Jesus of Nazareth urged his followers to live by two great commandments,
"Love the Lord your God
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Before I go on to lay bare a number of problems with the "God" or "Lord" of the bible, I want to distance myself from those who have no love at all for any God - which is why I refer in my title to a particular kind of god, the god who pops up all too often, mostly in the "Old" Testament.-
Unlike those who call themselves "atheists" - which comes from the two Greek words "no" and "god", - I only reject the kind of god who does the awful kinds of things attributed to him in our bible, which is what I expose and deplore on this web site.
Personally, I think atheist Stephen Roberts makes a very good point when he says: "I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer gods than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours." as is expressed so well in the cartoon below.
Now, here are my reasons for creating a web page to expose the problems with the god or "Lord" that makes an embarrassing appearance all too often in our "Good Book", which many take to be "God's Word" :
Although I haven't created a web page to address this topic specifically, here are examples of pages that show the kind of God that I find worthy of the name, beginning with the earliest books of the Judeo-Christian bible:
To begin with, God violated his own laws on numerous occasions:
Now, although one of his principal commandments was "Thou shalt not kill," this God did an awful lot of killing himself, and often directed many human beings to kill many other human beings :
A good Christian scholar friend of mine who has read the Koran twice, and who has given the matter much more thought than I, tells me that much of the violence that has been perpetrated in the name of Islam over the centuries has been inspired by the "Old Testament" texts that I am highlighting on this page – which Muslims share with Judaism and Christianity – as much as from the unique teaching of Mohammed's Koran.
If that is true, then Muslims and Jews should join with Christians in warning all of their followers not to embrace this violent, arbitrary, irrational and/or unjust "god", (who inspires attitudes like the following :)
Of all the awful instances of wrong-doing on the part of the biblical God which I feature on this web page, Numbers, Chapter 31: 1-18 may well "take the cake". Here are the relevant excerpts:
"The Lord said to Moses, “Take vengeance on the Midianites for the Israelites. ”. . . So Moses said to the people, “Arm some of your men to go to war against the Midianites so that they may carry out the Lord’s vengeance on them. . . Moses sent them into battle, . . They fought against Midian, as the Lord commanded Moses, and killed every man. . . The Israelites captured the Midianite women and children and took all the Midianite herds, flocks and goods as plunder. They burned all the towns where the Midianites had settled, as well as all their camps. They took all the plunder and spoils, including the people and animals, and brought the captives, spoils and plunder to Moses.
Moses, Eleazar the priest and all the leaders of the community went to meet them outside the camp. Moses was angry with the officers of the army. . . “Have you allowed all the women to live?” he asked them. 16 “They were the ones who followed Balaam’s advice and enticed the Israelites to be unfaithful to the Lord, so that a plague struck the Lord’s people. Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man, but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man."
'Speak to Aaron and say: No one of your offspring throughout their generations who has a blemish may approach to offer the food of his God. For no one who has a blemish shall draw near, one who is blind or lame, or one who has a mutilated face or a limb too long, or one who has a broken foot or a broken hand, or a hunchback, or a dwarf, or a man with a blemish in his eyes or an itching disease or scabs or crushed testicles. No descendant of Aaron the priest who has a blemish shall come near to offer the Lord's offerings by fire; since he has a blemish, he shall not come near to offer the food of his God. He may eat the food of his God, of the most holy as well as of the holy. But he shall not come near the curtain or approach the altar, because he has a blemish, that he may not profane my sanctuaries; for I am the LORD.'
When good old Abe Lincoln said "My greatest concern is to be on God's side, for God is always right", was he talking about this God? Was he saying that everything that "god" supposedly did above was "right"? Unfortunately, people who think it was O.K. for "god" to act so abominably are likely not to see anything wrong with acting that way themselves, as was said so well by these great thinkers:
"The American philosopher, Thomas Paine, didn't write much, but his small tract "Age Of Reason" had a tremendous impact on the people in the American colonies as they pondered their allegiance to England, and to the god of "the Old World.
It was only after I had produced these "Whatkindofgod" web pages that I read this famous tract of Paine's and learned that he had reached the same conclusions some two and a quarter centuries before I did! And yet, we are still ahead of a multitude of believers who have yet to see the light!
Here are some of the gems to be found in "Age Of Reason":
If many "bible-believing" people find this list of atrocious behavior attributed to "God" in the bible surprising, perhaps even unbelievable, it is probably because their clergy don't even read the bible themselves and if they do, they don't take the bible as a whole as seriously as they claim. Consider the following, for example, Despite the fact, that conservative clergy claim to believe that the bible is "the Word of God" and that the bible emphasizes that the penalty for breaking Commandment IV is death, no such clergy in living memory has demanded that people failing to observe the sabbath be killed. Yet, that is what the "God's Word" clearly requires, (as I spell out in great detail at sabbathobservance.html).
Conservative clergy, on the other hand, do selectively take some parts of the bible very seriously. But remarkably, it is usually in instances when the scripture doesn't strike very close to themselves or people close to them, as when heterosexual clergy proclaim those whose sexual orientation is different from their own (i.e. gays) are hell-bound if they fail to repent and become heterosexuals like themselves (an issue I deal with extensively at God&gays.html).
How long is it going to take for followers of Jesus Christ to realize that they cannot follow both Jesus and the god who is responsible for so much murder and cruelty? How long is it going to take for them to realize that they cannot follow both Jesus and the so-called "god" who is responsible for so much injustice, murder and cruelty?
As the great French author, humanist, rationalist, & satirist Voltaire wrote long ago (1694 - 1778)
"Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities."
If the God that I believe in exists, then he or she may well have more respect for atheists who use their God-given intelligence than for "believers" who don't.
One of the favorite sayings of Albino Luciani, the future Pope John Paul the First, (whom I argue at http://JesusWouldBeFurious.Org/murderedpope certainly didn't die as the Catholic Church claims from "natural causes") was
"Never be afraid to stand up for what is right, whether your adversary be your parent, your peer, your teacher, your politician, your preacher, or even your God." So spoke Albino Luciani
Jefferson didn't trust any of the Christian churches of his day, but that didn't prevent him from appreciating the genius of Jesus himself. His introduction reads:
"Of all the systems of morality, ancient or modern,
which have come under my observation, none
appear to me so pure as that of Jesus. . . A more
beautiful or precious morsel of ethics I have never seen."
He described his own work as "a paradigma of his doctrines," made by cutting the texts out of the book and arranging them on the pages of a blank book, in a certain order of time or subject.
He told John Adams that he was rescuing the Philosophy of Jesus and the "pure principles which he taught," from the "artificial vestments in which they have been muffled by priests, who have travestied them into various forms as instruments of riches and power for themselves." After having selected from the evangelists "the very words only of Jesus," he believed "there will be found remaining the most sublime and benevolent code of morals which has ever been offered to man."
Unlike many observers, Jefferson was able to separate Christianity from its representatives:
"The Christian religion, when divested of the rags in which they [the clergy] have enveloped it, and brought to the original purity and simplicity of it's benevolent institutor, is a religion of all others most friendly to liberty, science, and the freest expansion of the human mind."
– Thomas Jefferson to Moses Robinson, 1801. ME 10:237
Like Jefferson, I have the highest appreciation for much that is wonderful in the bible, but rather than allow the baby to be thrown out with the dirty bath water, so to speak, I think it behooves those who want to save and promote what is good and noble in the bible to agree with those who recognize what is not good and noble in that same bible and do what we all do with dirty bath water once we are through with it, i.e. get rid of it.
If only more Christian clergy took this approach, then instead of driving intelligent, well-informed "free-thinkers" away from "god", more of them might come to share not just Thomas Jefferson's appreciation of Jesus of Nazareth, whose liberal teaching I feature of LiberalslikeChrist.Org , but even of the noble, humble, loving, compassionate god of the Hebrew bible, to whom I devote the many pages of godvsgreed.html.
Just a few, but very noteworthy, examples:
For a perfect example of the way "Christians" have used the worst features of the bible to guide their behavior, see the way the Pilgrims justified their crimes against the Native Americans. And here's the way the Roman Catholics were informed by their bibles to persuade American's Native population to embrace "the one true faith"! :
|The price paid for not embracing "the One True Faith" :|
"They built a long gibbet, low enough for the toes to touch the ground and prevent strangling, and hanged thirteen [natives] at a time in honor of Christ Our Saviour and the twelve Apostles. When the Indians were thus still alive and hanging, the Spaniards tested their strength and their blades against them, ripping chests open with one blow and exposing entrails, and there were those who did worse. Then, straw was wrapped around their torn bodies and they were burned alive."
If this teaching of Paul's is true, then any Christian who has founds fault with any ruler, including Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Ho Chi Min, Castro, Milosovich, or more recently, Saddam Hussein, has gone against God's Word. And far from being heroes, those who fought and died to remove these dictators and mass-murderers, are sinners that we be ashamed of. Paul doesn't allow for the slightest bit of "interpretation". He makes the same point over and over again, that we should treat any and all rulers as God's very own appointees to whatever office they hold, be it governor, king, emperor, president, prime minister, secretary general, or Führer.
Ultra-Conservative Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia doesn't question the inspiration of this passage. In fact, he uses it in an article ( in 2002) in defense of the death penalty.) He sees submission (to one's government) as desirable - and possibly the very definition of faith. He quotes St. Paul, "For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God."
"The Lord," Mr. Scalia explained in Chicago, "repaid - did justice - through His minister, the state.
This view, according to Mr. Scalia, once represented the consensus "not just of Christian or religious thought, but of secular thought regarding the powers of the state. . . That consensus has been upset, I think, by the emergence of democracy." Mr. Scalia wishes to rally the devout against (what he perceives as) democracy's errors (such as its tendency to reject capital punishment - which the Bible supports). "The reaction of people of faith to this tendency of democracy to obscure the divine authority behind government should not be resignation to it, but the resolution to combat it as effectively as possible," he said in Chicago.
Mr. Scalia is right about one thing. Modern democracy did upset the so-called "divine authority" of the state. That has usually been considered by Americans to have been a step forward. Not so as far a Conservatives like Roman Catholic Supreme Court Justice Scalia are concerned.
Since Lev. 24:17 requires that "He that killeth any man shall surely be put to death", who is to do the killing? And who then kills the first executioner? And who then kills the second executioner? And who then kills the third, and the fourth, and the fifth, etc.?
"The Canadian parliament is due to discuss bill C-250 ( in 2004 ) which outlaws hate speech, and includes a provision protecting gay people from hate speech. This has resulted in a burst of sudden and furious activity by the religious in Canada, who are alarmed that perhaps reading hateful passages from the Bible might suddenly be outlawed, this in spite of the fact that the framers of the law have offered to make an exemption allowing anyone to speak hatefully, such as a minister or priest or preacher, provided that they can back up that hateful remark with a choice verse from the Bible. Making an exemption for the hatred of the Bible and giving ministers the free right to promote hatred and inequality seems like a giant loop hole and a real generous offer, but this has not been enough to satisfy the religious types in Canada, who are now lobbying hard to defeat the whole hate speech law, since apparently they are worried that some judge might decide that perhaps a Bible quote is not a sufficient fig leaf and try to nail some 'sincere Christian'.
Ministers are saying that they need to preserve the right to call a sin a sin, just as the Bible calls sin by its proper name - SIN. This got me to thinking that perhaps we need to consult a list of other sins in the Bible, just to make sure that no laws might pass that might prevent the full reading of the Bible, and the full application of its laws on sinful conduct. It also occurred to me that perhaps it would be equally important to make note of what the Bible says is not a sin, and thus acceptable conduct and something you can encourage people to do, backing it all up with quotes from the Bible just to prove that, yes, you can do those things with impunity, just as one can outlaw sins based on the fact that selective bible quotes support the case.
On the other hand, there are all kinds of normally reprehensive behaviors which are recommended, if not mandated by the so-called "Word of GOD", including theft, war crimes, and genocide, based on racism and slavery:
"You must drive all the natives of the land before you. If you do not drive the natives of the country before you then those who remain will become disgusting to your eyes and a thorn in your side. They will harass you in the land where you live, and I will deal with you as I meant to deal with them." "Devour the nations the lord your God delivers over to you. Show them no pity." (Numbers 33:51 )
Anyone familiar with the Bible would already know that the Bible endorses the practice of racism, and of colonial conquest and exploitation, neither or which are sins, according to the Bible, but are to be encouraged
"The land you are invading is foul because of the filthiness of the natives. Their land is filled with filth from end to end because of the foulness of the natives. So you must not marry them or be concerned with their prosperity, so that yourselves may grow strong and eat the best of what the country produces yourself, and leave it as an inheritance to your sons forever. . . Are we to marry the natives? Would you not be provoked into destroying us so that none survived? This is our sin. None can survive in your presence." (Ezra 9:10 – 13 )
"You must not marry them or give a daughter or son of yours to them in marriage, for the anger of the lord your God would then blaze out against you, and quickly destroy you. It is you the lord your God has chosen to be his very own people out of all these other peoples of the earth." (Deuteronomy 6 )
"You must keep all the commandments I give you so that you will have the strength to conquer the land you are to enter and make your own."(Deut. 12:29 )
"Annihilate the nations you are dispossessing and make your home in their country." (Deut. 11:8 )
"Put the inhabitants to the slaughter without giving any quarter and burn their town down. In this way the lord might turn from his fierce anger and show you compassion." ( Deut. 13:15)
"God, you gave over these nations and these peoples and allotted these as our regions. They occupied the land. You multiplied their sons and daughters and led them to the land you had told them to possess. Their sons invaded and conquered the land and humbled the natives when you gave into their hands the natives of the land to be treated just as they pleased." (Nehemiah 9 )
In addition to committing theft and genocide and raping virgins, the Bible also allows the keeping of slaves, just as long as you capture them in foreign countries, or make slaves out of the natives of the lands you are conquering and colonizing, all of whom you can beat to death should it prove necessary, and, here's the great part, it's not a sin because "God's Word" says it's O K !
"Slaves you may possess, but make sure they are foreigners. You may also make slaves of the natives who dwell among you and from their children who are born and reared in your land. You may own them as chattels and leave them to your sons as their hereditary property, making them slaves forever. But you should not lord it over your own countryman, your own kinsmen." (Lev. 25:44 )
"Mere words will not keep a slave in order. He may understand, but he will not respond. Pamper a slave and he will be ungrateful. A whip for the horse, a bridle for the donkey, and a rod for the back of a fool."Proverbs "When a man beats a slave so hard that he dies in a day or two, he shall not be punished, for the slave is his property." (Exodus 21:20 )
Why is it that Conservative Christian preachers who want to perpetuate the oppression of their homosexual brothers and sisters can never get worked up over the great prophet Isaiah whom Jesus quoted more than any other:
"Woe betide those who enact unjust laws and draft oppressive decrees, depriving the poor of the world of justice and the robbing the weakest of the earth's people of their rights, plundering the helpless and despoiling the most needy. What will you do when you are called to account, when devastation from afar suddenly confronts you? To whom will you flee for help? Where will you hide your wealth? There is nothing left for you but to crouch among the prisoners or fall among the slain."
"Do not cut down fruit trees but eat the fruit. Are the trees human that you should be besieging them too? However if a tree is not a fruit tree you may mutilate it and hack it down."(Deut. 21:19 )
Although Christians all believe that Jesus of Nazareth is history's best representation of God, for many his only divine Son, and that he fulfilled a special divine mission in this world, many Christian preachers also appear to believe that Jesus left some serious unfinished business that was only taken care of when he decided to knock Saul of Tarsus off his horse and make him the one last great prophet, "the Apostle of the Gentiles". By dint of writing more, travelling more, and doing more church-building than Jesus and all original twelve of the apostles combined, Paul of Tarsus was much more deserving of the title of the "rock upon whom his church was founded" than was Peter (except that, unlike the name Peter, Paul doesn't mean "rock"). Paul of Tarsus had been as available as any of the twelve men whom Jesus enlisted into his apostolic training program, the first Christian seminary, if you will. Given the abilities that Paul was to manifest so soon after Jesus had left the scene, it's puzzling that Jesus appears not to have recognized Paul's potential until after his death and resurrection.
Although the God of the New Testament is rarely as outrageous as the god of the Old, many preachers who consider themselves "Christians" have been passing on to their followers beliefs about god that they have not derived from Jesus of Nazareth, but from Paul of Tarsus. According to these preachers, Paul of Tarsus was speaking for God himself, when he taught that the Almighty . . .
In late 2014 I discovered a site which starts where I do with many passages of the bible that portray a god which decent moral people should deplore and denounce. But that site - which I would rather not publicize - goes off the deep end and condemns everything about the Jewish bible and the Jewish people! I invite the readers of my site to explore Godvsgreed, where I lift up parts of the "Old Testament" that I find thoroughly uplifting and inspiring,
And unlike this author, who thinks everything in "the New Testament" is "lilly white", my BadNewsPaul shows that there is much, particularly in the Epistles of "St. Paul" that I find deplorable.
|What kind of God do you love?|
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