Unfortunately the author uses it.
Critics of the Bible must be careful not to impose their present day moral system upon that of an ancient culture found in Scripture and then judge Scripture as though it is inferior to their own subjective morality. The above verses were written 3,000 years ago in a very different culture and location. Sexual purity was very highly valued, unlike today, and when a man would marry a woman, her virginity was critical. In ancient times a dowry was paid to the father of the bride and the rightful expectation was that the bride would be a virgin.
Of course we cannot impose our morality on a bunch of bronze age people. We have come such a long way from their barbarism and we are trying to develop a truly egalitarian society on the principles of equality of all, the brotherhood of mankind, compassion and reason. Theirs was a brutish society dictated by the laws of superstition and of inequality.
So yes, it’s correct. We cannot judge a bunch of people with no idea of our modern ethics and our better morality which developed over time. We can be shocked at their murder of women but being shocked won’t bring those women back. We can laugh at the ignorance of these people who would stone a woman to death just because she had sex and even at the purchase of women as chattel. These are things in the past. The author is right in all of this.
No, what we should be asking ourselves is “If they were so backwards, why on earth do we need to listen to anything they have to say in the first place?”.
In the culture of the time it was the father who was charged with the covering, care, and well-being of his daughter. Her sexual purity was representative of the father’s ability to raise her according to the laws God. Therefore, in that culture, a man’s reputation, as well as the family’s reputation in the community, could be adversely affected by the fornication of his daughter. If his daughter had been promised to a man to be married, and a dowry had been paid, there was every expectation from the bridegroom that she would be a virgin. If the contrary was discovered after the marriage, then the implication is that there had been a deception in which the father could be implicated, or it would mean that he was unaware of her sin and this would bring great shame to the family and the community, not to mention it being a display of outright rebellion against God’s law. In this case, to insure the integrity of the family, and to remove the evil of adulterous/fornication from the community, stoning was advocated.
Oh, I completely agree with him. To those people who lived around 1000 BC this would have made perfect sense and would be logical and true. What bugs me is why we have to listen to anything they have to say about morality when it has absolutely no correlation to what morality we have.
Finally, she was not stoned for not being a virgin, but for carrying out a deception in trying to appear as one.
Could this be because the punishment for not being a virgin is to be stoned? I really cannot believe that I have to say this but “Making it worse? How could it be worse?“.
“But my nation has also a custom. When men burn women alive we hang them, and confiscate all their property. My carpenters shall therefore erect gibbets on which to hang all concerned when the widow is consumed. Let us all act according to national customs.”
General Charles Napier
And yes, I cannot believe that I have had to quote Monty Python and Napier in one article but it really is that ridiculous a piece of apologetics.