An Atheist Reads The Bible: Is God A Freedom Fighter Or A Terrorist?

The story of the Israelites escape from Egypt is probably the best known story in the Bible, possibly even more so than the stories from the Book of Genesis. I can still remember watching The Prince of Egypt as a child in school. However, what people don’t know is that there is no evidence that the Israelites were ever in Egypt or that the Book of Exodus is actually true. The Israelites were supposedly in Egypt for 400 years, yet archaeologists have found no traces of them nor ant Egyptian records of them. Nor is there any record of the plagues that allegedly occurred (which were so massive you could hardly ignore them) or the death of the Pharaoh (who is never named, further weakening the story) and his army (which is something which would have deserved mentioning). Nor has any evidence been found in the Sinai desert were supposedly 600,000 men (which implies about 2 million women and children) wandered for 40 years. Scholars now recognise that the Exodus simply didn’t happen (interesting most criticism comes from Jewish rather than Christian or Atheist sources).

But let’s continue as if these stories actually happened (otherwise there’d be no point in reading the Bible) and the Book of Exodus begins with an unnamed Pharaoh becoming afraid of how large the Israelites have become, so he makes them slaves. But they keep growing so the Pharaoh orders the murder of every son born to the Israelites (Exodus 1:16). This chapter strikes me as odd and seems almost as if it was added later to justify the plagues. Why would Pharaoh with his army and massive population be afraid of the Jews? There were originally only 66 Israelites, so how big could the population have grown? Surely there was an easier solution than murdering babies, which smacks of later propaganda?

Either way, one day God appears to Moses in the form of a burning bush (Exodus 3:2). This raises an interesting question as Genesis is full of scenes where God appears to people, but how do they know its God? What does he look like or does he even have a physical form? How do you distinguish God from an angel, the Devil or any other spirit? Why a burning bush, why not appear directly to Moses?

God then tells Moses that he has heard his people cry and will rescue them from slavery (considering they’ve been in slavery for 400 years at this point, he’s taking his time) and bring them to the promises land. Moses is naturally a bit unsure and worries that people won’t believe him. So when Moses throws his staff onto the ground, God turns it into a snake and when Moses puts his hand into his cloak it turns leprous (Exodus 4:1-7). Why couldn’t God himself appear to the Israelites? Then there would be no confusion, why does he need a middleman?

Then comes the most important line in the whole Exodus story and one that most people don’t know. God tells Moses to go and ask for his people’s freedom, “but I will harden his heart, so that he will not let the people go.” (Exodus 4:21). Just think about that for a moment.  It implies that Pharaoh was willing to let the Israelites go, but God made him say no. Why the hell would he do that? Surely letting his people out of slavery without violence is a good thing, why would God deliberately make it more difficult? This completely changes the Exodus story from one of God rescues his people from slavery to one where God is toying with people so that he can needlessly slaughter them. The Pharaoh isn’t the villain in this story, God is.

So Pharaoh rejects Moses and Aaron’s offer and instead increases the burden of the Jews, saying he does not know their God (why doesn’t God just appear to Pharaoh like he did to Moses. It would save a lot of lives). There is an intercession for genealogy and God repeats himself a few times (Exodus 5-7) before hardening Pharaoh’s heart again (Exodus 7:3). So Moses and Aaron repeat their demand again, except this time God turns their staff into a snake. However, the Pharaoh’s magicians also turn their staffs into snakes, which Aaron’s snake eats (Exodus 7:11-2). Hold up. If the whole point of turning a staff into a snake was to prove that Moses was sent by God, what does it mean that Pharaoh’s magicians could do the same? Are they sent by a different God? Is God one of many Gods, albeit more powerful? The fact that God normally proves himself by performing miracles is seriously undermined by the fact that other religions can also perform miracles.

But Pharaoh’s heart is hardened so God turns the water of the Nile into blood. But he doesn’t stop there, every bit of water in the land, even that in ponds, lakes, aquifers and storage is turned into blood (Exodus 7:17-9). Now the Egyptian civilisation was built around the Nile, so any harm to it would destroy all the people of Egypt, so turning the water into blood is essentially a death sentence. However, the Pharoah’s magicians also turned all the water into blood (Exodus 7:22), which is odd because what water was left over? The fact that magicians could perform the same miracles as God himself seriously diminishes his power. The Bible says the Egyptians got around this problem by digging new wells (Exodus 7:24), but there is no way they could replace the Nile in a few days before dehydration killed them all. Also, God said he turned all the water into blood, wouldn’t that include that buried underground?

Then God sends a plague of frogs which the magicians also do (Exodus 8:2-7). If the land is already crawling with frogs, why would the magicians send even more frogs? However Pharoah relents and agrees to release the Israelites (Exodus 8:10) (that part was new to me). So God kills all the frogs (which doesn’t quite solve the problem) but Pharoah breaks his word (Exodus 8:15). Then things get a little repetitive, as essentially the same story is told for all the plagues with just a few details changed. The dust gets turned into gnats which cover everything but this time the magicians cannot replicate this plague (Exodus 8:16-18). Why do the magicians not try to remove the plague instead of doubling it? Next it is a plague of flies, except this time God decides to spare the Israelites and where they live (implying that the other times he was punishing them as much as the Egyptians). Pharaoh agrees to let the Hebrews go, God removes the flies, but Pharaoh breaks his word again.

God then kills all the livestock of the Egyptians but leaves the Israelites animals untouched (Exodus 9:3-7). Couldn’t the Egyptians just take the livestock off the Israelites? What are slaves doing with their own livestock? Doesn’t that go against the very principle of slavery? The next plague is boils which break out on whatever human or animals are still alive after the massive famine and drought from the last plagues (Exodus 9:9). But God hardens Pharaoh’s heart again (in case it wasn’t hard enough) so he refuses again (Exodus 9:12). Why does God keep sending this plagues while still hardening Pharaoh’s heart? Why the unnecessary suffering? The next plague is hail, thunder and fire which kills every man, beast and plant outside (Exodus 9:22-25). No word is made about the women, whom the Bible yet again completely ignores. Pharaoh repents again, God stops the plague and Pharaoh changes his mind again (why are God and Moses so easy to fool?).

God then reminds Moses that he has hardened Pharaoh’s heart (Exodus 10:1) and then sends a plague of locusts which cover the land and eat all the plants that weren’t destroyed by the hail that destroyed all the plants (so many plot holes!). Pharaoh apologises and begs forgiveness so God removes the locusts but hardens Pharaoh’s heart so he doesn’t let the Israelites go (Exodus 10:16-20). The next plague is darkness for three days, except where the Israelites lived (if I pointed out every flaw in this story, this post would be 5,000 words long). But God hardens Pharaoh’s heart yet again (Exodus 10:27).

Then comes the final, cruellest plague. In what is the one of the nastiest and most indefensible part of the Bible, God murders innocent children. The firstborn of everyone in Egypt from the Pharaoh down to the slaves, to even the firstborn livestock (who must be dead at least five times over by now) will die (Exodus 11:5). This is absolutely disgusting. If you ever wonder if you are worshipping the wrong God, the fact he murders innocent children is a good indicator. What did the children do to deserve death? How would killing the children of slaves accomplish anything? What did it prove? If someone had to die, why not kill Pharaoh or his soldiers? Why kill slaves and spare the slave masters?

The story of the 10 plagues has three main features. Firstly, they are incredibly repetitive, with the same thing happening again and again in a slightly different form. Secondly, they are incredible overkill. One plague alone would probably cause a famine that would kill most of the people of Egypt, there wouldn’t be anyone left for the tenth. Thirdly, they punish the innocent. Any fool can see that slaves and ordinary citizens had no power of the position of the Israelites, so why did the supposed God of mercy and love murder them? In a slave society, power is concentrated in the hands of a tiny elite, so why didn’t God focus his punishment on them? Fourth, they were completely unnecessary. God could have solved all of this by simply convincing Pharaoh, instead he hardened his heart. Pharaoh was trying to release the Israelites, but God keeps stopping him. Why did anyone need to die? Why not put the guards to sleep until the Israelites had escaped? Why not win them over with the love and glory of God? Why was mass slaughter the only option?

Finally the Jews escape from Egypt, though not before plundering the Egyptians (Exodus 12:36). As though not enough people had died, God declares that he will harden Pharaoh’s heart yet again and make him follow the Israelites so that God may win glory and prove to Egyptians that he is God (Exodus 14:4). Why? Had not enough people died (seriously, how did Pharaoh still have any soldiers or horses for his chariots?)? What sort of God deliberately manipulates people just so he can slaughter them and win glory for himself? As we all know Moses parted the Red Sea and the Israelites crossed. God then hardens Pharaoh’s heart some more and makes him follow so that he could drown them.

When I raised as a Catholic, I was told that God was kind and loving and protected his people. Exodus was told as if God was a freedom fighter, rescuing his people from slavery and bringing independence. This is probably how most people view Exodus. But when you actually read the Bible you get a very different image. Instead God is a brutal and vicious murderer, who slaughters innocent people for no reason. He inflicted such plagues on the Egyptians that not a single one would be alive (if this story was true). He kills children for no reason, no purpose, no gain. I’m doing my best not to get too angry while writing this but how else would you react to mass murder? Imagine if the IRA or George Washington or the French Resistance began murdering children and punishing civilians for the sins of their rulers? No matter how just their cause was, it would have been ruined by these despicable murders. Not even the worst terrorist group has sunk so low as to deliberatively target children. What sort of God does that?

For the rest of the series, see here.

49 thoughts on “An Atheist Reads The Bible: Is God A Freedom Fighter Or A Terrorist?”

            1. Well, clearly your thinking is tremendously confused here. A foetus is not “alive.” In fact, at no stage does “life” magically appears in a zygote, a blastocyst, embryo, or foetus. Ever. Life began on earth 3.8 billion years ago and hasn’t been interrupted since. A foetus was never inorganic and suddenly becomes organic. The definition of “life” therefore is when its twin, “death,” enters the picture. One cannot have a defined ‘life’ without that life being able to ‘die.’ Without death there is no life. The former begets the latter. The latter assigns meaning to the former. One delineates the other, and fortunately the definition of death is not in dispute. Death is when electroencephalography (EEG) activity ceases. That’s it. That’s death. It follows quite naturally therefore that the onset of defined life is when foetal brain activity begins to exhibit regular and sustained wave patterns, and that occurs consistently around week 25 of pregnancy. Only after something can die can it be considered alive. Only after something is “On” can it be turned “Off,” and to argue anything to the contrary is patently absurd.

                1. In those instances machines are keeping the body working, so your point it nonsense. But that has nothing at all to do with what I wrote.

                  Are you trying to suggest a foetus was at one stage inorganic and suddenly becomes organic? As I stated, at no stage does “life” magically appear in a zygote, a blastocyst, embryo, or foetus. Life began on earth 3.8 billion years ago and hasn’t been interrupted since. The only way we can define the onset of life is when its twin, death, enters the equation. Before that moment there simply is no distinction, no independence. Something cannot be considered “alive” before it can “die,” and we have a very clear legal, medical and scientific definition of death. To quote:


                  In 1979, the Conference of the Medical Royal Colleges, “Diagnosis of death” declared: “brain death represents the stage at which a patient becomes truly dead.”

                  This was updated in the 1980s and 1990s to state that brainstem death, as diagnosed by UK criteria, is the point at which “all functions of the brain have permanently and irreversibly ceased.”

                  Further still updated in 1995 (to present), “It is suggested that ‘irreversible loss of the capacity for consciousness, combined with irreversible loss of the capacity to breathe’ should be regarded as the definition of death’

                  That is quite clear: the legal, medical and scientific definition of death is the cessation of brain activity. That is death, and it is by its opposite how we define “life.” As such, until the foetus begins to exhibit sustained EEG activity (around week 25, which generally marks the legal cut-off date for abortions, although the vast majority occur in the first 4 weeks) it cannot be considered “alive.”

                  If you wish to continue questioning the obvious then you have to answer one simple question: How can you kill something that cannot die? How can you turn something “Off,” that is not “On”?

          1. Because if you are truely concerned about the loss of life among children and the innocent then you should also be against partial birth abortion at the least and all abortion after the first trimester. Ending life at these stages causes violent trauma to the pre-born infants. This is well documented.

            1. I don’t even care about the terminally ill if they’re permanently unable to contribute to society. Why should I care about the loss of life of the unproductive innocent, then, especially when this is intended by their parents?

                1. Why should I have any regard for the least of us? Nobody likes a loser. And I think I’m pretty good at pursuing the truth, though I may be affected by biases (which I try to counter, if I find them). I regularly read Communists, SJWs, true libertarians (though far less than I used to), Cato Libertarians, supporters of the Far Right, and at least one political moderate.

                    1. I’ve read Atlas Shrugged; I don’t read any modern Objectivists. I think you can find me agreeing with Ayn Rand about 50% of the time. Maybe more. I have a problem with her tendency towards cultishness. I like Anthem. But overall, I don’t think I’m strongly influenced by her thought, as I just don’t read her or her followers that much.

                    2. I liked Thomas Sowell’s book on Civil Rights, written in 1984. I especially liked the part about the “Case of the Vanishing Asians”. I think he’s an Objectivist, though I’ve never heard him described as such explicitly.

            1. No, of course not. Only about those able to contribute to others. I was very sad, for instance, when I learned that Benjamin Darrington died, even though I never met him or knew anything about him other than his (publicly available) paper on capital theory, the state, and the business cycle. He died young. He could have done much more had he lived.

  1. “The Israelites were supposedly in Egypt for 400 years, yet archaeologists have found no traces of them nor ant Egyptian records of them. Nor is there any record of the plagues that allegedly occurred (which were so massive you could hardly ignore them) or the death of the Pharaoh (who is never named, further weakening the story) and his army (which is something which would have deserved mentioning). Nor has any evidence been found in the Sinai desert were supposedly 600,000 men (which implies about 2 million women and children) wandered for 40 years.”
    -None of this is evidence of absence, as these things wouldn’t be expected even if the Israelites were in Egypt and left it. However, it isn’t evidence for the Israelites being in Egypt, either.

  2. This is a classic case of us being distracted by shiny bits. The whole story is just that, a story. Plus it is fiction. It was written in the early sixth century BCE (thousands of years after the events claimed to have happened) to provide a back story supporting the claims of a King of Judah. Moses is fictional, so are all of the rest of the characters in the Pentateuch. This was considered wisdom literature, basically the equivalent of actual fairy tales (aka non-Disney) which were told to children as cautionary tales. Ordinary people were being treated as if they were children and they, I believe, knew that and accepted it. Imagine a bunch of young kids sitting around the author of the Babar stories and asking questions. “What if Babar had a really good friend and he moved away, how would he feel?” The author would probably make up a story on the spot. “Now that you mention it, Babar had such a friend and he did have to move away. At first Babar was sad, but he decided to write a letter to his friend to see if he was okay, and even though that was a long time ago, Babar and his friend still write to one another today.”

    There is absolutely nothing wrong with wisdom literature. Claiming that it is literally true and the “words of God” when you have no idea when it was written, who wrote it, in what language it was written, what was going on in the Christian/Jewish communities when it was written, etc. is despicable.

    1. When, exactly, Exodus was written is something of a mystery. There are no dead give-aways of exact timing that I know of the way there are in, say, Genesis, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, but it’s best to guess eighth century or later. Clearly, the author was familiar with Egypt. It was definitely written after the New Kingdom (the surest proof of this is here: https://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/2011/01/29/exodus-1st/ ) but this is not at all specific.
      I don’t think Exodus is Wisdom literature; that would be stuff like Proverbs.

  3. “Why would Pharaoh with his army and massive population be afraid of the Jews? There were originally only 66 Israelites, so how big could the population have grown? Surely there was an easier solution than murdering babies, which smacks of later propaganda?”
    -Er… I’m sure you’ve heard of Hitler, right? Also, literally read, Exodus 1:9 states Israelites were the majority in Egypt! Responses to foreign infiltration consisting of killing the suspected infiltrators have been sporadic, but by no means unheard of in history (e.g., Boxer Rebellion/Uprising/Genocide in China).

    The rest of your post is pretty excellent (including the title). God establishes his credibility in very bloody ways, and by no means just in Exodus. And he clearly wants his victories to be total, just like many terrorists.

  4. I am enjoying your commentary of the Bible. It’s good to see someone read it and see it for what it is (As anyone sane should!). So many people who have never read the Bible say things such as: “It’s not the Bible that’s the problem, it’s the Christians.” Ummm…? The Old Testament God is beyond childish and sadistic.

  5. “interesting most criticism comes from Jewish rather than Christian or Atheist sources”

    And how do you explain this? How can a follower of Judaism not believe not necessarily in every detail of the story but in the most important elements of the story of the Pentateuch?

    BTW, who do you think that invented these stories? Who are the inventors of Judaism? Some “priests” of course. But why people believed in such stories?

    1. You seem baffled at the thought that people would believe a religion that isn’t true. But every tribe in history had religious stories they believed were true. Who made them up? Why did people believe them? Those are complicated issues, but the fact is that people all over the world regularly believe myths that just aren’t true.

  6. “When I raised as a Catholic, I was told that God was kind and loving and protected his people. But when you actually read the Bible you get a very different image. Instead God is a brutal and vicious murderer, who slaughters innocent people for no reason.”

    But that makes him more plausible, don’t you think?. A “mauvais demiurge” would explain a lot why there is so much “evil” in this world…

    “9 Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die.

    10 But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips.” (Job 1)

    “5 I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee.

    6 Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” (Job 42)

    Or

    “In the neighborhood lived a famous dervish who passed for the best philosopher in Turkey; they went to consult him: Pangloss, who was their spokesman, addressed him thus:

    “Master, we come to entreat you to tell us why so strange an animal as man has been formed?”

    “Why do you trouble your head about it?” said the dervish; “is it any business of yours?”

    “But, Reverend Father,” said Candide, “there is a horrible deal of evil on the earth.”

    “What signifies it,” said the dervish, “whether there is evil or good? When His Highness sends a ship to Egypt does he trouble his head whether the rats in the vessel are at their ease or not?”

    “What must then be done?” said Pangloss.

    “Be silent,” answered the dervish.

    “I flattered myself,” replied Pangloss, “to have reasoned a little with you on the causes and effects, on the best of possible worlds, the origin of evil, the nature of the soul, and a pre-established harmony.”

    At these words the dervish shut the door in their faces.” (Candide, Voltaire)

      1. (Sorry to reply so late. I haven’t been noticed of your replies.)

        I think that Voltaire in that passage wanted to portray the Muslim view of God – God as the ultimate Sultan. That view of God (there are several) is also present in Judaism and Christianity (especially Protestantism) as the Book of Job attests.

        “But why would you worship a brutal and murderous God? ”

        Why despots want to be worshiped by their subjects?

        For the most part of civilisation up until very recently societies were organised on a strictly hierarchical principle where every individual had “despots” above them in the social hierarchy and were in turn despots below, with the exception of the women and children of the very bottom stratum of society, because husbands were the despots of their wives and parents the despots of their children.

        And it was customary to talk in deferential terms to the people higher in the social hierarchy. Hilariously sycophantic even, by the standards of our equalitarian age. Those who didn’t fit in to the norms of that society were “eliminated from the gene pool” ether by death or by being lead to chose monachism (chastity). So, for thousands of years in civilised human societies operated a sort of artificial selection in favour of obedience and conformism. Like taming by artificial selection.

        So, it seems that in the traditional/feudal society operated a stabilising negative feedback mechanism. The ruling class/ the aristocracy herded the subjects, like farmers herd their domestic animals, for docility.

        If my reasoning is correct, the demise of the feudal society in favour of our modern equalitarian one should seem miraculous in retrospect.

        “Many have dreamed up republics and principalities which have never in truth been known to exist…” Niccolò Machiavelli

        Anyway, not only that the Semitic notion of God mirrored that social reality but despotic/sadistic/cruel tendencies are very prevalent among people even today, especially among men. What about your farther, wasn’t he harsh? Many fathers are! And the vast majority of children do not reject these cruel parents after they become adults themselves. Not only that but they become despotic parents in turn… Evolutionary there must be a reasoning for this. Probably children raised on a strict education achieve great things later in life…

        Stalin – “Why did you beat me so hard?”

        Keke – “That’s why you turned out so well”,

        Not to mention women that put up with abusing husbands with the excuse that they (the women) still “love” them. Wouldn’t you like to have a wife that so worships you, whatever you do right or wrong? Many (most ?) men do. And believe me, there are plenty of such women where to chose from…

        SO, WHY DO YOU THINK THAT “WORSHIPING A BRUTAL AND MURDEROUS GOD” IS SO ODD?

        Your notions about the human nature are the odd one.

  7. You read the Old Testament like an educated Greco-Roman would have read the Septuagint. Or like a contemporary (non-Christian) Chinese, Indian, Korean, Vietnamese, Japanese, etc. would read it.

    The question is, why did the Greco-Romans finally abandon their religions and embrace Christianity?

    1. How should it be read? Like a fundamentalist who has already made their mind up and is so convinced of its wonder that nothing will change their mind? As an apologist who bends over backwards to find excuses?

      The Roman emperor converted to Christianity for partly political reasons, and then Christianity was made the state religion of the Roman Empire, with all other religions suppressed. Don’t forget that few people ever choose their religion, the vast majority have it forced on them.

      1. 1. “Like a fundamentalist… ”

        Christian fundamentalists are not so relevant in the European context. I don’t know exactly the case of Ireland by generally in the European countries compared with the USA Christian fundamentalism is a marginal phenomenon.

        2. “then Christianity was made the state religion of the Roman Empire, with all other religions suppressed.”

        When Christianity became the state religion of the Roman Empire probably the majority of the population was already Christian. But it is true that once it became the official religion it acted like a totalitarian ideology suppressing any rival. Respecting the spirit of Judaism, one must say – the fountain of Christianity…

        It should also be said that the Germanic and Slavic tribes were Christianised by force by their (despotic 😉 ) kings.

        Nevertheless it is very rare for a nation to abandon its religion voluntarily, as it happened with the Greco-Romans.
        (Btw, all religions are henotheisms. Even Buddhists pray to Buddha and various other statues like Catholics pray to statues representing the holy figures.)
        And the supplanted religion/creed never disappears entirely but crops up in syncretic/unorthodox creeds.

        Not to mention that the knowledge of Greco-Roman paganism never ceased in Europe even during the Dark Age, at least among educated people. Not to mention that in countries with a rich antiquity heritage like Italy any Greek or Roman vestige reminded people of the old religion.

        So, did Romans abandon their religion or not? 😉

        “Gods are mortal, humans immortal, living their death, dying their life.” Heraclitus

        3. “Don’t forget that few people ever choose their religion, the vast majority have it forced on them.”

        That can’t be true in the liberal countries of the West to which Ireland belongs.

        Btw, most things in our life were already decided long before we were born but most of us grudgingly come to accept them and in turn conceive other unfree children. “Take it or leave it”, they (our parents) say. On the other hand, many of those who fight against those social constraints end up either in gaol or in mental institutions…

  8. 1. You also write like person who wants to found a new Protestant denomination or Christian-like religion…

    2. You raise the issue that the Old Testament doesn’t seem to fit well with the New one. Correct. And that is what certain Protestant denominations seem not to understand.

    The Old Testament, with the exception of certain chapters in the Book of Genesis which constitute myths of universal value and interest (the creation of the world, the Adam &Eve, Cain & Abel, Noah’ Ark, tower of Babel stories, etc. ) plus the stories of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph and Moses that any cultured European should know, plus certain Books of philosophical value (Job, Ecclesiastes) or literary value (Ruth, Psalms, Esther, Song of Songs) is a kind of history of the ancient Jews. It is a history where Divinity is a major player but that is not unique to the Jews. In the Iliad and Odyssey, works of historical value, gods are active participants in the events. In fact the Iliad and Odyssey acted for the Greeks as their Bible from where they learned about their religion.

    Therefore, from the Ancient Jews’ viewpoint their God (a national God in fact) is not “a brutal and vicious murderer, who slaughters innocent people for no reason” but an all-powerful supernatural being who helps them in the struggle with other nations.

    In contrast Christianity is based on a free interpretation of the Old Testament. The central figure of Christianity is Jesus Christ who is believed to be the “promised” Messiah of the Jews. The story, as you know, is that Jesus convinced a number of followers that he is the Messiah and these followers perched in turn to others the “good news” of the coming Kingdom of Messiah and the rest is history, as they say.

    Of course, Jews consider the Christian interpretation of the Old Testament as forced. But in the course of history many Jews converted sincerely to Christianity (how many?). The appeal of Jesus…

    Christians can say that God is “love” because Jesus, “the Son of God”, one of the persons of the Trinity, is “love”. According to Christianity there is a “history of salvation” that will culminate with the Second Coming.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salvation_History

    All the tribulations caused by God have a higher purpose, the salvation of mankind, therefore “God is good”.

    3. But why do you want God to be “good”? This is a Christian notion. When you will reach the New Testament and the moral doctrine of Jesus you need to talk about Nietzsche’s criticism of Christianity and its “slave morality”.

    Nietzsche is a very interesting author in this regard. He was salvaged from being considered a beyond the pale fascist author but the truth is that a fascist interpretation of Nietzsche is very plausible. He definitely was a reactionary author – anti-equalitarian, anti-socialist, anti-feminist, racist (nordicst), etc.

    Nietzsche is a rebuttal to those who always associate atheism with the left.

    Further examples of reactionary atheists: Schopenhauer, Freud, E.M. Cioran.

    1. “You also write like person who wants to found a new Protestant denomination or Christian-like religion…”

      Where did you get that from? What made you read an Atheist criticising the Bible and think, this person wants to set up their own religion?

      “Therefore, from the Ancient Jews’ viewpoint their God (a national God in fact) is not “a brutal and vicious murderer, who slaughters innocent people for no reason” but an all-powerful supernatural being who helps them in the struggle with other nations.”

      Who helps them by slaughtering innocent people.

      “But why do you want God to be “good”?”

      I don’t, but I am responding to how he is viewed by the world’s main religions. If God is not good, then why worship him?

      1. 1. ““You also write like person who wants to found a new Protestant denomination or Christian-like religion…”

        It was an ironic remark to the fact that from the time Protestants translated the Bible in the vernacular and made a religious commandment to be “studied” daily, billions of people in Protestant countries and later in all Christian countries could have read the Bible in your candid manner and come to the same conclusions. But it seems that most of them didn’t… Some them, on the contrary, became even more fanatic as a result…

        So, it seems that there is no such thing as a “candid” reading of the Bible…

        2. “Who helps them by slaughtering innocent people.”

        Nobody is “innocent”! Jut by breathing my air you are not an “innocent”…

        ‘Those who want to live, let them fight, and those who do not want to fight in this world of eternal struggle do not deserve to live.’ – Adolf Hitler. German statesman-cum-philosopher
        (sorry to quote from him 😉 but sometimes I yearn for something less bland…)

        3. “I don’t, but I am responding to how he is viewed by the world’s main religions. If God is not good, then why worship him?”

        I responded to that in a post above.

  9. I am enjoying reading your blog, very thought provoking. My own thought is that I find it difficult to relate to these texts (both the so-called new and old testaments) because I think they are not primarily addressed to us as much as they are addressed to the original audiences they were written for. I also think that they illustrate in large measure the mutable and plastic nature of the so-called universal and timeless moral precepts that modern Abrahamic religions espouse. For example why does God not condemn the institution of human slavery in the Exodus fable. The answer of course is that slavery was a socioeconomic institution important to the power-holding elites. The same could be said of gender roles, the status of children and the rights of ordinary citizens to dissent. In all these cases the bible merely reflects the prerogatives of the ruling elites. No morality ever really happens here. All real moral progress, even that pursued by religiously inclined individuals has to occur either in spite of or with selective interpretations of these canonical texts. To me the bible represents anachronistic texts with limited literary or historical significance similar to the epics of Homer or Gilgamesh.

  10. All people in power, craving power, seizing power make up BIG stories to justify their position. The more ‘history’ they can lay claim to/re-write the better. At times, and above and beyond claims of supernatural support and intervention, genetic heritage, and even archaeological finds have been used to bolster false histories and presentations of the world. People have believed. At its crudest this is rabble-rousing/clannish/tribal/factional. Today we might also call it a marketing strategy. A soap opera even. What is worrying is why so many people feel it’s more important to believe in the actuality of long dead story characters who belonged to cultures about which most of us know next to nothing, than to put their hearts and minds into creating a world in which people act ethically and humanely and respect one another whatever their culture and skin colour. That’s probably a big ask.

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