7. Atheist historian Richard Carrier claims US “Bill of Rights abolished the first three of the Ten Commandments”

Herein I am continuing a consideration of Atheist and historian Richard Carrier’s statements about morality: you can find this whole series here (once it is all posted).

But what about “killing people” for “having sex”? I suspect that Carrier has a vested interest in condemning this one—of course.
In short, Deuteronomy 22:13-30 elucidates various scenarios including adultery and rape but Carrier just paints all of it with the generic broom of “having sex.”

Herein I am continuing a consideration of Atheist and historian Richard Carrier’s statements about morality: you can find this whole series here (once it is all posted).

But what about “killing people” for “having sex”? I suspect that Carrier has a vested interest in condemning this one—of course.
In short, Deuteronomy 22:13-30 elucidates various scenarios including adultery and rape but Carrier just paints all of it with the generic broom of “having sex.”
So he, again, ignores the social order issue and moving elsewhere and does the same with Leviticus 20:13, “If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act; they shall surely be put to death. Their bloodguiltiness is upon them.” This was not only against God’s created order but against basic anatomy and common sense.

It is the same issue with dietary laws: those were the laws of the land, those people were happy with them and if you were not then you are threatening the social order and could have moved.

Thus, Richard Carrier’s were more like rants and less than erudite elucidations.

Seeking to evidence progress away from such ancient practices, he tells us:

…the United States’ Bill of Rights abolished the first three of the Ten Commandments, condemning them by literally outlawing their enforcement; and subsequent legislation has condemned and abolished four more as violating human rights (criminalized adultery, thought crime, compelling Sabbath observance, and forcing dues to one’s parents), leaving only the three principles all religions and cultures had empirically discovered were needed for us to enjoy the benefits of a good society long before the Bible was even written: honesty and respect for life and property.

Here he is presupposing that the United States’ Bill of Rights properly supersedes the Decalogue. I will simply note that there is no reason for the US to have the Decalogue as part of its laws, even though it has some of them therein, since the Decalogue was for the Israelites and to be applied by non-Israelites in the way the New Testament elucidates.

The first three are, “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery” with “you” clearly referring to the Israelites, “You shall have no other gods before Me” with “you” clearly referring to the Israelites and “You shall not make for yourself an idol…” with “you” clearly referring to the Israelites.

A main reason that, for example, the US does not inforce the first three is that the Christians founders sought to ensure religious freedom. Oh, I know, I know: the founders were Deists, Agnostics, Atheists, etc. until such time as we begin discussing US slavery, at which point they are suddenly Bible thumping Christians.

But what, pray tell, happened to Carrier’s concern for religious freedom when he sings the praises of “condemning them by literally outlawing their enforcement”?

By this point, Carrier is clearly just ranting but note that he actually refers to committing adultery as a human right—wow! Makes you wonder if some women in his harem are married. But what have we gained from decriminalized adultery? Divorce on demand, broken homes, kids living out of suitcases, abortions, STDs, etc., etc., etc. But keep in mind that Carrier’s premise that what is immoral is that which “ruins human happiness” well, adultery ruins at least one spouse’s happiness so it is immoral: I would imagine that if pushed on this point, Carrier would argue that it is immoral but should not be illegal. If so, then he would be ignoring that beneficial aspect of making something illegal: it tends to make people not want to do it.

In any case, we are beyond assertions with parenthesized citations as he has simply moved to pure stand-alone assertions, “criminalized adultery, thought crime, compelling Sabbath observance, and forcing dues to one’s parents.”

This, he tells us, leaves “only the three principles all religions and cultures had empirically discovered were needed for us to enjoy the benefits of a good society long before the Bible was even written: honesty and respect for life and property.”
Well, this goes towards my point about the ethos and that these predate the Bible only strengthens the point. This is because no one claims that such principles were unknown before the Bible but that the Bible was solidifying those actions that actually were in keeping with these principles and those that were not. In other words, by the ontological fact that all humans are made in God’s image, we are front loaded with the ethos.

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For some related info, see my books (on which I am offering a money saving deal:
Pop-Atheist Bible Expositors (featuring Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens, Dan Barker and Neil deGrasse Tyson)
Reasons for Being an Atheist: A Comprehensive Guide

“atheist

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