[ExI] Brief correction re Western Democracies

David Lubkin lubkin at unreasonable.com
Wed Feb 23 18:21:34 UTC 2011

Damien Sullivan wrote:

>As for other religions, Deuteronomy 13 specifices execution for
>apostates from Judaism.

For the sake of accuracy, no, it doesn't. It says nothing about 
apostasy. It specifies execution for attempting to woo *others* *to a 
different religion*, i.e., if you say "Let us go and serve other 
gods." At least with regard to Deut. 13, there is no penalty for 
non-belief, conversion from Judaism, or for voicing your non-belief 
(absent advocating an alternate religion).

I have not looked into how the Talmud, etc. interpret the matter. 
(Orthodox Jews will assert that you can't correctly interpret 
Biblical passages from just reading the Bible, and on your own. 
Consider just the US Second Amendment. What does "well-regulated" 
mean? How does the introductory clause affect the rest of the 
meaning? Who are "the people"? The Bible's much worse than that for 
linguistic nuance.)

But generally speaking, when looking at harsh passages in the Bible, 
one should examine the historic record of "implementing regulation." 
The typical "stone someone who does this" commandment has such a high 
burden of proof that it was rarely if ever met.

(I'm speaking as an Israeli agnostic with a daughter in rabbinical 
school. I don't believe this stuff, but I know a bit about it.)

-- David.

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