By Harry H. McCall at 5/16/2015
|Damn, these facts are in the Bible!|
(Disclaimer: Let me say from the start, I’m an atheist . . . I consider the Bible a literary fraud and that the characters discussed below never existed.)
Based on a general reading of the Bible, especially the section labeled the Old Testament, the Hebrew god Yahweh (given the Christian title God from the LXX) is portraited as a debauched immoral character, often lacking any ethical conscious while theologically (not Biblically), the figure of Satan unjustly condemned.
To illustrate my point, I’ll breakdown the Bible’s own characterizations God and Satan so the reader can see for him or herself who is really morally debauched (I have left out the Book of Revelation due to the fact that the narratives in this Biblical Book have not taken place, being projected to some apocalyptic future which is theological speculation). Below, is a short list, though any student of the Bible who has a concordance or Bible dictionary will be able to find many more.
- Murders men, women, children, babies and the unborn indiscriminately (The Flood of Noah: Genesis 7) God: Yes Satan: No
- Commands the Israelites to rape, slaughter, steal / pillage and enslave men, women and children. (The attack on the Midianites in Numbers 31) God: Yes Satan: No
- Demands sexual mutilation as a sign of an agreement (Exodus 4:24 – 26 = Genesis 17: 11 -14)
God: Yes Satan: No
- Demands rape of female children and babies. (Numbers 31: 18 “But all the young (טף) girls ( נשים) who have not known man by lying with him keep alive for yourselves.” God: Yes Satan: No
- Loves precious metals over the lives of humanity. (Joshua 7: 15 & Joshua 7: 25) God: Yes Satan: No
- Attacks and curses a talking snake for telling the truth then lies to Adam and Eve. (Genesis 3) God: Yes Satan: No
- Demands individual human sacrifice. (The AkedahGenesis 22:1-2; The murder (sacrifice ?) of Jesus; See Gospels) God: Yes Satan: No
- Demands the burning of entire cities (שָׂרַף בָּאֵשׁ” or “to burn with fire”) so he can enjoy smelling the smoke of human flesh. (Thus Joshua 6: 21 makes it a point to tell the Jewish reader of this epic that death was to be by “the edge of the sword” before the ritual / sacrificial burning in Joshua 6: 24 could take place.) God: Yes Satan: No
- Is never presented in the Bible as a murderer. (Despite Jesus’ assertion in John 8: 44. In Job, (in Job 1: 6 ) tells us that fire fell from God and destroyed Jobs animals. In verse 19, wind causes the house to fall on Job’s young people and, just like the fire from Heaven, God controls all these acts of nature. While Job clearly states in 42: 11 thatit was God who did all the harm to Job, his wealth and his family: “Then came there to him all his brothers, and all his sisters, and all they that had been of his acquaintance before, and did eat bread with him in his house: and they bemoaned him, and comforted him over all the evil that the LORD had brought on him.” This is again backed up by Job’s statement in 1: 21: Job said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, And naked I shall return there.The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away. Blessed be the name of the LORD.”) God: No Satan: Yes
- Has a divine son who lies as bad as the father. (See my post: The Biblical Lies of God and Jesus) God: Yes Satan: No
- Commands a following spirits (be they Angels or Demons) to carry out the mass murders in a nation. (The Passover: Exodus 12:29) God: Yes Satan: No
- Will torture people forever in the name of love. (Mark 9: 44, 46, & 48) God: Yes Satan: No
M. Lies to his own believers in order to kill off anyone stupid enough to to trust him. (The longer ending of the Gospel of Mark 16: 9 – 20). God: Yes Satan: No
N. Presented generally in the Bible as a known lair and murderer. God: Yes Satan: No
I think that in order to show that a Biblical passage is immoral, you’ve got to engage in a thorough exegesis (interpretation) of the text revealing that all likely meanings are morally problematic.
It is worth noting that Harry did nothing of the sort: he rather assumed that his interpretations portraying God as deeply evil are the correct ones without explaining us how he got there.
I do not believe that the Bible is free of errors and agree that the texts I emphasised in green are indeed very morally problematic..
I find his other examples (which I left in black) much more questionable.
For instance, I don’t believe that male circumcision is necessarily harmful. There are many ways of interpreting Genesis 3 and I see no reason to believe that the silliest meaning (involving a speaking snake being cursed) is the correct one.
Depending on how one understands the nature of Jesus (i.e. the incarnation) and what his sacrifice means, the concerned passages are not necessarily immoral.
I did not, however, chose to go into an endless dispute over the meaning of the passages I do not view as immoral.
Instead, I decided to point out the main flaw in Harry’s logics, namely his fundamentalist assumption that the Bible must be judged as an inerrant self-consistent Scripture rather than as a set of religious books written under various historical, cultural and theological contexts.
As I explained elsewhere, this is something that anti-theists and religious fundies share in common.
If you feel frustrated after having read our exchange, you’re not alone.
Good scholarly debates advancing our knowledge break down the cause of the disagreement into smaller problems which can then be specifically analysed.
Rhetoric and propaganda involve picking and choosing whatever serves your purpose while switching the topic whenever you no longer feel advantaged.
There are certainly respectful and kind atheistic philosophers out there who criticise religious beliefs in a scholarly manner. They should be considered very seriously.
Anti-theists engage in propaganda and emotional bullying with the hope of deconverting as many religious believers as they can. But if you manage to separate their real arguments from the hateful rhetoric enveloping them, they often prove to be incredibly weak.