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Why the Christian God CANNOT be God

By Ben Love ~

One of the most fundamental questions that human beings can ask during their brief stay on this planet is whether or not there is a God, a creator, a divine being that is responsible for our existence and the existence of the entire Cosmos, someone who has a plan, who is in control, who will right certain wrongs, and who will provide a satisfactory afterlife for those who are deemed faithful and deserving. All of us, from all cultures, races, and periods of history have looked skyward and wondered what, if anything, is actually out there. Whether there is a God or not, the question from a human standpoint is extremely important. The question matters to us just as much as the possible answers. There is a kind of wonder and magic in the question, a kind of longing that rests deep within our identity as a species, an inherent need to believe that we are not alone, that someone bigger than us is on our side, and aware of the situation, and willing to intervene. The question is part of the fabric of our human fingerprint on this planet, and it has driven us toward the utmost reaches of our imagination and resourcefulness. Indeed, even I, a staunch atheist, can concede that the question of God is a good question because it makes us wonder, it makes us look within our own selves to examine our motives, our secret desires, and our wild passions. Yes, the question is a good one. The problems come not with the question but with the way we humans have attempted to answer it.


The most obvious problem with our human answers is this: how can we know for sure?Assuming there is a God, and assuming that he is invisible to our human sense of sight (which he must be if we cannot visually account for him), it then becomes impossible for us to know for a certainty that this God exists in the same we might know for a certainty that our spouse exists. Thus, faith must enter the picture for those who choose to accept the answer that there is indeed a God. At this point, however, even greater problems emerge. Different human beings from different locations on the Earth and living at different stages of history have divergent ideas about who this God is, or even how many of them there are. It therefore becomes difficult to know which culture’s manifestation of God is the accurate one. The problem with faith is that you have to choose to put it in one object over another, but this must presuppose that you have all the necessary information to make the right choice. And if God is invisible, how could you ever know that the choice you’re making is the correct one? And how do you even know that you do indeed possess all the necessary information to make the right choice? Already the inclusion of faith into the picture has taken the question and rendered it much more problematic than it was at the outset.


Some religions have attempted to circumvent these problems by introducing the idea of revelation into picture. That is, they contend that the God they believe in is the correct one because he himself has revealed this to us humans in such a way as to remove doubt, to make sure we have all the necessary information, and to successfully afford each person the ability to view this information and make a choice (based on free will) to believe in this revealed God. If there was only one religion among humanity that made this claim, perhaps it would be easier to take for granted that the claims are singularly trustworthy since it wouldn’t make sense to suppose there are multiple Gods making multiple and diverse revelations. But this not the case. Several religions over the course of human history have made the claim of revelation, that God has spoken some sort of message into existence (usually in the form of sacred texts) that is adequate enough to draw all humans toward the truth. And yet…none of these competing religions tell the same story regarding this message or the revelation behind it, or the God behind the revelation. What is the honest inquisitor supposed to do?


Fortunately, we are not totally bereft of tools. The human mind has evolved through the use of reason and logic. In short, we have been enlightened. We therefore can make certain suppositions regarding what the true God should and would be like if indeed he does exist. Now, some of my readers might be thinking that this is problematic. The will contend that we cannot use logic to find God because he either exists outside of our logic and therefore is impervious to it, or is not beholden to conform to our logic. “Knowledge,” they will say, “comes from God. You can only know what he chooses for you to know. He enables your ability to think.” Well, two things in response. 1) If you believe you are created in the image of this God, then surely you must concede that the intelligence he gave you is a mirror of his own. Ergo, even if you are believer, you should trust your ability to reason through a problem. 2) There must be a means of discovering and confirming the God you believe in outside of his alleged revelation; otherwise, you are basically contending that you believe in God because God makes it so. This would be no different from saying you believe in aliens because aliens have told you they exist. So what? If you can’t independently verify the existence of these aliens through a secondary, unbiased, impartial, supplementary avenue, you would have no choice but to concede the possibility that these aliens exist only in your own mind. Maybe they do, and maybe they don’t. You therefore must have a means of discovering the truth that exists outside of your own belief. This, my friend, is where logic and reason enter the picture.


Logic suggests certain things about what a deity must be like. After all, the word deity is a human word (of the English language, by the way) that connotates a being that we as a species have determined to be something other than human. Namely, divine, supernatural, and god-like. A creator, if you will. Since deity is a human word, it must therefore embody a human’s definition. This definition, then, contains all the elements and attributes that our logic suggests should be present in a deity. Could we be wrong? Perhaps, but the word deity loses its meaning at that point, and the discussion ceases. Therefore, what does logic tell us about the characteristics of a deity? Here’s a list I made on my notepad a few days ago. It’s hardly exhaustive, but I think it adequately contains more than enough information for our discussion.


A deity must possess or embody:
  1. Absolute Moral Perfection
  2. Infinite Knowledge
  3. Infinite Power
  4. Eternality
I doubt that even my Christian readers would quibble with these four items. As I said, the list could be much longer. But let us deal with just these four since they are the most obvious ones, at least in my opinion. So what do we have here? Well, we have some attributes that we know for a certainty do not exist in us humans. And this is a good, since a deity is supposed to be something other than us, or greater than us. Moreover, when we logically consider what a deity must be like, it makes sense to us to assume that a deity possesses infinite power and knowledge, whatever those might be to him. It also makes sense, even if we cannot fathom the logistics of it, that a deity should be eternal. After all, if a deity can be born, it must mean there is something even greater than it, a higher The human mind has evolved through the use of reason and logic. In short, we have been enlightened. deity that is responsible for the birth. And if a deity can die, we have trouble understanding how it could have infinite power, since infinite power would have to include the ability to go on living as long as is desired. As for absolute moral perfection, it wouldn’t make sense to us to suppose that God, whoever he may be, is capable of human imperfections like envy and lust and greed. If he embodies these human characteristics, he really isn’t that much different from us. In fact, he probably is us, at that point. In order to be greater than us, he must be removed from these human failings and must possess absolute perfection of character, or so simple logic would suggest.


Thus, we have a template which can be applied to all the various manifestations of God that human religions have put forth, and if these manifestations do not fit the template, they are to be summarily discarded. If we find one that does fit the template, it doesn’t mean we must automatically revere that particular deity as the one true God; it means only that one test of evidence has passed. We can then move on to the next tests, whatever those may be. Unfortunately, I have not found a single human manifestation of God that passes this first test. I have thus never been able to ponder what the second test might be.


At this point, my Christian readers are in an uproar. “Hey!” they say. “What about Jesus! He passes the test!”


Does he? I’m less certain about that than you are. What you might be forgetting is that the character of Jesus as presented in the New Testament is not independent. What do I mean by that? Jesus is presented as the Son of God. Which God? The God of the Old Testament. That is, Yahweh. There can be absolutely no doubt that the writers of the New Testament specifically intended for Jesus to be seen as the son of the God portrayed in the Old Testament. This is obvious not only the conversations the character of Jesus has in the four gospels, but also in the New Testament’s deliberate attempts to portray Jesus as the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies. Who allegedly gave those prophecies? It was Yahweh.


It therefore becomes errant to look only at the character of Jesus as portrayed in the New Testament. If you’re willing to believe that Jesus is the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy, then you must include the Old Testament’s portrayal of Yahweh as a factor in determining the nature of the “Christian God.” And whatever admirable and praiseworthy traits you might be able to identify in the son of the New Testament must be measured against the actions of the father of the Old Testament, otherwise you are “picking and choosing.”


So, how about it? Does Yahweh fit that aforementioned template? The only honest answer that can be given is that, no, he does not. Far, far from it.


The Malevolent Yahweh


If there is a God, then let us hope he/she/it is nothing at all like Yahweh, the God described in the Christian Bible. This character is horrifyingly evil. He sanctions the genocide of entire nations after allegedly having told his people “thou shalt not kill. In so doing, he not only endorses the killing of innocent women and children, he encourages it(see Deuteronomy, chapter 21; Numbers, chapters 25 and 31; Joshua, chapters 6, 8, 10, and 11; First Samuel, chapter 15; and Hosea 13:16). He destroys entire cities for sinfulness even though he apparently knew ahead of time that he had already chosen his “son” to atone for their sins(see Genesis 19). He strikes people dead for accidentally touching his favorite golden box(see 2 Samuel 6:6-7). He opens the ground to swallow up the very people he apparently chose to be his own—an act that included the death of women and children (see Deuteronomy, chapter 11). He asks a man to kill his son just to demonstrate his faith (see Genesis, chapter 22). He allows his messenger to be eaten by a huge fish when that messenger is reluctant to carry out his commands (see the book of Jonah). He strikes dead two people who apparently lied about their income, just weeks after allegedly dying in the form of Jesus on the cross to atone for those very sins (see Acts 5:1-11). He apparently creates certain people with the express intention that they will live for eternity in hell, while creating others who will live for eternity with him (the ultimate form of favoritism) (see Matthew 25:41; Acts 4:28; Romans 8:29-30; and Ephesians 1:5-11). He creates humanity, then, even while he already knows ahead of time that he will save humanity from their sins through the death of his son, decides to kill all of humanity anyway, sending a global flood upon the Earth (see Genesis, chapters 6 through 9). He makes bets with Satan regarding the life of a human being, a bet that results in the torture of this human being and the murder of his children (see the entire book of Job). In addition, the Bible suggests that this “God” is racist, homophobic, infanticidal, misogynistic, and petty.


Here is a question I have never been able to escape: if Yahweh allegedly created the Universe, why in the world is he concerned with the petty affairs of one nation trying to enter some piece of land on this tiny planet, concerned enough to have the indigenous people of that land (children included) slaughtered?


Now, if Jesus is Yahweh’s son and indeed the embodiment of the second person of the Trinity, he is a representation not of love but of evil. There cannot be any other unbiased conclusion? Is this the kind of God you want to believe in? Is this the kind of God you want to worship?


Disqualified


Based on our aforementioned template, the Christian God disqualifies himself. The entity known as Yahweh in the pages of the Bible eliminates himself as a true “God” simply by his actions as reported in the pages of that very book. Remember the attribute of absolute moral perfection? The character of Yahweh utterly fails to meet this standard. It really is as simple as that. After all, what we have here, ostensibly, is an “deity” that on the one hand has apparently instructed humans not to commit murder, but then only the other hand makes exceptions to this rule when it suits his “divine plan.” I have actually heard Christians excuse this by saying, “He’s God. He can take life whenever he wants and it’s not murder, because he’s God.” Well, even just assuming that this is an adequate answer (which it is not), this is not an example of God “taking life”; this is an example of Godtelling a group of his creations to commit genocide against another group of his creations on his behalf, in his name. How can “God” literally ask or instruct you to commit a sin? “Oh, but it’s not sin when God tells you to do it.” Okay, but if this God is not the example of morality, how can he also be your standard? Thus, the biblical God contradicts himself and violates the morality he is supposedly responsible for erecting when it suits his fancy to do so.


Moreover, hasn’t it ever struck you as particularly suspicious that the God described in the pages of the Bible sounds remarkably human? This God is, at times, almost too human. The Christians will say, “Well, it’s not that he is like us, it’s that we are like him because he created us in his image.” Well, being as objective as we can possibly be, let us ask which is more likely: that God in all his perfection still somehow displays remarkably human traits such as jealousy, irritation, racism, homophobia, forgetfulness, waffling decisions (his conversation with Lot, for example), political agendas, pettiness, impatience, and impulsive actions—or that this entity isn’t really “God” at all but is rather a human manifestation of a God, no different than Zeus or Thor or any of the rest of them? Furthermore, if this image of God as portrayed in the Bible is accurate, is this really the image in which you want to believe you’re been created? Do you really want to be created in the image of a bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser?


Consider also that if the biblical God is an accurate portrayal, then the believing Christian is stuck with what I call the Flood Conundrum:
  1. God creates humanity
  2. God knows ahead of time that they will sin
  3. God also knows ahead of time that he will pay for this sin through the life, death, blood, and resurrection of his son (Jesus Christ)
  4. Even while knowing ahead of time that their sins will ultimately be taken care of, God can no longer stand the sins of humans, even though he also knew ahead of time that their sinfulness would be just as it is
  5. God wipes out humanity with a flood (saving only eight humans and the animals) because he cannot stand their sins
Thus, at the exact moment God was creating humans, he also knew that he would wipe them out with a flood (after all, God is supposed to be omniscient). Thus, knowing this, God created humans with the express intention of killing them in a flood, but he did this while also knowing that he would one die send Jesus to Earth to deal with our sinfulness once and for all. None of this makes any sense. And this conclusion levels some serious charges at the door of this allegedly “loving” God. There is no other inference that can be reached.


So, here we clearly have a God behaving in an un-God-like way. Here we have a God who has foreknowledge of certain events (he must have foreknowledge if he is indeed omniscient) but who continues with his actions regardless of that knowledge. This would be the exact same as me luring a girl into my basement with kindness all while knowing ahead of time that once she is down there I’m going to chain her up and kill her. Christians will say this a gross over-simplification of the matter. Is it, though? Is it really? If God clearly knew ahead of time that the sacrifice of Jesus would ultimately provide an answer for sin, then why does he lose his cool on the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah? How were they any more sinful than any other place where humans congregated? What made them such particularly bad cities as to earn the fate they earned? Why did he kill the man who accidentally touched the Ark of the Covenant? Did that particular sin (how petty can God be, anyway?) somehow not qualify under Jesus’ sacrifice (which had not happened yet chronologically but which God knew, even at this time, would happen)? Did the people of Sodom and Gomorrah somehow not fall under the divine plan of Jesus’ redemption? Did the people who perished in the genocidal flood somehow not fall into this plan? Was the sacrifice of Jesus for all of humanity, as the Bible says it was, or not? And if it was, doesn’t this make the flood superfluous, capricious, and malevolently barbaric? Can a capricious and malevolent entity qualify as “God?” No. Yahweh therefore cannot be God. It is infinitely impossible. He is disqualified. To believe in him, therefore, requires a suspension of common sense that smacks of absurdity.


Conclusion


Thus, in light of all we have just observed, the conclusion that must be reached is that no being so described as Yahweh is described in the Bible could possibly be a real person. He is a “square-circle.” He is the proverbial “marriage bachelor.” He is a paradoxical impossibility. He is disqualified from existence not only by the doctrines that abound about him in the theology of Christianity but also by his actions as reported in the Bible. Moreover, modern science has repeatedly demonstrated that the person known as Yahweh in the Bible is not needed in this Universe. Granted, there may be an Omni-Creator-Being somewhere in the cloistered chambers and farthest reaches of reality, but it is not, cannot be, and never has been the God found in the Bible. We listed four attributes that logic suggests must be present in a deity, and Yahweh failed to pass even the first item on that list.


This is why I am an atheist. And since I know the biblical God cannot be God, I also have a pretty good idea that the entire pantheon of gods humans have worshiped over the centuries is likely just as farcical. Thus, regarding any human manifestation of “God,” my default position is and will remain atheist.


We are left to go on wondering at this point. And that is okay. There is much more magic in the question than there is in our attempts to answer it.

https://michaelvitotosto.wordpress.com/


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