Here's a post at The Atheist Experience, discussing this article by Matt Slick at the Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry (CARM). Some excerpts from that post:
Slick begins by quoting a lengthy passage from Deuteronomy in which God’s laws for dealing with an insufficiently chaste bride are detailed. The passage first declares that any groom who is caught trying to weasel out of his marriage by lying that his bride was not a virgin will be fined 100 shekels and then forbidden from ever divorcing his wife as long as he lives (which I imagine is considered the worse punishment). On the other hand, if it turns out that the bride was indeed not a virgin at her nuptials, then the skanky ho is to be taken out and stoned to death.
So let’s review. Man at fault = fined money. Woman at fault = murdered. Yeah, that sounds ever so egalitarian!
To attempt to defend a practice so primitive, inhumane and frankly monstrous, one would, you’d think, have to be not only an idiot, but someone plumbing hitherto unexamined depths of idiocy just to see how far he could go before imploding into something like a black hole of idiocy so dense that nothing, not even light, can escape. Well, folks, we have that intrepid explorer right here. Step right up, Mr. Slick. ...
Let us briefly consider what is involved in stoning someone to death.
Matt Frauenfelder at Boing Boing (too many Matts in this piece, I must say) has helpfully provided us with an illustrated guide. This graphic shows how they do it in the Muslim world, which is the only contemporary culture I know of still goat-fucking barbaric enough to pull this crap. The details might have been different when the ancient Jews did it, but I suspect the results were the same: a dead girl.
(from BoingBoing - click to embiggen)
First the victim is partially buried standing up, because it’s no fun if the stonee is running around frantically for her life. You might miss and hit your mom or something. Then, the actual process of killing the victim can take anywhere from 20 minutes to a couple of hours, depending on, I don’t know, whether the victim’s skull is especially thick, or whether the stones are nice and hard or soft and crumbly, or maybe it’s just a matter of how goddamned sadistic the killers are feeling that day. ...
Anyway, let your imagination run with all this as you continue to read Slick’s apologia. Remember the above is what he’s defending.
Sexual purity was very highly valued, unlike today, and when a man would marry a woman, her virginity was critical. In ancient times a dowry was paid to the father of the bride and the rightful expectation was that the bride would be a virgin.So there, you see? She’s his property, so that makes it okay. And notice the snide aside about “sexual purity [being] highly valued, unlike today.” Yeah, because we all know a woman’s hymen is of more value to her male owner than her fucking life. There’s your religious “morality,” gang. ...
Slick steadfastly avoids passing any moral judgment upon the killing, while telling “critics of the Bible” they are in no position to pass a moral judgment either, which is itself a moral judgment. Somehow, you can’t condemn death by stoning (if it’s ancient and Biblical, that is, because something tells me Slick would flip-flop in a picosecond when presented with the spectacle of modern-day Islamist stonings), but you can condemn those who’d condemn it, on the ground that they are somehow applying “subjective” moral standards.
So what is the Godly “moral absolute” on this issue then, Mr. Slick? Can young women be treated as chattel by their fathers and husbands, or not? Can they be murdered for making men embarrassed about their pee-pees, or not? If a “morally subjective” approach is the wrong way to think about all this, then clearly a “morally absolute” approach is the right way. So what does the absolute moral lawgiver have to say, Mr. Slick? Is he pissed off that we no longer stone our women to death? If his morals are absolute, shouldn’t this still be common practice today?
I think I’ve said enough. If any article demonstrates better than this one how badly religion can screw up a human being’s fundamental sense of right and wrong, I’ve managed to miss it. Religion, far from providing anything like morality, simply sets a list of arbitrary rules that allow any number of vile acts to be visited upon the helpless, and it is all elaborately justified with feeble rhetoric later. Secular morality may not be perfect either, but it is immeasurably stronger for being rooted in basic human empathy and reason. Not only do I not need a God to tell me that “honor killings” are a horrible evil, but it appears that people who do have a God don’t think it’s all that evil after all.
So, what can I really add to that? Just that this is the problem with faith-based thinking. You know that the Bible is God's word (if you're a Christian, at least, since if you were a Muslim, you'd know that the Koran was God's word, even though in both cases it's just a matter of what you were raised to believe), so you simply have to find a way to justify even the worst parts of it.
OK, sure, more liberal Christian denominations just believe the parts they want to believe. That makes those people less crazy, for sure, but it doesn't make their beliefs any more true. Of course, evidence-based thinking isn't guaranteed to be right. Maybe the evidence is misleading. But if it's not right, it will get corrected when additional evidence is discovered.
If you really care about the truth of what you believe, then you don't want to believe first, then look for reasons to justify that belief. Instead, you want to ask yourself why you believe, and whether or not you have good evidence backing up those beliefs,... and then never stop asking those questions.
Whenever someone believes something truly batshit crazy like this, you can just about guarantee it's because of religion. It reminds me of this quote from Steven Weinberg: "With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion."
For good people to believe that evil things are good, that, too, takes religion. Anyone can be mistaken. But to be this batshit crazy? That takes religion.