God or Allah – truth or bull? – chapter 11

Chapter 11

 God and his superstitions

Based on God’s portrayal in the Bible, on scriptural evidence of course, God can be described as superstitious, in ways that we can only describe as simply bizarre, if not downright stupid or irrational. How anyone can believe in the absurdity of God saying or doing this or that, as recorded in the Bible, is mind-boggling. The Bible, the Old Testament to be precise, is overflowing with narratives of God’s superstitions, and just selecting some relevant excerpts, say, from Exodus and Leviticus, is sufficient to make our point. But are we right in accusing God of being superstitious? There are several ways of looking at this question. One approach is to say he does not exist and therefore the question does not make sense. Another approach is to assume that there is no empirical evidence of his existence and the question can only be answered by reference to the Bible, to passages about the speeches allegedly made by God, or by Moses allegedly on God’s instructions or behalf.  So to answer the question, let’s review these excerpts, from Exodus and Leviticus:

Exodus

  • 3.5.   “Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.”
  • 12.19. [God speaking to Moses and Aaron] For seven days no yeast is to be found in your houses. And whoever eats anything with yeast in it must be cut off from the community of Israel, whether he is an alien or native-born.
  • 12.20. Eat nothing made with yeast. Wherever you live, you must eat unleavened bread.”
  • 13.1. The LORD said to Moses,
  • 13.2 “Consecrate to me every firstborn male. The first offspring of every womb among the Israelites belongs to me, whether man or animal.”
  • 16.29. Bear in mind that the LORD has given you the Sabbath; that is why on the sixth day he gives you bread for two days. Everyone is to stay where he is on the seventh day; no one is to go out.
  • 19.12. [God speaking to Moses] Put limits for the people around the mountain [Mount Sinai] and tell them, ‘Be careful that you do not go up the mountain or touch the foot of it. Whoever touches the mountain shall surely be put to death.
  • 19.13. He shall surely be stoned or shot with arrows; not a hand is to be laid on him. Whether man or animal, he shall not be permitted to live.’
  • 19.15. Then he [Moses] said to the people, “Prepare yourselves for the third day. Abstain from sexual relations.”
  • 20.3. You shall have no other gods before me.
  • 22.18. Do not allow a sorceress to live.
  • 28.42. Make linen undergarments as a covering for the body, reaching from the waist to the thigh.
  • 28.43. Aaron and his sons must wear them whenever they enter the Tent of Meeting or approach the altar to minister in the Holy Place, so that they will not incur guilt and die.
  • 29.1. This is what you are to do to consecrate them, so they may serve me as priests: Take a young bull and two rams without defect.
  • 29.2. And from fine wheat flour, without yeast, make bread, and cakes mixed with oil, and wafers spread with oil.
  • 29.15. Take one of the rams, and Aaron and his sons shall lay their hands on its head.
  • 29.16. Slaughter it and take the blood and sprinkle it against the altar on all sides.
  • 29. 19 Take the other ram, and Aaron and his sons shall lay their hands on its head.
  • 29.20. Slaughter it, take some of its blood and put it on the lobes of the right ears of Aaron and his sons, on the thumbs of their right hands, and on the big toes of their right feet. Then sprinkle blood against the altar on all sides.
  • 29.21. And take some of the blood on the altar and some of the anointing oil and sprinkle it on Aaron and his garments and on his sons and their garments. Then he and his sons and their garments will be consecrated.
  • 29.29. Aaron’s sacred garments will belong to his descendants so that they can be anointed and ordained in them.
  • 29.30. The son who succeeds him as priest and comes to the Tent of Meeting to minister in the Holy Place is to wear them seven days.
  • 29.33. They are to eat these offerings by which atonement was made for their ordination and consecration. But no one else may eat them, because they are sacred.
  • 29.34. And if any of the meat of the ordination ram or any bread is left over till morning, burn it up. It must not be eaten, because it is sacred.
  • 29.38 This is what you are to offer on the altar regularly each day: two lambs a year old.
  • 29.39. Offer one in the morning and the other at twilight.
  • 30.19. Aaron and his sons are to wash their hands and feet with water from it.
  • 30.20. Whenever they enter the Tent of Meeting, they shall wash with water so that they will not die. Also, when they approach the altar to minister by presenting an offering made to the LORD by fire,
  • 30.37. Do not make any incense with this formula for yourselves; consider it holy to the LORD.
  • 30.38. Whoever makes any like it to enjoy its fragrance must be cut off from his people.
  • 31.14. Observe the Sabbath, because it is holy to you. Anyone who desecrates it must be put to death; whoever does any work on that day must be cut off from his people.
  • 34.14. Do not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.
  • 34.25. Do not offer the blood of a sacrifice to me along with anything containing yeast, and do not let any of the sacrifice from the Passover Feast remain until morning.

Leviticus 

  • 2.13. Season all your grain offerings with salt. Do not leave the salt of the covenant of your God out of your grain offerings; add salt to all your offerings.
  • 4.34. Then the priest shall take some of the blood of the sin offering with his finger and put it on the horns of the altar of burnt offering and pour out the rest of the blood at the base of the altar.
  • 4.35. He shall remove all the fat, just as the fat is removed from the lamb of the fellowship offering, and the priest shall burn it on the altar on top of the offerings made to the LORD by fire.
  • 5.2. Or if a person touches anything ceremonially unclean—whether the carcasses of unclean wild animals or of unclean livestock or of unclean creatures that move along the ground—even though he is unaware of it, he has become unclean and is guilty.
  • 5.3. Or if he touches human uncleanness—anything that would make him unclean—even though he is unaware of it, when he learns of it he will be guilty.
  • 6.24. The LORD said to Moses,
  • 6.25. Say to Aaron and his sons: ‘These are the regulations for the sin offering: The sin offering is to be slaughtered before the LORD in the place the burnt offering is slaughtered; it is most holy.
  • 6.26. The priest who offers it shall eat it; it is to be eaten in a holy place, in the courtyard of the Tent of Meeting.
  • 6.27. Whatever touches any of the flesh will become holy, and if any of the blood is spattered on a garment, you must wash it in a holy place.
  • 6.28. The clay pot the meat is cooked in must be broken; but if it is cooked in a bronze pot, the pot is to be scoured and rinsed with water.’
  • 7.19. Meat that touches anything ceremonially unclean must not be eaten; it must be burned up. As for other meat, anyone ceremonially clean may eat it.
  • 7.20. But if anyone who is unclean eats any meat of the fellowship offering belonging to the LORD, that person must be cut off from his people.
  • 7.21. If anyone touches something unclean—whether human uncleanness or an unclean animal or any unclean, detestable thing—and then eats any of the meat of the fellowship offering belonging to the LORD, that person must be cut off from his people.’
  • 7.22. The LORD said to Moses,
  • 7.23. Say to the Israelites: ‘Do not eat any of the fat of cattle, sheep or goats.
  • 7.24. The fat of an animal found dead or torn by wild animals may be used for any other purpose, but you must not eat it.
  • 7.25. Anyone who eats the fat of an animal from which an offering by fire may be [b] made to the LORD must be cut off from his people.’
  • 19.23. When you enter the land and plant any kind of fruit tree, regard its fruit as forbidden. For three years you are to consider it forbidden; it must not be eaten.
  • 19.24. In the fourth year all its fruit will be holy, an offering of praise to the LORD.
  • 19.25. But in the fifth year you may eat its fruit. In this way your harvest will be increased. I am the LORD your God.
  • 19.27. Do not cut the hair at the sides of your head or clip off the edges of your beard.  20.27. A man or woman who is a medium or spiritist among you must be put to death. You are to stone them; their blood will be on their own heads.
  • 21.16. The LORD said to Moses,
  • 21.17. Say to Aaron: ‘For the generations to come none of your descendants who has a defect may come near to offer the food of his God’.
  • 21.18. No man who has any defect may come near: no man who is blind or lame, disfigured or deformed;
  • 21.19. no man with a crippled foot or hand,
  • 21.20. or who is hunchbacked or dwarfed, or who has any eye defect, or who has festering or running sores or damaged testicles.
  • 21.21. No descendant of Aaron the priest who has any defect is to come near to present the offerings made to the LORD by fire. He has a defect; he must not come near to offer the food of his God.
  • 21.22. He may eat the most holy food of his God, as well as the holy food;
  • 21.23. yet because of his defect, he must not go near the curtain or approach the altar, and so desecrate my sanctuary. I am the LORD, who makes them holy’.
  • 22.12. If a priest’s daughter marries anyone other than a priest, she may not eat any of the sacred contributions.

One can argue that being superstitious, prudish or freakish, is a personal matter, and can be harmless where other people are concerned. But when a superstition is shared by a crowd or a large community, thus achieving collective proportion, it can become a matter of contention, even dangerous, and can be seen as no different from a religious belief. If God with his omni powers is superstitious, assuming he exists of course, the situation can be evaluated as even more dangerous, for humanity and all other living creatures.

Despite the apparent fear or jealousy allegedly expressed by God concerning other gods, there are presently hundreds or thousands of different religions associated with the worshipping of different gods and goddesses. Whether real or surreal, can these other gods pose a threat to God? If the claim of God being almighty and all-loving can be believed, why should God be timorous or jealous of these other gods? Can God’s timidity or jealousy vis-a-vis these other gods be seen as a sign or evidence of their existence, of their being real rather than surreal? However, the fact that there are people, distinct from the followers of the Abrahamic religions, who are presently worshipping other gods/goddesses, is no proof of the existence of these gods/goddesses.

With his so-called omnipotence, God should have no difficulty in banishing these deities [assuming God and these deities exist] to extinction, by simply opening his mouth instead of expressing his fear and jealousy and cautioning his so-called chosen people not to worship them. What can be viewed as a huge oddity or puzzle, is that, if God exists and created everything [Genesis], then God can be said to have created these deities himself, though there is no mention in the Bible of God creating deities.  In Deuteronomy 7.25 we hear God telling, via his mouthpiece Moses, his so-called chosen people: The images of their gods you are to burn in the fire. Do not covet the silver and gold on them, and do not take it for yourselves, or you will be ensnared by it, for it is detestable to the LORD your God.

As we have observed through reading the accounts of Genesis and Exodus, God was allegedly, highly dependent on his followers to execute actions on his behalf. So the impression conveyed to us in Deuteronomy is nothing new. Maybe, we cannot discount the plausibility of these other gods/goddesses posing a challenge to God or having a countervailing power or influence. Maybe, like the imaginative humans God allegedly created, God himself can be viewed as being highly imaginative, too. Or would it be more accurate to consider God as a being created from human imagination to serve human purposes, for better or worse?

If the fat of cattle, sheep or goats cannot be eaten, then sirloin steak seems to fall under such a proscription. But sirloin steak, arguably, is eaten by some God-believers. Maybe these people are not paying any attention to the religious tenets established by the so-called prophets of the Old Testament. Maybe Judaists are the only God-believers who follow strictly to the laws established for Judaism; to be sure, Judaists are still practicing animal sacrifice, and perhaps continuing with the sprinkling or splashing of animal blood on God’s so-called altar, on garments and on right ear lobe, right hand thumb, right foot big toe, to appease or please God with the aroma of burnt animal meat, which God allegedly declared was pleasing to him.

We have projected an image of God being superstitious. And we have to ask: What is superstition? Wikipedia has an explanation; an abridged version is appended in parenthesis:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superstition [Jan 20, 2006]:

A superstition is an irrational or invalid belief about the relation between certain actions (often behaviors) and other actions that is not true. The essence of superstition is not defined by the “truth” of the result, however, but recognized by the methods through which truth is searched for. By its definition superstition is not based on reason and is not true.

The superstitious individual erroneously believes that the future, or the outcome of certain events can be caused or influenced by certain specified behaviors, despite the lack of a causal relationship in reality. Many superstitions can be prompted by misunderstandings of causality or statistics. Some popular superstitions are a result of misinterpreting correlations as causes, although many others are simply urban legends that have no rational justification whatsoever. Others spring from unenlightened fears, which may be expressed in religious beliefs or practice, or to belief in extraordinary events, supernatural interventions, apparitions or in the efficacy of charms, incantations, the meaningfulness of omens and prognostications. Any of the above can lead to unfounded fears, or excessive scrupulosity in outward observances.[End of excerpts]

Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the United States [1801-1809] and principal author of the Declaration of Independence [1776], had offered what sounds like good advice concerning superstition; this comment is said to have emanated from him: I have examined all the known superstitions of the world, and I do not find in our particular superstition of Christianity one redeeming feature. They are all alike founded on fables and mythology. And it appears Jefferson also passed a comment about fears, prejudices, reason and God; this quote reportedly came from him: Shake off all the fears of servile prejudices, under which weak minds are servilely crouched. Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call on her tribunal for every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear…

One particular superstition of God, as expressed in Exodus 22.18: Do not allow a sorceress to live, and allegedly infected his human followers, was apparently a factor for the killing of so-called witches or wizards during the era of the Inquisitions. If we cannot attribute the killing to scriptural text, then we can nevertheless attribute it to religious bigotry or insanity. Superstition was rife, especially during the era of the Inquisitions [1478 – 1834 AD], and thousands of innocent people were put to death after being accused by God-believers of being witches or wizards or being in league with Satan. Presumably these God-believers were either ignorant or had forgotten that it was God who allegedly created Satan or “Lucifer”, the name by which Satan was known previously.

The evils perpetrated by the Inquisitors – which included torturing and killing of innocent people – were ostensibly committed with the sanction and blessing of the Catholic Church. The Christian clergy and their flock were evidently not only ignorant but grossly superstitious, and the God of their worship, being allegedly superstitious himself, can be accused of looking on nonchalantly while evil was perpetrated in his name. How were witches identified during the time of the Inquisitions? Any common mole, wart, welt or any skin blemish on a woman’s body could turn out to be disastrous for the woman, as any such mark could be insisted upon as an authentic witch’s mark and that might mean forfeiture of her life. .

The Inquisitors thought they were showing appreciation of the love of their God when they were torturing or killing people who were accused of being witches or being in league with the Devil. Jesus allegedly said, vide Matthew 18.20: For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them. So if the Bible is truly the gospel of the Lord then the Lord can be accused of being among the Inquisitors when they were torturing or killing or burning to death innocent people; in which case the Lord can be accused of being evil, of being complicit in the torture and murder of innocent people. You may wish to classify it as collective delusion or mass insanity or hysteria; call it what you want but you can’t rule out that these evil perpetrators were madly influenced by their superstitious religious beliefs. Can the claim of God being compassionate have any validity? If you are an atheist then the answer must be a resounding NO!

Continuing from Exodus into Leviticus the reader will find God having another kind of fear [or hatred?] for mediums or spiritists; not only must witches or sorceresses be put to death, mediums and spiritists, too; Leviticus 20.27: A man or woman who is a medium or spiritist among you must be put to death. You are to stone them; their blood will be on their own heads. As a consequence of such fear or hatred, all mediums and spiritists were “cut off from the land,” vide 1 Samuel 28.8-20:

  • 28.8. So Saul disguised himself, putting on other clothes, and at night he and two men went to the woman. “Consult a spirit for me,” he said, “and bring up for me the one I name.”
  • 28.9. But the woman said to him, “Surely you know what Saul has done. He has cut off the mediums and spiritists from the land. Why have you set a trap for my life to bring about my death?”
  • 28.10. Saul swore to her by the LORD, “As surely as the LORD lives, you will not be punished for this.”
  • 28.11. Then the woman asked, “Whom shall I bring up for you?”  “Bring up Samuel,” he said.
  • 28.12. When the woman saw Samuel, she cried out at the top of her voice and said to Saul, “Why have you deceived me? You are Saul!”
  • 28.13. The king said to her, “Don’t be afraid. What do you see?” The woman said, “I see a spirit [a] coming up out of the ground.”
  • 28.14. “What does he look like?” he asked.  “An old man wearing a robe is coming up,” she said. Then Saul knew it was Samuel, and he bowed down and prostrated himself with his face to the ground.
  • 28.15. Samuel said to Saul, “Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?”  “I am in great distress,” Saul said. “The Philistines are fighting against me, and God has turned away from me. He no longer answers me, either by prophets or by dreams. So I have called on you to tell me what to do.”
  • 28.16. Samuel said, “Why do you consult me, now that the LORD has turned away from you and become your enemy?
  • 28.17. The LORD has done what he predicted through me. The LORD has torn the kingdom out of your hands and given it to one of your neighbors—to David.
  • 28.18. Because you did not obey the LORD or carry out his fierce wrath against the Amalekites, the LORD has done this to you today.
  • 28.19. The LORD will hand over both Israel and you to the Philistines, and tomorrow you and your sons will be with me. The LORD will also hand over the army of Israel to the Philistines.”
  • 28.20. Immediately Saul fell full length on the ground, filled with fear because of Samuel’s words. His strength was gone, for he had eaten nothing all that day and night.

What does Christianity have to say about spiritual mediums being able to communicate with the spirits of the dead? The irony is that Saul, despite his Lord’s fear of the witch, consulted a witch. What can we glean further from these passages? For one, they project the image that it was possible for the living to communicate with the dead. And mind you, these passages were written with the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, vide an encyclical issued by Pope Leo Xlll on Nov 18, 1893: “For all the books which the Church receives as sacred and canonical, are written wholly and entirely, with all their parts, at the dictation of the Holy Ghost: and so far is it from being possible that any error can co-exist with inspiration, that inspiration not only is essentially incompatible with error, but excludes and rejects it as absolutely and necessarily as it is impossible that God Himself, the supreme Truth, can utter that which is not true.”

Thus God can be seen as a very superstitious god with a morbid habit for passing on his irrational superstitions to his so-called chosen people and for encouraging or instigating rivalry, hate, killing or destruction; to be fair, he can also be seen to have allegedly laid down ethical standards, for example, in Leviticus and in various other parts of the Bible. Leviticus 19:

 Do not steal

Do not lie

Do not deceive one another

Do not swear falsely by my name

Do not defraud your neighbor or rob him

Do not hold back the wages of a hired man overnight

Do not curse the deaf or put a stumbling block in front of the blind

Do not pervert justice

Do not show partiality to the poor or favoritism to the great, but judge your neighbor fairly

Do not go about spreading slander among your people

Do not do anything that endangers your neighbor’s life

Do not hate your brother in your heart

Rebuke your neighbor frankly so you will not share in his guilt

Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself

In the New Testament, we see Jesus, so-called Son of God or God himself, planting further material that is only partially usable, in a plot that is teeming mainly with weeds:

 Matthew 

  • 5.1. Now when he saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him,
  • 5.2. and he began to teach them saying
  • 5.3. “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
  • 5.4. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
  • 5.5. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
  • 5.6. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
  • 5.7. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
  • 5.8. Blessed are the pure in heart, or they will see God.
  • 5.9. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.

Luke 

  • 6.27. “But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,
  • 6.28. bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.
  • 6.29. If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic.
  • 6.30. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back.
  • 6.31. Do to others as you would have them do to you.

The Bible reader can be forgiven for being confused with the inconsistencies and contradictions that are littered throughout the Bible. And one cannot be faulted for classifying many of the “Do not” advices cited above [Leviticus] as the “suck eggs” variety. Were the Hebrews so backward that they did not know that stealing or defrauding is morally wrong? But one thing appears clear: killing those or robbing from those outside their tribe appeared to be a preoccupation of the Hebrews under the alleged guidance or leadership of their God, as borne out by the narrative from Exodus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Samuel, Kings, Chronicles etc. The Hebrews even needed to be taught how to discern whether their wives were unfaithful, and guess what or how their supposedly living, all-powerful and all-knowing God taught them? The text in Numbers 5.11-31 under the heading “The Test for an Unfaithful Wife” says it all and to be sure nothing is missed out I am quoting each line verbatim:

  • 5.11. Then the LORD said to Moses,
  • 5.12.  “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘If a man’s wife goes astray and is unfaithful to him
  • 5.13.  by sleeping with another man, and this is hidden from her husband and her impurity is undetected (since there is no witness against her and she has not been caught in the act),
  • 5.14. and if feelings of jealousy come over her husband and he suspects his wife and she is impure—or if he is jealous and suspects her even though she is not impure-
  • 5.15. then he is to take his wife to the priest. He must also take an offering of a tenth of an ephah of barley flour on her behalf. He must not pour oil on it or put incense on it, because it is a grain offering for jealousy, a reminder offering to draw attention to guilt.
  • 5.16. ” ‘The priest shall bring her and have her stand before the LORD.
  • 5.17. Then he shall take some holy water in a clay jar and put some dust from the tabernacle floor into the water.
  • 5.18. After the priest has had the woman stand before the LORD, he shall loosen her hair and place in her hands the reminder offering, the grain offering for jealousy, while he himself holds the bitter water that brings a curse.
  • 5.19. Then the priest shall put the woman under oath and say to her, “If no other man has slept with you and you have not gone astray and become impure while married to your husband, may this bitter water that brings a curse not harm you.
  • 5.20. But if you have gone astray while married to your husband and you have defiled yourself by sleeping with a man other than your husband”-
  • 5.21. here the priest is to put the woman under this curse of the oath-“may the LORD cause your people to curse and denounce you when he causes your thigh to waste away and your abdomen to swell.
  • 5.22. May this water that brings a curse enter your body so that your abdomen swells and your thigh wastes away.”  ” ‘Then the woman is to say, “Amen. So be it.”
  • 5.23. ” ‘The priest is to write these curses on a scroll and then wash them off into the bitter water.
  • 5.24. He shall have the woman drink the bitter water that brings a curse, and this water will enter her and cause bitter suffering.
  • 5.25. The priest is to take from her hands the grain offering for jealousy, wave it before the LORD and bring it to the altar.
  • 26 The priest is then to take a handful of the grain offering as a memorial offering and burn it on the altar; after that, he is to have the woman drink the water.
  • 5.27. If she has defiled herself and been unfaithful to her husband, then when she is made to drink the water that brings a curse, it will go into her and cause bitter suffering; her abdomen will swell and her thigh waste away, [f] and she will become accursed among her people.
  • 5.28. If, however, the woman has not defiled herself and is free from impurity, she will be cleared of guilt and will be able to have children.
  • 5.29. ” ‘This, then, is the law of jealousy when a woman goes astray and defiles herself while married to her husband,
  • 5.30. or when feelings of jealousy come over a man because he suspects his wife. The priest is to have her stand before the LORD and is to apply this entire law to her.
  • 5.31. The husband will be innocent of any wrongdoing, but the woman will bear the consequences of her sin.’ “

So we have here a sign of an ignorant, asinine, barbaric god imparting bizarre ideas, or further ignorance or imbecility, to his already barbaric, ignorant or gullible followers. And in terms of the New Testament and the Trinity doctrine we hear this same god saying [Matthew 7.17-20]: Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them. So Yahweh or Jesus, by their own words as expressed in the Bible, can be seen as a semi-rotten tree in dire need of a salvage operation entailing the sawing-off of all the rotten bits and pieces and throwing them into the so-called everlasting furnace Yahweh or the Trinity has or have allegedly created for others. I am all for staking that Yahweh or the Holy Spirit is no more mythic than, say, Zeus or Thor of Greek or European mythology.

While we cannot, however, discount the drivel represented by Numbers 5.11-31 as the product of an ignorant or irrational human being by the name of Moses, we cannot disregard the fact that who authored Exodus or Numbers was a human being, probably a story-teller with a high degree of ignorance or imagination for writing gibberish. We should not, however, lull ourselves into forgetting there are people, perhaps in the millions, who believe that the Bible was written with the inspiration of God. The Bible can be called an unholy mess if it was indeed inspired by God. Rational people, however, may have other ideas; they may think of the Bible as a book of filth, filled to the brim with celebrations of cruelty, hatred, intolerance, malevolence and killing including infanticide and genocide.  Reading the Bible can be a revolting experience. If you have experienced revulsions from reading the Bible and have an urge to critique it as a highly obnoxious publication, you are probably not alone. There is even a high probability that you might want to deconvert, just as others before you have already deconverted, after discovering what a load of filth the Bible is.

Did Jesus abolish his Father’s [or his own?] insane testing procedure for a husband’s suspicion of his wife’s infidelity? The New Testament does not say but one thing we would not be wrong in saying is that no rational Christians today would adhere to the nonsense allegedly laid down by God in Numbers 5.12 – 31, or the innumerable other examples of nonsensical verbiage that allegedly emanated from God and which can be viewed as the dirt that is littering the pages of the Bible. What, then, needs to be addressed, at least, by those who believe in the existence of God, is the question: Is the Bible the word of God or is it not? If the Bible is the word of God, then God can be considered as being insane for talking so much nonsense. If the Bible is not the word of God, then the Bible is the work of some people who can be rated as being grossly ignorant, irrational and superstitious, but only partially savvy or rational.

It is hard to dispute or deny the creative or imaginative power of the human mind, whether for good or bad, whether in the present environment or thousands of years ago. However, based strictly on biblical narrative there is no denying that God can be viewed as the crazy, personal God regardless of the question of his existence or non-existence; his behavior and some of his precepts, as textually provided, can be described as nothing short of being insane, in every sense of the word. The laws of an eternal, all-knowing God are deemed to be applicable at all times and anyone who believes in the Bible believes presumably in what Jesus allegedly said or did.

In Matthew 5.17 we hear Jesus saying: Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. In effect Jesus is confirming that the laws as laid down by, for example, Moses on behalf of God, calling for the death sentence for violation are still applicable; death for anyone who curses his parents [Exodus 21.17]; death for anyone who desecrates the Sabbath [Exodus 31.14]; death for homosexuals [Leviticus 20.13]; death for mediums or spiritists [Leviticus 20.27]; death for blasphemers [Leviticus 24.16]; death for a stubborn or rebellious son for disobedience to his parents [Deuteronomy 21.18]; death for adulterers [Deuteronomy 22.22]. Not only emphasizing that we should obey our parents, the Old Testament also tells us that we are commanded by God to honor our parents; yet in Luke 14.26 Jesus exclaims: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters – yes, even his own life – he cannot be my disciple.” And Jesus is supposedly God, or the so-called 2nd Person, in the context of the Trinity doctrine. This is one of the many irreconcilable problems concerning Christianity. But there will always be some wiggle room for Christian theists, and goal posts changing or shifting is something they are adept at. Hence, we should not be surprised if we are told that Luke 14.26 must be read metaphorically, or that God acts in mysterious ways.

And Christianity, through the first Christian Church Council in Jerusalem, held approximately 50 AD, decreed that circumcision was not a requirement for Gentile converts, despite the clear-cut declaration allegedly made by God in Genesis 17.9-14:

  • 17.9. Then God said to Abraham, “As for you, you must keep my covenant, you and your descendants after you for the generations to come.
  • 17.10. This is my covenant with you and your descendants after you, the covenant you are to keep: Every male among you shall be circumcised.
  • 17.11, You are to undergo circumcision, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and you.
  • 17.12. For the generations to come every male among you who is eight days old must be circumcised, including those born in your household or bought with money from a foreigner—those who are not your offspring.
  • 17.13. Whether born in your household or bought with your money, they must be circumcised. My covenant in your flesh is to be an everlasting covenant.
  • 17.14. Any uncircumcised male, who has not been circumcised in the flesh, will be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant.”

It is clear from line 17.13 that God established the so-called circumcision decree as an “everlasting covenant.” Can Jesus’ disciples be held accountable for breaking an everlasting law of God? The case seems clear but Christianity would not hesitate to argue that certain law[s] of God was/were established for a time only and the circumcision decree was obviously one of them, notwithstanding the clarity of the decree allegedly issued by God, as recorded in Genesis 17.9-14.

The Jewish Sabbath [day of rest] is observed on Saturday whereas the Christian Sabbath is Sunday. Sabbath or non-Sabbath, it is a fact of life that not all Christians today abstain from work on Sunday, for a variety of reasons: work schedule established by employers, personal preference to work throughout the week for economic reasons, etc. Working on a Sunday is no longer an issue for some people, Christians included.

What seems apparent from many of the Old Testament accounts is that the Golden Rule meant little to the Hebrews as they were guided directly by their God. It was not a cornerstone of their morality as it appeared that a principle of reciprocity common to humanity was either not meant for them or meant to be practiced only selectively. Presumably, under the belief [or illusion?] of being guided by their God, they thought they were entitled to seize any property, any land, so long as it was of foreign ownership or not Hebrew-owned.

Supreme goodness v eternal punishment

Can God be seen as supremely good? Pose this question to a staunch God-believer and you know what answer you are likely to get. Arguably, people who think that God is supremely good are ignorant of his portrayal in the Bible or paying no attention to the ongoing suffering that is all around us, or being wishy-washy in their thinking. For our argument, we have to assume that supreme goodness is an attribute that can only apply to God. What about Hell or eternal punishment? There is so much talk in the Bible about eternal punishment in the eternal fire of Hell, and the wailing or weeping and gnashing of teeth, after the “separation of the sheep [representing the do-gooders] from the goats [representing the bad or evil doers]”. That God-believers cannot see or appreciate the creation of Hell or eternal punishment as a vice or an antithesis to the supreme goodness they have been espousing is simply mind-boggling. There is no question of supreme goodness if there is eternal punishment.

Anyone who is unable to see the forest for the trees is also likely to be unable to see the glaring difference in concepts between so-called supreme goodness and so-called eternal punishment. And people who think that supreme goodness and eternal punishment are concepts that can co-exist are probably those with an inability to distinguish night from day.  However, one can counter: Anyone who is unable to see the existence of God is probably someone who is unable to see the forest for the trees; why are there billions of people in the world who believe in God and they outnumber considerably the non-believers? You can then argue that it is all a matter of perspective, or that belief is a freedom of choice, a personal matter, and your argument cannot be seen as other than logical.

Sheer weight of numbers alone does not give a complete picture and cannot be taken as the final arbiter for what is truthful, rational or otherwise. If a particular belief is false, it would still be false even if billions of people support it. Whether a belief is true has absolutely no relation to the number of people embracing it. At one time millions or billions of people believed that the Earth was flat and they were all proven wrong. Belief in God can be devalued to being a matter of perspective, but what is evident is that there is not a shred of empirical evidence in support of so-called God’s existence. We can still, however, point out that a matter of perspective can be true or false, or logical or illogical, or beyond verification or falsification. Thus we can say that if A contradicts B or vice versa, it would be illogical to say that both are true, although both can be false. If one is true, the other cannot be true.

As humans we think there is a limit to retribution or punishment and we cannot be wrong in stating that no eternal punishment can be seen as purposeful. From the notions expounded by some theologians, one cannot help but conclude that God apparently created most people with the aim of crowding Hell. Such an alleged divine sense of justice – eternal punishment in Hell – can only be described as un-divine or fiendish. If you believe that God created Hell and humanity and afterwards consigned certain people [or their souls or spiritual selves] to Hell to suffer eternal punishment, then you may have to agree with the viewpoint that God committed an evil deed and hence can be accused as the greatest culprit or the greatest sinner of all.

Why should anyone suffer eternal punishment for whatever wrong committed in this temporal life? Depending on the degree of suffering or punishment, annihilation, from a sufferer’s viewpoint, may be a preferable option to eternal punishment, and the sufferer with such a view may take comfort in the words expressed in Matthew 10.28: Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. So, despite all the talk of eternal punishment in Hell, it would still be dependent on God’s whims as to whether one suffers eternally or gets annihilated.

To fundamentalist Protestants Hell is “a real physical place of unbearable torture which lasts for all eternity with no hope of mercy, relief or cessation”. This is taking an extremist position and does not bode well for anyone making a one-way trip to Hell. To the Catholic Church, Hell is “more than a physical place, Hell is a state of being involving the pain, frustration, and emptiness of life without God.” But can life be empty without God? There are many people today who are happy and enjoying what life has to offer without bothering whether God exists or does not exist. As far as they are concerned, he has no role in their lives. Can we glean anything from these differing images of Hell among Christians? Yes, and that this is only one of the numerous differences in beliefs and practices between Catholics and Protestants.

What I am inclined to comment is that theists seem to have a good vocabulary for making descriptions that are beyond verification, and that you have to give them credit for their imaginative prowess. What is surprising, though, is why should there be any differences in doctrines or concepts about Hell [and in other areas] when the same God being worshipped by them allegedly created the one and only Hell? Plausible answer: It all boils down to a matter of interpretation.

Look at the schisms within Christianity – it seems there are over 30,000 different denominations. There are Christians – Jehovah’s Witnesses and Unitarian-Universalists, for example, who do not embrace the doctrine of the Trinity; to them there is only one God, one person. Some Christians consider other Christians as sub-Christian because of irreconcilable differences in their doctrines. Hence one can accuse God of being an abhorrent, bungling, confused being confusing people. Or would it be more accurate to say that though we do not have a shred of empirical evidence of God we can see masses of confused people out there. Catholics may hold the view that without God there would be “pain, frustration and emptiness” but they should also realize that there are many people out there who view the Bible as a book of filth and have no wish to be associated with a filthy, genocidal egomaniac obsessed with the smell of burnt animal meat and the splashing and sprinkling of blood around his so-called altar.

Some God-believers may say that God created us to love him and serve him and be forever happy with him in the life hereafter, in so-called Heaven. If we are the sheep, can we be truly happy in Heaven knowing that those suffering in Hell were people like ourselves, some of whom may have been our loved ones, our relatives, friends or colleagues whom we may still hold dear? Plausible answer: God will make us happy by altering or influencing our minds, or may even harden our hearts as he allegedly did with Pharaoh in the time of Moses. If that is the answer one can ask, after sentence has been passed: Why didn’t God soften our hearts to make us all good when we were living on Earth, so that everybody would end up in Heaven? Plausible answer: He didn’t soften our hearts because he gave us free will. If so, why did he allegedly harden Pharaoh’s heart after giving Pharaoh free will?

And what of the story [1 Samuel] of the Spirit of God coming into Saul and his men and as a consequence Saul and his men began prophesying? Thus free will, regardless of any direct influence from God, may just be the reason for going to Hell, although it can also be the reason for winning entry to Heaven. It would be irrational, however, to say free will exists if our choices or actions can still be influenced by intervention from God.  With our free will remaining intact we can choose to be unhappy in Heaven because of our knowledge of people suffering in Hell. In that scenario, we can say Heaven is not necessarily a place of happiness for some people. In fact, in biblical context, it was precisely the place that became the springboard for the removal of some angels. Maybe, these angels found Heaven to be a dull, lousy place and found pleasure elsewhere, where they could roam freely, after they got themselves evicted.

If we stick to free will as unhindered freedom to exercise one’s choices, we should not entertain any thoughts about God intervening to make us happy despite our awareness of people suffering in Hell. But free will, as we have argued, is not a valid defense for God’s apparent apathy in the affairs of humanity. For God to alter or influence our psyche to make us happy is like giving us pseudo-happiness when he is not supposed to, in the context of free will argument. And that would be abnormal. Whether our arguments can be considered logical, we have to agree that this is all speculation. What is undeniable is that human beings are self-conscious and can reason. And some human beings can see, while others cannot, the irrationalism in some beliefs, or the flaws in the arguments offered for such beliefs.

Concerning the metaphor of the sheep and goats used by Jesus for distinguishing between good and evil, we may feel obliged to ask whether the goat can be said to be inferior to the sheep. A subjective issue, needless to say. People knowledgeable in milk products might agree that goat’s milk is the most widely consumed milk in the world and is in some ways superior to cow’s milk. Goat’s milk contains all essential amino acids for optimal health. Sale advertisements for goat’s milk claim that goats are not fed pesticides, herbicides, growth hormones or antibiotics. Goat’s milk is an apparent alternative for people with an allergy or intolerance to cow’s milk. Both the sheep and the goat do have their own contributions toward the welfare of humanity. But alas, the poor goat, an innocent creature of alleged creation, has been caricatured as a symbol of evil, with artistic pictures of the so-called Devil commonly showing him with two goat-like horns sticking out from the forehead. Notwithstanding the comment by Jesus on the sheep and the goats, we can certainly say there is no compatibility between supreme goodness and everlasting punishment.

Presumably no one who believes in God would wonder whether God could have been hurt in some way by the alleged angelic rebellion. But if the belief in God being almighty or invulnerable can be given any credence, then there can be no credence in believing in Hell and everlasting punishment as a consequence of the so-called angelic rebellion. If God can be said to have been hurt, psychologically or otherwise, then one can argue that he cannot claim invulnerability and, therefore, cannot be omnipotent. And instead of claiming God to be all-loving we should accuse God of having a warped sense of justice for creating Hell and eternal punishment. A reading of the chapter on Joshua, wherein God allegedly instructed the Hebrews how they should go about invading or killing their enemies, would convince the reader to think twice about whether it is logical to think of God of being supremely good. If you have read Exodus and the relative comments we have provided, in these pages, you may have already formed an opinion about God. However, if you are a hardcore God-believer with deep-seated prejudices, then you may be someone with an inability to distinguish night from day.

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2 Responses to “God or Allah – truth or bull? – chapter 11”

  1. Wolfie Says:

    I seriously doubt the actual figure of 2billion Christians population as accurate. Many are really non beleivers, but for the sake of convenience, family & societal pressure, commercial & economic gains, status etc they identified themselves as Christians. I was told many of the Media Corp actors/actreses joined mega churches just so they can garner enough votes to be in the top ten most popular. Many of my Christian friends have no true conviction and they simply go to Sunday School to meet old friends and network. Similarly many old folks go to church for community support; without reading a page of the bible, they’re simply been spoonfed by the pastors what to believe. And the pastors will never talk about all these massacre and genocide when preaching from the pulpit about their God’s love,,,

    As for Jesus abolishing some of his father’s law, didn’t he said “its sabbeth for the men and not men for the sabbeth”? The fact that Christianity became so widespread and accepted is because Jesus presented a much more humane and loving face of God. Thus God also has to learn to change with the times, well so much for his omniscience.

  2. richardwkc Says:

    I agree, concerning your doubt on the 2 billion figure. When Christians give up their faith they don’t go to their priest or pastor and say: “I have become an ex-Christian, please de-register my name from your records.”

    It appears some people join a religion out of herd instinct, to follow the crowd, so to speak. You can bet and be a winner, that there are many Christians who know little or next to nothing about the Bible. To these people, biblical education comes from hearing the weekly sermons and reading of selective biblical passages by their parish priest or pastor. And of course, as you have stated, many of the passages of the Bible have never been openly read out in church.

    Some people prefer to live in ignorance, but some others have been brought up to believe in the way they do now and to switch to reverse gear would seem traumatic for them.

    There is a huge contrast between the image of God as portrayed in the Old Testament and the image of Jesus as portrayed in the New Testament. But it is only from the NT that we hear so much about Hell and eternal punishment, about the weeping and gnashing of teeth and the separating of the sheep from the goats. In terms of the Trinity doctrine God is Jesus and Jesus is God.

    For me, to worship Jesus is to worship the God of Abraham, but the God of Abraham is not a god that is worthy of any human respect, regardless of the question of his existence or non-existence. The God of Abraham, in terms of biblical portrayal, can be seen as a barbaric, bloodthirsty, cruel, freakish, malevolent, racist, genocidal egomaniac. Other pejoratives can be added, as they come to mind,

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