You Shall Not Bear False Witness against Your Neighbor

I’ve been meaning to write this one for a long time. I’ll keep it short and to the point. “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.”

For those of you who don’t recognize those words, they are the text of the ninth commandment from Exodus 20, verse 16. I’m using the English Standard Version here, but that doesn’t change the meaning at all.

There are a few “discernment blogs” that I suspect of violating this commandment. I’m not naming names here, because I am not certain, yet, about the charge. I do know that some of them make misleading statements, or merely quote themselves as sources when they speak out against some in the church. Whether what they’re saying is slanderous, I don’t know – so I’m not going to make the charge.

On the other hand, I have been bothered, a lot, by an expression that is all too common on some blogs regarding the pro-abortion left. That is to call them “Molech worshipers.”

I understand the use of hyperbole. Nevertheless, I strongly believe that there’s a significant difference between being pro-abortion and worshiping Molech.

Yes, abortion is a sin and a violation of the sixth commandment, “You shall not murder.” (Exodus 20:13) There is no way around the fact that abortion is the taking of an innocent human life – for whatever reason. Because of this I am anti-abortion, and always will be, whatever the reasons given for it.

But that is not the same as worshiping Molech. Worshiping Molech involved the sacrifice of children to the false god Molech through a ritual sacrifice involving passing the child through the fire. It was a violation of the first and the second commandment (Exodus 20:2-6). Worship is a conscious act, undertaken deliberately. To worship a false god still requires that you knowingly give honor and glory to that false god. It is volitional.

Abortions are undertaken for convenience, as a consequence of sexual immorality, or for any number of reasons. Some are undertaken for eugenics. Some are undertaken to prevent “harm to the mother.” But most are likely undertaken because to bring the baby to term would somehow inconvenience the mother. None of these reasons excuses the intentional taking of innocent human life. And none of them are an act of worship.

It is slanderous to verbally accuse someone of a sin they are not committing. It is libelous to do so in print. It is no less than bearing false witness against your neighbor. Christians should not do it. Especially when we remember that the punishment in the old testament for idolatry was stoning (Leviticus 20:1-5), and that the punishment for someone who bore false witness was the same as the punishment that they sought for their neighbor when they bore false witness (Deuteronomy 19:18-19).

Let’s stop calling the pro-abortion people “Molech worshipers.” Unless we actually see them bowing down to Molech and passing their children through the fire.

2 comments

  1. I understand and agree in principle with your post, Perri, but do note:

    “Abortions are undertaken for convenience, as a consequence of sexual immorality, or for any number of reasons. Some are undertaken for eugenics. Some are undertaken to prevent “harm to the mother.” But most are likely undertaken because to bring the baby to term would somehow inconvenience the mother.”

    What or who is the object of worship here? I would submit that it is self-worship, the elevation of one’s own pleasure, comfort, and ego to the position of being one’s own god.

    I am serious about that. Those who worship at the altar of Self are idolaters. Perhaps they do not embrace the formal worship of a pagan god, but that makes their self-idolatry no less a sin of idolatry.

    As for slandering such persons by calling them worshipers of Moloch, I quite agree. One should make one’s charges accurate and truthful. After all, “Satan” (and “devil”) do not carry the primary meaning of “slanderer, traducer, false accuser” for nothing, and those who embrace slander are rightly noted as children of the father of lies.

  2. Yes, my focus was primarily on the need to be accurate and truthful in what we say. So often I see people post things that just seem to go a bit overboard on the hyperbole. I find it can be a distraction from the message we want to share, and can discredit what we say to our opponents.

    As for self worship, you’re absolutely right. Just about all sin comes down to that in the end, doesn’t it.

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