bookmark_borderThe Slaughter of the Canaanites – The Grand Inquisitor Jones – Part 3

“If the facts are against you, argue the law. If the law is against you, argue the facts. If the law and the facts are against you, pound the table and yell like hell.”

Carl Sandburg, in The People, Yes (1936)

One response to my sixty objections against Clay Jones’s attempt to defend Jehovah’s command to the Israelites to slaughter the Canaanites (men, women, and children), is that my my objections “argue the law” thus betraying a reluctance to “argue the facts”.  There is some truth to this point.  I have indeed focused primarily on “arguing the law”.  That is because the laws of Jehovah are clearly sexist, arbitrary, unclear, and harsh (indicating that Jehovah was either stupid or unjust or both).
However, the FACTS are not especially on Jones’s side either.  Jones actually makes very little effort to “argue the facts”.  So I’m more than happy to shift gears for a bit and to show that Jones’s attempt to justify Jehovah’s command to slaughter the Canaanites (men, women, and children) fails even when the focus is placed on “arguing the facts”.
I will imagine that it is my own daughters (at ages 8 and 18) who are being charged with a sin or crime that Jones believes to be worthy of the death penalty.  I will imagine Clay Jones to present the case for convition and for the punishment of death (based on his comments in his article “Killing the Canaanites“), and I will imagine that it is my job to vigorously defend my daughters against the charges and the case made by Jones, to ensure that they are given a fair trial.
In Part 1, I presented a mini-trial of Lisa and Kathy conerning the charge of IDOLATRY.  In Part 2, I presented a mini-trial of Lisa and Kathy conerning the charge of INCEST.  Today, Grand Inquisitor Jones will take another swing at these two girls, arguing that they have committed the sin or crime of ADULTERY.

Judge:  The Grand Inquisitor Jones will now present his case against the accused, and then Bradley For the Defense will present objections and arguments defending the accused.

GI Jones:  Thank you, your honor.  Ladies and gentlemen of the jury: today I will present to you my case for the charge that Lisa (age 8) is guilty of the horrible crime or sin of ADULTERY, and for the charge that her older sister Kathy (age 18) is also guilty of this terrible crime or sin, and that because of this horrible sin or crime, they both deserve the penalty of DEATH; they both deserve to have their heads chopped off by a sword-wielding, Jehovah-worshiping soldier of the army of Israel.*

Lisa and Kathy have committed the crime or sin of ADULTERY.  I assure you that both of these wicked girls are Canaanites who were raised to worship the gods of the Canaanites. Canaanite religion, like that of all of the ANE [Ancient Near East], was a fertility religion that involved temple sex. Inanna/Ishtar, also known as the Queen of Heaven, “became the woman among the gods, patron of eroticism and sensuality, of conjugal love as well as adultery, of brides and prostitutes, transvestites and pederasts.”  As University of Helsinki professor Martti Nissinen writes, “Sexual contact with a person whose whole life was devoted to the goddess was tantamount to union with the goddess herself.”  [The preceding italicized sentences are a quote from Clay Jones’s article.]

Since these two Canaanite girls have participated in worship of a female goddess who was a patron of conjugal love as well as adultery, and since the worship of Canaanite gods involved temple sex, where a married man could have sex with a woman who was not his wife but who was devoted to the goddess Inanna/Ishtar, as a part of the worship of the goddess,  these two girls must have been inspired by the practice of temple sex and by the goddess of sex and adultery to engage in adultery themselves.

So, you must, on the basis of these facts, deliver a verdict of “Guilty” and condemn these evil and perverse girls to death by beheading.  Thank you, ladies and gentlemen of the jury for your attention to my case for the guilt of Lisa and Kathy.

BFD:  What the hell!  Is this a joke?  I was expecting hours of testimony from multiple eyewitnesses, or at least a lengthy presentation of dozens of facts to make a circumstantial case for the guilt of the accused girls.  But instead we are offered a fifteen-second, purely speculative “argument”.  Grand Inquisitor Jones, have you no shame, sir?

The Grand Inquisitor has failed to cite the law that the defendants have violated, and the Grand Inquisitor has not even hinted at what he means by “the crime or sin of ADULTERY”, so we have no clear idea of what the defendants are being accused of doing, or whether the law even applies to these beautiful, charming, and intelligent girls.  Since the laws of Jehovah were directed to the men of Israel, the presumption is that any such laws do NOT apply to young girls who are Canaanites, not Israelites.

Though GI Jones has utterly failed to make a rational case against the defendants in terms of the alleged law against ADULTERY, let’s ignore that for the moment, and simply assume the common sense notion that the word “adultery” means: 

Either (a) being a married person and  (while still married) having sexual intercourse with a person to whom one is not married, 

OR (b) being an unmarried person and (while still unmarried) having sexual intercourse with a married person.

Since GI Jones has presented ZERO facts to show that either Lisa or Kathy have ever had sexual intercourse with ANYONE, there is no case here to consider.

All we have is GI Jones’ personal assertion that Lisa and Kathy “were raised to worship the gods of the Canaanites” and that one of the gods of the Canaanites was the patron of both conjugal love and adultery.  So what?  The fact that they worshiped a god who was patron of “conjugal love as well as adultery,” does not mean that these girls had any interest or desire to engage in adultery, nor does this show that they ever in fact engaged in adultery.

Jehovah was “a mighty warrior” (Jer. 20:11, see also Zeph. 3:17) and thus a patron of warfare in the religion of the Israelites.  Does that mean that every girl and young woman in Israel was a warrior?  Does that mean that every girl and young woman of Israel has killed an enemy in battle?  Of course not.  The fact that Jehovah was viewed as “a mighty warrior” and as a patron of warfare in the religion of the Israelites does NOT by itself prove anything about the behavior of individual Israelites.

The fact that the Canaanites worshipped a goddess who was a patron of “conjugal love as well as adultery” does not even show that adultery was a generally accepted behavior among Canaanites.  Notice that the Grand Inquisitor does not mention the legal status of adultery among Canaanites.  This suggests that adultery was prohibited by Canaanite laws, and that GI Jones chose to keep this relevant information to himself.

The Oxford Bible Commentary offers some evidence on this point:

Sexual mores were fairly uniform throughout the ancient Near East.  For example, adultery was universally condemned (cf. Codex Hammurabi 129-132). (The Oxford Bible Commentary, p.103 – comment on Leviticus 18:24-30)

We previously saw that INCEST was prohibited among Canaanites, even though some of their gods were portrayed as engaging in incest, so it should be no surprise that ADULTERY was also prohibited among Canaanites, even if they worshiped a goddess who was the patron of “conjugal love as well as adultery”.

But what about “temple sex”?  If a married man had sex with a priestess or devotee of the goddess Inanna/Ishtar as a part of the worship of the goddess, then he would be committing adultery as a part of a religious ritual.  Wouldn’t this send a message to Canaanite children and young people that adulterous sex was acceptable behavior?  There are several problems here that cast doubt on this assumption.

First of all, were children and teenagers allowed to observe such religious rituals?  We don’t know, and GI Jones has presented no facts showing this to be the case.  Second, even assuming that children and teenagers were allowed to observe this ritual, would they know that the man who was having sex with the woman was a married man having sex with a woman who was not his wife?  I doubt that Canaanite children went to Sunday school to be taught such details about Canaanite religious rituals, and GI Jones offers no facts indicating that Canaanite children received detailed lessons about Canaanite religious rituals.

Third, was this a weekly ritual?  a monthly ritual? a yearly ritual?  GI Jones offers no information about the frequency of such rituals.  Some Christians go to church services and prayer meetings and bible studies on a daily basis.  Other Christians go just to church services on Sundays, and many Christians only show up to church once or twice a year, on Easter or Christmas.   It seems likely that Canaanites did not always show up to every Canaanite religous ceremony, so even if “temple sex” was a regular (weekly or monthly) ritual, many Canaanites might only observe this ritual once or twice a year.

Finally, a BIG problem with the assumption that observing temple sex would encourage people to believe that adultery was OK, is that temple sex was NOT actually adultery!  More accurately,  the laws of Jehovah do NOT prohibit adultery in general (as we have defined the word), but only prohibit ONE form of adultery, and this prohibited form of adultery does NOT occur when a married man has sex with an unmarried woman:

The commandment’s prohibition [related to adultery] is thus a narrow one. Because it is addressed to men, it does not explicitly prohibit women from having sex with married men, or, for that matter, prohibit married men from having sex with unmarried women, including prostitutes. (God and Sex by Michael Coogan, p.103)

In the ancient Near East and the OT (Lev. 18:20; 20:10; Deut. 22:22) adultery meant consensual sexual intercourse by a married woman with a man other than her husband.  However, intercourse between a married man and another woman was not considered adultery unless she was married. (Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible, p.23)

Therefore, when a married man had “temple sex” with a woman other than his wife, this might well have NOT been a violation of Jehovah’s law concerning adultery, since a woman who was a priestess or devotee of  a Canaanite goddess might well be an unmarried woman.

Finally, even if it could be proven that Canaanites in general viewed adultery as an acceptable behavior, and even if Canaanites in general desired to engage in adultery, and even if Canaanites in general attempted to engage in adultery, this is NOT sufficient reason for convicting these two particular Canaanite girls and condemning them to have their heads chopped off!

At the most, the sort of evidence that GI Jones offers shows that there is some modest probabiltiy that one or both of these two girls has committed the sin or crime of adultery, but such a weak conclusion falls obviously and hopelessly short of the requirement that guilt be established beyond any reasonable doubt, especially in a capital case.

Let’s briefly consider each category of adultery, in accordance with the above common-sense understanding of what “adultery” means.

1.  Was either of these girls a married person who (while still married) had sexual intercourse with a person to whom she was not married?

Obviously Lisa, who is only eight years old, is NOT a married person, so she clearly did NOT commit this form of adultery.

Kathy is eighteen years old, so it is legally possible for her to be a married person.  However, I have submitted into evidence sworn statements from Kathy’s parents and three of her friends that she has never been married, and GI Jones has provided no evidence that Kathy has ever been married.  So, there has been no case presented for the claim that Kathy has committed this form of adultery.

2. Was either of these girls an unmarried person who (while still being unmarried) had sexual intercourse with a married person?

Lisa is an eight year old child.  So, if Lisa did have sex with a married man that would presumably be an instance of CHILD RAPE by the married man, and not the sin or crime of adultery by Lisa.  If the laws of Jehovah demanded the death penalty for a victim of CHILD RAPE, then that would only prove that the laws of Jehovah were obviously and greviously UNJUST.  But there is no reason to believe that the laws of Jehovah demanded the execution of victims of CHILD RAPE.  So, Lisa cannot be convicted of this form of adultery.

Kathy is eighteen years old, so it is reasonable to hold her accountable for consensual sexual activity in which she has (recently) been involved. However, as we have previously shown, there is NO prohibition in the laws of Jehovah against a married man having sex with an unmarried woman.  Even if it could be proven beyond a reasonable doubt that Kathy has had sex with a married man, neither the man nor Kathy would be guilty of violating a law of Jehovah, because Kathy is an unmarried woman.  Therefore, because this court is only concerned with violations of the laws of Jehovah, Kathy cannot be convicted or punished by this court for engaging in this form of adultery.

In conclusion, we have examined the two basic kinds of adultery, in accordance with this common-sense understanding of the meaning of the word “adultery”:  Either (a) being a married person and  (while still married) having sexual intercourse with a person to whom one is not married, OR (b) being an unmarried person and (while still unmarried) having sexual intercourse with a married person.

In NO CASE did we find a specific kind of adultery in which both of the following requirements were met:

(1) the specific form of adultery in question was prohibited by a law of Jehovah, AND

(2) the factual evidence presented here by GI Jones proves beyond a reasonable doubt that one or both of these two girls had engaged in that specific form of adultery.

Because the Grand Inquisitor Jones has failed to meet both requirements for EITHER of the two different forms of adultery, you must return a verdict of NOT GUILTY.

Please return a verdict of NOT GUILTY for the two beautiful, charming, intelligent, and loving girls who are standing at my side today.  There have been no specific facts or evidence presented by the Grand Inquisitor Jones showing that they have engaged in any form of adultery prohibited by the laws of Jehovah.  Let there be no chopping off heads today; declare Lisa and Kathy NOT GUILTY.

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* I do have children, but the names and ages given here are not the actual names and ages of my children.

bookmark_borderThe Slaughter of the Canaanites – The Grand Inquisitor Jones – Part 2

“If the facts are against you, argue the law. If the law is against you, argue the facts. If the law and the facts are against you, pound the table and yell like hell.”

Carl Sandburg, in The People, Yes (1936)

One response to my sixty objections against Clay Jones’s attempt to defend Jehovah’s command to the Israelites to slaughter the Canaanites (men, women, and children), is that my my objections “argue the law” thus betraying a reluctance to “argue the facts”.  There is some truth to this point.  I have indeed focused primarily on “arguing the law”.  That is because the laws of Jehovah are clearly sexist, arbitrary, unclear, and harsh (indicating that Jehovah was either stupid or unjust or both).
However, the FACTS are not especially on Jones’s side either.  Jones actually makes very little effort to “argue the facts”.  So I’m more than happy to shift gears for a bit and to show that Jones’s attempt to justify Jehovah’s command to slaughter the Canaanites (men, women, and children) fails even when the focus is placed on “arguing the facts”.
I will imagine that it is my own daughters (at ages 8 and 18) who are being charged with a sin or crime that Jones believes to be worthy of the death penalty.  I will imagine Clay Jones to present the case for convition and for the punishment of death (based on his comments in his article “Killing the Canaanites“), and I will imagine that it is my job to vigorously defend my daughters against the charges and the case made by Jones, to ensure that they are given a fair trial.
To emphasize the human fallibility of Christian religious leaders and authorities, I will refer to the character representing Clay Jones’s views as: GRAND INQUISITOR JONES (or GI Jones).  The title “Grand Inquisitor Jones” is to remind us that in the past Christians have practiced systematic terror and torture and murder of innocent men, women, and children for MANY centuries (i.e. the Inquisition), and that such  horrible crimes against humanity were authorized and justified by Christian leaders and Christian theologians for MANY centuries, thus firmly establishing beyond all reasonable doubt that Christian leaders and Christian theologians are fully capable of being morally blind leaders of morally blind Christian followers.
Grand Inquisitor Jones will be a “kinder and gentler” sort of Grand Inquisitor who does not torture the accused to obtain a “confession”.  GI Jones will, in a fair public trial, attempt to present a strong case based on objective empirical/historical evidence and good reasoning that is sufficient to convict my two daughters of the alleged sin or crime in question, like a prosecuting attorney in a criminal trial.
In Part 1, I presented a mini-trial of Lisa and Kathy conerning the charge of IDOLATRY.  Today, Grand Inquisitor Jones will take another swing at these two girls, arguing that they have committed the sin or crime of INCEST.

Judge:  The Grand Inquisitor Jones will now present his case against the accused, and then Bradley For the Defense will present objections and arguments defending the accused.

GI Jones:  Thank you, your honor.  Ladies and gentlemen of the jury: today I will present to you my case for the charge that Lisa (age 8) is guilty of the horrible crime or sin of INCEST, and for the charge that her older sister Kathy (age 18) is also guilty of this terrible crime or sin, and that because of this horrible sin or crime, they both deserve the penalty of DEATH; they both deserve to have their heads chopped off by a sword-wielding, Jehovah-worshiping soldier of the army of Israel.*

Lisa and Kathy have committed the crime or sin of INCEST.  I assure you that both of these wicked girls are Canaanites who were raised to worship the gods of the Canaanites. Like all Ancient Near East (ANE) pantheons, the Canaanite pantheon was incestuous. Baal has sex with his mother Asherah, his sister Anat, and his daughter Pidray, and none of this is presented pejoratively. Although early Canaanite laws proscribed either death or banishment for most forms of incest, after the fourteenth century BC, the penalties were reduced to no more than the payment of a fine. [The preceding italicized sentences are a quote from Clay Jones’s article.]

Since these two Canaanite girls have participated in worship of gods who engaged in incestuous sex, these two girls must have followed the example of their gods and also engaged in incestuous sex.  So, you must, on the basis of this fact, deliver a verdict of “Guilty” and condemn these evil and perverse girls to death by beheading.  Thank you, ladies and gentlemen of the jury for your attention to my case for the guilt of Lisa and Kathy.

BFD:  What the hell!  Is this a joke?  I was expecting hours of testimony from multiple eyewitnesses, or at least a lengthy presentation of dozens of facts to make a circumstantial case for the guilt of the accused girls.  But instead we are offered a fifteen-second, guilt-by-association “argument”.  Grand Inquisitor Jones, have you no shame, sir?

The Grand Inquisitor has failed to cite the law that the defendants have violated, and the Grand Inquisitor has not even hinted at what he means by “the crime or sin of INCEST”, so we have no clear idea of what the defendants are being accused of doing, or whether the law even applies to these beautiful, charming, and intelligent girls.  Since the laws of Jehovah were directed to the men of Israel, the presumption is that any such laws do NOT apply to young girls who are Canaanites, not Israelites.

Though GI Jones has utterly failed to make a rational case against the defendants in terms of the alleged law against INCEST, let’s ignore that for the moment, and simply assume the common sense notion that the word “incest” means: having sexual intercourse with one’s parent, child, sibling, grandchild, or grandparent.

Since GI Jones has presented ZERO facts to show that either Lisa or Kathy have ever had sexual intercourse with ANYONE, there is no case here to consider.

All we have is GI Jones’ personal assertion that Lisa and Kathy “were raised to worship the gods of the Canaanites” and that some of the gods of the Canaanites engaged in incestuous sex.  So what?  The fact that they worshiped gods who were believed to have engaged in incestuous sex, does not mean that these girls had any interest or desire to engage in incestuous sex, nor does this show that they ever in fact engaged in incestuous sex.   One simply does not always do everything that one believes that a god has done.

The Israelites believed that Jehovah created the universe.  Does that mean that each and every Israelite has desired to create a universe?  Does that mean that each and every Israelite has tried to create a universe?  Of course not.  The Israelites believe that Jehovah caused a great flood that nearly destroyed all life on earth, except for a handful of people and a few hundred selected pairs of animals.  Does that mean that each and every Israelite has desired to cause a worldwide flood?  or desired to destroy virtually all life on this planet?  Does that mean that each and every Israelite has actually tried to cause a worldwide flood? or tried to destroy virtually all life on this planet?  Of course not.  The actions and behaviors of a god are NOT automatically taken to be an appropriate example for humans to try to imitate.

Grand Inquisitor Jones has already admitted this obvious point, and has admitted it specifically in relation to the issue of incest.  He himself points out that “early Canaanite laws proscribed either death or banishment for most forms of incest”.  So, it appears that early Canaanites, at least, did not take the incestuous sexual activity of some of their gods to be a model of behavior for them to follow. Furthermore, although the severe punishments of death and banishment were later replaced by fines, that still constitutes a PUNISHMENT, and still indicates that the Canaanites don’t view all activities by all of their gods as being an appropriate model for human behavior, just like Israelites don’t view all activities by Jehovah as being an appropriate model for human behavior.

Finally, even if it was true that Canaanites in general admired the engagement of their gods in incestuous sex, and even if Canaanites in general desired to engage in incestuous sex, and even if Canaanites in general have tried to engage in incestuous sex, this is NOT sufficient reason for convicting these two particular Canaanite girls and condemning them to have their heads chopped off!  At the most, GI Jones has shown that there is some modest probabiltiy that one or both of these two girls has committed the sin or crime of incest, but such a weak conclusion falls obviously and hopelessly short of the requirement that guilt be established beyond any reasonable doubt, especially in a capital case.

Let’s briefly consider each category of incest, in accordance with the above common-sense understanding of what “incest” means.

1.  Did either of these girls have sex with one of their parents?

First of all, there is nothing in the laws of Jehovah that prohibits a girl from having sex with her mother.  So, we can eliminate that issue right away.  Second of all, shockingly there is also no law of Jehovah that prohibits a father from having sex with his daughter.  That might well be the case because the laws of Jehovah are SEXIST, and daughters were considered to be the property of their fathers.  In any case, there is no such prohibition in the laws of Jehovah.  So, we can strike this first question as being irrelevant, because this court is only concerned with alleged violoations of the laws of Jehovah.

2. Did either of these girls have sex with one of their grandparents?

First of all, there is no law of Jehovah that prohibits a grandmother from having sex with her granddaughter, so we can immediately set aside that possibility as irrelevant.

Leviticus 18:10 does, however, prohibit a man from having sex with his granddaughter.

There are two obvious problems with applying this law to the accused Canaanite girls.  First of all, the death penalty was NOT assigned to this form of incest by the laws of Jehovah, so it would be UNJUST to implement the death penalty on these two girls for a violation of Leviticus 18:10.

Second of all, it seems fairly obvious that any punishment for violation of this law would be given to the grandfather who had sex with his granddaughter and NOT to the granddaughter, who in many cases would only be a child or a very young woman.  If the laws of Jehovah did require that BOTH grandfather and granddaughter be severely punished, that would be an obvious and grevious injustice, and would provide powerful evidence that Jehovah and his laws are UNJUST.  There is no good reason, however, to think that a granddaughter was supposed to be punished at all in such cases of incest.

Therefore, although it is possible that one or both of these two girls has engaged in incestuous sex with a grandparent, this would not be grounds for punishing these girls in any way.  Finally, Grand Inquisitor Jones has presented no specific facts showing that either of these girls has had sex with her grandfather.

3.  Did either of these girls have sex with one of her children?

At eight years of age, it is obvious that Lisa has not ever given birth to a child, so Lisa cannot have committed this form of incest.

Kathy is 18 years old, so it is biologically possible that she had a child at a very early age (say when she was 14 years old) and then recently had sex with her four year old child.  But I have placed into evidence sworn statements from Kathy’s parents and from Kathy’s physician stating that Kathy has never been pregnant and never given birth to a child.  Since Kathy has been living at home with her parents for her entire life (so far) , they would have known if she had become pregnant and given birth to a child, so we can rule out the possibility that Kathy has engaged in this form of incest.

There is no law of Jehovah that prohibits a mother from having sex with her daughter, so we can eliminate that possibility as irrelevant to this trial.

Because the laws of Jehovah are SEXIST, there is only a prohibition against a man having sex with his mother (Leviticus 18:7), and this law was directed to the MEN of Israel, not to the BOYS of Israel.  So, it is doubtful that this law prohibits sex between a young boy and his mother.

Furthermore, the death penalty was NOT assigned to this form of incest (it is only when a man has sex with “his father’s wife” that the death penalty is assigned–see Leviticus 20:11–in which case the woman might not be his biological mother and the act would be punishable as a form of adultery), so it would be UNJUST to condemn either of these girls to death for violation of this law of Jehovah.

4. Did either of these girls have sex with one of her siblings?

I have placed into evidence sworn statements from the father and mother of these girls that they have no other children besides these two girls, and that they never have had any other children, even with other partners.  Therefore, there are no other siblings, and thus these girls do not have a brother.

The only way that it would be possible for these girls to have sex with a sibling would be to have had sex with each other.  No evidence has been presented to this court indicating that they have had sex with each other, so there is no evidence that they have committed this form of incest.

Furthermore, the laws of Jehovah are SEXIST, and so they only prohibit a man from having sex with his sister (Leviticus 20:17).  There is no law of Jehovah that prohibits a girl or a woman from having sex with her sister.  Thus, even if it could be proven that these girls had sex with each other, that would NOT be a violation of a law of Jehovah.  This court is only concerned with violations of the laws of Jehovah.

Finally, although it is clear that it is not possible for either Lisa or Kathy to have had sex with a brother, since they don’t have a brother, even if it were shown that they had a brother and had sex with him, that particular form of incest was NOT assigned the death penalty in the laws of Jehovah.

5. Did either of these girls have sex with one of her grandchildren?

Since neither girl has ever given birth to a child, it is clear that the answer to this question is: NO.

There is no law of Jehovah prohibiting a grandmother from having sex with her granddaughter, so that form of incest is irrelevant to this court.

Furthermore, since the laws of Jehovah were directed to the MEN of Israel, it is unclear whether the laws of Jehovah prohibit a BOY from having sex with his grandmother.

It is also UNCLEAR who would be punished in such a case, since in the case of a grandfather having sex with his granddaughter it would presumably be the grandfather who was punshed and not the granddaughter.  However, the SEXIST nature of the laws of Jehovah suggest that it might be the BOY who was to be punished in the case of sex between a grandmother and her grandson.  The laws of Jehovah are simply too UNCLEAR on this point to justify a severe punishment, even if guilt could be established, which it cannot be in the case of these two girls.

Finally, even in the case of a grandfather having sex with his granddaughter, the death penalty was NOT assigned to that sin or crime, so it would be UNJUST to impose the death penalty on these two girls on the basis of an anaologous charge, even if their guilt could be proven, which it cannot be, since they have never had any children.

In conclusion, we have examined the five basic kinds of incest, in accordance with this common-sense understanding of the meaning of the word “incest”: having sexual intercourse with one’s parent, child, sibling, grandchild, or grandparent.

In NO CASE did we find a specific kind of incest in which all three of the following requirements were met:

(1) the specific kind of incest in question was prohibited by a law of Jehovah, AND

(2) the death penalty was assigned for that specific kind of incest by the laws of Jehovah, AND

(3) the factual evidence presented here by GI Jones proves beyond a reasonable doubt that one or both of these two girls had engaged in that specific kind of incest.

Because these three conditions have not been met for ANY of the five different kinds of incest, you must return a verdict of NOT GUILTY.

Please return a verdict of NOT GUILTY for the two beautiful, charming, intelligent, and loving girls who are standing at my side today.  There have been no specific facts or evidence presented by the Grand Inquisitor Jones showing that they have engaged in any kind of incest prohibited by the laws of Jehovah and punishable by the death penalty.  Let there be no chopping off heads today; declare Lisa and Kathy NOT GUILTY.

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* I do have children, but the names and ages given here are not the actual names and ages of my children.

bookmark_borderThe Slaughter of the Canaanites – The Grand Inquisitor Jones

“If the facts are against you, argue the law. If the law is against you, argue the facts. If the law and the facts are against you, pound the table and yell like hell.”

Carl Sandburg, in The People, Yes (1936)

One response to my sixty objections against Clay Jones’s attempt to defend Jehovah’s command to the Israelites to slaughter the Canaanites (men, women, and children), is that my my objections “argue the law” thus betraying a reluctance to “argue the facts”, perhaps because the facts tend to support Jones’s view of the slaughter of the Canaanites (men, women, and children) rather than my view of this matter.
There is some truth to this point.  I have indeed focused primarily on “arguing the law”.  That is because the laws of Jehovah are Male-Cattle CRAP (indicating that Jehovah was either stupid or unjust or both).
Jehovah’s laws are, in general, VAGUE and would be tossed out in modern courts on the basis of the legal principle of “Void for Vagueness”.  Jehovah’s laws, in general, fail to clearly specify the conduct that is prohibited and to clearly specify the punishment that is appropriate for specific violations.  Furthermore, although Jehovah’s laws are somewhat clear in specifying the scope of people to whom those laws apply, the scope is, in general, implied to be: the men of Israel, and thus applying these laws to Canaanites (men, women, and children) would be an injustice, and since the punishment in question is SEVERE (i.e. the death penalty), applying these laws to Canaanites (men, women, and children) would be a GREAT injustice.
Clay Jones does not “argue the law” because the law is against him.  It is against him, because the laws of Jehovah are sexist, cruel, harsh, and vague.  That is why Jones does not bother to “argue the law” and why I have chosen to focus in on the injustice inherent in the laws of Jehovah.
However, the FACTS are not especially on Jones’s side either.  Jones actually makes very little effort to “argue the facts”.  Jones fails to heed the sound advice of William Lane Craig on this matter:
 Far from being easy, historical apologetics, if done right, is every bit as difficult as philosophical apologetics.  The only reason most people think historical apologetics to be easier is because they do it superficially.  …if we are to do a credible job in our apologetics, we need to do the hard thinking and the hard work required… (Apologetics: An Introduction, p.166, Moody Press, 1984)
In failing to make a serious effort to argue the facts, Jones follows the wide path of INTELLECTUAL SLOTH layed out by numerous Christian apologists for the past several centuries. He and most of his fellow Christian apologists fail to take seriously the need for careful, objective, scholarship when it comes to historical claims.  Perhaps this is the consequence of too much “preaching to the choir” by Christian apologists.
Although “arguing the law” was easy for me on the issue of the slaughter of the Canaanites (men, women, and children), Clay Jones has done such a poor and pathetic job of “arguing the facts” that I’m more than happy to shift gears for a bit and to show that Jones’s attempt to justify Jehovah’s command to slaughter the Canaanites (men, women, and children) fails even when the focus is placed on “arguing the facts”.
In response  to the potential complaint that I have previously placed too much focus on “arguing the law”, in this post I plan to focus more on factual issues, and put less emphasis on “arguing the law”.
In order to help readers to resist the temptation to think in an overly abstract and cold-hearted manner, I’m going to personalize the discussion here.  I will imagine that it is my own daughters (at ages 8 and 18) who are being charged with a sin or crime that Jones believes to be worthy of the death penalty.  I will imagine Clay Jones to present the case for convition and for the punishment of death (based on his comments in his article “Killing the Canaanites”), and I will imagine that it is my job to vigorously defend my daughters against the charges and the case made by Jones, to ensure that they are given a fair trial.
To emphasize the human fallibility of Christian religious leaders and authorities, I will refer to the character representing Clay Jones’s views as: GRAND INQUISITOR JONES (or GI Jones).  I will refer to myself as:  BRADLEY FOR THE DEFENSE (or BFD).  The original, historical Grand Inquisitors tortured innocent men, women, and children to get them to confess to various sins or heretical beliefs.  In giving the Jones character the title “Grand Inquisitor” I am NOT implying that Clay Jones is so morally corrupt and depraved as to willingly engage in the torture of men, women, or children to extract confessions of sin or heresy from them.  I assume that Jones would view such an idea as morally repugnant.
Thus Grand Inquisitor Jones will be a “kinder and gentler” sort of Grand Inquisitor.  GI Jones will, in a fair public trial, attempt to present a strong case based on objective empirical/historical evidence and good reasoning that is sufficient to convict my two daughters of the alleged sin or crime in question, like a prosecuting attorney in a criminal trial.
My primary point in giving the prosecutor the title “Grand Inquisitor Jones” is to remind Jones and readers of this post that in the past Christians have practiced systematic terror and torture and murder of innocent men, women, and children for MANY centuries, and that such  horrible crimes against humanity were authorized and justified by Christian leaders and Christian theologians for MANY centuries, thus firmly establishing beyond all reasonable doubt that Christian leaders and Christian theologians are fully capable of being morally blind leaders of morally blind Christian followers.
Let’s take a moment to remind ourselves of an important phase in the history of the Christian religion…
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Let us imagine a traveler in the city of Rome when the Renaissance was in full flower, a pilgrim or a merchant or a diplomat.  He seeks out the chapel near St. Peter’s Basilica where the Pieta of Michelangelo is now on display, and he spends a few moments admiring the sublime depiction of the body of the slain Jesus in the lap of his grieving mother.  Pieta means “pity,” and the scene is rendered with exquisite tenderness and profound compassion. …
At the very same moment, however, and not far away, hooded men in dungeons lit only by torches–henchmen of what would come to be called the Roman and Universal Inquisition–are applying instruments of torture to the naked bodies of men and women whose only crime is to have entertained some thought that the Church regarded as heretical.  The victims’ cries, faint and distant, reach the ears of the traveler who gazes in prayerful silence at the Pieta… . Yet the torturers are wholly without pity, and they work in the sure conviction  that the odor of the charred flesh of heretics is “delectable to the Holy Trinity and the Virgin.”   (The Grand Inquisitor’s Manual: A History of Terror in the Name of God, by Jonathan Kirsch, p.1-2, HarperCollins, 2008)
The long history of the Inquisition can be conveniently divided into three phases.  The medieval Inquisition, which functioned across western Europe for a couple of hundred years starting in the early thirteenth century, finished off the Cathars and then expanded its scope of operations to include a miscellaneous assortment of accused heretics, ranging from radical Franciscan priests to women accused of witchcraft.  The Spanish Inquisition was franchised by the pope in 1478 to detect and punish Jewish and Muslim converts to Christianity (known as conversos) who were suspected of secretly clinging to their former faiths, and remained in formal existence through 1834.  And the Roman Inquisition, which aspired to universal jurisdiction but operated mostly in Italy, was created in 1542 as the papal weapon of choice in the crusade against the Protestant Reformation as well as the freshening winds of secularism and scientific inquiry that accompanied the Renaissance.    (The Grand Inquisitor’s Manual, p.5)
The reach and sweep of the Inquisition have discouraged historians from treating it as a single institution. …The fact remains, however, that the inquisitors of every nationality and in every age were deputized under the same body of canon law, inflicted the same tortures and punishments on their victims, and devoted themselves to the same terrible mission–the arrest, torture, and execution of any man, woman, or child whom they regarded as a heretic, a term sufficiently elastic to reach any victim who happened to excite their anxieties or greed.  Thus, for example, the manuals and handbooks composed in the Middle Ages to instruct the first inquisitors in their day-to-day work were still being consulted by the last inquisitors six centuries later.  (The Grand Inquisitor’s Manual, p.6)
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Whenever anyone listens to a Christian scholar or theologian defend what appears on the surface to be horrible crimes against humanity, it is quite reasonable, based on historical experience, to approach such arguments with great caution and skepticism.
We MUST NOT BE FOOLED AGAIN by wolves in sheep’s clothing.  Mr. Jones might indeed be a sheep, but given the darker pages in the  history of the Christian religion, it is reasonable and appropriate, for the purposes at hand, to put  wolves’ clothing (i.e. the title “Grand Inquisitor”) on the character representing Jones, to remind one and all that he might actually be a wolf.
Judge:  The Grand Inquisitor Jones will now present his case against the accused, and then Bradley For the Defense will present objections and arguments defending the accused.
GI Jones:  Thank you, your honor.  Ladies and gentlemen of the jury: today I will present to you my case for the charge that Lisa (age 8) is guilty of the horrible crime or sin of IDOLATRY, and for the charge that her older sister Kathy (age 18) is also guilty of this terrible crime or sin, and that because of this horrible sin or crime, they both deserve the penalty of DEATH; they both deserve to have their heads chopped off by a sword-wielding, Jehovah-worshiping soldier of the army of Israel.*
Lisa and Kathy have committed the crime or sin of IDOLATRY.  I assure you that both of these wicked girls have in fact worshiped other gods besides Jehovah, the God of Israel.  So, you must, on the basis of this fact, deliver a verdict of “Guilty” and condemn these evil and perverse girls to death by beheading.  Thank you, ladies and gentlemen of the jury for your attention to my case for the guilt of Lisa and Kathy.
BFD:  What the hell!  Is this a joke?  I was expecting hours of testimony from multiple eyewitnesses, or at least a lengthy presentation of dozens of facts to make a circumstantial case for the guilt of the accused girls.  But instead we are offered a ten-second, completely fact-free argument.  Grand Inquisitor Jones, have you no shame, sir?
The Grand Inquisitor has failed to cite the law that the defendants have violated, and the Grand Inquisitor has not even hinted at what he means by “the crime or sin of IDOLATRY”, so we have no clear idea of what the defendants are being accused of doing, or whether the law even applies to these beautiful, charming, and intelligent girls.  Since the laws of Jehovah were directed to the men of Israel, the presumption is that any such laws do NOT apply to young girls who are Canaanites, not Israelites.
Though GI Jones has utterly failed to make a rational case against the defendants in terms of the alleged law against IDOLATRY, let’s ignore that for the moment, and simply assume the common sense notion that one commits IDOLATRY when one “worships a god by means of an idol representing that god”.  Since GI Jones has presented ZERO facts to show that either Lisa or Kathy have ever worshiped a god by means of an idol representing that god, there is no case here to consider.  All we have is GI Jones’ personal assertion that Lisa and Kathy have “worshiped other gods besides Jehovah”.  But GI Jones does not know Lisa, nor does he know Kathy.  He has never met either girl until this very hour when he saw them here in this courtroom.  GI Jones has no experiences of these girls to base his claim upon.  So, no actual evidence has been presented for the guilt of either Lisa or Kathy.
Suppose, however, we grant the baseless claim made by the Grand Inquisitor.  Let us assume, for the sake of argument, that both girls have indeed “worshiped other gods besides Jehovah”.  Even if this were true, this tells us NOTHING about whether they have ever used an idol to worship a god, and so it tells us NOTHING about whether they are guilty of the sin or crime of IDOLATRY, given the common sense understanding of the meaning of that word.
Have not many Israelites worshiped Jehovah without the use of an idol?  If so, then it follows necessarily that it is POSSIBLE to worship a god WITHOUT use of an idol, without use of a statue or image representing a god.  If the Israelites can worship their god without using idols, then certainly Canaanites, such as these two lovely girls at my side, can worship their god or gods without using idols.  Therefore, even if we grant the baseless claim of the Grand Inquisitor that these two girls have “worshiped other gods besides Jehovah” this tells us NOTHING about whether they are guilty of the sin or crime of IDOLATRY.
Finally, you may think poorly of these two young Canaanites if you believe that they have engaged in worship of other gods besides Jehovah, the god of Israel.  You may think that they ought to instead worship Jehovah, “the one true God.”  But even if they are guilty of worshiping some other god or gods, can you seriously consider the imposition of the death penalty on these two beautiful, charming, intelligent girls, girls that love their father and mother, girls that are loved and cherished by their father and mother?
Lisa is only eight years old.  She can barely understand the concepts of “religion” and “worship” and “god”.  She has never been to a Jewish temple or synagogue. Lisa has never set foot in a Christian church.  The only religion she has any real experience of is the religion of her Canaanite parents, which involves the worship of gods other than Jehovah.
When Lisa grows up, she might well get to meet some Israelites who worship Jehovah, or some Christian believers who worship Jehovah.  She might go to a Jewish religious service or a Christian religious service, and she might even decide to leave the religion of her parents in favor of a religion in which Jehovah is worshiped.  But if you chop off her pretty young head now, there is no chance that she will ever worship Jehovah.   She will die without ever having the opportunity to learn about other religions besides the religion she learned from her own Canaanite parents.
Kathy, of course, is older than Lisa.  Kathy is a young adult, and she has had a bit more experience of religion than Lisa.  She has a better understanding of the concepts of “religion” and “worship” and “god”.  But Kathy is still a teenager.  She is just now finishing high school.  Her mind has been focused on learning math, history, chemistry, French, and other subjects, as well as on friendships and her boyfriend, and cheerleading practice, and applications for college.  She has not had much time to study world religions and to contemplate all of her options concerning religion, philosophy, and spirituality.
So, like her younger sister Lisa, Kathy does not have a good grasp of the alternatives to the religion of her Canaanite parents.  Kathy may know that there are religions that encourage the worship of Jehovah.  Kathy may have been to a Jewish synagogue once, or to a Jewish religious ceremony once, and she has attended Christian church services on a couple of occasions, but she is hardly in a position to have a solid grasp of Jewish faith and practice or of Christian theology and Christian religious practices.  Kathy might over the course of the next decade go to college and learn about other religions and philosophies, and it is possible that Kathy might take a serious interest in either Judaism or Christianity and decide that she wants to become a worshiper of Jehovah.
But if you have a big strong soldier of Israel chop off Kathy’s head today, then she will NEVER have the opportunity to gain significant exposure to any religion or philosophy besides what she learned from her Canaanite father and mother.  Although Kathy is an adult, it would be EXTREMELY UNFAIR to judge her choice of religion/philosophy at this point in her young life, when she has had very little exposure to and experience of alternative religions and philosophies.
Finally, if we are to impose the death penalty on any person who worships a god besides Jehovah, then we must kill every man, woman, and child in the Greek Civilization, and we must kill every man, woman, and child in the Roman Civilization, and every man, woman, and child in the Phonecian Civilization, and every man, woman, and child in the Egyptian Civilization, and…
In the end, you will have to kill nearly every human being outside of the nation of Israel, because Jehovah was the god of Israel, not the god of the Egyptians, not the god of  the Greeks, not the god of the Romans, not the god of the Phonecians, not the god of the… .  Surely, such massive worldwide slaughter is unjust and unwarranted.  Stop the madness of the Grand Inquisitor now!
Please return a verdict of NOT GUILTY for the two beautiful, charming, intelligent, and loving girls whom you see standing at my side today.  There have been no facts or evidence presented showing that they have worshiped a god besides Jehovah, and even assuming that they have worshiped a god besides Jehovah, we cannot draw any logical conclusion as to whether they are guilty of IDOLATRY.  Let there be no chopping off heads today; declare Lisa and Kathy NOT GUILTY.
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* I do have children, but the names and ages given here are not the actual names and ages of my children.