Violence and Sex

Norman Hovland

In countless articles the Watchtower literature harps on how much they abhor violence and "illicit sex", etc. Particularly in their articles about "unwholesome" music like rock and the more recent rap, you can find the most horrid allegations. Particularly they are "worried" about the alleged effect this will have on young people.

What, then, if a Christian listens to music that encourages violence, racism, immorality, Devil worship, and suicide? Ephesians 5:3, 4 specifies: "Let fornication and uncleanness of every sort or greediness not even be mentioned among you, just as it befits holy people; neither shameful conduct nor foolish talking nor obscene jesting, things which are not becoming, but rather the giving of thanks." Yes, those who desire friendship with Jehovah cannot make unwholesome matters their entertainment. They will not reason that as long as they do not do these bad things, it is all right to be amused by them. [Awake!, June 8, 1993, pp. 8-11]

A well informed reader will of course wonder about how interested the Watchtower Society really is in shielding their young from such texts of violence, racism, etc. Why? Well, first of all the Watchtower literature is full of hate and promises of utter violence against those who don't agree with the Watchtower Society's Governing Body. All non-Witnesses and in particular former Witnesses are "invited" to a huge party not as guests but the "main course" (The Watchtower, July 1, 1994, p. 13, §16). Sounds pretty gory to me.

The Bible, which is held in such high esteem and regarded as very good reading for Christian youth, contains stories that make the text of rock and rap pale in comparison. Take for instance the story in Judges, chapter 18:

In those days there was no king in Israel. And in those days the tribe of the Dan'ites was looking for an inheritance for itself to dwell there; because up to that day an inheritance had not fallen to them in the midst of the tribes of Israel. (Judges 18:1)

Accordingly the five men went on and came to La'ish and saw how the people that were within it were dwelling in self-reliance according to the custom of the Sido'nians, quiet and unsuspecting, and there was no oppressive conqueror that was molesting a thing in the land, while they were far off from the Sido'nians and they had nothing to do with mankind. (Judges 18:7)

These Dan'ites found a quiet, unsuspecting people living in peace and freedom, what did they do? They were very happy, because such gentle peaceful people wouldn't put up much resistance, so they murdered them all and took their land:

27 As for them, they took what Mi'cah had made and the priest that had become his, and they kept going toward La'ish, against a people quiet and unsuspecting. And they proceeded to strike them with the edge of the sword, and the city they burned with fire. 28 And there was no deliverer, for it was far away from Si'don, and they had nothing at all to do with mankind; and it was in the low plain that belonged to Beth-re'hob. Then they built the city and took up dwelling in it. (Judges 18:27-28)

Real lovely people those Israelites, eh?

But there is more of these "wholesome and upbuilding" stories in this highly recommended "word of God". Take for instance the story in Judges about the Levite who came to the town of Gib'eah in the territory of the tribe of Benjamin:

22 While they were making their hearts feel good, look! the men of the city, mere good-for-nothing men, surrounded the house, shoving one another against the door; and they kept saying to the old man, the owner of the house: "Bring out the man that came into your house, that we may have intercourse with him." 23 At that the owner of the house went on out to them and said to them: "No, my brothers, do not do anything wrong, please, since this man has come into my house. Do not commit this disgraceful folly. 24 Here are my virgin daughter and his concubine. Let me bring them out, please, and YOU rape them and do to them what is good in YOUR eyes. But to this man YOU must not do this disgraceful, foolish thing."

25 And the men did not want to listen to him. Hence the man took hold of his concubine and brought her forth to them outside; and they began to have intercourse with her, and kept on abusing her all night long until the morning, after which they sent her off at the ascending of the dawn. 26 Then the woman came as it was turning to morning, and fell down at the entrance of the man's house where her master was, -- until daylight. 27 Later her master rose up in the morning and opened the doors of the house and went out to get on his way, and, look! the woman, his concubine, fallen at the entrance of the house with her hands upon the threshold! 28 So he said to her: "Rise up, and let us go." But there was no one answering. At that the man took her upon the ass and rose up and went to his place.

29 Then he entered his house and took the slaughtering knife and laid hold of his concubine and cut her up according to her bones into twelve pieces and sent her into every territory of Israel. 30 And it occurred that everybody seeing it said: "Such a thing as this has never been brought about or been seen from the day that the sons of Israel went up out of the land of Egypt down to this day. Set YOUR hearts upon it, take counsel and speak." (Judges 19:22-30)

I am sure the rap and rock songwriters could pick up many a juicy tip for their songs here. Notice the immense respect "Gods chosen people" had for women. Didn't seem to hesitate much before they handed over the women to the mob. The Levite's compassion and respect for women was also demonstrated the next morning when he found her lying dead outside the door. "Rise up, and let us go.", was his compassionate words, one wonders why he didn't rebuke her for failing to prepare his breakfast. After transporting her home he parted her with a knife and sent the different parts to the different tribes.

A civil war ensued with great casualties on both sides, but finally the rest of Israel managed to wipe out the town of Gib'eah. But it doesn't end here, the carnage wasn't over by far. Much more "wholesome and upbuilding" things took place. Now Israel became worried about the tribe of Benjamin being totally wiped out of Israel. They had in their rage sworn that nobody should allow their daughters to marry a Benjamenite. So like the totally legalistic morons they were they couldn't change that. What to do then? Well some observant guy noticed that there was the township of Ja'besh-gil'ead who didn't have the taste for killing people from Benjamin, so they had simply stayed home. This was of course a terrible crime, so the rest of Israel were thus dispatched to the place to do what? Well, read this:

9 When the people were counted, well, look! there was not a man there from the inhabitants of Ja'besh-gil'ead. 10 Hence the assembly proceeded to send twelve thousand of the most valiant men there and to command them, saying: "Go, and YOU must strike the inhabitants of Ja'besh-gil'ead with the edge of the sword, even the women and the little ones. 11 And this is the thing that YOU should do: Every male and every woman that has experienced lying with a male YOU should devote to destruction." 12 However, they found out of the inhabitants of Ja'besh-gil'ead four hundred girls, virgins, that had not had intercourse with a man by lying with a male. So they brought them to the camp at Shi'loh, which is in the land of Ca'naan. 13 And all the assembly now sent and spoke to the sons of Benjamin that were on the crag of Rim'mon and offered them peace. 14 Accordingly Benjamin came back at that time. Then they gave them the women that they had preserved alive from the women of Ja'besh-gil'ead; but they did not find enough for them." (Judges 21:9-14)

Again the Israelite demonstrated their love and compassion for women. Because they couldn't go back on their stupid oath, it was much more convenient to slaughter mothers, fathers and male infants before the eyes of the young girls and female babies, and take them away to "give" to the lovely tribe of Benjamin. But alas there wasn't enough virgins to go around, now what should they do? Read further:

19 Finally they said: "Look! There is a festival of Jehovah from year to year in Shi'loh, which is to the north of Beth'el, toward the east of the highway that goes up from Beth'el to She'chem and toward the south of Lebo'nah." 20 So they commanded the sons of Benjamin, saying: "Go, and YOU must lie in wait in the vineyards. 21 And YOU must look, and, there now, when the daughters of Shi'loh come on out to dance in circle dances, YOU must also come out from the vineyards and carry off for yourselves by force each one his wife from the daughters of Shi'loh, and YOU must go to the land of Benjamin." (Judges 21:19-21)

Ah, well. At least they didn't kill everybody in sight this time. There isn't even mentioned that these women which were to be kidnapped should be virgins, probably a bit difficult to ascertain in a hurry during a kidnapping. One wonders in vain what kind of attitude these people had towards human life, women, and in particular women who had lost their virginity, their lives seemed to be utter worthless.

The Watchtower doctrine of the mother of all holocausts seems a lot more understandable now. When you see where they get their inspiration. Well, there is much more of this in the Bible. Come to think of it, I might as well listen to some Black Sabbath or something, far more upbuilding I'm afraid.