An embarassingly apt description of the god of Abraham.

Does the excerpt hold true?

YES!
4 votes
NO!
8 votes

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beyondmeasure

From the mind comes the query.

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"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,

sado-masochistic,

capriciously

malevolent

bully."

The following excerpt (the spacings are a way to stress things) is from Richard Dawkins' The God Delusion.

Disprove him.

  • Jun 12, 2008

ProgramZERO

ProgramZERO

The Lost Generation

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I can't. He's talking about a ficitonal character. A fictional character is whatever you want him to be.

Sleeping peacefully on the edges of No Man's Land... Not all good is rewarded, not all evil is punished.

yothsothgoth

yothsothgoth

You came along and cut me loose

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I will not and cannot agree on those words written above.
Question, why are you specifically saying that its the God of the Old Testsment? He's the same one in the New Testament.

Its difficult to explain my thoughts on this, but I hope I can. I will only address certain ones because I'll have to do some research before posting again. ^^

The God of the Old Testament didn't change, humanity's understanding of God evolved over centuries of experience. As one's faith is tested throughout their lives, their opinion/view of God changes. Also, back when the Old Testament was being written... I've heard that life was much more difficult. Life was hard and people died for many reasons (cruel and unjust leaders, unsanitary conditions, etc.) are why people thought of God as more harsh and wrathful. (I do not deny God destroying Soddom and Gamorrah... God did not approve of homosexuality... as do many people still, Christian and nonChristian.) If you grow up in a world full of hate, depression, and it seems that there's not much to look forward to in your life... you're likely to blame someone for it... perhaps they blamed God. Even today that is still true.

Christians believe that God's revelation of God's self has been consistent throughout the Bible and that revelation unveils a God who is benevolent, not capricious or harsh. Life may be harsh and capricious, but that does not mean God is. We all create the lives we live for ourselves, and our behaviors have an effect on others. That goes for individuals, groups, churches, religions and nations. Noone is without sin. Everyone has all of those qualities you've mentioned above in them... if we blame all of our faults on God, then doesn't he get those words and actions attributed to Him unjustly. We all have an opinion about the world around us and why things happen. Some blame each other, some ourselves, some blame God. ...also, if you read and understand what I've written above, you'll see the similarities in the certain traits we hate about ourselves... are all blamed on God throughout the centuries (being petty, homophobic, racist, capricious). ...just a thought...

God is jealous. He does not deny this. He only wants people to worship Him. Look at the way jealosy is used in the Bible to describe Him. Its very different in how the word jealous is used in Exodus 20:5 from how it is it used to describe the sin of jealousy in Galatians 5:20.

When we use the word jealous, we use it in the sense of being envious of someone who has something we don't have. When we look at this verse, we find that it is not that God is jealous or envious because someone has something He wants that He does not possess. Exodus 20:4-5 says, "You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God..." Notice that in this verse God is talking about being jealous if someone gives something that belongs to Him to another. ((God means your worship belongs to Him.)) In these verses, God is speaking of people making idols and bowing down and worshiping those idols instead of giving God the worship that belongs to Him alone. God is possessive of the worship and service that belong to Him. It is a sin (as God points out in this commandment) to worship or serve anything other than Him. So, in summary, it is a sin when we desire, or we are envious, or we are jealous of someone because he has something that we do not have. It is a different use of the word jealous when God says He is jealous. What He is jealous for belongs to Him; worship and service belong to Him alone, and are to be given to Him alone.

God is not a misogynist. That would mean that He hates women. (A possible misinterpretation... I'll talk about below... in which many believe God hates women because of the apple in the garden of eden and the example He made of her.) Think of the following and tell me if it didn't have something to do with it. Back in the Old Testament, the Priests and Rabbi didn't have women in power. The world was overall, male dominated... many will argue the same goes for the times we live in now. In a male dominated society (same goes for if it were the other way around), men downplay women's roles in society... women being subservient to men. That was the culture and remains mostly unchanged in the area in which the Bible and the stories came from. Men wrote the Bible, men were the leaders, men were the priests and rabbi... women had little power then.

---

Taking the Bible out of context can be easy to do if you are wanting to destroy the reputation of God. You can call a peach a peach... you can even call a peach an apple... but it doesn't turn it into an apple. Misinterpretation (on purpose or accidental) of word meanings can make it easier to attack the scripture. Its open for interpretation, I'm not saying what I've stated is right or correct in its entirety... I just want you to read this interpretation and make a judgement by yourself.

You can take things out of context or misinterpret things as you wish. Here's an example... an extreme example.
John, chapter 11, verse 5 says, "Jesus wept."
One superficial interpretation can be... that Jesus was a crybaby.
One interpretation can be that Jesus was displaying that he was also human by crying physical tears.
One interpretation can be that Jesus was crying for Lazarus because he'd died. (however, why would He cry if he knew He was going to bring Lazarus back from the dead?)
One interpretation can be that Jesus was showing his sorry and sympathy for all mankind.
One interpretation can be that Jesus was crying because of the sorrow forshadowing the suffering of his own crucifixion.

Many different interpretations can be held just for one passage... and its the shortest one in the Bible! You can say He's a misogynist because He punished Eve for her trechory in the garden of eden... you can say whatever you want when you interpret passages. Misinterpretation is everywhere, intentional and unintentional. It makes world leaders fight and others friends... it makes neighbors shoot their neighbor's dogs and best friends to shoot one another... it makes anything possible.

Just think about it. Did Richard Dawkins read the entire Bible and try to interpret it in many different ways? Did he take into account the different cultures and peoples who wrote the Bible and understand that it was those people's cultures shining through the words of the Bible? Was he, himself quick to judge superficially? Did he use those judgements as a bias he kept throughout his book?.

(my opinion...)To me, the Bible is the living, literal word of God. We humans can try to understand it the best we can, but nomatter what... we will all fail to fall short of the glory of God. We do the best we can, follow the teachings, examples, and stories/parables that were given and we follow. Not because we have to or should, but because we want to.

I am not here to attack this, just to introduce you to some other interpretations.
You will make your own judgements on this, just like anything else.

merged: 06-13-2008 ~ 12:36pm
BTW... I know someone will complain about me posting a lot (because someone ALWAYS does). <_<
I gave the topic some thought and repected the original thread starter enough to leave them a post that might give them another possible answer to the topic at hand. Thanks for making me think beyondmeasure. :D

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I DON'T AGREE WITH THIS DESCRIPTION.

It'd take long to answer this one, but I'll try to make it short:

That was the cosmovision of the original Israel's religion.

THAT COSMOVISION CHANGED TROUGTH THE CENTURIES, SINCE THE BIBLE TOOK ABOUT 1,000 OR SO YEARS TO BE WRITTEN FROM GENESIS TO THE REVELATION TO ST. JONH.

An example: the original Israeli (the 12 tribes, before they narrowed to just the Jew) believed in the Seol, a place much like the greek Hades, where the souls had little conscience and were kind of asleep. In the times of Jesus, 1,500 YEARS LATER, they had the concept of Hell and the resurrection.


1.- Way before the theofany of Abraham, the semitic ethnic groups were already a patriarchy, were women were considered lower beings than men (the story of Adam and Eve were taken from the mesopotamic religion, remember Abraham was from Ur of the Caldee).

2.-Unfgorgiven, bloodthirsty, homophobic... The Chosen People had to have a different way to do things than their politeist neighbours. That's why they didn't mix (marry) with other people, because, as happened with Solomon wives, they'll bring their gods with them.

Actually, as you can read on both books of Kings some of these rituals were too horrible. Baal was depicted as big hoven with many "mouths", and a bull's head on the top. In that oven were trown newborns babies. Also, some cults as the one of Isthar was the practice of prostitution, since she was the godess of fertility. Homosexuality was the trademark of the greek, that eventually, with Alexander the Great became their conquerors. Homosexuality and bisexuality were strange to the Jew. By the way, the Ten Commandements are the same for heterosexual and homosexuals: you can't fornicate outside marriage (to me, it's ok if anyone is gay, I'm just telling you thier cosmovision)

3.- Etnich cleanser... They also had to make war. Remember that those times were different from now. The promised land wouldn't come easy or totally free. They had to figth for it against others, like the People of the Sea, that eventually became the Philystee.

And remember, the Jew are the Chosen People, they couldn't stand being conquered.

4.- Some books were written and rewritten (as Genesis and Deuteronomio). And the way they THOUGTH TOO.

There's a long way from "don't step forward, and take out your sandals, since you're stepping on holy ground" to "let the children come close to me".

Also, from "no man can see me and live" to "I'm the path the truth and life... that who knows me, knows the Father"

Those were a comparision between Exodus and the Gospels.

And as a finel note: "I don't call you servants, but friends"... "Stay in my love". (St. John)

I DON'T THINK MR. DAWKINS COULD BE TAKEN AS A SERIOUS SOURCE, MUCH LESS APT, SINCE HE JUST JUSTIFIES HIMSELF AND OTHER THAT SHARE HIS THOUGTHS IN THE CONFORTABLE POSITION OF NOT HAVING COMPROMISES AND RESPONSABILITIES TOWARD THEIR FELLOW HUMANS, SINCE THAT IS THE COMPROMISE THAT ALMOST ANY RELIGION BRINGS.

I think that MR. DAWKINS IS THE ONE WHO SHOULD FEEL EMBARRASED. What a waste. The man writes books only to excuse himself.

  • Jun 13, 2008

beyondmeasure

From the mind comes the query.

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Quote by ProgramZEROI can't. He's talking about a ficitonal character. A fictional character is whatever you want him to be.

You have a point, ZERO, until you discover that the fictional character is the reason why millions of otherwise indistinguishable humans are killed or kill.

But of course you know that.

merged: 06-16-2008 ~ 11:42pm

Quote by mireya2I DON'T AGREE WITH THIS DESCRIPTION.

It'd take long to answer this one, but I'll try to make it short:

That was the cosmovision of the original Israel's religion.

THAT COSMOVISION CHANGED THROUGH THE CENTURIES, SINCE THE BIBLE TOOK ABOUT 1,000 OR SO YEARS TO BE WRITTEN FROM GENESIS TO THE REVELATION.

An example: the original Israeli (the 12 tribes, before they narrowed to just the Jew) believed in the Seol, a place much like the greek Hades, where the souls had little conscience and were kind of asleep. In the times of Jesus, 1,500 YEARS LATER, they had the concept of Hell and the resurrection.


1.- Way before the theophany of Abraham, the semitic ethnic groups were already a patriarchy, were women were considered lower beings than men (the story of Adam and Eve were taken from the mesopotamic religion, remember Abraham was from Ur of the Caldee).

2.-Unfgorgiven, bloodthirsty, homophobic... The Chosen People had to have a different way to do things than their politeist neighbours. That's why they didn't mix (marry) with other people, because, as happened with Solomon wives, they'll bring their gods with them.

Actually, as you can read on both books of Kings some of these rituals were too horrible. Baal was depicted as big hoven with many "mouths", and a bull's head on the top. In that oven were trown newborns babies. Also, some cults as the one of Isthar was the practice of prostitution, since she was the godess of fertility. Homosexuality was the trademark of the greek, that eventually, with Alexander the Great became their conquerors. Homosexuality and bisexuality were strange to the Jew. By the way, the Ten Commandements are the same for heterosexual and homosexuals: you can't fornicate outside marriage (to me, it's ok if anyone is gay, I'm just telling you thier cosmovision)

3.- Etnich cleanser... They also had to make war. Remember that those times were different from now. The promised land wouldn't come easy or totally free. They had to figth for it against others, like the People of the Sea, that eventually became the Philystee.

And remember, the Jew are the Chosen People, they couldn't stand being conquered.

4.- Some books were written and rewritten (as Genesis and Deuteronomio). And the way they THOUGTH TOO.

There's a long way from "don't step forward, and take out your sandals, since you're stepping on holy ground" to "let the children come close to me".

Also, from "no man can see me and live" to "I'm the path the truth and life... that who knows me, knows the Father"

Those were a comparision between Exodus and the Gospels.

And as a finel note: "I don't call you servants, but friends"... "Stay in my love". (St. John)

I DON'T THINK MR. DAWKINS COULD BE TAKEN AS A SERIOUS SOURCE, MUCH LESS APT, SINCE HE JUST JUSTIFIES HIMSELF AND OTHER THAT SHARE HIS THOUGTHS IN THE CONFORTABLE POSITION OF NOT HAVING COMPROMISES AND RESPONSABILITIES TOWARD THEIR FELLOW HUMANS, SINCE THAT IS THE COMPROMISE THAT ALMOST ANY RELIGION BRINGS.

I think that MR. DAWKINS IS THE ONE WHO SHOULD FEEL EMBARRASED. What a waste. The man writes books only to excuse himself.


1. Oh - so why follow the trend of making men more powerful and domineering than women?

2. Homosexuality strange to the Jew? I do think any sensible Jewish homosexual would hide their true selves just to save their lives. After all, the mere hint of homosexuality is punishable by stoning. Anyway, why slay everyone and everything? Why not just expel them - why didn't God do the expelling himself?

And, yes, do you think God is nothing but good?

3. Refer to No. 2.

4. Good - so you admit that some parts of the Bible may have been corrupted into the disaster area it is today. Why not speculate that the Bible itself is fictional?

Oh, on comparing Exodus and the Gospels: what's your basis for discarding the Old and wearing the clothes of the New?

  • Jun 15, 2008

ttwen

ttwen

somebody

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i disagree with all those except 1 : jealous
he is a jealous God and he said so himself

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Here's a good quote that supports the excerpt. Its in my sig but i'll post it in case i ever change it.
Psalm 137:9 (King James Version)
Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones.

  • Jul 11, 2008

ttwen

ttwen

somebody

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good work buddy ;)

BobaFett2ha

BobaFett2ha

Mandalore

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tl;dr the rest of the thread, but yes, I agree with everything in the excerpt and always have since I read the Torah.

"The ugly and thin cattle ate up the seven sleek and fat cattle." - Genesis 41:4

  • Jul 12, 2008
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Dawkin's has never been a good spokesperson for anything intelligent, he just says radical statements to get attention. He's one of the guys my serious atheist friends really don't like because they are just cocky jerks that don't make real intelligent arguments and simply make atheists look bad by providing easy targets for the opposition.

Anyway, as I have to tell those who are Christians often (haven't had to tell anyone jewish or islamic), the old testiment description of God is actually one of an EXTREMELY loving, forgiving, merciful, and benevolent God toward all.

You see, people run into problems when they only read parts, or don't read at all and get a lot of hearsay, and thus don't get the context and everything else that is happening. Especially when they don't consider what is actually going on in the stories and what the style happens to be and other factors. For instance, people don't realize that the story of Abraham sacrificing Isaac was written long after their time as a story to deal with a certain issue: Israel was expanding into new territories where the local practices held that when the massive locusts come (about every 18 years, in fact) they must sacrifice a child to their god. When this happened, the local people tried to get the israelites to do the same, and didn't care if they sacrificed it to their own God, so long as the child sacrifice happened and made the locusts go away. The message and effect of the Abraham story was actually to tell the jewish people that God did NOT want child sacrifices, and ended that problem. It had other messages as well, as you'll find Biblical stories like this are often pact with many dimensions.
Also, many of the stories of wrath leave out two things: 1) That God had just provided the people with everything they could ever want and said "hey, now don't kill yourselves and sacrifice your blood to idols", and then they turned around and went against everything he said, started doing all kinds of things which were really bad for them in general, and overall not caring about what they received in such a way that if it were you or I in God's position, we probably would have just wiped them all out very painfully, and wouldn't have let it go on for so long before doing so. 2) That usually all God did to punish the people was to withdraw His protection and Blessing, letting them realize how weak they really are without Him and they run themselves into the ground or other nations would do it to them. However, during such times it was always a message of love, since God would wait for them to call on Him again, and then He would forgive and restore Israel better than before.
Most of the Old Testiment could be described as a love story between God and Israel/humanity. In fact, some of the books are SPECIFICALLY that: the prophet Hosea, for instance, begins with describing Israel as a harlot wife, whom God would leave to run itself to ruin, but then at its lowest point would "lead out into the desert" where He would call her back to Himself to make her again beautiful and glorious.

However, on the level Dawkins is talking, none of this actually matters. It comes down to "Is God, or is not God?" If God is, it really doesn't matter much if he were as Dawkins describes, He can do whatever He wants and theres nothing we can do about it nor have any right to do about it, if He is not, great for us, but its how it is either way. If God is not, then it doesn't matter what Dawkins says about Him, nor anyone else, maybe doesn't really matter what any of us say about anything, but thats a problem for the next step.

  • Jul 28, 2008

zazuge

Perv

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I'm a Muslim (even if I'm not that knowledgeable about islam)
so maybe (or must be) my arguments are biased
but the old testament was written so it only reflects it's author view of god and it contains a lot of affront or falsies about god (my subjective view )
and i think people always forget about the goal of they journey thought life and they think all comfort and peace is a given (or a right)
but life isn't like that at all, life is a test period full of tribulations
and everyone has to strive to live and to learn so he make it without ruining his record (it's an exam after all)
everyone can tell me that paradise is just a fantasy but the truth about a life full of harshness and tribulation is clear
tribulations arn't just misery .. even too much comfort can make people rotten inside
so if life is as it is it's not because i's god fault/wrath or human sin/stupidity
it's because life isn't paradise nor hell it's a test for your soul
strive hard to keep your sanity humans ;)
excuse me for the long rant and the biased narrow minded view of life ^^

Belive me and DIE !

samu02

Back to Basics

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Why bother? I know most the things written there are one biased man's opinion on something he does not wish to understand. It's like misanthrope talking about his beliefs with regards to humanity or a homophobe in regards to same sex marriage or a pedophile about statutory rape. They just can't be objective with the subjects that hits a spot.

"If faced with a life or death situation, an average person would choose life; a hero also chooses life, just not for himself"
"Knowledge is Power. But Power unused accomplishes nothing"
[CENTER][IMG]http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/11.jpg[/IMG][/CENTER]

  • Jun 28, 2009
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9

Quote by beyondmeasure 1. Oh - so why follow the trend of making men more powerful and domineering than women?

2. Homosexuality strange to the Jew? I do think any sensible Jewish homosexual would hide their true selves just to save their lives. After all, the mere hint of homosexuality is punishable by stoning. Anyway, why slay everyone and everything? Why not just expel them - why didn't God do the expelling himself?

And, yes, do you think God is nothing but good?

3. Refer to No. 2.

4. Good - so you admit that some parts of the Bible may have been corrupted into the disaster area it is today. Why not speculate that the Bible itself is fictional?

Oh, on comparing Exodus and the Gospels: what's your basis for discarding the Old and wearing the clothes of the New?

Hi again.

1.-The Bible was written from betwen the years 500 B.C. to 95 A.C. That's a lot of time, and the ideology of the Israel people, first, and the Jew after, changed and evolved over time.

Remember that we're talking middle East, where the culture is strongly Patriarcal, in opossition to Europe ancient Greek culture, where goddesses were worshiped.

The Bible describes A LOVE STORY BETWEEN HUMANITY AND GOD. That didn't mean that the Human side was exempted from mistakes, evildoing or just being short-sigthed or discriminatory. As we're individually slow to learn, from being babies until adulthood, Humanity as a whole is also slow. The story began with one man first, Abraham, ten one people, Israel; and then extended to all Humanity.

It took all that time to come down to what Jesus did: defend a prostutite from a lynching mob, to befriend those prostitutes, pagans and public men. Those women eventually became disciples. Do you think that just anyone would risk his own life to defend someone who was considered a lesser by the society?

2.- I did'nt explainmyself very well. All for saving typewritting. There was just plain homosexuality, and a ritual homosexuality from other cultures sorrounding them, just like the ritual prostitutes. And there was homosexuality as part of the local culture, as in the ancient Greeks, and even among them there was some discrimination. Homosexuality was an aberration to Israel because that made them the same as the other cultures. And they had to be differente because they were Chosen.

I have not read about any homosexual being stoned to dead. Doesn't mean it never happened, thougth. But that was the Human way, and God, on the contrary, is love.

In its primitive History Israel had to make war and slay its way to the Promised land, but their religion was also primitive then, they didn't believe on Heaven and Hell, just the Seol, punishment and reward happened during lifetime. If you were poor or sick, it was because of a sin. That was short-sightening, cruel, and wrong.

That changed over time and, again it was Jesus who healed the sick. Remembre the blind teen? "who sinned, him or his parents?..." "None of them, he was born blind so the wonders of God would manifgest on him".

3.-Uh, don't remember three XD

4.- That some books were written by someone and the polished by that author's disciples doesn't mean the Bible is corrupt. It happened with Isaias' book, Daniel's and surely the Gospels. Even more, none knows who wrote Job and Jonas (both are fictional stories, maybe based on a real carachter). That doesn't make them lessers. What counts is the teachings and contain.

Yes there were some books that were fictional or, like the Genesis and Exodus, inherited from oral tradition. Other were Historical, like the Macabeos, Kings, Chronicles, Samuel, Judges, Gospels etc.

But the goal of the Bible is not to teach Biology, Astronomy or History (it's awfull when someone tries to use it like that), but your relation with God, and your salvation, as also mine's.

The Jew revised very carefully their writtens and copies. They letters were also numbers, so after copying they added all the letters. If the result of the sum wasn't the same as the original, the copy was then discarded. Following other methods, the books of the New Testament were also carefully read. And then there were the first Councils, because some "gospels" where truly fictional (written after the first Century, trying to fill the time when Jesus lived a private life, his chilhood and teen years, or they were merely fragments).

And I'm not discarding the Old Testament. That's wrong, too. The past is part of the present, and the Jew are (in Christianity, at least), our Parents in Faith.

Just that if Jesus is the Son of God, and He truly showed the path to the Father God, and that God is not vendetta or intolerance as the Israel people believed but love, well, it's another revolution in tougth. remember, HE DEFENDED A PROSTITUTE WHEN NONE WOULD HAVE DONE THE SAME.

Please, don't hate. It's harmfull to your health (really!). Better try to understand.

Bye.

  • Jul 22, 2009

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