Alternatively titled: God Is like Immortan Joe from Mad Max Fury Road
One element that is crucial to modern Christianity is the doctrine of God’s mercy and grace being almost limitless. In fact there are numerous verses of scripture about just how kind and forgiving God is. Thanks to Jesus’ brutal ritualistic death and supernatural Resurrection God can forgive just about anything.
However as I hope I have shown on this blog God’s mercy is actually extremely limited. In fact any reasonably moral human being who behaved like God does would be labeled a serial murderer, psychopath, and be thrown in prison for life. When judged by human standards God is a supernatural maniac who kills at the slightest offense and often for things that no sane person would consider offensive. Yahweh is a dangerous war criminal, a spreader of plague and famine. The Bible paints a portrait of a terrifyingly tyrannical celestial dictator bumbling about with some illiterate people in the desert before carving out a swath of land for them via conquest and slaughter.
The Bible also makes sure that we are aware that God’s mercy is not infinite, not only by depicting God as a short-tempered wrath-bringer but by specifically mentioning sins and misdeeds that simply cannot be forgiven.
Take, for example, a story in Deuteronomy 29. God is reminding the Israelites of their escape from and captivity in Egypt when he mentions the detestable religious practices of that land. See God, for superstitious woo woo reasons, doesn’t like idols or depictions of things. God doesn’t like graven images of anything on Heaven or Earth and get’s jealous that people might like the creation more than they like the creator.
He cautions the Israelites not to let idol worship or the worship of other gods enter into their communities and announces that he will never forgive and has no mercy for those who commit this violation of the Covenant.
Not only does this passage mention this as an unforgivable sin but also further indicates the superstitious nonsense we’re dealing with by invoking the “curses in this book”. Spooky huh? And yet Christians are always bragging about how different their religion is, how it can be reconciled with reason and logic and how it is compatible with science. Does a warning about curses set to befall people for building idols REALLY sound enlightened or spiritually deep? Because to me it sounds like primitive Iron Age horseshit.
Of course most believers will be very familiar with the supposed Unpardonable sin talked about by Jesus as the Blaspheming of the Holy Spirit. On what exactly the unforgivable sin entails it’s hard to find two Christians that agree but they all seem in agreement that it is the only unforgivable sin, at least in the so-called New Covenant. But we don’t even need to bring that up to show how merciless God can be…
Meanwhile back in Deuteronomy, which is a great book to read if you’d like to become an atheist, God sends out the Israelites against their enemies and tells them to have no mercy or pity, to spare no one, and to utterly destroy every trace of them.
Before this God is telling the Israelites all the blessings he is willing to give them if they do follow after him. Much like a dictator God repeatedly cautions the Israelites that he will revoke the blessings if they trip up or don’t follow orders. In fact given that all of this is taking place in the desert Yahweh is very reminiscent of the Mad Max villain Immortan Joe, only Yahweh is more evil.
In the book of Jeremiah the prophet talks about the Babylonian captivity of the Hebrew people. Jeremiah is believed to have multiple authors, one reason for this is because it often switches between narrative and poetic verse on very short notice. Jeremiah 13 contains a pretty awesome, but merciless, poem where God plans on bringing down darkness on top of Israel but before this there is an even more outright statement of God’s less than benevolent intentions.
So is God merciful? Obviously only up to a point and, as the Bible indicates, that point is a razor’s edge easy to cross. Many far-right Christians here in America talk about how our nation is going to be punished for allowing things like abortion and gay marriage and yet they fail to recognize one of the biggest reasons God would punish us – religious plurality.
The God of the Bible, if it existed, would be vehemently anti-American, after all our nation allows people of all faiths, not just Christianity or Judaism, but those who worship other gods as well. And it is that act that constantly get’s the nations surrounding the promised land into trouble in the Bible. In fact their cultures and gods are seen as so abhorrent to Yahweh that he wants those nations wiped away and every man, woman and child slaughtered without mercy or pity.
In Deuteronomy chapter 7 God directly warns that letting even the children live and be adopted might lead Israel astray.
So when completely insane terrorist groups like Isis threaten America with their fundamentalist version of Islam they are thinking in much the same terms, that Infidels and unbelievers must either be converted or killed. And remember that to them Yahweh and Allah are basically equivalent beings because, hey, they have the same brutally evil personality traits and dictatorial insanity.
In truth the unforgivable sin would be to allow bullshit like the Bible (and Koran) continue to weigh down society and drag us backward. It offers no true redemption, not with blood-soaked pages full of wrath and magic. We’re better off saying fuck the Bible.