I know many Catholics are trying to convert Evangelicals by emphasizing the inerrancy of the bible, but I would point out that these views are without a doubt the most common reason I see for people to give up faith in Christ entirely.
“I stopped believing because I actually started studying my Bible and the faith I had grown up in. As I studied, the handful of contradictions I knew of grew in number, the examples of God behaving like a moral monster in the Old Testament grew in number, and the problems kept piling up until I no longer COULD believe. I wanted to, oh how I wanted to. I read numerous apologetics books that were recommended to put my doubts to rest and books by Christians who had gone through questions and ended up still believing. None of these books gave satisfactory answers. For me, the bottom line was the evidence did not support the faith I had always believed and try as I might, I could not continue to believe it.”
I just read this in a blog. I could give quote after quote of people losing there faith due to some relatively obscure passage in the old testament because inerrancy was taught as if it were a foundation of the faith. Bart Ehrman is one more prominent example.
Now for my question.
Deuteronomy 22:28-29 in the NIV version says:
“If a man happens to meet a virgin who is not pledged to be married and rapes her and they are discovered, he shall pay her father fifty shekels[a] of silver. He must marry the young woman, for he has violated her. He can never divorce her as long as he lives.”
Now I realize it does not explicitly say rape in the Catholic translations. For example this is how its worded:
“25 But if it is in the open fields that a man comes upon the betrothed young woman, seizes her and lies with her, only the man who lay with her shall die.
26 You shall do nothing to the young woman, since the young woman is not guilty of a capital offense. As when a man rises up against his neighbor and murders him, so in this case:
27 it was in the open fields that he came upon her, and though the betrothed young woman may have cried out, there was no one to save her.
28 If a man comes upon a young woman, a virgin who is not betrothed, seizes her and lies with her, and they are discovered,
29 the man who lay with her shall give the young woman’s father fifty silver shekels and she will be his wife, because he has violated her. He may not divorce her as long as he lives.”
So in our bible it is interpreted as “seizes her and lies with her” which is not necessarily rape. Now I am not a Hebrew scholar but I do note that the same “seizes her and lies with her” language is used above at verse 25 which does indeed seem to mean rape.
But even if we accept that this does not mean rape it does indicate that a man must marry a woman who he lies with. This clearly contradicts Catholic teaching.
Now I understand that as a Catholic we believe these rules of deuteronomy were essentially overruled by the new covenant. (although I would love to see some clear authority on this) The reason these could be overruled is that that these were evidently not moral teachings (God’s moral teachings never change right?) Well then is the Catholic Churches teaching (that people should not get married just because they lie together) that overrules this, a moral teaching? Can that change?
And what of the people in the past before Christ. Did God require that they marry if the man “seizes her and lies with her” (whatever that meant) or not?
If we do then it seems we have to read “seizes her and lies with her” to mean rape in one sentence but something different in a few sentences above. Or we are saying God requires a woman to marry her rapist.
Are these laws to be considered laws from God that are “not good” Ezek 20:25–26?
Thanks for reading and I appreciate any thoughts on this even if they involve some conjecture.