I have a feeling that one or two people will take a fair bit of an interest in this post, and it will be fascinating to see how they respond. On my web travels, I found a post by one ‘Silence of Mind’, someone I’ve encountered before, via other people’s sites. SoM is a devout Christian, and he has written quite extensively about atheism, usually in derogatory terms. His latest post is no exception. In his post, SoM takes aim at an article by one David Madison, over at Debunking Christianity. Quotes from Mr Madison shall be in blue, quotes from SoM shall be in purple.
Speech is how human beings express their heart, mind and soul. Below is an example of a prominent atheist expressing his profound idiocy through the written word. This prominent atheist was a devout Christian until he entered a masters degree program on religion.
There are three features of Bible god that spoil Christian theology: (1) This god behaves like a furious toddler when it doesn’t get its way. (2) This god keeps a close watch on everything that every person does, says, and even thinks—or so plenty of Bible texts claim. I suspect that many of the devout don’t live as if this is true. (3) This furious toddler gets upset over trivia, instead of over great moral issues. Barker illustrates this in a major section of his essay.
It is the atheist who is the furious toddler. One need not be Jew or Christian to appreciate the depth and breadth of biblical literature, or the profound, prolonged influence the Bible has had on the world via Christian Western Civilization.
Hmm, I have to consider whether that influence has always been good. You need only look at the stranglehold evangelicals have on the GOP, to see how ugly certain forms of Christianity can be to non-believers (or for that matter, other Christians). Historically, Christian conflict caused a lot of strife and death across Europe (it is a significant factor behind why so many people fled Europe for the Americas).
Let’s go through the atheist’s three statements.
- This god behaves like a furious toddler when it doesn’t get its way.
The idiocy expressed here is that all powerful God could be thwarted by an ancient tribe of barbarian Canaanites. Because idiocy is the mind on atheism, the atheists does not have the intellectual capacity to absorb and contemplate the biblical text in search of the truth. Discovering the truth takes an agile, determined mind.
I dare say the God of the Old Testament could be considered of poor behaviour for a number of reasons. Here, I’ll be quoting from Michael Wong’s excellent Creation Theory site, that has listed a number of horrific acts attributed to God. Such text will be in green. Here, Mr Wong is referring to Leviticus, though demonstrations of Biblical savagery are not limited to Leviticus.
This is the mother of all the Biblical rulebooks. The entire Book of Leviticus is filled with rules, most of which cannot be quoted here because of their sheer bulk. The first nine chapters are full of rules governing the bloody animal sacrifices required by God, in which animals are to be cut to pieces, their bloody guts are to be waved around in the air, and their blood is to be sprinkled upon the people. Leviticus 13-15 contain instructions regarding leprosy, house mildew, and personal hygiene (you would think that an omniscient being would have better remedies for such problems than animal sacrifice, but I digress). In any case, apart from all this weirdness and animal cruelty, Leviticus contains many ridiculously harsh rules for humans.
Leviticus 10:1-2 (God kills Aaron’s sons for making the victimless crime of making “unauthorized fire”).
Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihu took their censers, put fire in them and added incense; and they offered unauthorized fire before the LORD, contrary to his command. So fire came out from the presence of the LORD and consumed them, and they died before the LORD.
Leviticus 10:6 (If the priests commit the victimless crime of tearing their clothes or letting their hair become “unkempt”, God will kill them. Note that this is Moses speaking rather than God, but if you read it in context, you will see that Moses and God are speaking in turns, laying out the covenant that God has already given to Moses. Obviously, if Moses contradicted God’s covenant at some point, it seems likely that something bad would have happened. Therefore, Moses’ statements in the Book of Leviticus are presumably an accurate testimony of God’s instructions to him on the mountain)
Then Moses said to Aaron and his sons Eleazar and Ithamar, “Do not let your hair become unkempt, and do not tear your clothes, or you will die and the LORD will be angry with the whole community.
Leviticus 20:9 (And people wonder why parents were such harsh disciplinarians back in the puritan “Good Old Days” of strong religion).
If anyone curses his father or mother, he must be put to death.
Leviticus 20:10 (Kill all adulterers. It’s bad to cheat on your spouse, but is it really so bad that it deserves the death penalty?)
If a man commits adultery with another man’s wife–with the wife of his neighbor–both the adulterer and the adulteress must be put to death.
Leviticus 20:11 (Note that the Bible differentiates “mother” from “father’s wife”, because polygamy was acceptable in those days)
If a man sleeps with his father’s wife, he has dishonored his father. Both the man and the woman must be put to death.
Leviticus 20:12 (A particular form of adultery is specifically mentioned as a death penalty offense, even though all forms of adultery were already marked for death in Leviticus 20:10. Maybe this type of adultery is supposed to be punished with a particularly nasty death)
If a man sleeps with his daughter-in-law, both of them must be put to death.
Leviticus 20:13 (Kill all homosexuals; that’s Biblical tolerance for you)
If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death.
Do these commands and actions seem like the behaviour of a rational, logical being? There’s more, and it’s even worse:
Leviticus 26:14-16,22,25,29-33 (God describes the horrible punishment, which includes forcing his victims to eat their own children, for breaking the rules laid out in the Book of Leviticus. Note that I did not quote most of these rules for the sake of brevity. If you read the entire Book of Leviticus, you will see how bizarre and arbitrary some of these rules are. For example, in Leviticus 19:19 he makes it a sin to cross-breed animals, plant two kinds of seed in one field, or wear a cotton-polyester shirt. Obviously, these three are victimless “crimes”, and in the modern era, we would not consider them crimes at all)
But if you will not listen to me and carry out all these commands, and if you reject my decrees and abhor my laws and fail to carry out all my commands and so violate my covenant, then I will do this to you: I will bring upon you sudden terror, wasting diseases and fever that will destroy your sight and drain away your life. You will plant seed in vain, because your enemies will eat it.
I will send wild animals against you, and they will rob you of your children, destroy your cattle and make you so few in number that your roads will be deserted.
And I will bring the sword upon you to avenge the breaking of the covenant. When you withdraw into your cities, I will send a plague among you, and you will be given into enemy hands.
You will eat the flesh of your sons and the flesh of your daughters. I will destroy your high places, cut down your incense altars and pile your dead bodies on the lifeless forms of your idols, and I will abhor you. I will turn your cities into ruins and lay waste your sanctuaries, and I will take no delight in the pleasing aroma of your offerings. I will lay waste the land, so that your enemies who live there will be appalled. I will scatter you among the nations and will draw out my sword and pursue you. Your land will be laid waste, and your cities will lie in ruins.
These aren’t punishments for crimes. These are cruel, monstrous instructions, designed to inflict suffering, often for victimless ‘crimes’, or huge over-reactions to misdemeanours.
Through all of this, a question needs asking – why the Christian version of God? How can SoM be certain that God is not better represented through Judaism, Islam, Sikhism, Hinduism, or for that matter, the pantheons of the Norse, Greek, and Roman gods? SoM is so convinced, not only of the benevolence of the Christian God, but of their existence, but Biblical history has no more been proven than any other religion. It’s entirely possible that the truth is something no one has considered.