Archives for posts with tag: Judaism

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Alternately titled: Moses shows patience and restraint while God just wants to slaughter everyone.

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In my last post I talked a bit about the oddly comedic incidents scattered throughout the books of Moses wherein God gets pissed at the Israelites and decides that the best course of action is to either kill them all or just kill some of them. In these situations the stories typically depict Moses and Aaron having to talk God out of it in a VERY similar way to the story of Sodom and Gomorrah.

You might remember that in the story of Sodom and Gomorrah God warns Abraham that he is going to destroy those cities but Abraham talks God down to the point where if God finds ten righteous persons he will spare the city. To modern Biblical believers this should be frightening. Here is a supposedly perfect and Holy God compromising his morality based on the advice of human beings. Here are human beings talking God into being MORE loving. MORE patient, MORE merciful and all around MORE moral. This is one of those red-flag hallmarks that makes it obvious that these are stories, not historical accounts of actual interactions with any god.

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As I said similar scenes occur between Moses and Aaron and God several times in the Old Testament. One example happens during the story of the 10 Commandments. God is coming down to Mount Sinai in a rumbling thundering fiery cloud (you know, the sort that might spew out of a volcano, the sort that ancient superstitious people might mistake for the glory of a god). There’s been plenty of weird superstitious rules and rituals imposed by God thus far but here, at the origin of the Mosaic Law, is where things get really bad, where something as simple as setting foot on the wrong mountain or working on the wrong day of the week meant your neighbors and family were commanded by GOD HIMSELF to execute you brutally.

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Now what reason, other than superstitious horseshit, could there possibly be for God to set up this kind of rule? Sure, okay, Moses is his chosen one who is the only one who is supposed to be up there but what, exactly, is the benefit of executing anyone who so much as touches the mountain? Usually rules and laws are meant to maintain the public good or the welfare of people but here we have a rule that just puts people in danger of the death penalty for no reason.

Of course you might say, “well God wanted them to stay away because his glory and power might harm them if they get too close”. There is a recurring theme in some parts of the Bible (but not all) that seeing or being in the presence of God can be fatal to an ordinary human being, even one who believes. But this is superstitious horseshit as well because an all powerful God, especially one who was once incarnated in human form as Jesus, could easily decide to appear without any harm to anyone in a totally benign form. All the pomp and circumstance of mimicking a volcanic eruption and appearing in a form that would be so harmful to human beings it apparently requires their execution if they attempt to be subjected to it does no one any good and makes absolutely no fucking sense…

All of that without mentioning how immoral it is to kill someone just for touching a mountain and how even more bizarre and cruel to want the animals killed as well.

Most Christians know that while Moses is being talked to by God Aaron and company are down below making idols and worshiping them, apparently forgetting the shit they just went through with the plagues and apparently turning a blind eye to the fire and quaking and the very voice of God which God himself tells Moses he will be able to hear.

The Lord said to Moses, “I am going to come to you in a dense cloud, so that the people will hear me speaking with you and will always put their trust in you.” Then Moses told the Lord what the people had said. 

– Exodus 19:9

“Mount Sinai was covered with smoke,because the Lord descended on it in fire. The smoke billowed up from it like smoke from a furnace, and the whole mountain trembled violently”

–  Exodus 19:18

Admittedly God’s words to Moses do go on for quite a few chapters as God details a whole bunch of pedantic overly detailed and obviously manmade nonsense that is supposedly the basis for the ancient Jewish faith. It isn’t until Chapter 32, when Moses is about to come down the mountain, that the idols are finally cast by Aaron and the other Hebrews. Of course God’s first instinct isn’t to show restraint or mercy or understanding but to shed blood.

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To someone like me this screams, “We made this story up!” and “This isn’t meant to be taken literally” but to a Biblical literalist this is ACTUALLY what happened and why it happened. God is actually such an evil monster that his immediate reaction is to wipe out his own people, or, at the very least, to slaughter all those who worshiped the idols. Idol worship of any kind is forbidden under penalty of death by Yahweh as does any attempt to practice religious liberty. In fact taking the Bible at its word Yahweh is 100% opposed to the idea of religious liberty and if our legal system mirrored the Biblical one we would be executing anyone who did profess their belief in Yahweh and Jesus.

Moses, as I stated before, becomes the voice of reason against God’s insane knee-jerk blood-thirst.

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The same story is actually retold in Deuteronomy Chapter 9 but this time it is written from Moses’ point of view. And, surprise, Moses’ version is much the same with him claiming that only through fasting and prayer and begging God not to do it he manged to save Israel from disaster… and by disaster I mean the furious wrath of God.

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So now we come to the end of our wonderful tale. Moses manages to convince God to spare some of the Israelites but Moses, being only slightly less of a dick than God, isn’t going to spare everyone, not even close. And, just with all punishments in the Old Testament law, the brutal executions will be conducted in the name of God and upholding righteousness and will involve people killing their friends, family and loved ones themselves.

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That is some fucked up shit right there and kinda explains Jesus’ whole spiel in Matthew about how “anyone who does not hate their Father or Mother is not worthy of me” and how all of his followers are required to love him more than they love anyone else or they are unworthy.

If you accept the Bible as the word of God than THAT is the kind of God you serve.

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