Freethought NOW!

What’s wrong with God? 

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A dark painting with the title "what's wrong with god" overtop it in cursive

Nonbelievers are often asked: Why not at least accept the idea of God as harmless, a force for good, an inspiration to bring out the best in people? When I read the bible as a teenager, I found a lot of reasons as to why not.

The biblical God is hardly harmless. He is incredibly cruel, irrational, vain, sadistic and untrustworthy. Despite stating “Thou shalt not kill,” he orders endless massacres: whole cities to be wiped out, men, women, children, animals — all. He says that slaves and children may be beaten; homosexuals, adulterers, blasphemers, people who work on the Sabbath, and victims of rape should be killed. He commands you to murder any members of your own family who don’t sufficiently respect him. (Deuteronomy 13:6-9) He is a jealous God, full of vengeance and wrath. (Nahum 1:2) He brags that he has destroyed many nations. (Zephaniah 3:6) He even admits: “I create evil.” (Isaiah 45:7)

In Genesis, he kills almost every living creature on earth because a few people failed to praise him enough. He is the ultimate embodiment of male egotism; his appetite for praise is insatiable. He demands it every minute, from everybody, for all eternity. We have been told that one of the components of heavenly “bliss” is that we will join the choirs of angels in singing God’s praises forever and ever. Well, that might be entertaining for half an hour, but for all eternity? More like hell. The pagans had a better idea, that heavenly “bliss” would be like a perpetual orgasm; but, of course, the prudish Christian God would not allow that.

As a child, I was told about one of God’s worst crimes. He arranged to have his own son murdered, to induce himself to save some of the people from the hell of eternal torture that he created to punish the sins he knew they would commit because he made them that way. What kind of a father is it who kills his own allegedly beloved son? And why should it be so pleasing to him? But even this death would not eliminate God’s hell altogether because the blessed ones in heaven need to enjoy the sadistic pleasure of a perfect view of the tortures of the damned, according to St. Thomas Aquinas and other god-ly folks. My childhood self wondered, what was the point of killing Jesus? If an all-powerful God wanted to save people, couldn’t he just eliminate hell, without all the folderol of a crude filicidal sacrifice? But no. Apparently, God really wanted to intimidate his poor subjects with that vision of endless agony that only really sick minds could create, and that same imaginary fear made enormous profits over the millennia for God’s ever-greedy minions on Earth.

I find it incredible that people can read what the bible says about this God’s character and still think him harmless, benevolent, or anything like lovable. The bible presents him as a monster of vanity and cruelty, the “jealous God” that people were commanded to fear. The men who created and developed his character were like schoolyard bullies, relishing their ability to make others tremble. They were obviously aggressive, misogynist, sadistic and enormously egotistical, all covering the basic insecurity that gives rise to such aberrations. They made a God in their own image — a God that I found hugely unworthy. I wanted neither his heaven nor his hell and felt much more comfortable after dismissing them.

My future may be limited, like that of every other life form on Earth, but that’s better than either of God’s alternatives.

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7 Responses

  1. Who were the dirty old men who collected these Biblical stories and crafted them into the Bible? They are the ancient propagandists, the media that distributed them. We see them reincarnated in the so-called Influencers, mass psychosis promoters, and we think it’s normal. Humans are governed by stories, not laws. Thousands of years went by before anybody questioned the talking snake and the sin of eating an apple.

  2. This problem is not limited to the god of the Christians and Jews. God as depicted in the Koran is exactly the same. Man creates his in his own image indeed.

  3. Most theists invent their own version of “God.” Which is why there are so many gods and why they so often resemble ordinary people with no impulse control.

  4. Thank you, Barbara. I certainly agree that if there were a deity who behaved in the manner which the Old Testament authors described, then that deity would be either amoral or immoral, certainly not worthy of our respect, admiration, or worship. In fact, he would be worthy of our anger, disgust, and rejection.

    However, there is an alternative way to view the OT. If God did exist, he would never engage in the despicable acts which are described. He would be perfectly moral, as described or implied in other verses. The deity of despicable acts is just an invention of the men who wrote about him, aiming to justify their own immoral beliefs and acts.

    We do know even know if the harmful acts described in the OT actually occurred. I suspect many of them did not.

    What we do know, however, is that the Holocaust occurred. If God (the supposed all-knowing, all-powerful, perfectly moral creator of the cosmos) did exist, then he would have prevented the Holocaust. Therefore, this is one way we know that God does not exist.

  5. I posted this on blogspot 14 years ago

    Sunday, May 30, 2010
    Of Gods and Kings
    Some believe people invented gods to explain stuff they couldn’t account for naturally, like thunder, lightning, crops growing, night and day, the sun, the moon, the stars, rain, babies, etc. As mankind learned, the gods of fertility, the sky, fire, the waters, etc diminished. At this point, we’re pretty much left with gods of the remaining unanswered questions; creation, life and death.

    The truth is somewhat different. Although the choice of deity depends on what is unknown and/or feared, in every instance, the underlying drive behind the ascent of religion in every society is POWER and its fruits, PRIVILEGE and PRESTIGE.

    There are two roads to power.

    For the strong (physically, mentally, wealthy), the path is government. So we have kings, sheiks, emperors, lords, presidents, prime ministers and their various retinues. They arise and dominate their subjects by physical, financial or persuasive power, establishing and enforcing laws through police and armed force.

    The other path is religion. The shaman bypasses the hazardous need to confront and depose a strong ruler. The wizard, magician, seer, prophet, priest, etc, shares power and subjugates through fear of the supernatural, which they work very, very hard to maintain. Their armies, although invisible, are as powerful as one can ever imagine. In fact, their power rests entirely on the breadth, depth and vividness of their subject’s imagination. Natural events, i.e. droughts, floods, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, etc., are so powerful that even modern armies cannot stand in their way. Ascribing their cause to supernatural beings (“an act of God”), then appropriating control of that power by asserting a unique personal connection to that being, is a technique that has been used for millennia.

    Occasionally, there comes a person who, recognizing that his subjects have a divided loyalty, acts to consolidate his power. The Pharos and Mohammed are examples as is King James, who was a fierce promoter of the “Devine Right of Kings”. Japanese Emperors once combined both aspects and although they have recently lost political power, many Japanese still regard them as Divine. The Vatican Papacy has brilliantly avoided divided loyalty since the Pope is God’s emissary as well as the Head of State. Lenin and Stalin eliminated competition by making religion illegal and unpatriotic. Mao did the same. Kim Jong Il of Korea is head of state, but also venerated as a god. Today, China permits some religion, but selects its leaders. Any religion not authorized and under its political domination is outlawed. In Iran, the opposite has taken place. The priests have taken primacy. They permit an elected government, but the police and army owe allegiance to the priests who also control and distribute the country’s oil revenue which is the country’s primary source of wealth. The elected leaders are puppets of the priesthood. In the United States, the secular and non secular forces have been at stalemate, thanks only to a constitution which is naturally under constant attack.

  6. The Bible is full of horrors. I don’t think most theists have read it, just the cherry picked bits they hear in church.

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