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Christianity Thomas on 24 May 2012 12:56 am

Is the God of the Old Testament a Merciless Monster?

Shouldn’t a person who writes an article like this become an intelligent, rational atheist?

Is the God of the Old Testament a Merciless Monster?

Take this as an example:

Not only are acts such as the above held out as examples of ruthlessness by those disapproving of God’s behavior, they also incredulously point to what they consider extremely barbaric and harsh penalties instituted by God. For example, a case in point is the punishment for a disobedient son: “If any man has a stubborn and rebellious son who will not obey his father or his mother, and when they chastise him, he will not even listen to them, then his father and mother shall seize him, and bring him out to the elders of his city at the gateway of his hometown. They shall say to the elders of his city, ‘This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey us, he is a glutton and a drunkard.’ Then all the men of his city shall stone him to death; so you shall remove the evil from your midst” (Deut. 21:18-21, emphasis added).

Another example often cited is the killing of a man for violating the Sabbath as recorded in the book of Numbers: “Now while the sons of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man gathering wood on the Sabbath day. Those who found him gathering wood brought him to Moses and Aaron and to all the congregation; and they put him in custody because it had not been declared what should be done to him. Then the Lord said to Moses, “The man shall surely be put to death; all the congregation shall stone him with stones outside the camp.” So all the congregation brought him outside the camp and stoned him to death with stones, just as the Lord had commanded Moses” (Num. 15:32-36, emphasis added). As can be seen, the verse ends with the endorsement of God being on the Sabbath breaker’s execution. Such examples cause atheist like George Smith to comment: “The Old Testament God garnered an impressive list of atrocities. Jehovah himself was fond of directly exterminating large numbers of people, usually through pestilence or famine, and often for rather unusual offenses.”

How could any intelligent person read these sections of the Bible, process them and then remain a Christian?

35 Responses to “Is the God of the Old Testament a Merciless Monster?”

  1. on 24 May 2012 at 10:32 pm 1.Slapnuts McGee said …

    I’ll beat the delusional to it: “These stories are not to be taken literally. They are trying to make a point.”

  2. on 24 May 2012 at 11:11 pm 2.alex said …

    atheists chill, it’s all anecdotal.

    except leviticus 20:13. them fags gots to go. oh, and don’t forget deuteronomy 22:22. adulterers die!

    remember, since i have b.s. in theology, i gets to say which.

  3. on 25 May 2012 at 1:30 pm 3.Lou(DFW) said …

    “The Old Testament God garnered an impressive list of atrocities. Jehovah himself was fond of directly exterminating large numbers of people, usually through pestilence or famine, and often for rather unusual offenses.”

    And don’t forget that god also murdered every person on the planet except for eight (?) when he flooded it.

    Why does god need a flood?

  4. on 25 May 2012 at 2:07 pm 4.Anonymous said …

    “Why does god need a flood?”

    Because that’s the standard that was set in the Epic of Gilgamesh. Hence, the writers of the bible couldn’t let their fictional main character get away with anything less?

    Oh, you mean why does a god need a flood when he could just wipe everyone out in one go?

    Because a flood makes a good story with which to impress the uneducated goat herders of the times?

    Oh, you mean why does a god need a flood when he could just wipe everyone out in one go just a supreme being could do and not waste all that time and stuff?

    Good question. Why does god need a spaceship, I mean flood?

  5. on 25 May 2012 at 2:25 pm 5.Prime said …

    I have often wondered if omniscient God knew what was going to go down in Genesis 6-9, presumably back at the time of Genesis 3-4, why he didn’t just “genocide” Adam and Eve, or Adam, Eve, and Cain after Cain proved to be every bit as fubar as a person can be *in the first generation* and start over then, no flood needed, not nearly as cruel (in a sense), no need to destroy all the animals who were, presumably again, trying to figure out why the hell they had to leave the garden too because of the actions of a pair of stupid hairless apes.

    The story is so ridiculous that it’s not the least bit surprising that very young children can ask very simple questions and tear the whole thing apart, at which point the yelling-for-Jesus has to start.

  6. on 25 May 2012 at 2:43 pm 6.DPK said …

    And notice that apostate Chris, who was going to explain it all for us, has left the building without ever actually answering a single question.
    D

  7. on 25 May 2012 at 2:54 pm 7.Prime said …

    6.DPK said …

    “And notice that apostate Chris, who was going to explain it all for us, has left the building without ever actually answering a single question.”

    That’s because we were having no true discussion* (TM).

    *True discussion: n. A manner of conversing in which one person is correct, a priori, and everything said on all sides must concur with that person’s statements and/or perception of a full and thorough refutation of them.

  8. on 25 May 2012 at 3:25 pm 8.Lou(DFW) said …

    6.DPK said …

    “And notice that apostate Chris, who was going to explain it all for us, has left the building without ever actually answering a single question.”

    Remember when a few weeks ago some other guy came in here and answered every topic, flooded the blog with comments, then disappeared like Chris did?

  9. on 25 May 2012 at 4:53 pm 9.40 year Atheist said …

    Matthew Donica, USA, on Why I Am An Atheist:

    I was born into a Christian home, and sent to a fundamentalist Christian church. I never even thought to question Christianity until I was about 14, I just accepted every Christian premise I heard without question. When I was about 14, a deacon at the Southern Baptist church I was a member of, filled in for the youth pastor who was out sick. He asserted that the world was only 6000 years old, and that dinosaur bones were planted in the ground by Satan to trick scientists into leading people away from Yahweh. The first thing that shook me up, was the fact that he was not some random guy who just attended church sometimes. He was a deacon and a pretty high ranking guy in the church. I quickly turned the same rational eye that I had on his arguments onto my own beliefs and realized that they were just as silly. I told the regular youth pastor that when he got back. He challenged me to read the Bible cover-to-cover. I read it over the course of about ten days.

    One day, I was taking a shower after returning home from a church service. While I was cleaning myself, I formed sort of a mental Venn Diagram of everything I had read in the Bible. I realized that almost everything in the Bible fit into a set of things which were horrible, or a set of things which were nonsense, and that most of it fit into the intersection of those sets. When I got out of the shower, I came to the conclusion that Yahweh did not exist, the Bible was a useless book of nonsense and that every Christian premise or argument I had ever heard was false.

    A little later, I encountered Kent Hovind videos and a now famous Youtuber named VenomFangX. This was back when he only had about a thousand subscribers, and would respond to people’s private messages to him. I pointed out some of the flaws in one of his videos to him, and he replied with something to the effect of “Nu-uh, magic”. I refuted that argument, and he blocked me. While reading through the comments on another one of his videos (or maybe a Kent Hovind video), I found a link to the Skeptics Annotated Bible. The SAB (Wonderful resource when debating Christians) helped to solidify my conclusions about Christianity.

    My explicit rejection of all other religions came after reading The Iliad. I enjoyed the book, and realized that it was pretty much the same thing as the Bible. A chain of events, some probably based in history, others completely fabricated with arbitrary deities from the region it was written inserted throughout. Reading it caused me to view religion on a more global scale and realize that every religion I knew of was pretty much isomorphic to Christianity, which I had already established a solid basis for rejecting.

    I don’t think I have to justify my rejection of the sort of “New age” spirituality stuff. Anybody who has been exposed to it, and not immediately seen it as meritless garbage is a mental deficient.

    tl;dr: Some Christian beliefs crazier than the Christian beliefs I held, got me to look at religion rationally.
    Matthew Donica
    United States

    Donica makes just one point and one sub-point:

    1. EvilBible; therefore No God.
    A subpoint is that because the Iliad demonstrates the possibility of fiction, then:

    2. Fiction exists; therefore No God.
    He was driven to it by a YEC literalist. He apparently remains a literalist.

    But he does not address actual theism, its propositions or logic. He merely makes his assertion and declares it “rational”. Assertions are not known to be rational until they are fully examined for flaws. His assertions, if they really reduce in the manner they seem to, are non sequitur as can be demonstrated by restating them thus:

    1. IF [the Bible is obnoxious to my sensibilities], THEN, [there is no first cause agency].

    2. IF [the Iliad demonstrates fictional gods in literature], THEN, [there is no first cause agency].
    These conclusions were made at an inauspicious time in the intellectual life of humans: adolescence. For example, Donica, as a teenager, assumed for himself both (a) the moral authority to derive a personal ethic by which to judge God – and then judged God; and he (b) assumed the rational ability to reject portions of the texts as irrational.

    There is likely no living creature less rational than teenagers. It appears that Atheism is adopted during the human rebellion years in a great many cases, and it is presumed rational without any subsequent examination as an adult. That is why I recommend that every adult learn classical logic, its application to rational thought, the philosophy of science, and the First Principles of Thought, and then reassess all the components of their worldviews using these tools of rationality.

    Donica’s rejection is a normal reaction in teen years. That doesn’t lend it credibility as an adult worldview. If truth is desired in one’s worldview, then education in the processes of actual rationality must be learned and used with rigor.

    Summary: Rejected the Bible and Christianity as a teen, with God as a subsidiary casualty.

  10. on 25 May 2012 at 5:05 pm 10.Lou(DFW) said …

    9.40 year Atheist said …

    “Donica’s rejection is a normal reaction in teen years. That doesn’t lend it credibility as an adult worldview. If truth is desired in one’s worldview, then education in the processes of actual rationality must be learned and used with rigor.”

    Young children’s acceptance of theism is a normal reaction at an early age. For them, anything an adult tells them is true – god, Santa Claus, tooth fairy, etc. But that doesn’t lend it credibility as an adult worldview. If truth is desired in one’s worldview, then education in the processes of actual rationality must be learned and used with rigor.

    Summary: accepted the Bible and xtianity as a child, with reality and reason as a subsidiary casualty.

  11. on 25 May 2012 at 5:49 pm 11.Anonymous said …

    9.40 year Atheist said …

    That is why I recommend that every adult learn classical logic, its application to rational thought, the philosophy of science, and the First Principles of Thought, and then reassess all the components of their worldviews using these tools of rationality.

    Do you have any recommendations on starting points? A good book perhaps, or a URL?

  12. on 25 May 2012 at 6:29 pm 12.Prime said …

    Question: Does Stan’s rant above in any way connect to the topic at hand? Nope. Will he defend this accusation? Not as himself….

  13. on 25 May 2012 at 6:37 pm 13.martin said …

    “There is likely no living creature less rational than teenagers. It appears that Atheism is adopted during the human rebellion years in a great many cases, and it is presumed rational without any subsequent examination as an adult.”

    very true 40year. i work with many youth, often the fringe group of kids grab on to atheism as a common means of rebellion. they cannot defend it other than a few internet quotes. most overcome their sad state over time. the adolescent years are tough and the human brain has not fully developed.

  14. on 25 May 2012 at 6:41 pm 14.G said …

    One path:

    “1. IF [the Bible is obnoxious to my sensibilities], THEN, [there is no first cause agency].”

    Another path:

    “1. IF [many parts of the Bible are intrinsically and systemically repulsive to any rational being], THEN, [the Bible clearly can not be the product of an omniscient, omnibenevolent being], THEN, [the Bible is as irrelevant as the Illiad]“

  15. on 25 May 2012 at 6:55 pm 15.G said …

    “There is likely no living creature less rational than teenagers. It appears that ATHEISM is adopted during the human rebellion years in a great many cases, and it is presumed rational without any subsequent examination as an adult.”

    Logic demands:

    “There is likely no living creature less rational than teenagers. It appears that CHRISTIANITY is adopted during the human rebellion years in a great many cases, and it is presumed rational without any subsequent examination as an adult.”

  16. on 25 May 2012 at 7:06 pm 16.DPK said …

    “There is likely no living creature less rational than teenagers.”

    hahahahha… indeed there is… theists in general and dogmatic religious fundies in particular.
    Teenages? I work with teenagers every day… I’ll call your statement for what it is.. an outright fabrication.
    D

  17. on 25 May 2012 at 7:12 pm 17.Prime said …

    Definitely a fabrication–one by someone who has never dealt with teenagers or children. In general, in fact, it seems that younger implies less rational, at least up until the mid-twenties. Maybe Stan mistakes the blinding agreement of children, which actually demonstrates a severely undeveloped logical capacity, with “being logical” since he mistakes “agreeing with him” for “being logical” also. Maybe he should spend a summer trying to explain algebra to a seven-year-old.

    As for the rebellion thing, teenagers are quite rebellious, maybe maximally so, generally speaking. So they rebel against Christianity for a weak, unconsidered atheism. Maybe this is an observable phenomenon. If it is, what does it prove? Only that they deem Christianity to be an external authority that needs to be tested and possibly broken away from, just the the authority of one’s parents. Seems reasonable enough because Christianity IS an external authority that needs to be tested and broken away from.

  18. on 25 May 2012 at 7:17 pm 18.Prime said …

    Let’s not get excited, theists.

    I said they rebel to a “weak, unconsidered atheism” allowing those of you who are thick and those who are liars an opportunity to say something stupid like “atheism is a belief, how else can you consider it?”

    No. Theism is a belief. Atheism is a lack of beliefs in gods. Therefore, the “strong, examined atheism” is literally arrived at by examining theisms and deciding to reject them. Considered atheists have looked at Islam, like those Christians who have bothered to take their religion seriously, and rejected it. They have also looked at the religion that predominates in their society, maybe that they once belonged to along with much of their families, and rejected it as well, typically for identical reasons: the religions simply are not true.

    So, don’t get all excited and think I implied atheism is a belief system. It still isn’t. Never has been.

  19. on 25 May 2012 at 7:20 pm 19.Lou(DFW) said …

    9.40 year Atheist said …

    “1. EvilBible; therefore No God.
    A subpoint is that because the Iliad demonstrates the possibility of fiction, then:

    2. Fiction exists; therefore No God.”

    1. Good Bible; therefore God.

    A sub-point is that because the bible demonstrates the possibility of a fictional god, then:

    2. Fiction god exists.

    Xtians accept that, but ignore:

    3. The bible demonstrates the maniacal, ruthless, barbaric, murdering ways of their fictional god.

    Now back to the question that 40YDA ignored:

    “How could any intelligent person read these sections of the Bible, process them and then remain a Christian?”

  20. on 25 May 2012 at 7:34 pm 20.A said …

    Indeed Martin. Our youth need a time of rebellion in their lives and pretending God does not exists can be a part of that. It gives them a sense of independence. It is much like playing house as a young child.

    Eventually most do come back to reality while some continue to play the game into their 50 and 60s.

    The atheist worldview allows you to make up your own rules, define your own good and evil. It can be fun for a season!

  21. on 25 May 2012 at 8:11 pm 21.Lou(DFW) said …

    20.A said …

    “Indeed Martin.”

    Does anyone here notice the obvious pattern of sock-puppet deception?

    ASStrophysicist, you’re such a clown – a very poor one, but a clown just the same.

  22. on 25 May 2012 at 9:30 pm 22.MrQ said …

    Really A? (post #20)

    Eventually most do come back

    Religion is on the decline in your American States. Check out:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ulb1tmMgq8c

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/oct/01/atheism-america-religious-right

    Never let the facts get in the way….right A? Just invent some shit and pray nobody examines it critically. Nice try..NOT.

  23. on 25 May 2012 at 10:31 pm 23.Prime said …

    20.A said …

    “Eventually most do come back to reality while some continue to play the game into their 50 and 60s.”

    This sentence drips with stupidity. It’s also flatly untrue.

  24. on 25 May 2012 at 11:41 pm 24.alex said …

    “The atheist worldview allows you to make up your own rules, define your own good and evil..”

    Your “worldview” misdirection ain’t gonna work. Who’s defining good and/or evil? I treat muslim, catholic, buddhist, and taoist exactly the same. Do you?

    You, otoh, mistah hypocrite, can’t even follow your own stinkin bible. I do have to admit, I like Matthew 19:12, if all theists followed it, the world would be a better place.

  25. on 25 May 2012 at 11:42 pm 25.Lou said …

    A few who left the atheist faith:
    CEM. Joad
    Arnold Lunn
    John Clayton
    Lee Strobel
    Josh McDowell
    CS Lewis
    Peter Steele
    Larry Darby
    Whitaker Chambers
    George Price

    Just off the top of my head.

    Add Lou to that list

  26. on 26 May 2012 at 12:03 am 26.Prime said …

    A few who didn’t, just off the top of my head.

    http://nas.nasonline.org/site/PageServer?pagename=MEMBERS_Main

  27. on 26 May 2012 at 3:11 am 27.Lou(DFW) said …

    24.Lou said …

    “Add Lou to that list”

    …of theist cowards here who don’t answer questions posed to them about statements they post here and then hide for a while thinking nobody remembers:

    “Really? You are a mind reader now? Because you made an absolute statement of fact that his NDE “…was real for him…,” please explain to us how you know that or you can simply retract it. Which is it?”

    Which is it, Lou?

  28. on 28 May 2012 at 5:31 am 28.Severin said …

    9 40 YA
    “1. EvilBible; therefore No God.
    A subpoint is that because the Iliad demonstrates the possibility of fiction, then:
    2. Fiction exists; therefore No God.
    He was driven to it by a YEC literalist. He apparently remains a literalist.”

    So, again, you are lying to make your point, and construct your “conclusions” on your own lies.
    It is an obvious manner of all theists I know.

    Donica did NOT say things you are citing!

    He did NOT say “Evil Bible, therefore no god”.
    He said, in short, “evil Bible, therefore no Christian god ( Yahweh).

    If someone painted a god nice colors (or god did it himself in “a Bible”, Donica would maybe enjoy it and keep believing god.
    He, and all others, would have no problems to believe in a god if mister god showed himself some time.

    He also did NOT say “Fiction exists; therefore No God.”, but:
    “… the Bible was a useless book of nonsense and that every Christian premise or argument I had ever heard was false.”

    As I can see, no theist is able to say something without lying.

    That is so sad.
    You consider yourselves reasonable and serious people?

  29. on 10 Jun 2012 at 4:58 am 29.anon said …

    for people who don’t believe in god you sure do waste allot of your time talking about it and trying to disprove god. so I guess that means your trying to convince yourselves desperately seeking an answer you cant find because you close your hearts and refuse to believe in something besides precious science.

  30. on 10 Jun 2012 at 12:49 pm 30.vin said …

    There is no god.If there is, he is very partial and serves only crooks, cheaters, and corrupt in this world.Every sunday, thousands throng to the church.Many girls and ladies in there best dresses(including in short skirts and high heals;at least in North-East).Are they going for worship realY? Is their god a young smart looking guy who wants to see beautiful ladies? In the gathering there will be some very very poor people too who will be praying very hard for a daily bread.There will also be crooks,cheats and corrupt people who are scavengers and they too will be praying hard.Seek and you will receive,thats what Jesus says.Why does god give more and more wealth to these crooks and the poor remain poor for years? And mind you, the poor and less forunate always prays very hard and yet they receive the least.Any explanation by the theologists will fall flat.No body had reported from hell or heaven the living conditions.There is no heaven, no hell and no god.We are just a part of living beings making best efforts to survive on this planet.A well known and proven corrupt politician died recently and thousand attended his funeral.WHY? Isn’t it shameless that the bible was read and prayers were conducted on this occasion.Just be good human beings and forget about god.

  31. on 10 Jun 2012 at 1:49 pm 31.alex said …

    “for people who don’t believe in god you sure do waste allot of your time talking about it and trying to disprove god. so I guess that means your trying to convince yourselves…”

    typical run and hide dipshit poster, never to be heard from again. who’s trying to disprove anything? do i need to convince myself that santa doesn’t exist? why is your god any different? do i waste my time reading the bullshit bible or going to a bullshit church? i post all my crap while taking a break from my computer work. what about you? taking a break from your porn? i have a “closed heart” because i advocate equality for all? i would equally help an xtian, muslim, gay, black, transexual, or atheist. would you?

  32. on 10 Jun 2012 at 2:52 pm 32.vin said …

    sorry alex.I an even talking about whywontgodhealamputees.Biologically impossible.I pity worshippers who throng to the church or hindus who rush to the temples to wish for small and big things.I am a doctor and have no time for porn.I heal patients and diseases.people like you try to prove there is god.And thats a whole life wasted.Do something good for others rather than waste time in churches and listening to bullshit.

  33. on 10 Jun 2012 at 5:43 pm 33.Suh said …

    Vin

    If you are a MD could you let me know where you practice so I can be sure to avoid your office?

  34. on 11 Jun 2012 at 4:19 am 34.anon said …

    I have gay friends black friends Muslims, Mexicans Cubans you name it guess what i just try and share the happiness in my life with all the folks i encounter. loving our fellow man that is the most important thing you can take from the bible. call me an idiot,fake or a liar doesn’t matter i still love you brothers and sisters.

  35. on 11 Jun 2012 at 5:17 am 35.anon said …

    Does you being a doctor make it more believable to everyone that you don’t watch porn.

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