Repost from 2015. Edited, updated, and corrected.
Several years ago, a Christian Fundamentalist by the name of Matt stopped by this blog to let me know what God and his servant Matt thought about me. After a week of comments, I finally banned Matt. You can read his comments here, here, here, here, here, here, and here. After I banned Matt, he wandered over to the Quakers and Jesus: A Spirituality of Love (no longer active), the blog of my Australian friend John Arthur.
Watching John and Matt go back and forth was quite entertaining. I’ve learned John is far more patient — most days — than I am, even when dealing with an intractable Fundamentalist who is certain he is absolutely right like Matt. (Please read The Intractability of Christian Fundamentalists.) In all the discussions on this site and John’s, Matt has not changed or moderated his viewpoint one bit. He is certain he is right. Why? Because he can read the Bible for himself. He has no need of books because he has THE book.
While there are any number of Matt’s comments that I could respond to, I want to focus on the following comment:
The wrathful God of the Old Testament and the loving God of the New Testament is a false dichotomy. The love of God is the central feature of both. The story of the entire Bible is a story of grace. It is a concept foreign to every other religious worldview, but central to Christianity.
First, Matt lets readers know that there is one true religion — his. Now we don’t know for sure what that religion is because Matt refuses to say. My money is on Baptist or Church of Christ.
Second, Matt believes that the love of God is the central theme of both the Old and New Testaments. This line of argument is often used in an attempt to negate the charge that the God of the Old Testament is different from the God of the New Testament. According to Matt, there is one God, a God of love and grace. From Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:21, the Bible is one long, sweet, and enduring love story. However, such a view is based on either a selective reading of the Bible or an attempt to make the Bible awkwardly fit the love/grace paradigm. As I will clearly show, not only is the God of the Bible not a God of love and grace, he is actually a vindictive, temperamental, genocidal son of a bitch. Richard Dawkins was right when he said:
The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.
One of the reasons people deconvert from Christianity is their inability to reconcile the Old Testament God with the Jesus/God of the New Testament. While Jesus is certainly a much-improved version of God, particularly if one sticks to the gospels or the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus reverts to the God of the Old Testament in the book of Revelation. Revelation is 17 chapters of God/Jesus opening can after can of whoop-ass and pouring it out on the earth. The slaughter and violence of God/Jesus far exceeds anything humanity, animals, and the earth have ever experienced. Billions of people will be killed, their only sin being the worship of the wrong God. Even the Jews, Jesus’ people, will face slaughter. Only those saved during the tribulation and subsequently martyred will escape the Lake of Fire.
Here are a few of the things God/Jesus promises to do come the end of the world:
- 1/4 of the inhabitants of the earth will die of starvation
- Hail and fire mingled with blood will fall on the earth
- 1/3 of the trees will be destroyed
- All the green grass will be destroyed
- 1/3 of the seas will turn to blood
- 1/3 of the ships will be destroyed
- 1/3 of marine life will be destroyed
- 1/3 of the waters will be made undrinkable
- 1/3 of the sun, moon, and stars will be darkened
- Locusts that sting like a scorpion will sting earth’s inhabitants
- 1/3 part of earth’s inhabitants will be killed by smoke, fire, and brimstone
- Seas will be turned to blood and all marine life will die
- Heat will scorch earth’s inhabitants
- Earth’s inhabitants will be afflicted with painful sores
- Islands and mountains will collapse
- Large hail will fall on the earth
- Those left? They will be slaughtered when Jesus returns to earth
I complied this list by briefly scanning the book of Revelation. There are many more things I could have added, but this list should suffice to prove that the God of “love” in the New Testament reverts to his Old Testament ways, killing everyone who does not worship him.
In the Old Testament, even a primary-age Sunday school student could prove false the notion that the God of the Old Testament is a God of love and grace. The 39 books of the Old Testament are a testament to the genocidal rage and violence of the Judeo-Christian God. One need only read Genesis 6-9 — Noah’s Ark and the Flood — to see how God responds to those who get on his bad side. God drowns millions of men, women, children, infants, and unborn fetuses, saving only Noah and seven family members. Where is God’s love and grace in this story? This is an ancient version of the modern “airliner crash, 250 killed, 1 survived” story. Christians focus on the miracle of the one survivor, ignoring the fact that God killed 250 people.
God continued his murderous ways when he slaughtered everyone in Sodom and Gomorrah, save Lot and his family. Then in the book of Exodus, we find God killing all the firstborn sons in Egypt. Only those who had animal blood applied to their doorposts escaped God’s killing spree. When Israel left Egypt, headed for the Promised Land, God commanded them to kill almost everyone who stood in their way. God especially had it out for the Canaanites, ordering the Israelites to slaughter the Canaanites whenever they encountered them.
Shall I go on?
There is no possible way for a rational person to maintain that the Old Testament God is a God of love and grace. I know every argument Evangelicals use in an attempt to make their God look good. All of them fail miserably. The God of the Old Testament, if he were human — and technically, he is — would be sitting on death row awaiting execution for murder and genocide. If he were human, none of us would want him as our father, family member, or friend.
The dichotomy between the Old Testament and New Testament Gods is one of the reasons I deconverted. I suspect the same could be said for many atheists and agnostics. If being a Christian requires embracing, accepting, and loving the God of the Old Testament and Revelation, no thanks! I have often wondered whether the Christian church rues the day they decided to make the Old Testament part of their canon of Scripture. Imagine how much simpler Christianity would be to defend if the Old Testament was tossed into the dustbin of human history. But the Old Testament is a part of the canon, and Evangelicals are left with the task of defending their psychopath Father. Good luck with that.
Imagine a person having no exposure to Christianity one day stumbling upon a book called the Old Testament. Would this person, by only reading this book, come to the same conclusions as Evangelicals? Would they conclude the Christian deities are Gods of love and grace? That a rhetorical, question, by the way.
Bruce Gerencser, 63, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 42 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen awesome grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist. For more information about Bruce, please read the About page.
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