13 November 2012

A Challenge to Christians

It's been three years since I posted this and there is still no response from Bible believers. So I thought I'd try again. (Thanks for reminding me, Brucker!)

I have always been amazed with how untroubled believers appear to be with God's killings in the Bible. It's good to know that I am not alone.

Here are Zinnia Jones' thoughts on the subject.


I had expected that everyone would easily recognize that ... all genocides were clearly wrong. But this was not the case. Instead, I was surprised to see that Christians were defending these genocides and claiming that they were justified. One of the reasons they offered was that the victims were so evil that they all deserved to be killed. Others said that the Israelites were in need of land, so God allowed them to conquer neighboring territories. And some even claim that anything God commands is morally right by definition and that we have no standing to question this or disobey his commands.
It was really quite startling that these excuses were so similar to the justifications used by the perpetrators of genocide. The victims were simply unworthy of life, or they needed to acquire more territory for themselves, or they were just following orders. Even more unnerving is how indifferent these people are to the realities of genocide. They apparently have no problem with killing defenseless children and treating even infants as too evil to live. It's like none of this seems real to them.
But perhaps the most disturbing aspect is that of all the Christians I've discussed this with, not one of them has been willing to condemn these genocides. Not a single one. They have all tried to defend this.
So, I'd like to issue a challenge to Christians. Can you acknowledge that genocide is wrong even if God commands it? Can you agree that genocide is never acceptable including the genocides of the Bible? Are you capable as a Christian of condemning genocide without equivocation?
And I'll add another challenge to Zinnia's: If you refuse to condemn God's genocides in the Bible, then defend them. Right here on this blog. Just pick your favorite and tell us why you like it so darned much.

Maybe you think it was especially cool that God burned people to death for complaining. Or that he sent fiery serpents to bite and kill people (again for complaining -- this time about the lack of food and water). Just pick one and tell us why you love God so much for doing it.

You can have a guest post right here and become as famous as Brucker!

120 comments:

PersonalFailure said...

Ask them why the Holocaust was bad, but a dozen holocausts in the Bible are totally okay? Maybe God told Hitler to do it because the Jews were getting all whingey again.

As reasonable an explanation as anything else I've seen.

Brucker said...

Hey, Steve, tell me why you don't condemn genocide without equivocation?

Case in point:
Exodus 1:16, 22 - King orders the killing of all Jewish male children, SAB makes no protest.
Numbers 22 - King seks to curse and thereafter destroy the nation of Israel, SAB makes no protest.
Esther 3:13 - King orders the killing of all Jews, SAB makes no protest.

There are probably many more examples that I could find if I were as thorough as you; however I find it odd that as thorough as you are, you had nothing to say about the injustice of other nations trying to destroy Israel, nor do you mark the putting out of Samson's eyes as cruel, violent or unjust.

What is it, anti-Semitism?

Brucker said...

Oh, and my old post on holy war brings up issues that largely apply to the issue of genocide as well.

busterggi said...

PF, there have been a few fundies who have said exactly that but they learned to shut up due to bad publicity.

Steve Wells said...

Brucker,

You ask why I don't mark cruel things that are done to the Israelites (when God isn't the one doing them).

Well, the answer is pretty simple. I try to mark things that would be useful to a nonbeliever who is trying to decide whether or not to believe in the Bible. I don't see how the gouging out of Samson's eyes or the other things that you mentioned would help in that regard. So I didn't mark them.

(I do mark things that are just disgusting and pointless. Like Judges 19. There's no excuse for putting that in the Bible -- or in any other book.)

Brucker said...

A peek in the book of Acts yields:
Acts 7:58-59 - Stephen is stoned to death for no apparent crime, SAB has no comment.
Acts 9 - Seeing the above slaughter, Saul is inspired to put Christians to death, SAB has no comment.
Acts 16:22-23 - After conversion, Paul is beaten and thrown into prison for being Jewish, SAB has no comment.

Perhaps the most disturbingly absent of comment are the following acts of violence:
Matthew 26:67 Mark 14:65 Luke 22:64 John 18:22 Jesus is beaten
Matthew 27:26 Mark 15:15 John 19:1 Jesus is scourged
Matthew 27:29 John 19:2 Jesus is forced to wear thorns
Matthew 27:35 Mark 15:24 Luke 23:33 John 19:23 Jesus is crucified

twillight said...

Well, Bruckner: those are fairytales. Never happened. Part of the judeo-christian mythology only. The very one what says nonchristians/nonjews are not even human, therefor genocide is not a crime against them, but falls into the same cathegory like dealing with rat-infestation.

Brucker said...

"Well, the answer is pretty simple. I try to mark things that would be useful to a nonbeliever who is trying to decide whether or not to believe in the Bible."

Sounds pretty one-sided. I don't think you'd find too many believers in the Old Testament (Jewish, Christian, or otherwise) that think the fact that many attempts were made to wipe out the Jews throughout history is insignificant.

"I don't see how the gouging out of Samson's eyes or the other things that you mentioned would help in that regard. So I didn't mark them."

The cutting off of Adonibezek's thumbs and toes was not done by God, nor commended by Him, yet you mark it. Why is that so particularly helpful?

I don't buy your justification for how you pick and choose what to call violent. You choose what you think will best convince someone to reject the God of the Bible, and thus mark yourself as biased as those you protest against.

I guess with all the believers out there being pro-Bible, you're just being fair and balanced. You're like the Fox News of apologetics.

Steve Wells said...

I suggest that everyone go and read Brucker's post on Holy War. Genocide, according to Brucker, is a very good thing when God commands it.

Brucker said...

"Well, Bruckner: those are fairytales. Never happened."

Well, twilnight, I guess there's no problem then, is there?

Steve Wells said...

Sounds pretty one-sided. I don't think you'd find too many believers in the Old Testament (Jewish, Christian, or otherwise) that think the fact that many attempts were made to wipe out the Jews throughout history is insignificant.

I created the SAB for nonbelievers, Brucker. So I don't much care what believers find significant.

The cutting off of Adonibezek's thumbs and toes was not done by God, nor commended by Him, yet you mark it. Why is that so particularly helpful?

Well it was done by his followers and God didn't seem to mind one little bit. I found that helpful. So I highlighted it.

I highlight whatever I can find that I can honestly call good. If you think I've missed something, let me know and I'll add it.

I find it strange that I rarely get any suggestions from believers about what I should add to the good stuff. I suppose that's because it's all supposed to be good to a believer. When you're that fucked up, Leviticus 20:13 is just as good as Levitcus 19:18.

Steve Wells said...

Brucker: Hey, Steve, tell me why you don't condemn genocide without equivocation?

I do condemn genocide without equivocation. Genocide is wrong always, everywhere, for anyone at any time and for any reason whatsoever. Can you say the same, Brucker.

But I only mark genocides in the Bible that are commanded or inspired by God. Why? Because it is only the God-approved Genocides that help people decide what to make of the Bible. How does the killing of Jewish male children in Exodus 1 help with that? If the Bible was supposedly inspired by the Pharaoh, then I'd highlight it. But it wasn't, so I don't.

But if God kills every firstborn Egyptian child and animal, I mark it. That is important information for anyone deciding whether or not to believe in the God of the Bible. You think it was wonderful, beautiful really, that God killed every firstborn child in Egypt for no reason at all. God did it; therefore, it is good. I want to rub your face in it, Brucker. That's nasty and cruel and you should be ashamed to believe it. I'm hoping that fewer and fewer people will make that mistake in the future. That's why I created the SAB.

matt311 said...

Yes, it is. I do understand why Bruckner goes through all these hoops and twisted justifications, though; I went through a similar period in my life, before I snapped out of it.

Granted, your site gave me a hand at the tail-end, but it was mostly due to actually reading the Bible obsessively in my youth and this site:

http://jesuspuzzle.humanists.net/home.htm

Best several months (it was intermittent) I ever spent looking at an Internet site; take a look yourself, Steve.

Baconsbud said...

Brucker you still haven't succeeded in showing how the genocide is a good thing. You are just trying to change the subject. Why do christians do that? The question was put to you and other christians as to how you can justify genocide in the bible but then condemn it otherwise.

busterggi said...

Now wait a minute Steve, let's condemn all the biblical genocide against the Hebrews as well as non-Hebrews. After all, its all part of Yahweh's mysterious plan so its still Yahweh's fault.

There Brucker, we've condemned even more of your psycho deity's genocide & acknowleged it to be even more psychotic. Does that make you happy?

Brucker said...

Steve Wells: "I created the SAB for nonbelievers, Brucker. So I don't much care what believers find significant."

Yes, but you're showing your bias is no better than the Bible-believer's. It's hard to be taken seriously calling Christians and Jews hypocrites when you're participating in exactly the same sort of hypocrisy. More below...

"I highlight whatever I can find that I can honestly call good. If you think I've missed something, let me know and I'll add it.

"I find it strange that I rarely get any suggestions from believers about what I should add to the good stuff."


I've made suggestions, and you always reject them. You only want something that's good from the perspective of the non-believer. Here's a classic example: John 3:16. Now while I understand the points you put on that verse in the negative, you might think that the statement that God loves the whole world would be a good thing as well. Nonetheless, I have very little doubt that I could not convince you to mark that verse as "good" no matter what I said about it.

"But I only mark genocides in the Bible that are commanded or inspired by God. Why? Because it is only the God-approved Genocides that help people decide what to make of the Bible. How does the killing of Jewish male children in Exodus 1 help with that? If the Bible was supposedly inspired by the Pharaoh, then I'd highlight it. But it wasn't, so I don't."

It's a clear matter of context. The following plagues that came upon the Egyptians weren't arbitrary, but were the result of the mistreatment that they perpetrated on the Hebrews. For that matter, by your standards, I could put together an annotated Bible with the express purpose of showing what terrible people Egyptians are; if I only choose the verses that support the premise I want, I can show whatever I want.

Baconsbud: "Brucker you still haven't succeeded in showing how the genocide is a good thing. You are just trying to change the subject. Why do christians do that? The question was put to you and other christians as to how you can justify genocide in the bible but then condemn it otherwise."

I have no interest in showing genocide is a good thing, because I don't believe that to be true. I'm not trying to change the subject so much as to point out that the SAB is no better than what Christians are here being accused of doing (many indeed may do so).

As for justifying genocide, though, that's different than saying it's a "good thing". For instance, many Jews believe that the Holocaust was allowed to occur by God because it led to the re-establishment of the nation of Israel. That doesn't make it good, but it gives it a reason.

busterggi: "There Brucker, we've condemned even more of your psycho deity's genocide & acknowleged it to be even more psychotic. Does that make you happy?"

Hey, I just hate to see people accusing others of hypocrisy when they're being just as hypocritical.

Steve Wells said...

Brucker,

I don't expect you or anyone else, believer or nonbeliever, to agree with all (or even most) of my views about the Bible. I mark verses in the Bible the way that I see them. If you don't agree with me, fine. Make your own damn annotated Bible.

So don't give me shit about what I mark and don't mark. I think John 3:16 is one of the worst verses in the Bible. God loved the world so fucking much that he had his son (or himself or whatever) tortured and killed so that by believing in him (whatever that might mean, and whoever he might have been, and whether or not he ever existed) he could stop himself from torturing and killing everyone on earth forever for something that someone else (who didn't exist) supposedly did thousands of years ago that was not even wrong in the first place. And you think I should mark that as good?

Earlier you asked me why I don't condemn genocide without equivocation? And I replied, "Genocide is wrong always, everywhere, for anyone at any time and for any reason whatsoever."

Can you do the same, Brucker? Can you condemn genocide without equivocation?

(If you choose not to answer. Fine. But don't respond by complaining about how I treated this or that verse in the SAB. Or what a hypocrite you think I am. That's not what the post was about. I may be the biggest hypocrite in the world, Brucker, but the Bible is still full of shit. Your job is not to attack me, but to defend God's genocides.)

v_quixotic said...

Brucker said:

For instance, many Jews believe that the Holocaust was allowed to occur by God because it led to the re-establishment of the nation of Israel. That doesn't make it good, but it gives it a reason.

[sigh]

It's amazing the lengths apologists will go to in avoiding the use of Occham's Razor: the simplest and and most logically reasonable answer for the terrible things that happen to god's chosen people is that the loving personal god who could have softened hearts but didn't doesn't exist... just accept it!

twillight said...

I think I know why Steve did not highlight violence against the jews: because those are condemned in the Bible already. (And sometimes it is even tried to be avoided, like when the assyrians besiege Jerusalem they ask the jews to surrender, and that way avoid more death. But the jews are so much like blooshed...)

Jim said...

Brucker: The following plagues that came upon the Egyptians weren't arbitrary, but were the result of the mistreatment that they perpetrated on the Hebrews.

Uh, in Exodus it says multiple times that God "hardened Pharaoh's heart", so that he wouldn't let the Israelites go.

In other words, God intentionally made it so that Pharaoh would refuse to listen, just so that He could then have an excuse to send all the plagues (including the plague against the firstborn) to demonstrate His almighty power.

How sick is that?

Andrew said...

"I think John 3:16 is one of the worst verses in the Bible."

Hear, hear. The doctrine of the Atonement is at best bizarre and illogical, and at worst repulsive and abhorrent.

Brucker said...

Steve Wells: So don't give me shit about what I mark and don't mark. I think John 3:16 is one of the worst verses in the Bible. God loved the world so fucking much that he had his son (or himself or whatever) tortured and killed so that by believing in him (whatever that might mean, and whoever he might have been, and whether or not he ever existed) he could stop himself from torturing and killing everyone on earth forever for something that someone else (who didn't exist) supposedly did thousands of years ago that was not even wrong in the first place. And you think I should mark that as good?

Two things about that: First of all, I said that I understand your objections, but wondered why the mere fact of God loving the world might not be worth marking as good, even if you disagree with the implications.

Secondly, I have pointed out in other comments that I think it strange, since you clearly find the idea that Jesus had to die for the sins of the world a bad thing, you don't mark the passages in which He is tortured and killed as cruel, violent and unjust. Why omit such commentary on the actual accounts?

Earlier you asked me why I don't condemn genocide without equivocation? And I replied, "Genocide is wrong always, everywhere, for anyone at any time and for any reason whatsoever."

It just seems strange to me that you claim to condemn it, yet only protest instances of genocide in the Bible selectively, and those you have selected not to mark seem to be those in which genocide is against Jews only.

Can you do the same, Brucker? Can you condemn genocide without equivocation?

Without equivocation? Probably not, to be honest. I'll stand on what I said in my essay on Holy War. It may be possible that there is more going on than what we are able to fully comprehend. I will say that genocide is not a good thing, but sometimes a sorely imperfect world leads to sorely imperfect solutions to evil.

Your job is not to attack me, but to defend God's genocides.

Says who? I do this as a hobby, and the aim of my hobby is to question the assumptions of the SAB. As a corollary, I may be sometimes interested in questioning your methodology.

Brucker said...

v_quixotic: It's amazing the lengths apologists will go to in avoiding the use of Occham's Razor: the simplest and and most logically reasonable answer for the terrible things that happen to god's chosen people is that the loving personal god who could have softened hearts but didn't doesn't exist... just accept it!

I find it interesting when atheists invoke Occam's Razor, because it's one of the least convincing arguments for theists. Generally phrased as "Entities should not be multiplied needlessly," theists love to point out that if you assume God does not exist, a multiplicity of theoretical entities and fantastical random events have to be theorised in His absence. Of course I can't speak for everyone, but I for one have yet to see an explanation for things being the way they are in the world that is simpler without God.

twillight: I think I know why Steve did not highlight violence against the jews: because those are condemned in the Bible already. (And sometimes it is even tried to be avoided, like when the assyrians besiege Jerusalem they ask the jews to surrender, and that way avoid more death. But the jews are so much like blooshed...)

What are you talking about? I thought those were "fairytales"?

Jim: Uh, in Exodus it says multiple times that God "hardened Pharaoh's heart", so that he wouldn't let the Israelites go.

In other words, God intentionally made it so that Pharaoh would refuse to listen, just so that He could then have an excuse to send all the plagues (including the plague against the firstborn) to demonstrate His almighty power.

How sick is that?


I briefly touched on the subject of the hardening of Pharaoh's heart here, and went into it more deeply here. (The latter post has a bit of reflection on my "theological perspective" on death that Steve Wells has strongly criticized, and a discussion in the comments that is similar to this one.)

C Woods said...

I was 8 when my family started to read a chapter of the Bible before dinner each night. By the time I was 12 I was disgusted and horrified by much of it. By the time I graduated from high school I was an atheist.

A few days ago, I came upon a blog about someone on TV who advocated genocide by suggesting we kill all Muslims. The resulting comments and discussions seemed to run about 50% in favor of doing that. A few people pointed out that those in favor of such genocide were acting no better than extreme Muslims who want to kill all non-Muslims. But no amount of reason can dissuade those who look upon all Muslims as extremists and terrorists or dissuade extremist Muslims from thinking the rest of the world is full of infidels. Many Muslims are nuts (read Ayaan Hirsi Ali's book "Infidel" for lots of examples), but I think a lot of Christians are, too. Yet we don't think most Christians plan to kill abortion doctors. We realize those are just a few zealots ---a few are too many, but still not the average Christian. It seems that many people have lost, or never had, empathy for anyone else, especially if they believe differently. Most of those advocating genocide were Christians ---the Bible taught them well.

Crazyfish08 said...

Dear Steve, I came across your website and read the question put forward about denouncing all genocide and your challenge to Christians to defend it. To answer the question, I would say that all genocide done by men is mass murder, but when God does it it is right. I know that sounds rather absurd, but let me explain why I think so.

God is a being who knows everything and has a strong sense of justice to fufill. Ecclesiastes 12:14 "For God will bring every act to justice, everything which is hidden, whether good or bad". It is good that there is a law which brings forth consequences for evil so that justice is appeased. Humans have a justice complex too. If your friend was kidnapped and murdered it would not be right for the murderer to go off scott free. Stealing is wrong, stuff like that we just know.

"The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life" Every man has sinned and therefore deserves death. God is perfect and all knowing, so only he can administer true justice. This is why it is only ok for God to take away life- only he knows every single circumstance of every single situation and the heart and mind of every person in those circumstances, so only he can and will bring any good/evil deed to true justice.

Considering this, he shows restraint and mercy to any person that sins that he does not kill right away. The Israelites had to make animal sacrifices in order to appease God's anger until the fufiller of the promise was come.

This leads to the another aspect of God which loves every single person he made so much that he sent his perfect son the Christ to die to pay the penalty for the sins of men. Jews were seen clean through faith in the promise and sincere adherence to the law and Christians are seen as clean of sin through the atoning sacrifice of Christ.

But then all this still seems kind of unfair for the people who got punished by death in the OT still doesn't it? Pharaoh wasnt even really given a chance to get saved by looking to the promise and honoring Yahweh, for the LORD hardened Pharaoh's heart. This and the slaughter of children and infants really bothered me as well, I thought "could the God of the Bible who is loving and just really have slaughtered those infants and damned them to hell?" And I wavered in faith for a bit until I considered three things and made my own little hypothesis.

1, First point, (which sorry, Ive already stated lol) is that what's really fair is for all men to die by the punishment of God. The least fair thing of all is that Christ died for sin, because he was the only one without sin.

2. Secondly, God used the punishment of those people to bring good- He hardened Pharaohs heart and then obliterated him so that others may know that he was God. Word of God's deliverance for Israel and destruction of Pharaoh got around, and some were saved by this knowledge and clung to Yahweh. For example Rahab the prostitute had heard about what happened at the Red Sea and acknowledged Yahweh as God thereafter. Because of this she helped the spies and escaped death.

3. God is just, loving, and capable of pretty much anything.

Considering this I came up with my alternate dimension hypothesis for how God shows justice, love, and mercy all at the same time. The idea is that for every human soul, there is an alternate dimension with ideal circumstances for that person to love and choose Yahweh in return. So for every aborted baby, for pharoah, and for all who died without the knowledge of God- there is another dimension where things were better. eg. In another dimension Pharoah could have been an Israelite or lived somewhere else, and another person was in the role of Pharoah getting screwed over.

This is just one thing God could have done to show justice and love to every human he created, hes God so we just have to trust in Him to do the good things that he does.

So yeah I'm interested to here what you have to say in response, and what you think about my hypothesis lol

busterggi said...

Crazyfish, I'll be nice this time and just say your god is a psychotic prick as portrayed in his magic book.

I won't class you as a psychotic prick yet.

DallasDeckard said...

I always find it interesting that atheists are willing to get themselves in this jam. They deny the existence of God and then try to claim that God is guilty of genocide. You can't have it both ways, either there is no God or He is guilty of genocide. If there is no God, then genocide simply happens because of the actions of men. God can't be blamed.

However, if God is real and the Bible is true, then atheists must come to terms with that truth. The problem is that atheists continue to make the mistake of equating God with man. They apply the same principles to God as are applied to man, but this is patently absurd. God is the creator of man, the sovereign God, the pure and holy judge of men. He alone has the right to judge men and to apply that judgment (whether it be directly, or through those He appoints to do so).

Consider for a moment two forms of imprisonment. We see one in the news where a man has kidnapped a young woman and held her prisoner for many years in his basement. We see another in the news where a woman is found guilty of robbing 15 banks and sentenced to 20 years in prison. Now, are both of these the same? Is it just that the woman found guilty of robbing the banks be imprisoned? What about the woman that was kidnapped? Is it just that she was imprisoned by this man in his basement for all those years? Of course not.

As I have shown, the rightness of a given action is based upon the circumstances. In one case it is wrong and sick to imprison a woman while in the other it is the just punishment for her crimes. God's actions in the Old Testament were just in taking lives and in ordering the lives taken through priests and prophets. Just as it is foolish to equate the imprisonment of these two women, it is foolish to equate the just actions of God and the genocide committed by the likes of Hitler, Pol Pot, et. al.

DallasDeckard said...

Also, no sane believer in God is justifying all actions of God simply because "God did them". Any intelligent believer can offer reasons why God's judgments on certain peoples lines up perfectly with His character as illustrated in the Bible. We aren't simply sitting around and saying, "God did it, that means it's okie-dokie".

For example, take the judgment of the prophets of Baal (ironically, this is one that espousers of "God's genocide" often miss). The prophets of Baal were leading the people of Israel astray. They were causing some to introduce the worship of Baal. Now, upon that deed alone they all deserved to die, and they deserved to die without a moment's notice. Leading God's people astray separates them from God, leading them to worship false gods, sinning against God. However, God used the occasion to show Himself and some measure of His power and more importantly to turn His people away from the worship of Baal and back to fellowship with Him and to remove forever the sinful element that was leading them astray.

In a contest between the prophets of Baal and Elijah, two altars would be erected and upon each a sacrifice would be placed (a bull). Elijah and the prophets of Baal would pray to their god and ask this god to consume the sacrifice. Whichever god did so would be revealed as the true God. The prophets of Baal started. They danced, they prayed, they called upon their god from morning till noon. Baal didn't answer. Elijah taunted them, "Maybe [Baal] is deep in thought or busy, or traveling". So they cried out louder and cut themselves with knives and spears, letting blood all through the day. Evening came, nothing happened, their time was up. It was Elijah's turn to call upon his God. First though, Elijah built the altar, with wood around the sacrifice and upon which he placed 12 stones, one for each tribe and dug a large, deep trench around the altar. Three times he ordered four large jugs of water poured on the sacrifice. It doused the sacrifice, the wood and filled the trench with water. Elijah stepped forward and prayed a short prayer asking God to answer him so that the people would know He was God. Fire fell from the sky and burnt up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones, the dirt and all the water in the trench. The people then fell on the ground and proclaimed "The Lord - He is God". Then Elijah told the people to seize the prophets of Baal and bring them down to the Kishon Valley where they were slaughtered, every one.

Genocide? No. Just punishment for their sins? Yes. Removal of an evil element that was leading the people of God astray? Yes. Difficult to understand why God did this? No. Incompatible with His pure and holy nature? No. God is the judge of all men, the rightful judge who is the author of life. Being that author, He alone has the right to judge men and mete out justice for their sins. This is a very different situation than Hitler, Stalin or any other sinful man.

Brucker said...

DallasDeckard, I for one think you state the case very well, although I doubt too many others will think so. I have often argued that with higher levels of power and knowledge come higher levels of authority. We acknowledge the authority of a parent over a child, a police officer over an ordinary citizen, a government over an individual, etc. Yet, somehow we can't accept the idea of a higher-order being having an unparalleled authority over humanity in general.

Yes, our non-existent God is guilty of daring to act like He's God or something. How dare He? Who died and left Him in charge?

Steve Wells said...

Brucker,

I do not acknowledge the authority of a parent, police officer, or the government to do things that are wrong. It is wrong for a father to kill his son for being disobedient, for a policemen to beat a citizen to death, or for a government to torture a prisoner. But I guess you think these things are OK, if they are done by someone with higher authority. So since God has a really high authority, he can do whatever the hell he wants, and we are supposed to call it good.

The problem with your non-existent God, Brucker, isn't that he acts like he's God or something; it's that he does not act like he's God -- at least not one that anyone (except maybe you and Dallas) would want to worship.

Steve Wells said...

Brucker and Dallas,

So you like Elijah's prayer contest, followed by the mass murder of the losers? Yeah, I bet that's one of your favorites.

But do either of you have an absolute favorite killing? If so, why not write a guest post about it? Tell us why you think it is so cool that God killed so many in such a painful way for either a silly reason or for no reason at all.

Brucker said...

I do not acknowledge the authority of a parent, police officer, or the government to do things that are wrong. It is wrong for a father to kill his son for being disobedient, for a policemen to beat a citizen to death, or for a government to torture a prisoner.

Most people would agree with you. However, most people will also agree that a parent has a right to spank a misbehaving child, a police officer has a right to lock up a citizen breaking the law, and a government has a right to put certain convicted criminals to death.

But I guess you think these things are OK, if they are done by someone with higher authority. So since God has a really high authority, he can do whatever the hell he wants, and we are supposed to call it good.

No, since each of the examples is of a higher authority than the previous, their right to punish wrongdoing is of a higher order than the previous. God, being the highest authority, has the highest right to punish, but at the same time, Bible believers have faith that He will do it only when it is right, whether you yourself believe so or not.

Tell us why you think it is so cool that God killed so many in such a painful way for either a silly reason or for no reason at all.

And that's where you miss the point, I think. A Christian may have instances of places in the Bible where the reason is beyond his understanding, but not an instance of a "silly" reason or no reason at all. If we thought that way, we probably wouldn't be Christians.

(Apropos of nothing, or perhaps everything, my word verification is "pityme".)

Brucker said...

But do either of you have an absolute favorite killing? If so, why not write a guest post about it? Tell us why you think it is so cool that God killed so many in such a painful way for either a silly reason or for no reason at all.

I gave it some thought, and decided I do have a favorite genocidal moment in the Bible: the book of Jonah.

God tells Jonah to go and preach to the city of Nineveh that He is planning to destroy the city and (one can probably assume) kill all its inhabitants.

Jonah refuses to go and preach this message. Why? Not because Jonah is against the genocide of the Ninevites, but because, as he says to God, "I knew that thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest thee of the evil." And sure enough, when the people of Nineveh seek forgiveness from God, he refuses to kill them.

I say no better genocide than genocide averted, and if you're looking for a "silly" reason, I'd say God did what He did in part to teach a single person (Jonah) about the value of forgiveness.

(BTW, the population of Nineveh was not 120,000. That number is the number of children ("persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand") in the city.)

Steve Wells said...

I see Brucker. Your favorite one of God's killings is the one where he decided not to kill anyone at all. Makes sense to me.

It reminds me of my favorite killing in "No Country for Old Men." Did you see the movie? If so, you'll remember the time Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem) nearly kills the old gas station proprietor, but decides not to when he guesses correctly on a coin toss.

I think Anton Chigurh and the God of the Bible have a lot in common. Which is your favorite, Brucker? (I prefer Anton Chigurh, even with the bad haircut.)

Brucker said...

Woo, spoiler alert, there! As it happens, I've seen that movie, and I rather like (without giving away too many details for those who haven't seen the movie) the killing in which the victim refuses to call the flip. "The coin don't have no say! It's just you!"

The point of my choice is not just the fact that the genocide didn't happen, but that it's possible for God to have mercy, and these things aren't random like a coin toss. Although God has certainly killed a lot more people than Chigurh, He doesn't like to do it, and when He does, it's always for a good reason.

Baconsbud said...

Brucker, so all the verses that talk about how much your god enjoys the smell of blood and burning flesh means nothing?

Brucker said...

They don't mean nothing, but it should be notable that God doesn't literally have a nose and therefore no literal sense of smell. When God says that He likes the smell of something, He is saying that it pleases Him. What He likes about the "smell" of those things (in the case of animal sacrifices) is what they symbolize to Him: repentance.

shaunschon said...

Yeah really?? Well, your god may have no sense of smell, but I certainly do, and he smells like shit.

Brucker said...

Wow, most people can't even see God, but you can smell Him? That's impressive.

Brucker said...

Eh, Steve; I was purging old e-mails and came across one mentioning this discussion I'd largely forgotten. I'm not interested in restarting this debate because I don't think many come away from reading this stuff with deep insights, but I do want to reiterate my point and hopefully clarify.

I've often said, and not facetiously, that the SAB is useful for anyone interested in taking a critical look at the Bible. I think my previous comments came across too harsh when I meant it as constructive criticism!

One of the big turn-offs to religion is the hypocrisy often displayed in delivering the message,but it works both ways. As I chided twillight for calling God a fairy-tale while condemning His actions, it's a "have your cake and eat it too" thing. He's saying "The cake is a lie...and it's fattening!" Christians arguably have a bundle of hypocrisy to deal with in regards to this issue, but you have an advantage: You don't need to bend over backwards to avoid hypocrisy and keep your theological position! There is no reason you can't condemn ALL instances of cruelty and violence in the Bible. Judges 19 is a great example: condoned by God or not, it's horrible, bizarre violence, so you mark it! But I think my examples are also valid: isn't mass killing of Jewish children as evil as the latter mass killing of Egyptian children? What other than bias makes it less noteworthy?

I could argue this all day in general, but let me point out specifics from Acts 7 that are not only examples of bias, but frankly, huge points for your argument you are missing out on by leaving less than fully condemned. Stephen accuses the Jewish leaders--and by extension the Jewish people as a whole--of being religious hypocrites with a long history of violence. You criticize Stephen for harsh language and intolerance and fair enough, but what is he being intolerant towards but the very same things you are? If you ever wanted to have your cake and eat it too, here's your chance: You can accuse Stephen of using harsh words and being intolerant while at the same time pointing out that he is nonetheless right! Not only do you fail to comment that the Jews' own history bears out Stephen's accusation, but the story puts frosting on the cake in the immediate violence of dragging him out and stoning him to death! Why would you suddenly stop commenting on Hebrew violence when that was your bread and butter all through the Old Testament? Think about it: the Jews are God's people, and the Christians are God's people too, so when they clash, one starts hurling insults, the other starts hurling rocks, (both parties believing themselves to be in the will of God in doing so!) and the only person left with moral high ground to stand on is Steve Wells.

What is the message in your silence but Saul/Paul's words in Acts 22:20, "And when the blood of thy martyr Stephen was shed, I also was standing by, and consenting unto his death..." That's not your message, is it? Nor is it really "I try to mark things that would be useful to a nonbeliever who is trying to decide whether or not to believe in the Bible. I don't see how the gouging out of Samson's eyes or the other things that you mentioned would help in that regard. So I didn't mark them." You wouldn't accept that from me, would you? Or shall we replace my guest post with, "I try to share things that would be useful to a believer who is trying to decide whether or not to believe in the Bible. I don't see how 2Kings 2:23-24 would help in that regard. So I don't talk about it."?

I've been reading your stuff for years and you're capable of better.

Steve Wells said...

Welcome back, Brucker. And thanks for your interest in making the SAB more fair and balanced.

I've already explained why I don't highlight all the random acts of violence that are included in Bible. I only mark those that are performed, inspired, or approved by the God of the Bible. God didn't approve of Samson's blinding, Stephen's stoning, or the beheading of John the Baptist. I don't approve of them either. Neither of us had anything to do with them, so why should I highlight them in the SAB?

Of course, I know why you'd like me to include them. It would make your murderous god look a bit better by comparison. See, he's no worse than the Philistines, the Pharaoh, or King Herod. He was just doing what all Bible characters do.

Except that he's your God, for Christ's sake. And he's proud of every last killing. Why are you so ashamed of them?

If your god wasn't so imaginary, he'd be angry when believers make excuses for him. He kills, he wounds, his arrows are drunk with blood and his sword devours flesh (Dt 32:39-42). Someday you'll be rejoicing while washing your feet in the blood of his victims (Ps 58:10).

So rejoice in God's killings, Brucker. If you can't do it now, you're going to feel silly, when the time comes, with all that blood on your feet.

John B (SiftingReality.com) said...

I had addressed this kind of objection a while back HERE. Essentially, a persons goodness or evilness is irrelevant to whether God can take their lives.

As Creator, he has license to take lives whenever and for whatever reason. Just like if I were to build a robot, I could scrap it at any time. I could even build multiple robots and program one of them to scrap the others. A creator doesn't necessarily need a good reason to do so since he answers to no one but himself.

Stephen said...

@ Sifting Reality:
"As Creator, he has license to take lives whenever and for whatever reason."

He has to exist first. Otherwise it's just people ascribing their sick ideas to an imaginary deity.
Steve Weeks

godhatesyeast said...

Oh. My. GOB.

The stupidity burns hotter than a thousand suns.

Mr. Wells deconstructs the colossal stupidity, ignorance and brutality of the bible by highlighting the atrocities committed by gob in the same way another intelligent being might highlight the colossal stupidity, ignorance and brutality of the Star Wars prequels.

Both are highly influential works of fiction that deserve nothing but contempt and ridicule from anyone with a functioning frontal lobe.

I can't believe you deal with this savage idiocy without losing your mind, Mr. Wells. Keep calm, carry on and enjoy the cash I just paid into your account for your fantastic book.

Brucker said...

"God didn't approve of Samson's blinding, Stephen's stoning, or the beheading of John the Baptist."

Arguably, both Samson and John the Baptist died in order to advance God's purposes, and while I realize explaining such might be a difficult challenge, at the very least you could ask (as John himself did through implication) how God could allow His servants to be treated so cruelly.

But does Stephen's death need to be handed to you on a silver platter like John the Baptist's head? What about Leviticus 24:16? I'm surprised enough that someone as knowledgeable of the Bible as you would forget that, but surely you at least saw Monty Python's Life of Brian, right? Who can forget that scene? The stoning of Stephen is an excellent example of people committing an act of violence because God's Law told them to do so. If that's not worth pointing out to people for your purposes, then I don't know what is. (Injustice? Check. Cruelty and Violence? Check. Contradiction? Check. Intolerance? Check!)

"See, [God]'s no worse than the Philistines, the Pharaoh, or King Herod. He was just doing what all Bible characters do."

Right, because that would be so admirable; your logic is impeccable. That's why when I covered the beginning of Exodus, I argued that God was good because he killed children, and we clearly see from Pharaoh and Herod that child-killing is the mark of a good and effective ruler. (I did argue that, didn't I? Ah, no need to check, it's the obvious answer.)

"Except that he's your God, for Christ's sake. And he's proud of every last killing. Why are you so ashamed of them?"

I'm not ashamed of them, (Confused sometimes? Sure, but not ashamed.) but if it makes you feel better in any way to believe that I am, feel free to do so. It's obvious that we live in a free country where both Bible believers and detractors can say whatever they want about the Bible, and those who believe or detract by extension, with only their own consciences to answer to. I'm guessing we can both agree that certainly seems preferable to the world of the video clip.

The SAB is your site, so do with it as you wish. If you can't or won't believe my thoughts on the matter because you assume ulterior motives on my part, I can't really blame you, but I've said all I wanted to (excepting a parting thought that "godhatesyeast" has a very clever username, IMO), and I'm done here. I'll be unsubscribing to this post, too, (for reasons on grounds of insanity which I wrote about in my blog if you care or not) so I'll just say in parting that I will genuinely miss these discussions with you, and I wish you luck and (although I'm sure you have no interest in it) God's blessings on your continued work.

Steve Wells said...

Well, Brucker, I am sorry to see you go. And although you'll probably not see this, here is my response about the stoning of Stephen.

Does Stephen's death need to be handed to you on a silver platter like John the Baptist's head? What about Leviticus 24:16?

I suppose that if Stephen was stoned to death as described in Acts 6-8, the men throwing stones had Leviticus 24:16 in mind. But the author of Acts did not approve of Stephen's killing. So I don't highlight it at the SAB, except to point out the intolerant nature of Stephen's antisemitic rant.

Shreen said...
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Susan Reese said...
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Susan Reese said...

I always find it infuriating when "believers" try to justify things that "happened" when they have absolutely NO basis in fact! For instance, Egyptians didn't mistreat the Hebrews- Hebrews or "Jews" didn't even exist during that period of history, nor is there a shred of evidence to support the idea of institutionalized slavery in Egypt- quite the contrary! African masons built the pyramids- not displaced enslaved "Hebrews" or little green men. Or they justify the occupation of Palestine by the Jews (most of whom are European converts, not true Hebrews) by saying it was 'Given them by God and is their traditional home land.' HOGWASH! The Jews were occupiers in ancient Palestine (Philistine in the Bible) who slaughtered and subjugated the natives then as now. And before anyone pulls the ludicrous "You are an anti Semite!" card, I'd like to point out that I am Jewish (by heritage, NOT by religion)so stuff it before you even say it. The "Jews" were non-existent until a group of people thought of the great idea to make up stories that set them above the rest of humanity and a God that always sided with them- as justification for any thing they wanted to do no matter how corrupt or morally bankrupt it might be. It was a good idea! It worked, even 4 thousand years later we are kowtowing to this made-up deity and invented superior race. Sickening.

David Land said...

I'm not sure how people can see how beautifully God made this world in Gen 1 and 2 (without killings of humans or animals) and still attribute anything after sin to God's doing. Satan had a choice, Adam and Eve had a choice to trust God and His word or to decide that they know best and can be "as God". God wants only good for all of us...so look how He created this world and look what the result of sin is in the world today and the Bible.
Most of the so called killings listed in these posts are due to man’s reluctance to rely on faith in God. Noah preached for 120 years before the flood and you still want to attribute this as a killing of God? God told them what was going to happen; you just have to believe what he said. I don't have the time to list every example here, look at the principles in why most of these deaths happened.
One more thing... If we all came from evolution (which takes much more faith than does faith in the Bible), why would any of us care about other human or animal life? Or, for that matter even lying... We all view these as bad. But, if it is just survival of the fittest, why not lie to get ahead, why not kill anyone in our way? It makes absolutely no sense to say there is not a God and to also say that you should not lie, steal, kill, etc. If we were not created by God with morality, we would not be having this conversation! Thank you all for proving there is a God, now just do some Bible research (with prayer) to find that God is a God of love.

A.Gee said...

Steve, I appreciate your perspective, and have taken your challenge. I posted it here: http://ageewriter.blogspot.com/2013/02/a-challenge-to-christians-accepted.html
on my blog. Though some of the comments posted have expressed similar sentiment, I feel this is worth your reading and I am interested in your reaction. I feel most of the difficulties could be cleared up if all parties were quicker to try and understand than to accuse. I ask you to read my comments with such an attitude, and I will try to do the same for you. Thank you for your time, respectfully, Austen Gee

Steve Wells said...

Thanks, Gee, for your comment. But I don't see it addresses the challenge. Do you acknowledge that genocide is wrong even if God commands it? And if not, choose one and defend it. I'm looking for a specific justification of one of God's 135+ killings. Of course, after justifying one, you'll need to justify them all. But that's OK. We've got time. Start with one and we'll go from there.

Paul Thomas Janabet III said...

I am Paul Janabet the third, I was born on November the thirteenth.
-
Firstly the Creator is Sovereign.
-
His frame work created death & life.
A true Father Creator Lord would be beyond our reproach. Equality is not possible.
-
For the clincher I adore the destructive power of such a mighty Sovereign. I admire His dealings with even infants, children and all flesh. This also puts those who worship rebel angels (Satanist etc etc) on a back burner they worship a weak destroyer while the truth is that yes our Father is capable of vast arrangement of untold destruction and terror.
-
I completely agree with all of my Father's will. It is a real shame that we have even been allotted to come this far in time to trample His divine glory this much with our insidiousness! Human kind is a ravage beast, a wild dog with mange deserving of death by all and any means.

Not one man, woman, boy, girl or infant is without sin. We are all inherently cursed unto death. This is our lot we have chosen.
-
What's more cumbersome to understand is His grace, such a mighty power should not have to endure us. I cannot understand why He loves me the chief of sinners. I cannot grasp how He can overlook my DISGUSTING self! I cannot find any reason of my own merit to with which I am offered this amazing grace.
-
I fully understand and agree with the complete eradication of all created things. I completely agree with genocide, infanticide, humanoerodocationisim- but only when done with the Sovereign's will else I am by His will bound against harming anyone. What I don't agree with or understand is a Sovereign who allows us to continue.
-
I would now address Christ, but alas you understand that I imagine. I find it rather strange this question only shows His glory and might. What a wondrous powerful Majesty! I would not want to serve a Lord who had no power, was not capable of mass destruction. I need this- I was created to serve a Supreme Sovereign Lord Almighty. A God with no equals, no one questions His divine supremacy. A God who can utterly annihilate His enemies.
-
Before I close two things.
God is Love, but God is also just.
His justness (not ours) requires that any one created thing that disobeys be utterly destroyed. That is Sovereignty in and of it self. However, through love and mercy we are allowed to exist and through Redemption can become free of sin thus free of the yolk of death through our forefathers and mothers original sin. It is this only act of undue kindness that we have any chance at life, everyone will die every child is born to die. This is the heritage of humanity, why do you pretend you are immortal and that not all are not to die at some point. In the end God does indeed kill each and every one of us, perhaps by His hand or perhaps by the curse of death put upon us from whence our forefathers came out of Eden. There is no genocide every man will die, therefore the distinction between when and how has no grounds for a man who is already dying.
-
-Paul.

Okeoghene Ifere said...

Paul Thomas Janabet. I just want to say "WTF". I'm a christian and while I appreciate God's awesomeness, I don't like the idea of destruction of every living thing to prove power. This is why I'm grateful we live in a time of grace.
Steve Wells. I like the way you handle your arguments even though I do think you take some things out of context but then again so do some Christians so I can't blame you. Even, I read can read a verse of the bible and suddenly realize something new. Concerning the question, I can't approve of genocide. Even when I accept God probably has his reasons which are beyond my understanding, I find it distasteful. This is probably why nowadays, I mainly read the New Testament.
Also, on SAB you mentioned something about the laws of the Old Testament and Christians. See the thing is, Christians are not bound by the laws of the Old Testament but by the teachings of Jesus who is the author and finisher of our faith. Yes, the bible says that the word of the God will bot go unfulfilled but that's what Jesus came to do. He fulfilled the law thereby freeing us from its bondage. Using legal terms, the laws of the testament are like a contract between man and God. Jesus fulfilled that contract and with his death and resurrection gave us a new contract with God hence the New Testament. I know Christians who still quote from the Old Testament laws when trying to justify some point they are trying to make but except they intend to really start practicing the laws of the Old Testament, there's really no point to it.
There some teachings of Jesus, you misrepresented in SAB. If you could give me a chance later to explain them to you better, you'll probably find yourself placing them under good stuff in the bible.

whidbeydc said...

Okeo. You say you don't agree with Genoside ( a good thing IMO), so only read the new testiment. But why even read that? You are picking out thinkgs you like and ignoring things you don't thereby making being a Cristain palatable for you. We can all have a good life, with morals and happiness without being scared about some hell out there. Don't be a hypocrite. I saw gays complain about the way the church they went to treated them. Why would they even want to be Christain? That would be like blacks wanting to join the KKK. Another Christain based group by the way.

G Frud said...

You speak of holocausts.
The word is misused by you.
There is only one Creator.
If you don't like what He has done, you won't like what he plans to do.
He is not here to please you, but to accomplish His Will.

e4eaf1f8-9292-11e2-a8d8-000bcdcb8a73 said...

Two points.

One, I believe in an immortal God that is waiting for his kids to get home from school. He wants us all to get a good education, but if some or even a lot of us go home early--it’s not a tragedy to God. If you’re a being that’s been around for millions of years, one year or even a hundred is insignificant--to a god, a baby dying shortly after birth isn’t that much different than an octogenarian dying in his sleep. So yes, God has a different standard of ethics than we do. Because while death isn’t a big deal to God, it sure is a huge deal to us. So when we kill each other it’s called murder and when God kills us it’s called dying.

Imagine you’re a god waiting for your kids to come home from living, and some of your kids are actively preventing your other kids from following your directions and keeping the rules that you made to make everyone happy-- it’s not a big deal to pull the bad kids off of earth for some home school so they can stop distracting everyone else. (Apologies for bad analogy...it’s the best I could come up with)


Two, the bible is a pretty flawed document even setting aside whether you believe in the supernatural or not. I’m not going to lie for God and say that he didn’t command the Israelites to kill all of the Canaanites. I don’t know. But everyone needs to understand that the bible isn’t perfect even if you believe in it enough to teach it to your own children. It was preserved as an oral tradition for *hundreds* of years before being transcribed, and then recopied over the course of a thousand years by a thousand different hands. It was translated from Hebrew to Aramaic to Greek to Latin to English and for the most part each of those translations was based off of the previous foreign language translation (probably because the original Hebrew just didn’t exist. The oldest fragmentary record we have is from the second century CE).

Apart from how foolish it is to overanalyze the precise wording of a translation of a translation, the bible is also a product of ancient mesopotamian culture. Like Thomas Jefferson being a really awesome thinker whose work has perhaps been more influential in giving people a voice in their own government and defending their own rights than anyone else---he was also a despicable owner of human beings. One’s culture doesn’t excuse bad behavior, but it does put it context. The bible contains many things that are divine. But the whole dang thing comes to us filtered through ancient mesopotamian culture.

Ancient mesopotamian culture was extremely violent. Most religions in the fertile crescent made child sacrifice--people were routinely pummeled with stones until they died or thrust over ravines for breaking social norms, and it wasn’t uncommon to sell your debtors into slavery to raise capital. And yes, completely wiping out your opponent wasn’t invented by the Hebrews. I find it completely plausible that God gave the Hebrews a commandment that they fulfilled in a way that was culturally appropriate for them but horrifying to us. Kind of like it was culturally appropriate to have a favorite kid, marry a set of sisters then marry their maids, and “fall on the neck” of your estranged brother when you made amends (that’s all Jacob for anyone that isn’t familiar with the Old Testament), but I don’t think God would necessarily encourage any of those things. It’s not contradictory to say that the Israelites were led by God while also saying that all of their actions were influenced by the time and place in which they lived their lives.

And yes, I can say that genocide is a horrifying tragedy at any time. I still teach sunday school. Life’s complicated. Religion is messy.

Bubzakhan said...

The death of every first born in Egypt before the Exodus of Israel was one thing, but what about the mass killing of Israelite babies decades before?!

If you look at the Bible in a preconceived notion of course you would come to such conclusions, because you would only see what you WANT to see.

With that shortsighted view will obstruct the view of a loving God revealed to us in the person of Jesus Christ. A God who gave everything to be one with mankind again.

And what do we do? We swipe away the olive branch He handed us from on high all while we are waste-deep in death!

I don't aim to convert any of you with this comment but to let you know that I will be praying for each one of you.

I do not justify genocide but I know that God owes NONE of you any answers if He is the creator of all created things!

As creator He makes the rules and we are accountable to Him as none of us can escape Him.

John 3:16

Bill Huninghake said...

God’s Just Destruction of the Canaanites

Many will not like the truth but if you are looking for truth then go to :

https://www.apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=12&article=1630

the thinker said...

if Brucker thinks that it's fair for him to compare his god with humans, up to him. We all know humans are cruel, cruel, people, especially in the past, before the human rights movement, but the bible specifically says that god is infallible, perfectly good, and the source of all our morals. That is exactly why it's pointless to mention the killings by man, but bring up the killings by god.
In your vigor to defend god, you have done the exact opposite: say that god is as fallible as man, and therefore should be judged together with him.

Christopher Lee said...

Steve,
If this challenge is still going on, then, we can engage together. Let me know.
What is the format? and the rules for this debate?

Chris Lee

A.Gee said...

Hey, Steve, hope all is well. I am still waiting for the response to your response on my blog.

Have a great day,
Austen Gee

Steve Wells said...

Here's my response on your blog:

It's really pretty simple, A.Gee. Start with the assumption that the God of the Bible exists and that the events described in the Bible occurred exactly as written. That is your position, isn't it, A.Gee? If so, it shouldn't be too hard for you to do.

So you don't have to prove that God exists or that the Bible is true. We will start with these assumptions. Select a killing and tell us why you think it was a good thing for God to do.

What could be simpler, SimplyGee?

Steve Wells said...

Christopher Lee,

Yes, the challenge is still going on. But so far there's only been one taker - Brucker's Bad News Bears back in 2009.

As for rules, well, there's only one: select your favorite killing and tell us why you like it so much. Then, if you like, select the next one and do the same, until you work your way through the 135+ killings in the Bible. Sounds like fun, eh?

Bill Forward said...

Brucker said...

From BBrucker's post

>>>Steve Wells: "I created the SAB for nonbelievers, Brucker. So I don't much care what believers find significant."

Yes, but you're showing your bias is no better than the Bible-believer's. It's hard to be taken seriously calling Christians and Jews hypocrites when you're participating in exactly the same sort of hypocrisy. More below...<<<

Mr. Brucker, you haven't really changed. Oh sure, you've come to the point where you've finally admitted that Stephen makes some historic error or two in his Acts quote, but you'll still twist logic to all sorts of weird angles to avoid admitting that the Bible simply sucks as a life and reality guide.

Stop playing politics and face up to the truth. The Bible not only has Numero Uno ordering the mass-murder of most of the Midianites, he also orders the RAPE of the surviving little virgins. And all to fix a problem that HE CAUSED by his slaughter of his own chosen people (okay, only many out of one tribe) due to a strange over-reaction to a very limited violent event.

The real question, for you and the other politicians on this discussion, is not whether or not we can judge N.U.; not whether or not enemies attacked the supposed "good guys" in the story, but whether or not it makes much more sense to say that the Israelites wrote their own self-serving quasi-history, rather than it being some grand revelation from heaven.

(But at least you're a lot less scary than some of the deity-defenders here.)

-- Bill Forward "ForwardMan!"

100 dollar trade for what? said...

This has to be the dumbest challenge I've seen from an atheist. The answer is simple: "If you judge God by YOUR standards then you are calling yourself "god". But since these people were obeying G-d, then they were being obedient servants of the Lord G-d". This simple concept has totally escaped you- don't worry though, it'll be explained to you after you've died.

Larry Langley said...

One need only casually read the Old Testament and then the New Testament to discern that somehow the vengeful, sadistic god of the OT is not the same as the one Jesus portrayed in the NT. Why is that? Could there be two gods--one evil and one good-- as the Gnostics taught/teach? To Christians: All this wrangling, fighting,animosity and sarcasm makes me sick. Why don't you all give it a rest? If "no man comes to the Father except the spirit draw him" (John 6:44. No amount of arguing or name-calling or challenges will lead a person to repent of their sins.
Someone may ask: Are you a Christian? Yes, a bible thumping, evangelical, born again Christian who happens to not believe that everything in the bible is Holy Spirit inspired. I can point to the date, the time and the place where I "accepted Jesus as my savior and asked him into my heart" to use the language of other bible thumpers.

Unknown said...

I have to agree with A. Gee (sounds funny) on the subject that at first there are basic questions to be decided on before further discussion gets usefull.

The basic one is : does god exist?
As far as I know this has never been proven so that seems to immediately end the discussion.

I'm convinced there is no god but I am open to any proof that I'm wrong here.

It seems strange that a supposed god would communicate with us for over 2.000 years ago with quite unedicated people while there were at that time far better developped people elsewhere in the world.

Furthermore there has been plenty of time for an update but I'am afraid we will have to wait some more for this to happen.

m1taylo said...

God gives all life. Therefore He is the only one with a right to take it. The fact that all people die proves this. Interesting how you are so quick to credit God with taking life, while ignoring the deaths you don't attribute to Him. Who is responsible for those? Satan? Man? If so, I'm sure their numbers are far higher. Compared to man or Satan, God surely would appear to be the least offensive in terms of numbers of lives taken. Matthew 10:28
Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.
I take it you are an atheist and your purpose is to ridicule those who believe in the Bible. If you actually believed in the God of the Bible, you would do well to take this verse to heart.

Larry Langley said...

Here's a passage in Isaiah 45:5-7,
I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me:

That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the LORD, and there is none else.

I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.

No honest, truth-telling Christian of whatever hue, can explain this verse. Many Christians want to believe the Bible literally. If they do there is no way they can explain the plain literal truth of the words contained in this passage.

Unknown said...

First of all sorry for posting as UNKNOWN.

@ m1taylo : life isn't given by any god or recreated by one, it is passed on as is commonly known.

Living sperm and a living eggcell "melt" together and pass on life.

Those who believe in the bible ridicule themselves, just think for a minute : they follow an old book that has never been updated. Has your god fallen asleep?

Well, to me all this is kinda funny....

HP said...

I honestly don't know what I find more scary: the biblical verses Steven highlights, which so many people unquestioningly believe to be the absolute word of God, or the many, increasingly dubious attempts of believers to try and justify them...

Once again, I'm finding my faith in human nature severely challenged. Where is the logic?! Perhaps more importantly, where is the love you keep claiming your deity is the eternal embodiment of?!?!

Having read the Bible and had various discussions with believers over the years, the only way I've been able to explain to myself how people can believe it is to resign myself to the view that, at best, my understanding of notions such as "all-loving" and "justice" must differ substantially from believers'. At worst, I find their notions of these things disturbingly warped.

There are plenty of humans (although sadly not enough) who would advocate rational peaceful dialogue over genocide when dealing with conflict between communities. Why is this not an option the God of the Bible ever considers (especially when the Bible makes it clear that he has the power to harden, and therefore, presumably also soften people's hearts)?! I thought he was supposed to be the source of love and morality: wise, just and forgiving (or so his believers claim). Leaving aside the fact that the Biblical account of his deeds repeatedly and blatantly contradicts such claims, how anyone can defend these deeds or the "values" they promote (such as unquestioning obedience, horrific cruelty and arbitrary, disproportionate violence) is something I find deeply disturbing and will never understand.

Come on humanity we can definitely do better than this.

Robertt said...

I have a 2 part counter-challenge for you:

1. Come with an absolute moral standard for good an evil. Of course it must be guaranteed, proved and sustained by absolute arguments and authority for everyone. Once you have it, you'll be able to come with less absurd definition of crime and "genocide".

2. Prove that you can manage better this world, keeping everyone alive, healthy and happy, maintaining justice without to punish, kill or restrain anyone.

After that you can resume your mindless God and Bible bashing.

Steve Wells said...

Nice try Robertt.

But it's not about me, it's about the Bible. If you don't want to defend the Bible and its cruel god, that's OK with me. I understand.

You are embarrassed by the genocides that God commands in the Bible. You can't defend them, so you ignore them instead.

Turmarion said...

I realize this was posted awhile back, and I just happened to run across it today, but I thought heck, I'll bite. I am a Catholic Christian, btw.

Can you acknowledge that genocide is wrong even if God commands it?

Yes, but I don't think He does or ever has commanded it. I agree with Socrates' argument in the Euthyphro that the good is not good because God loves it, but that God loves it because it's good.

Can you agree that genocide is never acceptable including the genocides of the Bible?

Absolutely. As Don Henley said in the song "If Dirt Were Dollars", "Evil is evil in anybody's name."

Are you capable as a Christian of condemning genocide without equivocation?

Genocide is always and everywhere wrong, no matter who commands it. Period.

Now, I tend towards the Marcionite end of the spectrum. While (unlike Marcion) I don't reject the Old Testament tout court, I think large parts of it are mythology, ex post facto rationalizations, and all kids of wacky stuff that tells us nothing about God as such. If God is, as I believe, a God of love, the He doesn't go around commanding genocide, siccing bears on kids, and so on. It is to the shame and discredit of the Church and of individual Christians that they have so much defended the indefensible.

Steve Wells said...

Thanks Tumarion.

I suspect that your view is shared by many, if not most, Catholics. I know that that's how I looked at it when I was still a member of the Catholic church.

But if the Old Testament god is evil, as Marcion believed, then why did Jesus accept him in the gospels? Of course the gospels might be in error, too. But if so, then what are you left with? An evil Old Testament God and an unreliable New Testament.

Why not just accept whatever good you find in the New (or Old) Testament, along with whatever good you find from anywhere else? Then just muddle along as best you can, doing whatever good you can and believing whatever is reasonable.

Why pretend to believe more than is warranted by the evidence? Why call yourself a Catholic when you no longer believe in Catholic teaching?

Turmarion said...

Steve, if one were a full-bore Gnostic, one would say that the God Jesus accepted was not the same as the Old Testament God, and that it was later errors or apologetics that tried to conflate the two. The God of Jesus, according to this, is the true god,the Alien God, who has nothing to do with this world or the OT God.

As a matter of fact, though, I'm not a Marcionite and do not think the Old Testament God is a different, evil god from that of the New Testament. I'm saying that the ancient Jews believed things about him that if they were right would indeed have made Him evil; but they weren't right. In many places, both explicitly and subtly, Jesus seems to be to repudiate these very beliefs about God.

In any case, I don't see why it's a problem if parts of the Bible (some of the NT and large parts of the OT)are "unreliable". Except for Fundamentalist Biblical literalists, the Christian tradition has never insisted on a literal interpretation of everything. Sure, there were rows over heliocentrism and evolution (and I point out that I think that science and religion are totally reconcilable, and that it's a disgrace how many anti-intellectual Christians want to teach absurd things like Creationism and such). Nowadays, however, most Catholic and mainline Protestant theologians have no trouble with taking parts of the Bible allegorically, mythologically, etc. A full discussion would take far too much space, but at my blog I wrote a long series laying out my views on the Bible, for those who are interested.

I never said I reject all Catholic teaching, and to the extent that I believe that there is truth in all great religions, to some extent, I do accept "whatever good I find from anywhere else". Once more, it would take far too long to go into here, but I think there are reasons for believing that God exists and that He's ultimately benevolent. The Christian teaching on the love of God (if admittedly not well implemented most of the time) seems more attractive to me than the core teachings of the other main faiths; therefore that is what I follow. Once more, a grossly oversimplified explanation, but there it is.

I am, BTW, a universalist, as I don't see it as being congruent with a God of love to damn people to eternal suffering. Thus, I'm not interested in telling atheists, agnostics, or non-Christians about the doom awaiting them. I think we all probably have to undergo some type of purification--Purgatory, if you want to call it that--which will probably be longer for some than for others (I expect a long tenure, alas....); but not that there's a Hell as such.

Why pretend to believe more than is warranted by the evidence?

I don't pretend. I admit I may be wrong (if I were sure, it would be knowledge, not faith), but that's not the same as pretending.

Why call yourself a Catholic when you no longer believe in Catholic teaching?

Understand that this is not intended to come off as belligerent: Why do you care what I believe? If atheism is true but my beliefs make me happy and get me through life while respecting the rights and beliefs of others, then what difference does it make if I'm right or wrong? I don't think it's my duty to convert atheists or convince Presbyterians and Parsees of the wrongness of their ways. As long as your religion doesn't involve drinking poisoned Kool-Aid, trying to oppress or forcibly convert people, doing evil, or being more or less an overt scam such as Scientology, then more power to you, IMO.

Turmarion said...

Hmm--the link in my last comment seems not to have worked. Here it is without the HTML: http://turmarion.wordpress.com/2012/08/07/the-pretty-good-book-index-in-progress/

bob said...

Not everything that is in the Bible is condoned by the Bible, but is necessarily included in order to be able to relate the story. There is no story about life and history that would even be realistic or valid that does not have the good, the bad and the ugly included in it.

The events concerning Noah’s flood and Sodom and Gomorrah, the Canaanites and other events described in the Bible prompt many to accuse God of being a murderer and a hypocrite. But there is a vast difference between the murder of an innocent and the execution of a criminal.

The events relate to a Righteous and Holy Judge executing judgement on criminals for often extreme criminal behaviour and after much warning.

All the infants and children that were killed were spared the inevitable involvement in their parent’s sins and consequent eternal ruin. In this respect God’s judgment was also merciful.

The inherited sin that all children are born with (no one has to teach children to lie and steal; it comes naturally to them) being covered by Christ’s work on the cross, which covers all of human history.

...of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. Revelation 13:8

Another point that can be made for the reason for God’s judgement was to prevent more children being born into a society and a life that would end up destroying them.

For example, a God who did not judge Canaanite evil would not be a God of mercy, love and compassion (the Canaanites’ bag of sins/crimes being full, with, among many other things, frequent child sacrifice – idolatry at its worst).

The view of some that the Bible or parts thereof are evil is caused by removing and isolating verses from the surrounding scripture and comparing and criticising them out of their context.

This is done out of either:

(a) Ignorance, in which case the underdeveloped reasoning and logic of a child is being used to try to understand scripture.

(b) It is being done wilfully, which is the same deceitful “editing” technique that is used by the media in order to make a better story and/or to discredit someone.

Brucker said...

ForwardMan? What are you doing here?! Good to see you, and I'm glad I happened across this post again despite having de-subscribed as I said I would. (Perhaps I'll re-subscribe since I'm back on the Internet again.)

Please understand the point I'm trying to make to Wells. It's actually not at all about defending the Bible in this case, which I'd do on my blog if I were. It's about pointing out a case of the same sort of hypocrisy that Christians are accused of (and often rightly!)

I still think the stoning of Stephen is a great example of a passage that could be handled better by the SAB. Aside from the points already made about Stephen's words against the Jewish leaders, the Jewish leaders themselves are violently killing a man because of their belief in the Mosaic Law. Why not point that out?

I readily admit that the Bible has God ordering mass murder and even genocide, and while I don't recall the order of rape, I don't doubt your claim. What I'm wondering is why the SAB wouldn't call violence what it is no matter who the perpetrator is. Wells said that he included commentary on one act of violence because "God didn't seem to mind one little bit." Where in the Bible does it say that God minded Stephen being stoned? I have heard it preached more than once that the death of Stephen was the catalyst for Christianity spreading outside of Judea, so you'd find many Christians who'd agree that it was all part of God's plan. Even with bias I don't understand the omission of such commentary.

Steve Wells said...

I agree with you, Brucker. The stoning of Stephen in Acts 7 was cruel. And if the text claimed (or even clearly implied) that God inspired or approved of it, I would mark it as cruel at the SAB. But it doesn't, or at least I don't see any indication that it does.

I wonder though if Acts 7:60 should be marked good. "Lord, lay not this sin to their charge." It was a nice thought, however misguided it might have been.

marsian said...

Mr.steve wells

What do you expect God to be

http://marsian-thebiblenotebook.blogspot.com/

Robert Lambert said...

Please bear with me, as I try to make my point.

Do you or do you not belief that all these things took place? Are they real or not?

Iconoclast said...

Brucker is so desperate that Steve reveals how his Sky-Daddy is cruel that he throws a red herring in to derail the topic.

Mine answer to Brucker: Atrocities by others against Israelites never justify atrocities by israelites against them.

Iconoclast said...

Brucker is so desperate that his Sky-Daddy is an evil megalomaniacal murderer, a moral monster he tries to throw a red herring in about others' atrocities in order to make an excuse for his Sky-Daddy's atrocities.

Iconoclast said...

Hey Brucker,

Tu quoque "argument" is fallacious. You should know beteer. That non-Israelites committed atrocities never justifies atrocities committed by your Sky-Daddy & the Israelites

Brucker said...

Iconoclast, I don't think it's a red herring at all. First of all, I think I make a valid point when I say that the SAB has many acts of violence (not limited to, but including genocide) that it fails to denounce for no apparent reason. Secondly, even if my argument were complete crap (and you're welcome to think of it as so) a "red herring" is a false clue that leads an investigator away from the main point of his inquiry, which I have not tried to do. I think that the original question/challenge is a very good one, and any thinking theist should have some sort of response to it.

On a practical level, setting Christian apologetics aside, I am far more interested in anything that could lead to the ceasing of violence, and have no desire to give anyone a justification for future violence. However, as an amateur apologist, I am aware that the Bible is full of violence, and have to come to terms with it in my own way and in my own understanding of my "Sky-Daddy".

yoursotruly said...

As a man who has spent much of his 60 years trying to reconcile the tales of the bible, the obscure and ancient views of the world and the multiple contradictions with the world I can see around me and from which I gain my sense of reality, i find this fascinating.

It can't be done, keep trying, I love reading about the Christians, Jews, Mormons and Muslims who struggle with the issues and I have a slightly different view. Before I go there, the reason you can't answer the question about genocide is simple, God never killed anybody, every death recorded in the Bible from Cain to Christ was performed by human hands and conceived in human minds OR was a natural disaster, if there is a universal creator, he didn't have anything to do with the earthquakes, floods and volcanoes, I thought we put those meteorological explanations behind us.

As far as the genocide, that all took place with swords of soldiers hacking off heads or smashing babies against walls, I hardly think the universal creator was involved in that but it is evident that the Jews were intent on proving that their local god, Jehovah, was stronger than the other town's god, Baal. Strangely, their god performed poorly and ultimately was unable to defend his people or abandoned them so their atrocities didn't seem to gain them much except hatred.

My view of the Bible is more Eastern, however, I believe that all theological or religious writings NEED to be as contradictory as possible, they are intended to spark questions, not give answers.
If the Bible scrolls and correspondence were clear, few people would study them or learn from them but contradictions inspire reconciliation which leads to truth, eventually.

Recognize the Bible for what it is, a myth about the origins of earth and the beginnings of Judaism, there are some true facts but they are all told from the perspective of one small tribe and ignore the REAL history of the Mediterranean which was going on all around these isolated bronze age tribes and of which they were entirely oblivious, thinking they were the center of the universe.

The contradictions should tell people that they are NOT meant to
take this literally, just as we know that Lincoln was not honest, just as Job was not righteous. Still, can't we learn from the myth of George Washington chopping down the cherry tree and confessing?

The Old Testament SHOULD teach us that we cannot commit genocide because we hear voices even if we somehow have gained the power to make it possible. Moses was a sociopath, Jehovah is a sociopath's God, Jesus worshiped a loving God and if there is such a creator, I know she loves life and not death because I see that all around me. Life is impossible to stop from beginning, evolving and coming to some fruition, life is the universe's one indisputable love.

I am part of what the universe loves, I feel a conscious presence so I need no magic spells, voices in my head or old and musty scrolls, I'm free of any need to defend the Bible or God for after all, if God can't defend himself, who am I?

If our friends want to try and reconcile their OT Jehovah, good for them, it will strengthen their reasoning ability and when sufficiently strong, they can give up their crutch and realize that it is reality that counts.
I am waiting in anticipation for answers about the afterlife but I'm VERY patient and I know that the only answer may be that my peculiar stream of consciousness ends but if I AM conscious after death, I'll just see where I wind up and take it from there.

Isn't that really what it's all about, scaring people into obedience with God-ordered violence or preacher-ordered hellfire?

Herman De Wet said...

Hi. I am not as educated about all the religions however I do read the Bible and believe what it says as true. I do know that when you do not understand something that you may feel dwindeling.
However I have learnt that God ( Almighty Creator of Heaven and Earth) is so much greater and is on a complete other level of thinking than us. I can not even start to understand His LOVE.

One thing- He is serious about is obedience, as the uncle above stated. But He loved us so much that he allowed anamals to be killed and to shed innocent blood for reconciliation of your sins to keep who ever sinned in good standing with Him. Something He allowed so that we could up untill Jesus Christ Have access to Him. "Cruel"(Yes I would say that).
We can read that other religeons also offered to their gods. However God never gave them permision to offer His creatures to any other god. There is only one Creator. Who can tell the Creator of all things what may and may not be killed for an offering except Himself.
He even wanted to remove man completely off the face of the earth at one stage because of our unwillingness to obey Him.
Imagine yourself creating something in your own immage and giving it free will and then ask it to be obedient, and you put all your effort into this creation of yours to make it just rite. And you get what we have here today... Just people who still do not believe that there is a creator and argue about what is rite in our eyes and not what is rite in God's? Worst of all we do not acnollege His power in everything.
What is rite is to stop arguing about who is who in the zoo, who is rite and who is wrong. See God in his creation, be thankfull because He LOVED us enough to allow us to breath His air, taste His water,experience His calculated days and time, feel His sun rays on our skin.
He is still allowing us all these things daily. Thank Him rather than trying to make HIM out to be anything else than GOOD.

Pestcemetery The Bug Doctor. said...

Hello, Just thought I'd give you a glimmer of hope on this death question. The Bible states.: 1 Corinthians 15:26
The last enemy that will be destroyed is death. (see Hebrews 2:14 as well)

At that time I guess you should be happy at least that there will be no more death.

Your zeal for research is commendable and unfortunately it out paces many christians I know. I did however get a good laugh at some of your oversights in the 700 inconsistency list. (said "some"- I won't blow smoke up your backside saying I know all the answers but a few remarks and conclusions betray your bias if I'm being honest) No worries though. You never claimed to be writing "by inspiration of God" You did claim (sorry I should have marked it- lot to read in here) however that you created this blog for unbelievers and "didn't care what believers said." That indicates to me that your challenge is not an honest one and that's a shame.

mosesgodson said...

I realize I'm fairly late to this function but if I am able to help even one person with some insight/wisdom regarding this subject then it's well worth "showing up" (better late than never???).

Genocide, what is "genocide"? Wikipedia [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genocide] describes/defines it as "...the deliberate and systematic destruction, in whole or in part, of an ethnic, racial, caste, religious, or national group..."; by that definition/description it seems the focus here has been entirely too narrow. The first and predominant "genocide" against the human race is against the entire human race; if the biblical record is accepted then death is a consequence of disobedience/rebellion against God (sin) and therefore death itself is "...the deliberate and systematic destruction, in whole [not in part], of an ethnic, racial, caste, religious, or national group..." (i.e. the human race).

In that light, quibbles about specific micro-instances of destruction seem much less significant; God has ordained/instrumented the destruction of a race but it's the entire race of human beings not merely a subset as we define it (e.g. ethnicity, race, caste, religion, nationality). That being said, God has (throughout history) intervened with divine acts of grace to preserve a subset of the human race for himself; he has done (and continues to do) this solely on the basis of faith in him (which can only be enacted/exercised by his choice to reveal himself to who he chooses to reveal himself to). I suppose it could be said that this makes the case for a general genocide of the human race even stronger since his divine act of grace (in preserving a remnant for himself) further satisfies/aligns with the description/definition of "genocide" given (i.e. "...systematic destruction, in whole or in part..."). This revelation was very exclusive (i.e. to the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob/Israel) before Jesus' work on earth but through Jesus God's revelation is freely available to all who hear/learn of it.

Do I condemn "genocide" of any given "part" of the human race? No, absolutely not!!! I do not "condemn" anything because it is not my position to judge (Matthew 7:1-5, Luke 6:37, James 4:11-12, etc.) and consequently condemn anyone/anything (not by my own standards anyways); God is the judge of all and I absolutely/completely trust him to judge everyone and everything justly (so I need not grasp at the "right" to judge). That being said, I do believe that God condemns any destruction of any individual or group of HIS creatures that has not been "ordained" by him; the debate regarding who (if anyone) received this divine order is worthy of another discussion entirely (but biblically speaking it basically "boils down to" whether or not you believe the biblical account to be accurate).

Cloud Hermit said...

First of all, Steve Wells is my hero and my inspiration.

Now, look!

If you Christ-believers think it is okay to have massive people and children and infants burning in hell fire in painful torture for eternity, (speaking even as of now), and you, the selected superior smart elite chosen ones are entitled to heaven to watch us burn in hell and rejoice and dance about that in heaven for eternity... oh well... "Son! You still have A LOT to learn as a human and about *immaturity*."

Cloud Hermit said...

Again, I think Steve Wells is a hero!

If you are going to believe in a god that allows souls to suffer in an actual hell in torture and pain for eternity, you still have a lot to learn as a human about love. Your Christ knows nothing about love, leaving souls in hell in torture, in hell-fire for eternity. A lot of LGBT and atheists are the best souls I've ever seen. The religion you believe in has a god who made a stupid senseless game of needless cruelty - the fallacy of your religion, and a Jesus who teaches about "love thy neighbor" but forsakes countless souls in hell and hell-fire. And ironically, the game gaining point is to have faith in a god of cruelty and nonsense. Your god needs a life than to need to have his ego validated. Don't tell me such a god is perfect but simply idiotic."

Cloud Hermit said...

If anything, the reason Steve Wells has not replied on this particular thread must be because he is still in total shock of Christians' inane logic and small minds and small hearts after all that time he is trying to communicate to you to wake up to a greater love then your puny-hearted god.

Your God is like a child who created an ant farm and burns tons of them with matches fires with no good logic and no good reason.

Let me tell you, I don't see why you still don't get the idea that your supposedly loving God created a senseless game, because he was imperfect, and caused a lot of pain and torture. Are you so sheltered and pampered that you don't understand a thing about pain? pain, mind you, sir and ma'am? and pain in other people? A god that allows pain for eternity in hell knows *nothing* about love.

If it's not for secular humanism, Taoist philosophies, Buddhism, Hinduism, Baha'i, and Unitarian Universalist churches, I probably have almost killed myself by now because of your stupid god's senselessness and foolishness.

Your God does not mind watching massive people and children burnt in hell... ... well, that's just a small-and-tiny-hearted god I rather -not- bother to worship.

And don't even get me on your God endorsing, approving, supporting, permitting, and instructing people about how to do human slavery correctly in the Bible... (Ephesians - 6:5-8, 1 Peter 2:18-25 New Testament).

In your God's spare immortal eternal time, He should read up on Taoism, Buddhism, Hinduism, UU, and Baha'i. Your God's creation has outdone Him in holiness and unconditional love.

I think God needs to go ask Buddha and Vishnu, Confucius and Lao Tzu, for some sound advices!

Steve Wells, you are a brave man to risk eternal damnation for what's right, like Nobel Prize winner Bertrand Russell in "Why I Am Not A Christian."

Cloud Hermit said...

Speaking on the side of Steve Wells,

Look, we are NOT a Christian nation. Why the heck did you think our forefathers had "separation of church and state"?

Your Christian doctrines and people have crossed the line and spilled over into innocent people's personal lives, as in certain GOP and Tea Party movements.

If a religion starts to take a turn into condemning, discriminating, persecuting, excluding, spilling over into other people's constitutional rights and over into politics, and into people's personal lives with constitutional rights and basic human rights being violated, it is wrong and ought to be stopped.

I never saw religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism, UU, Baha'i, Taoism, cross the line in other countries. Mostly it is the Abrahamic God's doctrines jeopardizes basic human rights.

I never understood why so many educated and seemly smart Christians don't get it.

Cloud Hermit said...

We know of IQ, EQ (emotion quotient), AQ (adversity quotient), and now I am coining SQ and RQ (spiritual and religion quotient).

With the amount of talents and minds in our country, I am shocked of our collective SQ and RQ. We are low in SQ and RQ.

After all, our forefathers told us to have separation of church and state, so our country don't turn into like a Christian nation, jeopardizing basic human rights and personal choices, jeopardizing *free will*. Why the heck did we, our forefathers, fight for independence?

Let's cut to the point.

God decided the single most important decisive factor is -faith-.

We are talking about faith to God, to Christ, to Holy Spirit - one or a combination of the three. And for arguments' sake,
even faith to just one is enough.

We are smart Americans.

I will cut to the chase to talk about this Jew - Jesus.

If God has decided the decisive factor to heaven over hell is *goodness* or *kindness* or *self-sacrifice* - something like that...

I assure you, Christianity will spread all over the globe in less than a month, and will replace all other religions in no time to Asia and Middle East.

Well, for most Christians, we have an underlying deep fear of ending up in hell for not believing in God and Christ. I have that too, for my afterlife.

But I researched extensively of all religions and all philosophies of East and West and Middle.

Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism, etc., gave me alternatives for afterlife.

For one. Buddha's requirement is not faith in him, but goodness.

Hinduism requirement is: devotion to virtues.

Taoism decisive factor: devotion to good character.

They have their fallacies, but extremely minuscule compared to Christianity.

In our Christian religious context, we are justified in a lot of things, in the name of saving souls, to preserve our religion, to preserve Christianity: violence, justified, slavery, justified, killings, justified, rape, justified, incest, justified, war, justified, screwing around in politics, justified.

But we missed out some key points.

The Bible written by men - the premise could be wrong.

The Jew was wrong.

The Buddha, Krishna, Taoist Jade Emperor, all offer good eternal afterlives, comparable if not better than heaven.

Why should I pick a Jew over an Indian, or a Chinese? when the Indian and Chinese clicks with my forefathers' hidden ambitions for our country!?

Cloud Hermit said...

Dear Steve Wells,

You are a very intelligent man.

I read your post, and wonder if you miss this important point, because you are not only very intelligent, but also a... good man.

For a Christian, eternal salvation of souls is the single most important thing for all.

We are talking about eternal destination.

To that, to save souls, it is easy for us Christians to justify our acts.

For salvation of souls and to preserve our religion and to win grace from God by spreading it: massacre, justified by example, genocide, justified, rape, justified, incest, justified, killings, justified, breaking all ten commandments, justified, slavery, of course that's just justified. War? obviously justified. messing with politics, of course justified.

To preserve our religion for the sake of souls' eternal destination, any evils preached against by Jesus Christ is justified, After all, we are sinners. hello?

For your eternal destination, I am a sinner, and I am justified by example to break all commandants and Christ teachings to save your damn soul.

Happy new year.

Let me go do some meditation taught by those damn Buddhists to calm my mind.

Brucker said...

Cloud Hermit, you said something I found quite interesting:

The religion you believe in has a god who made a stupid senseless game of needless cruelty - the fallacy of your religion, and a Jesus who teaches about "love thy neighbor" but forsakes countless souls in hell and hell-fire. And ironically, the game gaining point is to have faith in a god of cruelty and nonsense.

You're saying here that it's a "fallacy" to have salvation based on a cruel game played by a cruel God, but it seems to me that that's not a fallacy, but something that makes perfect sense. If God is cruel, then of course he's going to act in a cruel manner. If God is nonsensical, then of course the things he does will be senseless. Now while I don't believe God to be either of those things, I think it goes to show a couple things. First, that God's actions will reflect what an individual considers his character to be (and vice versa) and second, that the real problem you have with the God of the Bible isn't that he doesn't make sense, it's that you just don't like him. I don't think there's necessarily anything wrong with that, but you should tell it like it is.

As a Christian, I could of course be wrong about the nature of God, but I really don't think that the basis of truth about God (or anything else) is whether it's the most pleasing option. Saying God isn't real because you don't like how he's described in the Bible is like saying Barack Obama isn't president because you disagree with his policies. By the way, I think that the fact that God's nature is not determined by popularity is one of the best reasons to have a separation of church and state; I don't trust any politician to tell me what God's will is.

Unknown said...

I've had this argument many times with a religious apologist who seems blinded to any kind of logic. He tells me that my morality is relative which means I don't know right from wrong but the bible gives him absolute morality. Then he tells me that genocide used to be OK, but it's not OK today. And technically the Bible stories are not genocide.

His favourite source of justification is http://christianthinktank.com which is actually the work of one man (Glenn Miller - not that one). Can one man be a think tank? (No).

Anyway, if you want bonkers justifications of genocide and the imaginary God's various atrocities, you can find them there, assuming you can penetrate the verbosity.

John Smith said...

Why is genocide wrong from a materialist/atheist standpoint? I guess I just don't see it. If every living thing is just spontaneously generated matter at various levels of evolution, why should genocide be an issue? If a group had evolved enough to kill another different group, is this not survival of the fittest in a way? If one colony or organism destroys another, why should we care unless it directly affects our own survival in some way?

Baconsbud said...

John I am going to try and explain to you why your question is one you put forth more for yourself then for anyone else. I know you would most likely ignore any attempt by me to explain why I don't need a god to tell me genocide is wrong.

You are asking this question more to tell us that without a god a person can't be moral and to reinforce those beliefs within yourself. I find people who ask this question are trying to shift the question to another view so they don't have to really look at their religion more closely. I would suggest you look deep within yourself and your religion and ask yourself why you would even ask why someone could see genocide as anything other then evil.

John Smith said...

"John I am going to try and explain to you why your question is one you put forth more for yourself then for anyone else"

Why else would a question be asked but to get an answer for oneself?

"You are asking this question more to tell us that without a god a person can't be moral and to reinforce those beliefs within yourself"
I made no such claim. I am merely seeking the terms of morality as an atheist would define them. As has been pointed out repeatedly around here, Christianity has a book that defines their terms. One may take issue with those terms or question their validity, however, they are defined and have been defended by apologists.

"I would suggest you look deep within yourself and your religion and ask yourself why you would even ask why someone could see genocide as anything other then evil."

I made no claim as to having a religion. I will restate the question. Why is it "evil" if in the quest for survival some groups have felt their odds of continuing to spread their genes would be improved by eliminating a rival to the limited resources needed to survive? Is it evil if one monkey kills another? Is it evil if one bacteria kills another? How about just one person killing another person, is that evil? What if the person that was killed was genetically inferior?

"I know you would most likely ignore any attempt by me to explain why I don't need a god to tell me genocide is wrong."

No, I would not. I may challenge or disagree, not ignore. But again the question is not why you don't need a god to tell you its wrong. The question is, "Why is it wrong?" I would appreciate if you refrained from mentioning god or the supernatural in your answer .

Vik and Marie said...

Yes, a good question: Why is genocide wrong?

Don't borrow from christian morality, what you pick and choose. God as a total sovereign, who created all from nothing, reserves the right to take the life that He gave in the first place.

We, human beings, don't have that right, only when directed by Him, as in case of capital punishment, in proper civil office.

There is no internal contradiction in the Christian thought. Either you accept it all, or none.

Seems like you can't account for good and evil, because there is no standard beyond yourself, to which you can appeal to.

Why is anything wrong?

Sacha Weis said...

This isn't really on topic, but one of the comments makes me want to share.

If, as Larry Langley stated, "no man comes to the Father except the spirit draw him" John 6:44, then why does this 'spirit' choose to leave some out, or in biblical terms "harden their hearts"? I have never believed. I spent a couple of years in church trying to believe, but the words of the preacher made no sense.

Yes, as humans it would be painful to kill our children, but as a God, portraying your own child and enduring a millisecond of humiliation and pain can not be a sacrifice in the least.

So, here I am, a flawed human, of this I do not debate, but am I worthy of hell because I don't have the ability to have faith in an unseen, unfelt God who supposedly performed a pointless act of essentially killing himself?

I used to say that when all the Christians rise around me in the rapture I will believe and repent. However, after educating myself on the God of the Bible, if indeed he did exist, I would NEVER bow before such an evil entity.

Sacha Weis said...

And one more thing…

When someone, such as Vik and Marie, posts that it is only okay to take a life when it is directed by God, how do they differentiate between what is dictated by God and what is not? If a fundamentalist Xian runs out and kills an abortion doctor and says God told him to do it, is that not directed by God?

How can you, Vik and Marie, say that capital punishment is condoned by God when Jesus himself supposedly said, "let he who is without sin cast the first stone." Who does this leave to do the execution since none are sinless according to the biblical God.

I find it funny that Christians use the Old Testament to justify being homophobic and yet when you call them on some of the other commands of God in Leviticus they say that those things don't count because Jesus came and so the law is no more. Why is it still an abomination to lay with another man, and yet eating shellfish or cutting your hair is perfectly acceptable?

Errol Smythe said...

... There are no contradictions in The Holy Bible. For example, where some would suggest that there is a contradiction in Genesis Chapter One and Genesis Chapter Two, careful researchers will adopt an unbiased approach to study the alleged anomaly and on careful perusal of The two Chapters in question will arrive at the conclusion , That The Holy Bible was written that way to Bless the unbeliever and to make the unbeliever stumble and fall and be confused and ensnared by strong delusion...

Now some may protest the above statement but in one's search for truth, it is evident that there are many riddles in life and that is why some people just get fascinated with cross word puzzles and breaking codes and solving jigsaw puzzles...

In a cross word puzzle, it is important to have the correct words in the right place to solve the puzzle with 100% accuracy...

In a breaking a code , one has to be a code breaker or be one that is properly trained to break codes...

In solving jig saw puzzles, it is important to have an eye for detail...

When we look at Genesis Chapters One and Genesis Chapters Two we see that Genesis Chapter One
records events that happened from the beginning of time as we know it...
We see also that Genesis Chapter One verse One begins by stating :

".. In the beginning GOD created the heaven and the earth...". [ #Genesis 1:1 ].

The rest of Genesis Chapter 1:1 gives a brief and concise Biblical History of what happened in The First Six Days that planet earth was being prepared and fine tuned for the creation of so called simple and complex life forms..[ See. Earth was Fine Tuned to Exact and Precise Specific Optimum Conditions to support & sustain Life .. scribd.com/doc/164492240/…. ].

Genesis Chapter Two verse begins with the Seventh Day in verse one.

The rest of Genesis Chapter Two gives greater detail of The Sixth Day and The Fifth Day and then concludes with the sixth day by letting us know that on the Sixth Day, GOD created Eve by putting Adam into a deep sleep and taking one of Adam's ribs and making Eve...

Eve was bone of Adam's bone and flesh of Adam's flesh...

Adam being put to sleep reminds us that The Second Man Adam Yeshua Ha-Mashiach The Lord Jesus Christ died on The Cross [ laid down His Life ] for The Second Eve [ The Bride of Christ...The Church...The Elect...The Called Out Ones .. The Ecclesia ]....

Errol Smythe ... Twitter Account @AtThyWord777

#Genesis 1
#Genesis 2
...

Cloud Hermit said...

Christianity is really more fear-based than faith-based.

99.99 % of Christians are fools thinking that God or JC are all- loving when God and JC condone billions of people burning in hell in real pain for eternity as we are speaking at this moment.

I know more about love than God or JC.

Christians are idiots, cowards, with no moral courage or a mind.

D.O.A.Salesman said...

Interesting blog post. I know it's quite old now, but I'd like to make a response. I hope you read this.

Genocide is a wonderful thing. If you don't like genocide, and if you've never taken part in genocide, then please do not breathe in my direction and don't offer me food prepared in your kitchen. Please do not offer to shake someone's hand and please refrain from being in the presence of people in general.

Yes, I'm talking about hygiene. In the western world we knowingly kill countless microorganisms everyday. even if you are the most unhygienic person on the planet Earth (Sorry, Martians. No-one loves you!) your body kills hundreds of thousands of little invaders everyday.

I'm guessing you're okay with this type of genocide, but why is it okay for us to commit this crime against things we consider "lower life forms", but it's not okay for a being higher than us to commit much lesser genocides against us?

I know - I know, "humans (most) are people, the numerous tiny little buggers that try to eat us every day are not". I know most of us believe that they are biological computers built to kill us, so it's okay to kill them. Right? It's not like we "lower lifeforms" pose any threat to "The Most High" right? So that's why he shouldn't kill us right? He has no right to! - right?

Okay, enough with the snide rhetoric, here's something you might not have heard before and will probably make you laugh until you look it up (and then laugh some more, but nervously).
Remember that bit about "sons of God" having children with "the daughters of man"? That mixing of "angel" (or aliens – or other dimensional beings as they seem to be called today) and human DNA seems to have resulted in a race of giants called the Nephelim or "Fallen ones".
Basically, Alien / Angel invasion where the aliens abduct and impregnate humans so that their children will run a muck and take over the planet for their alien daddies. God wants to stay the highest lifeform, so he kills them. and kills them again. and more pop up so he mops them up to. rinse, repeat, judgement day, all corrupted human-angel hybrids will be wiped out again, the kidnapping rapist aliens burn, everyone has a party, The En- erm, never-ending story.

..Still laughing? come back once you're all laughed out.

Now go find out about "Nephelim"...
Back? now go look up alien abduction stories.
Sounds like the same thing doesn't it?
Now go look up the lineages of the peoples who got wiped out. What'd you find?
Either they had some Nephelim DNA or they were just plain old enemies of "the people of the book" right?

Okay, that's done now let's talk about the "badies". What right does "the big guy in the sky" have to call anyone good or bad? Who would want to kill a bunch of people who burn babies during every public holiday?
"Merry x-mas!" then they burn a baby.
"Happy new year" then they rape a virgin and burn a baby.
what's wrong with that?
Just in case you think abortion & post birth abortion is A-ok, let me remind you of the poor little microorganisms (that you apparently evolved from) and then I'll answer that question for you. Rape and murder of children is bad. Very bad. Bad enough to get killed for doing? - Yes. Yes indeed. Ever been raped? Ever lost a child you loved at the hands of a murdering paedophile? No? Find someone who has and then tell them that they don't have to right to seek the death penalty against the perpetrators.
Back from getting slapped?

Now go read a book.


PS. To Steve Wells; While I disagree with you on many points, this stuff is still quite interesting. It looks like you've actually done your homework. Please look up the Hybrid idea and write an article shooting it down. I'd like to hear your view.

Brucker said...

Salesman, people are always jumping back on this post, so don't feel bad. If you're interested, I already had some discussion with Steve about Nephilim in the comment section of this post on my blog. If you'd like to share more there, I'd be interested in hearing it.

Todd Perry said...

Very VERY well researched stuff here my friend. I am a believer in Christ and have done my homework as well for over 18 years and can say only this: I believe "Adam" and "Eve" represents the first "civilized" humans to walk the earth with intelligence, and as such, they had direct contact with God. They were not prone to violence and were mostly, if not completely vegetarians/gatherers. They had no concept of how to build structures and no desire to "evolve". Somewhere along the line, some pretty damned haughty and smart beings came to us and taught us how to build, hunt, make and use weapons, etc. and this was not the Creator's plan or wish. The beings also evidently mated with both humans and animals and tainted humans' DNA. To say the VERY least, God was pissed. Most cultures of ancient times have flood stories which corroborate the Bible's account of this event. From the flood on, it seems to be a battle for pure BLOODLINES, as we again became tainted and prone to building huge structures to our "gods" and practicing sacrifice, incest, etc. God is absolutely brutal in His approach to humanity, and as a believer, I certainly fear Him. I cannot justify, as a somewhat moral man (father, husband, etc) any acts of genocide, etc, but God has different feelings (obviously). So, as a believer, I am certainly not offended at this site or your research, as it is all true! Yet, I confess, I do believe in God and intelligent design (much of science has also rejected Darwinism as well, as the scientific method has pretty much disproved his theories- not to mention, he called Blacks "subhumans".) Well, I guess that's all the rambling I got for now, thought you all might appreciate a thought from a believer (unchurched of course, I DO know deception and trickery when I see it!) Satan is a sniveling little girl compared to God's violence and anger, and sure makes it tempting to turn atheist, Satanist, or at least, agnostic. However, I have had too many near-death experiences and seen too much supernatural evidence of God to not believe He exists. But, holy crap, He sure is one brutal, jealous, judging sucka! Christ, on the other hand, changed all that and commands a pure life of love and longsuffering. With or without "god", we humans have always, and will always, burn, mutilate, torture, rape, and kill. It is in our DNA. This was not the original intent for us, and our willingness to "make deals" with these other "gods" or Nephilim or whatever you wish to call them, has made a raging monster out of God.
I belong to a small group of believers, and have printed your chart of God's killings; I hope to discuss this with them very soon. GREAT research bro.
You can call me Tawd the Meatcutter

tom clark said...

I'm curious about your remarks. They have no premise. You say genocide is a moral atrocity ! Even when the creator does it. (who according to you doesnt exist) . so if you believe in morality , you must believe in a moral law giver . Is this correct? I'll be waiting for your answer.......

Cloud Hermit said...

- God versus Satan -

Satan: I am proud, vain, and evil. That's why I am Satan!

God: So!? Look, Satan, I am more proud than you; those who are virtuous and do good but do not accept me and the saviour I created go to hell! I am more vain than you; I am all power but sits in heaven sipping coffee watching children died and shot and raped and not do a thing! I am more evil than you; I let good people who do not accept me to be burnt in an eternal hell! And in heaven everyday I have all angels partying over these good people being burnt in hell and party on these foolish humans' confusion and suffering.

God: So, Satan, I win! I am more powerful, proud, vain, and evil!!!

Satan felt he lost again, humiliated, and walked away his head down in humiliation.

godsbreath.net said...

Christians find your thoughts ignorant (agnostic) and corrupted with bias and prejudice. First, you overlook Christ's words about loving our enemies and His fulfillment of the old Law, which in part Moses' gave because of Israel's hard heart (Mt 19.9). Second, if God's kills to protect others from their slaughter, you judge God either way. Such reasoning is apparently stupid even to most skeptics. Thirdly, you overlook the afterlife that children go into (Matt. 19:14). You also seem to suppose that God commanded that children be put to death by the sword disregarding God's command against such. You overlook how God put to death Adam and Eve by driving them out of the land that He gave them. The historical interpretation of Philo and Josephus find that God never commanded such infanticide.

You twist the Bible, so that you can reject it (2 Pet. 3:16). You reject Jesus for hate of being exposed for your corruption (John 3:18-20). That is the whole purpose of the Skeptic's Bible, or otherwise, there would not be one.

What nags at what little conscience you have left is "What if I am wrong?" If you do not repent, you will likewise perish as other men without God (Luke 13:5). You kindle your own fire (Isa. 50:11). Yet, God has been patient desiring that all come to repentance (2 Pet 3:9). Jesus only calls sinners to repentance - not the righteous (Mark 2:17).

Willy Dubs said...

Okay, okay. I admit it. The Christian God isn’t the most benevolent. To be fair, he’s kinda the opposite of benevolent.

But, then again, take a look at your options:


Judaism.

The Jewish God committed all the slaughter in the old testament as well, PLUS he says NO BACON!!!!!


Islam.

You have to pray to rock 5 times a day, If you’re a chick, you’re screwed (literally).


Hinduism.

No hamburgers? No hot dog? No Meat Lover’s pizza? Such a waste of a Reincarnation!


Buddhism.

Nirvana? Uniting with giant blue man that looks vaguely like Dr. Manhattan? Not my thing.


I don’t know about you, but I’m sticking with Christianity.

Cody Farmer said...

We are all sinners & fall short of the glory of God. Compared to Gods holiness we all deserve death including me. I have some evil freaking thoughts and still do ugly things. But for some reason The Lord keeps blessing me more and more. Can someone explain that?

ITBP said...

To the previous last 3 Commentators, all religions have peace verses. To judge a religion, you need to judge it by absence or presence of violent verses.

For example in Battle many Grenades are hurled into enemy, but how many of them dont explode because faulty mechanics? Very few.

Similarly all religions have peaceful verses but how many of them have violent verse? Very few.

@Willy Dubs your comparison is laughable.

Before you consider yourself to be sinner ask yourself what wrong you actually did that you are sinner?

And even if you are sinner why do you want to be saved by a god who killed even babies?

shamster said...

In response to the post my 'favorite'is the one where God destroys Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19: 12-29) why I 'like' it you say well because God's will was done he destroyed a people who were deep in their sin.

Also the one which is to come where God will devour with fire the nations which will oppose him in battle (Rev.20:7-10). Now that one I especially 'like' as it will signal the end of those who would oppose God. Amen

EDMUND MILLER said...

i am so sorry i'm late! very nice cordial discussion.

in all seriousness, what exactly is the problem with genocide??

it seems to be part of every culture, every race, every age... it seems an intergral part of humanity

Errol Smythe said...

GOD created everything perfect on earth.

When sin was committed by Adam in The Garden of Eden, sickness and death entered the human race.

...The blogger of this post adopts the wrong position that they can judge GOD.

In this post it is quite evident that the biased and prejudiced blogger makes many errors of judgement and mis-quotes Scripture and mis-translayes Scripture and mis-places Scripture.

The blogger also fails to condemn all abortions.

It is presumed that blogger is aware that ABORTION is a form of Genocide.

The blogger also fails to condemn secular wars conducted by secular Governments...

The blogger also fails to address the fact that from the time of birth, a person begins to die and that science has found no cure for death.

Death visits all humanity. Death has no heart. Death respects no one. The rich die. The poor die. The old and young die.

How many pieces of papers with drafts of music did Mozart destroy before Mozart had a masterpiece.

How many lamps did Edison make before he found a filament that could work well in the Incandescent Electric Light Bulb ?

Science moves from ideas to blueprints to prototypes that are tested and improved before a product is mass produced.

How many people are in the prisons ?
Does the rehabilitation of prisoners work perfectly 100% of the time ?

Is the blogger of this post a perfect person ?

Why would any imperfect person think that they can judge The Perfect GOD ?

People get sick everyday and people die everyday...Does the blogger have any power to stop and prevent sickness and disease and stop death in it's tracks ?

Of course not...The blogger is only mortal and imperfect trying to mete out judgement without any Moral and awithout any Divine Authority...

This blog is a great disappointment written by a mixed up brainwashed individual seeking for answers in all the wrong places....

I suggest that instead f looking for answers in the darkness, that the blogger in question should turn away from darkness and turn to The Light and step into The Light...

Kyle Hunter said...

Errol, the very fact that you are using human failures to correlate the bible's flip-flopping of god's intent or personality proves the author's point. If this god is so perfect, why in the world would he keep having to re-create everything or seemingly change his mind. If he was so all-knowing, nothing and I mean NOTHING would have come as a surprise to him and not one of his reactions to "disobedience" would have been required. Abortion is no worse than any of the killings and destruction portrayed in the bible. However, it has served a great purpose in polarizing one group of people against another, something religion takes great pride in. These are fairy tales told to scared, uniformed, uneducated ancient people in order to control their behavior. "See what happened to them? Don't do that or it'll happen to you too". I and many others don't believe the bible is factual, however I DO believe that WAY TOO MANY people do, and that is the scary part. If you believe and worship a god that has absolutely no qualms about killing, raping, torturing, plundering, or any other "ing", then you've got much more serious issues.