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2014-05-09

Numbers 30 is all about vows and pledges and how important it is to keep them once they’ve been made. Interestingly, while the chapter covers various different conditions of vows and who can make pledges, they don’t mention how to cope when someone is tricked into an unfair vow. We’re told only that vows must be kept!

For example, let’s say some sleazy used car dealer tricks a poor sap into making a vow to pay hidden fees with fine print. Must the vow still be honored? What about a creep who uses confusing language to trick a person with mental impairment into signing a contract? What about some jerk who gets a small child to agree to a pledge before the child really understands what they’re agreeing to? What about if someone kidnaps a couple’s child and demands they make a vow before returning their child? Governments have laws that void shady contracts like these, and for good reason! However, in God’s perfect bible, these scenarios are not addressed or even hinted at. Men are told to honor every aspect of their vows and never go back on them, period.

This fits with the ideal objective ontological moral standard which many believers ascribe to God. While “man’s morals” may change with the situation, God’s are unchanging! Believers see this as the only true foundation available for morality, but in reality they live their lives according to situational ethics just like the rest of us. But to stave off cognitive dissonance, they justify their decisions by interpreting bible passages to fit their needs, preferring conflicting passages, and coming up with various other creative ways to let them keep doing what they want. Take the oft-argued passage Matthew 10:34. Violent believers see it as a call-to-arms against non-Christians while passive believers see it as command to have an open dialogue with non-Christians.

 

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Oh the irony!