Religious teachings that once made sense sometimes become harmful under changing conditions. That can put believers in the awkward position of defending practices—either historical or current—that are now widely perceived to be either immoral or questionable at best.
Some of the world’s largest religions emerged during the Iron Age, and the rules in their sacred texts likely helped families and communities (or at least some subset) to thrive under Iron Age conditions. Today, we live under very different conditions. We know things our ancestors didn’t. We hold powers and face challenges they could not have imagined.
Here are a few of the moral mandates from the Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) that some people still practice on religious grounds but that a growing number of others consider morally dubious given our current circumstances and knowledge.
Hitting children—The Hebrew Bible instructs parents to beat their children, most explicitly in…
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