The Christian God is a Moral Monster..1
This is the third in a series of controversial postings on Christianity. I say controversial, but nothing that follows is invented or 'interpreted' - it is all factual. The controversy mainly arises because some theists simply don't think that pointing out the evils of religion should not be done - special pleading. I'm afraid my response to that is predictable - BOLLOX.
In this article I want to consider the most obvious evidence that the Christian God, far from being good, is a monster. That will take a lot of space, so I'm going to split this over several postings.
Anyone who has read the Old Testament cannot have failed to notice the amount of brutality, killing and other atrocity. They will also have noticed, if they paid attention, that much of it is directly ordered by Yahweh.
So, how do apologists address the evils done by genocidal maniac known as Yahweh ?
Their response generally depends on either dishonesty or incredible piety. The dishonest responses are typified by apologists such as Paul Copan who first try to dissemble, picking selective parts of atrocities and arguing that the language used can only be understood by them and that the critic is simply naive, ill-informed or mistaken.
Now, here's the thing. These apologists are not used to hostile or even impartial audiences. They spend most of their time 'lecturing' to wildly enthusiastic believers who not only don't push or challenge their assertions, more often than not the assertions will be praised, as major new important work, as revealed wisdom which proves the case for Christianity.
So when someone like me, or other reasonable intelligent and well informed people actually call them on this and challenge them to reveal what THEY think the words mean, they are often shocked, always defensive and hostile and sometimes hilarious. Of course the emperor has no clothes and never did have. But nobody is supposed to say anything. How rude of these people to ask for assertions to be supported. Do they not know that I am an academic? They should simply believe what I say.
To avoid any charge of straw-man, or ad-hominem attack, I'll consider a specific case.
I'll consider the orders of God to his chosen people when they arrive at the promised land and find it already occupied.
|Deuteronomy 7 wrote:|
|When the Lord thy God shall bring thee into the land whither thou goest to possess it, and hath cast out many nations before thee, the Hittites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and mightier than thou;
2 And when the Lord thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor shew mercy unto them:
3 Neither shalt thou make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son.
4 For they will turn away thy son from following me, that they may serve other gods: so will the anger of the Lord be kindled against you, and destroy thee suddenly.
5 But thus shall ye deal with them; ye shall destroy their altars, and break down their images, and cut down their groves, and burn their graven images with fire.
Now, I'm pretty sure I know what the message is here. I'm pretty sure God is basically saying that all of these tribes/peoples must be killed, no treaties or peace agreements, no attempt to assimilate, the reason being that any survivors might steal Yahweh future faithful from him.
Not only do the people have to be 'destroyed' - so does the infrastructure and especially the altars and goods of rival Gods. The primary concern of this God - and this remains the case throughout the entire account - is not loosing followers to other Gods. Time and again the importance of destroying altars and idols is emphasised. Anyone, from whaever part of the world, who tries to tempt on of the jews away from Yaweh is to be searched-out and killed. If necessary whole towns and villages must be slaughtered.
|Suppose you hear in one of the towns the LORD your God is giving you that some worthless rabble among you have led their fellow citizens astray by encouraging them to worship foreign gods. In such cases, you must examine the facts carefully. If you find it is true and can prove that such a detestable act has occurred among you, you must attack that town and completely destroy all its inhabitants, as well as all the livestock. Then you must pile all the plunder in the middle of the street and burn it. Put the entire town to the torch as a burnt offering to the LORD your God. That town must remain a ruin forever; it may never be rebuilt. Keep none of the plunder that has been set apart for destruction. Then the LORD will turn from his fierce anger and be merciful to you. He will have compassion on you and make you a great nation, just as he solemnly promised your ancestors. "The LORD your God will be merciful only if you obey him and keep all the commands I am giving you today, doing what is pleasing to him."|
How anyone thinks they can build a moral case for this I do not know. It seem to me that you would have to twist morality into such an ugly shape that it would no longer be deserving of the name.
Anyway, I'm pretty sure that is a fair summary of the meaning. Moreover, if a theologian says that this is wrong, then they must be prepared to say WHAT IT DOES MEAN. and how they arrive at that conclusion. So let's see what Paul Copan - a very popular apologist who has published several books defending Yahweh from the charge of immorality - says on this matter.
Copan represents everything I despise in theologians and apologists. He will take any moral short cut to prove that his God is not evil. He simply ignores anything inconvenient to his case and when all else fails just fires out unsupported and often unknown 'facts' about survivors and assimilation. It is worth reading the actual text again and seeing if it bears any resemblance to Copan's portrayal. I think not.
Copan is of the 'redefine and ignore' type of apologist on this issue - and this represents the large majority of apologist opinion and a fair amount of theological opinion. To seriously contend that the actions of Yahweh can be reinterpreted so that they are not immoral is such a fantastical proposition that it can only be started by people willing to bend any rule and make any excuse. It cannot be taken seriously.
Fortunately we have people out there willing to put the time in to collate the actual data that Apologists try to hard to fudge and dissemble.
We know how many people Yahweh kills, within a reasonable error range. it is around 25 million. Even if we disregard the flood completely there are still over 2 million killings either by Yahweh directly or ordered by him.
Click HERE to examine the detailed list
The founding story is sufficient alone to show the immorality of Yahweh - a God so insecure that he asks a father to kill his son to show loyalty. Just how can that ever be called anything but monstrous? How can that seriously be held-up as laudable? How is it even mentioned without disgust and repulsion?
Then when we consider the flood....well, anyone who can make the case that global genocide is not morally monstrous has a world-view that I want no part of and nowhere near me.
The other, minority, apologist gambit in defence of Yahweh is even worse morally, and deeply chilling from a human perspective. It is nicely represented by William Lane Craig himself and will be the subject of the next part.
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