Why don't convert first? [part2/5]
Week 24: 08/06/2023. Thu
Modern readers would ask (1) Isn't sending away wives and children heartless? (2) Why don't they ask foreign wives to convert first?
God had made clear in Exod. 34:15—16 to avoid the state being married to non-Israelites. This says nothing about whether the foreigner treated others well ("他人很好，为什么不能？") as a person. This is NOT saying anything about whether the Israelites' marriages were doing well ("信主的人都不恩爱，还要讲别人").
The Exodus passage likely focused on the dangers of religious syncretism (hybrid religion) that might arise following such marriages. For Ezra's community and for us today, going against God's laws is definitely disastrous, especially when this was not out of ignorance but willful disobedience.
Thinking of reasons and arguing for the benefits of not obeying God are ripe recipes for religious disaster for us and the next generation. A hybrid tonic mixed with a sanitised COVID-19 virus, is neither a tonic nor neutral.
For bodily health, we are not okay with having a foreign/undesired object discovered in our food for that one meal. For religious health, we should not over-estimate ourselves by concluding that all would be fine with other gods (and their loyal representatives) living daily with us, days, weeks, months and years at a time.