Deuteronomy vs. the National Debt
The names of the last books of the Torah -- Numbers, Leviticus, Deuteronomy -- seem coined to induce somnolescence. For centuries, skeptics have quoted the harsher statutes in these books as evidence that God either did not inspire the Bible, or that He is a "vindictive, blood-thirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogenistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully," to quote Richard Dawkin's anti-encomomium.
I admit I don't always enjoy reading these books, partly because they do indeed not always seem to reflect well on God. What's the point of punishing a nation for sometimes killing children, by killing all their children? Did the list of capital offenses really have to include picking up sticks on Saturday?
On balance, however, reading the Torah and the Chinese Book of History the past month, I think the Hebrew statutes were more just and useful in creating a free, prosperous society, than any other set of laws from antiquity I know of. While I don't advocate any form of "Christian shariah" -- this is really not I think the point of the Sermon on the Mount -- I also think Dawkins is wrong. There is more good here than bad. The New Atheists (here I especially include one of my sparing partners, Hector Avalos, along with Dawkins) are, among other things, dead wrong when they suggest the Torah only told Jews to care for Jews. Furthermore, I find rules in the Torah that would make modern America a better place, were we to listen.
Consider the "Grand Canyon" of debt we have been amassing for our children and grandchildren over the past few decades, and with increasing, frenzied speed lately. (Now over $13 trillion! Now there are some scary "Numbers!" Watch the "Exodus" of dollars from your children's wallets!)
Here's what Moses said about national debt:
"When the Lord your God blesses you as He promised to you, then you shall lend to many nations, but not borrow; you shall rule many nations, but they shall not rule over you." (Deuteronomy 15:6)
Where has the balance of power in the relationship between the US and China gone in the past few years? See this from Saturday Night Live on who is now in a position to tell whom how to act!
"The Lord will open for you His rich treasury, the heavens to give rain upon your soil in its season, blessings to rest on all your enterprises. You shall lend to many nations while you yourselves borrow from none." (Deut. 28:12)
It is a remarkable thing. A Bronze Age confederacy of tribes somehow hoped to prosper 3000 years ago without borrowing a dime from neighbors. But the United States of America, which invented cars, airplanes and computers and explored the solar system, now thinks we need to borrow $40,000 per head to pay our government tab -- largely from countries like China and Saudi Arabia, who are not our friends.
This is not only a disgrace, it is a sin against our children.