Is the bible really immoral for its time?

I was replying to this thread on “Would you kill your child?” (http://www.centerforinquiry.net/forums/viewthread/17348/) when I was stuck with the idea of morality of the bible maybe be immoral for us at this time but was it immoral for its time.
immoral [ i(m)ˈmôrəl, -ˈmärəl ]
adjective
1.not conforming to accepted standards of morality:
“an immoral and unwinnable war”
synonyms: unethical · bad · morally wrong · wrongful · wicked · evil · foul ·
Powered by OxfordDictionaries · © Oxford University Press
moral [ ˈmôrəl, ˈmär- ]
adjective
1.concerned with the principles of right and wrong behavior and the goodness or badness of human character:
“the moral dimensions of medical intervention”
synonyms: virtuous · good · righteous · upright · upstanding · high-minded ·
Powered by OxfordDictionaries · © Oxford University Press
I think knowing the time of the bible and all the violence and unrest of that area and how much it still lives on to this day, is proof in fact that it was not immoral behavior at that time but common socially accepted behavior. I know that’s hard but I think it’s true.
Our global social culture has matured and softened to the extent that we now see this misogyny, slavery and tribal warring as repulsive but they lived it and it was the normal way of life back then. (In some areas nothing has changed since that time.)
I find the inhumane events that I know of from the bible completely deplorable but I think they were the norm then.
What do you think?
MzLee

I was replying to this thread on "Would you kill your child?" (http://www.centerforinquiry.net/forums/viewthread/17348/) when I was stuck with the idea of morality of the bible maybe be immoral for us at this time but was it immoral for its time. immoral [ i(m)ˈmôrəl, -ˈmärəl ] adjective 1.not conforming to accepted standards of morality: "an immoral and unwinnable war" synonyms: unethical · bad · morally wrong · wrongful · wicked · evil · foul · Powered by OxfordDictionaries · © Oxford University Press moral [ ˈmôrəl, ˈmär- ] adjective 1.concerned with the principles of right and wrong behavior and the goodness or badness of human character: "the moral dimensions of medical intervention" synonyms: virtuous · good · righteous · upright · upstanding · high-minded · Powered by OxfordDictionaries · © Oxford University Press I think knowing the time of the bible and all the violence and unrest of that area and how much it still lives on to this day, is proof in fact that it was not immoral behavior at that time but common socially accepted behavior. I know that's hard but I think it's true. Our global social culture has matured and softened to the extent that we now see this misogyny, slavery and tribal warring as repulsive but they lived it and it was the normal way of life back then. (In some areas nothing has changed since that time.) I find the inhumane events that I know of from the bible completely deplorable but I think they were the norm then. What do you think? MzLee
I think it might have depended on whom you asked. Women, for example, if they had a voice, might have had a completely different view of morality. We only heard the voices of men--usually religious and political leaders. The impoverished had no voice. Women had no voice. Slaves had no voice. Morality is in the eye of the beholder. Unfortunately, we only heard from a minority of beholders, so how can we really assess the morality of the times? We can only assess the morality of a minority of males who had power. Lois

I agree your personal morality is what you think it is but the standards of social morality or laws are set by the ones in society who have a voice/vote/say and yes that was men of power. So, yes it was moral for its time but of course you’re also right in that the ones who’s lives were most adversely affected had no say.
In many ways of some cultures, they still don’t have much say. There are still slaves, still poor and still women being used and abused as chattel.
MzL

Both are good points. “moral for its time” is a difficult statement. I believe slavery is wrong and has always been wrong, but that’s what I was taught from the beginning, so of course I believe that. Also, it is logically better for more people. But they didn’t think that way then. They thought that people were born with a predetermined place in life. They didn’t know about genetics and had very few experiences of people rising out of slavery to be equal to the 1%. So you’d have to define “for its time” to mean there were no acceptable arguments for it being immoral. Trouble is, we’ll never know if someone tried since those arguments would have been suppressed.
I think it’s easier to digest is you say, it was always immoral, but they just didn’t know any better.

Both are good points. "moral for its time" is a difficult statement. I believe slavery is wrong and has always been wrong, but that's what I was taught from the beginning, so of course I believe that. Also, it is logically better for more people. But they didn't think that way then. They thought that people were born with a predetermined place in life. They didn't know about genetics and had very few experiences of people rising out of slavery to be equal to the 1%. So you'd have to define "for its time" to mean there were no acceptable arguments for it being immoral. Trouble is, we'll never know if someone tried since those arguments would have been suppressed. I think it's easier to digest is you say, it was always immoral, but they just didn't know any better.
"They thought that people were born with a predetermined place in life." Yes, that was a very convenient position for the ones in power to take. It fit into their world-view perfectly. Lois

The old line, “life was cheap” comes to mind. I wonder if it could be shown that many universal morals our time actually have no basis in any of the holy books. This would help demonstrait that our morality does “not” come from religion as is so regularly claimed by the religious.

The old line, "life was cheap" comes to mind. I wonder if it could be shown that many universal morals our time actually have no basis in any of the holy books. This would help demonstrait that our morality does "not" come from religion as is so regularly claimed by the religious.
Morality comes from living in social groups. People make up rules as they go along, depending on circumstances. The holy books often were used only to justify their actions. People often made up rules for their "inferiors" to follow, letting themselves off the hook. That goes on to this day. Lois

Of course over time morality takes on different meanings; however, even during Biblical times, murder, respect, humility, honestly etc were all discussed in the Bible, so even then there were strong senses of morality that have been universal. Yet in the Bible, we have god asking Abraham to sacrifice his son as an offering as a “test,” two daughters got their father, Lot, drunk with wine and then had sex with him (obvious incest and sex taking place outside of marriage which is antithetical to the teachings in the Bible), God manipulating Pharaoh…so the Bible is full of examples of people performing immoral acts, that aren’t even condemned, despite the fact that the Bible itself states those things are wrong; so if it was taught as immoral in the Bible itself, I would have to assume those should have been condemned. Incidentally, it is more frightening when you think that the same morals don’t apply to god, because apparently “killing” is acceptable as long as it is god telling you to do it, otherwise it would be immoral.

In the bible, god himself is most immoral.

The Bible makes complete sense within the context of its time, morally and otherwise but that time has long ceased to be.

The Bible makes complete sense within the context of its time, morally and otherwise but that time has long ceased to be.
But we must consider that the "morality" of the bible was created solely by men of a certain class who disregarded the views of the vast majority of the population. That is not my definition of morality. It is my definition of religious dictatorship. Morality changed when more people than that tiny class of self-appointed men considered themselves to have rights or who demanded they had rights. To me, what that small self-serving group decided was moral and immoral in their own limited view was not morality, but a set of rules created for their own convenience. They called it morality and we, 20 centuries later, still call it morality, even though it cannot qualify as morality by any standard and was completely based on the self-interest of that small self-appointed group creating the rules that advantaged themselves and, worse, claiming that their rules came from "god." How bloody convenient! And we all fell for it and we're still falling for it. Lois
The Bible makes complete sense within the context of its time, morally and otherwise but that time has long ceased to be.
But we must consider that the "morality" of the bible was created solely by men of a certain class who disregarded the views of the vast majority of the population. That is not my definition of morality. It is my definition of religious dictatorship. Morality changed when more people than that tiny class of self-appointed men considered themselves to have rights or who demanded they had rights. To me, what that small self-serving group decided was moral and immoral in their own limited view was not morality, but a set of rules created for their own convenience. They called it morality and we, 20 centuries later, still call it morality, even though it cannot qualify as morality by any standard and was completely based on the self-interest of that small self-appointed group creating the rules that advantaged themselves and, worse, claiming that their rules came from "god." How bloody convenient! And we all fell for it and we're still falling for it. Lois I'm not so sure they fell for it. We just don't have any surviving documents of how the women or slaves or working class felt about it. We get a glimpse of it in the New Testament, but that's thousands of years after Leviticus. One could argue that answering to Yahweh was a slight improvement over answering to Ra, possibly a noticeable improvement at the time. But looking back, it was a small step and not worthy of being called "moral".
The Bible makes complete sense within the context of its time, morally and otherwise but that time has long ceased to be.
But we must consider that the "morality" of the bible was created solely by men of a certain class who disregarded the views of the vast majority of the population. That is not my definition of morality. It is my definition of religious dictatorship. Morality changed when more people than that tiny class of self-appointed men considered themselves to have rights or who demanded they had rights. To me, what that small self-serving group decided was moral and immoral in their own limited view was not morality, but a set of rules created for their own convenience. They called it morality and we, 20 centuries later, still call it morality, even though it cannot qualify as morality by any standard and was completely based on the self-interest of that small self-appointed group creating the rules that advantaged themselves and, worse, claiming that their rules came from "god." How bloody convenient! And we all fell for it and we're still falling for it. Lois I'm not so sure they fell for it. We just don't have any surviving documents of how the women or slaves or working class felt about it. We get a glimpse of it in the New Testament, but that's thousands of years after Leviticus. One could argue that answering to Yahweh was a slight improvement over answering to Ra, possibly a noticeable improvement at the time. But looking back, it was a small step and not worthy of being called "moral". What makes you think it was an improvement over answering to Ra? Or any other god, for that matter? Everyone at the time did not believe in Ra. Lois
What makes you think it was an improvement over answering to Ra? Or any other god, for that matter? Everyone at the time did not believe in Ra. Lois
We're talking about a long time ago, so the history is far from proven, but some historians believe there was some kind of break from the Egyptian rulers and the formation of a primitive democracy. William Dever, Professor Emeritus at the University of Arizona]
Some have argued that early Israel was an egalitarian society, that there was no social stratification. I'm not sure any society was ever really egalitarian, but there is a sort of egalitarianism in the Hebrew Bible: "Every man under his own fig tree, equal in the eyes of Yahweh." It's interesting that in these hundreds of 12th-century settlements there are no temples, no palaces, no elite residences, no monumental architecture of any kind. These are farming villages in which every household is independent. I think there is a kind of primitive democracy in early Israel, which is enshrined in the vision of the good life in the Hebrew Bible.
What makes you think it was an improvement over answering to Ra? Or any other god, for that matter? Everyone at the time did not believe in Ra. Lois
We're talking about a long time ago, so the history is far from proven, but some historians believe there was some kind of break from the Egyptian rulers and the formation of a primitive democracy. William Dever, Professor Emeritus at the University of Arizona]
Some have argued that early Israel was an egalitarian society, that there was no social stratification. I'm not sure any society was ever really egalitarian, but there is a sort of egalitarianism in the Hebrew Bible: "Every man under his own fig tree, equal in the eyes of Yahweh." It's interesting that in these hundreds of 12th-century settlements there are no temples, no palaces, no elite residences, no monumental architecture of any kind. These are farming villages in which every household is independent. I think there is a kind of primitive democracy in early Israel, which is enshrined in the vision of the good life in the Hebrew Bible.
Maybe, but it was still limited to men. But my point was that people in the early days of Christianity and to this day see the bible as the seat of moral truths. I dispute that view. There is very little in the bible that should be seen as a moral guide for anyone. Lois
Maybe, but it was still limited to men.
It was almost all limited to men. There was no perceived immorality in that and neither was there in slavery. They were incorporated societal memes just as we have ours today which usually counters the ancient ones.
But my point was that people in the early days of Christianity and to this day see the bible as the seat of moral truths. I dispute that view. There is very little in the bible that should be seen as a moral guide for anyone.
That is precisely true. For one thing - and one always gets flogged for saying so - the Bible is a Jewish document. It doesn't belong to anyone else, it was their story and it was to the detriment of all Jews that both Christianity and Islam emanated from it. If it weren't for the OT neither C & I would have existed. In the NT, Jesus never spoke ecumenically but purely from a Jewish perspective. It was St Paul who cracked that barrier and with many subsequent additions by others forged it into a universal doctrine. What does all this amount to? Simply that religion is more about history than God who merely conforms to human requirements and moral objectives. It's long been known that "so-called morality" is best mandated by higher powers.
It's long been known that "so-called morality" is best mandated by higher powers.
Interesting. I agree with the "Bible is history" stuff. You really left us hanging there on that last sentence though. Lots of ways I could interpret that. A little expansion on that would be nice. Like, what's the difference between "so-called morality" and "actual morality", and is this sarcasm? Even as sarcasm, I'm not sure I'm getting it.