Saturday, November 28, 2009

Is God Evil?: Something to Think About (Part 1)

Disclaimer: If you believe in God, and don't want to be intellectually challenged, then do not read this essay. However, that said, if you are serious about your faith, then this is a subject which you may find thought provoking. If not, you can leave it. However, due to the overflow of negative comments about my title by enraged Christians who have NOT read the content of the article, I must put up this warning. Also, as a secular historian, I think I am well within my right to offer evidence which suggest, contrary to the popular lexicon which attributes all things good with God, that there is a vast history which shows there is also a lot of bad attributed to God. This cannot simply go overlooked by someone who is concerned with getting to the bottom of things and discovering the real truth. 

Would a moral God command his pious adherents to do something which is clearly wrong? If so, he cannot possibly  be a moral god. If not, then this quote of the Abrahamic God must have been written by fallible hands, thus by the bad human touch, falsifying any (if not all) of God's claims in the Bible. Either way, this is a dilemma for Christian believers.

25“Therefore I also gave them up to statutes that were not good, and judgments by which they could not live; 26and I pronounced them unclean because of their ritual gifts, in that they caused all their firstborn to pass through the fire, that I might make them desolate and that they might know that I am the LORD.”’(Ezekiel 20:25-26)

Professor Edward Curley tackles the issue of an immoral God inspiring to do good even as the Bible seriously misrepresents God's moral character to bring about a moral in the story in this video here after the jump. At the end of a rather disruptive and less than cordial Q & A session, Professor Curley makes a great final statement, when he observes:

"If you're going to claim your Biblical text is inspired by God, then you must think it is more or less likely that God is satisfied by the way it turned out; and I don't think he could be satisfied with the way it turned out if it were more or less misleading about his moral nature."

So the dilemma is this: 1) Either the Bible is the perfect inspired word of God and he commands immoral acts, and this reflects his true nature, or 2) The Bible is imperfect, and it wrongly reflects God's moral character, but by this admission, the Bible may be entirely fallacious, and for the believer the attempted reconciliation needed to harmonize both arguments gets taken to reductio ad absurdum.

So for those who can read, and have read their Bible closely, there are only two possible conclusions a rational person of faith can infer.  Either that 1) That God is Evil, or 2) The Bible is completely FALSE.

These logical conclusions do not aid the Christian theist in the slightest. Neither is this the only scriptural evidence which implicates God as a malevolent being and the Bible as being entirely bogus, but it suffices for this example. 

There is, however, a third option which only a third party observer (that is to say only a nonbeliever) can infer, and that is both options are true, that is to say, God is Evil and the Bible is completely FALSE, ergo God does not exist.

Disclaimer 2:  Some have said that my opinion that God is evil is an attack on people's beliefs. I do not see the relevance or connection. For me to make the controversial statement that God is evil is sort of like me stating that the moon is made out of rock. We have evidence for the moon being made out of rock, we have been there, NASA astronauts have walked upon her surface, we have collected samples, we have actual moon rocks and there is an abundance of evidence to show that the moon is not, nor has ever been, made out of cheese. The same can be said for my position on God's character, we have real world suffering, evil seems to exist, and if you open the Bible and actually read its pages you will find that God is the attributed as the cause to numerous evils. The bad aspects may altogether be ignored by believers who don't rely on the Bible for their concept of God, that is to say that their definition of a "good" or "moral" God might not derive from the Bible. Rather, they may rely on tradition and culture to inform their position on God's character, or perhaps they may even formulate their own version of God themselves. 

But then this begs the question, what right do they have calling themselves "Christian" and how could they find offense in my comments to begin with since I am merely offering an explication of one strand of Biblical exegesis? The excessive use of logic is not meant to be offensive, it is simply meant to be challenging and thought provoking. Why would I even bother, as my wife has so often asked me before? A few reasons, 1) this consideration supports the atheist position, and 2) is something Christians need to explain adequately if they wish to be taken seriously, and 3) by thinking critically about these issues my hope is that we can learn more about them, perhaps learn something from them, so that we might also learn to tolerate other people's ideas even if we may disagree. To simply state I'm being impertinent or disrespectful is to not understand the weight of the argument.  

Advocatus Atheist

Advocatus Atheist