I keep wondering about these “family values ” and the idea that there was a time when families had more or better values than families have today. There seems to be a consensus among the fundamentalists that if we could just get back to those values, all of our problems would be solved. I have heard that as a “Christian nation,” we are in deep trouble because our families are missing certain critical values, i.e., Christian values.
I wonder what these Christian values are and where I can acquire them. I look at my family and see a lot of love and respect for each other. I see compassion, honesty, trust, and nurturing. I think of my mother and how she cared for me when I was sick, listened to me when I told her my problems, and loved me even when I didn’t clean my room. All of those things seem to be show that we have good values, but I am an atheist, so I cannot possibly have Christian values. If compassion, love, honesty, trust, respect and nurturing are not Christian values, what are Christian values? My first thought, of course, was to look in the Bible.Order now
If we lack Christian values, then the Bible would be the only true source for finding them. After all, the Bible has been used for thousands of years as a “guide for better living.” Before the Christian, sequel – The New Testament – there was the Old Testament. Now, some Christians will argue that you cannot use the Old Testament because Jesus said he came to replace the old laws, however, this is not true because the New Testament states that Jesus himself said he came to uphold the old laws. In addition, if Christians would like to ignore most of the Old Testament, why do so many Christians insist that the Ten Commandments are better than the Bill of Rights? No, there’s just no getting around it, if you are a Christian, you can’t get away from the fact that the Bible includes the Old Testament and you’ve got to start there. A search for the exact phrase “family values” in both the Old and New Testament came up empty.
Well, I suppose there was some other word for “value” back then. Something, I am sure, that is equally meaningful to us today. I searched for the word “family.” Even I was surprised when I found the very first instance of the word. “Leviticus 20:5 Then I will set my face against that man, and against his family, and will cut him off, and all that go a whoring after him, to commit whoredom with Molech, from among their people.” Now, I do not know exactly what this passage is all about, but I can tell you that it certainly cannot be ethical to turn against a man’s family because that man makes you angry.
In fact, it reminds me of a joke: “Our high school football team was so nasty, they would sack the quarterback and then go after his family.” I guess Jehovah was a lot like that. From the first rants in Leviticus to the final madness of Malachi, the Old Testament tells us nothing about nurturing our children or loving our spouses. We can read “honor thy parents,” but how can a child honor the parents that beat him? We can read “Thou shalt not commit adultery,” but what does that mean when a man is allowed as many wives and concubines as he can afford? We can also find instances of the most horrendous treatment of women and children within the Old Testament. We can read a passage that describes in great detail how to handle slaves, how to kill your disobedient child, how to sell your wife or daughter into slavery and how to murder the innocent children of your enemies, but not one word of the Old Testament teaches you how to gently hold a crying child to calm her fears or kiss away tiny tears. Very little in the Old Testament speaks of compassion, of truth or of honesty.
Within its pages there is mostly horror, senility, obscenity and destruction. It .