So, why is the question, “Do children, whatever their age, who curse at their parents deserve the death penalty? YES OR NO?” a trick question?
The troll’s insistence upon “whatever their age” stands out like a sore thumb. The insistence of phrasing it this way in spite of repeated commentary that the age DOES matter is only one of the tip-offs, but it is an important one. Obviously, there had to be an age differentiation or else very few people would live beyond the “terrible twos”.
Jesus became a rabbi at age 30. That was significant. As I posted about yesterday, there is is a new book The Jesus Discovery which sheds some light on Jesus’ possible journey into adulthood to become a respected rabbi of His time. It is possible that He actually began consciously preparing for this since at least age 12, where we find Him discussing religious matters at the Temple. It took preparation, and it took time.
However, why 30? Jewish tradition did not allow a man to become a rabbi until 30. Until that time, He was not considered mature enough to be a prominent leader in the community.
In fact, it wasn’t until age 20, according to Talmudic tradition, that a person was considered a self-sustaining adult. That number 20 is also significant. That was the age in the OT that one could be a soldier (Nu 1:3).
It isn’t taking it out of context to insist that the stoning of a child that curses his/her parents must be of the age of accountability. Dt 21:20 makes it clear that the parents are to state the son “is a glutton, and a drunkard.” Unless you have really bad parents, ten year old children are not drunkards. Case law is built precept upon precept (sound familiar?), and much of what we read in the OT is really case law (and is written in that style).
However, the “whatever their age” grants the skeptic an argument in either event:
YES – The OT Law is cruel and savage and punishes those who cannot even be accountable.
NO – The specific verse makes no distinction, therefore you are not following your own Bible.
Silly? Yes. However, that is exactly the type of arguments you find on most skeptic sites. Unfortunately, copy and paste from websites has replaced critical thinking for some people.
Obviously, Jesus thought something quite different than what the normal skeptic site would portray. He told His disciples to become like a little child, even putting a child in the midst of them for an example. Jesus even stated of “these little ones” that “their angels do always behold the face of my Father”. Quite a different portrayal than the angry, stern and even sadistic “god” that some atheists would portray, isn’t it?
So, no, I didn’t go into most of this with the troll. It becomes pointless to throw pearls before swine, after all. However, should we totally let go of the troll’s assertion that “we are all looking for truth”? No. So, let’s do what Jesus did and give him a parable that shows the truth and whether or not they are even really willing to see the truth.
In fact, why not quote one of Jesus’ parables? How about the Parable of the Talents?
Part 3 will cover why that particular one.