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If Christians really followed the Bible as written, we’d see a whole different kind of parenting style…:
When humans do it, it’s cruel, reprehensible, and a jailable offense.
When God does it, they worship him.
(via Exploring Our Matrix)
Hemant Mehta is the chair of Foundation Beyond Belief and a high school math teacher in the suburbs of Chicago. He began writing the Friendly Atheist blog in 2006. His latest book is called The Young Atheist's Survival Guide.
It’s illogical to compare God to man, in any way, including, or perhaps especially, in the area of justice. This is the ultimate example of comparing apples and oranges.
But while I firmly believe what I just said, I admit that I understand the comparison better than I understand God’s justice some times. Then again, I’m not God. So how could I expect to full understand the infinate?
For those of us who can admit that we cannot be certain whether or not there is a god, the Bible looks very much like it was written by the tribal and primitive people within it. The “justice” in the Bible suddenly makes a lot of sense, when seen from this perspective. Authority-based morality. Fear-driven obedience. These concepts easily go hand-in-hand with things like patriarchal misogyny and talking animals.
Consider a god who is all-knowing, yet still creates the doomed Garden, or who allows humanity to proliferate, knowing that he intends to flood everyone to death for failing to live up to his own expectations. Even the concept of creating a living, thinking, feeling being, capable of pain and sorrow and suffering, with the fore-knowledge that eternal burning in Hell awaits them. This is very difficult to reconcile with real justice, or even kindness. But it fits quite well with fear-based mythology.
When you recognize that you don’t have the evidence necessary to conclude that a god exists, you become wary of people who CLAIM to speak for gods (or of books that do the same), because to subject yourself to these “gods” may actually mean that you are simply subjecting yourself to the will of humans, who use the weight of the authority of gods to support their own will. It becomes necessary to develop our OWN sense of justice and morality, which are supported by good arguments and reasoning, based on the real-world consequences of action, rather than a system that operates just because a “god said so”. It isn’t enough for us to concede that we “can’t understand”. We MUST understand, so that we will know that our system of justice is operating correctly and fairly. To leave it to the beliefs of ancient shepherds is dangerous, when their claims may not even be credible.
…love you, man… I am totally quoting this .
But then from the perspective that morals and justice arise from god, it utterly severs any connection between the two. If god is categorically different from humans such that moral judgment is impossible, you cannot deduce morals from the divine, and reduce your moral system to mere deontology.
Which is fine if you’re into that sort of thing, but it means you can’t meaningfully discuss morals outside “who do we obey” (and given that processing that problem means making a moral evaluation, you auto-refute yourself anyway.)
If Divine justice isn’t good enough for humans, then how can it be good enough for God? Clearly it can’t.
An omniscient deity who can understand humans well enough to communicate with them can certainly explain better methods and ethics than the ones shown by the deity of the Bible.
Illogical is expecting lower standards from that deity than from almost any civilization that has existed, which is what one has to do to justify the events of the Bible.
It’s funny how religionists love to “eff the ineffable” and claim detailed knowledge of God’s laws, wants, desires, needs, attributes, characteristics etc. etc. – until someone points out the illogicality and incoherence of this worldview, at which point the believers immediately fall back on the old “God is infinitely beyond our understanding” crutch.
Also, I’ve always found it remarkable how perfectly “God’s laws” are aligned with the believer’s opinions. I’ve never heard a hard-line christian (e.g.) say, “You know, if it were up to me, I would have no problem with gays marrying. But unfortunately, God regards gay marriage as sinful, so I have no choice but to condemn it, even though I disagree with him.”
“Then again, I’m not God.”
I think you’ll find that you are, or at least you both share the same opinions, emotions and sense of justice. Just ask any Christian their opinion and you’ll find that their god is in complete agreement whether that person is into liberation theology or reconstructionism.
If you claim that your god is fundamentally unintelligible to humans, then you can’t claim that YOU understand what this god of yours wants, which means you can’t use your lies about it as justification to codify your delusions into law. You can’t claim that god is immune to all criticism because no one can comprehend it, then turn around and claim that YOU comprehend it and thus your political agenda should be immune from all criticism. And yet, your cult still tries to do that. You talk out of both sides of your ass. Your god is imaginary, and on some level even you know that. If you really believed a word of your own bullshit you wouldn’t be pulling such incredibly stupid and dishonest dodges.
i really wish more believers would read their own ‘holy’ books. cover to cover. the treatment of women and children is just one of a long list of reasons to reject them.
again: why did Job’s youngest daughter need to die? an all powerful god could’ve, you know, hid her in a cave and fed her manna and stuff until he won his bet with the devil. but no, she had to die, horribly. this is not a being any compassionate person should worship.
I think you miss the point. It isn’t a question of “needing” to die. This is a god that places no value on human life. People die at its convenience, for the most trivial of reasons. To this god, killing humans or allowing them to die is equivalent to us crushing a gnat or pulling a weed. It carries essentially no moral significance.
I thought that in Christianity, fear should be for death of the soul, not of the flesh. Why is life so important? Where does all this ‘sympathy’ come from? Random mutation? As sure as you live, you will die. Isn’t it more fun being stardust, or star dirt as the case may be?
*sniff* Stardust has feelings too….
Good cartoon, but it left out one of the most godly methods for dealing with mouthy children– letting them be ripped apart by bears.
Or having them stoned to death at the gates.
I’ve been discussing morality with a Christian friend of mine over the past few weeks. I can say that this cartoon misrepresents (at least) her position. I can also say that I was amazed by what I learned from her.
God, as the creator, is the sole authority over all things. Morality is simply obedience to God. The consequences of an action are not relevant.
If God instructs parents to drown their children, then it is moral. If God instructs parents to protect the lives of their children, then it is moral.
She doesn’t appear to actually know the definition of “moral”. What’s she’s describing is – pardon the near-Godwin – part of fascist ideology.
Otherwise known as divine command theory
“Honestly officer, God spoke to me and told me to drown my daughter. I am just doing His Will.”
Seriously, that some messed up reasoning right there.
If you ever try to drown my children because your god commands it I will puncture your eyeballs and rip your heart out.
That whole story of Abraham being willing to sacrifice his Son for the Lord sounds like schizophrenia, not like an admirable man of God…
If a voice in your head tells you to kill a random kid - you get locked up as a murderer, even if the voice says it’s god.
But if a voice in your head says to kill your kid – that’s moral, just because the voice says it’s god?
You’ll pardon me, but if you can’t see how killing your child is wrong, I hope you never have kids. Morality is doing the right thing, not what a voice tells you.
have you read the manic messiah by Stephen Cram? its not really the good parent guide
Unfortunately humans in a supposedly civil society are subjected to laws which protect and sometimes over protect the ‘vulnerable’ and those who prefers others to take care of them. If there is a god who is all powerful, then what say do mere man have? If a very powerful person wants you to do something which you don’t like, would you dare retort? You may curse and swear at him while doing his bidding but you are most likely to do it out of fear. Now, I can just imagine that, if there is an afterlife, an anti-theist like you’d continue cursing and swearing at god as you are doing now. Only, that will be for eternity.
“If a very powerful person wants you to do something which you don’t like, would you dare retort?”
Yes. Because authority is not truth in and of itself.
Besides, there’s a difference between a “very powerful person” who physically exists, that you can call/e-mail/talk with or at least see on TV, and a unverifiable, invisible God whose “will” can only be fathomed by a 2000 year old, edited beyond belief manuscript (which can be interpreted in countless ways). Now, which one should I fear the most?
Assuming the capricious nature of the divine entity of the Bible, not even following its edicts are a guarantee of avoiding that. Commitment to one’s promises is a human moral trait and God is clearly not beholden to it. The theist who claims that whatever God does is moral has no reason to assume any prayer will be honored, any love will be returned or any hope of an eternal blissful afterlife will be fulfilled. Their God is a moral nihilist.
And thus do we let another Holocaust happen.
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