God’s Murders

God

And people wonder why atheists don’t believe in God! With this kind of capricious God in the Old Testament, what’s there to believe in? How can any HONEST biblical literalist explain this away? I am no biblical literalist, but even I’m not going to defend God against these charges.

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8 thoughts on “God’s Murders

  1. Was that the story of Abraham sacrificing his son?

    I’d probably have to agree with you in this case. Christianity not only has a lot to answer for, but their God does as well. People have been incredibly desensitized to the severity of their God. Now though, in the modern era, people are starting to learn and strong doubts are starting to doubt.

  2. It continues to be very interesting how bits of Scripture can be pulled together to back up any argument. I wonder what religious dude pissed in Dwindling’s cornflakes to make him want to tally all the known God-murders in order to convince himself there is no God… or that God is really a badguy. If he really is an unbeliever, then such research is kinda irrelevant. Something like doing a tally of all the bad presents from Santa Claus.
    Regardless, I agree that God doesn’t need to be defended – I’m sure he can take care of himself – but I guess I want to throw in some perspective and context. First of all, God is God, and we are not. We keep forgetting this, or ignoring it, even when confronted with such unfathomable facts as God killing people. The core of sin is wanting to be God – thinking we know better than God – and trying to take care of the world and ourselves on our own, thank-you very much. We can’t hope to know the mind of God but we have to take the difficult stuff with the pretty verses in any honest endeavour to discover what we can of God.
    On the note of us taking care of ourselves – we do a pretty shitty job of that one. So Dwindling figures God killed 33 million people over a span of, what, three thousand years? We doubled that in only six years in the Second World War, with over half of those casualities being innocent civilians. WW1 resulted in about 20 million deaths in only four years. In the USA alone there are currently over six thousand murders every year, and over a million assaults (check out nationmaser.com).
    And now considering context: All of our murders, assaults and wars are motivated by greed, self-centeredness, hate… us taking care of ourselves. I’m not saying I understand God’s killing, but to at least look at context in the Scriptures, rather than pure number-crunching seems to surround the so-called murders with multiple warnings, second chances, centuries of patience, an overriding revelation of a God who is holy and a constant call to humans to live in a wholly other way (or as I believe Anne Lamott said, to play fair and don’t be an asshole). Funny how we know all about natural consequences, protecting our children, punishing wrong-doers and so on, according to our own flawed and limited perspectives, but we can’t stand for God being God, especially when that implies things we do not understand.
    Still, good stuff to wrestle with. And good for people like Dwindling to point such things out to us, lest we assume we have God all figured out and packaged for an easy sale or convenient weapon. I have been enjoying your blog and your perspectives since I discovered your writing a few weeks ago. Good stuff.

  3. that’s quite a body count! the one I found most troubling was asking the father to sacrifice his son. I can’t remember the names now.

    ggw

  4. Thanks Bill,
    I understand about context but come on! Dispensationalism and rapturists do the same thing, pull all kinds of unrelated scriptures together to come up with an idea. Systematic theologians do it to. You can do anything like that with the bible. My point is to show that, are these really numerous examples of God’s murders or is it the story of a peculiar people, the Jews, sanctioning their pogroms (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pogrom) and saying God commanded it? Using God for permission to commit warfare. I’m with the latter definition. Thanks for the comment.

  5. Hi Alec,
    In Genesis, Abraham was told by God to take his favorite son Isaac to make a sacrifice to God. Abraham got there and at the last moment found an animal tangled in a bush and took it as a sign that God didn’t really want him to sacrifice his son and sacrificed the goat instead. The lesson is supposed to be that we should obey God even if it calls for murdering your children, I guess. Christians tell us that the lesson is supposed to prefigure Jesus somehow, that God always finds a way and wouldn’t ask us to do THAT! I’m not sure what it means personally. Thanks for the comment.

  6. The fact that dispensationalists, rapturists, liberals, conservatives, and even athiests pull random Scripture verses together to back up an idea is exactly my point. Christians do it most often by far – all too often. Using God as an excuse for your own agenda, be it warfare or music preference, is nothing new either. So, sure, it could very well be that some of the killings in the Bible were just that. I am sure there are others that were not – and those, we have to struggle with. Just to take someone’s list of bads without at least peeking into context or putting things into perspective does not imply struggle nor is it any basis for building a theology / anti-theology. A simple list is easy to dismiss. Genuinely trying to know God takes work. Most people prefer the list so we get crappy theology and shallow disbelief. I appreciate your blog because you seem to be more willing to do the honest work.

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