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.  

6 comments:

  1. T Vick

    Just for a moment imagine it's the bottom of the 9th inning, (Church league softball championship) the bases are loaded your down by 4 runs, yet there is only 1 out. All your friends and family are there, and a bunch of young hot girls are in attendance.(all my stories have young hot girls) anyways nobody but you knows the outcome of the game, and you can never tell anybody what you know, but heres the 2 options you can choose. #1. hit a homerun, tie the game, only to lose in extra innings. Or #2. strikeout but the next guy hits a homerun and you win in extra innings? Remember if you choose #2. nobody will ever know how "noble" you are and are left to think your a choke job? But if you chose #1. everyone will think your a stud and think if only every one else was as good as you, we would have won the game.

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    One of my favorite verses in the Bible is Psm 119:165 "Great peace have they which love thy law, and nothing shall offend me".

    =============================================

    Now to my choices. Hmm, either God is evil or the Bible is false. Well even tho in a true Atheist world there can be no evil (who gets to decide what that is) God's actions here, what you seem to believe is evil, might appear that way, but what if his decision to punish these backslidden Jewish rebels in the way he did eventually created a better outcome in the big picture?

    If there is a God, He is really gonna be a lot more smarter than us. What if this so called evil prevented much more evil?

    Why do I think God's ways are loving? And someone else can think they're evil?
    Psm 119:165 I think?
    =============================================

    I'd choose to hit the homerun.
    God choose to strike out.


    I will continue to follow your series on this.

    Late, feeno

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  2. Feeno-

    This is a sophisticated argument you bring, and you quote scripture which negates my premise that God is evil for the scenario you describe, but what I intend to do in this series is show that... if you maintain context, that not all the incidences where God does something evil is in fact for the better.

    That is to say, not all of God's immoral or harmful actions fit your analogy. The story of Job does, for example, but not the story of Adam and Eve's fall from grace. No good came of that, mind you. The story of Abraham sacrificing his own son only to find out it was a test of faith, fits your analogy too. But I would suggest that this command in Ezekiel does not.

    So I am going to use these quaint bits to show, using logic, that the God of the Bible cannot possibly care for us or have us in mind quite like the way Preachers preach, and so Christians are under a great missaprehension. The only way I see it working out is, that like you, they cram all of God's intentions into the very same analogy and understanding you have... therefore glossing over the actual context to claim that God's actions are beyond us.

    But then, I would have to ask, how can one be so certain that God's actions are so far beyond us if they are relying on a source text which, by that very understanding, is so far beyond them as to be incomprehensible.

    I don't mean to offend people who love God, but for those who believe God is all loving, I must challenge such a hypothesis with the brute logic and ask truly, sincerely, for Christians to think long and hard about the illogical aspects of the Bible and what that entails.

    By being somewhat of a contrarian I can bait intelligent Christians into a proper conversation. Even so, with this exact post I already received an angry letter from a Christian saying I was being "annoying" for expressing my opinion logically and precisely. Although, I don't see what's annoying about that. lol. I think what she meant was I was being annoying for disagreeing with her cherished beliefs and she didn't like the fact that I had a right to state openly what I thought, and so wanted me to shut up about it. For Christians who take this line of thought, I feel great pity. Their lackadaisical approach to their faith is neither going to strengthen it, nor disprove my theories, and that sort of is the forfeit of the game right there.

    And I really dig that all your stories have hot girls in them. I think all stories are enhanced by having beautiful women in them, and even two fold when they are beautiful and intelligent!

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  3. God lets douchebags win, nuff said.

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  4. LOL- As I was reading this, I was thinking to myself that it is both options, not one or another. Then, I get to the bottom, and it says both.

    I think that this argument can also be reframed in a different perspective. If you are a believer, and you are truly critical of your faith, then you have to conclude that God is evil.

    However, to people who are nonbelievers, history has consistently demonstrated to us that the Bible is false, and was constructed on nothing more than recycled myth extracted from the Greeks, Egyptians, and Pagans. Art history alone clearly demonstrates the continuity of images found in the Bible. Whether it is a cave painting of the fertile mother, medieval demons, or Egyptian heiroglyphs, all of the "stories" in the Bible were predated in different forms. God eventually became evil to keep the Roman Empire strong. Constantine used the Bible in the first Christian Empire to keep the masses Anti- Semitic and complacent, and to rid the world of Pagan influence.

    Fast forward two thousand years later, and history has not changed much. Unfortunately, George W Bush also understood the power of the Bible, and used it well to create his own "smokescreen" so to speak. So, it is both. God is the evil manifestation of all of the lies.

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  5. Tink-

    Well put!

    Ginx-

    I actually laughed out loud at that. Had a tinge of Logan aka Wolverine to that. Then I pictures Wolverine popping his claws and saying, "God lets douchebags win, nuff said."

    Great stuff.

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  6. I concur with the Wolverine comment- LOL. I think that he may even say- "God is a douchebag."

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