The Israelite legal system of the Old Testament

Oct 2019
As far as the legal system of the Old Testament goes, I'm aware that atheists have criticized it for being barbaric (such as for using the death penalty for crimes such as working on the Sabbath, or killing children in war).

From a historical perspective, however - I've heard that the Old Testament system of government was considered a fairer and more just system for its day and age (e.x. Iron Age) than other systems of government (such as Babylonian systems). It's well known that modern systems of government developed from older systems which came before it (such as how the Common Law system of the US and Britain developed up from older systems, such Rome and Exodus).

Not to mention, atrocities by modern governments are nothing new either (such as the genocide committed by Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, the Japanese Unit 731, or the US bombing of Dresden).

So from a historical perspective - such as in regards to Iron Age legal systems, or Iron Age rules of war, how does the Old Testament compare to its contemporaries - or is this just an attempt to attack the Bible or Israel? Discuss.
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Forum Staff
Apr 2013
La La Land North
The most pathetic justification in the world.

Well, it's not as bad as X so it's just great.
Dec 2018
Might be a bit egotistical, but might I suggest @Inquisitor that you review the below thread

Oct 2019
What it are you referring to?
The notion that it is bad comes from some faith-based belief or set of principles.

On the flip side, one could make a "secular" argument, against something such as sodomy or homosexuality which is stronger than the "religious" ones.

If, for example, it was known that executing 100 homosexuals saved 1,000 people from dying from aids, and atheist of a utilitarian persuasion could easily rationalize this.