T'was but a while ago that I had a discussion with an atheist friend about Exodus 21:7-11. The conversation began with his mocking God and the text as it was about a man who sells his daughter into slavery.
He posited that it was a perverted thing for a father to sell his daughter off for sex. However, his thought system is what is actually perverted,because the text doesn't imply pimping one's daughter. That is read into the text from one's own imagination!
It doesn't take much to understand the nature and import of what is communicated in these words. Here is a man who has been brought into dire straits and has no means of providing for his family. He has two choices, seek their best interest & care or let them die. Obviously, the one choice is much more preferable.
Now, to whom would you sell your daughter? Would you sell her to a slimey fellow who only wants a sex toy? Likely not.
But let's say you know of a young man who has grown up in the local synagogue with you who is able to marry her. He is a godly man with a good income and he is willing to take her to be his wife. This man offers to buy her (or, what we would today call "pay her dowry"). Now, not only have you secured your daughter's best interests, but you now have a chunk of cash whereby you can begin to provide for your own household again.
The rest of the text (Exodus 21:8-11) goes on to secure the girl's welfare and offer her protection from being anywise mistreated. She is to be treated as a daughter if she is given to his son. If he finds that the woman is not pleasing, she is to be redeemed. If she can't be redeemed, he's still obligated to provide for her and see to her sustenance.
So, you see, God's word has given guidance the proves beneficial for all parties involved: The girl got a home, the man got a wife, the poor family got some financial standing.
But let's turn around and talk about atheism...
We began this article with the mockery of an atheist. We've already shown his stupidity and perverted inclination. We can go on to show that his worldview actually supports the very thing that he found repulsive.
In atheism, what prevents someone from being sold as a slave? We buy and sell tomatoes at the market. Man, according to atheism, is not really substantially different than a tomato. Evolution says that both are accidents and random products of chance. It's just some germs became tomatoes and some germs became humans.
And, if our atheist is going to be consistent, who cares if you rape a girl? It's just molecules bumping into molecules. There is no absolute standard by which to measure morality, and therefore no one can say that rape is wrong.
Moreover, since man has no inherent dignity and there is no objective moral standard, the man who is in dire straits can just go ahead and starve his family. Better yet, the atheist can just shoot them and put them out of their misery! Then he can sell them off and have them butchered. In the end he has not just a boatload of money but also a year's supply of meat to eat packed away in his freezer!
I think you would agree that the Lord's way is a lot more humane. Thank God for the guidance of His Law!
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Matt is blessed to be a husband, father, and pastor in Ashland, Ohio.