1/03/2016 | Share this article: View CommentsBy WizenedSage (Galen Rose) ~
This is written primarily for Christian visitors to this site. Its message will be old hat to most ex-Christians, but may be something of a surprise to those Christians who have not spent a lot of time thinking about what they have read in the Bible. And, for those Christians who have been accustomed to believing that their morality is based on the Bible… think again.
The Bible is NOT the word of a good god, and this is really all too obvious. If it were, then our modern ethical systems would closely reflect the values of the Bible. After all, humans can’t improve on the work of an all-knowing god. That makes no sense.
Yet, this is exactly what appears to have happened. Modern Western morality contains a whole host of improvements over Biblical morality. Whatever was set down in the Bible for how humans should treat each other and the rest of the world has been massively rewritten by man over the past few hundred years, and man’s editing has vastly improved the original product. We’re not talking a little touch-up around the edges here, we’re talking tearing down and rebuilding from scratch.
For starters, man’s intelligence and inborn sympathies for one another have enabled him to discover and decree that slavery is wrong. There’s not a hint of this in the Bible. Man has likewise learned that racism should not be tolerated and that homosexuals and women deserve courtesy and equality in social discourse and the law. These progressive values are entirely absent from the Bible. These values are the work of enlightened men and women who were able to look up from the Bible and see the world around them as needing more understanding and tolerance; men and women who were able to imagine themselves in others’ shoes.
Man has also learned that animals should be treated humanely rather than offered as sacrifices to a bloodthirsty god. Likewise, impaired individuals deserve to be accommodated wherever and whenever possible, not locked out of the church and elsewhere. And, the environment requires conscientious and knowledgeable stewardship to ensure a sustainable future for humanity. These, too, are progressive values not found in the Bible.
Conversely, what the Bible offers is guilt by heredity and association; man must toil for his bread and woman suffer the pain of childbirth because of the wrongdoing of Adam and Eve. On god’s orders, Achan, guilty of disobeying god’s order, is stoned, burned, and buried – along with all of his children and animals (Joshua 7:24-25). God also promises to punish to the third and fourth generation those who sin against him or “hate” him (Exodus 34:7, Numbers 14:18, Deuteronomy 5:9).
The Bible is NOT the word of a good godAccording to the Bible, scapegoating an innocent man to achieve forgiveness for others – as in the story of Jesus - is perfectly acceptable, laudable even. But nowhere in man’s modern laws will one find it acceptable for one man to suffer the punishment for another’s crime. Such a primitive system serves no good purpose for society as it undercuts the need for personal responsibility.
Perhaps worst of all, if the Bible is the word of a good god, why was the message of salvation brought by Jesus to just one remote corner of the world, and to just one people, the Jews? Jesus said, “No one comes to the father except through me.” If this is true, then god/Jesus was grossly immoral in bringing that message to so few and ignoring the whole rest of the world. In such a scheme, the message must compete with thousands of other religions and succeed, if at all, by slow trickle-down over centuries. What of all those people born in the meantime? And what of all those people born in other parts of the world and indoctrinated as children into other religions? If Jesus’ message were true, then it should have been given to the whole world at once, and in a fashion that was utterly convincing.
The most cursory, superficial reading of the Bible shows it to contain a primitive, brutal morality. Are we to believe that this is really the best an intelligent, all-knowing, loving, and perfect god could come up with? How does it make any sense that mankind has so thoroughly revamped and rewritten a “perfect” god’s moral schema? Even the most hardcore Christian fundamentalists today do not accept the Bible’s injunctions to execute homosexuals, blasphemers, adulterers, and people who work on the Sabbath. Even they realize at some level that man has made substantial improvements to their “perfect” god’s moral plan. (But how do they hide this knowledge from themselves?)
The conclusion is inescapable; either man is better than god, since man has made huge moral progress over time, or the Bible was written with no assistance from any gods. And if those authors were not speaking for god, and were so far off base in their moral proclamations, does it really make sense for us to believe anything else they had to say?