I had no idea that Brother Eli Soriano, Presiding Minister of the Members Church of God International, has been doing it since 2010 – using Twitter as his pulpit to spew fantastic examples of fallacies in reasoning. In this tweet (see image below), he gave us an example of argumentum ab auctoritate.
Soriano’s reasoning is a logical fallacy because his argument stands on one ancient, outdated, archaic leg: the Book of Deuteronomy.
Let’s pretend for a moment that we are not the brainless followers that Bro. Eli thinks we are – lowly sheep that take his every word as gospel – and ask ourselves this question: Is Bro. Eli promoting the Book of Deuteronomy (or some parts of it) as a credible guide on how to live in today’s society? He must be; why else would he offer it as a reason for not subscribing to horoscopes and superstitious beliefs?
Soriano referred to Deuteronomy 18:10-12. Here’s what it says:
Deuteronomy 18:10-12 New International Version (NIV)
10 Let no one be found among you who sacrifices their son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, 11 or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. 12 Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord; because of these same detestable practices the Lord your God will drive out those nations before you.
Well, lookie there! Horoscope is, indeed, “prohibited in the bible among God’s people.”
But before you decide to live your life based on the laws of Deuteronomy (as Soriano might have carelessly suggested), would you like to know what Deuteronomy does not prohibit?
1. Slavery and genocide:
Deuteronomy 20:10-18 New International Version (NIV)
10 When you march up to attack a city, make its people an offer of peace. 11 If they accept and open their gates, all the people in it shall be subject to forced labor and shall work for you. 12 If they refuse to make peace and they engage you in battle, lay siege to that city. 13 When the Lord your God delivers it into your hand, put to the sword all the men in it. 14 As for the women, the children, the livestock and everything else in the city, you may take these as plunder for yourselves. And you may use the plunder the Lord your God gives you from your enemies. 15 This is how you are to treat all the cities that are at a distance from you and do not belong to the nations nearby.
16 However, in the cities of the nations the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance, do not leave alive anything that breathes. 17 Completely destroy them—the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites—as the Lord your God has commanded you. 18 Otherwise, they will teach you to follow all the detestable things they do in worshiping their gods, and you will sin against the Lord your God.
2. The subjugation of women
Deuteronomy 21:10-14 New International Version (NIV)
10 When you go to war against your enemies and the Lord your God delivers them into your hands and you take captives, 11 if you notice among the captives a beautiful woman and are attracted to her, you may take her as your wife. 12 Bring her into your home and have her shave her head, trim her nails 13 and put aside the clothes she was wearing when captured. After she has lived in your house and mourned her father and mother for a full month, then you may go to her and be her husband and she shall be your wife. 14 If you are not pleased with her, let her go wherever she wishes. You must not sell her or treat her as a slave, since you have dishonored her.
Deuteronomy 22:20-21 New International Version (NIV)
20 If, however, the charge is true and no proof of the young woman’s virginity can be found, 21 she shall be brought to the door of her father’s house and there the men of her town shall stone her to death. She has done an outrageous thing in Israel by being promiscuous while still in her father’s house. You must purge the evil from among you.
Okay, this post has now gone longer than I originally intended, but there are so many more verses that talk about laws and tenets that clearly no longer apply today.
I am very interested to find out more about Soriano’s position on the Book of Deuteronomy. Does he abide by it in its entirety, or does he, like some Christians I know, cherry-pick the verses that he likes? I wonder. I think I’ll send him a tweet.
The Book of Deuteronomy is an interesting read. Before you go out conquering lands, committing genocide, and subjugating women, though, remember to use your head, and spread the RED!