being obligated to throw stones at the person in front of him or her.  The last one standing, I suppose needs to try to commit suicide by hitting himself or herself in the head with a stone. 

For the most part, what these stoning rules lack in civility and empathy, they make up for in clarity. For example, compare these straightforward stoning laws with the immense amount of common law necessitated by vague Constitutional provisions such as the First Amendment.  What would be the result, I wonder, if we put it up for a nationwide vote tomorrow:   Shall we throw away the U.S. Constitution and, instead, interpret the Bible literally as the highest source of U.S. law?  Given the religious ferver that still exists in the U.S., I suspect the vote would be about 53% in favor of the inerrant Bible over the manmade Constitution. 

Perhaps we could then rename our three branches of government:  A) Executors of Stoning Laws, B) Makers of Stoning Laws and C) Courts of Stoning.  Maybe we could also create a new cabinet position of Department of Stoning or maybe a more expansive Department of Sticks and Stones. 

What if the Branches of this new government disagree with each other?  No problem.  Just have them go out back and throw stones at each other.

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Category: Good and Evil, Politics, Religion

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

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  1. Stoning, Python style | Dangerous Intersection | November 19, 2008
  1. Niklaus Pfirsig says:

    Perhaps in the case where the entire congregation is guilty of gathering sticks on the Sabbath, they should gather in a small room with a high celing, each one with a large stone, and on cue, throw the stone straight up at the same time.

    WWMPD? (What Would Monty Python Do?)

  2. WeepingScythian says:

    brilliant. i am going to pay tribute to your delightful blog by slaughtering a fatted cow. and i will be sure to burn the entrails. or perhaps ill burn something else like the pagan, heretical Scythian-lover that I am. Cheers from smoggy Toronto.

  3. Walton Moson says:

    Very clever and funny, but you overlook the fact that true Christians take their guidance from the New Testament and the words of Jesus. Jesus was in favor of peace and non-violence and would not have supported stoning.

    There are Christianist extremists who no doubt would favor stoning, but these people are not Christians. They glory in the mass murder in Iraq and are mean-spirited, hate-filled, vengeful and deeply unforgiving.

    They are the exact opposite of everything Jesus stood for. If Jesus were to return to Earth today, and talk of forgiveness and turning the other cheek these people would sneer at him.

  4. Erich Vieth says:

    Walton Moson: Not so fast! There is no place in the New Testament where Jesus said to ignore the Old Testament. To the contrary, see http://dangerousintersection.org/?p=240, where it is clear that Jesus gave his stamp of approval to the Old Testament.

    If Christians really don't believe in the OT, then, perhaps, they should distribute and study only the NT, disavowing the OT. That would make for a far less disturbing book of morality, in my opinion. But then again, the NT offers its own disturbing "moral" lessons, e.g., that women are inferior and that slavery is OK. See http://dangerousintersection.org/?p=1383 and http://dangerousintersection.org/?p=659, for example.

  5. Walton Moson says:

    Erich Vieth. I am sorry to say this but I am afraid you are wrong. Jesus did in not so many words say ignore the Old Testament. That's the whole point of my post. True Christians should really focus more on the words of Jesus and less on some of the older texts.

    Jesus never said that women are inferior, nor did he say slavery was OK.

    I am a biblical scholar so I know what I am talking about.

  6. Erich Vieth says:

    Moson: I didn't say that Jesus himself promoted slavery or dissed women. But plenty of pro-slavery and anti-female material can be found in the New Testament.

    I am not a biblical scholar but I have often read the Bible. Does it mean that where we disagree you are always correct because you are a "biblical scholar?"

  7. Walton Moson says:

    "Does it mean that where we disagree you are always correct because you are a “biblical scholar?” "

    Yes.

    If a nuclear physicist challenged me on an issue of nuclear physics, I would have to bow to his superior knowledge, even though I take a keen interest in the subject.

  8. Walton, I find it quite stupid to bow to anybody's knowledge without checking if his knowledge is really superior. In an argument it's facts and counterarguments that count, not fancy CVs, titles or connections with the pope. If the claims Erich made are not true cite proof that they are wrong, because your status as a biblical scholar means nothing if you can't offer any valid counterargument.

  9. Brad says:

    Nice..you show a complete lack of knowledge when it comes to the scritpures. I am a jewish man who believes in Yeshua(Jesus). I follow Torah(Old Testament Laws) but I understand that Jesus took the punishment for my sin. See the law required a payment be made for the law broken as you have pointed out, but according to the New Testament, Jesus took the punishment upon himself. So that means its still wrong to violate God's Laws, but Jesus took YOUR punishment. This is why we love him. Imagine someone taking your punishment, your death sentence. The scriptures work together to form a complete picture of God's plan.

  10. Michael says:

    Brad

    Just happened on this exchange while doing some research on stoning. You obviously have the best grasp on this subject, despite the protests of the "biblical scholar". I don't know how this was carried out in small towns, but I found that in 1st century Jersusalem when one was taken before the Sanhedrin, accused, and found guilty, as in the case of the martyr, Stephen, the guilty were taken outside the city to the Rock of Execution. There they were solemnly stripped and thrown down "twice the height of a man". This would, at best, break the person's neck and at worst stun them so that the death was more merciful. Then, in a judicial stoning, the accusers were to throw the first stones, usually large rocks, onto the victim below. Death usually followed rather quickly.

    There is a disturbing trend among evangelicals to only preach salvation messages. While this is good for starters to reach the lost, we must be prepared to teach the scripture as a whole rather than just take the parts we like. We must also understand the context of the culture of the times during which scripture was written, then apply it logically in a 21st century manner. Scripture is meant for study and meditation. Only then will the meaning open up. I find that, even though it was written some thousands of years ago it is as alive today as when it was given if one takes the time to study and apply extrabiblical literature as additional reading.

  11. grumpypilgrim says:

    Walton declares, "I am a biblical scholar so I know what I am talking about."

    I got a good chuckle out of Walton's claim. People invoke their credentials when they fail to establish their credibility on other grounds; e.g., by the quality of their arguments. It is a bald attempt to trump disagreement, thereby circumventing the merits of anyone's views.

    Sorry, Walton, but that sort of game won't work with the people you'll find here. Your alleged credentials don't carry anywhere near the weight that your communication and persuasion skills do.

  12. Nekko says:

    You do realize that that the bible is just an astrotheological literary hybrid, right? The whole basis for it is to keep track of the constellations as they move around the horizon or the Great Age. No more, no less. In fact, all of the stories inside were plagierized from other religions (For example, the 'Ten Commandments' brought to Moses? Direct rip-off of the Egyptian laws inscribed in the Book of the Dead…Just as ONE example). In fact, the majority of what was written in the Bible, when it comes to religion, is stolen from over thirty different Gods, and their subsequent religions. I would name them off, but the posting would grow too long. But, for the sake of argument, I will ask you. Who am I talking about? Born of a virgin on December 25, did miracles, was a minister, spoke on a hill to his people, had thirteen disciples, performed miracles like walking on water, healing the sick, and making the blind see, then was betrayed, cruicified, then resurrected after three days? Oh, and he had nicknames like God's Only Begotten Son, the Chosen one, and The Light, among others.

    Who am I speaking of? If you are thinking Jesus then congratulations! You are absolutely wrong.

    I am speaking of the Egyptian sun god Horus. And, as a point of note, Egyptian 'mythology' predates Christianity by fifteen centuries. Don't believe me? Look this up in a textbook. It's not hard to find. It's just we are so indoctrinated by the failing morals of an archaic set of beliefs and we are spoon-fed these lies since an early age and for so VERY VERY LONG…why would you ever want to leave the lttle box they built aroudn you?

  13. Nigel says:

    Nekko, aha a zeitgeister! I'm sure you meant twelve disciples, right? Anyway Jesus most likely wasn't born on Dec 25th, the Romans only picked that day because it coincided with other religious festivals they already had going. Zeitgeist is very interesting but try digging a bit deeper, you can't take everything they say at face value…

    Oh and I agree citing credentials is a pretty poor argument, although I do happen to kind of agree with Walton. Check out what Jesus says: "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them" (Matt 5:17). I guess this begs the question what does he mean by fulfill – as I understand it, he means he fulfills the sacrificial system as Brad said. So he dies to take our punishment away should we accept that gift and end the whole system of laws to make people righteous (morally right with God).

    So anyway what got me interested in this is, why stoning in the first place? It seems excessively brutal as a law, especially for more minor offenses than murder as in some of Erich's examples. Especially when we contrast this with the high bar of enemy love & forgiveness expressed by Jesus in the NT. I've heard arguments about culturally relevant laws – it was a barbaric time and the people weren't ready for higher bars etc, but I would expect God to still rise above that. I don't know… it bugs me. Any thoughts people?

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