Wednesday, July 16, 2008

A complete list of the evils of the biblical god?

     On Ray Comfort's blog, one poster told me to provide a comprehensive list of everything I consider evil about the biblical god. Naturally, I declined the invitation to keep me busy. I see no need to attempt to compile an exhaustive list. In fact, I think it suffices to name one BIG evil act. (Well, alleged act) For that, I cite the flood. Under the biblical assumption that it was a willful action it was unspeakably evil.

28 comments:

The Ranting Student said...

Genesis 8: 21
"The Lord smelled the pleasing aroma and said in his heart: "Never again will I curse the ground because of man, even though every inclination of his heart is evil from childhood. And never again will I destroy all living creatures, as I have done."
[New international Version]


Apparently, even God decided he was an asshole.

DisComforting Ignorance said...

Provide them with:

http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/inj/long.html

http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/cruelty/long.html

Sye TenB said...

Problem is, without an absolute standard of morality, you lose any foundation by which to call anything 'evil.' Without an absolute standard of morality, there is no evil, whatever is, just is.

Cheers,

Sye

dede said...

greetings i found this article. wanted to share

GOD and GENOCIDE
by Kenneth Richard Samples

How can Yahweh be perfectly good and just and yet commnad extermination?

Richard Dawkins, the world's most famous atheist, asserts that the God of the Old Testament is "a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser."1

Yahweh, the Hebrew name of the personal God of Israel in the Judeo-Christian Scriptures, reveals himself to be the Creator of heaven and earth. As the one true Lord, he is an infinite, eternal, and morally perfect personal deity. Historic Christianity identifies Yahweh as none other than the Triune God who is more specifically unveiled in the New Testament as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Tension arises when examining the Scriptures. The Bible reveals God to be perfectly good (Psalm 145:8-9) and perfectly just (Deuteronomy 32:4) in the very nature of his being. However, the Old Testament states that God personally commanded the army of the Hebrews to destroy the Canaanite nations.

During the conquest of Canaan, God commanded the following the Hebrews:

"When the LORD (Yahweh) your God has delievered them over to you and you have defeated them, then you must destroy them totally. Make no treaty with them, and show them no mercy" (Deut.7:2)

"Howerever in the cities of the nations the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance, do not leave alive anything that breaths." (Deut. 20: 16).

In response to this frightening divine command, the Hebrew army carried out he following:

"They devoted the city to the LORD and destroyed with the sword every living thing in it--men and women, young and old, cattle, sheep and donkeys" (Joshua 6:21)

How can this seemingly brutal genocidal command be reconciled with God's perfect goodness and justice?

Kenneth goes on to give the following seven points to help provide the moral context and justification for Yahweh's command to destroy the Canaanites:

1. While God doesn't always reveal all the details concerning his sovereign decisions, Scripture indicated that God's moral will flows from his perfectly good and just nature. Therefore God has morally sufficient grounds for his commands even if those reasons are not fully revealed to humankind. However, in this specific case some of those reasons are evident.

2. God's command to destroy the Canaanites was motivated by his intention to preserve Israel from the deep moral corruption that would have inevitably resulted through cultural assimilation with the pagan nations. God's wrathful justice upon the Canaanites resulted in an act of mercy (protection) upon the Israelites. Therefore God's command to destroy an entire people group nevertheless constituted a moral good.

3.The Canaanites were a morally decadent and reprobate people. Archaeological discoveries have revealed that they practiced such moral abominations as temple prostitution, child sacrifice, and bestiality.2 And for hundreds of years they consistently ignored God's call to repent of their wicked ways (Genesis 15:16). In God's eyes they were beyond moral rehabilitation.

4. Life in the ancient Near-Eastern world was extremely brutal. And the Canaanite nations viewed the Israelites as their enemies. In this context of warfare amoung nations God's command to destroy the pagan people was a necessary act of war.

5. God, as the sovereign creator and sustainer of life, has the prerogative to take life at his just discretion (Deut. 32:39; Job 1:21). Because the cosmos belongs to the Lord, he has the ontological right to do as he wishes with his creatures. He is the ultimate judge of all things. As Christian philosopher Paul Copan notes: "Like Narnia's Aslan, Yahweh, through gracious and compassionate...is not to be trifled with".3

6. God's order to exterminate the Canaanites was not a command to murder (to take human life without just cause). Rather, it constituted a command of capital punishment on a grand scale and therefore reflected a retributive form of justice (the punishment of crime).

7. The divine command for the Hebrew army to destroy the Canaanites took place in a unique historical and biblical context. This was not a common or normative event in the life of God's people. Yahweh is compassionate and patient and remains, in spite of this act, a God of mercy (Exodus 34:6).

(intermission...)

dede said...

ok i'm back. hope you enjoyed your coca-cola & popcorn.

acticle continued...

Why Such Utter Devastation?

Yet while God had just cause to destroy the Canaanites for their wicked ways, was it necessary to kill all life? Couldn't the innocent children havae been preserved?

Unfortunately, the abominable evil of the Canaanite society had polluted the children as well.4 God how knows the thoughts and intentions of people (Hebrews 4:12), knew that if these children had been allowed to live they would have inevitably infected God's people with terrible iniquity. The Hebrews had to be "preserved" because they were the very people from which the Messiah would emerge. Additionally, itamy be that God took mercy upon these children and granted them divine acceptance in the next life. God's compassion is deep and wide even in the midst of temporal judgement.

An important lesson to be learned from this great and terrible event is the God loves his people and he will take extreme measures to protect them from moral and spiritual ruin (Romans 8:28)

references:
1. Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion (NY: Houghton Miffin, 2006),31.
2.Gleason L. Archer Jr. A Survey of Old Testament introduction (Chicago: Moody, 1964)261.
3.Paul Copan, "Is Yahweh a Moral Monster?" Philosophia Christi 10, no. 1 (Summer 2008), 31.
4.Ronald A. Iwasko, "God of War" in Chrisianity for the Tough-Minded, ed. John Warwick Montgomery (Minneapolis: Bethany, 1973), 99-107.

i would especially love to share this article with those that study religion but frankly, i'm too tired to retype this again.

have a blessed weekend pvblivs and all.

Pvblivs said...

     "Therefore God has morally sufficient grounds for his commands even if those reasons are not fully revealed to humankind."
     Spoken like the defender of a wicked tyrant. You are attempting to justify the claim that he is good. You cannot use, "well, we know he is good; so it must have been justified."
     "God's command to destroy the Canaanites was motivated by his intention to preserve Israel from the deep moral corruption that would have inevitably resulted through cultural assimilation with the pagan nations."
     Nice try. But this god supposedly could have created new uninhabited land. The wholesale slaughter was necessary to the stated purpose.
     "The Canaanites were a morally decadent and reprobate people."
     More excuse making. What can be established according to this story is that the god had the people slaughtered because they weren't giving him the praise he wanted. Child sacrifice, while horrific, is one thing that is still found in primitive people who think they need to please their gods. (Gee, it's not like your god told, say, Abraham to sacrifice his son as a test of loyalty.)
     "Life in the ancient Near-Eastern world was extremely brutal. And the Canaanite nations viewed the Israelites as their enemies. In this context of warfare amoung nations God's command to destroy the pagan people was a necessary act of war."
     There is no indication that the Canaanites attacked Israel. The Israelis were unquestionably the invaders. The defense fails.
     "Because the cosmos belongs to the Lord, he has the ontological right to do as he wishes with his creatures."
     Bzzzzt. Nope, that's evil. Interestingly, the christian claim is those who are being tormented will have no basis to protest that it is wrong. Now, to my mind, this means that it can only be the collection of people who agree he can do whatever he wants.
     "God's order to exterminate the Canaanites was not a command to murder (to take human life without just cause). Rather, it constituted a command of capital punishment on a grand scale and therefore reflected a retributive form of justice (the punishment of crime)."
     Let's see, infants and children. Plus the fact that the "crime" was failing to flatter. No, this was not justice.
     "The divine command for the Hebrew army to destroy the Canaanites took place in a unique historical and biblical context. This was not a common or normative event in the life of God's people. Yahweh is compassionate and patient and remains, in spite of this act, a God of mercy."
     And the evidence for that is...? Oh, yeah, he says so. So does any other despot.
     A simple test. Apply your stated reasoning to any being other than your god who supposedly did the same thing. And, of course, you are taking this beings word about crimes, punishment, and justice. The hypothesized being similarly claims ownership of all the world. I expect that you decide that such a being was evil. So do I. I give your god no special dispensation.

Pvblivs said...

     "The wholesale slaughter was necessary to the stated purpose" should be "The wholesale slaughter was not necessary to the stated purpose."

Andrew Louis said...

Sye,
why must one have an "absolute" foundation for morality in order to know what's right and wrong?

For that matter, what makes something wrong? Would it be wrong if I kicked you in the jimmy? Would it be wrong if I pocked your mom? And if so, why?

What is the source of your absolute moralities, and what proof of those absolute authorities do have? And finally, in what way will your answers not be "Systemic Truth" and rahter "Absolute Truth".

Sye TenB said...

Andrew Louis said: ”why must one have an "absolute" foundation for morality in order to know what's right and wrong?”

Cause, paraphrasing C.S. Lewis, “you can’t call a line crooked unless you have a concept of a straight line”. You can’t call anything ‘wrong’ unless you know what ‘right’ is. Without an absolute standard, there is no such thing as wrong or right, there is only subjective opinion.

Cheers,

Sye

P.S. I don't even know what 'pocking' is, but since it is probably misspelling of something rude, I'll not continue with your post.

get_education said...

What you need to decide between right and wrong is an accepted standard of morality, not an absolute one.

However, your god fails at having at least a constant standard of morality. It seems like your imaginary friend was imagined with lots of contradictions, contradictions that reflect the change of times, the change of thinking of the cultures that imagined it. Not only that, perhaps the differences in morality among the persons who wrote these pieces of literature that you call scripture.

Seems like you completely ignore history Sye. The standards have "evolved." Even those of your imaginary friend.

G.E.

Sye TenB said...

GE said: ”What you need to decide between right and wrong is an accepted standard of morality, not an absolute one.”

Really? Says who? Accepted by whom? Is that statement itself ‘right?’ Just arbitrarily stipulating a standard, may give ‘preference,’ but it does not give ‘right’ and ‘wrong.’

”However, your god fails at having at least a constant standard of morality.”

Well, I don’t expect someone who denies the authority of the Bible to understand it, so thanks, but I won’t take my exegesis from you.

”It seems like your imaginary friend was imagined with lots of contradictions, contradictions that reflect the change of times, the change of thinking of the cultures that imagined it.”

Naturally I disagree, but tell me, why are contradictions in reasoning not allowed according to your worldview?

Cheers,

Sye

get_education said...

Sye,

Just arbitrarily stipulating a standard

When did i say "arbitrarily"?

Again, you just ignore history. You might disagree with me about the historical changes of your imaginary friend, but they are right there. Obviously "exegesis" is yet another word to mean "self-delusional interpretation of the bible." Which of course further evidences that you have very little to offer in any discussion. All you do is change the meaning to your liking, no matter of it is the bible, or whatever we explain to you. So be it.

G.E.

Sye TenB said...

GE said: "When did I say "arbitrarily"?

Alright then, if it's not arbitrary, what is your absolute standard?

Oh, and you 'missed' this one: "Why are contradictions in reasoning not allowed according to your worldview?"

Cheers,

Sye

get_education said...

what is your absolute standard?

When did I say "absolute"?

G.E.

Sye TenB said...

GE said: "When did I say "absolute"?

Fine, I'll play, what is your standard of 'right' and 'wrong?'

Cheers,

Sye

get_education said...

Well, in this case the accepted standard is that it is wrong to commit mass murder, as in the claimed flood.

G.E.

Andrew Louis said...

Sye,
and why do I need something absolute as a standard. I know whats right and wrong for me, and know what I like and I know what I don't like. Neither of those have to do with absolute.

You get your concept of a line from nature Sye. There is no absolute source by which everything flows.

Andrew Louis said...

Sye,
lets do this. Below I've posted something from my own blog. You don't have to read it, it's sismply there as a courtesy to everyone else that has to put up with your absolute junk: (which is of course what you do right - you go from blog to blog until it's ebvious eveyone has gotten sick of you.)

An absolute truth is what is true for every possible circumstance. The reason why an absolute truth is what is true for every possible circumstance is because if there is any possible circumstance where this truth isn’t true, then it’s possibly false. If something is possibly false, then what makes it absolutely true. So again, an absolute truth is what is true for every possible circumstance.

Truth itself is systemic, in other words it needs a system of proof; to prove, it needs a means of decision, a method of resolution, a way of coming to the conclusion that something is true. So this method must exist before the truth in order to be able to prove that it’s true, and this is why there can be no such things as an absolute truth, all truths are systemic (relative to a system). This is different then relative morals; in relative morals we have what is relative to an individuals perspective or what’s subjective. In truth we always have what’s objective relative to a system of proof, not an individuals perspective. So this is a careful thing to the issue of relative truth. Relative truth is vary often misunderstood, many people talk about why truth isn’t relative. People will talk about what is subjective, which is because they’re so concerned with ethics and human behavior, they’re concerne is they come across that morals are relative, then they come across what is subjective, and they here that truth is relative too and it just flips the over the bend.

Anyway, truth is objective, but truth is not absolute. In other words truth is not eternal, it needs a means of resolution. As to what is true; well it’s only propositions that are true, it’s only statements in language that are true about objects. For an example if I said that my car was red, well, it’s a statement about my car that is true. My car isn’t true, there’s no part of my car that holds the property truth. Again it’s statements about my car that are true, it’s propositions which are true or false, (there’s nothing true or false other then a proposition). Furthermore there’s no proposition without a language, but we first need a mind to make up a language, then you need a language, then you have the word truth and you can grant that meaning, then you have a means of resolution to say what is true or false, but you need a whole system to exists before the truth can exist. Therefore no truth is possibly eternal.

No truth can possibly be eternal, And so therefore there are no absolute truths. Now absolute truths necessarily mandates a God, if you have an absolute truth you must have a God. It was stated for example that the periodic table was an absolute truth, well a periodic table isn’t even true, the periodic table is an object, statements about the periodic table are true or false, but to say that the periodic table is true is like saying my car is true (it’s not even true or false). Another mistake is calling evolution false, but evolution is neither true nor false, evolution is not a proposition. Evolution is consistent or inconsistent with other known data, but it is not itself a proposition that we can call true of false. In any case, it’s only propositions which are true or false and again propositions are language dependent, which is mind dependent and the entire system needs to exist in order for any truth to exist. So to say that any truth is absolute is wrong, and people will ask (like Sye) and say, “is it absolutely true that there are no absolute truths?” and you can say, “no it’s systemically true as all truths are, there are no absolute truths.” All truths are systemic, they’re relative to a system, don’t be fooled by the lingo to say, well is it an absolute truth to say there are no absolute truths. The answer is no since no absolute truth exist obviously, all truths are systemic, therefore there are no absolute truths. That there are no absolute truths again is a systemic truth itself, it’s not an absolute truth.

Lets consider before there was mind, perhaps before the earth existed, it’s a possible circumstance that there was no minds at all during this time. In this possible circumstance there were no truths at all. Nothing was true at a time when no minds existed, even if everything else existed. After theres mind then we can create statements about that period in time before minds existed, but these statements would be belief statements that all this even ever took place.

So for us to talk about absolute truth is what I consider the most dangerous world view that exists. It’s the hall mark of the suicide bomber, this is not just the hallmark of religion itself, but the real strict fundamentalists that will talk about Gods, truth and absolute truth. The core root of dogma is absolutism, and if atheists are to appose anything they should appose absolute truth and peoples world views first and foremost above beyond all the God talk. As soon as you here and come across this form of absolute ideology then let them know, and particularly when applied to morality (when they talk about absolute moral truth). Morals are subjective and a matter of belief, individual opinion, so on, and the religious try to take this idea of absolute truth directly into morality, which is when they really cross the line into the frightening. When we talk about an absolute truth other wise, lets say its something like gravity, that’s not so much of a concern, you don’t’ see suicide bombers based on such things. However you will when absolute truth is combined with morality.

So look out for absolute truth, it is the singe most identifying characteristic of any religion or world view that should be apposed by atheists, it is scary stuff.

Sye TenB said...

GE said: "Well, in this case the accepted standard is that it is wrong to commit mass murder, as in the claimed flood."

Accepted by whom, and why do they get to determine what is wrong and right?

Cheers,

Sye

P.S. Since the killing was ordained by God, it was not murder.

Sye TenB said...

Andew Louis said: "and why do I need something absolute as a standard. I know whats right and wrong for me, and know what I like and I know what I don't like. Neither of those have to do with absolute."

Neither have to do with 'right' or 'wrong' they have to do with 'personal preference.'

"You get your concept of a line from nature Sye. There is no absolute source by which everything flows."

Um, is that absolutely true??? You still do not see the difficulty with saying that it is absolutely true that there are no absolutes.

Cheers,

Sye

Andrew Louis said...

Sye,
read my next post.

It's not absolutely true, it's systemicaly true.

Yeah,
that one just blew right by you didn't it big fella. Ppay attention.

Sye TenB said...

”So look out for absolute truth, it is the singe most identifying characteristic of any religion or world view that should be apposed by atheists, it is scary stuff.”

Nice summary! Is it absolutely true that absolute truth is scary stuff???

Your whole essay comes down to absolutely denying absolutes, and if you say that it is NOT absolutely true that absolute truth does not exist, then you would be forced to admit (if you were intellectually honest that is) that, at least, absolute truth could exist.

Your ‘systemic truth’ is just a smoke screen. Why should anyone subscribe to a particular system of truth? What makes a particular system true? Is that system absolutely true, or only systemically true? Hopefully someday you will see the mental gymnastics you are undertaking to deny absolute truth.

Cheers,

Sye

Andrew Louis said...

Perhaps Sye,
you need to read more carefully.

The burdon of proof is on you to prove that absolute truth exists without a method of resolution and/or a means of decision. You seem to miss that point time and time again.

YOU ARE part of the system. Your statement, as I've already pointed out, is nothing more then q systemic one. The minute you stake a claim to something absolute, you're doing it reltive to the system as a whole - and that's not absolutely true, it's systemicaly true.

If all you have is, "your static truth is just a smoke sceen", then prove me otherwise. Oh wait, that's right, you cant and never have.

Sye TenB said...

Andrew Louis said: "The burdon of proof is on you to prove that absolute truth exists without a method of resolution and/or a means of decision."

Um, is it absolutely true that the burden is on me, or only systemically true? If it is only systemically true, why should I subscribe to your system?

Cheers,

Sye

Andrew Louis said...

I'm not asking you to subscribe to anything. I'm merely taking apart your arguement, and I believe it's systemicaly true that I've done that quite nicely.

You want us to believe in your theory of absolutes. You don' have to prove it if you don't want I suppose. But if you can't prove it otherwise, then go away and badger another blog with perhaps less intelligent individuals.

Sye TenB said...

Andrew Louis said: "I'm not asking you to subscribe to anything. I'm merely taking apart your arguement, and I believe it's systemicaly true that I've done that quite nicely."

But since you give us no reason to subscribe to your system, you are just venting hot, subjective air.

Cheers,

Sye

Andrew Louis said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Andrew Louis said...

You're missing the point that outside a system of decision you cannot prove your position.

So it is you who blow smoke. You cannot prove that the statement, "is there absolute truth", is not systemic. The answer "NO", is again systemic.

It's no different Sye, then trying to proove God. It's simply not possible to do and grasp within the confines of everyday rhetoric. Now is that absolutely true? No, it's systemicaly true in that, with respect to the system a proof has not been offered. Until you offer one you have no basis for refutation.

For example, state for me a truth which is in fact absolute. And after doing that, show me [us], how that truth is not sytemic.