The Old Testament was written to the Hebrews 3000 years ago.
The laws are harsh, because they lived in a harsh world. One where Philistines and Egyptians thought nothing of killing a Jew or selling his kids
into slavery. One where Romans could crucify the 90,000 runaway slaves that tried to follow Spartacus into liberty.
The OT was to set the Jews apart from their neighbors, so they would keep an identity as "one nation" through history. The ones who practiced
divination, etc., wandered away from the Bible and its religion, losing their identity in the process.
What happened to all their neighbors? The Jebusites, the Midianites, the Ninevites? They have all gone extinct, because they had no defining "book
of laws" that told them what it means to be a member of "our tribe."
Even in the OT, you can read the Hebrews struggling with the idea that God loves non-Jews, and that they are not supposed to oppress the "alien"
(non-Jew) living in your land.
Or passages like passages like Isaiah 1, where God says he is sick of blood sacrifices and empty sabbath-ceremonies. Or Micah 6, where he tells them
that all they really need to do is get over themselves and implement justice for the oppressed.
Those were big, dangerous ideas in 1000 BC.
Likewise, Jesus said that he fulfilled the OT in his ministry, and so that his own disciples didn't have to bother with it. It's laid out in Romans
It's amusing that the people who are sure the Bible is a BAD BOOK are insistent that you read it their way
, and reach their conclusions.
Just like the believes want you to read it the other way.
Either way, there's always someone handy to tell you how you should understand what you read....
edit on 22-4-2011 by dr_strangecraft because:
(no reason given)