Monday, February 9, 2009
Meet your Myth.
“The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.” -Richard Dawkins (The God Delusion)
In years gone by and before my faith evolved into free thought, I would have thought this statement to be an anti-religious rant by someone with both unreasoning hatred for and little knowledge of God.
Now I am not so sure...
How well do we know exactly what morals the bible espouses?
How well do we follow "Gods will"?
How well do we even know the "god" to whom we supplicate ourselves in adulation and prayer, and with whom so many profess to have a personal relationship?
Is this relationship a two way street based in inalienable truths or is it a comforting thought that is defined by each person to fit their needs.
Lets take a look together.
There is a suspension of disbelief that surrounds and shrouds "god" in a veil of piety that few can rail against without being labeled "immoral" or "intolerant".
Our society places this veil over our senses every day sidestepping the ancient message of god by giving us assertions to his being that infer to us his motivations and his character. And who are we to disagree?
"In god we Trust"
"God rest his soul"
"God bless you"
"Its in Gods hands"
"Holy (insert word here)"
and even "God's last name is not "Dammit."" ~Author Unknown
Ok, well, maybe not the last one. But you get the point, every day we are inundated with references to his "morality", goodness, infinite forgiveness, and the peace that comes with belief. Song , TV shows, movies, love stories, poetry, literature, and even news about statistically improbable things happening to good people are all references to this (Miracle on the Hudson, Miracle babies, miracle cures to disease). Now clearly some of these things are not a direct reference to god per se, and maybe they have entered into the venacular as common use sayings (I still say "Oh my god!" in surprise and amazement) but they still serve to obfuscate the image of what god really is (as defined by his own book)
It is behind this veil of societal inferences that we must peek in order to get to the truth beyond it. The first time I pulled back the curtain to see what lay behind it I was shocked.
What is behind it? The only thing that can stand in true statement to the nature of "god".
His own book, the bible
Now understand that I am in no way submitting the bible to you as evidence of his existence, but I DO submit that the morality of the god myth can only be found in the content of the book that defines it.
Lets look to this book for guidance....
I think that we can overlook the good things in the bible and define him by what he is willing to do that we would determine is immoral. Charles Manson espoused a love for music, creativity and loyalty but we wouldn't use him as a spokeperson for those things because of the evil that he stands for. In short, if God condones terrible things, he is a terrible guy no matter how he tries to mitigate it. Shouldn't we expect perfection from a being that is supposed to stand for perfection? Of course we should.
Lets open his book.
Leviticus 25:44-46 NLT says "you may purchase male or female slaves from among the foreigners who live among you. You may also purchase the children of such resident foreigners, including those who have been born in your land."
Slavery? Really? Maybe that is a bad example, maybe we are reading it wrong. Lets look again....
Exodus 21:20-21 NAB "When a man strikes his male or female slave with a rod so hard that the slave dies under his hand, he shall be punished. If, however, the slave survives for a day or two, he is not to be punished, since the slave is his own property."
Hmmmm beating your slaves? That didn't help.
OK ok, but surely slavery was the way of the day and no self respecting, all powerful, all wise being could be expected to instruct them NOT to have them without having them reject him so lets move on....
Exodus 21:7-11 NLT-"When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she will not be freed at the end of six years as the men are."
EEEK! Selling your daughter into slavery (which the owner may choose to marry at his whim), seems a bit harsh... but who could blame him, girls were such a bother back then. Even still....
(Judges 21:10-24 NLT) Murder, rape, and pillage at Jabesh-gilead? (still not helping)
(Deuteronomy 22:28-29 NLT) Laws of Rape (Hey Jesus, have a bad break up or something? You are pretty bitter towards women)
(Deuteronomy 22:23-24 NAB) Death to the Rape Victim (OOH, I guess I didn't know HOW bitter!)
(Zechariah 14:1-2 NAB) God Assists Rape and Plunder
(Wisdom 3:5-7 NAB) Human sacrifice(Deuteronomy 17:12 NLT) Kill people who don't listen to priests
I think that we can stop now.
Children for Hitting Dad;
Children for Cursing Parents;
Fornicators (mmm fornisacrilicious);
Followers of Other Religions;
Entire Towns if One Person Worships Another God;
Women Who Are Not Virgins On Their Wedding Night;
followers of Other Religions;
Anyone who Approaches the Tabernacle;
People for Working on the Sabbath;
Brats (quite terribly I might add);
The Curious as they looked at the ark;
Good Samaritans for keeping the altar from falling;
Sons of Sinners;
Jericho and everything in it (plants, animals and EVERYTHING);
He has an Angel of Death;
Presumably to kill the Families of Sinners; and
ALL of Babylon.
Rape, Sex slavery (for your daughters no less), murder, infanticide, genocide, fratricide, misogyny,pillaging and war? Sound familiar? Maybe you aren't so far off Richard.
All wise and the source of our moral order?
I think not. (killing for all offences? Not very imaginative either!)
If these are the morals that he teaches, count me out. I am a better person than he is, and so are you.
So to those of you who thought you knew him, but didn't.....
May I present to you..... (Drumroll)
Jesus of Nazareth, the biggest bastard the world never knew.