3/08/2011 | Share this article: View CommentsBy WizenedSage (Galen Rose) ~
I would like to briefly address the Christians and fence-sitters who occasionally visit this site.
My thesis is quite simple and should be very easy for you to follow. And, if you think I’m wrong, then I encourage you to show me just where and how I’m wrong, USING ONLY THE EVIDENCE OF THE BIBLE!
Now, I’m not saying that the god described in the bible actually exists in the real world. I’m basing my analysis totally on what is written in the bible. For this exercise, it doesn’t matter whether the character we are analyzing is real or not. We merely have to sift through the evidence of the book and make reasoned judgments, and I believe there is more than enough evidence in the bible to make the assessment I propose. What that means for any real god, if one exists, is an entirely different matter.
Definition of INSANE:
Exhibiting unsoundness or disorder of mind; not sane; mad; deranged.
I’m no psychologist, but by any reasonable, modern definition, the god of the bible is nuts. Right off the top, he threatens you with eternal (or at least long-term) torture in an afterlife and then expects you to love and worship him. Would a rational man order a woman to obey him unquestionably, or he will beat the crap out of her, and then seriously expect her to love and worship him? Yes, some sick, abusive men do expect this, but not RATIONAL men.
Let’s look at just a few of the obviously irrational things this god does in the bible:
- Claims descendants of sinners should suffer punishment for those sins, to several generations (Numbers 14:18). I mean, how could it be rational to punish me because my great-grandfather was a horse thief or a heretic? Wouldn’t we think it insane if our modern justice systems worked this way?
- Repeatedly commits genocide - the indiscriminate and intentional murder of the people of a nation or ethnic group – BECAUSE they are members of that group (ex: the Amalekites in 1 Samuel). And if you think genocide can ever be justified, then you are dangerous, and should seek immediate psychological attention. Now! Please! If genocide is not immoral, then nothing is.
- Brings 10 plagues to the whole country of Egypt and all its inhabitants . . . because he’s mad at the inhabitants? No, because he’s mad at the Pharaoh! If we had a problem with some individual, would it be rational for us to take it out on his relatives?
- Commands people to not wear 2 different types of fabric at the same time, or to eat shellfish. Isn’t this unbelievably petty, and insanely controlling?
- Commands that under certain conditions a raped woman must marry her rapist (Deut. 22:28–29).
This is some crazy, irrational stuff, but it’s just the beginning. There is much, much more throughout the bible.
Ah, but Jesus changed all that, you say? Whoa, don’t forget that Jesus supposedly came to earth for the purpose of telling us we should worship his insane “father.” Oh, they’re both the same entity, you say… but different? That sounds just silly to me, but it’s beside the point. If Jesus is god, or part of god, then this all pertains to him too.
Here is one of the really insane parts. Think about it; the god of the bible arranges for the murder of his own son as a sacrifice to himself. That’s right, to himself! This is because he thinks other people are misbehaving and he thinks he needs someone’s blood in order to forgive them (Hebrews 9:22: “And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without the shedding of blood there is no atonement.”). But, he’s the one who makes the rules! How crazy is this? Well, isn’t it the absolute height of craziness (or stupidity) to make a rule that will ultimately require you to arrange for the torture and murder of your own son? You think there was no other way? Is god really that limited, unimaginative? Would you sacrifice one of your own children so you could forgive the others for making you angry? Could this ever be called “just?” Not only is it unfair to the one sacrificed, who gets nothing out of it, but it also lays a guilt trip on the surviving children. How utterly repugnant and insane is this scheme?
Apparently, he never even considered retraining for those miscreant humans. No, someone has to die, and that’s that. And, one must assume that his Great Flood didn’t accomplish a damned thing, because by Jesus’ time people were still misbehaving badly. The flood didn’t work to correct people’s behavior, so he comes up with another harebrained, insane scheme – getting his own son crucified! Doesn’t this all sound kind of primitive? Like maybe it was written by some ancient, primitive people who were just guessing, and making stuff up?
According to the bible, this god thinks it quite fair and proper that either I believe what SOME OTHER HUMAN tells me about him and his commands (because he never communicates directly with me), or I’m to be tortured in an afterlife. Now that’s insane! If those other humans make a weak case, then I am tortured for THEIR FAILURE to convince me. So why doesn’t god punish them, instead of me? The only people who think such a setup is fair and reasonable are those who haven’t thought about it for more than six seconds – like those primitive scribes who made up this nonsense, in a superstitious, pre-scientific age, thousands of years ago. Now read this paragraph again; it’s a key element of my case.
And, as one might expect from an obvious sociopath, his ONLY punishment for us today, whatever the sin or crime, is torment in hell. There are apparently no misdemeanors, and no lesser punishments. If a modern man suggested such a legal system for his country, wouldn’t we call him insane, and incapable of compassion? The death penalty for murder, and the death penalty for jaywalking. What the hell, they’re both against the law, right?
But god doesn’t need to make sense to us, you say? I say he MUST make sense to me if he expects me to believe. After all, I dismiss dozens of other gods because they make no sense to me; like Hindu gods, Norse gods, ancient Egyptian and Greek gods, etc. Why should I accept the god of the bible if he makes no more sense to me than any of those other gods? Should we ever believe in a god who makes no sense to us? If so, then how in the name of reason are we to choose which one?
If you actually read it, you will find that the bible provides an enormous catalog of this god’s crimes against humanity. The only thing that might cause some of us to even consider forgiving him is the fact that he is clearly and irredeemably irrational. That is, we might consider the insanity defense.
But, allowing him to continue to live, IN THE MINDS OF HIS BELIEVERS, has led to numerous religious wars, the Inquisitions, heretic hangings, witch burnings, religious terrorism, and constant efforts to align our secular laws with what some people think this god wants. There is something inherently dangerous in those who believe they know god’s mind, because, since they allow for no possibility of error on their part, they have no room for temperance or tolerance.
Now, although I’ve heaped up a large plate of evidence for you, you probably still don’t believe that bible god is insane; you have been taught the opposite for years and years and changing your mind has far-reaching consequences. However, you cannot in good conscience deny that I at least have a rational case, unless you can muster a counter explanation for each piece of that evidence – and you and I both know that you can’t. And now perhaps you can understand why many people simply don’t believe that the god of the bible actually exists. At the very least, for a god to be all-knowing, all-powerful, and compassionate (as described in the bible) and yet ignore the tragedy of the Holocaust as it unfolded is logically impossible, given the definitions of those terms. Think about it, one word at a time. It doesn’t work. It can’t work.
I am, and always have been, opposed to the death penalty for humans (because our justice system depends on humans, and humans make mistakes). However, for gods, I think an exception is certainly justified. Otherwise, as Sam Harris suggests, given the enormous danger of nuclear or biological weapons in the hands of people convinced they know god’s mind, the gullibility of some of us might eventually be the death of all of us.